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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Academics & Research

For Law Center, coronavirus pandemic means admissions shakeup


The Law Center is revamping its website for virtual tours and allowing for online classes to be audited by applicants to make up for admission services lost because of the coronavirus outbreak. | FIle photo

The Law Center is revamping its website for virtual tours and allowing applicants to audit online classes to make up for admission services lost because of the coronavirus outbreak. | File photo

The Law Center is preparing to reorient some of its admission services given the COVID-19 pandemic, but some students are still worried about the ramifications the outbreak can have on their application process.

On top of revamping its website for virtual tours and allowing for online classes to be audited by applicants, Dean of Admissions Pilar Mensah said the Law Center will also be understanding of pass/fail grades on transcripts. 

“A pass/fail on an applicant’s transcript won’t hurt them in any way,” she said. “We’ll look at the classes they took, and look at what the grades they do have. A majority of applications will be missing some of their transcript.”

But not even that has curbed all worries for applicants.

University of Texas English senior Alison Welch is applying to the Law Center but is having a hard time committing to a school when she hasn’t been able to tour all of them.

“(Not touring schools) is very upsetting, and I’m having trouble getting myself to commit to a school I’ve never visited, even though I am very interested,” Welch said.

Welch has other concerns as well. After losing a job in Austin due to the pandemic, she has moved back to Dallas to live with her parents in the immediate future before she begins law school in Fall 2020. 

Other students have more long-term worries. 

Thomas Vargas, a UT natural science major who is applying in 2021, has a variety of worries that extend beyond his application process.

“It’s all very unsettling,” Vargas said. “There’s just so much I don’t know. How will they administer the LSAT in the summer and after? What will the legal labor market look like when I’m done? I haven’t even been able to visit any of my schools.”

Vargas is graduating this year with his bachelor’s degree, but his plans to take a year off to work and save money for law school were usurped when the job offer he had was revoked due to the outbreak. 

While applicants in the incoming class have their transcripts in, Vargas and others of the following class and beyond are worried about what optional pass/fail might do to their competitive edge.

“It’s tough, man,” Vargas said, “I’m afraid it will make the pool all that more competitive. If students are only revealing the grades they want to reveal, I’m afraid what that will do to the overall competition.”

In the heat of the pandemic, it seems the Law Center and its applicants will have to take a few extra steps to ensure that things run smoothly for the class of 2020 and beyond. 

Mensah understands the concerns of applying students and said the school is doing its best to help applicants.

“Obviously, we understand the circumstances that’s going on from the law school,” she said. “We’re trying our best to be understanding of these circumstances and to act accordingly.”

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