Tips for Applicants with Disabilities
Applying to law school is a challenging process for all applicants. For applicants with disabilities, the process is even harder—from learning challenges to mental health issues. But experts say there are strategies and accommodations for applicants with disabilities to make the process just a bit easier.
Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently discussed tips to help applicants with disabilities successfully navigate the admissions process, as well as the law school experience.
UTILIZE TESTING ACCOMODATIONS
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT exam, offers several testing accommodations designed to help support applicants with disabilities—from additional time to alternate testing formats. Kuris recommends that applicants with disabilities look into the testing options and determine which is right for them.
“Applicants interested in testing accommodations should first review the information available on the LSAC website as well within individual online LSAC accounts,” Kuris writes. “Applicants may request accommodations directly through their accounts. They may also reach a team of customer relationship specialists by email or telephone for further advice and assistance.”
YOU CAN CHOOSE WHETHER TO DISCLOSE DISABILITIES
It’s against the law for law schools to discriminate against applicants or students with disabilities. And, Kuris says, applicants have the choice to choose whether or not they want to disclose their disabilities to admissions officers.
“Ultimately, this is a personal choice,” Kuris writes. “Many applicants choose to discuss the hardships they’ve overcome in their personal statement or diversity statement. Others may discuss their diagnosis in an addendum, to provide context for academic underperformance or a gap in schooling.”
NAVIGATING THE LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE
As a law school student, you can also rest assured that law schools are required by law to provide accommodations to students with disabilities.
“These accommodations depend on a student’s particular diagnosis, documented history and need,” Kuris writes. “Common examples include extended time on exams or written assignments, use of a computer or private room during examinations, reduced course load, or a designated note taker or recording of lectures.”
Additionally, Kuris says, students with disabilities have a variety of resources and programs designed to support them throughout their legal education.
“One good place to start is the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, whose online resources include a directory of disability-related programming available at each accredited law school,” Kuris writes. “The National Disabled Law Students Association supports and advocates on behalf of law students and recent law graduates with disabilities. The association has members and partners at more than 50 law schools nationwide. Like the ABA, this association can provide answers to specific questions that applicants with disabilities may have about navigating law school, securing employment and qualifying for the bar.”
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