Transcripts and grades
Every law school requires that you forward your complete official undergraduate transcript to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. CAS will both forward your transcript(s) to the law schools you apply to, as well as recalculate your GPA based on certain uniform rules. This includes the transcript from every college or university at which you completed any course for credit, even if those courses appear as transfer credit on your UMass transcript. The only common exception are classes you took through a UMass Study Abroad or Domestic Exchange program. LSAC’s complete rules about which transcripts to request can be found here.
Your GPA as computed by CAS may not be exactly the same as your UMass GPA. This is because LSAC handles certain grades differently. The most common difference for UMass students is when you retake a class—UMass does not include the first time you took the class in calculating your GPA. LSAC does include that first grade, so your GPA as reported by LSAC may be lower. Rest assured that this minor difference will not have a dramatic impact on your law school admission chances.
Requesting Your UMass Amherst Transcript
If you are a current UMass Amherst undergraduate student or recent graduate who still has access to SPIRE, you should order your transcript through SPIRE. Instructions for doing so can be found on the UMass Amherst Registrar’s page here.
If you do not have access to SPIRE, you can order your transcript through the online transcript request service provided by the Registrar’s Office.
In either case, the request will go through Parchment, a private service the University has contracted with, and the Registrar’s office will charge you $4.50 per transcript. Note that you are sending a paper transcript, not an electronic one—Parchment is not one of the electronic transcript systems that LSAC accepts.
NOTE: While LSAC prefers that all transcripts sent to CAS be accompanied by LSAC’s Transcript Request Form, they will nonetheless process transcripts without that form. Since this may take some additional time at LSAC (to confirm that your transcript gets posted to the correct account), you should order your transcript well in advance of when you need it. In general, allow 2-3 weeks for processing.
If you are still in school at the time you apply to law school, you will need to repeat this process at the end of the Fall semester, after grades are posted. Note that you will need to pay an additional $4.50 for each transcript.
Attaining good grades in hard courses demonstrates academic excellence. Compiling an impressive record is a critical first step in the process of getting admitted to the law school of your choice. Avoid using the pass/fail option as it doesn’t give enough information to evaluate your performance in that...read more »