Virtual classrooms take over LSAT prep

More LSAT prep companies are turning to virtual classrooms as a way to reach more students.

With prospective law students already managing full college courseloads or professional schedules, many are finding they don’t have the time to fit in a full Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) prep course, or classes aren’t offered in a convenient location. Enter virtual LSAT preparation.

“One of my students was unable to attend a lesson, so I made an audio podcast of the lesson for her to review. She found it so helpful that I made audio podcasts of all the lessons,” said Trent Teti, founder of Blueprint LSAT Preparation. “Students began to ask to study with them outside of class, and I realized that there was a large group of people who wanted to study for the LSAT on their own pace or schedule.”

Jon Denning, a senior instructor and course developer with PowerScore Test Preparation, said his company saw requests from prospective students lacking access.

“We were getting a lot of demand from people in other countries or people in remote areas of the United States, where they just didn’t have a course that was accessible to them,” said Denning. PowerScore leaders decided that offering a online option that provided live adaptive feedback in the same style was the best option.

“We’ve found that people from all over the world have been taking these classes. We’ve had people in Australia, New Zealand, China, and South America. … It’s really interesting to create almost this global community and conversation for us. It’s really incredible,” Denning said.

Virtual classrooms allow freedom from the traditional format.

“Our online course liberates students from the tyranny of brick-and-mortar classrooms. You can use the online course to study for the LSAT whenever you want, from wherever you want,” said Teti. “If a student feels the need to review logic games at midnight on a Monday, she has only to log in to the Blueprint site to do so.”

Denning said that his company’s virtual LSAT preparation includes features that aren’t present in brick-and-mortar settings.

“We’ve been able to have two live instructors there who both log in at the same time and are there for the duration of every single class session. One handles primarily the instruction and speaking … and the other can handle things like chat comments, so they can communicate privately with students or publicly with the entire class,” said Denning. “So students who … have a question or are confused from the last lesson’s homework don’t have to interrupt the flow or the stream of the class; they can ask the other instructor in the class … privately and get really personalized attention.”

Denning added that all of the LSAT prep classes are recorded and archived, giving students access for up to six months.

“I think, in a lot of cases, students look at these two options … and they’re simply more comfortable coming home after a long day of work or a long day of classes,” he said. “That’s not to say that we try not to make our brick-and-mortar classes accessible and convenient, we certainly do, but it’s really hard to beat pajamas on your couch when you’re studying for the LSAT.”

Whether it’s convenience, ease of access, or economic benefits (online courses, on average, cost about $400 less than those that take place in a classroom), enrollment numbers are up for virtual LSAT preparation.

“When we first debuted ‘Blueprint: The Movie,’ a minority of our students enrolled in the online course option. The amount of sales has substantially increased since then,” Teti said.

Denning agreed that the online option’s popularity is definitely on the rise.

“Every single year, every single test administration we’ve seen growth [in online enrollment], … 40 to 50 percent at times,” he said.

Teti said he doesn’t see the LSAT prep business stopping with video.

“iPad and iPhone applications, as well as other nifty items, are definitely in the company’s future,” he said.

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