Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Instructions
There are 3 parts to this document:
Instructions for using the LSAC’s Online Applications
Letters of Recommendation and the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
Transcripts and Applying to Law School.
First, note that there is a fee for the CAS that is in addition to the fee for the LSAT (they are both about the same price). Prior to paying the fee you can set up your CAS account, submit letters of recommendation and transcripts to your account, and actually submit applications to the law schools. BUT, the LSAC will not send your letters, transcripts, or LSAT score to your schools until you pay the fee. Thus the law schools will not consider your application material until the fee is paid. CAS registration is good for five years.
We suggest you create a free account NOW and get started. Register here: https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/SignUp.aspx. Then try out some of the procedures below on your computer.
To pay the fee when the time comes, check the text box on the right frame of your account “homepage” entitled “My Account Activity”. There should be a notice there stating “CAS: not purchased.” Click on that link and you’ll be able to pay for the account.
Instructions for using the LSAC’s Online Law School Applications
Note: about 18% of schools ask for a “Dean’s Certification” form. If your major is in the College of Arts and Sciences, take a hard copy of this form to College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office in Owen Hall: Phone: (812) 855-1647 Fax: (812) 855-2060. All others should take it to the Office of Student Ethics, 705 E. 7th Street, phone # 812-855-5419. Both will send it to the law schools for you.
FIRST STEP in setting up your free CAS account: Be sure your popup blocker is turned off for this site! For Internet Explorer, click the “Tools” folder. For Firefox, click “Tools,” then choose “Options,” then go to the “Content” tab, and uncheck the first box (entitled “Block pop-up windows”).
Before you can apply to a specific school, you must first add the name of this school to your “School List.” You can add or delete schools from this list at any time, and you do not have to actually submit applications to any of the schools you put on the list.
Log into your LSAC account as a “future JD Student” with username and password.
If you have NOT yet selected any schools to which you will apply, go to the section entitled “My Law Schools/Applications, and click the “School Search” tab (If you already have a list, skip to #5 below).
Select your schools by clicking on the appropriate tab. If you know the schools you want already, click “Add Member Schools” to choose from an alphabetical list of every ABA-approved US law school.
After you “check” your schools, click “Save Selections to School List.” Your list will appear.
If you already HAVE selected your schools, click “View School List.” Your list will appear.
Once you have a list, you can start to fill out the individual application for any particular school. Simply click on the name of the school: three short columns under the school’s name will appear. Under the middle section entitled “Apply/My Applications”, click the dark blue box called “Start/Continue Application.”
It’s pretty self-explanatory from there. First, you will check the semester for which you intend to begin your studies—usually the fall of the following year. Then “Select one method to apply.” Most law schools prefer that you “Apply and Submit Online,” which is the default selection.
A very large “drop down” menu will appear under the name of the school in the list with the following three numbers under the “Applications” column:
1. “Step One Complete application forms.” Click the “Application” tab. You will see a rather long list of application subject items, such as “Instructions” “Biographical,” “Demographics,” “Employment,” etc. Fill out each individual application section. Note that most law schools advise against answering a question with “see resume.”
NOTE: when you fill out the application for your NEXT school, information that you have provided on this first application will magically appear in the proper place. Just make sure no question is left blank.
At the bottom of the list of application items will be links to click in order to upload required and optional Attachments, such as the personal statement, resume, letter of addendum, diversity essay, etc. Note that the system can only upload Word documents, not PDF’s.
When you click on each item, you will have the option of including either: 1). an existing document that you have previously uploaded for a different school [click “choose an existing file”], or 2). a new document [click “upload a new file”].
You will then “describe the file” [e.g., “resume,” “personal statement,” “personal statement for New York Law School,” etc.].
Next, you will be asked if you would like to make this particular document part of your list of common files for potential use in subsequent applications. If so, check the box labeled “add this file to My Common Files List.”
Finally, you will “Attach (the) file” by clicking the tab labeled “Attach.”
NOTE: Many schools will also have a category for “Miscellaneous” or “Supplemental Material” or some similar catch-all category through which you can upload documents such as letters of addendum (e.g., history of outperforming standardized tests, a serious illness or personal/family issues in a given semester that distorted your cumulative GPA, etc.). However, many do not have such a category. This does not mean they do not want to receive addenda! It merely means they forgot to include it. If you have supplementary material to submit to these schools, just call their admissions office and ask for instructions. Virtually all schools welcome such material.
2. “Step Two Preview application”. Be sure to take a look. Make sure EVERY question has a response. Proof your material carefully. Assume that some admission officials will not tolerate even a single error.
3. “Step Three Pay fees and submit”. You will be able to click “Continue” to initiate this step only when the application itself is complete. It begins a series of final steps by which you pay the CAS Report fee, pay the individual school’s application fee or provide the code for an application fee waiver, and sign the application.
That’s it! Congratulations!
Letters of Recommendation and the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
INTRODUCTION: Each letter of recommendation (LOR) in your CAS account must be accompanied by its own CAS LOR form when it is sent to the LSAC. Note that each form will contain the name of the writer of the letter to which it corresponds. Thus you will need a separate LOR form for each of your writers: e.g., if you have 3 LOR, you will need 3 forms—one for each writer.
You must make sure that whoever will be sending your letter(s) to the LSAC includes the form with the transmission, whether it is sent electronically or by regular postal mail. If a letter arrives without this form, it will be returned to the writer. Note that you can use this system to request a letter from your writer via email, and, if so, the form would automatically be included in the message (see p. 5 #11).
OVERVIEW: You will first build your own individual “master list” of potential letter-writers on your CAS letter of recommendation page. This list can be as long or as short as you like. Note that just listing a person does not mean that you are committed to asking this person for a letter, let alone sending their letter to any particular law school. Law schools will never have access to this list. Only you will see it.
At a different point in the process you will also assemble a list of law schools to which you will be applying (see Part I to this document, above). You will then have to “assign” specific letters to be sent to each individual school to which you will apply. More on this below.
As you enter the LSAC site and follow the instructions below, the procedures should become increasingly intuitive. It’s a bit clunky at first, so hang in there!
First, log onto your LSAC account with your username and password: https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/Access.aspx.
Be sure your popup blocker is turned off for this site. For Internet Explorer, click the “Tools” folder. For Firefox, click “Tools,” then choose “Options,” then go to the “Content” tab, and uncheck the first box (entitled “Block pop-up windows”).
On the next page, see the section entitled “Credential Assembly Service.” Click the second link under this section, called “Letters of Recommendation.”
You will be taken to your own personal “Letters of Recommendation” page.
Click on the first blue box on the left side of the page, called “Add/Edit My Recommenders/Evaluators.” (found under the link for “My Report Status).
Click on the tab marked “Add NEW Recommender/Evaluator”
Choose whether your writer is a “Recommender” (meaning that they will be supplying a traditional hard copy of a LOR); or “Evaluator” (meaning that the writer will fill out an evaluation webform available online and will not submit an actual letter); or “Both”.
In most situations applicants will be fine designating all writers only as “Recommenders”.
[However, for the record, there is a tiny number of schools that will let you sneak in an extra letter or two if you designate some of your writers as “Evaluators”. For example, a given school might state that it will “accept up to 3 Recommendations and/or 3 Evaluations for a total of no more than 6.” Thus if you have 5 strong writers, for example, for this school you could designate three as “Recommenders” and the other two as “Evaluators” -- and thereby submit all 5. As mentioned, such situations are quite rare.
On the other hand, many schools will not accept Evaluations at all.
Normally you will only discover late in the process (often when you are filling out applications) if one of your schools will accept an “extra” letter from an “Evaluator”. The good news is that you don’t have to designate anyone as an Evaluator until later—when you have investigated the situation for all of your schools. At first it is fine to designate all writers as “Recommender Only”. Later you can ask one or more to provide an “Evaluation” only in the rare case that you discover one of your schools allows this type of extra input. Please contact a HPPLC Prelaw Advisor if you have questions about this.]
Fill out the information that appears next—it consists mostly of contact information for the WRITER (i.e., NOT you).
“Number of letters from this recommender”: Most writers (98%) provide a single LOR that will be used for all law schools. For them, check “1.”
The CAS then asks for your “Description” of the letter. You might mention the writer’s name, and “for all law schools” if the letter will be sent to multiple schools. You only have 30 characters available for this description. Note: the law schools will see this description.
Occasionally you will encounter a writer who has attended one of the law schools to which you are applying. If the writer agrees, it may be useful for such a writer to compose one letter targeted specifically to their alma mater, and a second, general letter for all other schools. For such situations check “2” for the “Number of letters from this recommender”. Each LOR will need its own distinct LSAC LOR form, with its own unique description. Therefore, if you check “2”, two description slots will immediately appear—see next step below—and you will need to provide different descriptions for each (e.g., “Prof. Jones for DePaul Law School”; and “Prof. Jones general letter”)].
When finished, click the “Submit” button.
You will then arrive back at your “Letters of Recommendation” page---but the “Recommender Name” column should now contain the name of the writer for whom you just filled out the contact information. The “Letter ID/Description” column should also now contain your description of the letter. There will be tabs on the far right column that say “View to Print” and “Email.”
Indicate whether you would prefer to email this form to your writer or print it out to hand-deliver it. Email is probably the easiest for most writers, as the form is automatically included with the email and they can directly upload the letter from their computer. However, some writers who are not so comfortable with computers might prefer to send their letter (with the form included!) via regular postal mail. In such cases you would need to hand-deliver the form to them so they could include it with the letter itself in the same envelope.
Either way, after clicking either “View to Print” or “Email”, a page will immediately appear asking whether or not you will waive your right to read the letter that will be written by this writer. The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives you the right to read any letter written on your behalf, but you can waive this right. Law schools generally prefer that you waive your right. But the choice is completely yours. If you do waive your right, however, you will never be able to read this letter. After you make your choice, click “Continue.”
If you clicked the “Email” tab, a confirmation page will appear. Double-check all information displayed—especially the writer’s email address. If the information is correct, click “Send E-mail;” otherwise, click “Edit.”
If you clicked “View to Print,” a copy of the LSAC’s LOR form should appear on your computer screen. You can now print a hard copy of this form. Give it to whoever will be sending the letter to your CAS account, normally the writer. Note that the LSAC’s address is on the upper left of the form. You might consider providing your writer with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope.
Eventually (this can be done much later) – you’ll select a tentative list of law schools to which you’ll apply, and this list of schools will automatically appear at the bottom of your “Letters of Recommendation” page, underneath your list of LOR writers.
To begin the process of assigning specific letters to individual law schools, you’ll first have to click on the “Add Term” button for each individual school on the list and then select the semester you intend to begin law school. If you have already opened an application for that school, however, this tab will not be there, but the “Assign” tab will be there already—read on for details.
After you select the “term” for a given school, an “Assign” tab will appear in the far right column. After you click the “Assign” tab there will be a short explanation of that school’s LOR requirements and policies (for example, the minimum and maximum number of letters). Then just click on the letters you want to go to this school from the drop-down menu, click submit, and the “Letter ID” column on your “Letters of Recommendation” page will now indicate your LOR assignments (“L1”, “L2”, “L3” etc.) for that school. You must go through this process for every school!
Note: most applicants will send the same letters to all schools (the one variable would be the number of letters that each school will accept).
If the above procedure doesn’t work, call the LSAC directly at 215.968.1001 (push 0 to speak to a human being). They should be able to walk you through it.
But please let the LSAC (and HPPLC) know about any problems you encounter. Meanwhile, do not hesitate to send us your questions!
Transcripts and Applying to Law School
The Credential Assembly Service (“CAS”---formerly known as the Law School Data Assembly Service or LSDAS) needs original transcripts from every undergraduate institution you have attended. (All IU campuses are covered by IUB’s transcript, and any study abroad programs only require transcripts from the domestic sponsoring institution. But otherwise, EVEN IF your courses and grades have transferred and appear on your IUB transcript—you MUST get an original. They are very strict about this—if you don’t, a hold will be put on your applications.). To obtain transcripts, you will need to give each institution its own individual “Transcript Request Form”.
Note that you must eventually register and pay for an account with the CAS. This is NOT automatic when you register and pay for the LSAT, or when you create an account with the LSAC to register for the LSAT. For instructions on how to pay, see the top of this document.
Here’s how to obtain a Transcript Request Form:
First, be sure your popup blocker is turned off for www.lsac.org! For Internet Explorer, click the “Tools” folder. For Firefox, click “Tools,” choose “Options,” go to the “Content” tab, and uncheck the first box (entitled “Block pop-up windows”).
Next, log onto your LSAC account with your username and password: https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/Access.aspx.
This will take you to your CAS “My Home” page.
Look for the section on that page entitled: “Credential Assembly Service”
Under this will be a link: “Transcripts”. Click that.
At the top of the page that appears, take a look at the beige strip that contains a link that says something to the effect of “CAS Overview to add institutions”. Click that link.
On the resulting page, under the section entitled: “Bachelor's Degree-granting Institution,” click the tab entitled “Add Institution.” Enter the information for IU.
If you have attended any other undergrad institution go to the section entitled “Other Institutions” and click the “Add Institution” tab there. [For overseas study only list the domestic institution, if any, that sponsored your trip. If you directly enrolled in the foreign university on your own, only add it if you attended for more than one year—if you attended for one year or less they do not require, nor will they accept the foreign transcript. Contact LSAC at 215-968-1001 if you have any questions about this.]
When you are finished adding institutions click “Continue.” The resulting page will list the school(s) just entered, and at the bottom left will be an icon for the “Transcript Request Form” for each school. Print out a copy of this form for each institution.
For IUB transcripts, take this form to the Registrar in the Union Street Center, 408 N. Union St. Bloomington, Indiana 47405. Phone: (812) 855-0121. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have them forward your official transcript to the Credential Assembly Service according to the instructions and address on the form. The CAS will not accept transcripts sent directly from applicants!
You will only need to submit one transcript from each institution attended. LSAC will send copies to all law schools to which you apply.
Note that at peak times it may take the registrar several days to process your request. If the delay is too long, you can jump to the head of the line by paying for a FedEx mailing.
If you are outside Bloomington, you can still arrange for IUB transcripts to be sent to the CAS. Go to the IUB Registrar's website at http://registrar.indiana.edu/.
If you need help, call the Registrar’s Transcript Information Line at (812) 855-7505. Expect to be put on hold.
You will need to similarly arrange for original transcripts to be sent from every undergraduate institution you have attended that is outside of the IU system, EVEN IF these grades transferred and appear on your IU transcript! For study abroad programs, you will only need the original transcript from the domestic sponsoring institution, not the foreign university.
If you encounter any problems with the above procedures, call the LSAC directly at 215.968.1001 (push 0 to speak to a human being). They should be able to walk you through it.
Remember, let your HPPLC Prelaw Advisor know if you have any questions, concerns, problems, etc. Email email@example.com or call 812.855.1873.