Law school enrollment to drop due to entrance test

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Law school enrollment to drop due to entrance test

Topic |  
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Preluding the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT), that is an aptitude test, will actually be a test for earnest aspirants to some.

The April 16 PhilSAT for school year 2017-2018, aspiring law students from Luzon can take the exam in Baguio City, Metro Manila, or Legazpi City; while aspirants from Visayas can take it in Cebu City, or Iloilo City; and aspirants from Mindanao can take it in Davao City, or Cagayan de Oro City.

The exam in Cebu City will be at the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR).

The venue is one of the concerns raised in a number of complaints regarding the upcoming PhilSAT, while the processing of the application to take the exam is another issue.

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In the advisory from the Legal Education Board (LEB), applicants can process online and pay the examination fee of P1,000 through credit card or at BPI branches.

This becomes the problem for those coming from Samar who have no credit card, because there is no BPI branch in the area.

This means the processing of their applications to take the PhilSAT will already be a test of their means.

The other challenge for them is the distance of Samar from Cebu City, when in fact, the province is nearer to Legazpi City in Albay.

The cost of processing their applications to take the exam and the transportation expenses, aside from board and lodging, for the exam day are already a burden that will test who are the earnest aspirants.

The boat fare to Cebu City and back alone can already be roughly estimated to be around P2,000.

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For those who have no credit card will also have to spend transportation expenses to get to the neighboring areas or to Cebu to pay the examination fee at a BPI branch.

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These are the top concerns that mount concerning the designated venues of the PhilSAT.

This is also the reason why some College of Law deans in some Visayas law schools expect low enrolment in the school year 2017-2018.

The University of Bohol reportedly has offered some review classes in preparation for the PhilSAT, some financial assistance for aspirants, and even scholarships to encourage enrolment.

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At present, Bohol Institute of Technology (BIT)-International College has the highest enrolment among Bohol law schools.

The Holy Name University attracts enrolment by its record of high passing rate in the bar.

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HNU College of Law Dean Tomas Abapo Jr. also offers to assist aspiring law students in the processing of their registration for the PhilSAT.

PhilSAT is contained in a memorandum issued by LEB on “policies and regulations for the administration of a nationwide uniform law school admission test for applicants to the basic law course in all law schools in the country”.

PhilSAT is a “one-day aptitude test that can measure the academic potential of the examinee to pursue the study of law” that will include tests on communications and language proficiency, critical thinking skills, and verbal and quantitative reasoning.

Passing the PhilSAT is a requirement before one can be admitted to any law school starting school year 2017-2018.

“The cut-off or passing score will be 55 percent correct answers,” according to LEB.

Since it will be implemented for the first time in school year 2017-2018, those who would get a score of below 55 percent may approach the College of Law of the school where they intend to enroll and the dean may justify his or her score.

For the succeeding school years, LEB will no longer consider any justification.

It is intended to “improve the quality of legal education”, according to LEB.

PhilSAT is required “for all those seeking admission to the basic law courses leading to either a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor degree”.

Qualified to take the PhilSAT are graduates of four-year bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from duly recognized higher education institutions in the Philippines; those expecting to graduate with four-year bachelor’s degrees, or its equivalent, from duly recognized higher education institutions in the Philippines at the end of the school when the PhilSAT was administered; and graduates from foreign higher education institutions with degrees equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree as certified by the Commission on Higher Education.

LEB also advised that “a qualified examinee may take the PhilSAT for as many times as he or she wants, without limit”.

It will be conducted at least once a year, and LEB may set additional testing schedules if necessary.

PhilSAT is only required for incoming first year law students, while those who would be in higher year levels by school year 2017-2018 are no longer required to take the exam.

Exempted from the requirement are honor graduates granted professional civil service eligibility pursuant to Presidential Decree 907 who are enrolling within two years from their college graduation “for purposes of admission to the basic law course”.

LEB will issue a certificate of eligibility (COE) to those who will pass the PhilSAT and it will be valid for two years.

In addition, the PhilSAT is “without prejudice to the right of a law school…to impose additional requirements for admission” such as a score higher than the PhilSAT cut-off or passing score, “additional or supplemental admission tests to measure the competencies and/or personality of the applicant, and personal interview of the applicant”, and others.

Also in the memorandum, LEB requires all law schools to regularly submit written reports to LEB on the names of the first year students admitted and enrolled for the first time in the basic law course and their PhilSAT scores, within 45 days from the start of every semester or term.

The law schools are also required to submit written reports on the subjects enrolled in by every first year student and the final grades received in said subjects within 60 days after the end of every semester or term.

In addition, LEB also advised that “beginning in school year 2018-2019, the requirement of a general average of not less than 80 percent or 2.5 for admission in the basic law course under Section 23 of LEB Memorandum Order 1 issued in 2011 shall be withdrawn and removed”.

 

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