LASA Austin TX Admissions: How to Get Into LASA

The Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA) High School is an advanced academic magnet high school located in Austin, Texas.

The four-year school recruits only the most academically successful students from public and private schools in the Austin area, known for having students from every zip code.

Read this article to learn more about LASA in Austin, Tx, including the admissions process and the LASA admissions test, and see if the school may be a good fit for your child.

Liberal Arts and Science Academy | School Overview

Austin’s first Magnet program, the LBJ Science Academy, was created in 1985 and the Liberal Arts Academy at Johnston High School opened in 1987.

In 2002, these two programs merged into a single magnet, and became the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA).

LASA is consistently ranked as one of the best high schools in the United States and is renowned for its strong education, rigorous curriculum, and a multitude of hands-on learning opportunities.

The curriculum at LASA far exceeds that of the state and district standards, and the classes are more advanced, move at a quicker pace, cover more material, and are delivered in a less traditional style than that of regular schools.

The courses are project-based, and heavily rely on discussion and seminar style in order to reiterate course information, interpretation, and research.

One the unique aspects of LASA is the group of classes known as Signature Courses. Signature Courses are collaborative and encourage students to research, design, implement, and present projects that are part of the sciences as well as the humanities.

Freshman Signature Courses at LASA are Electronic Magazine and Science and Technology, while sophomore students take Planet Earth and Great Ideas.

Examples of some of the unique content that the Signature Courses include are:

  • Electronic Magazine (creating both a print and digital publication)
  • Science and Technology(employing robotics and other sophisticated technologies)
  • Planet Earth (geobiology)
  • Great Ideas
  • ## LASA, Austin, TX | Admissions Odds LASA, Austin Tx consistently has a competitive process for admission, with less than 300 students accepted from the 600 to 700 applicants. Most of these are incoming 8th graders, but some of these admits are 10th graders replacing the 10% or so ninth graders that leave each year. Despite wide outreach efforts by the school, the majority (80%) come from Austin’s two academically selective middle school magnet schools. This means that the admissions process starts when students are fifth graders and must aim to be accepted by one of Austin’s two top middle schools. About 10% of new entrants arrive from private schools. ## Liberal Arts and Science Academy | Admissions Information Getting into LASA is like trying to get into a very selective university. The entrance rubric includes 5 parts:
  • Middle school grades (Recent report card from the 2016-2017 school year and Final report card from the 2015-2016 school year)
  • Recent STAAR/EOC scores, or other Standardized Test Scores from the last two years, such as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS), PSAT, SAT, etc.
  • LASA admissions test
  • Two teacher recommendations
  • In the application, students will also have to answer three short answers and one essay question on a separate piece of paper.

    Samples of the short answer questions are:

  • What three words would others use to describe you and why?
  • Talk about an obstacle you have overcome and what you learned from it.
  • Think of one or two rewarding activities that you have participated in outside of your classes during the last two years. Briefly explain your roles in these activities and why the experience was valuable.
  • A sample of the essay questions includes:

  • Imagine that you could form any club. What club would you create? What would be the purpose and main activities of your club?
  • Liberal Arts and Science Academy | What to Expect During the Admissions Test

    The admissions test that is required of all interested applicants is the Cognitive Abilities Test, or the CogAT. The CogAT is an assessment that is frequently used to determine Talented and Gifted status for schools. Students are given one of ten levels of the test, based on their grade level, with different content and varying degrees of difficulty on each level.

    The CogAT is made up of problems that assess students’ levels of cognitive development, problem-solving ability, and their ability to learn and understand new tasks.

    The CogAT consists of three sections: the verbal, nonverbal, and quantitative.

    These sections are made up of different problem types and assess unique skills. The test contains multiple-choice questions and is given one section at a time.


    The Verbal Battery is made up of questions that cover sentence completion, picture and verbal classification, and picture and verbal analogies.

    In sentence completion, students will be given a sentence with one word missing, and they will have to choose the correct word.

    In picture and verbal classification type questions, students are provided with three pictures or three words, and they must then choose from a list of what else Best fits the group.

    In picture and verbal analogies question types, students are again provided pictures of words that are organized in pairs, and they must decide what best completes this.


    The Nonverbal Battery consists of problems that assess students’ skills with figure matrices, paper folding, and figure classification.

    Figure matrices consist of a 2x2 square matrix in which some parts are shaded. Students will be given three of these matrices and then asked to choose the missing matrix.

    In paper folding, students must determine how a piece of paper will look once it is folded in a certain way. In figure classification, students are given three figures and are then required to choose what the fourth figure would be that completes the set.


    The Quantitative Battery assesses students’ abilities with numbers, and includes questions that cover number analogies, number puzzles, and number series.

    Number analogies involve a set of three different 2x2 square matrices and then students are required to choose what the fourth would be.

    In number puzzles, students pictures of equations and are required to solve for the correct answer.

    In number series, students are presented with a series of numbers and are asked to figure out the pattern.

    The scores will be reported to families and students and can sometimes be confusing. For further information of how to read and understand the CogAT score report, click here.

    Liberal Arts and Science Academy | How to Prepare for the Admissions Test

    There are many ways you can help your child prepare for the CogAT. The most important thing to do to prepare is to assist your student in becoming familiar with the different sections of the test.

    Although you cannot predict the exact questions that will be included on the test, you know the types of questions and can introduce them to many examples that will help build their confidence.

    It is also important to teach them various test-taking strategies, such as process of elimination and choosing the best answer. These types of skills will be extremely beneficial as the CogAT is in the multiple-choice format.

    Gaining admission to the elite and competitive LASA in Austin, Texas is a challenging yet exciting journey.

    This advanced school only takes the most academically successful students with high potential for extremely bright and innovative futures. By providing your child with LASA’s excellent education, you are ensuring they are able to reach their fullest potential.