Guide to selecting pre-law coursework for Illinois students

Each semester, we post a list of upcoming courses that will help pre-law students develop relevant skills for law school and get a taste of what studying law is like. What else should you know about building your pre-law schedule? This Guide provides several tips and suggestions to help pre-law students make the most of your upcoming semesters.

Pre-Law students really can major in ANYTHING and be successful in law school, but you must be a strong student in whatever you choose. Therefore, carefully consider what major(s) and minor(s) will challenge you but also allow you to demonstrate your academic strengths. Explore all majors and minors on campus here.

What academic skills should you build? Pre-law students must demonstrate strong research, writing, reading, and speaking skills, which can be accomplished both in and out of the classroom. These are the core skills that law schools truly care about, so take a look at your DARS and ask yourself: How many courses have you taken that develop and reflect these skills? Take courses that demonstrate those skills–they can be in any discipline. Popular options include English, History, Political Science, Philosophy, or Communication courses, but don’t feel limited to only those.

Balance academic challenge with success. Law schools want to see students who demonstrate academic success while taking a challenging courseload. Ideally, pre-law students would take an academic course load that is challenging both in terms of rigor and credits while still doing performing well. What does this mean, and how can you achieve it?

  • A challenging but not overwhelming course load suggestion is 15-17 credit hours. (This can vary due to individual factors, and is only a general guideline, not a mandate. Think carefully about the right course load for you.)
  • Be strategic in your course selection. Don’t take your 5 hardest classes in the same semester to get them out of the way. Work with your major advisor to determine how you can distribute those courses throughout your remaining semesters. Likewise, don’t take your 5 easiest classes at the same time–use those to give you some relief from the harder classes each semester.
  • For juniors and seniors–Move up from 1 and 200 level courses to 3 and 400 levels in order to demonstrate an appropriate level of challenge. A good general rule is no more than one 1 or 200 level course per semester for juniors and seniors (unless you must do so to graduate on time). Taking easy classes to pad a GPA is obvious to law school admissions, who know what a challenging semester looks like.

Use your major(s) and minor(s) to complement each other. If you have a major that does not necessarily demonstrate lots of writing or research skills, then selecting a minor or secondary major that does is a smart balance. Unusual combinations of majors/minors can also show a law school someone who is intellectually curious and able to succeed in a wide variety of coursework.

Consider changing majors, especially if you are not able to achieve mostly As and some Bs in your coursework. This is especially important if you struggle academically for more than one semester–it is very challenging to fix a low GPA once obtained.

We recommend that you avoid making course selections for these reasons:

  • A friend/roommate/sibling/parent said the class was easy;
  • I only wanted classes in the afternoons/on Tu/Th/to complement my work schedule so I just picked what I could get into on those days;
  • I just wanted to hurry up and graduate so I took a very demanding overload each semester.

What, then, are good reasons to take a course?

  • It demonstrates the skills that law schools prefer to see;
  • I like the topic and find it interesting or it is required for my major/minor;
  • It fits in well with my remaining coursework in terms of balancing rigor and the ability to do well; and
  • I talked with my academic advisor who agreed it is a good fit for me.

You must prioritize academics if law school is your goal. Don’t get distracted from your goal of law school admission. If being president of a social organization or volunteering too much affects your grades, it’s time to dial back your extracurriculars and rededicate yourself to your role as a student. Law schools will not care that the reason your grades suffered is because you were planning a big fundraiser…that shows them a lack of prioritizing and time management skills.

Build important academic skills. Right now you are building academic skills and habits which you will rely on when you transition to law school, where the work is much harder and infinitely more time consuming than your undergraduate studies. Now is the time to master discipline (not procrastinating), effective note taking, reading comprehension and speed, attention to detail in your writing, citing your work appropriately, giving an effective speech, and managing your time. All of these are skills that you will be expected to bring with you into your law school classroom.

Plan far in advance for study abroad, Illinois in Washington, and taking the LSAT. Most students try to lighten their academic load during the spring of Junior year or during the fall of Senior year while they prep for the LSAT. Studying for the LSAT will take about 10-15 hours per week for 4-6 months. Review upcoming LSAT dates and deadlines here. If you are planning to study abroad or do Illinois in Washington, talk to a pre-law advisor about planning your LSAT options around those.

Monitor your academic performance and seek help. Don’t wait until the last week of class to discover that you are actually not earning an A. Seek help when you need it–this University abounds with programs and services to support your academic endeavors! Start by talking to your TA/Professor and your academic advisor about academic support and tutoring options.

Remember that grade replacement will not help for law school (click here for a refresher), so take the time to carefully consider your best course options and seek help when you need it.


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Make the most of your spring/spring break!

Here are suggestions for pre-law students and alumni to maximize your spring and/or your spring break.

For all current pre-law students or those entering law school this fall:

  • Complete your FAFSA if you haven’t already. This is how financial aid for federal loans for summer/fall will be determined, whether you are an undergrad or an incoming law student.

Freshmen and Sophomores:

  • Apply for Summer Jobs and Internships. Do you have summer plans locked down? If not, apply for jobs and internships. Check out our internship newsletter over on our Compass page. We’ve also listed LOTS of  internships on our Facebook page and on our blog!  Use the search box on either of these to find internships. You should also be checking Handshake regularly (or set it to email you when new listings appear).
  • Apply to Summer Pre-Law Programs. These are typically 4 week residential programs to teach basics of law and how to prepare for law school, and most are free and come with a stipend for selected students. We have been posting these all spring on our blog and Facebook page. Take a look at the Summer Pre-Law Programs spreadsheet on our Compass page, listing over 40 summer programs, for even more opportunities. Note: Some deadlines have passed and others are April 1, so apply SOON.
  • Take a practice LSAT. Not ready to take the real LSAT yet but wondering what it’s all about? Go to this website to download a free practice test. When you’re done, you can score it and watch videos there with explanations of the answers. Want to take more practice LSATs? You can purchase books of 10 previously administered LSATs like this one at Amazon or another bookseller, or used on ebay.
  • Job shadow, or ask a lawyer to spend 30 minutes doing an informational interview with you. Don’t be intimidated; this is an opportunity for you to buy him/her coffee and ask about their professional life. Here’s a resource for planning your informational interview. 
  • Get caught up. Use this time to catch up on studying and prepare for finals–those grades are very important to law schools!

Pre-Law Students and Alumni Applying This Fall:

  • Make your LSAT plans. 
    • Taking the June LSAT? You should already have selected your prep option and started studying. Spring break is a great time to crank up your LSAT studying.Tip: REGISTER FOR THE JUNE LSAT NOW, because the popular test sites fill up around spring break each year.
    • Taking the September LSAT? Now is the time to research LSAT prep options. Check out the LSAT Preparation folder over on our Compass page for information on free LSAT resources as well as listings of popular LSAT prep companies, including discounts they are offering to Illinois students.
  • Decide who will be your recommendation writers. You will want to approach them by this May/June (at the end of THIS semester) so that they have plenty of time to write the letter and your performance is still fresh in their mind. If you are an alum, reach out ASAP because the longer you wait the more difficult it is to track people down and for them to remember you.
  • Register for the Credential Assembly Service. This is the account you will need to open in order to have your recommendation letters processed. Once you set it up, your account is good for five years. You can read all about it here.
  • Mark your calendars. We have upcoming workshops just for you that you should plan to attend. Find them all on our Event Calendar.

Seniors taking a gap year (or two) prior to law school:

  • It’s still a good idea to decide who on campus can write your recommendations, and approach them by the end of this semester. If you wait a year or more the professor is sometimes gone, on sabbatical, retired, etc., so it’s better to get them now. Register for the Credential Assembly Service as listed above so that you can send the letters in to your account.
  • We will have a special workshop about Taking a Gap Year Before Law School on March 29 at 5 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.  This workshop will cover how you can maximize your postgraduate time to make yourself an even better law school candidate, and we will share a timeline and game plan for applying to law school as a working professional. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from current law students who worked prior to law school.

Seniors and alumni headed to law school this fall:

  • Complete your FAFSA! Your federal loans will not be disbursed without it.
  • Make final visits to law schools/attend admitted student days. If you’ve decided where to attend, then withdraw from the other schools that have admitted you so that they can offer that seat/scholarship to someone else.
  • Apply for scholarships. We’ve posted lots of scholarships in our blog and over on our Compass page! When you know which law school you are attending, ask your law school financial aid office about scholarship opportunities.
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Mark Your Calendars: Week of March 12

Pre-Law Events

Harvard Law School Junior Deferral Program Office Hours–Thursday, March 15 5-6 pm online. Harvard Law School recently began a program in which college juniors apply, and if accepted, they then enter law school 2+ years after graduating from college. Applicants must be graduating in Spring 2019 and commit to deferring their law school admission until at least 2 years after graduating from your undergraduate program. Applications are due April 1. HLS is hosting an online Info Session on March 15 to answer questions before the upcoming application deadline. Click here to register for the info session.

The College of Law invites pre-law students to serve as mock jurors for law students. Advanced Trial Advocacy trials will be held April 4,10,11, and 19 starting at 5 pm each night and lasting about 3 hours. Refreshments will be served. This is a great way to experience what it’s like to be on a jury, see what law students are doing, and get a taste of what trials are really like! Please email Thanin Stewart at indicating what day(s) you’d like to serve as a mock juror, or if you have any questions.

Taking a Gap Year (Or More) Before Law School Workshop–Thursday, March 29 at 5:00 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

Are you considering working, volunteering, traveling, or doing something else before attending law school? If so, how can you use that time effectively to improve your applicant profile? Do you want to know more about going straight through to law school after undergrad? This event helps students explore different paths to law school. The panel will feature three current law students–two with work experience and one who went directly from undergrad to law school–to answer your questions and discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking a gap year (or more) and working.

Events on Campus

Virtual Career Fair for Students with Disabilities: Wednesday, March 14, 8am-5pm

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is hosting a virtual career fair where job seekers with disabilities can meet employers from across the nation. This online recruiting event is open to students & alumni from 2-Year and 4-Year Colleges and Universities across the United States. Use the following link to review the event schedule and register:

Other Spring Career Fairs

March 13:  Research Park Career Fair

April 10:  Just-in-Time Illini Career & Internship Fair

Career Center workshops–for more info visit

  • Finding an Internship–Mar 13, 4-5 pm
  • Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Reviews–multiple times and locations

Still looking for summer opportunities? We’ve posted lots of internships and jobs over on our Facebook page, like these.

The Division of General Studies is hiring PAID summer peer advisors to assist with summer registration. Visit our Facebook page for the full job description.

The Office of Admissions is hiring PAID summer I-STAR (student admission representatives) to work through summer registration. Applications due March 18. Click here for more info.

The Office of Communications for Enrollment Management is hiring a PAID summer intern in the fields of writing, communication, or marketing, with the possibility of continuing through the academic year. Apply by March 19. Visit the Virtual Job Board for more info; look for Position 37333.

The Career Center is hiring PAID summer interns to work 20-25 hrs/week May 14-Aug 3. Great opportunity for a student prepping for the LSAT this summer! Applications due March 26. Visit our Facebook page for the full job description.


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Waitlisted, or just waiting? What to do now!

We’re hearing from a lot of law school applicants who have submitted their applications and now find themselves either waitlisted or still waiting to hear back. Here are some helpful tips and pointers to help you position yourself in the best manner for admission and aid!

If you’re still waiting for an admission decision…
You are NOT alone!
Many applicants tell us they have been waiting weeks or months. What is going on? It could mean:

  • The school is essentially “wait listing” you, but not calling it that, by waiting to respond to you until they see the rest of the applicant pool.
  • The admissions office is understaffed or inundated with applications. (Many schools are reporting an increase of applications this year, with nationwide applications up about 14% over last year.)
  • You applied later in the cycle and a backlog of applications must be reviewed before yours.

What can you do if you are still waiting on an answer?

  • IF it has been at least 4-6 weeks or whatever time frame the school has indicated for your file to be reviewed, reach out and politely inquire about anticipated time frames for a decision. Reiterate your interest in the school.
  • Review your status checker
  • Follow the law school on Twitter; many deans have taken to updating applicants about expected decisions there.
  • Don’t: Complain about their slowness or criticize the school’s process; tell them you’ve already heard back from everywhere else or from “better” schools; give the school a deadline. Sometimes patience is key.

If you’ve been waitlisted…Understand what this means: that you are an admissible candidate but the school needs to hit its institutional goals before they can admit you. Institutional goals could be LSAT/GPA related but could also be related to balancing the class with regard to gender, diversity, in state/out of state, age, etc. Very few schools can accurately predict how many applicants–and with what qualities–they will be pulling from a wait list. When the school tells you they don’t know your odds, it is very likely true.

What can you do if you are waitlisted?

  • Follow the school’s directions carefully. Do not email to ask them what to do after the school sends very specific instructions. Some law schools will ask you to confirm that you want to be on their wait list–if you don’t do so, you will not be considered. Pay attention to these details and instructions and follow them carefully.
  • Visit the school if you haven’t already. Making a strong impression on an admissions professional can go a long way toward being selected when it’s time for them to pull from the wait list.
  • Update your application by sending an updated resume, a new recommendation, or a letter or email expressing continued interest in that school (sometimes called a LOCI, or letter of continued interest).
  • Stay in touch–no more than once every couple of weeks–to demonstrate your interest in the school. Keep them updated on your plans. IF the school is your top choice, then say so.
  • Continue to make other plans. No one should proceed by “expecting” to be pulled from a wait list…even if this does happen, it can be anytime up to the day classes begin. You need to start making concrete plans in early April. Decide which law school you will attend out of those who accepted you. Make plans for putting down your deposit(s).
  • Don’t demand a decision right now…you may get one but it will not be the one you want.

Be “pleasantly persistent” as we move into April and May, which are prime decision-making times for schools as their deposit deadlines pass. And always remember that professionalism and good manners go a long way in this business!

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Planning to take the LSAT in 2018? You need to read this.

If you are planning to take the LSAT in 2018 then you likely already know that we’ve seen some MAJOR changes recently! Here come some more. Here’s what you should know if you are planning on taking the LSAT in 2018.

  1. Your LSAT options have changed. The LSAC is moving from a 4x/year LSAT schedule to 6x/year starting this year. The 2018 LSAT options are:
  • February (which already took place)
  • Monday, June 11
  • Monday, July 23 (JUST ADDED)
  • Saturday, September 8
  • Saturday, November 17

2. June or July? The LSAC very recently decided to add the July exam to the schedule and currently both the June and July registrations are open. So if you are planning to take the LSAT this summer, theoretically you now have the option of July instead of June. Note: the July LSAT is NONDISCLOSED, meaning that test takers will only receive a score and not a full score report showing answers. Although July test locations have not yet been posted to their website, we have received confirmation from the LSAC that there WILL be a July LSAT on our campus.

3. June AND July? Probably not. If you are considering taking the LSAT twice, June and July are not going to be easy to accomplish. Why? 1) You will not get your June LSAT score until after the July registration deadline has passed; 2) June LSAT takers will not have enough time after getting their June LSAT score (typically around the 4th of July) to re-prepare and be fully ready for the July exam. For a better strategy, see #5 below.

4. June and/or July LSAT takersIt’s time to register and start studying! Registration is open for both exams here, and we encourage you to register early. Typically the June exam fills by spring break, and with the increase in LSAT takers we expect this one to fill even sooner. July is brand new so we don’t know when it will fill, as locations have not yet been announced. When should you start studying? NOW. We recommend 4-6 months to fully prepare for the LSAT, so now is the time! Most LSAT prep courses for the June exam will begin in early March, so research your options and sign up for the class that suits you best. Not sure which LSAT prep course to take? We recently hosted the LSAT Prep Fair for this, and you can find links to participating LSAT prep companies here as well as a list of LSAT prep options and resources over on our Compass page in the LSAT Preparation folder.

5. Plan ahead for retake options. Basically the new LSAT schedule offers an LSAT every other month. These LSATs are not designed to be taken back-to-back, and it is unlikely that any LSAT taker would have enough time to prep for a retake by taking the very next LSAT. (For example: June and July, or July and September). Remember that every LSAT score gets sent to every law school you apply to, so it’s important that you are very prepared for each LSAT sitting. If you are considering retake options, it’s best to plan for two nonconsecutive tests: For example, June and September, or July and November.

6. What’s the latest LSAT you should take? Note that November is the latest LSAT we suggest if you plan to apply to law school in the Fall of 2018 (for entrance the fall of 2019) because your score will be released in December, which is the earliest you’ll be able to apply with that score. Law schools use rolling admission so they will begin accepting applicants in September and keep accepting people until the class is full. So you want to be in the early applicant pool.

7. If you are planning to apply to any law school this fall Early Decision, then the latest LSAT you should plan to take is September. Your November score will not be released early enough for some law schools’ Early Decision deadlines.



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Internships: Applications, Interviews, and Other Tips

March is an important time for summer internships. There are many deadlines that are for March 1 and March 15. Some of the internships in our Winter Break Internship Newsletter over on Compass are still available, and we’ve been posting LOTS of internships on our Facebook page! Here are some tips on applications, subsequent interviews, and other important things to do to make sure you land the perfect summer internship.


1.Apply early! If you wait until the last minute to apply, you might be at the bottom of the resume stack.

2.Make a checklist for the required application materials. Make sure you send the employer everything they ask for. Some employers will not even consider your application unless you provide the materials they ask for. Common internship application components include:

  • Resumes
  • Cover Letters
  • Transcripts
  • Writing Samples
  • References

3. Be formal. Dress up for your interview–even if it’s through Skype. Iron your dress suit. Treat this interview seriously. For cover letters or emails, make sure to address employers as Mr., Ms., and Mrs. Use appropriate email subject lines if communicating via email. Examples of appropriate subject lines for internship applications and correspondence:

  • John Doe Application Materials for Summer 2018 Internship at XYZ Company
  • John Doe Resume, Cover Letter, and Writing Sample for Summer 2018 Internship
  • Summer 2018 Internship for XYZ Company – John Doe

4. Send a thank you note after your internship interview! Even if you think the interview did not go that well, send a thank you email and a written thank you note. You would rather be the applicant who sent the thank you note instead of the only applicant who did not send the thank you note.


  1. Do a mock interview before your real interview! The Career Center offers mock interviews. This is a great opportunity to practice with someone who can give you constructive feedback. For more information about the Career Center’s mock interviews, click here.
  2. Phone interviews and Skype interviews are very common for first round or preliminary interviews. Make sure you have a quiet environment to conduct your phone interview. If your dorm or apartment is going to be distracting or loud, book a study room for your phone or Skype interview. For information about reserving a study room through the University’s library system, click here.
    1. If you decide to do a Skype interview at your dorm or apartment, be careful of what is in the background of the video. Clean up your space and take a picture from your webcam to see what the interviewer will see. Do a practice interview over Skype with a friend to make sure you know how to use it and it works.
    2. Dress up for your Skype interview. Treat this interview as a formal interview. Wear a suit!
  3. Make copies of your application materials and bring the materials to your interview. Bring at least three paper copies of your resume, cover letter, and transcript to an in-person interview.

Other Tips- Utilize campus resources!

  1. The Career Center hosts great events for finding an internship. Their next “Finding an Internship” workshop is Tuesday March 13. For more information about that event, click here. 
  2. Make sure you are registered to use Handshake@Illinois. This resource helps connect you with employers looking for interns and other full time jobs. To register, click here. 
  3. Get resume tips and get your resume reviewed. The Career Center offers tips for writing a resume. The Career Center also offers resume reviews.

Featured Internships – These have March 15 deadlines, so apply soon!

  1. U.S. Department of Education–Washington, D.C. The Department of Education Intern Program seeks to provide students with an experience that exposes them to government and federal education policy while providing students with meaningful responsibilities. Applicants for the ED Intern program will be accepted throughout the year on a rolling application schedule. Applications need to be received at a minimum of a month before the proposed start date to be considered, however, it is highly recommended that applications
    are submitted much further in advance due to high demand for spots in the program (especially during the summer season). No application will be considered complete until three items are received by ED: a cover letter; an up to date resume; and a copy of the intern application (located on the website below). For more information and to obtain a copy of the application, go to: Application Deadline:
    March 15. Questions? Send an email to
  2. Internship with Senator Tammy Duckworth. A Congressional internship offers a unique opportunity to witness and experience first-hand the legislative process as well as assist in helping your representative or senator represent the citizens of Illinois. Click here for internship information about Senator Duckworth’s internships.  The application deadline is March 15.
  3. The Wolff Internship with the Institute of Government & Public Affairs is a PAID internship starting in the summer and going through the next academic year. Applications are due March 9. 

(Further Reading) Helpful Past Blogs About Internships

  1. Still making summer plans? Here’s what to do now 
  2. The 2017 Internship Newsletter is Live on Compass!



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Mark Your Calendars – Week of March 5

Thank you to the students that attended the Negotiating Scholarships Workshop last Monday!

Save the Date for the next Pre-Law Advising Services Event!! Taking a Gap Year (Or More) Before Law School

Are you considering working, volunteering, traveling, or doing something else before attending law school? If so, how can you use that time effectively to improve your applicant profile? Do you want to know more about going straight through to law school after undergrad? This event helps students explore different paths to law school. The panel will feature three current law students–two with work experience and one who went directly from undergrad to law school–to answer your questions and discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking a gap year (or more) and working.

Events on Campus

Virtual Career Fair for Students with Disabilities: Wednesday, March 14, 8am-5pm

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is hosting a virtual career fair where job seekers with disabilities can meet employers from across the nation. This online recruiting event is open to students & alumni from 2-Year and 4-Year Colleges and Universities across the United States. Use the following link to review the event schedule and register:

Other Spring Career Fairs

March 1-2:  Career XPO (Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning)

March 5:  Educators’ Job Fair

March 13:  Research Park Career Fair

April 10:  Just-in-Time Illini Career & Internship Fair

PAID internship opportunity! Wolff Internship applications are due March 9.


OIIR’s “Lunch on Us” Program 

Join OIIR every weekday for a noontime discussion, and learn something new. Featuring speakers, panels, and resources at the University of Illinois, all lunches introduce you to the cultures, histories, and societal issues that the diverse communities of our campus face.

Programs take place from noon to 1 pm. For more information, click here.

“Reforming the Supreme Court of Israel”
by Professor Amnon Reichman, University of Haifa
Friday, March 9, 2018
12-1 p.m.
Max L. Rowe Auditorium, Law Building
Professor Reichman will present “Reforming the Supreme Court of Israel.” His lecture is part of the “Distinguished International Lecture Series in Constitutional Law” sponsored by the College of Law’s Program in Constitutional Theory, History and Law; and Israel Studies Project.This event is free and open to the public.

Upcoming Career Center Events

Creating Your Powerful Cover Letter, 4-5 p.m., The Career Center Conference Room 143, 715 S Wright St.

Tuesday, March 6

Finding an Internship, 5-6 p.m., The Career Center Conference Room 143, 715 S Wright St.

Wednesday, March 7

Health Professions Wednesdays: Beyond the Medical Model, 4-5 p.m., The Career Center Interview Suite 213, 616 E Green St.  

Wednesday, March 7

Acing Your Interview, 4-5 p.m., The Career Center Conference Room 143, 715 S Wright St.

Wednesday, March 7

Creating Your Powerful Resume, 5-6 p.m., The Career Center Conference Room 143, 715 S Wright St.

Friday, March 9

Immigration Attorney Presentation, 4-5:30 p.m., The Career Center Interview Suite 213, 616 E Green St. 

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Application Cycle: The Countdown Is On!

Well folks – with deadlines looming, this application cycle is coming to a close.  If you still haven’t filed your applications, here are some things to know!

  1. Get your applications in ASAP! As you know, this is a rolling application process which opened in September. Now the final/priority deadlines for many schools — March 1, March 15, and April 1 — are fast approaching!
  2. It’s important to understand what’s happening on the law school’s end as you complete your side of the application. Applying at this point in the cycle means that many seats in the class are already spoken for– one school described it as very similar to playing the lottery. As a result, it is difficult to predict admission results at this point.
  3. Financial aid may also be more restricted at this point in the cycle, depending on the school. If you haven’t already done so, submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid/FAFSA ASAP! Even though the federal deadline is in June, both the law schools and the individual states have varying deadlines.  Go here for more information: – check out last week’s blog post for info on the FAFSA and other issues related to law school financial aid.
  4. Plan your VISITS to law schools if you haven’t already. Many law schools have finished their Open Houses, but you can still arrange a one-on-one visit…just call ahead to make sure that an admissions staff person can meet with you and to make sure the school isn’t closed for spring break.
  5. Are you thinking that maybe you are too late this cycle to get the kind of admissions and scholarship results you want?  Are you possibly considering taking a gap year?  Then mark your calendars for the next PLAS event, “Taking a Gap Year (Or More) Before Law School”, Thursday, March 29, 5pm, 514 IUB.  Go here for more information.
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Mark Your Calendars – February 26

Hello Pre-Law Students!  Don’t forget tonight’s PLAS “Negotiating Scholarships Workshop!”  Also — at least two summer pre-law programs have application deadlines of THIS THURSDAY, MARCH 1.  Scroll down for info on these items as well as other opportunities!

Our next event, “Negotiating Scholarships Workshop” is TODAY, Monday February 26!  The event will be held at 1090 Lincoln Hall from 5PM – 6:15PM.

Now is the time to assess aid offers and discuss options for additional scholarships with your law schools. How can applicants have a respectful yet productive conversation that potentially results in more scholarship dollars being awarded? Join us as we examine exactly how to go about negotiating law school scholarships with the expertise of a panel of law school admissions professionals with a wealth of experience! This session is a must-see for anyone applying to law school, and the information applies to any law school. Panelists include:

  • Amanda Noascono, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions, DePaul University College of Law
  • Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law
  • Nicole Vilches, Assistant Dean for Admissions, Chicago-Kent College of Law


Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis is now accepting applications on a rolling basis for its new Pathway to the Law program, featuring online for-credit courses, LSAT assistance, a $2000 scholarship, mentoring, and more for selected applicants. They anticipate that all spots will be filled by the end of March so submit your application now!

A preview to our March event . . . the “Taking a Gap Year Before Law School” Workshop will be on Thursday March 29th in Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore from 5:00 – 6:00PM.

Are you considering working or taking a gap year before law school? Do you want to know more about going straight through to law school after undergrad? Pre-Law Advising Services is hosting an event for students to learn more about different paths to law school. The panel will feature three current law students–two with work experience and one who went directly from undergrad to law school–to answer your questions and discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking time off and working.

SUMMER PLANS–Still looking for opportunities? Check these out.

Career Fairs. Mark your calendars for spring career fairs, which are open to all Illinois students and present both job and internship opportunities. Find these and other fair opportunities in Handshake.

Summer PLUS programs. We posted a spreadsheet full of pre-law undergraduate summer programs over on our Compass page! For example:

June LSAT Registration–Planning to take the June LSAT? Registration is now open here! We recommend registering early because this one typically fills early AND LSAT takers were up nearly 30% last year! Now is also a good time to apply for a fee waiver. For more on LSAC fee waivers revisit this blog post.

Did you know that you can get a scholarship for working at an unpaid internship this summer? Apply for the Fred S. Bailey scholarship here, which provides a $1000 stipend for part-time internships and a $2500 stipend for full-time summer internships. Applications due April 12.

And check out the PLAS Facebook page for NEW internship opportunities, summer programs and more!

University of Illinois’ Office for Student Conflict and Resolution Subcommittee Applications Now Open!

The University of Illinois’ Office for Student Conflict and Resolution has opened up their applications for their two subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Student Conduct and the Subcommittee on Sexual Misconduct. Student applicants must be:

  1. Enrolled full-time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
  2. At least two full semesters from graduation; and
  3. In good academic standing with at least a 2.5 grade point average.

It is encouraged that students have Friday afternoon availability for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. For more information and to apply, visit their website here.

Campus Events

OIIR’s Lunch on Us Program – Free Lunch Every Weekday!

The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations is offering their “Lunch on Us” program this semester. Programs take place every weekday from noon to 1pm every day and offer a free lunch for attending. To see their schedule, click here.

“Acing Your Interview” at the Career Center – Wednesday, February 28, 4:00-5:00pm at the Career Center Conference Room 143

During an interview, you only have a short time to convey you are a great fit for a position or organization. Learn the most common types of interviews, how to prepare for an interview, how to structure answers to interview questions, and tips for following up after an interview.

“Creating Your Powerful Cover Letter” at the Career Center – Wednesday February 28 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm at the Career Center Conference Room 143

Cover letters are challenging to write, and yet, are often a critical aspect of an internship or job application. Learn how to write an effective cover letter that showcases your skills and experiences for a specific position.

“Linked In and Job Search Resources for International Students” at the Career Center – Thursday, March 1, 4:00-5:30pm, Career Center Interview Suite, Room 213, 616 E. Green Street

This exciting workshop will teach you how to use helpful job search resources such as LinkedIn, Handshake, and Learn to create an appealing profile on LinkedIn and use it for career exploration, networking, and information interviews. You will also learn to identify international-friendly companies. Please bring your laptop.

Interested in other Career Center workshops concerning resume reviews, Peace Corps information and more?  Go to the Career Center website to find other programs!






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Show me the $$$

At this point in the law school admissions cycle most people have been accepted to multiple places and are waiting on a few more. What financial steps should you be taking now?

  • Complete your FAFSA. Most people will be utilizing federal loans for some portion of their law school expenses, and completing the FAFSA is the first step in that process. Many law schools will also ask you to complete the FAFSA to consider you for need-based aid. Speaking of…
  • Read your admission offers/aid packages carefully. Many schools will invite admitted applicants to apply for specific school-based scholarships after admission, so make sure that you are paying attention to those applications and deadlines. Now is a good time to work on those “invited” scholarship applications. In addition…
  • Educate yourself about how law school financial aid works and what you should know about it. AccessLex, a nonprofit, offers excellent free online resources to help you calculate your student loan costs, understand the types of aid offered, and plan your law school budgets. Check out their excellent guide Financing Your Legal Education here. We also have paper versions of this guide in the office if you’d like to stop by and pick one up. They are also offering a free Financing Your Legal Education webinar; click the link to register .
  • Crunch the numbers. Do not compare two scholarships and assume that the bigger scholarship is a better deal! When comparing scholarship offers, you must consider the following
    • Add up tuition over 3 years, and assume a 3-5% increase in tuition each year unless the law school guarantees or “freezes” tuition. (Is this included in your offer?)
    • Subtract the scholarship amount from this tuition estimate.
    • Now look at the living expenses budget provided by the school and add this in, assuming a 3-5% increase each year.
    • What is your actual OUT OF POCKET expense for attending each school to which you’ve been accepted? Add your final tuition costs together with your living expenses to estimate this.
    • These are the numbers you should be considering and presenting to law schools when asking for reconsideration of your scholarship package. Show that you’ve done your research.
  • Apply for other scholarships. In addition to scholarships from the law school, there are many other scholarship opportunities for which incoming law students are eligible. Check out our database of 286 scholarships (many for law students and some for continuing undergrads) over on our Compass page!
  • Learn how to effectively and respectfully negotiate your scholarship offers. Join us for a Negotiating Law School Scholarships workshop in which a panel of law school deans share their expertise on February 26 at 5:00 pm in 1090 Lincoln Hall. What should you ask? What should you avoid saying? What are effective reasons for increasing aid, and what is a nonstarter? Find out from the deans of the University of Illinois College of Law, DePaul University College of Law, and Chicago-Kent Illinois Institute of Technology College of Law. Click here for more details.
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