Reminders for Fall Break

  • Pre-Law Advising Services’ 2014 LSAT Prep Resource Contest is underway. This contest is designed to provide LSAT preparation resources for students demonstrating financial need. Illinois students are eligible to enter by submitting a 500 word essay online here by Tuesday, December 2 at 12:00 NOON. Check out the submission page for more information.  You’ll have plenty of time over Fall Break to submit it!
  • Check to see if your prospective schools are in session over Fall Break. Seeing a law school during normal operating days provides a great opportunity to see what it will be like when you begin as a 1L!
  • If you have not done so already, FINISH YOUR APPLICATIONS! The time to submit is now!
  • If you have decided to retake the LSAT, continue your preparations over Fall Break.
  • If you know that you will be taking the LSAT in the next year, Fall Break is a great time to take a timed practice LSAT.
  • Michigan State University College of Law has held multiple webinars for prospective law students that speak to the application process and beyond. Webinars can be viewed on their website here.
  • Study for FINALS!
  • Freshmen, sophomores and juniors: Update your résumés and begin thinking about possible internships for summer 2015.  It may seem early, but many internships have due dates in February and March.  Also, look out for our annual Internship Newsletter that will be posted to our Compass page in mid-December.
  • Have a wonderful Fall Break!

Use Fall Break Wisely: Win an LSAT course, watch webinars!

Are you taking the LSAT in 2015? Here’s your chance to WIN LSAT Prep Resources! Pre-Law Advising Services is pleased to announce our 2014 LSAT Prep Resource Contest. This contest is designed to provide LSAT preparation resources for students demonstrating financial need. Illinois students are eligible to enter by submitting a 500 word essay online here by Tuesday, December 2 at 12:00 NOON. You’ll have plenty of time over Fall Break to submit it!

Prizes are as follows:

1. Grand Prize – One of two (2) scholarships to a Kaplan LSAT Prep Course*
2. Second Prize – A copy of Tomorrow’s Lawyer, by Richard Susskind, a copy of The Official LSAT SuperPrep, a copy of a Powerscore LSAT Logic Games Bible*, and a copy of a Powerscore LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible*
3. Third Prize – A copy of Tomorrow’s Lawyer, by Richard Susskind, a copy of The Official LSAT SuperPrep, a copy of a Powerscore LSAT Logic Games Bible*, and a copy of NextStep Test Prep’s Recent LSATs Explained*
4. Fourth Prize – A copy of The Official LSAT SuperPrep and a copy of a Powerscore LSAT Logic Games Bible*

*Thank you to Kaplan, PowerScore, and NextStep Test Prep for generously donating these resources. Pre-Law Advising Services is not affiliated with any test prep company and does not endorse any particular LSAT preparation method. 

Other events this week and next

Michigan State University College of Law hosts a series of free webinars available to all interested pre-law students. Click on the links below to register. Coming up:


Previously held webinars can also be viewed on their website here. MSU workshops cover a wide array of relevant topics, including Cracking the LSAT, Career Options for Attorneys, and Law School 101: Insights from Current Students. These are wonderful resources for pre-law students!


The Career Center is sponsoring the following workshops. Check their website at for more details.

  • Mon, Nov. 17–Careers in the Federal Government, 4-5 pm
  • Tues, Nov. 18–Finding an Internship, 5-6 pm
  • Wed, Nov. 19–Coffee Chat at the Career Center, 4:30-5:30

Have a great week!




Law School Application Week: Law School Resume Tips

Don’t forget our Virtual Advising for Application Questions TODAY from 1-3 over on our Compass page! Click here to join our page, and see you this afternoon!

It’s the final day of our Law School Application Week and today we have a few tips on law school resumes. In fact, I am sharing the best professional tip I ever received.

The best professional tip I ever received is to have one Mega Resume, where you include information about every job or internship you’ve had, along with contact info from each. You can then select relevant entries to create different versions of your resume for different applications. (Trust me: You think you will never forget each of those jobs/internships, but 4 or 5 years later, you will be hard pressed to remember who you reported to or what exactly you did.) The other reason this is super smart is because when you apply to sit for a bar exam, you will once again need to provide a list of every job you’ve had, along with contacts from each.

How do you craft a version of your resume for law school?

  • Use headers that law schools care about. Education & Honors, Professional Experience, Leadership & Service are all good. Think about what a law school wants to know.
  • What should NOT be included? An objective. An applicant’s objective is to get into law school. Also, anything from high school is out. Let it go because law schools do not care what clubs you joined when you were 15. Basic skills such as “Microsoft PowerPoint” are expected and don’t deserve room on this resume.
  • Be sure to include information that law schools will not be able to see from your personal statement or transcript. Example: No need to spend time on your resume listing your courses–law schools will see this on your transcript.
  • Make it relevant and recent. Although most law schools will accept a 2 page resume, most undergrads generally only have enough to fill 1 page. Ask yourself: Is every item on your resume either highly RELEVANT or very RECENT? It should be one or the other, or preferably both.
  • Provide specific detail. The word “oversaw” means nothing! Managed, supervised, led, directed, created, or a million other action verbs would be better. “Engaged in certain activities” and “planned events” don’t tell the reader anything either. What activities/events? For how many people? On what topics?
  • Consider adding a “Personal Interests” section IF you think some of your experiences aren’t represented. Life skills such as building web sites or learning another language in your free time might not be reflected elsewhere in your application, and law schools do want to get to know you. Keep it short and simple, with maybe 3 items. Don’t feel compelled to have this section. It is merely an option. Note: This is just for a law school resume and not necessarily for a job resume. Most employers frankly won’t care what you do with your free time, unless it’s highly relevant.


A good starting point is our Law School Resume overview

For a guide on good resume form and action verbs, visit the Career Center’s resume page.

For an excellent look at Dos and Don’ts of law school resumes, check out this article.

When you are ready, make an appointment with Pre-Law Advising Services (by calling 333-9669) and we will give you individual and specific feedback on it.

For those of you who are applying next year or beyond, plan to attend one of our Personal Statement & Resume workshops. We offer them several times each Fall semester and at least once each Spring. We have concluded the workshops for this Fall but will continue to offer them in future semesters.


Law School Application Week: Transcripts

By this point in the application process, you should have already requested your transcripts and had them sent to your prospective schools.  However, if you have let this important step slip through the cracks until now…get it done!

LSAC has provided an eight-step process for preparing to order your transcripts:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click the Learn about Credential Service button at the bottom of your homepage to access the “Credentials” page of your account.
  3. Scroll down to “Your Credential Assembly Service Evaluation” and click Add Institutions.
  4. For any institutions that are already listed, click Edit to complete your information.
  5. Add any additional institutions that you have attended.
  6. Once you have entered all of your institution information, scroll down to the bottom of the Credentials page and click Continue.
  7. Review your information to ensure that it is accurate. Then hit Confirm.
  8. Visit the “Transcripts” page of your account. A Transcript Request Form link will be listed below each institution. Click these links to access your forms.*

Once you have accessed your forms, you may request an official copy of your transcript from the Registrar’s Office of any and all schools you have attended.  Many schools will charge a fee for forwarding your transcripts.  After the school has forwarded the transcripts to LSAC, they will be processed within two weeks.  Since processing your transcripts takes multiple weeks and law schools will not consider your application complete without them, request your transcripts as soon as possible!

Visit the UIUC Registrar’s Office online here.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the final edition of AppTips for Law School Application Week!


*Courtesy of

Law School Application Week: Social Media

As Application Week continues, we would like to remind students of the importance of mindful social media interaction.  Please take a look at our post from September in order to brush up on the finer points of the “Grandma Test.”  In addition to what you should not post on social media, take this time to explore the positive uses of social media.

Social media exists in many forms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Each social media outlet offers an opportunity to show a positive side of yourself.  Post activities you have taken part in to Facebook, and use it to organize groups that mean something to you or to follow or join an organization that interests you.  Similarly with Twitter: tweet positively, follow prospective schools and use it to increase your reputation as an informed go-getter.

At this time in your budding professional career, you should also open a LinkedIn account if you have not already done so.  LinkedIn offers the chance to create an online profile specifically for professional networking.  Creating a profile will also allow you to insert more information than would be possible on a one page résumé.  In this way, interested schools and employers can learn even more about you.  Take advantage of the wonderful advancements in career development and employ social media to work for you!

We’ll be back tomorrow with more AppTips for Law School Application Week!

Law School Application Week: Personal Statements

Today’s application topic is personal statements. Here are some quick AppTips and resources.

  • To get started, check out the suggestions on our Compass page and on our  website (If you are planning for future semesters, attend our Personal Statement Workshops. We have completed them for Fall 2014, but we will continue to offer them in future semesters.)
  • Check the prompts of the law schools to which you are applying. What kinds of things do they want to know? What do they ask about in any optional essays?
  • You should allot about 3-4 weeks for this process, including time to brainstorm, write, set it aside, edit, and have it reviewed by multiple people.
  • After you write a draft, first have it reviewed by someone who knows you. Ask: Does it sound like you? Is it personal and genuine? Does your reviewer have any ideas about experiences you’ve had that might be interesting or relevant to a law school?
  • Next, have it reviewed by a trusted writer/professor or the Writer’s Workshop for grammar/structure/flow issues.
  • Finally, make an appointment with us in Pre-Law Advising Services and we will give you some specific feedback about the content, tone, relevance to law school, and we can address any specific concerns that you have. To make an appointment, call 333-9669.

The most important advice about the personal statement: Give it the time and attention it deserves because it DOES MATTER.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more AppTips for Law School Application Week!


Law School Application Week, Nov. 10-14

Pre-Law Advising Services is happy to announce our 1st Ever Law School Application Week: Nov. 10-14! As you know, law schools use rolling admissions, which means that the early applicants have the best chances of admission and scholarships. Yet many students will wait until December, January, or even later to apply! (Why?) We are hosting this Law School Application Week for 2 reasons: 1. To encourage applicants to take advantage of rolling admissions by applying now! 2. To provide information and tips to help the application process go smoothly. If you’re not applying this year, you can still learn a TON about the application process this week to ace it when you’re ready.

Every day this week, we will share resources via this blog, our Facebook page, and over on our Twitter feed to help Illinois pre-law students and alumni GET IT DONE and submit their applications early. Ready? Let’s do this!

Today’s focus is LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (and again): A good plan is 2 academic recommenders and 1 non-academic recommender. Why 2 academic? Well, the very first thing law schools want to know is that you can succeed academically in their classroom. As an applicant either coming straight from undergrad or with a year or two of work experience, you are so close to your undergraduate education that frankly this is the most relevant information you have to share with law schools at this point. Take it from Dean Asha from Yale Law School, who recently and vehemently emphasized her preference for 2 academic recommendations here.

Why 1 non-academic letter? Because law schools do care about non-academic skills. They want to see that you work well with people, take time commitments seriously, resolve conflicts, can handle money, or just that you understand how businesses function. Any and all of these can be demonstrated by a non-academic recommender, whether that person is a supervisor from an internship/volunteer site, or a boss, or maybe even a clergy member or coach who knows you well. By the way, if you have more than 1 non-academic letter, that’s fine too.

To-Do List for TODAY if you are applying to law school this year:

1. Have you approached all of your letter writers? If not, what on earth are you waiting for? Contact those people NOW. Stop reading this very second and go do it. Today. (I am not kidding here.) Get it in writing. Ask the recommender if s/he can submit the letter by a certain date (at least 3 weeks out, I suggest. Anything less than 3 weeks is really unrealistic for this time of year, and many profs will refuse. Including me.) Remember that it will also take the LSAC 3-7 business days to process your letters once received.

2. Have you sent your letter writers everything they need? Did you send them the email link from your LSAC Credential Assembly Service account? Did you provide a resume, personal statement, and/or list of schools to which you are applying? Check with your recommender.

3. If you confirmed your letter writers and sent them everything, are your letters in? Check your Credential Assembly Service account. If not, now is a great time to send a polite reminder to your recommenders. Example: Thanks so much for offering to write my letter of recommendation. I am planning to apply by Nov. 28. Do you have an idea of when you will be able to submit your letter? I really appreciate your time.

4. Have you considered which letters you will submit to each school? Look at the requirements of each school’s application. Consider which combination of letters you will use for each application.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more of our Law School Application Week.

Mark Your Calendars — Week of November 3, 2014

Campus Events

PLAS Workshops and Programs

Gaining Practical Skills for Legal Practice

TOMORROW: Tuesday, November 4, 5-6pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

Sponsored by Pre-Law Advising Services, Pre-Law Club & The John Marshall Law School

Gaining practical skills before graduating from law school has never been more important…and the process begins before law school even starts! Join us as Associate Deans Bill Powers and Anthony Niedwiecki from The John Marshall Law School discuss how aspiring lawyers can begin building practical skills for a successful legal career. We will highlight which skills law schools and legal employers find appealing, and discuss ways to gain those skills both now and during law school. Food will be served!

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume Workshop

Next Monday, November 10, 4-5pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

The personal statement and resume are a law school applicant’s opportunity to tell a school all about yourself and why you will make a great addition to their class. Students consistently tell us that this is the hardest part of the application, so we have developed this workshop to provide some insight. We will cover: What the personal statement is; how to begin writing it; what to include and exclude; writing separate addenda; how the personal statement and resume should work together; and an overview of the law school resume. Bring your questions because there will be plenty of time to ask them. Please click on this link to register so that we can ensure enough seating and materials for everyone.  This is our LAST Personal Statement session for Fall 2014.

Chicago Legal Careers

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 5:00 pm, 1022 Lincoln Hall

Interested in practicing law in the Chicagoland area? Join us in this session as we meet a lawyer who practices in Chicago who will share the inside scoop about how you can best prepare and job search for a legal career in Chicago. Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law, will also give us an update on the new Chicago Program that allows University of Illinois 3Ls to take courses and work in Chicago during law school. No registration required.

Career Center Workshops

Unless otherwise indicated, all Career Center workshops will be held in the Career Center Conference Room, 715 S. Wright Street.  For more information and to register, go here:

Creating Powerful Resumes and Cover Letters, Nov 4, 6-7pm; Nov 6, 5-6pm      Making Your Major Decision — Online, Nov 5, 4-5pm

Next week, November 10-14, is “Career Week”, featuring information about how to find jobs and internships.  Check out the Career Center’s website for more details!

Off Campus Events

Law School Open Houses

As we first mentioned in our October 6 blog, many law schools host open houses for prospective applicants and all law schools strongly encourage students to visit their campuses.  Make sure you check the law school websites to see what types of events the schools in which you have an interest are offering.  As we noted on October 6, both DePaul and John Marshall have scheduled open houses for Friday, November 22. Here is some info on another law school event in our region.

University of Cincinnati College of Law Admissions Open House: November 7

The Office of Admissions will host its annual Fall Open House for prospective students on Friday, November 7, 2014 from 1:00 to 4:30 pm. This event is the perfect opportunity for anyone to learn more about the benefits of earning a JD degree from the University of Cincinnati. The program will include tours of the law school, time to interact with faculty and students, and sessions led by experts on admissions, financial aid, and career services. To register, call (513) 556-0078 or email the following information to your name, phone number, and the number of people attending with you. Anyone who cannot attend on November 7 is invited to instead schedule an individual visit through the Office of Admissions.