Mark Your Calendars — End of Semester Edition — Farewell Seniors!

Information for Graduating Seniors and Alumni

First — congratulations and best wishes to our UIUC graduating Seniors!  We would love to hear from you so please keep in touch.  In fact, we have created a Linked In Group, entitled “Illini Pre-Law Alumni.”  This is an opportunity for PLAS to stay in touch with all of you and for you to stay in touch with your classmates and other UIUC alums. You never know when you might end up in a new city and need to network to find a new job or information on law school. Please go to LinkedIn to join our group.

Information for Fall Law School Applicants

Our events have concluded for this semester but we do have a public service announcement.  Fall law school applicants — do not forget to identify and meet with people whom you would like to write letters of recommendation on your behalf BEFORE you leave campus!  If you wait until the fall to make the request(s), you will likely find yourself waiting in line behind others who asked first!  For information on how to solicit letters of recommendation, go to our April 20 blog post. If you would like a helpful overview on letters of recommendation that you can share with letter writers, then go to the PLAS Compass Page and check out our “Guide to Letters of Recommendation” in the “Application Pointers” section.

Information for June LSAT Test Takers — Reminder about day of exam!

As we discussed in an earlier blog post, the June 2016 LSAT is the first test with new photo ID requirements.  Further, LSAC provides a list of day of test reminders here. It is absolutely critical that you look at this list well in advance of June 6 so that you follow the LSAC’s instructions to the letter.  Any violation of LSAC rules constitutes grounds for you to be dismissed from the test.  

PLAS Summer Activities and Office Hours 

Although we will not be regularly posting to our blog, we will occasionally post information of interest on Facebook (Pre-Law Advising at U of IL) and Twitter (@UIUCPreLaw).   If you need to schedule an appointment with a pre-law advisor over the summer, remember that PLAS Summer Hours are in effect and appointments are available in advance.  Just call the PLAS office at (217) 333-9669 to make an appointment.  Enjoy your break and look for announcements about our fall calendar when you return in August.

Have a great summer!

Grade Replacement and Law School: A Refresher

We’ve had several questions about grade replacement this week and expect to receive more after grades post. This refresher on grade replacement on law school will help students make the decision of whether to re-take a class!

It’s a little confusing how grade replacement works in light of law school applications. This Q&A refresher will help to clarify how grade replacement impacts law school applicants. It is critical that pre-law students understand how grade replacement will be viewed by a law school admissions team.

Students: Discuss your particular situation carefully with your academic advisor before making any decisions about re-taking a course!

Q. What is the campus Grade Replacement Policy?

A. You can find the Grade Replacement Policy in the Student Code, §3-309.

Students who meet the qualifications set forth in the Policy may now re-take up to 10 hours of UIUC courses and replace a grade of “C–” or below with the grade received the second time the course was taken. The original grade will no longer be factored in to the UIUC GPA. However, the original grade will still appear on your transcript (more about that below.)

An example to illustrate:

Let’s say Mike took Math 220 at UIUC in Fall 2013 and he earned a D+. He decides to re-take the course, gets approval for grade replacement from his department, and re-takes Math 220 in Spring 2014. He earns a C in the course this time.

In Mike’s UIUC GPA, only the C from the Spring 2012 Math 220 will be calculated. However, both grades will appear on his transcript.

Q: How does this impact a law school application?

A: Both Math 220 grades will by considered in the GPA when applying to law schools.

When students apply to law school, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) re-calculates the GPA and submits this calculation to law schools. (You can find more information about how the LSAC re-calculates a GPA here: Basically, applicants will have two GPAs: A UIUC GPA and an LSAC GPA.

This means that law schools will receive both your UIUC GPA and your re-calculated LSAC GPA. Our office has confirmed with the LSAC that they will continue to factor both the original and the second grade for a repeated course into your LSAC GPA, even if you qualified for Grade Replacement, and even if your UIUC GPA does not include the original grade.

In short: Both Math 220 grades will appear on Mike’s transcript AND both grades will be factored into Mike’s law school application GPA.

Thus, applicants will not be able to “hide” the original grade from law school admissions. Law schools may use one or both of the GPAs to assess a candidate’s academic qualifications.

An example to illustrate: When Mike applies to law school, his LSAC GPA will factor in both the original D+ AND the C for both of the Math 220 courses. This GPA will be included in the reports sent to each law school to which Mike applies. The law school will also receive an official UIUC transcript with UIUC GPA.

Q: Should pre-law students ever consider grade replacement?

A: Maybe. Don’t do grade replacement just to improve your GPA for law school application purposes. If your goal is to improve your GPA, you’d be better off taking a class that suits your strengths that is at least the same number of credits as the class you want to replace. You’d have a better chance of doing well and balancing out that low grade.

However, there may be other reasons to go for grade replacement. Two examples: (1) You need to understand the material in that course in order to do well in subsequent courses; or (2) you need credit for that specific course to graduate.

Questions to consider before making a decision about re-taking a course:

• Do you need the course? Is it required or necessary to master the material for a required sequence?

• Realistically, how much better will you perform in the course a second time?

• Since you cannot “hide” the low grade from law school admissions, might you be better off taking a different course that interests you and suits your strengths?

If you decide to retake the course, carefully and realistically assess what you can do differently this time. What really caused your performance to suffer? What resources can you use this time to improve your grade? Do not assume that exposure to the material a second time will automatically improve your grade–many students get the same grade or worse when retaking.

If you have questions, please discuss your specific situation with your major advisor or with a pre-law advisor to help you make this decision.

Fall and summer course options

Still looking for some summer or fall courses? As you know, students of ANY major can attend law school, and there are NO specifically required courses for pre-law undergrads. However, given an interest in law, here are some summer and fall courses that pre-law students may find particularly helpful and interesting. These courses are only suggestions and are not requirements. Check out Course Explorer and speak to your academic advisor about the best courses for you.

**Summer 2016 Course Options Note: Deadlines to register are fast approaching!

PHIL 102: Logic & Reasoning–Summer Session I. Taking the LSAT this fall? Professor McCarthy has especially geared this class toward the LSAT and includes causal reasoning, analogical reasoning, elementary statistical inference (including arguments based on samples), and truth-functional inference.

Law 199-A, Best of American Case Law “The Best of American Case Law” is a 10-day course, designed to introduce undergraduates and international students to some of the most important and exciting law school cases. Students will come to understand how the law school classroom works, experience a broad sample of at least 8 different areas of the law, and engage with nationally renowned law faculty as they present some of the most important legal cases. The program aims to enhance students’ ability to think critically and understand case law.

Schedule: July 18 – 29, 2016. 9 AM – 1 PM daily

Each day will feature 1-2 cases, selected from a wide range of U.S. legal cases. Following class, students will have the opportunity to eat lunch with the professor and learn more about the class and/or law school. Afternoons will be spent engaged in a focused study and briefing of the next day’s cases.

**Fall 2016 Course options

CMN 101, 321, 323–> to improve speaking skills and oral advocacy

ENGL 310: Unprotected Speech–> to gain skills in text analysis, writing and research

PS 301 & 2, US Constitution I and II–>extremely helpful base for understanding constitutional law in law school

Law 301: Introduction to Law–>a survey of legal issues for undergrads to explore legal issues

ACE 240: Personal Financial Planning–>Whether for yourself or your clients, lawyers need a solid understanding of financial instruments, budgets, taxes, and estate planning

INFO 202: Social Aspects of Information Technology–>Tech and social media skills are always a plus in any career

LER 290: Introduction to Employment Law–>explore employee and employer legal issues


Mark Your Calendars: Week of May 2

Pre-Law Advising Services Events

Make your Pre-Law Advising appointment now by calling 333-9669! We have our full schedule of available appointments until May 16. After that we will be on our Summer Schedule with reduced appointment hours.

Our programming is over for the semester. Make sure to check out our resources on Compass, this blog, and our web page!

National and International Scholars is hosting a UK and Ireland Scholarship Information Session this Thursday, May 5 from 3:30-5:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. Learn about a group of nationally competitive scholarships that fully fund graduate study in the United Kingdom and Ireland! This informational session and application workshop is targeted to juniors, seniors, and graduate or professional students, and will provide a brief overview of the Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes scholarships.  Then, it will focus on some of the common application components for the scholarships and help participants start to develop content for them.  This is a great opportunity to strategize and get feedback on your ideas for your personal statement and other written portions of the applications.  The priority deadline for the Marshall scholarship is June 1, 2016, and the required campus deadline for many of the UK/Ireland scholarships is August 23, 2016, so now is the time to learn about the programs and get answers to your questions!

Upcoming Campus Events

The Career Center spring workshop calendar is posted on their website at:  All sessions will be held at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright Street, unless otherwise indicated. Upcoming workshops include:

  • Peace Corps General Information Meeting, Wednesday, May 4, 6-7:30 pm
  • Peace Corps Application Workshop, Thursday, May 5, 5-6 pm

Upcoming Off Campus Events and Opportunities

Legal Internship Opportunity — Steigmann Law LLP

Steigmann Law, P.C., a young law firm in Champaign-Urbana, is looking for interns who want to be involved in a fast paced, high-tech, multi-area, legal environment. Steigmann Law, PC engages in personal injury, medical malpractice, family law, civil litigation, real estate, criminal, DUI and wills and estate work. Attorneys at Steigmann Law, PC have had experience in both public and private sectors of work, including small and large law firms and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Interns jobs will vary, and be assigned based on capabilities, but may include medical record organization, filing, abstracting depositions, assisting in trial preparations, Court filings, and attending depositions and Court hearings and legal marketing. Work times are flexible and we are willing to work around your academic schedule. Please email resumes and cover letters to

Have a great week!