Important info for December 2016 LSAT takers; Deciding whether to retake

The December LSAT scores will not be out until January 4, 2017.  If you took the December LSAT, please take a moment to review this very important information on February 2017 LSAT registration. Then, this blog entry will go on to discuss how to decide whether to retake.

February LSAT registration.  As you know, the LSAC indicated that scores would be released on January 4, but the regular registration deadline for the February LSAT is TOMORROW, DECEMBER 21! If you took the December LSAT and you have decided you want to retake in February, and then decide NOT to retake after you see your score, the LSAC will refund your regular or late registration fee. BUT you must register by December 28 (late registration deadline) and request the refund by January 10, 2017. Mark your calendars! Here are instructions about the process, straight from the LSAC website:

December 2016 LSAT scores will not be available until after February 2017 LSAT registration deadlines have passed. Therefore, if you think you may want to take the February 2017 test, you must register for it before you know your December 2016 score. December 2016 test takers with a reportable score who no longer wish to test in February can request a refund for both regular and late registration fees after receiving their December score. Eligible candidates must submit a request for a refund by January 10, 2017. Your email request should include your name and LSAC account number and be sent to Please indicate “February 2017 Full Refund” in the subject line to ensure accurate processing.

Whether to retake the LSAT. The bigger question for many of you will be: Should I retake the LSAT? This consideration is even more important due to the timing of the next LSAT (in February).  Note: February is the one nondisclosed LSAT administration.  What does this mean?  If you take a nondisclosed test, you will have online access only to your LSAT score, score band, percentile rank, and writing sample. You will not be given a copy of your answers and the answer key.  As such, you will know how you did but not what you missed.

How do Illini perform on an LSAT retake? As a general guideline, most retakers score within 2.5 points of where they scored on the last LSAT. We did a study of University of Illinois LSAT takers from 2012-2015 and found these results:

  • 44% of Illini took the LSAT more than once
  • The average Illini LSAT retaker scored 2.45 points higher on the second exam
  • Of all Illini LSAT retakers:
  • 51% of Illini retakers scored better on a subsequent LSAT
  • 15% of Illini retakers scored worse on a subsequent LSAT
  • 6% of Illini retakers scored the same on a subsequent LSAT
  • 33% of Illini register to retake and then are absent for the subsequent exam

Some questions to ask yourself about whether to retake:

  • Was your actual score consistent with your practice exams?
  • Do you have the time and willingness to continue your LSAT preparation consistently until February?
  • How will you continue LSAT prep without your academics suffering? (Consider final papers and exams.)
  • What can you do differently so that this exam performance is better?
  • How close is your score to the medians of your top choice law schools? Is it likely that you could achieve the medians by retaking?

If you decide to retake in February, here are some suggested next steps:

  • Register ASAP; you may not get your preferred test site and that will mean making other arrangements such as a hotel
  • It is VERY important that you return to studying for the LSAT now! Don’t wait.
  • Clear your upcoming schedule as much as possible to allow you to balance prepping for the LSAT and prepping for final exams/papers/projects.
  • Consider doing something different in your LSAT prep–exploring a different book, class, website, using a different study plan, etc. (For some suggested resources visit our Compass page and click on the LSAT folder.)
  • Revamp your application timeline. Your goal should be to apply by early March, when the February LSAT scores will be released.
    • Applying in March is quite LATE in a rolling application cycle.  You might want to consider waiting to apply until next fall, which would put you in the pool of applicants looking to begin law school Fall 2018.

You may find it helpful to speak with a Pre-Law Advisor about next steps. Call 333-9669 to make an appointment!

The 2016 Internship Newsletter is Live on Compass!

The 2016 Internship Newsletter is now available on Compass.  Please visit our Compass page to begin combing through the newsletter for summer opportunities that interest you.  If you are a designated pre-law student, simply log in with your credentials to access the page. If you are not a designated pre-law student but would like to access the newsletter, please follow the instructions here. Positions are available throughout Illinois, Washington D.C., and across the country. Many positions have due dates over break, so we encourage you to begin working on applications as soon as possible.

Make use of your long winter break to begin planning for summer. Many deadlines in the newsletter are for late December and early January. The time to apply is now! The internship newsletter also has opportunities posted for December 2016 and May 2017 graduating seniors.

For those of you who plan on applying to law school in fall 2017, winter break is a great time to begin preparing for the LSAT.  Take a practice LSAT to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. We’ve posted one over on our Compass page too. You can never start studying too early!  Additionally, this will provide you with some perspective that will help you gauge which LSAT prep company is the best for you at the 2017 LSAT Prep Fair on Wednesday, February 1, from 2:00-4:00 pm in Illini Union Rooms B & C.

For anyone who has not applied to their prospective schools yet and wishes to start in fall 2017, FINISH YOUR APPLICATIONS! The time to submit is now!

Enjoy your break and Happy Holidays!

UPDATED December Checklist

It’s now December (can you believe it?) which means that programming is winding down as we turn to finals. What should be on your December checklist so that you can finish the year strong?

December checklist for pre-law students

  • December is a great time to start applying for summer internshipsGo to our Compass page to check out our 20+ page Internship newsletter!
  • This is also a great time to update your resume. Add all of the details of things you did this semester–before you forget. Use the Career Center’s resume resources if you need some pointers.
  • Planning to take the LSAT in 2017? Need a scholarship to afford an LSAT prep class? Apply for our LSAT test prep scholarships!
  • Winter break is a great time to take a baseline practice LSAT. You can find a free practice exam on our Compass page. Make sure that you time yourself!
  • For freshmen and sophomores who are not ready to take the LSAT but want to build LSAT-related skills, check out Khan Academy’s Introduction to Critical Thinking lessons!
  • Take your winter courses seriously. Your GPA is very important to law schools.

December checklist for law school applicants

  • Finish your essays and SUBMIT those applications! We are now at the point that you should not delay.
  • Check your LSAC account to make sure your recommendations are in; if not, follow up again with your recommenders. Note: the LSAC typically closes around the holidays, so you should expect processing delays if submitting at this time.
  • You can still make an appointment (call 333-9669) to review personal statements/optional essays. Pre-Law Advising Services will be closed Dec. 23-Jan.2, reopening for limited appointments from Jan. 3 until spring semester begins.
  • Plan any winter break law school visits. If you are returning home, this could be a good time to visit nearby law schools without making a special trip. Contact the schools to make sure they are open and able to accommodate.
  • Begin looking into scholarship options (like the ones we posted to our Facebook page) and complete your FAFSA as soon as possible.