Law School Admissions Update: LSAT or GRE?

The American Bar Association (ABA) requires that ABA-accredited law schools use some sort of entrance exam in the admissions process. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been the exam used by ABA-accredited law schools for admission to their Juris Doctor (JD) programs for over 50 years.  That changed in March of 2016 when the University of Arizona Law School announced that it would begin accepting either the LSAT or the Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE) for applicants to its JD program beginning in the Fall of 2016.  Harvard Law School followed suit in March of 2017, announcing that it would begin accepting either the GRE or LSAT with this fall’s application cycle. In August, Georgetown University Law Center announced its plans to do the same, also with this fall’s applicants. A day before Georgetown’s announcement,  Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law stated that it would begin accepting either the GRE or LSAT next fall, for the class that would begin in the Fall of 2019. Click on the links provided to learn more about the application process for each of these schools. Note: Northwestern’s Assistant Director for Admissions and Financial Aid, Sarah Rewerts, will be here at UIUC on Thursday, September 28, 6pm, 1090 Lincoln Hall, to discuss this and other admissions-related topics.

So — what does this mean for a prospective law school applicant?  As of right now, unless an applicant for this cycle is planning on applying ONLY to the three schools listed above that will currently accept either the GRE or LSAT (a strategy that PLAS does not recommend), applicants will still need to prepare for and take the LSAT.  But since this topic is getting a lot of attention in the news, we thought it would be helpful to provide a brief overview of both standardized tests.  As always, we encourage you to do your research and learn more about this issue.

What is the GRE?

Content/Format: It is a computer-delivered standardized test, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), that evaluates test takers on the following areas:

  1. Analytical Writing (one section with two separately timed tasks). Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
  2. Verbal Reasoning (two sections). Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning (two sections). Measures problem-solving ability suing basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

The GRE also includes both an unscored and a research section.  Per the GRE’s website, the Analytical Writing section will always be first. Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order so test takers should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.  For more information about the GRE content and structure, check out the ETS website: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/content/.

Cost: $205, which includes 2 free practice tests and a diagnostic tool; other practice materials are available for a fee on the website.  Go here for more info: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/.

Location/Time: The GRE is available any day but Sunday. You can select the U of I Testing Services Lab on Neil Street for administrations during the week. 

What is the LSAT?

Content/Format:  It is a paper and pencil test (although it has begun piloting a computer-delivered format), administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Per the LSAC’s website, it is comprised of the following:

  1. Reading Comprehension (one scored section): Measures the ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those encountered in law school.
  2. Analytical Reasoning (one scored section): Measures the ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure.
  3. Logical Reasoning (two scored sections): Assesses the test taker’s ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language.
  4. Experimental Section (one unscored section): This will be an additional section of the types of questions identified above, but the test taker will NOT know which section is experimental so test takers should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.
  5. Writing Sample (one unscored section): Although this is unscored, copies of your writing sample are sent to ALL law schools to which you apply.

For more information about the LSAT’s content and structure, go to the LSAC’s website: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/about-the-lsat.

Cost: $180

Location/Time: The LSAT is currently offered four times per year, although as we mentioned in a previous blog post, that will be increased to six times per year beginning in the 2018-2019 testing cycle. The upcoming dates of LSAT administration are as follows: September 16, 2017; December 2, 2017; February 10, 2018; and June 11, 2018.   There are multiple test sites, including UIUC.  Go here for a list of regular administration LSAT locations: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/testing-locations/regular.

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Welcome Back, Part 2: Top 3 Things That Happened Over the Summer and Mark Your Calendars!

We hope you had a great summer and that your semester is off to a good start. Beginning next week, PLAS will resume our Monday “Mark Your Calendars” edition, followed by a midweek blog post addressing a host of topical issues.  But since you’ve been away, some important pre-law related events and updates have occurred.  Here are the Top 3:

  1. If you haven’t heard yet, the Law School Admission Council has announced some big changes to the LSAT. Want to learn more?  Check out this July PLAS blog post.
  2. PLAS has updated its list of available scholarships for undergrad and law school students.  The tally is now 275!  Go to the PLAS Compass page to learn more!
  3. PLAS recently published a blog about the best way to get an internship for Spring and Summer 2018.  Click here for more information.

And have you heard? Three more law schools have announced that they will begin allowing applicants to use either LSAT or GRE test scores for admission to their schools!  Want to learn more?  Check out our midweek blog post, coming this Wednesday, August 30.

Also — last week our blog featured a list of upcoming PLAS events, including our FREE PRACTICE LSAT, set for Friday, September 8 and the Law School Fair on Wednesday, September 27, Illini Union A, B, C, 10am-2pm. Check out last week’s blog for information on other upcoming PLAS events.  If you are interested in taking the FREE practice LSAT, note that space is limited so interested students should  go to our PLAS Events Calendar and register ASAP!

Campus Events and Activities

University Counsel’s Office — PAID Internship!

As we announced on Friday on the PLAS Facebook page, University Counsel’s Office is hiring 1-2 undergrad pre-law students as PAID interns for 2017-18! Required: At least sophomore standing, minimum 3.0 GPA, and consistent weekly availability. This is a GREAT opportunity to meet a variety of attorneys, see the practice of law, and contribute to the success of a legal team! Applications due Sept. 8. See attached position description for more details.

 

Provosts’ Undergraduate Student Advisory Board – Call for Applications

Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board is looking for students who:

  • Are undergraduates for the current year who will be on campus—not studying abroad or graduating early—both this fall and in Spring, 2018;
  • Have a strong record of academic achievement as evidenced by a 3.0 GPA or above in their college courses or, for first-time new freshmen or transfer students, as evidenced by what you would consider a “very strong” high school or prior institution record;
  • Are interested in academic affairs initiatives and activities on campus;
  • Are involved in both academic and extracurricular activities here or, for first-time new freshmen or transfer students, were involved at their previous institution.

Please be aware that a primary requirement for participation is availability during the set meeting times for the fall, no class or work conflicts. Though we certainly don’t expect you to vet this in the nominees, know that this will be the first question we ask any of them. Fall meeting dates are Wednesday, October 4; Friday, November 10; and Friday, December 8, all from noon to 1 p.m. with lunch provided.

Applications can be completed here and are due by Friday, September 8th at 5p.m. Questions can be directed to mschaefr@illinois.edu or students can call (217)333-6677.

Career Center

One big change that occurred over the summer at the Career Center is the transition away from I-Link to the new job and internship portal called Handshake.  Click on this  link to learn more about this new search engine and to register to set up your own Handshake page!

Information Night for International Students — Friday, September 1, 6-7pm, Room 143 at the Career Center International students will be introduced to services, programs and resources of The Career Center. A short tour of The Career Center will follow.

National and International Scholarships Program – Luce Scholars Program: Information Sessions

The Luce is for U.S. citizens under the age of 30 who are young professionals, seniors and graduate/professional students. The Luce fully funds a one year internship in East or Southeast Asia for those with little significant academic or personal experience with Asia.

Thursday, August 31, 2017: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.—Information session and discussion with a former Luce Scholar
Friday, September 1, 2017: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.—Workshop on how to craft a Luce Application

All sessions are held in the Illini Union Bookstore, 5th Floor, Room 514. If you would like to discuss the Luce before the next information session please contact the NIS Program to schedule an appointment. For more information about the Luce Scholars Program, go here.

College of Law Opportunities for Pre-Law Students

Prospective Client Volunteers Needed–Please consider volunteering to play the role of a prospective client with a possible legal issue for students in CFI: Interviewing, Counseling & Fact InvestigationVolunteers are needed on September 13, 14, 27, and 28 at varying times.  You will meet with and be interviewed by your lawyer for approximately 15-20 minutes.  You will be given the fact pattern for the role you volunteer to play.  Please consider signing up for multiple sessions.  To volunteer or for additional details, contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law, or undergraduate friends.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

PAID Video Operators Needed– The Trial Advocacy Program needs video operators for the fall semester on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from approximately 5:30/6:00 p.m. – 8:30/9:00 p.m. at the Champaign County Courthouse, Urbana.  You can choose to do one evening a week or both evenings.  The pay is $8.25/hour.  For full job details and requirements, please contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law or undergraduate friends.

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University Counsel PAID Internship Opportunity!

University Counsel’s Office is seeking 1-2 PAID undergraduate interns for 2017-18! This is a great opportunity to meet attorneys with a variety of expertise, experience the practice of law up close, and contribute to the success of a legal team.

Required qualifications: Must have at least sophomore standing; minimum 3.0 GPA; consistent weekly availability. Preference will be given to candidates with availability over breaks.

For more information on the position, including specific duties and an overview of the office, see the attached position description. Applications include a cover letter and resume and are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 8.

Counsel’s Office Internship

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Welcome Back, Pre-Law Students!

We have so much great pre-law news to share with you! Click on the links below to jump to each topic.

Save the date for the Law School Fair! On Sept. 27 from 10 am-2 pm at the Union over 100 law school reps will be here to meet YOU! Click here for more details, including a list of who’s coming.

Pre-Law Events
Scholarships
Internships
Pre-Law Resources

Pre-Law Events

Interested in joining the Pre-Law Honors Society? Look for them on Quad Day!

Our Fall Event Calendar is posted! Here’s a preview of what’s coming up.

Practice LSAT–Friday, Sept. 8 from 8:30-12:00. Whether you are taking the real LSAT in September or this is your first-ever baseline test, this is a great opportunity to take the LSAT in a testlike environment with a proctor. Seating is limited; register here.

Pre-Law 101–Monday, Sept. 11, 4-5 pm. This workshop is designed for incoming students who are new to pre-law or are interested in learning more about it. We will cover: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois, course selection, majors, and extracurriculars, building a pre-law resume, and what law schools are really looking for. We will outline a four year plan to maximize your undergraduate experiences in order to make a great law school candidate. We’ll also take any questions about law school and legal careers. Register here for this session. Each Pre-Law 101 session is the same. Incoming students should attend a Pre-Law 101 prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume for Law School–Tuesday, Sept.19, 4-5pm. The personal statement is one of the most difficult yet powerful elements of the law school application. Join us for this workshop, which will cover what the personal statement is, how to prepare for writing it, and some tips and suggestions for making it reflect an applicant’s strengths. We will also discuss how the personal statement and resume can complement each other to create a stronger law school application. Each session is the same, so select the one that best suits your schedule. Register here for this session.

Save the Date for the Law School Fair on September 27 from 10-2 in Illini Union A,B,C Rooms! Find more details here. We’ll be posting more about this, so stay tuned!

College of Law Opportunities for Pre-Law Students

Prospective Client Volunteers Needed–Please consider volunteering to play the role of a prospective client with a possible legal issue for students in CFI: Interviewing, Counseling & Fact Investigation.  Volunteers are needed on September 13, 14, 27, and 28 at varying times.  You will meet with and be interviewed by your lawyer for approximately 15-20 minutes.  You will be given the fact pattern for the role you volunteer to play.  Please consider signing up for multiple sessions.  To volunteer or for additional details, contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law, or undergraduate friends.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

PAID Video Operators Needed– The Trial Advocacy Program needs video operators for the fall semester on Tuesdays and Wednesdays evening from approximately 5:30/6:00 p.m. – 8:30/9:00 p.m. at the Champaign County Courthouse, Urbana.  You can choose to do one evening a week or both evenings.  The pay is $8.25/hour.  For full job details and requirements, please contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law or undergraduate friends.

Scholarships

We’ve collected 275 scholarships–for both undergrads and incoming law students–on our Scholarships Spreadsheet over on our Pre-Law Compass page. It’s a wide variety of scholarships based on everything from being left-handed to making a video to tweeting, and deadlines vary, so check it out!

Internships

It’s NOT too early to start looking for spring/summer internships today! We post internships on our blog and our Facebook page. Check out this blog post for a plan on how to start finding spring and summer internships this fall.

Pre-Law Resources

Now is a great time to check out–or join–all of our pre-law resources! Click the links to explore. You can also search this blog for posts about the LSAT, law school applications, resumes, internships, and more!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Compass page

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A Spring/Summer 2018 Internship Plan–starting NOW!

We haven’t even kicked off fall semester and it’s time to look for 2018 summer internships? In a word…yes.

The number one mistake we see time and time again is this: Students waiting until spring break to look for summer internships. They can’t find any, or deadlines have passed on the ones they have found.

Certainly there are some companies and programs that will do their summer hiring in late spring. BUT if you wait until spring, you will be giving up MANY opportunities to participate in great internships. Some companies and government agencies plan far in advance and already have a summer hiring plan. For example, the State Department and the White House have already posted their internships for Spring 2018 and will post their Summer 2018 internships by November. A quick search on USAJobs shows about 68 federal internships currently accepting applications for 2018 positions. The kicker? Many federal internships will only accept the first 100 applications–so you’d better be ready to apply ASAP when it opens! What is a good plan?

Spring/Summer 2018 Internship plan

  1. Subscribe to internship websites. You can set them to email you a weekly digest, or just email you when the kinds of internships that you designate become available. Some suggested sites are listed below.
  2. Use Handshake. The Career Center switched from I-Link to Handshake this summer. Click on the link below, log in, set up your profile, explore, and set it to contact you when internships you qualify for become available. Check back regularly.
  3. Attend Career Fairs. Did you know that most campus career fairs, like the Business Career Fair and the ACES Career Fair, are open to all students? And, many of those employers will have both job and internships available. Mark your calendars for the Fall Illini Career & Internship Fair on October 19 too. You can find a list of all campus career fairs on Handshake.
  4. Create or perfect your resume. The Career Center has numerous opportunities to have your resume reviewed–or attend a resume basics workshop–every week. Click here to see their events. You’ll need a resume for the rest of your life, so the sooner you start building these skills, the better! Aim to have a good quality resume by mid-September to avoid delay applying for the scholarships you find.
  5. Gcal or Ical it. NOW–right now–go to your Gcal, ical, or good old fashioned planner, and schedule an hour every other week (or every week, if you’re very ambitious) for Internships.(Use this time to check internship listings and prepare your applications.) When you find an internship listing, add that due date to your Gcal/ical/planner too. Finding and applying for internships and jobs is not done in an afternoon–it really helps to be organized and persistent.

What internship websites should you use? Here are the Top 5 Internship Sites that we have found to be helpful.

Handshake–Here is where companies post their opportunities for Illinois students. You can also find out about upcoming company info sessions and career/internship fairs.

Internships.com–Continuously updated nationwide internship listings

Idealist.com–Nonprofit internship offerings

Fastweb–Extensive internship listings (click on “Career Planning”)

USAJobs.gov–for federal government jobs and internships. Tip: The website gogovernment.org has a nice overview explaining how to get started and what to look for.

 

 

 

 

 

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