Spring semester is here and this is an important time to look ahead at what you can do to best prepare yourself for your future law school adventures, including planning your spring task-list, finalizing summer plans, and setting fall goals.
Below are some suggested areas to prioritize this spring depending on your point in your journey to law school…
Freshmen and Sophomores:
Apply for Summer Jobs and Internships. Do you have summer plans locked down? If not, apply for jobs and internships. This is a great way to gain valuable experiences and enhance your resume. Check out our internship newsletter here or browse available opportunities on UIUC’s Handshake page.
Apply to Summer Pre-Law Programs. These short summer programs are a wonderful opportunity for students interested in the legal profession. They typically last 3-5 weeks and are usually free for qualified students. Application deadlines vary, but are typically in March and April. If you are interested in these programs check out our newsletter here or hop over to LSAC and start your application process as soon as possible!
Sophomores – Start researching the LSAT. Not ready to take the real LSAT yet but wondering what it’s all about? Then it’s time to make LSAC (Law School Admission Council) your best friend! This is the organization that manages the LSAT. Learn how to prepare for the LSAT and even take a free test here.
Job Shadow/Informational Interviews. 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 them coffee and ask about their professional life. Here’s a resource for planning your informational interview. And here’s anther resource on the topic. For more formal interview tips, check out this resource.
Keep up. Use this time to reassess your study plans and goals and prepare for finals–those grades are very important to law schools! Feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious? Consider these student wellness resources to support you.
Juniors and Alumni Applying during the 2022-2023 cycle:
Make your LSAT plans. Taking the April or June LSAT? Select your prep option and start studying as soon as possible. You want to give yourself the most time to prepare. Ideally, you will study for 4-6 months prior to taking the LSAT. Keep this in mind when selecting your ideal LSAT examination date. Spring break can be a great time to crank up your LSAT studying.
Taking a Summer or Fall LSAT? Now is the time to research LSAT prep options. Visit the LSAC website here to learn about resources available including Kahn Academy (free), LSAT Prep, and LSAT Prep Plus They also include a list of prep books (hyperlink) available and a list of commercial companies who offer services.
- Stay Tuned for our LSAT Q&A blog post with recent LSAT takers for first-hand advice later this month!
Decide who will be your recommendation writers. Applications to law school require letters of recommendation. You will want to approach your recommenders by this May/June (at the end of THIS semester) so 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.
Plan to Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). This is the account you will need to open to have your recommendation letters processed. The fee to register is $195 so you will need to budget accordingly. Be sure to get signed up no later than August if you will be applying in the upcoming cycle. 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 including the Exploring Legal Education and Application Roadmap. Find them all on our Event Calendar.
Seniors taking a gap year (or two) prior to law school:
Decide who will be your recommendation writers. It’s a good idea to decide who on campus will write your recommendations, and approach them by the end of this semester to make contact. If you are applying during the 2022-2023 cycle, you’ll want to secure those letters soon. If you are planning on applying in a future cycle, it will be important to make contact with your recommender and ask for support. Your recommender will be better prepared to assist you in a year or two if you keep in touch regularly. Plus, regular contact will help with timing. Remember, if you wait too long to make contact, your preferred professor may be gone, on sabbatical, retired, etc., so it’s better to get them now.
Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). If you plan to apply during the 2022-2023 cycle, register for CAS in the summer or early fall. If you plan to apply in a future cycle, hold off on CAS until you are closer to applying.
Gap Year Workshops. We have upcoming workshops just for you that you should plan to attend, including our Application Roadmap/Gap Years workshop in March. Find them all on our Event Calendar.
- Internship Newsletter – Be sure to check out the Internship Newsletter which includes post-grad opportunities for ideas and available positions!
Seniors and alumni headed to law school this fall:
Get applications in ASAP! If you are still preparing applications for this cycle, Touch base with our office ASAP – we are here to help!
Continue Researching! If your applications are in then you will soon be in the decision making phase. It is time to make sure that you have all the information needed to make your final decision. Make final visits to law schools and/or attend admitted student days.
- Housekeeping – Once you’ve decided where to attend, be sure to withdraw from the other schools that have admitted you so that they can offer that seat and/or scholarship to someone else.
Get organized! Mark important dates on your calendar – including seat deposits, admitted student open house days, and scholarship deadline information…
Stay Connected – Attend Programs! Attend upcoming workshops for guidance on successfully navigating your post-admissions process. Here’s a few we think will be valuable to you:
Apply for additional scholarships. We’ve posted a lot of information about this over on our Resource page! Also, use your favorite search engine to explore other scholarship opportunities. Here’s a list to get you started. There may be some wonderful local, state and/or national scholarship opportunities with your name on it!
Planning to be enrolled in school next fall? It’s FAFSA time!
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.
Regardless of where you are on your pre-law journey, remember we are here to support you and you’ve got this!