So you’ve selected a school . . . NOW WHAT!?

Congratulations!  Many Pre-Law students have evaluated their law school offers and have selected the law school where they will start in the fall!  If this is you, you are probably enjoying checking off your last major responsibilities as an undergraduate!  Here is a practical checklist of the actions you should take this summer!

1.  Professionally let other schools know that you have made your selection.  Follow the Email Etiquette advice from our recent blog post!

2.  Start looking for housing / a roommate.  Usually the school you’ve selected will provide a resource for you in completing this task.  Consider the major financial benefits of having a roommate.

3.  Join the facebook group of your class – or ask the admissions office what other media groups exist where you’ll see some social opportunities once students arrive to the area.

4.  Check your new email account.  Decide whether you want to connect the new account to your personal email or maintain an entirely separate account.  Get in the habit of checking the account.

5.  Prepare your finances.  Assure you have the money to buy books, pay a security deposit and your first month’s rent, and any moving expenses BEFORE the first loan disbursement – which is usually well after these expenses have occurred.

6.  Send your undergraduate final transcript to your new law school.

Free LSAT Materials!

Thanks to everyone who joined us last week for our first ever LSAT Prep Fair!  The purpose of the fair is to ensure that students learn of all the options for LSAT prep materials, and to be savvy consumers of these goods.  We were excited to see so many students turn out – and enjoyed all of the conversations!

Of course, there are free materials available online, and whether they supplement the materials you purchase or form the bulk of your preparation, you can find them at sites such as these:

Upcoming Open House and Reception Events

We have received information about upcoming open house and receptions events at various locations and would like to pass that information onto you here.  Please note that the events are quickly approaching and are not listed in chronological order.

Cooley Law School
On Thursday, January 30, Dean Paul Zelenski will be hosting an information session in the Chicago area for prospective law students.  During the session, Dean Z along with Cooley Law School alumni will be there to guide students through the law school application process, discuss what it takes to get in law school, and what to expect once they get there. When: Thursday, January 30 at 6:30 pm.  Where: Hotel Arista – Mykonos Room. 2139 CityGate Lane. Naperville, Illinois 60563.

Learn more:

Register: For your convenience, a downloadable PDF handout is available for your use and distribution:

University of Illinois College of Law
Prospective Student Open House here at the University of Illinois College of Law on Monday, February 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. We will provide information on law school admissions, financial aid, careers (including careers in Chicago), a student Q & A panel, and tours.  Oh, and we’ll have food!  Register via email:

University of Iowa College of Law
Our “Explore Iowa Law” events are scheduled for two Saturdays this year from 10 am to 2 pm: February 15, 2014, and April 12, 2014.  We have designed the program for anyone who may be interested in a career in law, including undergraduates at all levels, whether or not they are ready to apply to graduate schools.  

At each open house, participants will attend small group sessions led by law school faculty and students exploring different areas of law practice, answering questions such as what lawyers do in that area of the law, how  law school helps prepare students for a career in that field, and what kind of preparation before law school might be helpful for such a career.  After lunch, which we will provide for all participants, there will be opportunities to ask more general questions about legal careers and the admissions process,  to meet one-on-one with faculty and staff members, and to tour the law building.
Please help us get the word out to your students and colleagues about the February 15 event.  For more information and to register online, please visit
Indiana University – McKinney School of Law
We are going to host a live chat , on Tuesday, January 28, at 7:00 pm EST. You may register for the chat at Dean Andy Klein, some of our current students, and I will be available to answer questions about our school, student life, and the admissions process.
John Marshall Law School
Saturday, February 1, 2014, John Marshall Law School will host an open house.  Throughout the academic year, the Office of Admission offers open house programs for prospective students interested in John Marshall. The open house programs provide an overview of curriculum, the classroom experience, and student life, and offer prospects a chance to familiarize themselves with legal education. Download a sample itinerary.  Registration for open houses is limited. Please reserve your space online or by calling the Office of Admission at 800.537.4280.
Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin Law School
You are cordially invited to join admission officers from Marquette University Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School at the Second Annual Wisconsin Statewide Minority Students and Advisor Seminar Day! This event is free to students and advisors and will be held on Friday, February 28, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI.  Register here.

CollegeCONNECT with UIUC Pre-Law

CollegeCONNECT Kick-Off Event – Tuesday, November 19 at 6:00 p.m.

College of Law Auditorium – Free Dinner Provided

CollegeCONNECT is a brand-new experiential learning program starting this Spring semester that helps undergraduates identify and accomplish goals while developing invaluable relationship-building skills.  The program teaches students to be mindful of relationships, helping participants overcome fears about “networking” while laying the groundwork for a lifetime of success.

This Kick-Off Event will feature University of Illinois College of Law student leaders who will share their personal experiences in law school, specifically their networking and goal-setting strategies for both applying to law schools and for the job hunt and ongoing opportunities once in law school.  The panel includes leaders from a diverse variety of student organizations, and will include ample time for Q & A.

Students at any year/level are welcome to attend this event to learn more about the CollegeCONNECT program.  The curriculum includes 7 “Missions” or lessons, that will be carried out with the support of a small group.  These Missions include:  Goals and Accountability, Relationships Action Plan, Generosity, Intimacy, Candor, Mentors, and Financial Awareness.

View the details on our Event Calendar: or email Donna Davis at with any specific questions.

Public Service Fellows Program – Deadline to Apply: Nov. 1

The Public Service Fellows Program at the Partnership for Public Service is an opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate students and recent graduates to participate directly in transforming the way government works while developing valuable professional skills.

At the Partnership, fellows are integral to the day-to-day operations, programs and activities of our organization. We value the contributions of fellows and work to provide relevant and useful experiences in return. That’s why fellows are assigned substantive and meaningful work to support our wide variety of programs, events, and projects to help revitalize the federal government by focusing on the people working in it. Fellows’ duties vary across the Partnership’s internal teams, but often include event planning and execution, conducting research, writing and preparing correspondence, and conducting outreach to external partners, such as government agencies and colleges and universities.

True to the Partnership’s emphasis on people, the fellows program incorporates opportunities for professional and personal growth through workshops and trainings specifically geared toward students and young professionals. We also strive to ensure a quality experience in terms of work and personal relationships throughout the fellowship term. Fellows also receive the following stipends:

  • Full time fellows with an undergraduate or graduate degree will receive a $1000 per month stipend.
  • Full time fellows who are currently undergraduate students will receive an $800 per month stipend.
  • Part time fellow stipends will be pro-rated accordingly.

Who Should Apply

We seek extraordinary undergraduate students, graduate students and recent graduates with:

  • A commitment to public service
  • Strong written and oral communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • An ability to work well in teams

There is no single academic major or background we prefer over another—if you share our passion and are committed to developing your skills while gaining valuable experience, we want to hear from you!

The application for the Spring 2014 term closes on November, 1. Apply today!




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Are you ruining your chances of getting a great letter of recommendation?

“Regardless of what stage of the [law school] application process you are at, if you haven’t started to think about who you will want to write your letters of recommendation – you’re late.”

There is an abundance of fantastic guidance on getting great letters of recommendation for the law school application process.  Anna Ivey, the former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, has given specific instruction on how to avoid the “generic” letters that most frequently reach the admissions committees.  You can find some of her smart and practical advice here, and also on her website found here.

But in thinking of putting together a quick list to serve as a reminder for the strategies to get letters of recommendation that mean something and stand out, the article that I’ve stolen the title from for this very post stood out above the rest.  Sometimes when things are written in the positive it is too easy to believe that some watered-down version of what we are doing is actually meeting a bare minimum.  But this article smacks you across the face for doing five, likely very common, things.  It is written towards pre-med students, and if there weren’t more effective uses of time I would cut and paste and replace all those with pre-law, because it is so relevant.  Check out this article (linked above), and be certain that you aren’t ruining your chances of securing what should be your first priority after LSAT and GPA in the admissions scheme.

5 Easy Ways Students Ruin Their Chances at Great Letters of Recommendation:






Wherever you are on your timeline for applying to law school, be certain you are not falling into these common traps that will ruin your chance of securing a strong letter of recommendation.

Professionally Prioritizing Your Goals

As a third year law student, I should not be surprised that life hasn’t slowed down as I enter the last year of school.  But even with a job offer and the confidence that provides for post-graduation, I still found myself struggling to analyze what opportunities and responsibilities I could feasilby manage this year while continuing to strive for success and the ability to make what I felt was a meaningful difference in my various communities.

After an all-day orientation for an incredible clinic at the law school, I spent the first weekend back on campus asking myself if I could realistically commit myself to these clients seeking legal help, and I found myself feeling bad when I realized that the answer was “no”.  [If you don’t know what clinics are – check out your law schools of interest and see what they offer in terms of these practical classes that typically serve under-represented clients].  So I decided to carry out my “drop” from the course in the most professional way possible.  I sent a brief email to my specific supervisor and the director, explaining my decision and offering my services as a consultant for other law students that may find themselves in the particular area I have extensive knowledge that might of use towards serving these clients.  The next morning I stopped in the office to thank them for the opportunity and take care of any necessary paperwork before the drop deadline passed (there was none – but it is a good “line” in terms of having a task to get you into the office). 

Those steps may sound intuitive or even too simple to type out into text, but it would have been easy just to go onto the university web app and drop the course without taking these steps.  Being honest from the beginning and then professionally carrying out the tasks not only continued to foster the type of professional career that I’d like to always be striving towards, but it also helped me lose the “guilt” of letting go of an opportunity that would have been too much in the mix of all the other activities I have this semester.

I would be lying if I denied that I have also carried out these rather mundane tasks without the appropriate degree of professionalism.  Just recently I let a project run over the deadline and experienced the guilt of delaying before letting my coordinating professor know, when in the end she was incredibly graceful, respectful, and understanding – and everything worked itself out.  When you hold yourself out as consistently professional, opportunities will present themselves, and you will earn a reputation that makes you stand out above the rest.  Challenge yourself to integrate an additional “professional habit” this week – maybe in your attire, or in the way you send emails, or arriving to each class 5-10 minutes early.  If you’d like to share your goal or any interesting outcomes, email us at

If you are weighing all the activities on your plate right now, you might like these practical tips from Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School whose accomplishments include a partnership at the Washington, D.C. firm of Caplin & Drysdale:


Thanks for a Wonderful Year! Looking forward to Fall 2013!!

The Pre-Law Advising Services office would like to thank all of our students for making 2012-2013 a wonderful year!  We hosted our largest Pre-Law Fair ever, welcomed many students for a wide-variety of programming, and had incredible turn-out for advising appointments all the way up until the end of the semester!

To our graduating Seniors — congratulations on a successful undergraduate journey!  We look forward to hearing about your experiences as law students and your advice to undergrads considering a legal career path, so keep in touch!

To our June LSAT-takers – best of luck!  You’ve prepared and will continue to prepare until the test date!  

To those with internships — enjoy your learning experiences! We can’t wait to hear how it shapes your path to a career in (or outside of) the law! 

For students returning in the fall — be sure to check our 2013-2014 Calendar when you get back!  We’ll continue providing programming to help you succeed in the most important aspects of deciding to go to and applying to law schools!  Please save the date for our Tuesday, October 22 Law Fair at the ARC to meet admissions representatives from law schools around the country.  And stay tuned for information about the kick-off of a new initiative that will help you network and create a map to accomplishing a major summer goal!

We can’t wait for another year together!  We’ll touch base periodically over the summer but will be back to our regular schedule in August with more programming, appointments, and helpful blog posts!  If you need to contact us before then please call Dimitria Johnson at 217-333-9669.  We will have some limited advising appointments later in the summer and she can set you up or direct you to the necessary resource.

Until then,

Pre-Law Advising Services Office

Effective Advocacy

I had the privilege of attending a LEAD seminar at the College of Education last week where graduate students hosted disability advocates Sarah Castle and Ann Cody.  These women described effective advocacy and the policy making process.  A crucial component is a lucid legal understanding.  Advocates need legal expertise, and you can build a better understanding of legal and social policy by engaging in these groups in your local community.  Check out their advice for being an effective advocate in the PowerPoint link below, and please email me this summer to let me know how you are advocating in your community – I’d like to spotlight these endeavors by Pre-Law students next Fall.


Ann Cody, MS, CDSS:  As Director of Policy and Global Outreach for BlazeSports America, Ann Cody oversees the Washington, D.C. office, develops relationships with major national and international partners, shapes the organization’s policy efforts, and supports the organization’s sport development initiatives overseas.

As a Washington veteran and Paralympic sport expert of two decades, Ann has extensive knowledge and experience in sports management and governance, community-based sports, policy and advocacy, international development, as well as governmental and international affairs.

Ann is widely known and respected throughout the world as a leader in sport and human rights. She has led a number of national and international advocacy initiatives on sport with a focus on girls and women with disabilities. Through her leadership, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) established a policy on gender equity and several initiatives aimed at increasing participation by women in Paralympic sport and the movement. Ann’s significant international sport network and project experience anchors BlazeSports’ international programs in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Ann serves on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board and is the highest ranking American and highest ranking woman in the IPC worldwide. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee 2018 Evaluation Commission.  Ann holds a bachelor of fine arts and a master of science degree in leisure studies and therapeutic recreation from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. She is a Paralympic Gold Medalist in Athletics and competed on three U.S. Paralympic Teams (Basketball ’84, Athletics ’88, ’92).

Prior to joining BlazeSports Ann served as a Vice President with B&D Consulting where she designed federal affairs strategies for amateur sports, health, and disability-related organizations and provided representation before the United States Congress and the Executive Branch. (from:

 An interview with Ann:

Sarah Castle, J.D.:  Current Position: Special Assistant, United States Attorney.  Education: Doctor of Law (J.D.) at University of Missouri at Kansas City – 2012.  M.A. in Political Science and Government (emphasis and certification in Civic Leadership) – UIUC 2008.  B.A. in Political Science and Government (emphasis in Disability Studies and Civic Leadership) – UIUC 2008

Sarah Castle is a four-time Paralympian, as well as a recently licensed attorney. Sarah is presently employed by the United States Attorney’s Office as a Special Assistant US Attorney. She also serves as a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Board of Directors, and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Athlete Advisory Council. She was recently asked to be a panel speaker at the NCAA National Convention, and spoke on the importance of inclusion of adapted athletic programs in the NCAA.

In 2002, Sarah began college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While there she was a member of the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team and won 5 National Championships, in addition to earning her Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Arts in Political Science and Civic Leadership. As a part of the Civic Leadership Graduate program, Sarah interned for United States Senator Ken Salazar (presently Secretary of the Interior) and for B & D Consulting, where she worked on disability issues. In 2008, Sarah joined the Campaign for Real Choice in Illinois as a Community Organizer, and helped organize initiatives around the state of Illinois promoting the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

Sarah is also a four-time Paralympian. She competed in the 2000 Sydney and the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games in swimming, and in the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball. While unsure if she will pursue a fifth Games, Sarah is presently spending her free time coaching a junior wheelchair basketball team in Kansas City and working with the University of Missouri Wheelchair Basketball team on development. She is also actively involved in working with children with disabilities and their families, teaching skills and providing guidance about ways to help children with disabilities achieve independent lifestyles.