GRE Update

As we have previously mentioned, several law schools have begun accepting either the GRE or the LSAT from law school applicants. This week, two more law schools, Brooklyn Law School and George Washington University Law School, announced that they, too, would accept the GRE, bringing the number to 15 law schools that will begin accepting the GRE now or next year.  Educational Testing Service (ETS), the entity that administers the GRE, has posted the current list on its website.

It is important to remember that the LSAT is still the most widely-accepted standardized test by U.S. law schools.  We strongly encourage you to visit each law school’s website to understand the requirements for selecting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. Note: This situation is in a state of flux.  The American Bar Association, the entity that oversees the accreditation of law schools in the United States, is currently reviewing whether the GRE is an appropriate evaluation tool for law school applicants. This means things could change. Stay tuned!

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of December 4, 2017


Pre-Law Advising

As we noted in last week’s post, the PLAS Fall Events Calendar is complete.  We will resume our programing in January, beginning with our Pre-Law 101 Workshop on Monday, January 29, followed by the LSAT Test Prep Fair on Tuesday, February 6.  In the meantime, stay tuned for our Annual Internship Newsletter, which will be posted NEXT WEEK!  This resource will contain over 15 pages of suggestions, ideas and actual internships for Summer 2018. Note – winter break is the best time to apply for summer internships as many of these opportunities have January application deadlines. This is also a great time to work on applications for scholarships such as the Boren, Beinecke, Udall or the summer UK Fulbright.  Scroll down for more info!

Campus Events

Career Center events of interest to pre-law students include the following list; check www.careercenter.illinois.edu for location & other details and to register.

  • Peace Corps General Informational Meeting — Dec. 6, 6-7pm at Career Center
  • International Student Career Meet Up –  Dealing with Job Search Stress — Dec. 7, 4-5:30pm, Career Center Interview Suite, Room 213, 616 E. Green Street
  • Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Reviews
    • Dec. 4 from 2-4:30 pm at Career Center
    • Dec. 4 from 7-9 in Undergrad Library
    • Dec. 5 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Dec. 5 from 5:30-7:30 at the Ike Room 1010A
    • Dec. 6 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Dec. 6 from 7-9 in Undergrad Library
    • Dec. 7 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Dec. 8 from 2-4:30 pm at Career Center
    • Dec. 10 from 4-9 pm in Undergrad Library

National and International Scholarships Program

Winter break is a great time to work on scholarship applications like the Boren ($20K for lang. study – Jr/Sr), Beinecke ($34K for grad. programs in arts, humanities/social studies – Jr), or Udall ($7K towards environmental studies -Soph-Jr).  Schedule an appointment with David or Jeff before you leave campus so you have everything you need.

Call: 217 333-4710 or email: topscholarsh@illinois.edu.

We are open for appointments Dec. 4-8 from 8:30-5:00 pm.

http://topscholars.illinois.edu/administered-scholarships

Summer UK Fulbright Program for Freshmen and Sophomores

The Fulbright UK Summer Institutes are three-to-four week programs for US Fresh-Soph students who have not yet traveled outside the US.  All expenses paid by the Fulbright program and the application is short!  Participants explore the culture, heritage, and history of the UK while experiencing higher education at a UK university.  Come to an info session to learn how to apply and meet a U of I student who recently won this award.

Friday, Dec. 8th  3:30-4:30 pm  Rm 514  Illini Union Bookstore Building.

http://www.fulbright.org.uk/going-to-the-uk/uk-summer-institutes

For more information of any of these scholarship programs, contact:

 Jeff Yockey Ph.D., Scholarships Coordinator,

National and International Scholarships Program

217 333-4710, yockey@illinois.edu

http://www.topscholars.illinois.edu

Social Justice Education Paraprofessional Program is taking applicants!

The Department of Diversity and Social Justice Education (Diversity ED) is now taking applications for the Social Justice Education Paraprofessional (SJEP) program.  SJEP is designed to promote diversity and student leadership by providing intensive training for students in areas of knowledge, awareness, and skills related to issues of diversity and social justice. Social Justice Education Paraprofessionals serve as peer educators through facilitating workshops, class facilitation, allyship, and program development.  Students who are junior and seniors in the humanities and social sciences are encouraged to apple.  Click here to apply, or for more information: https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/9768586?referrer=

 

Internships, Scholarships, & Opportunities

Sidley Scholars Program–Juniors and Seniors planning on attending law school in the Fall of 2019: consider applying for the Sidley Austin LLP Summer Pre-Law Scholars Program. This program helps to subsidize the cost of LSAT Prep and offers possible additional scholarships.

Scholars will receive up to $2,500 in benefits to fund the LSAT, CAS credentialing, pay tuition in a commercial LSAT preparation course, as well as reimbursement for application and CAS fees for up to seven law schools.

Scholars further may be eligible to receive an additional $2,500 scholarship award, in two installments. Scholars will receive $1,250 when they have (1) successfully completed an approved LSAT preparatory course, (2) taken the LSAT, and (3) applied to at least five accredited law schools. Finally, each Scholar will receive a final $1,250 scholarship distribution once the Scholar has informed Sidley that he or she has been accepted to, and is committed to start law school at, an accredited law school and has attended the entire Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar in the summer immediately preceding the Scholar’s matriculation at that law school.

Click here for more information. Application materials are due Friday January 12!

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Mark Your Calendars – November 27, 2017

Welcome back!  We hope your break was relaxing and got you geared up for final exams, which begin on December 15.

Pre-Law Advising

Our PLAS Fall Events Calendar is complete.  We will resume our programing in January, beginning with our Pre-Law 101 Workshop on Monday, January 29, followed by the LSAT Test Prep Fair on Tuesday, February 6.  In the meantime, stay tuned for our Annual Internship Newsletter, which will be posted the week of December 11!  This resource will contain over 15 pages of suggestions, ideas and actual internships for Summer 2018. Note – winter break is the best time to apply for summer internships as many of these opportunities have January application deadlines. Mark your calendars!

Campus Events

Career Center events of interest to pre-law students include the following list; check www.careercenter.illinois.edu for location & other details and to register.

  • Creating Your Powerful Resume— Nov 28, 4-5pm
  • Creating Your Powerful Cover Letter —  Nov 28, 5-6pm
  • Finding and Applying to Federal Government Jobs — Nov 29, 4-5pm
  • Finding An Internship — Nov 29, 5-6pm
  • Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Reviews
    • Nov. 27 from 2-4:30 pm at Career Center
    • Nov. 27 from 7-9 in Undergrad Library
    • Nov. 28 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Nov. 28 from 5:30-7:30 at the Ike Room 1010A
    • Nov. 29 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Nov. 29 from 7-9 in Undergrad Library
    • Nov. 30 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Dec. 1 from 2-4:30 pm at Career Center
    • Dec. 3 from 4-9 pm in Undergrad Library

Social Justice Education Paraprofessional Program is taking applicants!

The Department of Diversity and Social Justice Education (Diversity ED) is now taking applications for the Social Justice Education Paraprofessional (SJEP) program.  SJEP is designed to promote diversity and student leadership by providing intensive training for students in areas of knowledge, awareness, and skills related to issues of diversity and social justice. Social Justice Education Paraprofessionals serve as peer educators through facilitating workshops, class facilitation, allyship, and program development.  Students who are junior and seniors in the humanities and social sciences are encouraged to apple.  Click here to apply, or for more information: https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/9768586?referrer=

 

 

Internships, Scholarships, & Opportunities

Sidley Scholars Program–Juniors and Seniors planning on attending law school in the Fall of 2019: consider applying for the Sidley Austin LLP Summer Pre-Law Scholars Program. This program helps to subsidize the cost of LSAT Prep and offers possible additional scholarships.

Scholars will receive up to $2,500 in benefits to fund the LSAT, CAS credentialing, pay tuition in a commercial LSAT preparation course, as well as reimbursement for application and CAS fees for up to seven law schools.

Scholars further may be eligible to receive an additional $2,500 scholarship award, in two installments. Scholars will receive $1,250 when they have (1) successfully completed an approved LSAT preparatory course, (2) taken the LSAT, and (3) applied to at least five accredited law schools. Finally, each Scholar will receive a final $1,250 scholarship distribution once the Scholar has informed Sidley that he or she has been accepted to, and is committed to start law school at, an accredited law school and has attended the entire Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar in the summer immediately preceding the Scholar’s matriculation at that law school.

Click here for more information. Application materials are due Friday January 12!

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of September 18

Pre-Law Events

Next week is Law School Application Week! Save the date for the Law School Fair! Next Wednesday, 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.

Next week also has the Law School Admission Panel, featuring the admissions deans at UC Berkeley, University of Chicago and at our own UIUC College of Law on Tuesday, September 26Then on Thursday, September 28, there will be a presentation by Northwestern/Pritzker School of Law.  Go to our Events Calendar for information about time and location for these great events.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume for Law School– Tomorrow, 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.

Engineers and others thinking about patent law! Mark your calendars now for this great event in November!

Patent Bar Exam Session

335 Grainger Engineering Library, Nov 15, 2017  5:00 – 6:00 pm 

The patent bar exam is the required first step to becoming either a patent agent for the United States Patent & Trademark Office or a patent prosecutor/litigator as a practicing attorney. Students with a background in engineering and the sciences (such as biology, biochemistry, physics, chemistry, computer science) are eligible to sit for this exam. (To see all exam requirements, visit the link below).  Join us for this Patent Bar session to learn about the exam from an expert. Mark Dighton, Director of the Practicing Law Institute Patent Office Exam Course, will be here to answer all of your questions.

He’ll also answer any other questions you have about the patent bar exam. This session is specifically designed for those undergrad and graduate students in engineering, science, or technology disciplines who are eligible to sit for the patent bar.

For a list of eligible majors or backgrounds visit  https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/OED_GRB.pdf

For more information and to register for the Patent Bar Exam Info Session, click here.

Campus Events

Career Center 

Here are some workshops offered this week.  For the full Career Center calendar, click on this link.

How to Sell Your LAS Degree at Career FairsToday, Monday, September 18, 4-5pm, 1092 Lincoln Hall

Creating Your Powerful ResumeToday, Monday, September 18, 5-6pm, Room 143, Career Center (go here for other times for this workshop)

Making Your Major Decision — Wednesday, September 20, 4-5pm, 1064 Lincoln Hall

International Student Career Meet Up — Thursday, September 21, 4-5:30pm, Career Center Interview Suite (616 E. Green Street) Room 213

Finding An Internship — Thursday, September 21, 4-5pm, Career Center Room 143

Job Search Resources for International Students — Friday, September 22, 4-6pm, Career Center Interview Suite (616 E. Green Street) Room 213

Criminology, Law, & Society Minor Information Session

3057 Lincoln Hall, 2:00 – 2:30 pm

Learn more about the Department of Sociology’s new minor in Criminology, Law, & Society! If you have additional questions, contact soc-advising@illinois.edu

JUSTICE JESSE G. REYES TO PRESENT DEAN’S PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT LECTURE

Thursday, September 21 at 12 p.m. Max L. Rowe Auditorium, Law Building

Justice Jesse G. Reyes, Illinois Appellate Court, First District will discuss important priorities for the legal profession, including diversity inclusion in the legal profession, and providing a voice for a large segment of our middle class and working population.The lecture is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided to lecture attendees.

Minority Association of Future Attorneys (MAFA) meeting is Tuesday September 19 at 7PM. Noyes Lab 165 – everyone is welcome!

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 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!

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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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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Mark Your Calendars – End of Semester Edition – Farewell Class of 2017!

Information for Graduating Seniors and Alumni

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 and some other application tips, go to our April 26 blog post.  If you would like a helpful overview on letters of recommendation that you can share with letter writers, 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!

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 12 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 only be posting to our blog a couple of times per month, we will occasionally post information of interest on Facebook (Pre-Law Advising at U of IL) and Twitter (@UIUCPreLaw).  Keep checking in – you never know what interesting opportunities we will hear about and share.

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!

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LSAT Preparation: Some Thoughts from a UIUC Alum

Today’s guest blogger is Cary Shepherd, a graduate of the UIUC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he studied History.  Cary received a 171 on the LSAT, which is the 98th percentile (scores range from 120-180).  After taking the LSAT, Cary became an LSAT tutor, working with students at UIUC and in Chicago. Cary is currently in his second year at the University of Chicago Law School.

To read an extended version of this article, please visit the “LSAT Preparation” tab on the UIUC Prelaw Compass page. The Compass version contains important details about the preparation process, and links to LSAT studying materials.

______________________________________________________________________

If you choose to attend law school, taking the LSAT will likely be one of the most important events of your career. Much like marriage, this pivotal event is not guaranteed to change your life for the better. Roughly 50% of marriages nationwide end in divorce; roughly 40% of law school graduates fail to find long-term jobs as attorneys. But there is good news. If being an attorney is the job for you, it is possible to improve drastically on the LSAT, and a great LSAT score will help to get you into a great school, maybe with a great scholarship! That said, doing well on the LSAT is no easy task. This article will provide you with the basic steps to success on the test.

First things first – for the best results, you need to spend at least six months studying for this test. This next part is important: it is not possible to cram for the LSAT.  Even if you study 40 hours a week, it takes time to absorb what you are learning. Success requires that you study for two hours per day, six days per week, for at least six months. I’ve tutored numerous law school candidates, and the ones who work hard generally improve an average of 1.5-2 points per month.

During those two hours a day, your studying is going to be divided among an assortment of tasks at the beginning stages, and gradually narrow down to a more simplified set of responsibilities. Here’s a look at the fundamental steps:

  1. Purchase and take an LSAT preptest that is no older than 2012. You need to do this at the earliest possible stage so you know your base-level performance. This will help you to focus your study efforts, and it will allow you to gauge how long it will take for you to reach your target score. It also allows you to better understand the advice given in your preparation guides.
  2. Purchase and carefully read a high-quality LSAT preparation book. Then reread it. Now again. If you purchase books divided into the three section types, start with the logical reasoning, then read the logic games, and finally the reading comprehension guide. You can read them all simultaneously, but if you start reading them one at a time, do it in that order.
  3. After you have been reading your study guides for about two weeks, it is time for you to start taking an LSAT preptest on a weekly basis. Carve out a time of the week that you always have free and take a four-section preptest. Make sure to use a digital proctor, a wooden pencil, an analog watch, and never give yourself extra time or extra breaks. When you finish the test, take a break and then correct your exam.
  4. Record your performance. Create a spreadsheet and input the date you took the preptest, the preptest number, your score, and how you performed on each section. This will allow you to track your progress and focus your efforts on the areas that need improvement.
  5. Once you have grasped the fundamentals of the sections types, you should start taking individual sections under real test conditions daily (i.e. take one 35-minute section each day). After you have taken your section, score it and correct the questions you answered incorrectly. Make sure you understand why you were mistaken on your incorrect answers, as if you fail to do this, you will fail to improve.
  6. Once you have reread your LSAT books ad nauseam, you can put them on your shelf for a while. Use this extra time to increase your preptest schedule to twice a week, and spend more time taking individual 35-minute sections. The key to this phase is correcting both your answers as well as your habits. For example, if you find yourself becoming unfocused, note this, and labor to resolve that issue. If your records indicate you are regularly missing “parallel reasoning” questions, reread the chapter on these, and check out what other reputable LSAT guides say on the topic.

A lack of obvious improvement can be demoralizing. Mental health aside, this will make it hard to keep studying for dozens of hours every month if you haven’t seen your score increase in weeks. But if you are studying intently – even if your score doesn’t show it today – you will improve eventually. I’ve gone as long as six weeks without seeing any improvements. When I finally did make that next breakthrough though, it was well worth it and the results were apparent. Good luck, and try to enjoy yourself!

Author’s Note

Please note that there is more than one way to prepare for this test. I’ve had considerable personal success using this approach, and many of my tutoring students have benefited from these practices as well. Additionally, these points only scratch the surface of the best preparation methods. Many students benefit from additional practices ranging from meditation to reading National Geographic.

If you have any questions, or if you are interested in tutoring services, please feel free to email me at lsat.shepherd@gmail.com. I offer a free introductory tutoring session, and I am always happy to hear from UIUC students.

 

 

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of April 17

PLAS Programs

Applying to Law School: A Workshop for Fall Applicants – TODAY, April 17, 4-5pm, Room 514 IUB

This workshop is designed for students who plan to apply to law school this fall. We will provide an overview of the application process, including: Understanding the Credential Assembly Service, getting recommendations, creating an application strategy, researching law schools, budgeting for the application process, suggested resources to use, LSAT considerations, and more. Time for Q&A will be available. This workshop does not cover writing the personal statement, which is covered in the separate workshop on Perfecting the Personal Statement and Resume for Law School.  

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume: A Workshop for Fall Applicants – NEXT Tuesday, April 25, 4-5pm, Room 514 IUB

Planning to apply to law school this fall? This summer is a great time to focus on crafting the perfect personal statement and resume, which are very important elements of the application process. This workshop will provide an overview of the personal statement and resume required for law school applications, plus it will cover: Brainstorming topics, how to begin, creating a timeline, how to make the resume and personal statement complement each other, and we will provide a four step plan to approach crafting these critical documents. Please register so that we can ensure enough seating and materials for everyone.

Campus Opportunities

The Office of Volunteer Programs is hiring PAID undergraduate office staff positions School year student employees work regular office hours as well as special events that occur in the mornings, evenings, and on weekends. Applicants must be enrolled in Fall 2017 classes at the start of employment. Starting pay rate is $8.25/hr. To apply: please complete an application at the Illini Union Employment website, and after you have filled out the form, send a cover letter that includes your interest in the position along how you will contribute to the success of the office; a resume; phone and email contact information for two references; and availability for a potential 30-minute phone/Skype/in-person interview during the next three weeks to John Race, Program Advisor, by email at jrrace@illinois.edu.

Apply to be a Women in Leadership Intern. The YWCA of the University of Illinois is seeking Women in Leadership interns for the 2017-18 school year. Women in Leadership is an intensive, two semester leadership and project management internship. Structured as a group consulting project, the program allows interns to work directly with local human services agencies to learn about the nonprofit sector; identify organizational challenges; and research, propose, and implement solutions. Throughout the year, interns receive training focusing on professional development, leadership skills, and building a working team, all of which are applied to their projects. Interns are guided through this process by mentors drawn from Urbana-Champaign’s excellent professional and graduate student pools. Open to all UIUC students. For more information, please contact Amarin Young at amarin@ywcauofi.org. To learn more and apply, visit: www.ywcauofi.org/womeninleadership. Applications are due April 30th.

We hope that you have been keeping up on our blog and Facebook posts about internships and summer pre-law programs.  Time is slipping away – summer will be here before you know it so if you don’t have anything set, now is the time to work on securing something! Another resource you should continue to utilize is our 20 page Internship Newsletter over on our Pre-Law Compass page that we posted in December! (Click here for instructions on how to access our Compass page.) The Internship Newsletter has lots of job and internship listings for spring, summer and long-term opportunities from Champaign to D.C. and beyond.  In addition, you should regularly check iLink to see if summer internships have been posted there.

The Family Resiliency Center is currently accepting applications for the HDFS 494: STRONG Kids undergraduate research course.  The STRONG Kids Research Program provides a unique, team-based, hands-on research experience working with over 450 families with children aged 3 months-4 years. Applications are due THIS FRIDAY, April 21st!  Applications will be reviewed and interviews conducted the last week of April. The link to the application is below.

Students are eligible if they:

  • Will have sophomore, junior, or senior class standing by Fall 2017
  • Are available to work regular hours on an assigned research project for 6-9 hours per week
  • Have two, 3 hour blocks of time each week (including one evening)
  • Are able to attend class every other week on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00

The purpose of these two-semester year-long supervised research course is to provide students with a first-hand experience working as part of a research team as well as to help them develop a working knowledge of the theory and applications of transdisciplinary approaches to obesity research.

This course is divided into 3 components: Obesity prevention, professional development training, and applied research.

Additional information about this course, as well the application can be found on our website at: http://familyresiliency.illinois.edu/education/undergraduate-students.

Fulbright Scholarship Information Sessions

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards approximately 2,000 full scholarships annually to students for studies, research, or English teaching in any of 140 countries worldwide. The National and International Scholarships Program will provide a comprehensive overview of the grant and include advice from recent Illinois Fulbright recipients. There will be lots of time to get your questions answered and enjoy free pizza. The session is targeted to juniors, seniors, and graduate students who wish to explore Fulbright opportunities and ready materials for the Fulbright Priority Deadline of June 29, 2017 for grants beginning in fall 2018.Interested in pursuing a Fulbright Scholarship?  Here

Fulbright Information Session – Tuesday, April 18, 3:30-5:30 pm, 180 Bevier Hall Sponsor: National and International Scholarships Program, including speakers from the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships and recent Fulbright grantees

Fulbright Informational Webinar for Illinois Alumni and Students Abroad – Thursday, April 20, 12:00-1:00pm CST Sponsor: National and International Scholarships Program

If you are not currently on campus to take advantage of our Fulbright Information Session, join us remotely for this webinar!  The same detailed overview will be provided for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, including: eligibility, grant types, and application advice.  There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Fulbright Personal Statement Workshop – Friday, April 21, 3:30-4:30pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore Sponsors: National and International Scholarships Program and the Writers Workshop

The two main sections of a Fulbright application consist of 1) an essay describing your Fulbright project and how you will spend your year—Statement of Grant Purpose, and 2) an essay describing why you should be the one to do this project—Personal Statement.

We will dissect the key components Fulbright reviewers are seeking to glean from the personal statement, review and discuss past winning Fulbright personal statements, and assist you in beginning to sketch and portray your own story.

You need not know your desired destination or specific Fulbright project to benefit from this workshop. The session is targeted to juniors, seniors, and beginning graduate students who wish to apply for any type of Fulbright grant and ready materials for the Fulbright Priority Deadline of June 29, 2017 for grants beginning in fall 2018.

The Career Center has posted its spring workshop calendar on their website at: https://www.careercenter.illinois.edu/events.  Now is a great time to update your resume, plan your job search or summer internship, and get to know their office and resources.  Scroll down for information about that and other upcoming workshops.

  • Resume, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Reviews — April 17, 2-4pm, Career Center Resources Center; April 17,7-9pm, Undergrad Library, Consultation Corner. This workshop is offered on several other dates. Click here for more info.
  • Finding and Applying to Federal Government Jobs — April 17, 3-4pm
  • Acing Your Interview — April 17, 4-5pm
  • Peace Corps: General Information Meeting — April 18, 6-7pm

Scholarship Opportunities 

Please check out last Wednesday’s blog post on scholarships.  You can also go directly to our Compass page for a list of over 200 scholarships for undergrads and incoming law students!

NEW–The Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Scholarship is accepting applications until May 19. This scholarship awards $40,000 over 3 years to an incoming law student attending any Illinois law school who intends to pursue a career in public interest law. Click here for more details and to apply.

The Aspiring Attorney scholarship awards $1,000 towards law school. Application due April 30. Click here to apply.

The Earl Warren Scholarship awards $10,000 to entering law students for each year of law school (totalling $30,000). Applications due May 1. Click here to apply.

The Lawson Law Scholarship provides $2,000 towards tuition for young Christian law students. Applications due April 30. Click here to apply.

The Moses & Rooth Scholarship will award $1,000 to an incoming 1L student. Applications due June 1. Click here to apply.

The O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley LLP Scholarship will award $1,000 to an incoming law student. Must demonstrate proof of acceptance to law school. Applications due July 15. Click here to apply.

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Course Options for Fall 2017

Still looking for some fall courses? As you know, students in 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 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.

AAS 370/LLS 372: Immigration, Law, and Rights

  • Exploration of the histories, cultures, and experiences of immigration to the United States by examining cultural production (literary and visual narratives and texts) alongside legal discourses (legislation, federal court cases).

ACE 240: Personal Financial Planning

  • Understanding financial instruments and tax implications is critical for many lawyers

Communication courses are helpful, as all lawyers must demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills.

  • CMN 101: Public Speaking (this is a prereq for most upper level CMN courses)
  • CMN 211: Business Communication
  • CMN 310: The Rhetorical Tradition
  • CMN 321: Strategies of Persuasion
  • CMN 323: Argumentation

INFO 303: Writing Across Media, a skill that all careers integrate and value.

LAW 301: Introduction to Law

  • Serves as a general foundation course for those interested in applying to law school.

Philosophy options include: 

  • PHIL 102: Logic & Reasoning This course is particularly helpful for students who have yet to take the LSAT, as two sections of the LSAT are based on Logical Reasoning.
  • PHIL 104/105: Intro to Ethics This course includes some basic exploration of ethics, including looking at the relationship between social morality and the law.

Political Science options to explore specific legal areas include:

  • PS 301/302: US Constitution I &II, are helpful primers for law school
  • PS 312: Politics and the Media
  • PS 313: Congress and Foreign Policy
  • PS 323: Law & Representation

PSYC 368: Psych and Law

  • Examines relationship of the administrative, civil, and criminal justice systems to educational and mental health institutions; individual rights, social issues, and psychological well being.

Sociology is introducing its Criminology, Law and Society Minor this fall, and has some interesting classes listed, including:

  • SOC 275: Criminology
  • SOC 477: Sociology of Law

Other courses to explore different areas of law include:

  • JOUR 311: Media Law
  • RST 354: Legal Aspects of Sport
  • SE 400 (formerly GE 400): Engineering Law – note – only prerequisite is Rhet 105
  • TE 450: Startups: Incorporate, Fund, Contracts, Intellectual Property
  • UP 211: Local Planning, Government and Law

Remember: these are only suggestions.  Further, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. There are many other great courses described in the Course Explorer, some of which have prerequisites but are still open to undergrads. Do your own research and talk with your academic advisor to identify other good options.

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