Taking a Gap Year: Decisions, Timing, and General Advice

The decision to take a gap year is a personal one and the choice is up to you. There are many factors to consider when you are thinking about taking a gap year versus going straight through to law school. Here are some questions and answers commonly associated with taking a gap year.

First, what is a gap year?

A “gap year” is a year (or more) between finishing your undergraduate degree and beginning law school. Students take a gap year for many reasons, such as:

– financial considerations

– retaking the LSAT, and

– to determine whether law school is the correct choice.

Second, if you decide to take a gap year, where should you work?

University of Illinois students have chosen different jobs for their gap year(s). There is not a perfect job to take during your gap year, so do something you enjoy or a job that will provide you with transferable skills. These can include:

  • Project Assistant/Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Teach for America
  • Peace Corps
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Engineering
  • Campaign work/politics
  • Nonprofit work
  • Anything you want!

Third, if you decide to take a gap year, what should you do before your graduate?

– Find a professor that you are willing to keep in contact with for a letter of recommendation. Ideally, you want to have a recent letter, so keeping in contact with a professor during your time off is the best choice. When asking your professor for a letter of recommendation – provide information about how you did in their class, work from that class you completed, and give the recommender enough time to write a letter.

– Try to take the LSAT! It is much easier to take the LSAT while you are in school than when you are working. Your LSAT score is good for 5 years.

– Set up a CAS (Credential Assembly Service) account and make sure to submit your official transcripts from the University and have them on file with the LSAC.

– Start networking early! Don’t be afraid to reach out to lawyers/others in the legal sector early on, even as an undergrad. A diverse and broad network will help you later on in your legal career and can provide for opportunities for mentorship.

Fourth, what skills should you focus on during your time off that will be helpful in law school?

  • Attention to detail
    • proofreading, if possible
  • Setting professional and personal goals and deadlines
  • Maintaining a good work ethic
    • showing up on on time
    • being accountable for your work product
  • Working with different personalities and understanding your audience
  • Networking

Also, keep in contact with Pre-Law Advising Services. We happy to make appointments with alumni as well as current students. Call 217-333-9669 to schedule an appointment with us.

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Admitted Student Days and Law School Visits

 Admitted Students Days and Law School Visits

Admitted student days are typically day-long events and programs that are held by most law schools for admitted students only. These events allow you to visit and see the school. If you are unsure about your decision, an admitted student day can help make your decision a little easier.

When choosing a law school, it is important to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Admitted student days are the best way to learn about the school(s) you are considering. These events are a preview to what the next three years will be like.

Travel expenses are also reimbursed for many schools if you are traveling a certain distance for the event. Some schools will cover up to $300-$400 in travel expenses. Check with the school for more information.

Here are some tips for admitted student days:

  1. Dress professionally.
    1. Business casual dress is a good idea for an event like this.
    2. If you meet professors, deans, and other important people, you want to look the part.
    3. At the very least, be cognizant that you will be making many first impressions this day, you want to dress appropriately.
    4. Check with the school and see if they have a dress code for the day – some schools will be more formal than others.
  2. Try to write down your thoughts after the admitted students day.
    1. Did you like the way the school was set up?
    2. Is there anything unique about the school that made you more inclined to go there?
    3. Is there anything you didn’t like?
    4. What was your overall impression of the students?
    5. If you go to more than one admitted student day, try to remember how the students interacted with one another – could you see yourself fitting in at this school?
  3. Ask questions!
    1. Talk to the current students about employment, externships/internships, job placements, bar passage rates, and what they think of the school. Current student perspectives can be an asset for the decision process.
    2. What type of extracurricular activities are they involved in? Or what clubs? What programs are best for a first year law student to join?
    3. How often are there networking events at the law school?
    4. If you are concerned about finances, ask students if they work at law firms or are paid research assistants? Are there any ways to off-set the costs early on?
  4. Explore the surrounding area.
    1. What is the average cost for rent? Where do most law students live? What is the month that most leases start?
    2. How close are grocery stores and malls? Are there other libraries nearby besides the library in the law building?
    3. Do you need a car for this school? What does it cost to park near the law school or to take public transportation?
    4. What is it like to travel to this town or city? Some schools are more difficult to get to than others. Keep in mind the trip you will need to take to back for school vacations and breaks.
    5. Are there nearby courthouses and law firms where students can work?
  5. Refrain from bringing guests to an admitted student day.
    1. While it is great to have your parents supporting you, you should be attending this event on your own and the decision you make should be for you.

If you cannot make a formal admitted student day or you get off a wait list after an admitted student day, try to visit the law schools you are seriously considering. Law school is busy enough – the first time you step on campus should not be the first day of school. If you are waitlisted at a school and are highly considering it as an option if you get in, try to visit during spring break or when you have the time now.

Consider joining “Admitted Student” Facebook pages (if the school has one) and/or other social media accounts if you are looking for a roommate, or trying to meet more people before you start school. Some schools have roommate matching programs in place for the incoming classes. If you know any alumni or current students at the law school you are visiting, check in with them to see the advice they have in mind.

If you cannot make the formal event, try to visit over spring break or over a weekend before the next seat deposit is due. Law school is a big investment for both time and money – you want to make sure it’s the right fit for you!

Also, consider attending Pre-Law Advising Services’ “Transitioning to Law School Event” on April 10th to learn more about what you can do to prepare for the start of your law school career!

Here are the dates for some admitted student days for schools in Illinois:

Chicago-Kent: Admitted Students Weekend is: Friday March 31 and Saturday April 1; Other visit days for Admitted Students are: March 10th and 24th, April 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th, and May 5th 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

DePaul: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 (5:30 PM), Saturday, April 8, 2017 (10 AM), Saturday, May 20, 2017 (10 AM)

Loyola Chicago: Saturday March 25 and Friday April 28.

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of March 6

Connect with Pre-Law Advising Services! Join us for even more internship, scholarship, and event opportunities!
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witter: Click here to follow us

Thank you to everyone who attend our Negotiating Scholarship Workshop last Monday. We have other pre-law events at the end of the month and the beginning of April for you to look forward to, as well.

Upcoming Programs from Pre-Law Advising Services:

Taking a Gap Year Before Law School

Are you considering working before law school? Or want to know more about going straight through to law school?

The panel will feature three current law students from the University of Illinois College of Law. They will discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking time off and working.

We will also share some tips and suggestions for students to maximize their time off and effectively highlight post-undergraduate skills.

Wednesday March 29 at 5PM. Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore Building

International Students’ Perspectives on Law School in the United States

Wednesday April 5 at 4PM. Room 504 in the Illini Union Bookstore Building

Are you an international student considering law school in the United States? Join us for this great panel discussion.

The panel for this event will include two current law students that will discuss their decision to attend law school in the United States

Topics discussed will include: the benefits and long-term value of an American law degree, visa processes, and life at an American law school.

Transitioning to Law School

Monday April 10, 4PM-5PM. Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore Building

Attending law school this fall? Learn about how to prepare for law school and the next three years.

Topics discussed will include: finances, seat deposits, living arrangements, and advice for what to do this summer

Meet other U of I students attending law school this fall across the country!

Internships and Summer Pre-Law Programs

We hope that you have been keeping up on our blog and Facebook posts about internships and summer pre-law programs.  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.

On Campus Events

Writer’s Workshop Event

The Writer’s Workshop is hosting a “Writing Effective Thesis Statements” workshop on Wednesday March 8 from 4PM- 5PM in 1062 Lincoln Hall.

Career Center’s “Finding an Internship” Workshop

Gaining experience while in college is very important when it comes to finding employment after graduation. Learn how to search for internships and other opportunities by using different search engines including I-Link, Illinois’ campus-wide recruiting platform.

March 7 from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. The workshop will be held in the Career Center Conference Room 143.

Career Center’s “Acing Your Interview” Workshop

During an interview, you only have a short time to convey you are a great fit for a position or organization. Learn the most common types of interviews, how to prepare for an interview, how to structure answers to interview questions, and tips for following up after an interview.

March 8 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. The workshop will be held in the Career Center Conference Room 143.

Internship Opportunity! See the flyer below for more information on the Wolff Public Policy Research Intern position.

Learn more about the new Sociology minor! There will be an Information Session for the new Sociology Minor in Crimonology, Law, and Society this week. The info session will be Thursday March 9th at 5PM in Lincoln Hall 3057.

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Summer Pre-Law Programs

Summer Pre-Law Programs

Summer pre-law programs are an excellent opportunity for undergrads to learn more about law school! Some are paid and other programs have fees and a cost for students to attend. These programs are a different way to explore being pre-law during the summer months. These programs are a great addition to a resume, but are in no way mandatory for a pre-law student.

Some universities offer pre-law programs on their campuses. This is a way for you to learn more about law school, visit a law school and campus, and learn more about law school in a structured setting. If you are considering attending law school at any of the schools below, these summer pre-law programs are an excellent way to get your foot in the door and experience what your life could be like there throughout law school.

Here is information about three pre-law summer programs; there are many other programs in addition to these three. The lengths of the programs vary from school to school. The program at Chicago-Kent takes place over a few weeks in June, Penn State’s program takes place over one weekend in May, and Saint Louis University’s program runs for a few weeks in June.

IIT Chicago-Kent

Program: Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program

Dates: Sunday, June 4, to Friday, June 23, 2017

Cost: Free

Location: Chicago, IL

Application Deadline: March 1, 2017

Program Information:  The PLUS program is a free, three-week summer program that will: provide participants with a deeper understanding of legal education via the program’s rigorous doctrinal and experiential skills-based curriculum; help participants develop essential core competencies needed to succeed in the law school application and admissions process, as well as insight into navigating the process; and expose students to a wide range of career paths within the legal profession.

Students must attend all classes and participate in all program activities in order to be accepted and to receive a stipend. This is a full-time commitment. Therefore, students must be available during the day and some evenings, and have no outside commitments that would prevent them from giving the program their full attention. Students must agree to provide PLUS administrators with education and career updates after completion of the program.

Website: https://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/academics/pre-law-undergraduate-scholars-program

Penn State

Program: Explore Law

Dates: May 15 – 17, 2017

Cost: Free

Location: University Park, PA

Application Deadline: April 1, 2017

Program Information: Explore Law, a tuition-free, residency program held at Penn State Law in University Park, Pa., available to any undergraduate student–regardless of location, major, or residence–who is interested in learning more about law school. Explore Law will give you the opportunity to learn about multiple fields of law and myriad law careers from law professors, judges, and practicing attorneys. The program will help prepare you with detailed information on the admissions process, how to write an excellent personal statement on your law school application, and how to finance your degree. Explore Law is designed exclusively to mentor and build relationships with all students who may be interested in studying law.

Website: https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/admissions/explore-law

Saint Louis University

Program: DiscoverLaw.org Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program

Dates: Sunday, June 4, 2017 to Saturday, July 1, 2017

Cost: Free

Location: Saint Louis, MO

Application Deadline: March 31, 2017

Program Information: The DiscoverLaw.org Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program is held at Saint Louis University School of Law is aimed to recognize and reward students for their demonstrated interest in community service and social justice and provide them the best opportunity to successfully enter the legal profession. This four-week summer immersion program will: Introduce students to the essential skills and competencies of a law student and legal professional; assist them in gaining a broader appreciation for the practice of law and how to navigate a path to law school; inspire them by demonstrating how lawyers can use their skills and training to serve their community and bring about social change

Website: http://law.slu.edu/admissions/plus-program

Discoverlaw.org offers similar programs at the University of Maine, University of Texas, and University of Wisconsin. For more information: http://www.discoverlaw.org/diversity/plus.asp

To reiterate, these programs are completely optional. They provide another way to gain exposure to law schools and learn more about those schools. Most of these programs are encouraged for freshman and sophomores, but some programs are open to juniors and seniors, too. Summer break is a great time to expand your resume. Also, consider other opportunities like an internship, taking a summer class, studying for the LSAT, or working on your applications!

Check out our Compass page for more information in the “Summer Pre-Law Programs” folder.

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of February 13th

We have updated our Spring Semester calendar of events! Upcoming PLAS programs include the Negotiating Scholarships Workshop, featuring Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, at the UIUC College of Law, on Monday, February 27 at 5pm!

Scholarship and Grant Opportunities 

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is now accepting applications for the Research Support Grant (RSG). This grant provides students from all disciplines with the funds necessary to conduct research or creative projects during the academic year both on and off campus (including summer terms). Awards will be up to $2,000 and are meant to cover research travel costs, living expenses incurred during academic breaks (i.e., winter break and summer terms, NOT regular semester living expenses), and materials or other ancillary costs.  We hope that this competition will both broaden and deepen the types of research being conducted by undergraduate students on campus, and that the recipients are able to use this opportunity as a way of engaging with their fields. For details and eligibility requirements please visit: http://go.illinois.edu/OUR_RSG. Deadline for applications will be Wednesday, March 1, at 11:59 p.m. Questions may be addressed to ugresearch@illinois.edu

We hope you have been utilizing 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 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

Scholarship opportunity for those entering law school this fall

The ABA Diversity Scholarship is designed for underrepresented students who demonstrate financial need and community involvement. Awards will be $15,000 for entering law students, which is renewable for years 2 and 3 of law school.  Applicants must be entering law school in 2017 and submit an application, personal statement, and statement of financial need by March 2. Find the application and more details here. 

Upcoming Campus Opportunities and Events for Pre-Law Students

Monday February 27th – Negotiating Scholarships Workshop with UIUC College of Law Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid Rebecca Ray

The hard part of applying to law school is over, and now you’re starting to receive acceptances and financial aid offers. So…what happens next? Now is the time to assess aid offers and discuss options for additional scholarships with your law schools. What information can you provide that will persuade a law school to reconsider your aid? How can applicants have a respectful yet productive conversation that potentially results in more scholarship dollars being awarded? Join us as we examine exactly how to go about negotiating law school scholarships with the expertise of Dean Rebecca Ray, the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law. This session is a must-see for anyone applying to law school, and the information applies whether U of I or another law school is your goal.

For more information, click here.

Career Center Opportunities:

Excellent Workshop for Students Considering Taking a Gap Year – The Career Center is hosting a workshop about Finding & Applying to Federal Government Jobs next Monday February 20th from 4:00PM – 5:00PM  in the Career Center Conference Room 143. This workshop will give you tips on how to make yourself competitive for federal government opportunities as well as discuss the benefits of working for the government, how to find the right agency fit, and how to best navigate USAJOBS.gov and other government resources. This is a great opportunity for students planning on taking a gap year or two!

For more information, click here.

The Career Center is also hosting a Finding an Internship workshop, TODAY February 13th from 5:00PM – 6:00PM in the Career Center Conference Room 143. Learn how to search for internships and other opportunities by using different search engines including I-Link, Illinois’ campus-wide recruiting platform.

The Career Center is hosting a Creating Your Powerful Resume workshop Wednesday February 15th from 4:00PM – 5:00PM in the Career Center Conference Room 143. Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to draft an effective resume that describes your qualifications, skills, and experience. A great resume is an advantage in the law school application process.

Study Abroad- Approaching Deadlines!

Many of the Summer/Fall study abroad applications are due Wednesday, February 15th.  Some programs have different/extended deadlines. The Summer SOCW Greece faculty-lead program deadline is February 12th. Additionally, the Rome Summer program has a March 15th deadline and the Rome Fall program has an April 15th deadline. If students have questions about their application, send them to 112 International Studies Building during walk-in advising hours from 12PM-4PM, Monday through Friday.

New Sociology Minor of Criminology, Law, and Society!

The Department of Sociology is very excited to announced that coming this Fall they are launching a Minor in Criminology, Law, and Society.

All info sessions held in Room 3057 Lincoln Hall on the following dates:

Thursday February 23 at 3:30PM

Wednesday March 1 at 5:00PM

Thursday March 9 at 5:00PM.

New summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)

Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science (INCLUSION) is seeking students to apply for 10-week paid summer software-in-research training program. Successful applicants will work full-time on one of socially-impactful INCLUSION research projects that develop and use open source software.  Applications must be submitted by March 13, 2017 for full consideration. REU-INCLUSION program information and online application form are available on the REU-INCLUSION website at: http://reu.ncsa.illinois.edu. Priority is given to minority undergraduate students applying from outside of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Upcoming Law School Events

THIS WEEKEND–OPEN TO ALL PRE-LAW STUDENTS

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Diversity Law Day is Saturday, February 18. You’ll learn about what lawyers do, experience a mock class, meet current law students, and tour the school. For more details and to register visit their website. http://www.law.indiana.edu/what/professional-careers/jd-degree/diversity-day/

The Wisconsin Statewide Pre-Law Diversity Day is set for Friday, February 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. This event is open to all students. For more information and to register, visit their website here. Cosponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School, this FREE event includes lunch and:

  • an update on law school admissions in Wisconsin featuring the University of Wisconsin and Marquette Law Schools;
  • an overview of the Law School Admission Test with practice questions;
  • breakout workshops featuring a mock class for students; and
  • law school fair featuring admissions representatives from law schools around the country.  Click here for a list of law schools that are registered for this year’s event.

Join OIIR every weekday for a noontime discussion, and learn something new. Featuring speakers, panels, and resources at the University of Illinois, all lunches introduce you to the cultures, histories, and societal issues that the diverse communities of our campus face. Programs take place from noon to 1 pm. Lunches are paid for in part by the Student Cultural Programming Fee. For their spring schedule, click here.

OIIR is also hosting a Diversity and Leadership Summit this Sunday February 19th. The Summit will be held in the SDRP Multipurpose Rooms. Join students from across campus and our guest facilitators for this leadership-altering workshop. This training will help participants:

  • Build Connections
  • Develop New Skills
  • Cultivate Passion
  • Create Social Change
  • Explore Identity
  • Lead Consciously

This training is free to Illinois students. Lunch and snacks are included. Register @ http://leadership.illinois.edu. (Click on the Login button and select Diversity & Leadership Summit in the Workshops link). For more information contact SJLEOA@housing.illinois.edu.

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Planning Ahead for the LSAT

Are you taking the LSAT this year? Try to plan ahead!

  • Make a Schedule
    1. When will you take the LSAT?
      1. The LSAT is only offered FOUR times a year. This is different than many other graduate school exams. Here are the months when the LSAT is offered:
        1. February
        2. June
        3. September/October
        4. December
          1. For more information on the specific dates the tests are offered, please visit the LSAC website.
        5. Keep in mind that you want to give yourself enough time to apply, write your personal statements, and double check your applications. Doing all this all at the last minute is not a good idea. There are a lot of different components that go into an application.
  • Figure Out Your Study Plan and Resources
    1. How will you study? What resources will you use? Some students buy books and study on their own while other students choose to take a LSAT prep course.
    2. Come learn more about different test prep companies and their courses! Find the best one for you! The LSAT PREP FAIR is Wednesday February 1st from 2:00PM-4:00PM in Illini Union Rooms B&C.
    3. June LSAT takers – keep an eye out for sign-ups for our June 2017 LSAT on-campus study groups. Sign-ups will be coming out in the next few weeks.
  • Carve Out Enough Time to Study
    1. Make sure you are studying for the LSAT when you have time to commit to it.
    2. If studying during the school year, try to be reasonable with the classes you are taking. You do not want to be taking the hardest classes of college and study for the LSAT at the same time.
    3. If you plan to study over the summer, make a schedule early so you know how to balance summer break with LSAT studying in a productive way.
  • Sign Up For the LSAT Early
    1. Some testing centers fill up quicker than others. Sign up early so you can test at your preferred location.
    2. If you are taking the June 2017 LSAT, sign up early! Typically, this test fills up by spring break.
  • Location: Decide Where You Want to Take the LSAT
    1. Some students decide to go home to take the LSAT, but some students feel more comfortable taking the LSAT on campus. Pick your preferred location for test day.
  • Cost
    1. The LSAT is not a cheap test. Currently, the cost for the LSAT is $180 per test. Late registration adds $90 to the base cost. Signing up early is important.
    2. Some students are eligible for fee waivers. For more information to go to the LSAC website.
      1. The basic criterion for receiving a waiver is the absolute inability to pay. Because the cost of these services is only a fraction of the cost of a legal education, the need criterion is considerably more stringent than for other financial aid processes. Only those with extreme need should apply.

Planning ahead is the best way to prepare for LSAT!

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of January 23

LSAT Prep Fair is February 1!

The PLAS-sponsored LSAT Test Prep Company Fair is set for Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 2:00-4:00pm, Illini Union Rooms B&C! This event is a chance to learn more about several commercial LSAT test prep companies, participate in informative mini-workshops conducted by the companies and win discounts on test prep materials and scholarships for courses! To find out who is coming and see the workshop schedule, keep checking the PLAS website for updates on the fair.

*Note: Pre-Law Advising Services does not endorse any commercial LSAT test prep company.

Pre-Law 101 — Tuesday, January 31, 4:00pm, 514 IUB

Are you new to pre-law at Illinois? Then this event is a great opportunity for you! This workshop will cover: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois; what law schools are really looking for; what pre-law students can do to maximize their undergraduate years; how to build a strong pre-law resume; what resources are available to assist pre-law students at Illinois. For more details and to register, click here.

FREE PRACTICE LSAT  – Friday February 24th from 8:30 am – 11:30 am  

Get a feel for the real Law School Admission Test by taking this practice exam! This timed practice LSAT will be offered in a structured classroom-style environment with a proctor. The exam will feature four sections plus an optional writing section at the end. Students with no LSAT experience can get a baseline score, and students prepping for June will  assess their preparation needs. Please register at the link above. Location and other details will be sent to registrants. Special thanks to the Law School Admission Council for granting a license to utilize the LSAT for this practice exam. To register, follow this link.

CAMPUS EVENTS

The Illini Union is hosting the Winter Week of Welcome featuring all kinds of fun events this week.  Check out the listing here, and mark your calendars for the RSO Involvement Fair on Wednesday, January 25!

Illinois in Washington summer semester applications are due Feb. 1. For more information check out the Illinois in Washington website.

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. Upcoming workshops include:

Resume, Cover Letter and Linked In Reviews, Tues, Jan. 17, 2-4:30pm Career Center; 5:30-7:30pm at the IKE, Room 1010; 7:30-9:30pm at the Undergrad Library, Consultation Corner

Career Certificate – International Students (CCI) Info Session – Tuesday, Jan.17, 4:00pm, The Interview Suite, 616 East Green Street, Room 213

Resume, Cover Letter and Linked In Reviews, Wed, Jan. 18, 2-4:30pm Career Center;  7:00-9:00pm at the Undergrad Library, Consultation Corner

Resume, Cover Letter and Linked In Reviews, Thurs, Jan. 19, 2-4:30pm Career Center

Resume, Cover Letter and Linked In Reviews, Fri, Jan. 20, 2-4:30pm Career Center

Interested in working on campus? You won’t want to miss the Career Center’s Opportunities Fair, on Tuesday, January 24, 5:00-6:30pm, at the Career Center. Visit with campus units that are hiring students for part-time jobs and internships. This is your chance to build your resume, enhance your Illinois experience, and learn more about The Career Center and various campus departments!

Illinois Leadership Center will host several upcoming I-Programs. For more information and to register, visit their website here.

Inclusion: Saturday, January 28

Study Abroad Summer 2017 Faculty Led Programs–Applications due Feb. 1. These are 2-5 week study abroad programs over summer break with automatic Illinois credit. This could be a great way to manage both study abroad and taking the LSAT. For a list of available courses and application materials, visit the study abroad website here.

Internship and Scholarship Opportunities

We hope you have been utilizing 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.) It’s got 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.

Undergrad PAID Internship at UIUC in Bio-Humanities for 2017-2018        Applications due March 1, 2017!

Are you a bio-engineering or life science major interested in philosophy, politics, history, and literature? Are you a humanities major who also dabbles in biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience or endocrinology? Are you interested in how the sciences and the humanities are generating new areas of research together?  The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) is looking for undergraduate interns to work with its Bio-humanities research group for the academic year 2017-2018.

The research group seeks three undergraduate interns who will work with the group on their seminars, workshops and programs.  Interns will also work with the research group director to develop their own research projects as well as a research symposium for undergraduates at the end of the spring semester.

Interns will work approximately 10-11 hours per week, paid at the rate of $15.75 per hours, and will have $600 to support their research. Applicants must be juniors or seniors the year of the internship. For more information, go here.  Please address questions to: Dr. Nancy Castro, at ncastro@illinois.edu.

Paid Summer Internship at the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, D.C. Application Deadline is January 31!

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in Washington, D.C., has a number of openings for paid interns beginning in the summer of 2017. The Nuclear Energy Institute (www.nei.org) is the policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry and participates in both the national and global policy-making process. NEIs mission is to ensure the implementation of policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the United States and around the world. To that end, NEI works to establish unified industry positions on the regulatory aspects of generic operational and technical issues. NEI’s members include all entities licensed to operate commercial nuclear power plants in the United States, nuclear plant designers, architect/engineering firms, fuel fabrication facilities, nuclear materials licensees, and other organizations and entities involved in the nuclear energy industry.

Interns at NEI will work with seasoned nuclear professionals in one of the following areas: technical, communications, policy development, government relations, legal, and member relations and corporate services on issues critical to the industry. Descriptions on each area are below. Internships are 10 weeks and take place during the summer. Interns will be paid $15.00 an hour.

All applicants must submit an application that includes the NEI Internship Application, a resume, and a copy of their transcript to resumes@nei.org. If requested, applicants must also participate in an interview either by phone or in person.

Applications are being accepted for review between December 15, 2016 and January 31, 2017. Applications submitted beyond January 31, 2017 may be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis thereafter. Click on this link for more information. https://www.nei.org/About-NEI/Employment-at-NEI/Internships.  If you have additional questions about NEI’s Internship Program, please contact the NEI Human Resources Department at resumes@nei.org.

Scholarship opportunity for those entering law school this fall

The ABA Diversity Scholarship is designed for underrepresented students who demonstrate financial need and community involvement. Awards will be $15,000 for entering law students, which is renewable for years 2 and 3 of law school.  Applicants must be entering law school in 2017 and submit an application, personal statement, and statement of financial need by March 2. Find the application and more details here.

Upcoming Law School Events–OPEN TO ALL PRE-LAW STUDENTS

The Wisconsin Statewide Pre-Law Diversity Day is set for Friday, February 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. This event is open to all students. For more information and to register, visit their website here. Cosponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School, this FREE event includes lunch and:

an update on law school admissions in Wisconsin featuring the University of Wisconsin and Marquette Law Schools;

an overview of the Law School Admission Test with practice questions;

breakout workshops featuring a mock class for students; and

law school fair featuring admissions representatives from law schools around the country.  Click here for a list of law schools that participated in last year’s event.

 

Indiana University Maurer School of Law is hosting a Diversity Law Day. Throughout the day you will have the opportunity to network with professors, current law school students, and practicing attorneys. You will participate in a mock class taught by an Indiana Law professor and be introduced to thinking critically in a special session (and receive your own book).

The purpose of this day is to help you experience the study of law and expose you to the legal profession.

The Diversity Law Day is Saturday, February 18 from 9am – 3pm at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.  Breakfast and Lunch will be served. To register: follow this link.

Law School Open Houses and Admitted Students Days

As we first mentioned in several of our fall blog posts, many law schools host open houses for prospective applicants and all law schools strongly encourage students to visit their campuses.  Note: spring semester is a time when many law schools will host events specifically for admitted students. Make sure you check the law school websites to see what types of events the schools in which you have an interest are offering.   Listed below are upcoming events for two Illinois law schools.

Chicago Kent Law School Open House, Saturday, January 28, 9:00am-2:00pm.  For more information or to register, go here.

John Marshall Law School Open House, Saturday, January 28, 9:00am-Noon. For more information or to register, go here.

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The 2016 Internship Newsletter is Live on Compass!

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your break and Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday Tips for Applications – Tip #4

Tip #4 in our series to help you meet the goal of completing law school applications by Thanksgiving!

  • Finish Addenda/Character and Fitness Statement Issues
    1. Addenda are a part of the application, too. An addendum is an optional essay/disclosure to explain weaknesses in your application.
    2. Go to the PLAS Compass page for more specific advice.  Both the “Perfecting Your Personal Statement” and “Character and Fitness” videos (found within the “Applying to Law School” section) provide information to help you decide how to craft this document.
    3. Once you have a working draft, feel free to make an appointment with a pre-law advisor to discuss it. Call 217-333-9669 to schedule an appointment with us. We have the same policy for a written addendum as we do for the personal statement: submit your draft 2 business days prior to your appointment.
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What To Do Over Fall Break

What to Do Over Fall Break

Seniors Applying to Law School for Next Year

  1. If you are done with the LSAT . . . finish your applications.
    1. Set a deadline for yourself and stick to it. This a rolling admissions process, no need to wait on submitting those applications any longer.
  2. If you do NOT have a valid LSAT score, especially if you are taking the December LSAT… keep studying!
    1. Set a schedule for yourself and goals for fall break. How many practice tests do you want to take? What section do you want to focus on the most? A strong LSAT score helps both with admissions and scholarships!
  3. If you are done with everything but your letters of recommendation . . . remind your recommenders that you want to submit your materials as soon as possible.
    1. The LSAC cannot fully submit your application until they receive your letters of recommendation, too.
  4. Attend an Open House or Plan a Law School Visit
    1. UChicago has an open house on November 21st.
    2. The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has an open house on November 19th.
    3. There are many other schools that offer open houses during this time of year. If applying out of state, an entire week off for fall break is a great time to take a short trip out of town to see your top law school choices.
  5. Check deadlines for Early Decision applications.
    1. While many schools list November 15 as their early decision deadline, several others allow early decision applications until December 1.

Seniors Taking a Gap Year or Two

  1. If you do not have a job lined up for next year, start researching options for what to do during your year(s) off.
    1. Where do you want to work? Consider options like a Project Assistant at a large law firm  or perhaps a paralegal certificate. These are great options if you want to take a year off and/or save money before law school.
      1. Jenner & Block has current openings for a Project Assistant in their Chicago office.
      2. Kirkland & Ellis has current openings for a Project Assistant, as well!
  2. Consider programs like Teach for America or the Peace Corps.
    1. Teach for America’s next deadline is December 9th.
    2. For more information on the Peace Corps, see their website.
  3. Make sure to have your academic letters of recommendation before you leave campus.
    1. It is much easier to go to the professors you would like to write your letter of recommendation while you are on campus!
  4. Take your finals seriously this last year. It is your last chance to boost your GPA before you leave undergrad. Now is a great time to end your undergraduate career on a high note!
  5. Keep in touch with Pre-Law Advising Services after you leave campus in December or May! Judy and Jamie will still meet with students once they are alumni.

Juniors Planning to Apply to Law School Next Year

  1. Study for finals and write those papers!
    1. Your GPA is a very important part of the law school admissions and scholarship process!
    2. Consider LSAT Prep and when you want to take the test.
    3. As a general matter, we advise juniors planning to apply to law school next fall to take the June LSAT.
    4. You should plan to spend approximately 4-6 months studying for the LSAT.  So now is the time to prepare for that process. As you plan your schedule for Spring 2016, consider not overloading on courses since the time necessary for effective preparation equates to the time invested in a rigorous 3 credit class.
    5. Remember: the LSAT is NOT like the ACT or the SAT.  It does not test you on what you know.  Rather, it tests you on how you think.  It is important to determine how you plan to study for the LSAT (on your own, through a commercial prep company, etc.), and decide where you want to take the LSAT. To begin your research, go to the LSAC’s website for info on the LSAT, how to register and select a test site, and how to be successful on the test.
    6. Our spring LSAT Prep Fair is February 1! Keep an eye out for more information in the coming months.
  2. Look into Internships for next summer.
    1. Have you thought about what you will be doing next summer?  Are you looking into internships? Internships can be a great way to learn more about the legal system and the practice of law.  Do you need some suggestions on how and where to find an internship?
    2. Go to the PLAS Compass page for information on internships.  And remember: the PLAS Annual Internship Newsletter will be out and published on Compass the week of December 12!
  3. Consider a Fulbright or other national scholarship. Typically, the deadlines for these types of programs is the summer before senior year of college. Now is a great time to start looking into a program like this, and they have more information and a timeline available online.
    1. Junior year is the most important time for scholarships like this. These opportunities are very prestigious and look great on any kind of resume.
  4. Consider doing a project for the Undergraduate Research Symposium!
    1. This is a great opportunity to do research you find interesting, work with faculty (keep in mind those letters of recommendation!), and be able to present your research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April.
    2. See what other U of I students presented for their research here.

Sophomores and Freshmen

  1. Just as we advised juniors — study for finals and write those papers!
    1. Your GPA is a very important part of the law school admissions and scholarship process!
  2. Explore a legal career and talk to legal professionals.  Use fall and winter break to talk to friends, family members, Illinois alumni, and anyone else that are lawyers.
  3. Look into Internships for next summer.
    1. Just as we advised juniors, now is a good time to consider what you want to do next summer.  Internships can be a great way to learn more about the legal system and the practice of law. Are you interested in finding an internship but don’t know where to start? Check out our Compass page now for information on internships and check back the week of December 12 for the 2015 edition of the PLAS Annual Internship Newsletter!
  4. Consider a semester in Washington D.C. or a study abroad program. It is good to think about this early to plan your classes accordingly. Decide when you may want to study abroad or have a semester away from UIUC. It is always good to plan early for these big decisions.
  5. Also consider doing a project for the Undergraduate Research Symposium!
    1. This is a great opportunity to do research you find interesting, work with faculty (keep in mind those letters of recommendation!), and be able to present your research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April.
    2. See what other U of I students presented for their research here.
  6. Consider taking a summer class or two to make your school year schedule more flexible or getting a difficult class out of the way early on. A few extra credit hours will help your schedule when you decide to take the LSAT and will be studying in addition to regular coursework.

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY!

Interested in a Spring 2017 internship? The Coalition for Human Rights and Development is looking for a Research and Advocacy Intern. The deadline to apply in November 30! Click here for more information. Keep an eye out for our Internship Newsletter that will be published the week of December 12!

Have a great break!

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