LSAT Fee Waivers and How to Get Them

Pre-law students and alumni are starting to think about the Law School Admission Tests coming up in June and September. Note: We expect the June LSAT to fill early, based on the increased number of LSAT takers in 2017. Did you know that you can receive an LSAC fee waiver that will cover the cost of the Law School Admission Test? This blog post will share what it is, why it is important, and  how to get it–as well as why you need to apply for it NOW if you plan to take the June exam.

What is the LSAC fee waiver?

The Law School Admission Council oversees both the LSAT and the law school application process. Applicants can apply for a fee waiver which, if granted, will waive any fees for:

  • Two LSAT exam registrations (valued at $180 each)
  • Credential Assembly Service (required for applying to law schools; valued at $185)
  • Four Law School Reports (one required for each law school application; valued at $140); and
  • One copy of the Official LSAT SuperPrep book (valued at $16.25).

Why is it important?

The LSAC fee waiver is even more valuable than the amounts listed above. Why? Many law schools will waive their application fees (generally $75-100 per school) for applicants who have received an LSAC waiver. Some LSAT prep companies will also offer scholarships to students with an LSAC waiver.

How can you apply?

The application process is entirely online. The LSAC advises applicants to apply at least six weeks prior to the registration deadline of the LSAT you wish to take. For this June’s LSAT, the registration deadline is May 1, and six weeks before that is March 20–the application deadline for a June LSAT waiver. But why wait? Getting your application materials in early will help ensure that you get the waiver in time and it will help you get your preferred June LSAT site. The UIUC June LSAT typically fills around spring break–but we expect it to fill even earlier this year given the increase in LSAT takers–so you’ll want to register ASAP if this test site is your preferred location.

You will need tax documents, so make sure you collect those.

The entire application process is explained here: http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/fee-waivers and you can find a helpful checklist here: http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/usfeewaiverchecklist.pdf.

 

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Still making summer plans? Here’s what to do now!

What if you’re still searching for summer opportunities? You can still study abroad, get an internship/job, take the LSAT, do a pre-law summer program, participate in Illinois in Washington, or study abroad–if you get organized and apply quickly.

You may recall that we posted about looking for summer internships way back in August in this blog post. It may seem crazy to apply so early, but many jobs and internships require months of lead time. Here are some great resources and next steps to take if you are still looking for summer opportunities.

Illinois in Washington–summer applications are due Feb. 1, and you’ll need a resume review and 2 recommendations, so this deadline is pressing. Explore their website and find application details here.

Summer (or fall) study abroad February 15 is the application deadline for most Summer 2018, Fall 2018, and Academic Year 2018-19 programs. Check out Study Abroad’s First Steps info here to begin identifying programs and applying for summer opportunities.

Taking the June LSAT? Registration is open here! Register early to get your preferred test site. This one will fill! Now is also the time to register for an LSAC fee waiver. See this week’s other blog post for more fee waiver info.

Summer pre-law programs–many application deadlines are in March and April. We posted about these in our internship newsletter and also in recent blog posts like this one.

Did you know that you can get a scholarship for working at an unpaid internship this summer? Apply for the Fred S. Bailey scholarship here, which provides a $1000 stipend for part-time internships and a $2500 stipend for full-time summer internships. Applications due April 12, so you still have time to find an internship before applying.

How to find Summer 2018 jobs and internships

  1. Explore our Internship Newsletter (over on our Compass page) which we posted over winter break–many of those deadlines are coming up in February and March!
  2. Subscribe to internship websites. You can set them to email you a weekly digest, or just email you when the kinds of internships that you designate become available. Some suggested sites are listed below.
  3. Use Handshake. The Career Center switched from I-Link to Handshake last summer. Click on the link below, log in, set up your profile, explore, and set it to contact you when internships you qualify for become available. Check back regularly.
  4. Attend Career Fairs. Did you know that most campus career fairs, like the Business Career Fair and the ACES Career Fair, are open to all students? And, many of those employers will have both job and internships available. Mark your calendars for the upcoming Business Career Fair and the Just-In-Time All Illini Career Fair this spring. You can find a list of all campus career fairs on Handshake (link below). Check out the Career Center’s workshops on preparing for the fairs.
  5. Create or perfect your resume. The Career Center has numerous opportunities to have your resume reviewed–or attend a resume basics workshop–every week. Click here to see their events. You’ll need a resume for the rest of your life, so the sooner you start building these skills, the better! Aim to have a good quality resume ASAP to avoid delay applying for the opportunities you find.
  6. Calendar it. NOW–right now–go to your Gcal, ical, or good old fashioned planner, and schedule a few hours each weekend for Internships.(Use this time to check internship listings and prepare your applications.) When you find an internship listing, add that due date to your Gcal/ical/planner too. Finding and applying for internships and jobs is not done in an afternoon–it really helps to be organized and persistent.

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

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

Internships.com–Continuously updated nationwide internship listings

Idealist.com–Nonprofit internship offerings

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

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

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Mark Your Calendars–Week of January 29

Join us at the 2018 LSAT Prep Fair on Feb. 6 from 4-6 pm in Illini Union Rooms B &C to:

  • learn about what’s on the LSAT and how to prepare for it
  • explore LSAT prep options
  • demo sections of the LSAT through mini-workshops
  • get discounts, win a scholarship or other raffle prize!

For the LSAT Prep Fair workshop schedule and other details visit our website here!

Practice LSAT–Friday, Feb. 16, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. We only have a few seats left, so register soon. This practice LSAT opportunity features an actual, previously administered LSAT in a realistic, timed testing environment. Seating is limited. Test details and location will be emailed to registrants before the exam.  Go here to register. 

Looking for a June LSAT study group? Pre-Law Services will match you with a study partner or group! Click here to complete the form by Feb. 1 to be matched:

Financing Your Legal Education Webinar: Feb. 15 at 6:00 pm. Law school is an important investment. Making informed decisions about how to finance that investment is crucial. This session, provided by Access Lex,  will help you to understand the costs of pursuing legal education and the financial aid application process. We’ll also review the available financing options and identify ways for you to be financially prepared to achieve your educational goals. To register for this free workshop visit http://bit.ly/2ESeyuu

Applications for Chicago-Kent’s Honors Scholars program are due Feb. 12 for current applicants. Honors Scholars receive full tuition scholarships for 3 years. Candidates must have a GPA of at least 3.5 and LSAT score of 160. Visit their website for more details and to apply.

Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis is now accepting applications on a rolling basis for its new Pathway to the Law program, featuring online for-credit courses, LSAT assistance, a $2000 scholarship, mentoring, and more for selected applicants. Click here for more details.

SUMMER PLANS–Still looking for opportunities? Check these out.

Career Fairs. Mark your calendars for spring career fairs, which are open to all Illinois students and present both job and internship opportunities. Find these and other fair opportunities in Handshake.

Summer PLUS programs. We posted a spreadsheet full of pre-law undergraduate summer programs over on our Compass page! For example:

June LSAT Registration–Planning to take the June LSAT? Registration is now open here! We recommend registering early because this one typically fills early AND LSAT takers were up nearly 30% last year! Now is also a good time to apply for a fee waiver. For more on LSAC fee waivers revisit this blog post.

Did you know that you can get a scholarship for working at an unpaid internship this summer? Apply for the Fred S. Bailey scholarship here, which provides a $1000 stipend for part-time internships and a $2500 stipend for full-time summer internships. Applications due April 12.

Career Center Resources
Need to draft or improve your resume? Want to learn interview skills or tips on job/internship searching? Use the Career Center’s resources; find their workshop and resource information on their website here!

Upcoming Law School Opportunities–open to pre-law students!

Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington) is hosting a Diversity Law Day on Saturday, Feb. 17. This free event includes a mock class, lunch, tours of the law school, and sessions about critical thinking and what lawyers do. Visit their website here for more details and to register.

The Wisconsin Statewide Pre-Law Diversity Day will be Friday, Feb. 23 at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee. This free event features sessions with the deans of both Marquette and University of Wisconsin law schools, a law school admissions update, mock law school class, tours, lunch, and a mini law school fair. For more details and to register visit their website here.

Free Speech After Charlottesville–February 16 from 12-1 pm at the University of Illinois College of Law Rowe Auditorium. Speaker Teresa Sullivan will discuss the August 2017 events that involved clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors on the grounds of UVA and in Charlottesville. She will discuss how these events have shaped the debate about free speech, led to discussions about the proper dividing line between free speech and hate speech, and changed the way that universities prepare for public assemblies that can lead to violent clashes between opposing groups. Free and open to the public–lunch will be provided to the first 200 participants. Find more details here.

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Interesting, fun, and productive things for everyone pre-law to do over winter break

Make your summer plans!

  • Apply for spring and summer 2018 internships! Check out our 2017 Internship Newsletter over on our Compass page for over 25 pages of internship listings and ideas. (Don’t wait until spring to look for summer internships–many will be filled by then.)
  • Apply for Summer 2018 pre-law programs. In addition to those we listed in our Internship Newsletter, we’ve also posted a spreadsheet of pre-law summer programs over on our Compass page with links and application details. Note: Many scholarships are available to incoming 1Ls even if you don’t know which law school you are attending yet, like this one, so it’s still a good time to apply for them.
  • Apply for Summer 2018 Study Abroad programs. Now is the time, as many summer study abroad program deadlines are in January/February like this Rome trip about Italian healthcare (due Jan. 15) or this ACES in Argentina program. Explore all available summer programs on the Study Abroad website.

REGISTER for the June 2018 LSAT. With LSAT takers up 20% this year, we expect next year to fill even earlier than it typically does (around spring break). Registration is open here: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates-deadlines/2018-2019/us-canada-june

Apply for scholarships!

  • Explore the Top Scholars website here–they offer lots of opportunities like these upcoming scholarships: UK Summer Fulbright, Boren, and Gilman scholarships.
  • Did you know that you can get a scholarship for writing one tweet? Or making a 2 minute video? Or being left-handed? Check out our 275+ Scholarship Spreadsheet–listing ALL kinds of scholarships, not just essays–over on our Compass page.

Update your professional and online presence

  • Draft or update your resume to reflect what you accomplished this semester. These Career Center resources on drafting resumes can be helpful.
  • Create or update your LinkedIn profile
  • Create a professional-sounding email account (such as your full name, not jedimaster97 or hotmama23) if you are getting ready to apply for jobs, internships, scholarships, or graduate school
  • Clean up your social media/online presence. When you apply for jobs, internships, or graduate school, many people will Google you or review your social media sites, so make sure they are appropriate for those audiences. Take down anything questionable, un-tag yourself, and double check your privacy settings.

Informational Interviews. While you have some free time, take the opportunity to reach out to local lawyers and get some insight into legal careers. Ask if you can take them to coffee and chat about their careers.

  • How to find lawyers: Do your parents know any lawyers? Do you have any family members or family friends who are lawyers? They probably know even more lawyers to whom they can refer you for even more interviews. If you don’t know any lawyers and you live in Illinois, use the Illinois Lawyer Finder here, which allows you to search for lawyers by location and practice area around the state
  • For more details on how to conduct the interview use this Career Center resource.

Read up on legal issues and legal careers

  • A great book providing insight into lots of different legal careers is 24 Hours with 24 Lawyers by Jasper Kim. 
  • Legal websites and blogs abound. Here are popular legal sites where you can learn about hot legal issues and about the legal profession.
    • SCOTUSblog for up-to-the-minute analyses of what the Supreme Court is hearing and doing
    • Law.com for a look inside the legal profession from various practice areas
    • LawProfessorBlogs.com Want to get a peek into the world of law professors and the topics they consider important? This site provides a directory of many different blogs by topic area and includes everything from Adoption Law to White Collar Crime and everything in-between.
    • Illinois State Bar Association’s website includes a blog and daily legal news about legal issues around the state. (You can find other state sites by searching, for example, “Texas” and state bar association.)

Listen to podcasts–there are tons of great legal podcasts out there, including these.

  • I Am the Law presents interviews with all different types of lawyers, from environmental lawyers to prosecutors to family law and corporate.
  • Serial provides an in depth view of the nuance and challenges of prosecuting crimes as each season analyzes one criminal case.
  • Women in the Law. This special short-term series explored issues of particular relevance to women in the profession.
  • The Girl’s Guide to Law School–Don’t be fooled by the name; this is not just for girls! This podcast is relevant for everyone interested in law school. With topics ranging from Will Law School Be a Disaster to Which Law School Should I Go To to explaining OCI (an interview process for law students) to Avoiding Disasters in Law School to how to read cases, this podcast truly has something for everyone.

If you are currently applying to law school:

  • Finish those applications. It is time to get them in!
  • Plan your law school visits–many schools will have open houses or visit days in January and February. This may require pre-registration and some travel that you’ll want to plan in advance.
  • Follow your law schools on social media if you’d like to know when they are making decisions or scheduling open house/admitted student events.
  • Make a Pre-Law Advising appointment–If you have application questions or want some feedback on an essay, you can make a phone or Skype appointment if you’re not in the area. Here is our appointment availability over winter break.
    • Appointments with a pre-law advisor are available through December 21.
    • The office will be closed December 25 through January 1, reopening on Jan. 2. (Staff will not be available during this time.)
    • Appointments will be available again January 2 through January 12.
    • Our regular schedule will resume with the Spring Semester on January 16.

 

 

 

 

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5 Things to Do After the December LSAT

December is here and the LSAT is over, which means it is time to focus on the remaining elements of your application so that you can get those applications out as soon as your LSAT score is available in the first week of JanuaryWhat should you be doing now?

Check on your letters of recommendation…NOW!! Your recommendations should already be in your LSAC account. Check your account and follow up with your recommenders ASAP if they aren’t, so that you know when they will be in. Remember that your application is not complete and will not be considered without them.  This should be your top priority because the closer we get to break, the busier professors get (or they begin to travel and be unreachable).

Draft your personal statement. It’s time to take that energy and time you were focusing on the LSAT and devote it to your personal statement. Although our personal statement workshops are over, we have some tips and suggestions for the personal statement on our website and a helpful video and handout on our Compass page.  You can also get help through the Writer’s Workshop, which is a great place to start. Spend some time thinking about your values, your career goals, and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Then write a draft, set it aside for a few days, and revisit it. Don’t worry if you don’t love the first draft–no one does. Start now so that you can spend at least a few weeks thinking, writing, and editing.

Schedule an appointment now. When you are ready for some feedback, you can make an appointment for a Pre-Law Advisor to review your personal statement and discuss it with you in addition to answering any questions about the application process.

  • December appointments: Both Pre-Law Advisors will be available for appointments through December 22, and we expect to be very busy with appointments during this time given that applications are up this year. It is a good idea to schedule your appointment now by calling 333-9669. Please email us your statement and resume two business days prior to your appointment so that we have time to review them.
  • Winter break appointments: The office will be closed Dec. 25 through January 1. Appointments will be available again starting January 2. If you are not in the Champaign-Urbana area, you can make a phone appointment–just let the receptionist know when you schedule that it will be a phone appointment.

Order your transcripts. You’ll need to order a transcript from each undergraduate institution you attended. At Illinois, you can check the “hold for fall grades” box to have your Fall 2017 grades included. Visit the LSAC here, http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas/requesting-transcripts, for more information on the transcript ordering process. You can order your Illinois transcript through the Registrar’s website here.

Schedule law school visits.  Many law schools offer open houses. Check your top 3-5 law schools’ websites and social media. Individual law school visits are a good alternative. Call the law school and ask for a tour and to sit it on a class. Visiting a law school is very important to your overall law school choice, and is a MUST for schools that you are seriously considering. Plus, law schools will note your visit and you may even get to meet the person reading your application, so be sure to make a good impression.

Take a look at our earlier post called “The Application Process: LSAC Tips” for even more application details.

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What to do over Fall Break

Fall Break is here — now what?

Aside from relaxing, eating and watching football (and maybe getting ready for finals?!), what else could/should you be doing?

If You Are Currently Applying to Law School

  1. If you are done with the LSAT, finish your applications!  If you have everything you need to apply there is no reason to procrastinate. This is a rolling admissions process — file your applications ASAP!
  2. If you are taking the December LSAT — keep studying!  A strong LSAT score helps both with admissions and scholarships! Set some goals for how many practice LSATs you can take over break and stick to it.
  3. If you are waiting on Letters of Recommendation, gently remind your recommenders (either via a phone call or email) that you want to submit your applications ASAP but cannot do so until LSAC/CAS receives all required letters of recommendation.
  4. Attend an Open House, or schedule a visit with law schools. (If you’re scheduling a visit, make sure the school is open and staffed during Thanksgiving week!)
    1. DePaul Law is hosting an Open House on Saturday, November 18. Click here for more details.
    2. For those of you applying to the University of Chicago, they will be holding an open house on Monday, November 20.  Click here to register for this event.
  5. Check deadlines for Early Decision!  While many schools list November 15 as their early decision deadline, several others allow early decision applications until December 1 or even Dec. 15.  Not sure about early decision? Click here for a PLAS blog post on the pros and cons of applying early decision.
  6. Complete your FAFSA.
  7. Did you know that you can already apply for scholarships sponsored by non-university sources? Take a look at the scholarship spreadsheet with over 250 options over on our Compass page–these have a variety of due dates and many are due by the end of the calendar year, so now is a great time to apply!

If You Are Not Yet Applying to Law School

  1. Study for finals and write those papers!  Your GPA is a very important part of the law school admissions and scholarship process!
  2. LSAT Prep. In general, we advise those planning to apply to law school next fall to take the June 2018 LSAT (unless study abroad prevents you from doing so). 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 2018, consider not overloading on courses since the time necessary for effective preparation equates to the time invested in a rigorous 3 credit class. Remember: the LSAT is NOT like the ACT or the SAT.  It does not test you on what you know.  Rather, it tests 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.
  3. Apply for Internships — 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?  Check out this 2018 Internship Plan from our blog. We also recently posted several internships to our Facebook page. And remember: the PLAS Annual Internship Newsletter will be out and published on Compass the week of December 18!
  4. Network and conduct informational interviews. A great way to start to build your professional network and get to know various legal practice areas is to meet with lawyers! Do you or your parents know any lawyers? Are any of your friends’ parents lawyers? You can also use the alumni association directory to identify Illinois alumni who are lawyers. Ask a lawyer to spend 30 minutes doing an informational interview with you. Don’t be intimidated; this is an opportunity for you to buy him/her coffee and ask about their professional life. Here’s a resource for planning your informational interview. 
  5. Complete your FAFSA
  6. Apply for scholarships! We’ve included lots of scholarships for continuing undergraduate students. Take a look at the scholarship spreadsheet with over 250 options over on our Compass page–these have a variety of due dates and many are due by the end of the calendar year, so now is a great time to apply! Here are a few great undergrad scholarships with upcoming deadlines. Find these and over 200 more on our Scholarship Spreadsheet!
    1.  Ai Engstrom National Scholarship application is due December 1. 
    2. Bankruptcy Law Center Scholarship Contest application is due December 20.
    3. A Better America Scholarship Program application is due December 31.

Have a great break!

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of November 13

Pre-Law Events

Patent Bar Exam Session Nov 15, 2017   5:00 – 6:00 pm UPDATED LOCATION: ENGINEERING HALL 106B1

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 about the patent bar, including:

  • What exactly does the patent bar cover?
  • When and how often can you take it?
  • How do people prepare for the exam?
  • What is the format of the exam, and how are results received?
  • What is a passing score for the exam?

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 This is a free event.

Today’s Personal Statement workshop is cancelled due to low enrollment. Explore our personal statement resources, including our video and handout, on the Pre-Law Compass page, and make an individual appointment for a personal statement review when you are ready.

College of Law Events–Pre-law students are invited!

From White House to City Hall: Thoughts on Lawyering in the Executive Branch will be presented by Edward N. Siskel, City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel, on Nov. 14 from 12-1 pm. Mr. Siskel will share his thoughts on some of the challenges, rewards, and responsibilities that come with providing legal counsel to Executive Branch leadership on the federal and municipal levels. He offers a unique perspective on issues ranging from managing investigations into senior executive branch officials, preserving the independence of the Department of Justice, and defending sanctuary cities against the Trump Administration’s efforts to withhold federal grant funds. The lecture is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided to lecture attendees.

Other 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. 13 at 4:00 & Nov. 14 at 4:00
  • Professional branding & etiquette–Nov. 15 at 5:00
  • Resume, cover letter, LinkedIn reviews
    • Nov. 13 from 7-9 pm in Undergrad Library
    • Nov. 14 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Nov. 14 from 5:30-7:30 at the Ike Room 1010A
    • Nov. 15 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Nov. 15 from 7-9 in Undergrad Library
    • Nov. 16 from 2-4:30 at Career Center
    • Nov. 17 from 2-4:30 pm at Career Center
  Writer’s Workshop presents the following workshops. Click here for more information. 
  • Integrating sources: Paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting, Nov. 14 at 3:00
  • Writing personal statement, Nov. 16 at 3:00

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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Best of the Pre-Law Blog

Whether you’re looking for scholarships, internships, recommendations, LSAT tips or spring courses, we’ve posted about it on the blog! Here is a handy roundup of the Best of the Pre-Law Blog in case you’ve missed some of our most helpful posts.

Did you know…that you can search the blog using the search box in the upper right?

Planning your Spring 2018 schedule? Visit this blog post for course suggestions, then visit this blog post for other considerations in planning your schedule.

Looking for scholarships? Check out this post with details about our Scholarship Spreadsheet listing over 250 scholarship opportunities.

Trying to find an internship? Explore this post and GET GOING! A Spring/Summer 2018 Internship Plan–Starting NOW! You should also join our Facebook page, where we post internship and job opportunities for pre-law students.

Currently applying to law school? Whether you’re taking the December LSAT or you’re done with the LSAT and wondering what to do now  or you’re looking for letters of recommendation (see Tips on getting recommendations from someone who writes them), we have those and many other posts to help you through the application process.

Planning ahead for taking the LSAT in 2018? Great! Go immediately to this post on Big LSAT changes: What should you know?  Also take a look at Timelines for 2018 LSAT Takers.

Thinking about summer 2018 plans? Planning ahead is smart. Explore this Summer Pre-Law Programs post, and head over to our Compass page to see the Summer Pre-Law Programs tab, containing a spreadsheet with 46 pre-law summer programs. Also consult our internship resources mentioned above.

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of October 30

Pre-Law Events

Pre-Law 101: TODAY at 4:00 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. This workshop is designed for incoming students who are new to pre-law or are interested in learning more about it. We will cover: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois, course selection, majors, and extracurriculars, building a pre-law resume, and what law schools are really looking for. We will outline a four year plan to maximize your undergraduate experiences in order to make a great law school candidate. We’ll also take any questions about law school and legal careers. Incoming students should attend a Pre-Law 101 prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment. NOTE: THE FINAL PRE-LAW 101 OF THE SEMESTER WILL BE HELD NEXT MONDAY, NOV. 7 REGISTER HERE FOR THAT SESSION.

Interested in Patent Law and the Patent Bar? Do not miss this great event!

Patent Bar Exam Session Nov 15, 2017   5:00 – 6:00 pm  335 Grainger Engineering Library

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 about the patent bar, including:

  • What exactly does the patent bar cover?
  • When and how often can you take it?
  • How do people prepare for the exam?
  • What is the format of the exam, and how are results received?
  • What is a passing score for the exam?

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 This is a free event. Please register at the link here so that we can ensure enough seating and materials for everyone.

 Register Now to attend the FREE Midwest Law School Virtual Fair on Nov. 7th
Meet Admissions Representatives & Faculty from Law Schools in the Midwestern U.S. Live Online!

Chat with admissions pros from over 30 midwestern law schools including Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Michigan State, DePaul, Valparaiso, and more! This is a free and easy way to learn about programs and to interact with law school representatives with no travel necessary. For more information and to register, click here.

Other Campus Events

Political Science hosts Careers in Political Science on Friday, Nov. 3 from 1:00-4:30 in the Illini Union Room 314B. They’ll have a panel followed by breakout sessions with political science alumni with work experience in law, business, government, insurance, data science, and journalism! For more details visit their website here.

Writer’s Workshop will host Writing Effective Thesis Statements & Essay Organization Workshop on 11/2/17 4:00pm-5:00pm, Gregory Hall, room 207
Are you writing an argumentative or analytical essay? This presentation will review the basic principles for creating effective thesis statements. It will also help students review common essay structures and strategies. You will have the opportunity to put this principles into practice, so bring a current assignment to work on. This workshop will be most useful to undergraduate students.

Writer’s Workshop–Interpreting & Using Critical Feedback Workshop on 11/7/17 4:00pm-5:00pm, Lincoln Hall, room 1024. Feeling overwhelmed by the critical feedback you’re receiving from your professors, advisers, and/or collaborators? This workshop will help you assess, integrate, and respond to critical feedback in the revision process. The workshop will be most helpful to graduate students or undergraduates working on senior theses or capstone projects.

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Course Selection for Pre-Law Students: Part 2

We previously shared a list of possible Spring 2018 courses of interest to pre-law students (click here to see that post). What else should you know about building your semester schedule? Here are several tips and suggestions to help pre-law students make the most of your upcoming semesters.

Students really can major in ANYTHING and be successful in law school, but you must be a strong student in whatever you choose. 

What academic skills should you build? Pre-law students must demonstrate strong research, writing, reading, and speaking skills, which can be accomplished both in and out of the classroom. These are the core skills that law schools truly care about, so take a look at your DARS and ask yourself: How many courses have you taken that develop and reflect these skills? Take courses that demonstrate those skills–they can be in any discipline. Popular options include English, History, Political Science, Philosophy, or Communication courses, but don’t feel limited to only those.

Balance academic challenge with success. Law schools want to see students who demonstrate academic success while taking a challenging courseload. Ideally, pre-law students would take an academic course load that is challenging both in terms of rigor and credits while still doing performing well. What does this mean, and how can you achieve it?

  • A challenging but not overwhelming course load suggestion is 15-17 credit hours. (This can vary due to individual factors, and is only a general guideline, not a mandate. Think carefully about the right course load for you.)
  • Be strategic in your course selection. Don’t take your 5 hardest classes in the same semester to get them out of the way. Work with your major advisor to determine how you can distribute those courses throughout your remaining semesters. Likewise, don’t take your 5 easiest classes at the same time–use those to give you some relief from the harder classes each semester.
  • For juniors and seniors–Move up from 1 and 200 level courses to 3 and 400 levels in order to demonstrate an appropriate level of challenge. A good general rule is no more than one 1 or 200 level course per semester for juniors and seniors (unless you must do so to graduate on time). Taking easy classes to pad a GPA is obvious to law school admissions, who know what a challenging semester looks like.

Use your major(s) and minor(s) to complement each other. If you have a major that does not necessarily demonstrate lots of writing or research skills, then selecting a minor or secondary major that does is a smart balance. Unusual combinations of majors/minors can also show a law school someone who is intellectually curious and able to succeed in a wide variety of coursework.

Consider changing majors, especially if you are not able to achieve mostly As and some Bs in your coursework.

Do not make course selections for these reasons:

  • A friend/roommate/sibling/parent said the class was easy;
  • I only wanted classes on Tues/Thurs so I just picked what I could get into on those days;
  • I only wanted afternoon classes so I didn’t even consider anything in the morning;
  • I wanted to hurry up and graduate so I took a very demanding overload each semester.

What, then, are good reasons to take a course?

  • It demonstrates the skills that law schools prefer to see;
  • I like the topic and find it interesting or it is required for my major/minor;
  • It fits in well with my remaining coursework in terms of balancing rigor and the ability to do well; and
  • I talked with my academic advisor who agreed it is a good fit for me.

You must prioritize academics if law school is your goal. Don’t get distracted from your goal of law school admission. If being president of a social organization or volunteering too much affects your grades, it’s time to dial back your extracurriculars and rededicate yourself to your role as a student. Law schools will not care that the reason your grades suffered is because you were planning a big fundraiser…that shows them a lack of prioritizing and time management skills.

Build important academic skills. Right now you are building academic skills and habits which you will rely on when you transition to law school, where the work is much harder and infinitely more time consuming than your undergraduate studies. Now is the time to master discipline (not procrastinating), effective note taking, reading comprehension and speed, attention to detail in your writing, citing your work appropriately, giving an effective speech, and managing your time. All of these are skills that you will be expected to bring with you into your law school classroom.

Remember that grade replacement will not help for law school (click here for a refresher), so take the time to carefully consider your best course options and seek help when you need it.

 

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