Top 6 Ways to Get Law School Application Fee Waivers!

Law school applications are now open, which means that application season has officially begun! Those of you who are applying to law school now are finding out how expensive law school applications can be. Each school has an application fee and each school must receive a Law School Report ($35 each), which adds up fast.

Here are our Top 6 tips for getting application fee waivers.

  1. Apply for an LSAC fee waiver. The best fee waiver is directly through the Law School Admission Council. This fee waiver will waive the fees for two LSAT exams, your Credential Assembly Service fee, and four Law School Reports. In addition, most law schools will waive your application fee too if you received an LSAC fee waiver. You can apply for an LSAC fee waiver and find out more information here.
  2. Attend the Law Fair. If you are not eligible for an LSAC waiver, there are other ways to reduce your costs. First, come to the Law Fair on September 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Illini Union. Over 100 law schools will be sending representatives to talk with interested students about their programs and their application process. Many schools at the fair will be giving out fee waivers! (Tip: Make sure you sign in at the law school tables. Many schools will email you a fee waiver afterward.) Click here for more details about the Law Fair, like which law schools are attending.
  3. Register for the Candidate Referral Service (CRS) in your LSAC account. This is basically a survey that asks you lots of questions about yourself–your background, interests, grades, etc.–and then “matches” you with law schools that are looking for students like you. Many law schools use the CRS to offer fee waivers, so it is worth your time to complete the CRS survey here.
  4. Directly inquire with your preferred law schools. Send a polite email to their admissions office asking whether they have a fee waiver program, and how you can apply. Some schools will simply respond with a waiver; other schools will have certain parameters (like GPA or financial need) to meet before waiving your fee. Take 10 minutes to craft a friendly form email and send it to all of the schools you’re applying to–it’s an easy way to collect a few fee waivers. It’s well worth your time.
  5. Attend law school visit or open house days. Sometimes when a school sees that you’ve made the effort to visit, they will reward you with a fee waiver.
  6. Join the Pre-Law Facebook Group. Sometimes law schools send our office fee waivers, and we always post them to our FB group on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to join!

 

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of September 11

September is a big month for pre-law students–scroll through to see why.

Pre-Law Events

Our Fall Event Calendar is posted! Here’s a preview of what’s coming up.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume for Law School–Tuesday, Sept.19, 4-5pm. The personal statement is one of the most difficult yet powerful elements of the law school application. Join us for this workshop, which will cover what the personal statement is, how to prepare for writing it, and some tips and suggestions for making it reflect an applicant’s strengths. We will also discuss how the personal statement and resume can complement each other to create a stronger law school application. Each session is the same, so select the one that best suits your schedule. Register here for this session.

The Pre-Law Honors Society is now taking applications! Here are membership requirements for joining:

1. Student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30/4.00
2. Student must have completed 30 hours of campus credit prior to initiation
3. Student must complete 10 hours of community service each semester
4. Students must attend every meeting unless they emailed the board before the event with reason why they could not attend.

LAW SCHOOL APPLICATION WEEK is coming! Join us for any or all of these events!

Law School Admissions Panel–Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7:00 pm in 1002 Lincoln Hall. Are you wondering what law school admissions professionals really look for in an applicant? How do they weigh LSAT scores, grades, or work experience? What gets their attention–and what would make them deny someone? Join us for this expert law school admissions panel to discover this and more. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. This is a must-see event for anyone considering applying to law school!

Panelists include:

Law School Fair–Wednesday, Sept. 27, 10:00 am-2:00 pm in Illini Union A,B,C Rooms. It’s the biggest pre-law event of the year as 105 law schools visit campus to meet all who are interested in applying to law school. Learn about law schools, scholarships, and the application process while meeting the people who will be reading your law school applications. Application fee waivers and other freebies will be available. Stop by or stay the whole time! This event is free and open to the public. For more information click here to visit our website. No registration required.

Get to Know Northwestern Law–Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:00 pm in 1090 Lincoln Hall. Interested in Northwestern Pritzker School of Law?  Join us as Assistant Director of Admissions Sarah Rewerts discusses The Northwestern Law Difference.  Sarah will also share her inside perspective on Northwestern Law’s admission process, including:  the Early Decision program; the interview process; the recent decision to begin accepting the GRE (for the Fall 2019 entering class), and more!  This is a great opportunity to get to know Northwestern Law and to have your questions answered!

Campus Events

Constitution Day Panel Discussion: Legal Perspectives on Charlottesville will be held at the College of Law (Max L. Rowe Auditorium) on Sept. 15 from 12:00-1:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided to attendees. Click here for more information.

The School of Information Sciences will be hosting an inaugural Fall 17 Open House event on Friday, September 15th. Anyone interested in the program—MS in Library and Information Science should attend. For details of the event please click here: http://ischool.illinois.edu/events/2017/09/15/ischool-fall-open-house

Fall Family Fest–Sept. 17th from 12:00-2:00 pm at Orchard Downs Community Center, 510 Huff Drive, Urbana. Attention student parents! The Women’s Resources Center and Orchard Downs Family and Graduate Housing are housing a family-focused social for student parents and their kids! Join us for games, food, crafts, a music show (sing-a-long), and resource fair for parents! This event is free and open to the public.

LER.Masters.Students.InfoSession The School of Labor & Employment Relations will be hosting an Informational Meeting on its Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations program on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 5:30-7:00 in the Labor and Employment Relations (LER) Building, 405 E. Armory, Room 35. Dinner will be provided, and participants will learn more about a career in human resources along with application requirements to start the program. Click on the link for more details.

Career Center EventsClick here to visit the Career Center’s website for more information or to register for these sessions.

  • CC-I Information Session, Sept. 11, 4:00 pm
  • Creating Your Powerful Resume
    • Sept. 11, 4:00 pm
    • Sept. 12, 4:00 pm
    • Sept. 13, 5:00
  • Career Fair Prep
    • Sept. 11, 5:00 pm
    • Sept. 13, 4:00 pm
  • Resume/Cover Letter/Linked In Review
    • Sept. 12, 2-4:30 pm
    • Sept. 14, 2-4:30 pm
  • Meet Handshake, Sept. 13, 3:00 pm
  • Finding an Internship, Sept. 14, 4:00 pm

Applications are due Sept. 12 for the Fall 2017 Career Certificate-International Students program. Click here for more information.  

College of Law Opportunities for Pre-Law Students

Prospective Client Volunteers Needed–Please consider volunteering to play the role of a prospective client with a possible legal issue for students in CFI: Interviewing, Counseling & Fact Investigation.  Volunteers are needed on September 13, 14, 27, and 28 at varying times.  You will meet with and be interviewed by your lawyer for approximately 15-20 minutes.  You will be given the fact pattern for the role you volunteer to play.  Please consider signing up for multiple sessions.  To volunteer or for additional details, contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law, or undergraduate friends.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

PAID Video Operators Needed– The Trial Advocacy Program needs video operators for the fall semester on Tuesdays and Wednesdays evening from approximately 5:30/6:00 p.m. – 8:30/9:00 p.m. at the Champaign County Courthouse, Urbana.  You can choose to do one evening a week or both evenings.  The pay is $8.25/hour.  For full job details and requirements, please contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law or undergraduate friends.

Scholarships

We’ve collected 275 scholarships–for both undergrads and incoming law students–on our Scholarships Spreadsheet over on our Pre-Law Compass page. It’s a wide variety of scholarships based on everything from being left-handed to making a video to tweeting, and deadlines vary, so check it out!

Internships

It’s NOT too early to start looking for spring/summer internships today! We post internships on our blog and our Facebook page. Check out this blog post for a plan on how to start finding spring and summer internships this fall.

Pre-Law Resources

Now is a great time to check out–or join–all of our pre-law resources! Click the links to explore. You can also search this blog for posts about the LSAT, law school applications, resumes, internships, and more!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Compass page

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University Counsel PAID Internship Opportunity!

University Counsel’s Office is seeking 1-2 PAID undergraduate interns for 2017-18! This is a great opportunity to meet attorneys with a variety of expertise, experience the practice of law up close, and contribute to the success of a legal team.

Required qualifications: Must have at least sophomore standing; minimum 3.0 GPA; consistent weekly availability. Preference will be given to candidates with availability over breaks.

For more information on the position, including specific duties and an overview of the office, see the attached position description. Applications include a cover letter and resume and are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 8.

Counsel’s Office Internship

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Welcome Back, Pre-Law Students!

We have so much great pre-law news to share with you! Click on the links below to jump to each topic.

Save the date for the Law School Fair! On Sept. 27 from 10 am-2 pm at the Union over 100 law school reps will be here to meet YOU! Click here for more details, including a list of who’s coming.

Pre-Law Events
Scholarships
Internships
Pre-Law Resources

Pre-Law Events

Interested in joining the Pre-Law Honors Society? Look for them on Quad Day!

Our Fall Event Calendar is posted! Here’s a preview of what’s coming up.

Practice LSAT–Friday, Sept. 8 from 8:30-12:00. Whether you are taking the real LSAT in September or this is your first-ever baseline test, this is a great opportunity to take the LSAT in a testlike environment with a proctor. Seating is limited; register here.

Pre-Law 101–Monday, Sept. 11, 4-5 pm. 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. Register here for this session. Each Pre-Law 101 session is the same. Incoming students should attend a Pre-Law 101 prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume for Law School–Tuesday, Sept.19, 4-5pm. The personal statement is one of the most difficult yet powerful elements of the law school application. Join us for this workshop, which will cover what the personal statement is, how to prepare for writing it, and some tips and suggestions for making it reflect an applicant’s strengths. We will also discuss how the personal statement and resume can complement each other to create a stronger law school application. Each session is the same, so select the one that best suits your schedule. Register here for this session.

Save the Date for the Law School Fair on September 27 from 10-2 in Illini Union A,B,C Rooms! Find more details here. We’ll be posting more about this, so stay tuned!

College of Law Opportunities for Pre-Law Students

Prospective Client Volunteers Needed–Please consider volunteering to play the role of a prospective client with a possible legal issue for students in CFI: Interviewing, Counseling & Fact Investigation.  Volunteers are needed on September 13, 14, 27, and 28 at varying times.  You will meet with and be interviewed by your lawyer for approximately 15-20 minutes.  You will be given the fact pattern for the role you volunteer to play.  Please consider signing up for multiple sessions.  To volunteer or for additional details, contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law, or undergraduate friends.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

PAID Video Operators Needed– The Trial Advocacy Program needs video operators for the fall semester on Tuesdays and Wednesdays evening from approximately 5:30/6:00 p.m. – 8:30/9:00 p.m. at the Champaign County Courthouse, Urbana.  You can choose to do one evening a week or both evenings.  The pay is $8.25/hour.  For full job details and requirements, please contact Angela Martin (aymartin@illinois.edu).  Feel free to refer any non-law or undergraduate friends.

Scholarships

We’ve collected 275 scholarships–for both undergrads and incoming law students–on our Scholarships Spreadsheet over on our Pre-Law Compass page. It’s a wide variety of scholarships based on everything from being left-handed to making a video to tweeting, and deadlines vary, so check it out!

Internships

It’s NOT too early to start looking for spring/summer internships today! We post internships on our blog and our Facebook page. Check out this blog post for a plan on how to start finding spring and summer internships this fall.

Pre-Law Resources

Now is a great time to check out–or join–all of our pre-law resources! Click the links to explore. You can also search this blog for posts about the LSAT, law school applications, resumes, internships, and more!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Compass page

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A Spring/Summer 2018 Internship Plan–starting NOW!

We haven’t even kicked off fall semester and it’s time to look for 2018 summer internships? In a word…yes.

The number one mistake we see time and time again is this: Students waiting until spring break to look for summer internships. They can’t find any, or deadlines have passed on the ones they have found.

Certainly there are some companies and programs that will do their summer hiring in late spring. BUT if you wait until spring, you will be giving up MANY opportunities to participate in great internships. Some companies and government agencies plan far in advance and already have a summer hiring plan. For example, the State Department and the White House have already posted their internships for Spring 2018 and will post their Summer 2018 internships by November. A quick search on USAJobs shows about 68 federal internships currently accepting applications for 2018 positions. The kicker? Many federal internships will only accept the first 100 applications–so you’d better be ready to apply ASAP when it opens! What is a good plan?

Spring/Summer 2018 Internship plan

  1. 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.
  2. Use Handshake. The Career Center switched from I-Link to Handshake this 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.
  3. 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 Fall Illini Career & Internship Fair on October 19 too. You can find a list of all campus career fairs on Handshake.
  4. 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 by mid-September to avoid delay applying for the scholarships you find.
  5. Gcal or Ical it. NOW–right now–go to your Gcal, ical, or good old fashioned planner, and schedule an hour every other week (or every week, if you’re very ambitious) 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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Big LSAT changes: What should you know?

If you haven’t heard yet, the Law School Admission Council has announced some big changes to the LSAT. What are they, and what should you know? Let’s dive in.

Expanded LSAT options. Starting in 2018-19, the LSAT will be offered 6 times per year instead of the 4 times per year schedule it’s been on for years.
What it currently is (4x/yr): June, September OR October, December, February
What it will be in 2018-19 (6x/yr): June, September, November, January, March, June, July (the LSAC year will start in July beginning in 2019) (Click here to view the upcoming schedule.)
Potential impact: The addition of the November and January tests instead of December and February could be a good thing. As a group, Illini performed worse on the December exam, which was during or right before finals. Taking it in November instead–right before fall break–at least prevents the dreaded LSAT/finals overlap. The January date is only two weeks earlier than the old February schedule, but for those who are taking it and applying immediately, saving two weeks that late in the cycle could be helpful. The July exam in 2019 will be helpful in providing another summer opportunity–this might be the best part of the new schedule for students.

No more limits. The LSAC has also decided to eliminate the rule that applicants could only take the LSAT a maximum of 3 times in any 2 year period. Now, there will be no limits on how many times a person can take the LSAT.
What it was: A person could take the LSAT a maximum of 3 times in 2 years.
What it will be: A person has no limits on how many times s/he takes the LSAT.
Potential impact: Probably not much. Although it will now be possible to continue retaking the exam after 3 times (and we’re sure many will), will the score really improve by doing so? Both LSAC’s data and our own show that on average, retakers score about two points higher on a second exam, and see less improvement on a third exam. Illini who took the LSAT 3 times had the same average score as those who took it once. And, about 15% of Illini retakers obtained a worse score upon retaking, so that’s another risk. At a certain point it becomes very difficult to sustain LSAT studying due to burnout and the time commitment involved. Of course there is also the issue of how a law school will evaluate an applicant with seven LSAT scores…remember that every single score will be seen by an applicant’s law schools.

Tablet-based tests. The LSAC is currently testing a tablet-based LSAT option. No word yet on when this format might become available. Right now the LSAT is a paper and pencil test and will continue to be until the LSAC decides otherwise.
What it was: Paper and pencil.
What it is now: Still paper and pencil, until we hear otherwise.

Khan Academy LSAT prep.  The LSAC has partnered with Khan Academy to create free LSAT prep which will be available to all. It’s expected to debut in the second half of 2018, so this could be a helpful resource for anyone planning to take the LSAT in late 2018 or after. See the press release here.

We will monitor all upcoming LSAT changes and share with you what we learn, so stay tuned!

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How’s that summer job/internship going? What to do now

You’re well into your summer job or internship by now. You know your colleagues, you’ve got the commute down, and you’re feeling more confident about your work.

We have about six weeks left before the fall semester. So, what should you do now?

Update your resume. Sit down and really think about what you’ve done and the skills you’ve learned at this position. Make a list of all of your projects and brainstorm all of the things that you’ve learned. (You think you will remember, but as soon as the fall semester starts you will forget.) Then…

Ask for more responsibility. If you see from your list that there is more you wanted to do, or could be learning, then by all means ask to be involved in more projects.

Connect with your supervisor. Ideally s/he would be able to provide a great recommendation. Take the time to get to know your supervisor. Could you have coffee/lunch together? You could also ask what projects s/he needs the most help with and volunteer to pitch in. This is a lifelong skill of networking: You will always need another reference or recommendation, and you always want your supervisor to know you and your work well enough to advocate for you.

Meet others in the organization. Have you become interested in another part of the organization? Maybe you don’t work for accounting but you’ve become interested in their work; or perhaps your organization has a legal team. Ask if you can buy them coffee and talk about their job. Those connections can help you explore career options and can often lead to other connections.

Make sure you leave on a strong note. Finish your projects. Leave notes or instructions on any unfinished work before you leave. Ask for feedback on your performance. Send a thank you note to colleagues and your supervisor. Leave your contact information.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

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5 things to do after the June LSAT

June LSAT scores are just about to be released. If you’re done with the June LSAT and applying to law school this fall, now is the perfect time to reallocate all the hours you were spending on LSAT prep to other parts of the law school application. What should you do now?

  1. Get your letters of recommendation lined up. Have you already contacted your LOR writers and asked them to submit a letter for you? If not, do that now, because giving your writer all summer to write the letter is smart. Don’t wait until a super busy time for them–like September, for professors–to ask. Here are some tips.
  2. Register for the Credential Assembly Service if you haven’t already. This is the account you will need to complete your law school applications. Click here for more information.
  3. Order your transcript if you aren’t taking summer classes. If you are taking summer classes, put a reminder on your calendar to order your transcript after August 18. Note: You will need to order a transcript from every undergraduate institution where you took courses–even summer courses–so now is a good time to reach out to the registrar of any community colleges or schools from which you transferred. Here is where you order your UIUC transcript.
  4. Draft a personal statement. Your goal is to convey your passion, career goals, and important elements of your character in two double-spaced pages. Sound difficult? We’ve made several resources, including a video and handout, available over on our Compass page. A great deadline would be to complete a draft of a personal statement by the fall semester start so that you can set up a review appointment and have plenty of time to edit.
  5. Research law schools. You’ll want to have a list of 8-10 law schools representing a variety of elements including geography, admissibility, and programs of interest. You can find LSAT/GPA data, employment information, tuition, and more by using a resource like Law School Transparency’s Reports, which allow you to make direct comparisons, or the American Bar Association’s Required Disclosure reports.

And, if you’re planning on retaking the LSAT in September, register for it right away and start your studying! The test date, September 16, is only 10 weeks away! Many test sites will fill, so you’ll want to register early to get your preferred testing location.

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Tips on getting recommendations from someone who writes them

This is a tale of two recommendations that I have been asked to write. While names have been changed to protect personal privacy, the stories are 100% true.

What is it really like to write a recommendation, and why should you care? If you’re looking at law school or other graduate programs, your letters of recommendation are a big part of helping you stand out from thousands of other strong applicants. Later you will also need references for the bar exam and for jobs and internships, so asking for recommendations/references is really a lifelong skill. And, as you’ll see, HOW you go about this can have a big impact on your results. I have been teaching and advising for 10 years now and I have learned from experience some tips and advice to share with you about how to learn this skill.

Recommendation #1: Taylor Smith 

This spring I received the following email:

Dear Ms. Thomas-Ward,
We have recently interviewed Taylor Smith and offered him employment pending our reference and background checks. Please complete the attached form and submit to us by tomorrow morning. Failure to do so may result in revocation of his employment offer.

Sincerely,
United States Justice Department 

My exact thoughts were: They must have the wrong person, because I have no idea who Taylor Smith is. I will tell them they’ve made a mistake. First let me look him up in the online system. No, I still have no recollection of this person. Let me review my files. Hmm, looks like he took my class over four years ago. I have not heard from him since, and I have no idea what happened to him after our class ended. What can I possibly say that is going to help him here, given how little I know about him?

I searched him on Google to find out where he went to law school. I almost did not complete the reference form. I read through it, and frankly the only reason I did complete it is because the questions were broad and vague enough that I felt comfortable sharing what little I knew about him. Plus, of course I didn’t want him to lose a great job opportunity.  So I completed the form with honest but vague details. I can’t imagine that the reference helped him much. I never heard anything back either from the employer or from the former student.

Recommendation #2: Ally Watson

Ally was a student in my class a couple of years ago too. We met before she graduated to talk about her post-graduation plans. I was happy to serve as a reference for a community-based public service program she applied for and got.

A few weeks ago, Ally called me out of the blue. We caught up for a couple of minutes over the phone about her current position, and then she told me that she is applying for a new job and asked if she could use me as a reference. Of course! I told her I am happy to do it, and asked a few brief details about the job so that I could give her a really strong reference. The whole call took maybe 10 minutes.

When the hiring manager called me for the reference, I was able to give specific examples that I had already considered thanks to Ally’s heads up. The recruiter asked me point blank: Should we hire this person? And I was able to give an honestly enthusiastic answer: Yes, absolutely and without question or reservation. I would hire this person in a heartbeat.

Ally sent me a quick email a few days later to let me know that she got the job, and to thank me for being her reference. The whole email was maybe 3 lines, and it was perfect.

The recommender’s perspective

When I give a recommendation, I am putting my reputation out there. I am saying to a law school or an employer that I am a trustworthy professional who provides accurate insight into the kind of student or employee that this person will be. I take it seriously, as I hope anyone writing a recommendation for me would. I think carefully about what I can say that will be beneficial, as well as how I can phrase it, and I edit my written work carefully because I wouldn’t want any sloppy writing or mistakes on my part to reflect poorly on the person I’m recommending. Personally, I enjoy providing a recommendation when I know I have positive things to say that will help my current and former students succeed. Their success makes me so happy!

When I am asked to write a recommendation for someone whom I don’t know, or someone who took my class years ago but I haven’t heard from since, or even on occasion someone with whom I have had very negative interactions, my first thought is: Why would this person use me as a reference? That shows poor personal insight and bad judgment. If I truly feel that I cannot provide a supportive reference, I will decline to provide it. When I am put in the middle–like with the Justice Department email–I resent being placed in a position in which I can’t decline without it negatively impacting the applicant. I don’t want to impede anyone’s success, but I do have an obligation to be honest and trustworthy in my recommendation.

Advice and tips for requesting references & recommendations

  • Ask the person’s permission to use them as a reference.. Experience has shown me that although this seems like a no-brainer, it needs to be stated. I can’t tell you how many people have listed me as a reference for the Illinois Bar without asking me, and that is a high stakes situation.
  • Give the recommender a graceful way out. Ask the recommender: Do you feel comfortable providing a recommendation for me? Is there anything I can provide that would be helpful (the job description, a transcript, a resume)? Will you have the time to provide this by the deadline of ____________?
  • Tell the reference that they might be called…even if your reference has provided an open offer for you to use them anytime. If you have gotten an interview, passed a background check, or have any reason to think that your references will be called, just send a quick email letting them know. What would have happened if the Justice Department called me for the reference? I would have told them I had no idea who they were talking about and hung up. For people whom I have extended an open offer to serve as a reference anytime, it makes the reference SO MUCH BETTER when I know what job they’ve applied for and how their experiences align. Just being able to say that I’ve spoken to the person recently improves the credibility of the reference. It’s always awkward when they ask when I last had contact with the person and the answer is: Ummmm…..maybe five years ago? 
  • Trust your instincts. Are you getting the feeling that your recommender isn’t enthusiastic? Is s/he avoiding your emails/phone calls, unresponsive, using a reluctant or annoyed tone, or expressing concern about the deadline? Then go with your gut and move on, because a lukewarm, unenthusiastic recommendation can be worse than none at all.
  • Follow up. Thank your recommender either through a card or email, and tell them the outcome. Did you get the job? Did you get into the law school? Let them know, and keep that connection alive through LinkedIn. You will need more references in the future, so keeping a group of people in mind who can vouch for you is truly a lifelong skill.

Dealbreakers: When I refuse to recommend someone

  • Immediate turnaround. I typically will not provide any recommendation letter with less than 2 weeks’ notice. Don’t wait until the day before an application is due to ask for a letter.
  • Negative or no history. I have been asked to write recommendations or serve as a reference for people I’ve never personally met, for former students who did extremely poorly in my class, and for people who know that I am aware of their criminal history.  If I know the recommendation would obligate me to reveal negative information, I will not provide one.
  • Nothing to say. Sometimes a former student with a mediocre grade and almost no direct interaction with me will ask for a reference. If all I can say about you is that you took my class and got a B, I generally will not provide that reference because I know it won’t be helpful.

 

 

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So many MORE scholarships!

Hopefully you’ve already seen our posts about our Scholarship Spreadsheet that we added over on Compass. It started with about 220 scholarships, and we just added many more. Now it lists over 250 scholarships! Some scholarships are for continuing undergrads, and others are for those of you who are starting law school as incoming 1Ls this fall–and many of the scholarships are available to both undergrads and law students. There is something for everyone.

$1,000 may not seem like a lot towards a legal education, but consider that at 6.8% interest every $1,000 you borrow will cost $1,597 to pay back over 15 years. Every dollar you can avoid borrowing in loans really helps.

Here are just a few examples of scholarships that we’ve recently added.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports thirty immigrants or children of immigrants pursuing graduate school by paying 50% tuition plus up to $20,000 per year in living expenses.

Resume Genius Scholarship is not based on grades! It awards $1000 scholarships to college students who submit a resume for a fictional or nonfiction character from tv, film, literature, history, or myth.

Pelican Water Sustainability Scholarship awards from $500 to $1,500 to undergrad or graduate students with a 3.5 minimum GPA who submit an essay on water conservation and a recommendation.

2017 Margarian Scholarship awards five $1,000 scholarships to undergrads or grad students who demonstrate commitment to heritage, community, and society through persistence, dedication, success, and humility. Deadline is June 1, so hurry!

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Scholarship awards $4,000 to an undergrad or graduate student who is a cancer survivor or who has had an immediate family member fight cancer.

Head over to our Compass page and start applying–the scholarships have deadlines ranging from June 1 to December 31, with many due over the summer months.

 

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