Prepping for the July or September LSAT? There’s a NEW Khan Academy for that!

Good news for anyone prepping for the July, September, or any other LSAT later than those! The Law School Admission Council has partnered with Khan Academy to create a FREE online LSAT prep course, and they just announced that it will be available starting June 1! (It’s too late to be much help for June takers, but feel free to check it out.)

We will post the link as soon as it is open, so stay tuned to the Pre-Law Facebook page and blog for additional details.

JULY LSAT TAKERS–-Remember that the July LSAT registration deadline is June 13. July takers should also be aware that this test is nondisclosed, meaning that you will not receive a full score report (only a score.) For more details visit the LSAC’s website.

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of April 30

This week: A few opportunities and important reminders as the semester winds down.

Still looking for summer internship/volunteer opportunities? Join our Facebook page and use the search box to find all kinds of internship and volunteer opportunities that we’ve posted. We also posted lots of opportunities over on our Compass page!

ACADEMIC INTERNSHIPS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE–An INFORMATIONAL MEETING on academic internships in political science will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd, 317 DKH 7-8:50 PM.  The meeting is open to students in all majors.  From down the street to around the world, U of I students can enhance their education by earning academic credit in association with an internship related to politics, government, or non-governmental organization.  Offices and organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area are currently looking for interns for the fall.    Or you can go to Washington, DC through our Illinois in Washington program.   Students who secure a State Department internship can also earn credit long-distance.   Further information will be provided regarding study abroad internships.   For more information, contact Professor Henehan at mhenehan@illinois.edu

TOMORROW is the deadline to register for the June LSAT! Remember that if you are requesting accommodations you must also submit that request and supporting documentation by tomorrow as well.

Test Date: Monday, June 11, 2018


Registration Deadlines

Requests for testing accommodations are due by the receipt deadlines below. All receipt deadlines are by 11:59 pm Eastern Time (ET).

Receipt Deadline
Registration May 1, 2018
Registration Accommodation Request May 1, 2018
Nonpublished Test Center Registration(additional fees apply) April 24, 2018
Photo Upload May 25, 2018

For more information about the June 2018 LSAT, visit the LSAC website.

Career Center–You can still get your resume reviewed, meet with a career advisor, and learn more about applying for Peace Corps this week. Check out the Career Center’s calendar of events here.

Today at 12:00 join the Women’s Resource Center for:

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Starting law school this fall? What to know, do, and buy this summer!

Congratulations to all Illini who are completing the law school application cycle! It feels like it’s over, but actually, a whole new stage is just beginning. What should you do now and throughout the summer to make sure you are ready to enter the legal profession?

First Things First: Final Application Tasks

  • Seat deposits. Now is the time for making those seat deposits to save your seat. While some people will submit multiple seat deposits, if you’ve done your research and completed your visits, you need to only place one seat deposit at your selected school. Remember that starting May 15, every law school can see each deposit that applicants have made–meaning that they will know if you’ve put down multiple deposits.
  • Follow up on wait lists. It is very common to be on one or more wait lists. Revisit this blog post for tips on what to do.
  • Withdraw your other applications. By this point, applicants have narrowed down their law school to one or two top choices. Contact the schools you know you won’t be attending to formally withdraw. This allows those law schools to offer your seat/scholarship to someone else. Some law schools will have a webform to do this, whereas at others, a simple email like this will do. Dear Dean of Admissions, Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend Your Law School. However, after careful consideration I have decided to attend X Law School (or, I’ve decided to attend law school in the midwest/east coast/elsewhere), so I will not be placing a deposit.  I very much appreciate your time and consideration of my application. Best wishes, Applicant.
  • Send a final transcript. After graduation, you must provide a final transcript to the law school you are attending.

Professional details–You are taking an important step toward beginning your professional life. Start off on the right foot.

  • Get online.
    • Clean up your social media presence like your Facebook and Twitter sites. Would you want an employer or law school representative to see every picture or post of yours? If not, take them down, and set privacy restrictions.
    • Set up a new, professional-sounding gmail account (not cubbies14 or hotty100). Learn how to use google calendar–if you haven’t been much of a planner until now, this is a good time to start getting in the habit of planning your days/weeks. Here’s a good video to learn some starter tips and tricks.
    • Create a Linked In profile or update your profile.
    • Update your resume.
    • Subscribe to online news and legal resources such as the New York Times and the National Law Journal to get into the practice of keeping up to date on legal issues.
  • Follow up with your professors/recommenders. You will continue to need recommendations for scholarships and for applying to jobs at the end of 1L year and beyond. Plus, it is simply good practice to begin developing long term connections.  At minimum you should:
    • Send a thank you note to your law school recommenders and let them know where you’ve decided to attend law school.
    • Provide your gmail or other non-Illinois email so that they can stay in touch with you after you graduate.
    • Ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn.
    • Extra credit for delivering an inexpensive token gift such as a coffee gift card or chocolates. You don’t have to spend a lot of money–and shouldn’t–to express your appreciation.
  • Network. Ask lawyers you or your parents know if you can take them to coffee and learn about their practice area. You can use the Illinois Lawyer Finder here to locate lawyers near you by practice area. Use your networking skills and begin reaching out to any contacts in legal fields that interest you. Remember, everyone needs a lawyer eventually, and most people know or have hired a lawyer. Plus lawyers know lots of other lawyers and can introduce or recommend you. You can already start thinking about what kind of 1L summer job you’d like and build the network for that.
  • Create a Google Doc to help with your bar exam application. List every address you’ve ever had, every landlord you’ve ever had, and every speeding and parking ticket you’ve ever received. Get all the records you can for these and for any academic or disciplinary action against you during your undergraduate years. You’ll be applying during your 2L or 3L year to sit for the bar in your chosen state and you will not remember these old details! If you’d like to know what details you’ll be obligated to report on your Illinois Character & Fitness application, visit the Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar application here–be sure to click on the drop down menu to see all the questions in Sections A through J. Click here to explore other states’ bar application requirements.

Financial considerations

  • Follow up with the financial aid office of your law school to make sure they have all the documents they need, such as your FAFSA, and that you haven’t missed any opportunities to apply for school-specific scholarships.
  • Apply for scholarships this summer! We posted a Scholarships Spreadsheet over on Compass listing over 200 scholarships for incoming law students (and many which are available to undergrads also).
  • Most federal loans will not be disbursed until AFTER classes begin, so you will need to pay security deposits and the first month of rent as well as buy books and necessary items (below) all before getting your loans. Save up this summer!
  • Buy some important items.
    • You will need a suit and dress shoes the very first week of class.
    • You should also bring at least 2-3 business casual outfits that you can wear to networking events.
    • You may need a new or upgraded laptop–check with your law school to see what technology they recommend and what is compatible with their IT systems. Your law school may also offer discounts. A printer is very helpful but you could speak to your roommate(s) to see if they have one before purchasing.
  • Make a budget. Each law school is required to provide a budget in your financial aid package, or you can find it online. You are not required to take the full loan amount; remember that your loans start accruing interest from Day 1 so any amount you do not borrow will save you the interest too. Sit down and carefully consider your living expenses so you can budget accordingly. Remember that your loan disbursement is only designed to pay for tuition/fees and 9 months of living expenses, and it is not designed to cover costs like car payment/insurance, credit card debt, or travel (for example, if you need to fly to your new law school or ship your belongings there).

Personal details

  • Make living arrangements. Whether you are living in an apartment, with parents, or staying in on-campus housing, you should be figuring out where you will live as soon as possible. Additionally, you should be trying to locate a roommate if you plan on renting an apartment with someone else. Join social media groups for your law school class or speak directly with your school to see if they have a roommate matching system.
  • Take care of anything and everything in your personal life that you can. Get your car serviced, change your cell phone plan, go to the dentist, book necessary travel arrangements, open a bank account in your new city…do anything that you can take care of now. You will not want to spend precious free time on these things later.
  • Go to the doctor and update your vaccinations–law schools will require it. Start or maintain good exercise and eating habits–it’s easier to maintain these than to start them during the semester!
  • Embrace starting over. You have been given a clean slate, so use it wisely. Don’t start law school by being the person who brags about their big scholarship/LSAT score/undergrad accomplishments. Conversely, don’t be intimidated by people in your class with a higher LSAT score/scholarship–frequently the people who will end up at the top of the law school class are not who you would have predicted. You have made it here, you deserve to be here, now embrace the opportunity to start with a clean slate!
  • Finally, WORK HARD from Day 1! 1L grades and class rank are VERY important and will determine things like: whether you can write for a law journal, whether you can participate in moot court, and whether you can interview with law firms before your 2L year in On Campus Interviews (OCI). Start developing a consistent study schedule and the discipline to stick to it. 1L year is not the time to sit back and coast while you adjust to a new life. Remember that law school classes are curved, so by design, everyone will NOT get an A. It is critical not to fall behind on your coursework during the first semester.

 

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All About Seat Deposits: Advice and Next Steps

The deadlines for seat deposits at law schools are rapidly approaching.  It’s time to decide where to attend law school! In many cases, these decisions prove difficult.  Scholarships, living expenses, geographic locations and other considerations all play a part in the decision process.  Here are some tips and suggestions to help applicants through the seat deposit process.

Reconsider the Right School/Wrong School Mentality. Many applicants see their choice of law school as a Right/Wrong dichotomy. They feel pressure to pick the Right law school so that everything will be wonderful and life will be perfect. They worry that if they pick the Wrong law school, life will be miserable and they will spend their days regretting it. It is more accurate and helpful to approach this decision by acknowledging that there is no one perfect law school for everyone. A better question is: What is the best school to help YOU achieve YOUR PRIORITIES? Every law school will have strengths and weaknesses. Your job should be to consider what your priorities are in a legal education, and to choose a school that matches those priorities. Note that here is where it is important to focus on YOU and not what Mom/Dad, significant others, family, friends, etc. think. You are the only person who can decide which law school is right for YOU.

Note deadlines and follow the directions. If you’re this far into the law school application process then you already know that following directions is critical! Make sure that you are clear on all of the seat deposit deadlines for schools you are considering, and that you understand how they want you to submit your deposit–and what happens if you don’t do so on time.

Reconsider your priorities. When considering schools to apply to, we asked: What are your priorities in a legal education? Think back on that pre-application priority or ranking. Some priorities to consider or reconsider include: Where do you want to live and practice after law school? What specialty programs does this school offer? What observations did you make about the law school when you visited? What would your overall investment be (see more on that below) to attend this school?

Carefully consider scholarships. It is critical that law students know and understand exactly how much of an investment their legal education will be. Make sure that when you consider scholarships:

  • You have carefully calculated the cost of attendance (your actual, out of pocket costs to attend after the scholarship) and not just compared two scholarship amounts;
  • IF considering a state school, you know whether you can become an in-state resident for tuition purposes during your 2L and 3L years;
  • Cost of living in the law school’s city is factored in; and
  • Does the law school freeze tuition? If not, factor in a 3-5% increase in tuition each year.

Having trouble deciding? Get back to basics. If you’re truly feeling stuck and can’t decide between two schools, getting back to basics can be surprisingly helpful. Ask yourself:

  • What would make me feel confident with my decision? What would tip the scales in one direction or another?
  • Looking again at the actual data–your cost of attendance, employment reports, bar passage rates, etc.–is helpful if you want to remove some of the uncertainty or emotional overwhelm. Review this blog post for a helpful resource.
  • What were my observations/thoughts/feelings when I visited each school?
  • What is holding me back from choosing X School over Y School? (Have you asked the law school if they can address that concern? If not, do so!)
  • How would you describe each law school in one sentence? (This can help to clarify what your primary observations are of each one.)
  • What is your gut telling you?

In extenuating circumstances, ask for an extension. Did you just get another admission or scholarship offer and need time to consider it in light of other options? You can request a seat deposit extension. Contact the law school and formally (politely) request a seat deposit extension of a few days to a week. Use this judiciously! It’s important to actually use the extended time to make a decision–what is realistically going to change your mind in 3 days or a week? Ask yourself: What can I do with this time to help me feel confident in my decision?

If you’re waitlisted–deposit somewhere or decide to reapply next year. If you are waitlisted at Dream School and hoping that comes through, you must make a careful decision about where else you will deposit. OR you can decide to take your chances with Dream School and reapply to law school next year if you don’t get in from the wait list. However, don’t decide to put no deposits down and expect to attend law school this fall–being wait listed is no guarantee of admission and once the seat deposit deadlines have passed you have forfeited your seat even where you were admitted. If you are still undecided, it’s better to put down a seat deposit and lose that money (if you decide not to attend or get into Dream Law School off the wait list) than have no seat in any law school class this fall.

Be very careful with multiple deposits. Sometimes applicants will decide to put down multiple seat deposits if they still aren’t sure where to attend law school. Here’s what the LSAC has to say about this:

“Applicants should be aware that a law school is not required to maintain an offer of admission if it discovers that the applicant has accepted an offer at another institution. Beginning on May 15 of each year, law schools may be provided with information concerning all enrollment commitments to any law school made by those applicants who have indicated an intention to enroll in that school’s entering class. Applicants should be sure that they understand policies on multiple commitment deposits set by schools to which they have applied.” (http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/misconduct-and-irregularities/what-to-expect?sfvrsn=2).

Submitting multiple seat deposits is a tricky business.  Law schools will see all of your seat deposits as of May 15, some schools can retract your offer of admission, the practice is costly and borderline unethical, and it only prolongs the decision process.  You have done all the hard work to receive these offers so take the last step and make your choice.

Withdraw from other law schools. Once you’ve decided where to deposit and followed the directions to do so, you can withdraw from the other law schools where you were accepted. Usually they have a link or webform for this. If not, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a brief, polite email: Dear Law School, Thank you very much for your offer of admission. However, I have decided to attend X Law School and I have submitted a seat deposit there. Sincerely, Applicant

Embrace your choice. You visited, you calculated all the data, you weighed all of your priorities, you thought it over, you talked to law school professionals and students. You made the decision that you decided best suits your priorities. Once you have made that decision, it is time to embrace it and to let go of the “what ifs” to focus on your next steps. You’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity, program, and connection your law school offers to maximize your law school experience. Enter law school with an open mind and embrace all of the opportunities wherever you decide to attend.

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of April 9

Upcoming Pre-Law Advising Services Events: Are you planning to apply to law school this fall? Or maybe you’re graduating and planning to apply within the next year or two? These two upcoming workshops will help you maximize your summer or your gap year to make your law school application the best it can be. Join us for one or both.

Monday April 16Applying to Law School Workshop for Fall Applicants at 4PM in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

Monday April 23 Personal Statement Workshop for Fall Applicants at 4PM in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

PRE-LAW OPPORTUNITIES

Undergraduate Law Review Meeting–Are you interested in legal writing? Join the first meeting for the very first undergraduate law journal at the University of Illinois on Monday, April 16 at 6pm in Greg Hall Room 215.

LSAT UPDATE–Are you planning to take the LSAT this summer? Both the June and July exams are open for registration here. We recommend registering ASAP to get your preferred test location.

FALL 2018 COURSES – Still building your fall schedule? Refer to this blog featuring a detailed list of suggested Fall ’18 classes for pre-law students.

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES
Reminder: The University of Wisconsin Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars program application is due this Friday, April 13. Click here to learn more and apply

Still looking for summer opportunities? We’ve posted lots of internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities over on our Facebook page.

And don’t forget about the Illini Career and Internship Fair, Tuesday April 10, 1pm-6pm, Illini Union Rooms A, B, and C! This career fair is open to all disciplines and is designed to serve as a “just-in-time” fair for students that have yet to secure a summer internship or full-time job after graduation. Click here for more details.

Campus Events

A Conversation with Alan Dershowitz, noted attorney and advocate for civil liberties, will be held on April 26 at 7:30 pm at Foellinger Auditorium. Click here for more details. 

The College of Law will host Discussion of “Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law” on April 19 at 12:00 pm in the Rowe Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public and lunch will be served to attendees. Find more details here.

 

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PS 491: Public Defender Internship for Fall 18

Applications are now open for PS 491: Public Defender Internship for Fall of 2018 and will be due on April 5. Read on for details about the course and the application process.

Are you interested in how criminal courts work?  Would you like to see an arraignment, a motion hearing or a real criminal trial?  Want to meet with Public Defender clients about their cases?  Would you like to help an attorney prepare cases for court?  The Department of Political Science and the Champaign County Public Defender’s Office plan to offer an internship for academic credit in Fall, 2018.   Jamie Thomas-Ward, the Director of Pre-Law Services, will provide academic supervision of these internships. Unlike other internships that require a substantial research project done in conjunction with the internship itself for an award of academic credit, in this internship, students will be awarded credit for their work in the Public Defender’s Office combined with a series of structured academic assignments requiring integration of internship experiences with readings on the political systems, the legal system and constitutional and human rights. This class requires one hour of class time per week, and about six hours per week of work at the internship site.

What, specifically, can you expect to be doing as part of this internship?

  • Watching criminal court proceedings such as arraignments, sentencing hearings, motion hearings, and trials
  • Reviewing criminal case files (such as police reports) with Public Defender clients both at the office and at the Champaign County Jail
  • Reviewing evidence and bodycam footage and organizing materials for case files
  • Discussing case information and strategy with the Public Defender attorneys
  • Contacting potential witnesses to testify at sentencing hearings; and
  • Other research and projects as needed.

The Public Defender’s Office is a fast-paced environment. Ideal students for this program are: interested in criminal law proceedings; willing to take a variety of assignments; able to work independently when given appropriate support; and able to devote 90 hours during the semester to the Public Defender’s Office. Admission is competitive: We expect to have five openings for Fall, 2018.

By Thursday, April 5, students seeking to participate in the Public Defender Internship Program must submit an application online at https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/7935624. The application consists of a cover letter, informal transcript, resume and writing sample. The cover letter needs to address each of the following elements: 1) explain your interest in and motivation for undertaking this internship, 2) share your experience in working with only a modest level of direct supervision, and 3) discuss your plans for accommodating participation in the internship in your schedule (including how many other credit hours you plan to carry, whether you will be studying for the LSAT, whether you have other significant time commitments).  All of those materials will be reviewed for a decision on acceptance into the program by the departmental internship committee.

At a minimum, students seeking to participate in this program need (1) to have completed 45 credit hours by Fall, 2018 (2) with at least one year of residence on this campus and (3) to have earned a cumulative UIUC grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  They must (4) have completed PS 101: U.S. Government & Politics  and (5) have no arrests or criminal convictions – as an adult or juvenile – or serious campus disciplinary violations involving campus or local law enforcement.  In addition to work in the courthouse, students will need to attend a class for one hour per week on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00.  Submit all applications online at https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/7935624.

Past students have really enjoyed this opportunity.  Questions on this internship?  Contact Jamie Thomas-Ward at thomas99@illinois.edu.

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Guide to selecting pre-law coursework for Illinois students

Each semester, we post a list of upcoming courses that will help pre-law students develop relevant skills for law school and get a taste of what studying law is like. What else should you know about building your pre-law schedule? This Guide provides several tips and suggestions to help pre-law students make the most of your upcoming semesters.

Pre-Law students really can major in ANYTHING and be successful in law school, but you must be a strong student in whatever you choose. Therefore, carefully consider what major(s) and minor(s) will challenge you but also allow you to demonstrate your academic strengths. Explore all majors and minors on campus here.

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. This is especially important if you struggle academically for more than one semester–it is very challenging to fix a low GPA once obtained.

We recommend that you avoid making course selections for these reasons:

  • A friend/roommate/sibling/parent said the class was easy;
  • I only wanted classes in the afternoons/on Tu/Th/to complement my work schedule so I just picked what I could get into on those days;
  • I just 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.

Plan far in advance for study abroad, Illinois in Washington, and taking the LSAT. Most students try to lighten their academic load during the spring of Junior year or during the fall of Senior year while they prep for the LSAT. Studying for the LSAT will take about 10-15 hours per week for 4-6 months. Review upcoming LSAT dates and deadlines here. If you are planning to study abroad or do Illinois in Washington, talk to a pre-law advisor about planning your LSAT options around those.

Monitor your academic performance and seek help. Don’t wait until the last week of class to discover that you are actually not earning an A. Seek help when you need it–this University abounds with programs and services to support your academic endeavors! Start by talking to your TA/Professor and your academic advisor about academic support and tutoring options.

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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Make the most of your spring/spring break!

Here are suggestions for pre-law students and alumni to maximize your spring and/or your spring break.

For all current pre-law students or those entering law school this fall:

  • Complete your FAFSA if you haven’t already. This is how financial aid for federal loans for summer/fall will be determined, whether you are an undergrad or an incoming law student.

Freshmen and Sophomores:

  • Apply for Summer Jobs and Internships. Do you have summer plans locked down? If not, apply for jobs and internships. Check out our internship newsletter over on our Compass page. We’ve also listed LOTS of  internships on our Facebook page and on our blog!  Use the search box on either of these to find internships. You should also be checking Handshake regularly (or set it to email you when new listings appear).
  • Apply to Summer Pre-Law Programs. These are typically 4 week residential programs to teach basics of law and how to prepare for law school, and most are free and come with a stipend for selected students. We have been posting these all spring on our blog and Facebook page. Take a look at the Summer Pre-Law Programs spreadsheet on our Compass page, listing over 40 summer programs, for even more opportunities. Note: Some deadlines have passed and others are April 1, so apply SOON.
  • Take a practice LSAT. Not ready to take the real LSAT yet but wondering what it’s all about? Go to this website to download a free practice test. When you’re done, you can score it and watch videos there with explanations of the answers. Want to take more practice LSATs? You can purchase books of 10 previously administered LSATs like this one at Amazon or another bookseller, or used on ebay.
  • Job shadow, or 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. 
  • Get caught up. Use this time to catch up on studying and prepare for finals–those grades are very important to law schools!

Pre-Law Students and Alumni Applying This Fall:

  • Make your LSAT plans. 
    • Taking the June LSAT? You should already have selected your prep option and started studying. Spring break is a great time to crank up your LSAT studying.Tip: REGISTER FOR THE JUNE LSAT NOW, because the popular test sites fill up around spring break each year.
    • Taking the September LSAT? Now is the time to research LSAT prep options. Check out the LSAT Preparation folder over on our Compass page for information on free LSAT resources as well as listings of popular LSAT prep companies, including discounts they are offering to Illinois students.
  • Decide who will be your recommendation writers. You will want to approach them by this May/June (at the end of THIS semester) so that they have plenty of time to write the letter and your performance is still fresh in their mind. If you are an alum, reach out ASAP because the longer you wait the more difficult it is to track people down and for them to remember you.
  • Register for the Credential Assembly Service. This is the account you will need to open in order to have your recommendation letters processed. Once you set it up, your account is good for five years. You can read all about it here.
  • Mark your calendars. We have upcoming workshops just for you that you should plan to attend. Find them all on our Event Calendar.

Seniors taking a gap year (or two) prior to law school:

  • It’s still a good idea to decide who on campus can write your recommendations, and approach them by the end of this semester. If you wait a year or more the professor is sometimes gone, on sabbatical, retired, etc., so it’s better to get them now. Register for the Credential Assembly Service as listed above so that you can send the letters in to your account.
  • We will have a special workshop about Taking a Gap Year Before Law School on March 29 at 5 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.  This workshop will cover how you can maximize your postgraduate time to make yourself an even better law school candidate, and we will share a timeline and game plan for applying to law school as a working professional. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from current law students who worked prior to law school.

Seniors and alumni headed to law school this fall:

  • Complete your FAFSA! Your federal loans will not be disbursed without it.
  • Make final visits to law schools/attend admitted student days. If you’ve decided where to attend, then withdraw from the other schools that have admitted you so that they can offer that seat/scholarship to someone else.
  • Apply for scholarships. We’ve posted lots of scholarships in our blog and over on our Compass page! When you know which law school you are attending, ask your law school financial aid office about scholarship opportunities.
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Mark Your Calendars: Week of March 12

Pre-Law Events

Harvard Law School Junior Deferral Program Office Hours–Thursday, March 15 5-6 pm online. Harvard Law School recently began a program in which college juniors apply, and if accepted, they then enter law school 2+ years after graduating from college. Applicants must be graduating in Spring 2019 and commit to deferring their law school admission until at least 2 years after graduating from your undergraduate program. Applications are due April 1. HLS is hosting an online Info Session on March 15 to answer questions before the upcoming application deadline. Click here to register for the info session.

The College of Law invites pre-law students to serve as mock jurors for law students. Advanced Trial Advocacy trials will be held April 4,10,11, and 19 starting at 5 pm each night and lasting about 3 hours. Refreshments will be served. This is a great way to experience what it’s like to be on a jury, see what law students are doing, and get a taste of what trials are really like! Please email Thanin Stewart at tostewa2@illinois.edu indicating what day(s) you’d like to serve as a mock juror, or if you have any questions.

Taking a Gap Year (Or More) Before Law School Workshop–Thursday, March 29 at 5:00 pm in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building

Are you considering working, volunteering, traveling, or doing something else before attending law school? If so, how can you use that time effectively to improve your applicant profile? Do you want to know more about going straight through to law school after undergrad? This event helps students explore different paths to law school. The panel will feature three current law students–two with work experience and one who went directly from undergrad to law school–to answer your questions and discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking a gap year (or more) and working.

Events on Campus

Virtual Career Fair for Students with Disabilities: Wednesday, March 14, 8am-5pm

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is hosting a virtual career fair where job seekers with disabilities can meet employers from across the nation. This online recruiting event is open to students & alumni from 2-Year and 4-Year Colleges and Universities across the United States. Use the following link to review the event schedule and register: https://www.careereco.com/Fair/EventDetails?fairId=4c573eb5-af3c-4ad9-855a-a831011b640e

Other Spring Career Fairs

March 13:  Research Park Career Fair  http://researchpark.illinois.edu/career-fair

April 10:  Just-in-Time Illini Career & Internship Fair  https://www.careercenter.illinois.edu/just-time-illini-career-internship-fair

Career Center workshops–for more info visit www.careercenter.illinois.edu

  • Finding an Internship–Mar 13, 4-5 pm
  • Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Reviews–multiple times and locations

SUMMER INTERNSHIPS
Still looking for summer opportunities? We’ve posted lots of internships and jobs over on our Facebook page, like these.

The Division of General Studies is hiring PAID summer peer advisors to assist with summer registration. Visit our Facebook page for the full job description.

The Office of Admissions is hiring PAID summer I-STAR (student admission representatives) to work through summer registration. Applications due March 18. Click here for more info.

The Office of Communications for Enrollment Management is hiring a PAID summer intern in the fields of writing, communication, or marketing, with the possibility of continuing through the academic year. Apply by March 19. Visit the Virtual Job Board for more info; look for Position 37333.

The Career Center is hiring PAID summer interns to work 20-25 hrs/week May 14-Aug 3. Great opportunity for a student prepping for the LSAT this summer! Applications due March 26. Visit our Facebook page for the full job description.

 

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Waitlisted, or just waiting? What to do now!

We’re hearing from a lot of law school applicants who have submitted their applications and now find themselves either waitlisted or still waiting to hear back. Here are some helpful tips and pointers to help you position yourself in the best manner for admission and aid!

If you’re still waiting for an admission decision…
You are NOT alone!
Many applicants tell us they have been waiting weeks or months. What is going on? It could mean:

  • The school is essentially “wait listing” you, but not calling it that, by waiting to respond to you until they see the rest of the applicant pool.
  • The admissions office is understaffed or inundated with applications. (Many schools are reporting an increase of applications this year, with nationwide applications up about 14% over last year.)
  • You applied later in the cycle and a backlog of applications must be reviewed before yours.

What can you do if you are still waiting on an answer?

  • IF it has been at least 4-6 weeks or whatever time frame the school has indicated for your file to be reviewed, reach out and politely inquire about anticipated time frames for a decision. Reiterate your interest in the school.
  • Review your status checker
  • Follow the law school on Twitter; many deans have taken to updating applicants about expected decisions there.
  • Don’t: Complain about their slowness or criticize the school’s process; tell them you’ve already heard back from everywhere else or from “better” schools; give the school a deadline. Sometimes patience is key.

If you’ve been waitlisted…Understand what this means: that you are an admissible candidate but the school needs to hit its institutional goals before they can admit you. Institutional goals could be LSAT/GPA related but could also be related to balancing the class with regard to gender, diversity, in state/out of state, age, etc. Very few schools can accurately predict how many applicants–and with what qualities–they will be pulling from a wait list. When the school tells you they don’t know your odds, it is very likely true.

What can you do if you are waitlisted?

  • Follow the school’s directions carefully. Do not email to ask them what to do after the school sends very specific instructions. Some law schools will ask you to confirm that you want to be on their wait list–if you don’t do so, you will not be considered. Pay attention to these details and instructions and follow them carefully.
  • Visit the school if you haven’t already. Making a strong impression on an admissions professional can go a long way toward being selected when it’s time for them to pull from the wait list.
  • Update your application by sending an updated resume, a new recommendation, or a letter or email expressing continued interest in that school (sometimes called a LOCI, or letter of continued interest).
  • Stay in touch–no more than once every couple of weeks–to demonstrate your interest in the school. Keep them updated on your plans. IF the school is your top choice, then say so.
  • Continue to make other plans. No one should proceed by “expecting” to be pulled from a wait list…even if this does happen, it can be anytime up to the day classes begin. You need to start making concrete plans in early April. Decide which law school you will attend out of those who accepted you. Make plans for putting down your deposit(s).
  • Don’t demand a decision right now…you may get one but it will not be the one you want.

Be “pleasantly persistent” as we move into April and May, which are prime decision-making times for schools as their deposit deadlines pass. And always remember that professionalism and good manners go a long way in this business!

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