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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Feeling anxious about the June LSAT? You have options!

June and September are the most popular LSAT administrations for Illinois students and alums. What should you do if you are feeling anxious as we approach the June LSAT?

First, it’s important to acknowledge that some anxiety is normal. The LSAT is a difficult test, and it’s perfectly natural to feel some anxiety about performing well on it. Of the thousands of students and alumni I’ve worked with over the past 10 years, I can probably count on one hand how many weren’t nervous about this exam.

If you are getting concerned that you will not be ready for the June exam: Know that you have options. Let’s take a look at each.

Option 1: Withdraw from the June LSAT now. This might be a good option if you know you didn’t spend enough time on your LSAT prep this spring, and/or you are not going to be able to focus on LSAT prep for the next few weeks. This option can take the pressure off, allowing you to refocus your game plan for September. You can withdraw and register for the September LSAT now (click here to do so). Advice for those who make this choice: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Once the pressure of the June LSAT is off, you will be very tempted to put your LSAT materials away all summer. DO NOT DO THIS, or you will find yourself in the exact same state of panic in August when you realize you are not ready for the September exam either. I have seen this countless times! Use this summer wisely, and take the time you need to be fully prepared for September.

Option 2: Keep going, and make a game time decision. This is more for the students who have been LSAT prepping consistently this spring but still feel they are pretty far from their LSAT goals. Crank up your LSAT prep–you still have 3.5 weeks, and that’s enough time to make some significant gains.Clear your schedule as much as possible and give it your all. Take a final timed practice test around June 9. Then, you can make a game time decision: You can withdraw from the LSAT as late as the day before the test (June 11). Withdrawals are not seen by law schools–you will only lose your test registration fee. In the long run, this is a small price to pay to avoid having a low LSAT score. Advice for those who choose this option: Really clear your schedule for the next few weeks and study as much as possible. If you truly want to see results, you will need to take this seriously and put in the time and effort. On the plus side, it’s only for a few weeks–you can still go to the pool later this summer.

Option 3: Know that you can cancel your LSAT score after the exam. This option is more appealing to those students who have serious test anxiety or whose LSAT prep shows inconsistent results–some days you do great, others are deeply disappointing. How will you feel on test day? It’s very hard to say. Keep in mind that if test day does not go well, you can go home and immediately cancel your score. You won’t know what score you received, which means you’ll need to retake, but there is some benefit to gaining the experience of taking an actual LSAT to make you feel more confident the next time around. Advice to those who choose this option: Follow the LSAC instructions carefully, as you only have 6 calendar days to cancel. (Click here for instructions.) Since you know you will be retaking, get back to your LSAT study prep right away–the September test is only 8 weeks after the June one, so you will need all of that time to prepare.

Option 4: Hope for the best. Continue your LSAT prep diligently, take the June LSAT, see what happens, and let this dictate whether you retake. This is a perfectly valid plan if you’ve been taking your LSAT prep seriously and you just have some general anxiety about test day performance. Advice for those who choose this option: June LSAT scores are projected to be released July 6. Given that the September exam is Sept. 16, you will not have much time to prep for a retake after getting your June score. Please keep an open mind about this suggestion: You may want to keep LSAT prepping after the June LSAT until you receive your score. Why? So that you can continue to make gains for the September exam. If you set aside your LSAT books from June 12 to July 6, you’re probably going to lose some ground that you’ll have to make up for. Another option: Be ready to make a decision almost immediately when you receive your score about whether to retake. Consider: Under what circumstances would you retake? For example, If my score isn’t _____ then I will definitely retake. Or, If my score isn’t within 2 points of where I was practice testing or If my score isn’t at the median of Dream Law School. The point is to consider this now so that you can prepare yourself for this decision, instead of waiting until the score comes out to even think about it. You won’t have weeks to bounce around the idea of retaking once your score is released–you’ll need to get on with it. Quickly.

Overall: Keep the big picture in mind. Do your absolute best to prepare and perform on this test. But don’t get sucked into tunnel vision about the LSAT and what it means. What the LSAT does is predict first-year law school performance. The LSAT does not measure intelligence, or your ability to make an impact on the world, or how successful you’ll be as a lawyer. A high LSAT score doesn’t mean you’ll be the best lawyer in the courtroom, just as a low LSAT score doesn’t mean that you can’t graduate at the top of your class and become a very successful lawyer. Being an effective lawyer requires many other skills beyond performing well on one test! Keep your chin up, give it your absolute best effort, and keep moving forward.

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Heading to law school this fall? Here’s the inside scoop on what to know, buy, and do

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 you’ve posted? If not, take them down, and set privacy restrictions for future posts.
    • Set up a new, professional-sounding gmail account (not lawguy14 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 tips and tricks.
    • Create a Linked In profile.
    • Update your resume.
    • Subscribe to free 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. Here’s the thing: You are going to 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. Use your networking skills and begin reaching out to any contacts in industries 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

  • 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 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 should 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 9 months of living expenses, and it is not designed to cover elements like car payments, credit card debt, or daycare. 

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 the gift of 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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Mark Your Calendars: Week of May 1

Pre-Law Advising Services
Pre-Law programming is finished for the semester, but you can still connect with us!

  • Graduating seniors: Connect with Jamie or Judy over on LinkedIn!
  • May appointments are still available for those of you considering applying to law school this fall! Meet with us to get a jump start on your applications.
  • After May 15 we will switch to summer scheduling. Appointments will still be available but on a more limited basis. You can still schedule a phone, Skype, or in-person appointment by calling 217-333-9669.

Internships
We hope that you have been keeping up on our blog and Facebook posts about internships job opportunities. If you still don’t have a summer internship/job lined up, check out these resources:

  • Continue to utilize our 20 page Internship Newsletter over on our Pre-Law Compass page that we posted in December! (Click here for instructions on how to access our Compass page.) The Internship Newsletter has lots of job and internship listings for spring, summer and long-term opportunities from Champaign to D.C. and beyond. 
  • In addition, you should regularly check iLink to see if summer internships have been posted there.
  • Internships.com is another good resource for nationwide opportunities.
  • Fastweb is also a good resource that allows you to set guidelines for types of internships you’re seeking and it will email you a digest of listings.

The Career Center still has drop-in times and appointment slots for resume reviews, job search information, and Peace Corps drop-ins. Check out their spring workshop calendar on their website at: https://www.careercenter.illinois.edu/events. 

Scholarship Opportunities 

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

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

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

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

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

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Scholarships, scholarships! Over 200 scholarships for undergrads and incoming law students!

Whether you’re heading off to law school this fall or staying here to continue your pre-law education, you’ll want to see this: Scholarships! Could you use an additional $500, $1000, or even $40,000 towards your undergrad or legal education? Then take a look at this resource. We have compiled over 225 scholarships available for BOTH incoming law students and pre-law undergraduates.  Below are some examples. Head over to our Compass page to find the full listings–but hurry, because some have upcoming deadlines! The full spreadsheet with 200+ scholarships is the very first item posted on our Compass page.

All UIUC students can access our Compass page. Here’s how:

  • If you are an Illinois student who is designated pre-law: All students who are designated pre-law already have access to our Compass page. Log in to Compass and under “My Courses” look for OPEN LEARNING: Pre-Law Advising Services.
  • If you are an Illinois student who is not designated pre-law: Click here for instructions on how to add yourself to our Compass page.

Here are just a few examples of the scholarships available. Go to the Compass page for more details on how to apply.

The American Injury Attorney Group is sponsoring a $1250 scholarship for an undergrad or law student who submits a 500+ word essay on creative marketing strategies for personal injury lawyers. Deadline: April 30.

American Association for Justice’s Richard D. Hailey Scholarship provides $5,000 to an incoming or continuing minority law student. Applications due May 1.

The Baumgartner Law Firm Law Student Scholarship awards $3,000 to an incoming or continuing law student based on need and commitment to helping others. Due August 31.

Burke & Eisner offers two scholarships: One for single mothers who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate education, and a second scholarship for law students. Due July 30.

Coil Law, LLC offers a $500 scholarship for undergrads with a 3.0 GPA who plan to go on to law school. Applications due May 31.

Dwyer Williams Dretke is offering a $1,000 scholarship for an incoming law student. Deadline to apply is July 1.

McNeely Stephenson’s Legal Scholarship Award provides $1,000 to an incoming law student who has written an article that has been published in print or digital media. Deadline to apply is May 1.

Head over to our Compass page to explore over 200 more scholarship opportunities!

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of April 10

Pre-Law Advising Services (PLAS) events 

 

Are you headed to law school this fall? Join us for Transitioning to Law School TODAY at 4:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building to learn what you need to know before heading off to law school! From finding living arrangements to what to buy/get or get rid of, hear from current law students what they wish they’d known before starting law school!

Applying to Law School: A Workshop for Fall Applicants–Monday, April 17, 4:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. This workshop is a great starting point if you are planning on applying this fall. We will provide an overview of the application process, including: Understanding the Credential Assembly Service, getting recommendations, creating an application strategy, researching law schools, budgeting for the application process, suggested resources to use, LSAT considerations, and more. Time for Q&A will be available. This workshop does not cover writing the personal statement, which is covered in the separate workshop on Perfecting the Personal Statement and Resume for Law School.  

Perfecting the Personal Statement & Resume for Law School: A Workshop for Fall Applicants–Tuesday, April 25, 4:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.  This summer is a great time to focus on crafting the perfect personal statement and resume, which are very important elements of the application process. This workshop will provide an overview of the personal statement and resume required for law school applications, plus it will cover: Brainstorming topics, how to begin, creating a timeline, how to make the resume and personal statement complement each other, and we will provide a four step plan to approach crafting these critical documents. Click here to register so that we can ensure enough seating and materials for everyone.

Summer & Fall Classes

Thinking of taking summer classes?  Enroll now!  There are lots of options for both class based and online courses.  One class that might be of interest to pre-law students is Law 199: The Best of American Case Law. This is a 10-day summer course designed to introduce students to some of the most important and exciting law school cases. Students will come to understand how the law school classroom works, experience a broad sample of at least eight different areas of the law, and engage with nationally renowned law faculty as they present some of the most important legal cases.  All students will receive a certificate for successful completion of the course. Current University of Illinois students will also receive 3 credit hours.  Go here for more information: https://courses.illinois.edu/schedule/2017/summer.

Interested in ideas for other Fall 2017 classes?  Check out this PLAS blog for suggestions.

Internships and Summer Pre-Law Programs

The Career Center is hosting a Summer Break Job Shadow Program for a one-day job shadow opportunity. Visit their program handbook here for more information–applications to participate will be accepted April 17-21.

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

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

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

  • Hire Big 10 Plus Virtual Career Fair–April 12, 9-6 pm. Click here for more information. 
  • Global Career Opportunity: Job Search in Latin America–April 12, 4-6 pm in the Career Center Interview Suite, Room 213 
  • Finding & Applying to Federal Government Jobs, April 17, 3-4, Career Center Conference Room 143
  • Acing Your Interview–April 17, 5-6 pm, Career Center Conference Room 143

Scholarship Opportunities 

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

The BARBRI & American Bar Association Scholarship will award $10,000 to an incoming law student and a $5,000 award to a runner up to help pay for the first year of law school. Applications due April 15. Click here to apply.

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

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

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

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

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

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of April 3

April has lots of great programs, workshops, and deadlines, so take a close look at this week’s Mark Your Calendars.

Pre-Law Advising Services (PLAS) events 

 

International Students’ Paths to U.S. Legal Education — Wednesday, April 5, 4-5pm, Room 504, IUB. Are you an international student considering law school in the United States? Join us for this panel. Two second year law students from the University of Illinois College of Law, one originally from China and one originally from the Ukraine, will be answering your questions about attending law school in the United States. Topics discussed will include: the benefits and long-term value of an American law degree, researching your options, visa processes, skills & experiences that are most helpful for employment after law school, and life at an American law school. No registration necessary.

 

Are you headed to law school this fall? Join us for Transitioning to Law School on Monday, April 10 at 4:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building to learn what you need to know before heading off to law school! From finding living arrangements to what to buy/get or get rid of, hear from current law students what they wish they’d known before starting law school!

Join the Pre-Law Honors Society TONIGHT at 6 pm in Lincoln Hall Room 1028 where Professor William Ford from John Marshall Law School will be talking about the application process and about The Use of Trademarks in Video Games. All are welcome!

Summer & Fall Classes

Thinking of taking summer classes?  Enroll now!  There are lots of options for both class based and online courses.  One class that might be of interest to pre-law students is Law 199: The Best of American Case Law. This is a 10-day summer course designed to introduce students to some of the most important and exciting law school cases. Students will come to understand how the law school classroom works, experience a broad sample of at least eight different areas of the law, and engage with nationally renowned law faculty as they present some of the most important legal cases.  All students will receive a certificate for successful completion of the course. Current University of Illinois students will also receive 3 credit hours.  Go here for more information: https://courses.illinois.edu/schedule/2017/summer.

Interested in ideas for other Fall 2017 classes?  Check out this PLAS blog for suggestions.

Internships and Summer Pre-Law Programs

Illini Career & Internship Fair — Wednesday, April 5, 2017,  Noon – 5:00pm, Activities and Recreation Center, 201 E. Peabody Drive. The Illini Spring Career & Internship Fair connects you with top-notch talent at just the right time!  Whether you are seeking to fill a newly opened position, have decided to hire a summer intern or have not reached your hiring target, consider participating in this “just-In-time” career fair. This fair brings together students from a variety of majors who have rich diversity, exceptional skills, and a breadth of experiences.

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

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

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

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

  • Selling Your LAS Degree at Career Fairs — April 3, 4-5 pm, Lincoln Hall 1002
  • Creating Your Powerful Resume — April 3, 5-6 pm, Career Center Room 143, April 4, 4-5 pm, Career Center Room 143
  • Making Your Major Decision– April 4, 4-5 pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building
  • Employer Spotlight–April 4, 6-7 pm, Illini Union 104
  • Illini Career & Internship Fair–April 5, 12-5 pm, ARC
  • Pizza and Professional: Careers Working With Children — April 7, 12-1pm, Career Center Interview Suite Room 213

Scholarship Opportunities 

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

The BARBRI & American Bar Association Scholarship will award $10,000 to an incoming law student and a $5,000 award to a runner up to help pay for the first year of law school. Applications due April 15. Click here to apply.

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

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

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

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

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

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Make the most of your spring break

For all pre-law students:

  • 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 many 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 I-Link regularly (or set it to email you when new listings appear).
  • Apply to Summer Pre-Law Programs. Apply for 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 posted several in our blog and on our 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.
  • 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!

Juniors and Seniors 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 do 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.
  • 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 still a good idea 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, like those we listed in this blog posting. Ask your law school financial aid office about scholarship opportunities.
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Mark Your Calendars: Week of March 13

Connect with Pre-Law Advising Services! Join us for even more internship, scholarship, and event opportunities!
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Upcoming Programs from Pre-Law Advising Services:

Taking a Gap Year Before Law School, Wednesday March 29 at 5PM. Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore Building. Are you considering working before law school? Or want to know more about going straight through to law school? This panel will feature three current law students from the University of Illinois College of Law. They will discuss the pros and cons of going straight to law school versus taking time off and working. We will also share some tips and suggestions for students to maximize their time off and effectively highlight post-undergraduate skills.

International Students’ Perspectives on Law School in the United States. Wednesday April 5 at 4PM. Room 504 in the Illini Union Bookstore Building. Are you an international student considering law school in the United States? Join us for this great panel discussion. The panel for this event will include two current international law students who will discuss their decision to attend law school in the United States. Topics discussed will include: the benefits and long-term value of an American law degree, visa processes, and life at an American law school.

Transitioning to Law School. Monday April 10, 4PM-5PM. Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore Building. Attending law school this fall? Learn about how to prepare for law school and the next three years. Topics discussed will include: finances, seat deposits, living arrangements, and advice for what to do this summer. Meet other U of I students attending law school this fall across the country!

On Campus Events

MAFA meeting–Learn about the application process and what Illinois Law is looking for from Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, at MAFA’s meeting on Tuesday, March 14 at 7 pm in 165 Noyes. All students welcome.

Joint Degree Info Session: See the signup link below.

From Champaign to Capitol Hill--check out this alumna’s talk on her path to law school and now working in public policy.

Career Center Workshops–Find the full list of Career Center events here. All workshops in the Career Center Conference Room 143 unless otherwise noted.

  • Creating Your Powerful Resume, March 13, 5-6 pm
  • Finding an Internship, March 14, 4-5 pm
  • Finding & Applying to Federal Government Jobs, March 14, 3-4 pm
  • Global Career Opportunity: Careers in Singapore, March 15, 6-8 pm in the Career Center Interview Suite Room 213
  • Immigration Options 101–March 16, 4-5:30 pm, Interview Suite Room 213

Scholarship Opportunities

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

The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund awards scholarships up to $10,000 for students working for social and economic justice. Applications–including recommendations–due April 1. Click here to apply.

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

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund awards range from $500 to $5,000. Applications due March 30. Click here to apply.

The Iranian American Bar Association provides scholarships to law students of Iranian-American heritage. Applications due March 31. Click here to apply.

Jewish Vocational Service scholarships are available to Jewish students demonstrating financial need. Applications due March 31. Click here to apply.

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

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

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

Internships and Summer Pre-Law Programs

We hope that you have been keeping up on our blog and Facebook posts about internships and summer pre-law programs.  Another resource you should continue to utilize is our 20 page Internship Newsletter over on our Pre-Law Compass page that we posted in December! (Click here for instructions on how to access our Compass page.) The Internship Newsletter has lots of job and internship listings for spring, summer and long-term opportunities from Champaign to D.C. and beyond.  In addition, you should regularly check iLink to see if summer internships have been posted there.

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