LSAT Day of Test Info and Reminders

The June LSAT is almost here. Of course you have been studying diligently and are ready for what is coming on the LSAT. But don’t forget — the LSAC has a list of rules and procedures to follow for the day of the test.  Here are a few reminders and tips to help test day go smoothly!

What must you bring? To be eligible to take the LSAT, you will be required to have with you at the test center the printout of your admission ticket that includes the photo that you uploaded through your LSAC online account. Admission tickets that do not display the required uploaded photo will not be accepted on test day. You must also bring a valid, government issued photo ID and 3-4 sharpened sharpened No. 2 or HB wooden pencils with good erasers. Remember that mechanical pencils are prohibited.

What can’t you bring? The LSAC has a list of LSAT test day prohibited items that includes cellphones, backpacks/handbags, digital watches, fitness tracking devices, headphones, hats, sunglasses, and many others.  NOTE: LSAC has adopted a no-tolerance policy with regard to the use or possession of electronic devices (including cell phones) during the administration of the LSAT.   Consequently, test takers discovered in possession of (or using) any electronic device, will be issued a Violation of Law School Admission Test Center Regulations form and will be dismissed from the test. Such violations will be grounds for score cancellation, and you may be subject to an LSAC investigation. This policy will be enforced from the time test takers arrive at the test center until they leave at the conclusion of the test—including the break. Remember to review the LSAC’s Day of Test reminders to avoid making a critical mistake! http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/day-of-test.

Test day tips and reminders
In addition to LSAC’s rules, here are some tips and reminders to help your test day go smoothly!

  1. Get several nights of good sleep. It’s normal to be anxious the night before, and having a few good nights of sleep before test day will help.
  2. Eat lunch and bring a snack and drink even if you don’t think you’ll need it. The test is long, and your brain will want that fuel.
  3. Make sure you print out your test ticket, locate your government ID, get some non-mechanical pencils, and pack your plastic bag of allowed test items the night before.
  4. Scope out the location before test day. Drive there or take your public transportation route if you can. This way you will know where to find parking or you can estimate how long it will take to walk from a train station.
  5. Figure out what you’ll do with your backpack, handbag, and your cell phone because you cannot bring these items in with you.
  6. Dress comfortably, and in layers. Your test site may be warm or cold, and you want to limit distractions as much as possible. (Note that test takers are not allowed to wear hoods, except as religious apparel.)
  7. ARRIVE EARLY. Give yourself plenty of time to check in, use the restroom, and get settled before the test begins. Test sites do not allow late arrivals.
  8. Expect some distractions…no test site will be perfectly silent. Practice bringing your attention back to your exam after each distraction. (Law school exams and the bar exam contain plenty of distractions too, so this will be a constant.)

For more info on LSAT options, including cancelling your score after the LSAT or retaking, check out this post.

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June & July LSAT Takers: Withdrawing, Cancelling, and Retaking Options

June and July LSAT takers, are you scoring what you need to on your prep tests to be competitive at your list of law schools? (You can use the LSAC’s GPA/LSAT Search here to help estimate your likelihood of admission based on how you are scoring.) As we approach each of these exams it is important to know all of your options if you’re not feeling ready or if you know during the test that it’s not going well. Let’s talk about withdrawing, cancelling, and retaking.

Withdrawing. LSAT registrants can withdraw until the day before the exam. Registrants who withdraw will lose their test fees but the withdrawal will NOT be noted on your file and will NOT be seen by law schools when you apply. If you aren’t quite ready for this LSAT then withdrawal might be a good option.

  • If you are withdrawing from the JUNE exam, you could register for the July LSAT instead until June 13. However, you should note that the July LSAT is nondisclosed, so for that test you will only receive a score and you will not see which questions you got right and wrong.
  • If you are withdrawing from the JULY exam, you could register for the September LSAT instead until July 23.
  • You may be assigned to a different test site depending on availability of seats. You should continue your LSAT prep and make a realistic plan for how to use the remaining weeks until your next exam.
  •  Advice for those who make this choice: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Once the pressure of the next LSAT is off, you will be very tempted to put your LSAT materials away and relax. DO NOT DO THIS, or you will find yourself in the exact same state of panic if you realize you are not ready for the next exam either. Use this summer wisely, and take the time you need to be fully prepared for this exam.

Cancelling. Know that you can cancel your LSAT score within 6 calendar days of taking the exam. In the unlikely event that your test day is a disaster (like you have a migraine, you accidentally mis-bubble a whole section, or you have an asthma attack during Logic Games), this is a good option. You won’t know what score you received, which means you’ll need to retake, but there is some benefit to taking a “real” LSAT to make you feel less anxious 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, register and get back to your LSAT study prep right away–you’ll want to use all of that time to prepare.

Retaking. Most LSAT takers want to see their score before deciding to retake, since every LSAT score gets reported to every law school to which you apply. The challenge here is with timing. June scores will not be out until the July test registration is closed, making September the next test available to June LSAT takers, and the next test available for July LSAT takers who wait for their scores will be November.

  • Advice for this situation: Plan ahead to know when the next available exam will be, and then register ASAP once you receive your score.  Note that all LSATs through January 2019 are already open for registration, so many test sites may be full. The sooner you register the more likely it will be that you get a seat and get it at your preferred test site. Then, get right back to your LSAT prep so you don’t lose any ground.

 

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Free LSAT prep has arrived

Great news! As you may have heard, Khan Academy has partnered with the LSAC to create a free online LSAT prep course. Their course has officially opened today!

In the new Khan Academy LSAT course, you can:

  • Take a diagnostic test to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Watch video tutorials
  • Create a personalized study plan
  • …and much more!

Check out this new free LSAT resource at Khan Academy here.

This is a great resource for those taking the July (or later) LSAT!

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Mark Your Calendars – May 7 – End of Semester Edition – Farewell Class of 2018!

Information for Graduating Seniors and Alumni

Congratulations and best wishes to our UIUC graduating Seniors!  We would love to hear from you so please keep in touch.  In fact, we have created a Linked In Group, entitled “Illini Pre-Law Alumni.”  This is an opportunity for PLAS to stay in touch with all of you and for you to stay in touch with your classmates and other UIUC alums. You never know when you might end up in a new city and need to network to find a new job or information on law school. Please go to LinkedIn to join our group.

Information for Fall Law School Applicants

Our events have concluded for this semester but we do have a public service announcement.  Fall law school applicants — do not forget to identify and meet with people whom you would like to write letters of recommendation on your behalf BEFORE you leave campus!  If you wait until the fall to make the request(s), you will likely find yourself waiting in line behind others who asked first!  For information on how to solicit letters of recommendation and some other application tips, go here on our PLAS websiteYou can also check out some earlier blog posts on this topic.  If you would like a helpful overview on letters of recommendation that you can share with letter writers, go to the PLAS Compass Page and check out our “Guide to Letters of Recommendation” in the “Application Pointers” section.

Information for June and July LSAT Test Takers — Reminder about day of exam!

LSAC provides a list of day of test reminders here. It is absolutely critical that you look at this list well in advance of either the June 11 LSAT or the July 23 LSAT (nondisclosed test) so that you follow the LSAC’s instructions to the letter. Any violation of LSAC rules constitutes grounds for you to be dismissed from the test.  

Career Center – Job Shadowing

Summer is a great time to develop your professional network and explore career opportunities with a one-day company visit over summer break.  To apply, visit Handshake@Illinois and follow these simple steps:

  • Start in the “Job Search” tab
  • Filter by using Keyword: “Job Shadow” and indicate Job Type: “Experiential Learning”
  • Read each job shadow posting to ensure you are interested and a good fit
  • Apply now! Most applications are due ASAP!!

For more information, contact Tori Spring at vspring@illinois.edu. 

PLAS Summer Activities and Office Hours 

Although we will only be posting to our blog a couple of times per month, we will occasionally post information of interest on Facebook (Pre-Law Advising at U of IL) and Twitter (@UIUCPreLaw).  Keep checking in – you never know what interesting opportunities we will hear about and share.  In addition, you should check out our “Pre-Law Handbook.”  This is a great resource whether you are just beginning your research about law school and legal careers or if you have a specific question in mind and just want to find a quick, easy answer.  The recently-launched “live binder” format makes this resource very user friendly so check it out!

If you need to schedule a phone or in-person appointment with a pre-law advisor over the summer, remember that PLAS Summer Hours are in effect and appointments are available in advance.  Just call the PLAS office at (217) 333-9669 to make an appointment. Enjoy your break and look for announcements about our fall calendar of events when you return in August.

Have a great summer!

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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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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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Mark Your Calendars – Week of April 16

Although we have less than a month to go in the semester, Pre-Law Advising Services has two important workshops — TODAY and next Monday — for those of you planning on applying to law school this fall.  Scroll down for information about these programs, study groups for the September LSAT, Fulbright Scholarships and more, including a campus visit by noted attorney and civil rights advocate Alan Dershowitz!

Pre-Law Advising Services

Applying to Law School Workshop – TODAY, Monday April 16, 4-5:15pm, 514 IUB

This workshop is designed for Illini planning to apply to law school this fall (2018) or who are graduating and plan to apply to law school in the next few years.  The workshop will cover:

  • LSAT options–these recently changed!
  • Using the LSAC/Credential Assembly Service
  • How to use the summer to get ahead on law school applications
  • Developing a law school application strategy
  • Sending in transcripts
  • Getting letters of recommendation

And we will allocate time for Q&A. Join us to get a head start on fall applications or to find out what you can do to maximize your applications during a gap year. All students and alumni are welcome!

Personal Statement and Resume Workshop – NEXT Monday, April 23, 4-5pm, 514 IUB

If you’re planning to apply to law school this fall OR if you’re graduating and planning to apply to law school in the next couple of years, then this is a great opportunity to learn about writing a personal statement and resume for law school. The personal statement is a critical part of the law school application in which applicants must show personality, highlight strengths, identify career goals, and address why law school is their next step: a tall order for a 2 page document! Join us as we cover:

  • What the personal statement is (and isn’t) to law schools
  • Creating a realistic timeline 
  • Outlining a plan for how to write the statement
  • How the personal statement and resume work together in the application
  • What is an addendum?
  • Knowing the right resources to help you along the way

We’ll have time for Q&A, so bring your questions!

PLAS also has a couple of additional opportunities for you to consider:

  1. LSAT Study Group – The September LSAT is only a few months away! Pre-Law Advising Services is organizing LSAT study groups for those people taking the September 8, 2018 exam. We will organize groups based on the availability you specify in the google form. Sign-ups for the LSAT study groups will close by next Thursday April 19 at noon. To sign up, use the google form provided here: https://goo.gl/forms/nNpDBqrvBI510pg12

2. Pre-Law Club – Pre-Law Advising Services is measuring interest for a possible pre-law registered student organization here at the University of Illinois. The RSO would be for the 2018-2019 school year. Please answer our survey to let us know about your interest in this RSO and possibly joining the Pre-Law RSO! The form can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/MvL1xYyR2cY8Tvss2

Campus Events

Career Center

Resume, Cover Letter, Linked In Reviews – Monday, April 16, 2-4:30pm, Resource Center; 7-9pm, Undergraduate Library, Consultation Corner.  This workshop is offered several other times during the week.  Go here for more information.

Creating Your Powerful Resume – Monday, April 16, 4-5pm, The Career Center Conference Room 143

International Student Career Meet Up – Friday, April 20, 4-5:30pm, The Career Center Interview Suite Room 213.  Join us for an information gathering where international students can talk with alumni, recruiters, or current international students who have successful job search stories. Information on invited speakers will be posted on Handshake. Open to all international students, but RSVP on Handshake is required due to a space limitation.

For more information on these and other Career Center events, check out their website.

National & International Scholarship Program – Fulbright Scholarship Workshops

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.  A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.

During their grants, Fulbrighters will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.  The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

Sound interesting?  The National & International Scholarships Program has several workshops scheduled to help you prepare a strong application.

Friday, April 20: Personal Statement Workshop – 3:30-5:00 pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore. A key part of the Fulbright Application is the Personal Statement, a one-page essay. Come learn how to create this document and tell your unique story.

       Webinars for those off campus:

If you are not currently on campus to take advantage of our Fulbright Information        Session, join us remotely for these webinars!  The same detailed overview will be provided for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, including: eligibility, grant types, and application advice.  There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers.

 Wednesday, April 25: Informational Webinar for Illinois Alumni and Students Abroad – 8:30-9:30 am CST; https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/96a0120ef64d43dc9f7b43d6e77ce197

Thursday, April 26: Informational Webinar for Illinois Alumni and Students Abroad – 12:00-1:00 pm CST; https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/ed88abfed96540c7a4e96da034f46819

Friday, April 27: English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Application Workshop – 2:00-3:00 pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore. The Fulbright ETA application includes a one-page essay on your case for Why the Fulbright program should fund You to Teach English to students in ____________ (insert your host country).  We will discuss how to approach this essay and more during this workshop.

Friday, April 27: Designing a Fulbright Research Proposal Workshop – 3:30-5:00 pm, 514 Illini Union Bookstore. If you are interested in applying for a Fulbright research grant, join us for this workshop to learn how to craft this important two-page grant request, how to secure a letter of affiliation, and how to select your reference letter writers.

The US Student Fulbright website is:  https://us.fulbrightonline.org

Facebook UIUC Fulbright Events page is here.

Alan Dershowitz to Give Public Lecture at University of Illinois

Alan Dershowitz, noted attorney and advocate for civil rights and civil liberties, will be on the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign campus next Thursday, April 26, 2018, for a series of events. The day will culminate in a public lecture held in Foelinger Auditorium, at 7:30pm.  This even is FREE and open to the public! This visit is sponsored by Gies College of Business; The Program in Constitutional Theory, History and Law at the College of Law; and the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Illinois.dershowitz

 

 

 

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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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Your Law School Short List: Using Standard 509 Information to Narrow Your Choices for Fall 2018

Are you narrowing your list of law schools that you plan on attending for Fall 2018? Unsure of how to tell the difference between some schools? Making a final decision can be stressful. If you feel like you need more information about a law school, consider looking at their Standard 509.

What is a Standard 509? The American Bar Association requires that law schools disclose certain information about their schools. Standard 509 information includes: LSAT/GPA data, tuition and living expenses, diversity of enrollment, grants and scholarships, and more. Most law schools provide a link to the Standard 509 document at the bottom of their law school websites. However, the ABA provides an easy way for you access the documents and compare schools. The website is: http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/

We also more information about how to access Standard 509 reports on our Compass page. 

Using all the Illinois Law Schools Standard 509 documents, here are some ways you can utilize this resource and narrow your choices! The three topics we looked at included: on campus cost of living, conditional versus non-conditional scholarships, and transfer rates.

 

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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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