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.