LSAC Fee Waivers–Apply now!

Many pre-law students are beginning to think about the Law School Admission Tests coming up in June and September. Did you know that you can receive an LSAC fee waiver that will cover the cost of the Law School Admission Test? This blog post will share what it is, why it is important, and  how to get it.

What is the LSAC fee waiver?

The Law School Admission Council oversees both the LSAT and the law school application process. Applicants can apply for a fee waiver which, if granted, will waive any fees for:

  • Two LSAT exams (valued at $180 each)
  • Credential Assembly Service (required for applying to law schools; valued at $175)
  • Four Law School Reports (which are required for applying to law schools; valued at $120); and
  • One copy of the Official LSAT SuperPrep book (valued at $22.75).

Why is it important?

The LSAC fee waiver is even more valuable than the amounts listed above. Why? Many law schools will waive their application fees (generally $75-100 per school) for applicants who have received an LSAC waiver. Some LSAT prep companies will also offer scholarships to students with an LSAC waiver.

How can you apply?

The application process is entirely online. The LSAC advises applicants to apply at least six weeks prior to the registration deadline of the LSAT you wish to take. For this June’s LSAT, the registration deadline is April 26, and six weeks before that is March 15, which is the application deadline for a June LSAT waiver. But why wait? Getting your application materials in early will help ensure that you get the waiver in time and it will help you get your preferred June LSAT site. The UIUC June LSAT will typically fill around spring break, so you’ll want to register ASAP if this test site is your preferred location.

You will need tax documents, so make sure you collect those.

The entire application process is explained here: http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/fee-waivers and you can find a helpful checklist here: http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/usfeewaiverchecklist.pdf.

 

 

 

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Planning Ahead for the LSAT

Are you taking the LSAT this year? Try to plan ahead!

  • Make a Schedule
    1. When will you take the LSAT?
      1. The LSAT is only offered FOUR times a year. This is different than many other graduate school exams. Here are the months when the LSAT is offered:
        1. February
        2. June
        3. September/October
        4. December
          1. For more information on the specific dates the tests are offered, please visit the LSAC website.
        5. Keep in mind that you want to give yourself enough time to apply, write your personal statements, and double check your applications. Doing all this all at the last minute is not a good idea. There are a lot of different components that go into an application.
  • Figure Out Your Study Plan and Resources
    1. How will you study? What resources will you use? Some students buy books and study on their own while other students choose to take a LSAT prep course.
    2. Come learn more about different test prep companies and their courses! Find the best one for you! The LSAT PREP FAIR is Wednesday February 1st from 2:00PM-4:00PM in Illini Union Rooms B&C.
    3. June LSAT takers – keep an eye out for sign-ups for our June 2017 LSAT on-campus study groups. Sign-ups will be coming out in the next few weeks.
  • Carve Out Enough Time to Study
    1. Make sure you are studying for the LSAT when you have time to commit to it.
    2. If studying during the school year, try to be reasonable with the classes you are taking. You do not want to be taking the hardest classes of college and study for the LSAT at the same time.
    3. If you plan to study over the summer, make a schedule early so you know how to balance summer break with LSAT studying in a productive way.
  • Sign Up For the LSAT Early
    1. Some testing centers fill up quicker than others. Sign up early so you can test at your preferred location.
    2. If you are taking the June 2017 LSAT, sign up early! Typically, this test fills up by spring break.
  • Location: Decide Where You Want to Take the LSAT
    1. Some students decide to go home to take the LSAT, but some students feel more comfortable taking the LSAT on campus. Pick your preferred location for test day.
  • Cost
    1. The LSAT is not a cheap test. Currently, the cost for the LSAT is $180 per test. Late registration adds $90 to the base cost. Signing up early is important.
    2. Some students are eligible for fee waivers. For more information to go to the LSAC website.
      1. The basic criterion for receiving a waiver is the absolute inability to pay. Because the cost of these services is only a fraction of the cost of a legal education, the need criterion is considerably more stringent than for other financial aid processes. Only those with extreme need should apply.

Planning ahead is the best way to prepare for LSAT!

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Important info for December 2016 LSAT takers; Deciding whether to retake

The December LSAT scores will not be out until January 4, 2017.  If you took the December LSAT, please take a moment to review this very important information on February 2017 LSAT registration. Then, this blog entry will go on to discuss how to decide whether to retake.

February LSAT registration.  As you know, the LSAC indicated that scores would be released on January 4, but the regular registration deadline for the February LSAT is TOMORROW, DECEMBER 21! If you took the December LSAT and you have decided you want to retake in February, and then decide NOT to retake after you see your score, the LSAC will refund your regular or late registration fee. BUT you must register by December 28 (late registration deadline) and request the refund by January 10, 2017. Mark your calendars! Here are instructions about the process, straight from the LSAC website:

December 2016 LSAT scores will not be available until after February 2017 LSAT registration deadlines have passed. Therefore, if you think you may want to take the February 2017 test, you must register for it before you know your December 2016 score. December 2016 test takers with a reportable score who no longer wish to test in February can request a refund for both regular and late registration fees after receiving their December score. Eligible candidates must submit a request for a refund by January 10, 2017. Your email request should include your name and LSAC account number and be sent to LSACrefunds@LSAC.org. Please indicate “February 2017 Full Refund” in the subject line to ensure accurate processing.

Whether to retake the LSAT. The bigger question for many of you will be: Should I retake the LSAT? This consideration is even more important due to the timing of the next LSAT (in February).  Note: February is the one nondisclosed LSAT administration.  What does this mean?  If you take a nondisclosed test, you will have online access only to your LSAT score, score band, percentile rank, and writing sample. You will not be given a copy of your answers and the answer key.  As such, you will know how you did but not what you missed.

How do Illini perform on an LSAT retake? As a general guideline, most retakers score within 2.5 points of where they scored on the last LSAT. We did a study of University of Illinois LSAT takers from 2012-2015 and found these results:

  • 44% of Illini took the LSAT more than once
  • The average Illini LSAT retaker scored 2.45 points higher on the second exam
  • Of all Illini LSAT retakers:
  • 51% of Illini retakers scored better on a subsequent LSAT
  • 15% of Illini retakers scored worse on a subsequent LSAT
  • 6% of Illini retakers scored the same on a subsequent LSAT
  • 33% of Illini register to retake and then are absent for the subsequent exam

Some questions to ask yourself about whether to retake:

  • Was your actual score consistent with your practice exams?
  • Do you have the time and willingness to continue your LSAT preparation consistently until February?
  • How will you continue LSAT prep without your academics suffering? (Consider final papers and exams.)
  • What can you do differently so that this exam performance is better?
  • How close is your score to the medians of your top choice law schools? Is it likely that you could achieve the medians by retaking?

If you decide to retake in February, here are some suggested next steps:

  • Register ASAP; you may not get your preferred test site and that will mean making other arrangements such as a hotel
  • It is VERY important that you return to studying for the LSAT now! Don’t wait.
  • Clear your upcoming schedule as much as possible to allow you to balance prepping for the LSAT and prepping for final exams/papers/projects.
  • Consider doing something different in your LSAT prep–exploring a different book, class, website, using a different study plan, etc. (For some suggested resources visit our Compass page and click on the LSAT folder.)
  • Revamp your application timeline. Your goal should be to apply by early March, when the February LSAT scores will be released.
    • Applying in March is quite LATE in a rolling application cycle.  You might want to consider waiting to apply until next fall, which would put you in the pool of applicants looking to begin law school Fall 2018.

You may find it helpful to speak with a Pre-Law Advisor about next steps. Call 333-9669 to make an appointment!

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UPDATED December Checklist

It’s now December (can you believe it?) which means that programming is winding down as we turn to finals. What should be on your December checklist so that you can finish the year strong?

December checklist for pre-law students

  • December is a great time to start applying for summer internshipsGo to our Compass page to check out our 20+ page Internship newsletter!
  • This is also a great time to update your resume. Add all of the details of things you did this semester–before you forget. Use the Career Center’s resume resources if you need some pointers.
  • Planning to take the LSAT in 2017? Need a scholarship to afford an LSAT prep class? Apply for our LSAT test prep scholarships!
  • Winter break is a great time to take a baseline practice LSAT. You can find a free practice exam on our Compass page. Make sure that you time yourself!
  • For freshmen and sophomores who are not ready to take the LSAT but want to build LSAT-related skills, check out Khan Academy’s Introduction to Critical Thinking lessons!
  • Take your winter courses seriously. Your GPA is very important to law schools.

December checklist for law school applicants

  • Finish your essays and SUBMIT those applications! We are now at the point that you should not delay.
  • Check your LSAC account to make sure your recommendations are in; if not, follow up again with your recommenders. Note: the LSAC typically closes around the holidays, so you should expect processing delays if submitting at this time.
  • You can still make an appointment (call 333-9669) to review personal statements/optional essays. Pre-Law Advising Services will be closed Dec. 23-Jan.2, reopening for limited appointments from Jan. 3 until spring semester begins.
  • Plan any winter break law school visits. If you are returning home, this could be a good time to visit nearby law schools without making a special trip. Contact the schools to make sure they are open and able to accommodate.
  • Begin looking into scholarship options (like the ones we posted to our Facebook page) and complete your FAFSA as soon as possible.
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LSAT Test Prep Scholarship Contest

Are you taking the June LSAT but not sure you can afford a commercial prep course? Pre-Law Advising Services is pleased to announce that 7Sage Test Prep has donated six LSAT prep course scholarships and Kaplan Test Prep has donated one full scholarship for one complete LSAT Prep Live Online, In Person or Self-Paced course.  Find out more about 7Sage here and Kaplan here.

These scholarships are intended to assist a University of Illinois student who is in financial need and who will be taking the LSAT within the next year. (Please note that the Kaplan scholarship expires on June 1, 2017, and you must be enrolled in a course by that time). If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, please submit the following:

1) Your resume, AND
2) A short essay (no more than 600 words) that addresses each of the following:

  • When do you plan to take the LSAT?
  • Have you taken an LSAT prep class before? If so, which one and when?
  • What is your financial need? (It is not necessary to provide exact numbers, just describe your financial situation and why a scholarship is necessary.)
  • How can this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

Submit your resume and essay to Judy Argentieri via email only at jargenti@illinois.edu by Monday, January 23 at NOON.

We are making this public now so applicants can work on their essays over Winter Break.  Winners will be announced quickly–by Wednesday, January 25–so that they can make necessary plans for spring LSAT courses. Good luck!

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Important info for Sept 2016 LSAT takers & Deciding whether to retake

The Sept LSAT scores are coming out this week! If you took the September LSAT, please take a moment to review this very important information on December registration. Then, this blog entry will go on to discuss how to decide whether to retake.

December LSAT registration.  As you know, the LSAC indicated that scores would be released on Oct. 20, but the registration deadline for the December LSAT is Oct. 18. IF you took the September LSAT and you decide you want to retake in December, the LSAC will refund your late registration fee. BUT you must register by Oct. 25 and request the refund by Oct. 29. Mark your calendars!

Here are instructions, straight from the LSAC websiteLSAC will honor requests for refunds of the additional late registration fee ($90) from candidates who choose not to register by the regular registration deadline for the December LSAT because they needed time to consider their options after receiving their scores from the September test. Candidates who take the September 2016 test and have a valid score will have until October 25, 2016, to register for the December 2016 test. Unfortunately, we are unable to waive the late fee at the time of registration; therefore, eligible candidates must submit a written request for a refund of the late fee within 4 days after the October 25 late registration deadline. Refunds will not be issued to those who were absent, cancelled their score, or were dismissed from the test. Requests should be emailed to LSACrefunds@LSAC.org and should include “Late Fee Refund” in the subject line.

Whether to retake the LSAT. The bigger question for many of you will be: Should I retake the LSAT? This consideration is even more important due to the timing of the next LSAT (in December).

How do Illini perform on an LSAT retake? As a general guideline, most retakers score within 2.5 points of where they scored on the last LSAT. We did a study of University of Illinois LSAT takers from 2012-2015 and found these results:

  • 44% of Illini took the LSAT more than once
  • The average Illini LSAT retaker scored 2.45 points higher on the second exam
  • Of all Illini LSAT retakers:
  • 51% of Illini retakers scored better on a subsequent LSAT
  • 15% of Illini retakers scored worse on a subsequent LSAT
  • 6% of Illini retakers scored the same on a subsequent LSAT
  • 33% of Illini register to retake and then are absent for the subsequent exam

Some questions to ask yourself about whether to retake:

  • Was your actual score consistent with your practice exams?
  • Do you have the time and willingness to continue your LSAT preparation consistently until December?
  • How will you continue LSAT prep without your academics suffering? (Consider final papers and exams.)
  • What can you do differently so that this exam performance is better?
  • How close is your score to the medians of your top choice law schools? Is it likely that you could achieve the medians by retaking?

If you decide to retake in December, here are some suggested next steps:

  • Register ASAP; you may not get your preferred test site and that will mean making other arrangements such as a hotel
  • It is VERY important that you return to studying for the LSAT now! Don’t wait.
  • Clear your upcoming schedule as much as possible to allow you to balance prepping for the LSAT and prepping for final exams/papers/projects.
  • Consider doing something different in your LSAT prep–exploring a different book, class, website, using a different study plan, etc. (For some suggested resources visit our Compass page and click on the LSAT folder.)
  • Revamp your application timeline. Your goal should be to apply by mid-January, when the December LSAT scores will be released.

You may find it helpful to speak with a Pre-Law Advisor about next steps. Call 333-9669 to make an appointment!

 

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December LSAT Reminders

The December LSAT is set for December 3, less than two months away.  If you are planning on taking the December LSAT, here are some suggestions to get your preparation going:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, register ASAP!  The regular registration deadline is October 18.  The late registration deadline is October 25.  For those of you waiting for your September results, LSAC indicates they will be released on October 20, which falls after the regular registration deadline but before the late registration deadline.  LSAC’s policy with regard to this situation is as follows:
    If you missed the regular registration deadline for the upcoming LSAT because you were waiting for your score from the previous administration, you are eligible, upon request, for a refund of the late fee that you incur during the late registration period. After you register for the upcoming test, submit a written request for a refund of the late fee within 4 days after the late registration deadline. Please note that late fee refunds will be issued only to those who received a valid score for the prior administration. Refunds will not be issued to those who were absent, cancelled their score, or were dismissed from the test.”  Go here for information about the LSAC’s LSAT fee refund request process. http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/lsat-cas-refunds.
  2. Join a study group. Do you work better in a group setting? Would the accountability of a study group help you in your LSAT preparation? The Pre-Law office is working  to facilitate the creation of LSAT study groups but so far only two students have completed the survey.  If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, go here ASAP to complete the Google survey. The deadline for study group request submissions is MONDAY, OCTOBER 24! 
  3. Clear your schedule!  Whether this is your first time taking the LSAT or a retake, you need to make this a priority by setting aside as much time as possible for your test prep.  Remember:  a good LSAT score will not only help you with admissions but will also help with merit-based scholarships. Maximizing your LSAT test prep time investment now could minimize your financial investment later!!
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Application tips from the University of Chicago Law School: A guest post

This week we are kicking off a new series of guest posts from law school colleagues. These posts will give you a peek into what’s new at their schools, share tips on the application process, and let you get to know the people reading your application.

Today we are happy to present this post from fellow Illini Dean Ann Perry from the University of Chicago Law School. You can also visit UChicago Law’s table at the Law School Fair here on campus next Tuesday, October 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Illini Union A, B, C Rooms.

Dear Fellow Illini—-

My name is Ann K. Perry, and I am the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Chicago Law School. Though I have been in this position for over 14 years, as a double alum of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign my blood is still orange and blue. I enjoy getting back to campus and meeting with prospective law students. I already met with some students a couple of weeks ago when I was in town for an athletic board meeting. I wanted to reach more students so your great pre–law advisors invited me to write a blog post. You can find out a lot about the University of Chicago Law School on our website, so I won’t bore you with all of those details but do check out our website here. UChicago Law is a wonderful place to study law with a very engaged and active learning community where interaction with your professors happens daily both inside and outside the classroom! If this sounds like a place you would like to study……APPLY!!

I want to give you some just-released information about the Class of 2019. They have recently arrived on campus and classes start September 26 (we are on the quarter system). There are 186 students and University of Illinois is represented! Their median LSAT is a 170 and median GPA is 3.9, BUT it is always more helpful to look at the ranges—our LSAT range is 154-180 and our GPA range is 3.21-4.20. As you can see, these ranges are wide, which shows that we have a holistic review of all of our applications. The personal statement, resume, LORs, and transcripts are as important as the numbers. So as you are putting your application together, don’t take any short cuts and make each part as strong as you can.

And as you prepare to apply, I wanted to give you some tips regarding Letters of Recommendations (LORs), which might seem difficult to get on a campus as large as UIUC. As an alum, I am familiar with the size of some of your classes—I had over 1000 classmates in my Econ101 class many moons ago! You should think about the professor or teaching assistant who knows you the best, perhaps someone who taught you in two or more classes. Those are the people who can write strong letters about how they have seen you develop academically. Make sure to give them plenty of time to write the letter. When you ask them, it is helpful to bring them a copy of your resume so they learn all the other things you do on campus or the kinds of part time work you are doing while in school. Finally, don’t hesitate to clearly ask if they are able to write you a strong letter…..you want to give them an out if they just are too busy at the time to write the letter.

I hope you have found this information and tips helpful. We look forward to reviewing your application, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.

Go Illini!!
Ann Killian Perry
Associate Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid
The University of Chicago Law School
akperry@uchicago.edu
www.law.uchicago.edu

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LSAT: Day of Test Procedures

OK September LSAT takers — the test is this Saturday!! 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 procedures that you MUST comply with in order to be allowed to begin and complete the exam.  Here they are in brief.

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. Mechanical pencils are prohibited.

The LSAC has a list of LSAT test day prohibited items that includes cellphones, electronic timing devices, digital watches, fitness tracking devices, headphones and many others.  NOTE: LSAC has adopted a no-tolerance policy with regard to the use or possession of electronic devices during the administration of the LSAT.   Consequently, if you are discovered in possession of (or using) any electronic device, including cell phones, you will be issued a Violation of Law School Admission Test Center Regulations form and will be dismissed from the test center. 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. We strongly urge you to review the LSAC’s rules for the day of the test, to avoid making a critical mistake.  The LSAC’s test day rules can be accessed by clicking on this link. http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/day-of-test.

Other important considerations:

  1. LSAT Registration Withdrawal: If you do not feel ready to take the September exam, you will be able to withdraw your registration on the LSAT Status page of your LSAC.org account. This option will be available until 11:59 pm (ET) the night before the test. If you withdraw your registration, you will not receive a refund. You will be required to pay the full registration fee if you register for another test date. The LSAC explains this process here
  2. LSAT Score Cancellation: Further, if you take the LSAT and you feel that the test has not gone well you have the right to cancel your score, either at the test center or within 6 calendar days of taking the test. The deadline to cancel your score online will be 11:59 pm (EST) on the sixth day after your LSAT date. Click on this link to review LSAC’s test score cancellation policies.
  3. LSAT Frequently Asked Questions: Other questions? Check out LSAC’s LSAT FAQs here. Need more info? You may speak live with an LSAC customer service rep by calling (215) 968-1001 Monday-Friday, 7:30am-5:00pm CST.  LSAC also has an online form here for questions.
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Update for June LSAT Takers

First — if you are planning on taking the June 6, 2016 LSAT and haven’t signed up yet, you should register ASAP!  Even though the regular registration deadline isn’t until April 20, June is a very popular LSAT option and spaces fill up quickly.  If you want to ensure that you get your preferred LSAT Test Center REGISTER NOW!  Click on this link to register. http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates-deadlines.

Second — the LSAC recently announced changes to their test day security procedures. Beginning with the June 2016 LSAT: 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. Mechanical pencils are prohibited.

Finally — the LSAC has a list of LSAT test day prohibited items that includes cellphones, electronic timing devices, digital watches, fitness tracking devices, headphones and many others.  NOTE: LSAC has adopted a no-tolerance policy with regard to the use or possession of electronic devices during the administration of the LSAT.   Consequently, if you are discovered in possession of (or using) any electronic device, including cell phones, you will be issued a Violation of Law School Admission Test Center Regulations form and will be dismissed from the test center. 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. We strongly urge you to review the LSAC’s rules for the day of the test, to avoid making a critical mistake.  The LSAC’s test day rules can be accessed by clicking on this link. http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/day-of-test.

 

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