GRE Update

As we have previously mentioned, several law schools have begun accepting either the GRE or the LSAT from law school applicants. This week, two more law schools, Brooklyn Law School and George Washington University Law School, announced that they, too, would accept the GRE, bringing the number to 15 law schools that will begin accepting the GRE now or next year.  Educational Testing Service (ETS), the entity that administers the GRE, has posted the current list on its website.

It is important to remember that the LSAT is still the most widely-accepted standardized test by U.S. law schools.  We strongly encourage you to visit each law school’s website to understand the requirements for selecting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. Note: This situation is in a state of flux.  The American Bar Association, the entity that oversees the accreditation of law schools in the United States, is currently reviewing whether the GRE is an appropriate evaluation tool for law school applicants. This means things could change. Stay tuned!

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5 Things to Do After the December LSAT

December is here and the LSAT is over, which means it is time to focus on the remaining elements of your application so that you can get those applications out as soon as your LSAT score is available in the first week of JanuaryWhat should you be doing now?

Check on your letters of recommendation…NOW!! Your recommendations should already be in your LSAC account. Check your account and follow up with your recommenders ASAP if they aren’t, so that you know when they will be in. Remember that your application is not complete and will not be considered without them.  This should be your top priority because the closer we get to break, the busier professors get (or they begin to travel and be unreachable).

Draft your personal statement. It’s time to take that energy and time you were focusing on the LSAT and devote it to your personal statement. Although our personal statement workshops are over, we have some tips and suggestions for the personal statement on our website and a helpful video and handout on our Compass page.  You can also get help through the Writer’s Workshop, which is a great place to start. Spend some time thinking about your values, your career goals, and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Then write a draft, set it aside for a few days, and revisit it. Don’t worry if you don’t love the first draft–no one does. Start now so that you can spend at least a few weeks thinking, writing, and editing.

Schedule an appointment now. When you are ready for some feedback, you can make an appointment for a Pre-Law Advisor to review your personal statement and discuss it with you in addition to answering any questions about the application process.

  • December appointments: Both Pre-Law Advisors will be available for appointments through December 22, and we expect to be very busy with appointments during this time given that applications are up this year. It is a good idea to schedule your appointment now by calling 333-9669. Please email us your statement and resume two business days prior to your appointment so that we have time to review them.
  • Winter break appointments: The office will be closed Dec. 25 through January 1. Appointments will be available again starting January 2. If you are not in the Champaign-Urbana area, you can make a phone appointment–just let the receptionist know when you schedule that it will be a phone appointment.

Order your transcripts. You’ll need to order a transcript from each undergraduate institution you attended. At Illinois, you can check the “hold for fall grades” box to have your Fall 2017 grades included. Visit the LSAC here, http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas/requesting-transcripts, for more information on the transcript ordering process. You can order your Illinois transcript through the Registrar’s website here.

Schedule law school visits.  Many law schools offer open houses. Check your top 3-5 law schools’ websites and social media. Individual law school visits are a good alternative. Call the law school and ask for a tour and to sit it on a class. Visiting a law school is very important to your overall law school choice, and is a MUST for schools that you are seriously considering. Plus, law schools will note your visit and you may even get to meet the person reading your application, so be sure to make a good impression.

Take a look at our earlier post called “The Application Process: LSAC Tips” for even more application details.

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LSAT Prep Guidance for December & February

There are different strategies for LSAT Prep. If December is the first time you will be taking the LSAT, here are a few common sense pieces of advice to help you prepare.

A quick reminder on the LSAT’s format:

The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections contribute to the test taker’s score. These sections include one Reading Comprehension section, one Analytical Reasoning section, and two Logical Reasoning sections. The unscored section, commonly referred to as the variable section, typically is used to pretest new test questions or to preequate new test forms. The placement of this section will vary. Identification of the unscored section is not available until you receive your score report.

A 35-minute, unscored writing sample is administered at the end of the test. Copies of your writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.

Common Sense Advice for LSAT Prep:

1. Take a FULL LENGTH PRACTICE LSAT. Ideally, take multiple full length practice LSATs.

  • The LSAT will take often 4 to 5 hours depending on breaks. Whether it is through a prep class or studying on your own, take practice tests in a timed and distraction-free setting. One of the most difficult parts of the LSAT is endurance and sitting through the entire test. Full length practice tests will help prepare you.
  • The LSAC offers a free sample test (June 2007 exam). Click here to access the free practice test.
  • When you do a practice exam, do the writing portion! It’s easy to ignore this portion of the exam during your preparation, but it is a part of the test you have to do on test day. Click here to see the LSAC’s example writing topics.

2. It is highly discouraged to take the LSAT “cold” or without any studying.

  • All of your LSAT scores are sent to law schools. Law schools care if you prepared for the exam and that you put in your best effort for the exam. The LSAT is not an exam that you can walk into with minimal to no preparation.

3. Remember, the suggested amount of time to prepare for the LSAT is 4 to 6 months of regular studying.

  • The LSAT measures critical thinking skills, and while these skills CAN be learned, they usually take a lot longer to learn than fact-based knowledge. Four to six months of consistent studying for 10-15 hours a week is highly recommended in order to be fully prepared for this exam.

4. If you are not prepared for the exam, seriously consider whether or not you should take it or delay the test.

Here is the LSAC’s information about changing test centers, test dates and refunds for the December 2017 exam. Although the test center, test date change, and registration refund deadlines have already passed for the December 2017 exam, you can still withdraw from the exam until the day before. It may be better to withdraw than to go through with the test and achieve a low score.

Registration Refund (partial only) November 7, 2017
Registration Withdrawal (no refund) Regular administration: December 1, 2017
Spanish LSAT administration: November 17, 2017
Saturday Sabbath Observers administration: December 3, 2017

The next LSAT is Saturday February 10, 2018.

Regular Registration December 27, 2017
Regular Registration Accommodation Request December 27, 2017
Nonpublished Test Center Registration(additional fees apply) December 13, 2017
Late Registration—Published Test Centers only (additional fees apply) January 3, 2018
Late Registration Accommodation Request—Published Test Centers only (additional fees apply) January 3, 2018

Not taking the LSAT until next year?

Plan on attending the LSAT Prep Fair on February 6, 2018 to learn more about your test prep company options!

Taking the February 2018 LSAT? The test is only a few months away.

Pre-Law Advising Services is helping to organizing LSAT study groups for the February 2018 LSAT. We will organize groups based on the availability you specify in the google form. Sign-ups for the LSAT study groups will close by Thursday November 9th at 12PM. Study groups will be assigned next week. Please click the link here to sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/1qDrwNaXzpfopbVn1

In our next blog post we will share LSAT Prep Resources, so stay tuned.

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February 2018 LSAT Study Groups

February 2018 LSAT Study Groups

Taking the February 2018 LSAT? The test is only a few months away.

Pre-Law Advising Services is helping to organizing LSAT study groups for the February 2018 LSAT. We will organize groups based on the availability you specify in the google form. Sign-ups for the LSAT study groups will close by Thursday November 9th at 12PM. Study groups will be assigned next week.

Please click the link here to sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/1qDrwNaXzpfopbVn1

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Timelines for 2018 LSAT Takers

2018 LSAT Takers: it’s time to pick a test date and plan your schedules for 2018! You have four LSAT options to choose from next year: February, June, September, and November.

The first LSAT in 2018 is in February. For more information, visit the LSAC’s website here

FEBRUARY 10th, 2018 TEST DEADLINES (you should sign up soon!):

Regular Registration: December 27, 2017
Regular Registration Accommodation Request: December 27, 2017
Nonpublished Test Center Registration (additional fees apply): December 13, 2017
Late Registration—Published Test Centers only (additional fees apply): January 3, 2018
Late Registration Accommodation Request—Published Test Centers only (additional fees apply): January 3, 2018

 

UPCOMING LSAT DATES FOR 2018:

Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:30 AM
Monday, February 12, 2018 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

Monday, June 11, 2018 12:30 PM

Saturday, September 8, 2018 8:30 AM
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

Saturday, November 17, 2018 8:30 AM
Monday, November 19, 2018 (Saturday Sabbath Observers) 8:30 AM

COSTS FOR THE LSAT:

Basic Fees
LSAT $180
Credential Assembly Service (CAS) $185
Auxiliary Fees
Late Registration $100
Test Center Change $100
Test Date Change $100
Nonpublished Test Center Domestic: $285
International: $380

Other Important Things to Consider for the 2018 LSAT: (1) Spring Schedules and (2) Study Abroad

(1) Now that the courses for Spring 2018 are available, try to plan your spring schedule so you give yourself enough time to study for your respective exam. If you can take a lighter load of classes and free up your schedule to study for the LSAT, it is highly recommended.

(2) Studying Abroad in 2018? Think ahead for which test you want to take!  A note about the LSAT and Study Abroad: Many students choose to study abroad in the
spring of their Junior year. This can impact your planning and preparation for the LSAT,
especially if you plan to take the exam in June. You should factor in your study abroad timing when deciding which LSAT to take. The LSAT is offered in many other countries (which you can investigate at www.lsac.org), but you should carefully consider whether you will have the time and focus necessary for preparing for the exam while abroad.

See our handbook for more information about the application process.

Also, keep an eye out for updates about our 2018 LSAT Prep Fair that will be on February 6, 2018! If you are thinking about attending law school, come and learn what the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is all about, find the perfect prep course, and learn more about how to prepare for the LSAT.

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December 2017 LSAT Study Groups

Taking the December 2017 LSAT? The test is only 5 weeks away!

Pre-Law Advising Services is helping to organizing LSAT study groups for the December 2017 LSAT. We will organize groups based on the availability you specify in the google form. Sign-ups for the LSAT study groups will close by Wednesday October 25th at 9AM. Study groups will be assigned next week.

Please click the link here to sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/QAJqodO8Js5i5BlB3

 

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December LSAT Update: What to know and do for December takers

The December 2 LSAT is only 6 weeks away, and the deadline to register is tomorrow! Based on the increase in September LSAT takers and last year’s December LSAT data, we predict that there will be a lot of December takers, so register now to get your preferred location. Register here: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates-deadlines/2017-2018/us-canada-dec

Are you still trying to decide whether to retake? You’ll want to ask yourself some careful questions. Revisit this blog post for data on retakers, advice on deciding to retake, and next steps: http://publish.illinois.edu/…/what-to-do-now-that-the-lsat…/.

The timing of the December LSAT is challenging for current students, since it is so close to finals. How can you maximize your performance?

  • Clear your schedule as much as possible. With upcoming papers, projects, and assignments, November is going to be busy. You want to devote at least 10-15 hours per week to LSAT prep. (It’s only temporary.)
  • Make sure that you are taking TIMED, FULL LENGTH exams as part of your prep. Timing is a key issue for most LSAT takers.
  • Follow up with your recommendation writers and order your transcripts (click on “hold for fall grades” when ordering) so that your applications can be complete as soon as December LSAT scores are reported in January.
  • Take advantage of fall break to really crank up your LSAT prep.
  • If you are retaking:
    • Be realistic about how much improvement and progress you can make in 6 weeks. The average retaker scores within 2.5 points of where they scored last–which can be significant, in LSAT terms, but does not suggest that a jump of 10 points is likely.
    • Use your score report to carefully assess what questions you missed. Was what you missed consistent with your LSAT prep? Or did you find some surprises?
    • Consider: What can you do differently to prepare this time? Using a different book, teacher, or resource can help you progress. (You can use our LSAT Resources handout on our Compass page to find new study tools.)

 

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Mark Your Calendars – Law School Application Week Edition

It’s Law School Application Week! Check out our 3 wonderful events going on this week!

The Law School Fair is Wednesday September 27, at the Illini Union in Rooms A, B, and C. We are looking forward to seeing many of you there!

 Join us as over 100 law schools visit campus to meet with prospective students. Gather information about law schools, talk with admissions professionals about their schools, collect some fun freebies and law school application fee waivers. This event is FREE and open to the public. Dress is business casual. For more information, including a list of law schools attending the fair, visit our website. See you at the fair! No registration is required.

Four Things to Do Before the Law School Fair

Here are a few things to do before to get the most of out of the Law School Fair.

  1. Look at the Schools’ Websites and Do Some Background Research
    1. Have specific questions for the admissions representatives that are coming to campus. Most basic questions can be answered by simply looking at the website (GPAs, LSAT scores, where their graduates work, professors, etc).
    2. Example questions to ask: Where do students typically work after their first year summer? What is the school environment like? Are there study groups or other academic resources available? What do students do in their free time? How many students are involved in clubs and activities? What is the most popular class at the law school?
  2. Have an Elevator Pitch Ready
    1. What’s an elevator pitch? It is a 30 second introductory speech about yourself.
    2. The elevator pitch should start out by telling the representative your name, your hometown, your major, when you are applying to law school, and why you are interested in that specific law school. The law schools want to get to know you, so you should tell them a little about yourself.
    3. Don’t read off the speech, consider it the beginning of a conversation.
  3. Get Your Outfit Ready
    1. Dress is business causal for the event.
    2. Men – A dress shirt, dress pants, and a tie are appropriate. No suit coat is needed.
    3. Women – A dress shirt, blouse, or sweater, and dress pants or a skirt are appropriate.
  4. Things to Bring With to the Event
    1. A list of schools you want to talk to and why you are interested in those law schools.
    2. A notebook and pencil. If you are impressed with a school or want to remember a specific detail about a conversation, it is best to write it down right away.
    3. No need to bring a resume – most law schools will not accept resumes at this event.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

For Law School Application Week we have some great events planned!

FALL EVENTS

Law School Admissions Panel Tuesday September 26

7:00PM 1002 Lincoln Hall

What are law school admissions professionals really looking for in an applicant? How do they weigh LSAT scores, grades, or work experience? What makes them take notice of an applicant–and what would make them deny someone? Join us for this expert law school admissions panel to discover this and more. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. This is a must-see event for anyone considering applying to law school!

Panelists include:

Dean Ann Perry from the University of Chicago Law School  http://www.law.uchicago.edu/

Ms. Grace Mayeda from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law  https://www.law.berkeley.edu/

Dean Rebecca Ray from the University of Illinois College of Law  https://law.illinois.edu/

Law School Fair Wednesday September 27

10:00-2:00PM Illini Union Rooms A, B, and C

It’s the biggest pre-law event of the year! Join us as 120+ law schools visit campus to meet all who are interested in applying to law school. Learn about law schools, scholarships, and the application process while meeting the people who will be reading your law school applications. Application fee waivers and other freebies will be available. Stop by or stay the whole time! This event is free and open to the public. Business casual dress.

Getting to Know Northwestern Law (co-hosted with Pre-Law Honors Society) Thursday September 28

6:00 – 7:30 pm  1090 Lincoln Hall

Interested in Northwestern Pritzker School of Law?  Join us as Assistant Director of Admissions Sarah Rewerts discusses The Northwestern Law Difference.  Sarah will also share her inside perspective on Northwestern Law’s admission process, including:  the Early Decision program; the interview process; the recent decision to begin accepting the GRE (for the Fall 2019 entering class), and more!  This is a great opportunity to get to know Northwestern Law and to have your questions answered!

Pre-Law 101 Tuesday October 3

4:00-5:00PM Room 514 of the Illini Union Bookstore

This workshop is designed for incoming students who are new to pre-law or are interested in learning more about it. We will cover: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois, course selection, majors, and extracurriculars, building a pre-law resume, and what law schools are really looking for. We will outline a four year plan to maximize your undergraduate experiences in order to make a great law school candidate. We’ll also take any questions about law school and legal careers. Click the link above to register so that we can guarantee seating and materials for everyone. Each Pre-Law 101 session is the same. Incoming students should attend a Pre-Law 101 prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment.

Scholarships

We’ve collected 275 scholarships–for both undergrads and incoming law students–on our Scholarships Spreadsheet over on our Pre-Law Compass page. It’s a wide variety of scholarships based on everything from being left-handed to making a video to tweeting, and deadlines vary, so check it out!

Internships

It’s NOT too early to start looking for spring/summer internships today! We post internships on our blog and our Facebook page. Check out this blog post for a plan on how to start finding spring and summer internships this fall.

Pre-Law Resources

Now is a great time to check out–or join–all of our pre-law resources! Click the links to explore. You can also search this blog for posts about the LSAT, law school applications, resumes, internships, and more!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Compass page

 

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What to Do Now That the LSAT Is Over

If you took the September LSAT, now is the time to be planning ahead for the rest of the fall semester. The release date for scores (via email) for the September LSAT is October 12.

The regular registration deadline for the December 2nd LSAT is only 6 days after the release date. The regular registration deadline for the December LSAT is Wednesday October 18. The late registration deadline (with possible additional fees) is Wednesday October 25.

By registering for the December LSAT then, it is not guaranteed that your preferred testing location will be open. Spots will fill up quickly, especially for the LSAT location in Urbana-Champaign.

If you took the September LSAT and are currently waiting for your score, this blog entry will go on to discuss how to decide whether to retake.

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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Law School Admissions Update: LSAT or GRE?

The American Bar Association (ABA) requires that ABA-accredited law schools use some sort of entrance exam in the admissions process. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been the exam used by ABA-accredited law schools for admission to their Juris Doctor (JD) programs for over 50 years.  That changed in March of 2016 when the University of Arizona Law School announced that it would begin accepting either the LSAT or the Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE) for applicants to its JD program beginning in the Fall of 2016.  Harvard Law School followed suit in March of 2017, announcing that it would begin accepting either the GRE or LSAT with this fall’s application cycle. In August, Georgetown University Law Center announced its plans to do the same, also with this fall’s applicants. A day before Georgetown’s announcement,  Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law stated that it would begin accepting either the GRE or LSAT next fall, for the class that would begin in the Fall of 2019. Click on the links provided to learn more about the application process for each of these schools. Note: Northwestern’s Assistant Director for Admissions and Financial Aid, Sarah Rewerts, will be here at UIUC on Thursday, September 28, 6pm, 1090 Lincoln Hall, to discuss this and other admissions-related topics.

So — what does this mean for a prospective law school applicant?  As of right now, unless an applicant for this cycle is planning on applying ONLY to the three schools listed above that will currently accept either the GRE or LSAT (a strategy that PLAS does not recommend), applicants will still need to prepare for and take the LSAT.  But since this topic is getting a lot of attention in the news, we thought it would be helpful to provide a brief overview of both standardized tests.  As always, we encourage you to do your research and learn more about this issue.

What is the GRE?

Content/Format: It is a computer-delivered standardized test, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), that evaluates test takers on the following areas:

  1. Analytical Writing (one section with two separately timed tasks). Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
  2. Verbal Reasoning (two sections). Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning (two sections). Measures problem-solving ability suing basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

The GRE also includes both an unscored and a research section.  Per the GRE’s website, the Analytical Writing section will always be first. Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order so test takers should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.  For more information about the GRE content and structure, check out the ETS website: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/content/.

Cost: $205, which includes 2 free practice tests and a diagnostic tool; other practice materials are available for a fee on the website.  Go here for more info: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/.

Location/Time: The GRE is available any day but Sunday. You can select the U of I Testing Services Lab on Neil Street for administrations during the week. 

What is the LSAT?

Content/Format:  It is a paper and pencil test (although it has begun piloting a computer-delivered format), administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Per the LSAC’s website, it is comprised of the following:

  1. Reading Comprehension (one scored section): Measures the ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those encountered in law school.
  2. Analytical Reasoning (one scored section): Measures the ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about that structure.
  3. Logical Reasoning (two scored sections): Assesses the test taker’s ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language.
  4. Experimental Section (one unscored section): This will be an additional section of the types of questions identified above, but the test taker will NOT know which section is experimental so test takers should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.
  5. Writing Sample (one unscored section): Although this is unscored, copies of your writing sample are sent to ALL law schools to which you apply.

For more information about the LSAT’s content and structure, go to the LSAC’s website: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/about-the-lsat.

Cost: $180

Location/Time: The LSAT is currently offered four times per year, although as we mentioned in a previous blog post, that will be increased to six times per year beginning in the 2018-2019 testing cycle. The upcoming dates of LSAT administration are as follows: September 16, 2017; December 2, 2017; February 10, 2018; and June 11, 2018.   There are multiple test sites, including UIUC.  Go here for a list of regular administration LSAT locations: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/testing-locations/regular.

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