Spring Break Edition: Things To Do

Spring Break starts at the end of this week.  Here are some suggestions for how to use the break wisely.  

Seniors Applying This Cycle

1. Applications. If you haven’t already done so….submit your applications!!!!!  I know several law schools have extended their deadlines but this is a rolling process and many schools have few if any seats (or financial aid) left to give to applicants.

2. Decision Time.  For those of you that submitted applications much earlier this cycle and consequently are now weighing all your options — really evaluate your offers and try to come to a decision in the next couple of weeks.  Those of you who have been in to see me have been advised to create a table or spreadsheet listing the items most important to you (i.e., cost/scholarship, employment numbers, bar passage rate, location) to help you decide among your offers.  Also make plans to visit the law schools if you haven’t already done so — you would be surprised about the number of students who love a school on paper but are not thrilled with the school once they visit.  Law school is a HUGE investment — find the time to visit the schools!!!!

Juniors Applying in the Fall

1. Letters of Recommendation. Start thinking about whom you should ask to write your letters of recommendation and plan to request your LORs BEFORE you leave campus for the summer.  Applicants frequently make the mistake of waiting until fall to approach their professors and then find themselves waiting quite a while.  Your professors are busy so you need to plan ahead to give them enough time to write your letters… and the letters that others are requesting.

2. Attend PLAS Programs! Attending our upcoming PLAS programs will help you get a jump start on your applications.  Remember — most law schools admit applicants on a rolling basis so the earlier you apply, the better!

  • Financing Law School, Monday April 1, 5-6pm, College of Law, 504 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Classroom A. Our Financial Aid Series continues! With so many different aid offers from various law schools….how do students choose? Julie Griffin, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the College of Law, and Donna Davis, a current 2L and Pre-Law Advising Graduate Assistant, are here to walk you through it! Ms. Griffin and Ms. Davis will show you what a law school financial aid offer looks like and demonstrate how to evaluate aid packages and make fair comparisons among schools. No registration required. 
  • Applying to Law School — A Workshop for Fall Applicants — Monday, April 15, 4-5:00 pm, Room 1027 Lincoln Hall. Applying to law school early in the application cycle can result in more admission offers, more aid, and much less stress. This workshop is designed for students who will be applying to law school this fall and want to maximize their law school opportunities. We will provide an overview of the law school application process and share a timeline for optimal application results. No registration required.
  • Personal Statement Workshop for Fall Applicants — Thursday, April 18, 12-1:00pm, Room 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.  Law school applicants consistently say that the personal statement took much more time to write than they expected. This workshop will provide an overview of the personal statement and the resume for law school applications. Please register by clicking on this link http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/2508 to our Event Calendar. Once there, please select this event and then click on “register.”  Registration is required so that we can provide enough seating and materials for everyone.

All Pre-Law Students

1. Find and apply for summer internships NOW.  Not sure where to start?  Go here, http://publish.illinois.edu/prelawadvising/2012/12/20/internship-newsletter/, to access our Internship Newsletter that was originally posted on December 20.  It contains 17 pages of information on internships and jobs.  Many of these postings have March deadlines so start looking now!

2. Stay informed… about all of our PLAS Programs, information sessions, updates on the legal profession, etc.  How???

 Enjoy your break!

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Financing Law School — Audio File for Webinar Available!

Were you unable to attend the Heather Jarvis webinar, “Realities of Financing a Legal Education” last week? Good news — click on the following link and you can find out what you missed! https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/9083015.  Just enter your net id and password and you will be able to access the presentation. Once there, click on the “view presentation” link.  The audio and slide presentation should begin.

In the webinar Ms. Jarvis, a nationally-renowed financial aid expert, explains student loan options at the law school level and shares information about recent changes to loan repayment options, including loan forgiveness programs . This is a must-see for students entering law school. Find out more about Heather and her excellent resources at http://askheatherjarvis.com/. The webinar link will only be available for the next month so check it out now!!

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Financing Law School: Heather Jarvis Webinar Monday, March 4!!

I know, I know — I sound like “Debbie Downer” when pre-law students come into my office with stars in their eyes, excited about law school admissions offers and I ask: “Have you figured out how you are going to pay for it?”  But folks, this is a huge issue!  Law school debt and the student loan crisis have made it imperative that pre-law students thoroughly understand financial aid processes and options at the law school level. As such, PLAS has put together a two-part series on financing law school.  Our first program in the series is a webinar set for next Monday, March 4, 5pm, entitled “Financing Law School: Understanding Debt and Student Loans” featuring financial aid and student loan guru Heather Jarvis. 

Heather Jarvis is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on the complexities of financial aid and student loans. During this webinar, she will provide a detailed overview of student loan options at the law school level, and share information about recent changes to loan repayment options, including loan forgiveness programs. This is a must-see for students entering law school. Find out more about Heather and her excellent resources at http://askheatherjarvis.com/This event is FREE and exclusively for UIUC students.  Note — PARTICIPATION IS LIMITED and participants must register in advance. To register, click on this link to the PLAS event calendar: http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/2508. Once there, select the March 4 event and then select register and follow the instructions which will ultimately direct you to Ms. Jarvis’s registration system. This is a must see, not to be missed opportunity so register today!!!!
 
So just exactly who is Heather Jarvis?
 
As she shares on her website, Heather graduated from Duke University School of Law cum laude owing $125,000 in student loans and facing 30-years’ worth of $1,200 monthly payments.  No one ever told Heather that she couldn’t afford to go to Duke, even though, um, she couldn’t.  Her mother was a modestly paid executive assistant and her father a mostly unemployed Shakespearean actor.  Heather didn’t realize she couldn’t afford an expensive education until after she got one.  
 

At one time, people who earned fancy grades at fancy law schools got offered fancy jobs with fancy paychecks.  Having become all fancyfied, Heather had to decide: take the job she had been dreaming about all her life that only paid $25,000 per year (representing people facing criminal prosecution), or make a boatload of money.

Duke Law’s generous loan repayment assistance program made it possible for Heather to eschew the money without defaulting on her student loans.  She will always be grateful that Duke enabled her to continue ignoring her own financial security in pursuit of her irresistible urge to stand up for people in trouble.

Heather has practiced public interest law for more than a dozen years.  Beginning in 2005, Heather focused her advocacy work on reducing the financial barriers to practicing public interest law.

Heather has contributed to student debt relief policy for the House Education Committee and others in Congress, and has dedicated her professional efforts to advancing public service loan forgiveness which allows recent graduates to dedicate their careers to the greater good.  Heather leads efforts to establish and expand student debt relief programs and to inform borrowers, schools, and employers about how to benefit from available debt relief programs.

Widely recognized by school professionals and media representatives as an expert source of information, Heather has trained thousands of students and professionals and is sought after for her sophisticated legal knowledge and accessible teaching style.  Mark your calendars now and register for this event ASAP!!

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Financial Focus – Join us for an ongoing focus on law school finances – Kick-off tomorrow!

With the significant media attention and the enhanced awareness of legal realities since the recession, increased attention is being devoted to the financial components of attending law school and the related impact on the availability of legal services to all individuals in our state.  The Illinois State Bar Association has been proactive in addressing this issue, and most recently completed a series of hearings across the state to bring together practitioners in both small and mid-size firms, non-urban communities, current law students, scholars, and law school leaders.  Jamie and I were fortunate enough to attend the hearing in Champaign back in November, and the ISBA President John Theiss will be at the law school tomorrow (Tuesday, February 19) to discuss the findings and hopefully present some proactive options.

If you are considering attending a law school in Illinois or practicing in Illinois you should absolutely be in attendance at this event!  When we talk networking this is exactly the kind of event that won’t necessarily network you into an opportunity but will be the talking point for future networking opportunities.  It is from 12:00 – 1:00 in the College of Law Auditorium.  A lunch will be provided for attendees.  What we hope is that increased education and awareness around these realities will not only impact law students but that you can impact this incredibly important movement.

I will be there – and will certainly update you on the information presented – but I truly hope to see a huge Pre-Law presence.

Our next event in this financial focus will be a webinar for UIUC Pre-Law students from the nation’s leading expert in all things financial for law school, Heather Jarvis.  She has been spotlighted in a recent four part cover series in the ABA Student Lawyer magazine and she frequently covers the issues in major media.  You should not even be considering signing up for the webinar – if you are even considering law school this should be a top priority for you.

http://illinois.edu/calendar/detail/2508eventId=27192444&calMin=201302&cal=20130218&skinId=2741

Looking forward to an in-depth focus on all things that can help develop your legal pursuits with clarity about the financial implications!

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Subsidized federal loans for graduate students end July 1

As part of the recent student loan overhaul, subsidized federal loans were eliminated for graduate students as of July 1. What does that mean? Before July 1, graduate (including law) students were allowed to borrow up to a certain amount (about $65,000) in subsidized loans, meaning that interest did not begin to accrue on those loans until after the student graduated. With the elimination of the subsidy, these loans will now begin to accrue interest as soon as they are dispersed.

Maybe it seems like this isn’t a big deal in the overall borrowing of law students. However, the Chronicle of Higher Education estimates that the subsidy for graduate students who borrowed the maximum subsidized loans ($65,000) saved them $207 PER MONTH in payments over a 10 year payoff period. That’s $24,000 more that graduate students will now be paying in interest. It’s important for students to consider the overall costs–including interest–when evaluating your educational investment.

Check out the article here: http://chronicle.com/article/Federal-Loan-Changes-May-Curb/132665/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

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