Making the most of your fall break

Eating turkey, watching football and sleeping in sound like pretty good ways to spend your fall break. With an entire week off, though, there are a lot more productive ways to use that time.

Current applicants–FINISH your applications! You really don’t want to be trying to finish your applications during finals. Tips:

  • Are all of your recommendations in? If not, contact your letter writers NOW–before fall break–because s/he might have time off next week too, and can finish your letter if you remind him/her.
  • Polish your personal statement. Do a final edit. Have another set of eyes review for grammar/punctuation. Make sure it’s the correct essay for this school.
  • Have you written all of your optional essays? A common complaint we hear from law school admissions deans is that optional essays are sloppy and aren’t edited well. Make sure you take the time to polish them just like your other documents.
  • Make sure all of your transcripts from any undergraduate institutions (even community colleges where you took a summer course) are submitted. Check your LSAC account to make sure.
  • Finalize your list of schools to which you’ll apply. Do you feel comfortable with the number of schools on your list, and with your admissibility there? Do you have a good mix of safety, target, and reach schools? Remember that the average law school applicant who graduated from the University of Illinois applied to 9 schools and was accepted to 3, and that’s good in terms of law school acceptances. (You can find all sorts of U of I applicant data on our website here.

Not applying to law school just yet? You can still be productive this break. How?

Do some LSAT planning.

  • Take a practice LSAT. See our list of practice LSAT options here.
  • If you plan to take next June’s LSAT, research LSAT prep companies and course offerings and decide whether to take a class, and which one. Test prep classes can be online, in person, or one on one tutoring, and they can range from one month to one year. Which is right for you? Some that are popular with our students are Kaplan, Next Step Test Prep, Testmasters, Princeton Review, and PowerScore. (We are not affiliated with any test prep company. This is NOT an exhaustive list but only meant to get your research started.)
  • For students who plan to do your own LSAT prep, now is a good time to start getting your resources together. The LSAC offers reasonably priced LSAT strategy and test books, like this package. (We are not affiliated with the LSAC and offer this only as a suggestion.) Other students purchase LSAT prep materials on ebay.

Study for finals. Seems like a no-brainer, but for those of you who are sophomores or juniors, it is extremely important that you do well academically now in order to maximize your law school admission chances.

Explore legal careers. Now that you have some free time, why not:

  • Explore the LSAC’s website. The Law School Admission Council website is VERY detailed, and requires some time to digest.
  • Take a quiz to see what area of law might be a good match for you at Discover Law’s website.
  • Read one of the books suggested by the LSAC in its Resources for the Prelaw Candidate list here.
  • Spend some time on the American Bar Association’s website exploring what lawyers do every day.
  • Ask a local lawyer to have coffee with you to talk about his/her career. This is actually very simple, and many lawyers are happy to sit for half an hour with a prospective law student. Start by asking your parents if they know any lawyers. If not, use the internet to find local lawyers and call or email a few. (Tip: Do an internet search for “your county bar association” to find local lawyers easily. For example, “McHenry County bar association” will take you to McHenry County lawyers.) You will be surprised how many lawyers are happy to talk to you about their career, and this is a great way to practice your networking skills!