The LSAT with Peer Advice and Perspectives

The LSAT

The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  The LSAT assesses critical thinking skills and is an essential aspect to the law school admissions process, similar to the ACT or SAT for undergraduate admissions.

The Basics:
      • The LSAT consists of two parts, the Multiple-Choice (MC) and Writing portions. 
          • The MC portion of the exam is the graded portion of the exam.  It consists of four, 35-minute sections.  There is one graded section each of reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning question types.  The fourth section of the MC portion is an ungraded, experimental question section.
          • The Writing portion of the exam is taken at a separate time from the MC section.  This section consists of a 35-minute persuasive writing exercise.  The Writing portion is ungraded, but most be completed to receive a MC score.
      • The LSAT is a digital, remotely proctored exam.  The exam is administered multiple times each testing cycle, with summer and fall administrations typically being the most popular.  Test takers may choose from a selection of days and times during each administration. 
      • Plan Ahead! Advanced planning is essential for success on the LSAT.  We typically recommend planning to spend 4-6 months prepping for your first exam and registration deadlines are approximately six-weeks in advance of test dates.

To learn more about the LSAT, visit lsac.org or view a recording of the 2022 LSAT Bootcamp: Session 1 below. 

Peer Perspectives!

Student peers can be some of the best resources for students to turn to while navigating the law school admission process. Everyone has their own, unique journey, so it can be beneficial to gain different ideas and perspectives.

Three of our undergraduate pre-law students, Rama, Adem, and Stella, share their personal experiences with the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and offer insights and advice for anyone who is preparing to sit for an upcoming LSAT administration. 

Please note there are many preparation resources available for students, including those for free or low-cost through LSAC.  Explore the many options available and find what is right for you.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office to talk through an individual study plan for you!

Want to learn more?

Check out this helpful presentation by LSAC to learn more about the LSAT, preparation resources available, and logistics for signing up for an upcoming exam!  

LSAT Bootcamp – Session 1

Presented by the Law School Admission Council

Click here to view online!

*LSAT Bootcamp – Session 1 was recorded on February 1, 2022.

Additional Resources | Test Anxiety

Many students find taking tests, completing assignments, and/or giving presentations very stressful. At times, this stress can be counterproductive and negatively impact performance. Fortunately, there are ways to address anxiety so that you can do your best work. During the academic year, we offer drop-in Test Anxiety Workshops. These workshops are free for students, but space is limited, so we request that you register in advance by completing a brief form for the date you want to register. Test Anxiety Workshops | University of Illinois Counseling Center

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Tips and Tricks on Navigating Any Interview Process

As a pre-law student, you will likely come across many opportunities to interview. Perhaps you are interviewing at the law school of your dreams or for a summer internship. Maybe you have started networking and have a few informational interviews scheduled. Regardless, interviewing is an important aspect to many opportunities you will have as an undergraduate student and will be an essential skill as you look toward a career in law.

No matter what type of interview you have coming up, we are here to help! In this post you will find helpful insights and information you need to know about interviews–what they are, how to prepare for them, and what to expect. Happy Interviewing!

INTERVIEWING FOR:
INTERNSHIPS/SUMMER POSITIONS

What is the purpose of the interview? Interviews are generally part of an internship application process. This is also true of summer positions, regardless of whether they are paid. Employers and Internship Hosts want to get to know you and evaluate if you are a good fit for the position. Applicants also have an opportunity to get to know the employer/internship host and ask questions.

INTERVIEWING FOR:
LAW SCHOOLS OR SPRING VISITS

What is the purpose of the interview? In addition to admission, law schools might use the interview to screen candidates for scholarships, research opportunities, or special programs such as law school ambassadors. It is definitely worth an applicant’s time and effort to take the interview seriously.

TIP: Know what kind of interviews your preferred law schools offer.

Research your law schools’ websites to see whether and what format of interview is offered. Not all law schools offer interviews as part of their admissions process and the format of interviews can vary between different institutions. It is important to know if interviews might be part of your experience.   We’ve provided some examples of interview formats below for reference!

      • First come, first served interviews–Some law schools like Northwestern offer interview slots to all applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
          • Note – IF you are applying Early Decision then you must interview and it must be complete by the ED deadline.
      • Group interviews–Some schools may offer group interviews in selected cities or virtually.
      • By invitation only – Some law schools like University of Chicago choose to interview applicants after applications are submitted and by invitation only.
      • Recorded interviews – Some law schools are now offering applicants the opportunity to record an interview. Usually this is how it works: You are given a prompt, and then 2-3 minutes to think about that prompt. Then the webcam records you for a few minutes while you give your answer to the prompt.

INTERVIEWING FOR:
NETWORKING/INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS

What is the purpose of the interview? Informational interviews are a wonderful way to network with professionals and to learn about the profession you are interested in. Typically informational interviews are short and rely on you to come prepared with questions for the expert.  While these may be less formal than a job or law school interview, you still need to be prepared, professional, and most importantly, yourself.

Securing an informational interview can be as simply as  reaching out and asking. Don’t be intimidated; this is an opportunity for you to buy them coffee and ask about their professional life. Here’s a resource for planning your informational interview. Check out this additional resource on the topic from the Career Center.

GENERAL INTERVIEWING TIPS

ALWAYS BE PREPARED:
    • Do your research. You should expect them to ask you “Why this law school or this employer or this opportunity?” and they will want to hear specific answers. Take a careful look at the appropriate websites, blogs, videos, and/or news articles. Get to know the place you are interviewing at.
    • Be prepared with specific talking points about the school or employer that interests you. For example, if this is a law school interview, you may want to research a particular journal, clinic, moot court, externship, or certificate program that is interesting to you. If this is an internship or summer position, understand the work they do and how you can contribute.
    • Carefully review your resume and be prepared to discuss anything on it.
    • You may also be asked something like “What are your career goals?” or “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?,” or even “Why do you want to be a lawyer?” and you should be prepared to discuss your career interests.
    • Decide how you will address the inevitable “What are your strengths and weaknesses” question.
    • Behavioral interviewing – “Tell me about a time when…”. This mode of interviewing will ask you to address a hypothetical or refer back to prior situations and experiences.  For example, you might be asked to tell about a time when you resolved a conflict, managed a team project, made a mistake, or made a big decision.
    • Practice. Sign up for a mock interview with Career Services, or have a lawyer/professor/trusted person sit down with you and ask you mock questions. Think carefully about what you want to say, and how you can best convey it.
    • Know the format – plan accordingly.  Many interviews are now conducted via Zoom/online format.  It is important to know the format and plan accordingly for best success. Make sure you have equipment that is working and select a location that is a quiet place without interruptions. Also, take a picture with your webcam before the interview so that you can see what’s behind you…you may be surprised to see that pile of laundry or unmade bed in the background.
“At” the interview:

Although many schools, companies, and organizations have moved to online formats for interviewing, almost all of the same “rules” that apply for traditional interviews are true for online formats as well.  No matter what type of interview you have, be sure to follow these important tips. Make sure that you look professional and

    • DO NOT BE LATE under any circumstances. Allow yourself plenty of time for parking/traffic/restroom. If you absolutely cannot avoid being late, call the office to let them know. This applies to online interviews as well. Make sure you are online and everything is working properly. Don’t assume that because it is online that you can hop on 30 seconds before.
    • Make eye contact, introduce yourself, and shake hands (if appropriate). (You would be surprised how many people skip this. Seriously.
    • Dress up. This is not a business-casual situation; business formal is best unless the interview parameters explicitly state something else. Even if you are on Zoom or online, treat it just as seriously and professionally as if you were in-person.
    • Engaging in small talk is not only socially necessary but also gives the interviewer an idea of how good you are at making people feel comfortable talking with you–a critical skill to be a successful lawyer. This might even be part of the interview itself.
        • Some interviews may be “recorded” and are conducted by question prompts instead of a traditional back and forth conversation.  Think about ways you can help express your personality if small talk is not part of your interview structure.
    • Bring questions for the interviewer.  Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. Use the opportunity to ask some thoughtful questions. Some examples might include:
            • What are the most important qualities in a Law School X student or, in a Business Y employee or intern?
            • How would you describe the student body/atmosphere here?
            • What challenges do you see current law students facing?
            • What’s the best advice you have for an aspiring law student/lawyer?
    • Thank the interviewer for their time. Reiterate your interest in the law school or position you are applying to.
After the interview
    • Follow up with an email thanking the interviewer for their time.
    • Include something specific that you learned or enjoyed about the interview. Examples:
        • Thank you for your advice about _______________; I found that very insightful.
        • It was so interesting to hear your perspective on the unique qualities of this school or position.
        • I appreciate your candid advice on ____________________.
    • Take the opportunity–again–to reiterate your interest.
    • Reflect on the interview. What went well? What could you improve? What did you learn that was really useful?
    • Celebrate! Congratulations, you completed the interview!

 Finally, check out these tips on interviewing from The Career Center.

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Alumni Attorney Talks

Alumni Attorney Talks is a virtual series which aims to provide prospective law students with helpful insights about attending law school and pursuing a legal career. This series features interviews with University of Illinois alumni working in a variety of diverse settings within the legal profession.

Sharone R. Mitchell, Jr.

Illinois Cook County Public Defender 

Sharone R. Mitchell Jr. | Crain's Chicago Business | Crain's Chicago Business

Quick facts about Sharone R. Mitchell, Jr.:
    • Law School: DePaul University College of Law
    • UIUC Undergraduate Major: Political Science
    • Mr. Mitchell’s Three Words to Describe an Attorney:

Empathetic | Critical | Diligent

Check out this insightful interview below!  

To learn more about Mr. Mitchell and the Cook County Public Defender’s Office click here.

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Make the most of your spring!

Spring semester is here and this is an important time to look ahead at what you can do to best prepare yourself for your future law school adventures, including planning your spring task-list, finalizing summer plans, and setting fall goals.

Below are some suggested areas to prioritize this spring depending on your point in your journey to law school…

Freshmen and Sophomores:

Apply for Summer Jobs and Internships.  Do you have summer plans locked down? If not, apply for jobs and internships. This is a great way to gain valuable experiences and enhance your resume. Check out our internship newsletter here or browse available opportunities on UIUC’s Handshake page.

Apply to Summer Pre-Law Programs These short summer programs are a wonderful opportunity for students interested in the legal profession. They typically last 3-5 weeks and are usually free for qualified students. Application deadlines vary, but are typically in March and April. If you are interested in these programs check out our newsletter here or hop over to LSAC and start your application process as soon as possible!

Sophomores – Start researching the LSAT. Not ready to take the real LSAT yet but wondering what it’s all about? Then it’s time to make LSAC (Law School Admission Council) your best friend! This is the organization that manages the LSAT. Learn how to prepare for the LSAT and even take a free test here.

Job Shadow/Informational Interviews. 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 them coffee and ask about their professional life. Here’s a resource for planning your informational interview. And here’s anther resource on the topic. For more formal interview tips, check out this resource.

Keep up. Use this time to reassess your study plans and goals and prepare for finals–those grades are very important to law schools! Feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious? Consider these student wellness resources to support you.

Juniors and Alumni Applying during the 2022-2023 cycle:

Make your LSAT plans.  Taking the April or June LSAT? Select your prep option and start studying as soon as possible. You want to give yourself the most time to prepare. Ideally, you will study for 4-6 months prior to taking the LSAT. Keep this in mind when selecting your ideal LSAT examination date. Spring break can be a great time to crank up your LSAT studying.

      • Ready to register for your preferred date? Click here for the April LSAT and here for the June LSAT.

Taking a Summer or Fall LSAT? Now is the time to research LSAT prep options. Visit the LSAC website here to learn about resources available including Kahn Academy (free), LSAT Prep, and LSAT Prep Plus  They also include a list of prep books (hyperlink) available and a list of commercial companies who offer services.

      • Stay Tuned for our LSAT Q&A blog post with recent LSAT takers for first-hand advice later this month!

Decide who will be your recommendation writers.  Applications to law school require letters of recommendation. You will want to approach your recommenders by this May/June (at the end of THIS semester) so 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.

Plan to Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).  This is the account you will need to open to have your recommendation letters processed.  The fee to register is $195 so you will need to budget accordingly.  Be sure to get signed up no later than August if you will be applying in the upcoming cycle.  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 including the Exploring Legal Education and Application Roadmap. Find them all on our Event Calendar.

Seniors taking a gap year (or two) prior to law school:

Decide who will be your recommendation writers.  It’s a good idea to decide who on campus will write your recommendations, and approach them by the end of this semester to make contact. If you are applying during the 2022-2023 cycle, you’ll want to secure those letters soon. If you are planning on applying in a future cycle, it will be important to make contact with your recommender and ask for support. Your recommender will be better prepared to assist you in a year or two if you keep in touch regularly. Plus, regular contact will help with timing. Remember, if you wait too long to make contact,  your preferred professor may be gone, on sabbatical, retired, etc., so it’s better to get them now.

Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).  If you plan to apply during the 2022-2023 cycle, register for CAS in the summer or early fall. If you plan to apply in a future cycle, hold off on CAS until you are closer to applying.

Gap Year Workshops. We have upcoming workshops just for you that you should plan to attend, including our Application Roadmap/Gap Years workshop in March. Find them all on our Event Calendar.

      • Internship Newsletter – Be sure to check out the Internship Newsletter which includes post-grad opportunities for ideas and available positions!
Seniors and alumni headed to law school this fall:

Get applications in ASAP! If you are still preparing applications for this cycle,  Touch base with our office ASAP – we are here to help!

Continue Researching!  If your applications are in then you will soon be in the decision making phase.  It is time to make sure that you have all the information needed to make your final decision.  Make final visits to law schools and/or attend admitted student days.

      • HousekeepingOnce you’ve decided where to attend, be sure to withdraw from the other schools that have admitted you so that they can offer that seat and/or scholarship to someone else.

Get organized! Mark important dates on your calendar – including seat deposits, admitted student open house days, and scholarship deadline information…

Stay Connected – Attend Programs! Attend upcoming workshops for guidance on successfully navigating your post-admissions process. Here’s a few we think will be valuable to you:

Apply for additional scholarships. We’ve posted a lot of information about this over on our Resource page!  Also, use your favorite search engine to explore other scholarship opportunities. Here’s a list to get you started. There may be some wonderful local, state and/or national scholarship opportunities with your name on it!

 

Planning to be enrolled in school next fall?  It’s FAFSA time!

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.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of where you are on your pre-law journey, remember we are here to support you and you’ve got this!

 

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February Snapshot

We hope your semester is off to a great start! This month is full of different events and opportunities that you won’t want to miss! Check out the list of upcoming programming below…

February 1: Campus B Spring 2022 Positive Impact Internship Information Session at 4:30 pm EST. Click here for additional information.

February 1: PLAS Workshop: 2022 LSAT Bootcamp- Session 1 at 4:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 2: Illinois College of Law “Is It Too Late to Apply?: Discussing the Current Application Cycle, How the Waitlist Works and Transferring from Other Schools” Webinar at 2:00 pm. Click here to register.

February 2: AccessLex “Choosing a Law School” Webinar at 8:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 3: Registration Deadline! Last day to register for the March 2022 LSAT.

February 3: Registration Deadline! Last day to register for the February LSAC Digital Law School Forum. Click here for additional information.

February 3: AccessLex “Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach for Underrepresented Students” Webinar at 7:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 4: Wisconsin Statewide Pre-Law Diversity Conference and Law Fair 2022 (virtual) from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 4: Cornell Prelaw Program in Paris virtual information session at 11:00 am. Click here to register and learn more about this great opportunity!

February 5: February LSAC Digital Law School Forum from 1:00-6:00 pm CST. Register by February 3. Click here for additional information.

February 7: Application Deadline! Last day to apply for Campus B’s Spring 2022 Positive Impact Internship. Click here for additional information.

February 7: PLAS Workshop: 2022 LSAT Bootcamp- Session 2 at 4:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 7: UIUC Career Center “Career Fair Preparation” Workshop at 5:00 pm at The Career Center, Conference Room 143. Click here for additional information.

February 8: AccessLex “Applying to Law School” Webinar at 5:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 9: 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Virtual information session at 1:00 pm. Click here to register and click here to learn more about the program’s various opportunities.

February 9: Washington University School of Law Discord Event: “Everything Under the Sun Q&A” at 4:00 pm. To access this event, click here.

February 9: University of San Francisco School of Law Webinar: “Information Session on Immigration Law” at 6:00 pm. To access this event, click here.

February 9: United Nations Careers Live! Webinar: “UN Careers for Recent and Upcoming University Graduates” at 7:00 am. To access this event, click here.

February 10: AccessLex “Paying for Law School” Webinar at 11:00 am. Click here for additional information.

February 10: PLAS Workshop: Navigating Post Applications at 4:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 10: Legal Humanities Panel: The Futures of Legal Humanities at 7:30 pm via Zoom. Click here for additional information.

February 11: PLAS Workshop: Navigating Post Applications (encore) at 12:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 11: Washington University School of Law Discord Event: “WashULaw Live” at 12:00 pm. To access this event, click here.

February 11: Washington University School of Law Discord Event: “Current Student AMA” at 4:00 pm. To access this event, click here.

February 11-12: February 2022 LSAT Administration. Good luck to all of our test takers!

February 15: PLAS Workshop: Exploring a Legal Education at 4:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 16: Application Deadline! Last day to apply for the James Dunn 2022-2023 Fellowship Program with the Office of the Illinois Governor.  The fellowship program is for post-graduates and includes a stipend.  Click here for more information.

February 16: LSAC LawHub “What Law Students Wish They Had Known Before Law School” Webinar at 1:00 pm. For additional information, click here.

February 16: Cornell Prelaw Program in Paris virtual information session at 4:30 pm. Click here to register and learn more about this great opportunity!

February 16: AccessLex “Building Your Law School Budget” Webinar at 7:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 17: The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is hosting a Black History Month Discussion Panel at 12:30 pm via Zoom. Click here for additional information.

February 17: Indiana University Maurer School of Law “The Life of a Maurer Student” virtual event at 6:00 pm. Click here for additional information. 

February 18: Indiana University Maurer School of Law “What are Maurer Lawyers Doing?” virtual event at 5:00 pm. Click here for additional information. 

February 19: Indiana University Maurer School of Law is hosting their annual Diversity Law Day. Click here for additional information. 

February 21-26: The University of Memphis School of Law is hosting their 2022 Diversity & Pre-Law Week- Bridging the Gap: Inspiring Connection in a Divided World. To learn more about their virtual events and programming, click here.

February 21: The University of Memphis School of Law “Bridging the Gap Through Justice” virtual event with Attorney Kylar Broadus at 11:50 am. Click here for additional information.

February 21: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101- Session 1 at 5:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 21: UIUC Career Center “Acing Your Interview” Workshop at 5:00 pm at The Career Center, Conference Room 143. Click here for additional information.

February 22: Master of Public Health at Illinois “Ask-a-Student” informational Q&A session at 6:00 pm via Zoom. For more information, click here.

February 23: Registration Deadline! Last day to apply for Illinois Leadership Center’s (ILC) i-Program: Imprint. Click here for additional information.

February 23: Spring 2022 Majors & Minors Fair at the Illini Union, Ballrooms A, B, and C at 1:30 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 23: LSAC LawHub “LSAC PLUS Program Q&A” at 2:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 23: PLAS Workshop: Law School Scholarships-  Law School Admissions Perspective at 5:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 24: First day of the 8-Week program “Mindfulness Training-Finding Peace in a Frantic World” every Thursday from 9-10 am. Click here for additional information.

February 24: The University of Memphis School of Law “Bridging the Gap Through Healing and Story Telling” virtual event with professors Sarah Katz and Deeya Haldar at 11:50 am. Click here for additional information.

February 25: The Career Center is hosting a virtual panel event for students at 12:00 pm, in partnership with the Research Park. They will have a discussion with a variety of Research Park employers on how to land an internship and make the most of the opportunities there. To register for this event, click here.

February 28: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101- Session 2 at 5:00 pm. Click here for additional information.

February 28: DEADLINE!  TRIALS Summer Program with Harvard and NYU application deadline. Click here for additional information and to apply!

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