Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dean's Certification Letters

Ok, what is the deal with these? I know I'm supposed to be answering the questions and not asking them, but they just started really appearing on the scene a few years ago and schools are incredibly inconsistent about what they mean by them, when you need one, whether or not there's a form, who should fill it out, etc. I thought I'd open this up and just let everyone share about their lovely Dean's Cert Letter experiences, any feelings you have about them, anything you've learned about what certain schools mean when they ask for one, etc. Have a good time.
(This is an experiment in my blogging career... Let's see what happens! Besides, I don't have time to keep answering all of these wonderful comments so have fun answering each other!!! I look forward to reading them myself)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thank You!

I just wanted to say thanks to all of my readers - we hit some major records this weekend.
More than 10,000 people read my blog this month!
On Friday alone, almost 2,000 of you checked my site!

In appreciation of your readership and Loyalty, I'm offering 2 rewards:
1. If you sign up for my Option A "The Works" package on or before Friday, October 31st, 2008, I will honor the following coupon code for a surprise discount at checkout. (Enter Coupon Code: Blog Reader)

2. I will entertain any blog post topics you would like me to write about, and will try to write about then in the next week or two. Just leave comments to this post with your suggestions.

Now, since my blog readership has grown so much answering the comments has been getting a bit overwhelming. So, I'm going to ask everyone to abide by the following courtesies:

1. Please use a name when commenting, even it's a pretend name. It's way too confusing to answer to "Anonymous" because it is unclear which anonymous reader I'm responding to.

2. There are certain questions that are not conducive to being answered in a blog format. These include your chances at particular schools, whether or not you should retake the LSAT, and what you should write your personal statement about. These are the kinds of questions you need a law school admission counselor to answer, and I always offer free initial consultations to anyone considering using my services. See www.lawschoolexpert.com for more information.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. And thank you so much for all of the nice comments about how much you appreciate my blog!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

More about Retaking the LSAT in December

One of my former clients who writes the pithy postings about her 1L year has a funny scenario that is very typical law school classroom fare so definitely check it out. She also read my posting yesterday about people who improved their LSATs in December and reminded me of the following:

"P.S. Regarding LSAT score retaking, don't forget me - 160 in June to 173 in December!
P.P.S. I still think that going through the Admissions process was harder than actual law school.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Should You Re-Take the LSAT

Ok, LSAT scores are out. (Boy, am I glad I was right about that early release! Phew!).

So, you're either ready to go ahead and put together your schools list and apply to law schools or else you're agonizing about the pros and cons of re-taking the exam in December. (or both!)

I know what you're worried about:

1. You're concerned about rolling admissions and taking advantage of applying early.

2. You're concerned about the likelihood of actually improving your score enough to make it worthwhile.

3. You don't know which schools will average multiple scores and which rely on the higher score.

4. You don't know how to explain away this score in an addendum.

5. You're freaked out about spending more time and money on this #@@!*&$^@ing test.

So, what advice is the wise "LawSchoolExpert" lady going to give you tonight?
First, relax. You're exhausted from the anticipation and anxiety. Your score might look better to you in the morning.

Then, once you've taken a deep breath and gotten some sleep (or had a few drinks, whatever works for you : ), check out this post I wrote last year about the decision whether to retake the LSAT in December.

Some peppy news:
1. I had an a client who re-took the LSAT in December when his original score was a 167, got a 171 and is now at NYU Law School.
2. I had a client last year who jumped from a 157 to a 164 to a 173.

Some realistic news:
1. I had a client last year whom I thought should not retake the LSAT but she insisted and got the exact same score as her original. She is at a Top 20 law school, by the way, despite her LSAT being way below its 25th percentile.

What does this tell you? It means you have to know yourself. You have to analyze the likelihood of having a different (and better) result. And you are way too exhausted to make that call tonight, so get some rest and call me in the morning. I'll be here.

And, yes, I am still accepting clients for Fall 2009 admission...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are you Suffering from APS? 3 Things To Do to Avoid Panic.

My husband came up with a name for a syndrome I'm seeing a lot of right now - "Application Panic Syndrome." There are many specific (and cumulative) causes of APS, including:

1. Seeing the LSAC common application form.

2. Trying to remember every job you've ever held and how many hours you worked when you were in college ten years ago.

3. Waiting for your LSAT score.

4. Watching Law School Discussion and Top-Law-Schools and seeing that (a) some people may have already been admitted to law schools; (b) some people have already applied to law school; and (c) those people are really enjoying their bragging rights (and are probably the same people who will be known as "jerks" in your section next fall~!!).

5. Trying to come up with the most brilliant and effective law school personal statement ever written.

So, what can you do to treat APS? Here are 3things that can help:

1. Get yourself on a timeline. Approach one piece of the application process at a time. Stick to the timeline. Knowing what to prioritize and how long to struggle with each ingredient is key to avoiding the panic that overwhelms almost every law school applicant. (And those who aren't affected probably aren't spending as much effort on the process as they should be, quite honestly).

I give each of my law school admission consulting clients a personalized timeline. I want everyone to take advantage of the rolling admissions process as much as possible, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You may have fallen behind where you'd originally hoped to be, but it doesn't mean you should pack up and wait for the next admission cycle. Just be proactive NOW.

2. Don't fixate on any one part of the application process. If it's been weeks of toiling on your personal statement, put it aside for a week and take care of everything else, then look at it anew or just begin again with a fresh slate. In either event, remember that you have a sense of humor and try to write a silly (pretend) personal statement just to take the edge off. This is why I take my clients through a brainstorming exercise and questionnaire. I'm a big fan of flushing out ideas.

3. Call someone who can offer perspective. It might be a parent, a friend, a sibling - whomever that person is in your life who motivates you, calms you down, and makes you feel empowered all in one conversation. (Or, of course, it could be your law school admission consultant! You're paying for a coach and that person should be available to you in your moments of panic, weakness, frustration, and exhaustion as well as when you're celebrating).

Hang in there this week. October LSAT takers, concentrate on those things within your power until Friday night. And, yes, I'll be available this weekend! December LSAT takers, you're up next and I'll start posting tips and tricks for y'all soon. (I just got back from Alabama and I don't want to give up saying "y'all" quite yet, so please bear with me).

And, in the words of my high school AP Government teacher (whom I visited this weekend in Huntsville), for all of you suffering from APS, Bless Your Heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When the Economy Lags.....

Law school applications increase when there are popular law related television shows and when the economy is in a downturn. What better way to duck out of the job market for a few years and increase your chances of a good job when (hopefully) the economy is on an upswing again. This is especially true with regard to top-ranked law schools because people are even more concerned with post-graduation employment than usual. However, I also think it will encourage people to take scholarship offers and attend (relatively cheaper) public schools since loans and cash are problematic at this point.

See Brian Leiter's post today.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

6 Things You Didn't Know About Me

My amazing web marketing woman, Lorrie Thomas at WebMarketingTherapy, actually blog-tagged me this morning - whatever that means. I think it's like a perverse chain letter but for blogs. So now I am supposed to blog about the 6 Things You Didn't Know About Me.

Here Goes:

1. I felt compelled to start this at 6:43 a.m. for the simple reason that it's in my in-box. I cannot let things sit in my in-box. It's compulsive. I check e-mail constantly and worry I'm not quite fast enough. Even though I didn't have coffee yet and it's 6:48 a.m., and I parked my two daughters in front of Elmo in order to do it. (Lorrie, does this count, or is it a cop out in the things to know about me? I'm pretty sure my readers already figured this one out.)

2. My sister is getting married next weekend in Huntsville, Alabama, which is actually where I graduated from high school.

3. A career in higher education came naturally. I was born on a college campus (Syracuse University) and because my father is a professor/dean, I always lived in college towns. I even was admitted to a PhD in Higher Ed Program when I worked at the University of Denver College of Law. In fact, I have never lived more than a few miles from a university. Ever.

4. I knit.

5. I am the Santa Barbara Tri-Counties Regional Board Chair of the Anti-Defamation League, which works to educate and advocate for the equal treatment of all people.

6.Ok, here's the big secret. (I saved it for #6). It's also the reason some of you ask me why I don't charge as much for law school admission counseling as some other people out there....I work from home.

Ok, Now I think I'm supposed to tag 6 blogs, and my mother-in-law's 50somethinginfo has already been tagged so I can't use it.

Here are the 6:
1.My friend JC Ridley's Amazing Photo Blog
2. A new blog I just found called CoolMomPicks.
3. Confessions of a Teenage Scrapbooker. (We'll see if one of her 6 tells you how I know her!)
4. Legal Andrew
5. Frugal Law Student
6. Integrated Learning LSAT Blog

Thursday, October 9, 2008

While Waiting for the October LSAT Scores

Yes, you're counting the minutes and seconds until the scores are released by email on the 24th. (OMG, if you didn't know that and thought there was no reason to be nervous until the 27th then boy did I just change your plans that weekend!).

In the meantime, be productive!
Here are some tips:
Things to do while waiting for your LSAT score and After the LSAT.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cancel the LSAT?

Congratulations on Finishing the LSAT Today!
Now, for those of you thinking about canceling your score see these previous posts:

Thinking About Cancelling Your LSAT Score
Whether to cancel your LSAT score.

For details about how to cancel your LSAT score see LSAC.org.

Here are the basics from their web site:

We must receive a signed fax or overnight letter with your request within six calendar days of the test. If you do not receive confirmation of receipt of your request within four calendar days after your request was submitted, contact LSAC immediately. If your request has not been processed, you may submit proof that your request was received at LSAC within the required period. Documentation of proof of receipt will not be accepted beyond 14 calendar days after the test. You can also cancel your score at the test center if you are absolutely certain you want to cancel your score.

Friday, October 3, 2008

No LSAT Advice Today; Just Life Advice

Just wanted to wish all October LSAT takers good luck.
No LSAT advice today, just life and coping advice:

1. Put away all of your study materials. Find a remote corner and cover them with a blanket. Don't look at them. Don't be tempted to look at them.

2. Stay away from discussion Forums. This advice is good for tomorrow and Sunday as well.

3. Don't talk to anyone during test breaks. Especially not about the test.

4. Eat, and prepare to spend an hour before the test even starts listening to inane instructions.

5. Don't let anything or anyone psych you out. I always sat in the front for classes (yes, I was that student) but in a back corner for exams. (Proctors are a noisy and inconsiderate bunch).

Last piece of pre-LSAT advice: Instead of thinking of tomorrow as the day that seals your fate (ala Yom Kippur), think of it as a chance to show your hard work, preparation, and abilities. Think of LSAT day as the day you really move the application process forward and commit to reaching your goals.

Good luck!