Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Watch out for Questionable LSAT Vendors

I've seen a few articles recently about people who prey on vulnerable LSAT takers. Here's one example with some good advice about how to tell if you're going with a reputable company.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Law Schools to Consider

A current client sent me an e-mail this morning inquiring about some up-and-coming law schools and I think it's worth sharing with my readers:

As I'm reading up on different law schools, there are some law schools that are expected to get ABA accreditation as soon as they become eligible and they are affiliated with some respectable undergraduate institutions, which I suppose makes it a safe bet that it'll receive accreditation. The two I'm thinking of are UC Irvine ( expected to open in Fall 2009 and Drexel who are already taking applications ( What is your advice for students thinking about applying to these law schools?

This is a great question. I've already posted about UC Irvine's law school and I expect many of my clients next year to apply here for the chance to attend a public law school in California. My guess is they'll be wanting people right around the 160s right off the bat, especially with the prestige of their Dean. Orange County needs a really good law school - LA is not a convenient commute. I think it'll hurt Chapman the most - people who have to be in Orange County and have exceptional credentials will probably choose Irvine (public tuition and the automatic prestige of a UC school).

Many of my clients are applying to Drexel this year - I agree that its prospects are excellent since it's attached to a solid undergraduate school and in a city where it's very hard to get into law school without a 160 LSAT score (Temple, Villanova, and Penn are its only neighbors).

Here is information about the University of Phoenix (Arizona's first private law school) It's sister school is Florida Coastal Law School. These are for-profit law schools and will probably always be Tier 4, whereas Drexel and Irvine are stars I expect to rise quite quickly.

Friday, January 18, 2008

How to Choose a Law School

I just came across a very good posting by LawSchoolTruth about job prospects and law school rankings. I don't know who writes it, but my favorite part was this: "Remember: If you really, really want to be a lawyer, none of this matters. Go to whatever school you want/can!"

The Benefits of Attending Law School Part Time

My post on Wednesday was geared toward those who really want to be full time law students but were considering applying part time due to perceived lower numerical standards.
Today's post is geared toward those that really will be working and/or taking care of families in addition to attending law school and for whom part time programs are their best option for applying to law school.
When I began law school in 1996, I was a part-time evening student. I was busy pursuing a full time career in advertising and while I wanted to go to law school, I wasn't ready to give up my full time job. Here are some things I loved about being an evening student:
1. Nice people. My classmates were mostly older, had jobs and families, and had things in perspective. They were willing to work together and enjoy each other a little more than I think most of the younger, full-time day students were.
2. Faculty treated us more like adults and were (generally) more respectful toward the night students.
3. A little bit smaller of a section.

Here were some of the not so great things:
1. To take advantage of clubs and organizations (I was the Evening program Student Bar Association Representative, among my other involvements), you pretty much need to be available during the day.
2. Faculty and student services related offices are not usually available at night.
3. You're on a different curve than the day students, and they perceive the program as being "easier" since you can get on law review with a 3.5 and they need a 3.7 (for example..... this is not always the case, but is one of the sticky wickets about being a night student).
4. You need to take summer school to graduate in 3 years (at most schools).

I'm happy to answer any questions, but remember that each school's program is different and for individual policies and circumstances you need to talk to admissions officers at the school you're considering attending.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Law school apps hold steady - News

Thanks so much to Cecily Wu from the University of Pennsylvania for quoting me in today's published story about law school admission trends:

Law school apps hold steady - News

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

4 Things To Consider Before Applying Part Time to Law School

You may have noticed that at schools with part-time programs, the 25th-75th percentile LSAT numbers are a bit lower than that for the same school's full time program. In some instances, applying part-time may increase your chances of being admitted if your numbers are more in line with those of the part-time admitted students.

Here are some things to think about in using this strategy for law school admission:

1. Is it a fully operating part time program? If it's not a full section of students in the part time program (around 100-130) then then part-time option is probably intended for people who have significant work and/or family obligations. They may even attend part time during the day or in a similarly customized program for their situation. You may want to call the law school and find out more about the formality of the program.

2. How easy is it to transfer from part time to full time after the first year and still graduate in 3 years? If it's pretty much just a formality to transfer to full time after taking 2 classes over the summer (whether on campus or as part of a study abroad program), then this might be an attractive option.

3. Are you planning on trying to transfer to another law school as a 2L? If so, you may be restricted to transferring only to schools that offer part time programs (and you'd probably remain a part time student throughout law school).

4. Consider your social and professional networking goals. Do you want to be surrounded by other people who may be older, married, with families, and with professional careers under their belts? Or, do you want to be meeting other single folk and having a good time after a long day of classes? Socially, there can be a big difference between the demographics in part time and full time programs and 1L year tends to be when people create lasting friendships.

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 Things You Can Do To Be Admitted From the Wait List

Did a law school put you on a waitlist? What does that mean and what can you do to boost your chances of being admitted to that law school?

First, why were you waitlisted? Simple Answer: U.S. News & World Report Rankings.

Schools are very concerned with their rankings and an easy way for them to control things from an admission standpoint are (a) watching the LSAT/GPA for admitted students; and (b) keeping acceptance rates low. What this means is that if you are at or below their median LSAT/GPA, they may waitlist you and make you fight your way in to make sure (before having to count you as an "admit") that you are actually fairly likely to attend their school.

So, how do you demonstrate that your attendance is likely? Here are some ways:

1. Visit the law school. Schedule a visit through the admissions office and ask to sit in on a class and go on a tour. You may even have the opportunity to meet with someone in the admissions office. This shows your interest and likelihood to attend a school in the geographic region.

2. Follow up with a thank-you letter reiterating your interest in the school based on what you learned during your visit. Be specific!

3. If you can't visit, write a letter with an update about what you've done since submitting your application.

4. Write a letter stating the reasons for your specific interest in that law school and highlight things from your background that tie into those interests.

5. Send an additional Letter of Recommendation if they will allow it.

Good luck! And thanks so much to everyone who voted on topics - I will try to address the other requests in the next week or so.

Friday, January 11, 2008

You Pick The Topic!!!!

Hi Everyone! One of my clients pointed out I haven't posted anything this week, so I'm taking this opportunity to ask my readers for topics you'd like me to address. Leave a comment to let me know which of these would interest you most and I'll get to work on them this weekend. (If you have other ideas I haven't included, feel free to suggest them.)

1. Is the February LSAT Too Late For Fall 2008?

2. How to Stay Upbeat When All I've Gotten So Far Are Rejections.

3. Considerations in pursuing a joint JD Degree.

4. Attending Law School Part Time.

5. What Can I Do To Boost My Waitlist Chances?

Leave me a comment to let me know what topics you'd like me to address this weekend and I'll be happy to do so.... Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The LSAT Shouldn't Be Everything

Just found this and thought I'd put it out there to offer hope to those who believe the LSAT is overly relied upon in the law school admissions process.

Rushing to Re-Take the LSAT in February?

Today I received an e-mail with a relevant question about re-taking the February LSAT. When I tried to respond to the question, the person's e-mail server kicked it back to me. Therefore, I'm taking this opportunity to respond to the question here, hoping that (1) the reader will return and have her question answered, and (2) the response will benefit many of you.

Hi Ann,
I am so pleased I found a blog that included your link. Here is my question:
I am a 46 year old student. I have registered for the Kaplan study course, which is held during the month of January; and, have registered for the February LSAT . I do not believe this is enough of time to prepare, although, I do not know how much I can learn in the Kaplan class. Perhaps I can master this LSAT and achieve an acceptable score. I seem rather rushed. Or, should I take the LSAT, gamble that I will most likely perform weakly; but, just take it to get the feel of it. Contrarily, do you suppose it would be most positive if I take the course, study on my own for a few months, and take the next LSAT when I am feeling more secure about my performance (June).
What would you advise?

My response:

If you are applying for Fall 2009, then postpone and take the June LSAT. You have plenty of time. The only reason to rush is if you absolutely must go to law school in Fall 2008. But it's very late in this application cycle, and I'd rather you apply early for next year than late for this year. Do not take the LSAT to "get a feel for it". That only means you'll have something to explain as a weakness in your application when you apply.
Happy new year, and please let me know how I can be of service to you.