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Introducing a First-of-Its-Kind Law School Application Workshop

 

Our friends at jdMission, a leading law school admissions consulting firm, have developed a first-of-its-kind law school application workshop to help you improve and accelerate the application process.

During this six-hour course, Mary Adkins—Yale Law School graduate, award winning–playwright and veteran jdMission Senior Consultant—will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a distinct law school personal statement that will reveal your unique character to the admissions committees. In a classroom environment, you will brainstorm for engaging essay ideas, practice techniques of effective storytelling and write with guided instruction. You will benefit throughout the workshop from direct feedback from both the instructor and your classmates, and after the formal instruction is complete, you will have the option of completing additional one-on-one feedback sessions with your instructor on specific work you developed in the class.

Expected Outcomes

In this class, you will accomplish the following, with direct feedback throughout:

  • Brainstorm: Find the right topic for your personal statement or other essay.
  • Draft: Complete guided exercises designed to generate your best writing on your chosen topic.
  • Hone: Work with peers and the instructor on developing your strongest ideas.
  • Plan: Leave with a complete draft of your personal statement, with specific leads on where and how to revise.

Schedule

The jdMission application workshop will be offered on October 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in New York City.

Fees

The application workshop typically costs $599, but Law School Podcaster visitors who register for the course before October 5 will receive a $200 discount.

 

Registration

 

If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please email info@jdMission.com and mention the code LSPJD to receive the special discounted price of $399.

 

Space in the class is limited, so register today!

 

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From Inside the Admissions Office

 

What  makes the people in the admissions office admit you instead of other candidates?  Would you like to hear what the people reviewing all these files  really think of your application  What makes your personal statement stand out? How does your transcript and course work stack up against others?   Should you still apply even if your LSAT score doesn’t fall within the median percentile for your dream school?

Our latest podcast, Secrets from Inside the Admissions Office: Tips to Help You Apply & Get In, takes you behind the scenes to hear what the people who make the decisions on your application really think.  So what do the admissions officers at top law schools like to see in applicants?  Here’s a few samples from our podcast . . .

Anne Richard, Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions, University of Virginia School of Law wants to really see who a candidate is through their application.  How can you do that?  Choose the recommenders who can speak to who you are in the classroom.  “In terms of recommendations, it’s important to get recommendations that will be meaningful, so to get them from faculty members or work supervisors, people who really know an applicant’s abilities, character, or work ethic.  Much more important to get those kinds of recommendations from faculty members and supervisors than it is to try to get a recommendation from the White House, from somebody who doesn’t know you but who has a bigger name.”

Andy Cornblatt, Dean of Admissions, Georgetown Law School , says it’s really difficult to pull off calling yourself  ‘special’.  Let your recommenders highlight the best of your personality.  “Sometimes, more than you think, there are… there’s real insight and real thoroughness in what a recommender… as a recommender talks about a particular applicant.  And that kind of insight can make all the difference.  So…  And of course, the advantage of that is it’s not self-serving.  You’re not declaring yourself special – your professor’s calling you special.  Your employer’s calling your special.  Your coach is calling you special.  Your director is calling you special.  All of that, and telling me why you’re special, that resonates.  So, to the extent that an applicant can work with… now, a recommender is going to say whatever he or she wants, but to the extent that an applicant can emphasize to the recommender, ‘Look, this matters.  I would appreciate if you could talk about x, y, z,’ and then just let them talk, that sometimes can really help, and help one applicant, maybe, stand out more than another.  Not all the time, but more than you think, to where then I’ll say, ‘Wow.  Okay, if you… if you’re talking that way about her, that gives me a much better sense of who she is, in a positive way.’”

Make sure you pay attention to the little things! Ann Perry, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, The University of Chicago Law School says she sees way too many typos and issues with students’ writing.  That type of carelessness will take you out of the running.  “It’s just making sure that they have attention to detail when putting together their application materials.  One of my biggest pet peeves is if there’re too many typos in that material, because . . .  lawyers need to have good attention to detail.  And if an applicant is having issues with that, that’s not a good sign for a future lawyer.”
Nancy Rapoport, The Gordon Silver Professor of Law, William S Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas wants to see applicants with a strong undergraduate course load. “I want them to have taken something demanding in college.  I don’t care what it is; I don’t care if it’s nuclear physics; I don’t care if is arcane English history – but it has to have been hard and it has to have involved some serious analytical skills, because that’s what we do in law school.  And if they’ve taken something that is not particularly demanding, then I worry about their ability to keep up.  So a rigorous undergraduate program is important.”
Listen to the full show to hear a lot more!
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The Short on Long-Term Planning: Keep in Touch with Former Professors

 

As you think about whether law school is right for you—or even if you already know it is—what can you be doing now, in college or beyond, to improve your chances of getting in? In this series, “The Short on Long-Term Planning,” jdMission Senior Consultant Mary Adkins offers tips on how to make smart moves in the pre-application stage.

 

As you begin a new semester, remember that the professors teaching your courses (and the ones you had last semester) are the very people you may eventually want to ask for letters of recommendation.

An important but easily forgotten task when you are your age (sorry, an annoying phrase, I know) is to keep in touch with these people. This is important for a few reasons—one, because if you have gotten to know them well enough to consider asking them to recommend you to law school, they likely mean something to you and vice versa. Good teachers care about their students, and hearing from you is not a burden. On the contrary, most professors you have actually gotten to know will be delighted.

Two, when you ask someone for a letter of recommendation out of the blue after a year or two of not speaking (or emailing), that person may have some difficulty recalling the nature of his or her relationship with you. Recommending someone you have not spoken to in a long time is challenging, even if you do technically remember the student and his or her accomplishments.

Keeping in touch with your former professors during college and after you graduate is a good way to solve this problem. It is also just a good way to be.

This is a guest post by jdMission, a professional law school admissions consulting firm, specializing in helping law school applicants identify and showcase the strongest aspects of their candidacy in their application.

You can sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with jdMission by submitting the form found at http://jdmission.com/consult.php.

 

For more information on this topic, check out these great podcasts:

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LSAT Do’s & Don’ts for the Week Before the Test

The June LSAT is Monday, and for those of you wondering how to spend the next few days before you take it, here are some tips:

lsat countdownDO get a good night’s sleep this week! You’re lucky that Monday’s test isn’t first thing in the morning, but you still want to be well-rested. I’m stating the obvious.

DON’T work too hard on Sunday. If the idea of taking the day off to watch the new Arrested Development on Netflix panics you, read over your notes or do a game or two, maybe a few hard logical reasoning questions you’ve done before. But it’s not the day to take a full-length test.

DO continue to do timed, mixed practice through Saturday.

DON’T make the mistake of believing that every practice test score from now until Monday is exactly what you’re going to get. They’re in the range of what you should expect to score, but just because your practice tests drop from a 169 to a 167 tomorrow doesn’t mean you’re suddenly 2 points LSAT-dumber. Learn from your mistakes, review carefully, and move forward.

DO get a passport-size photo of yourself this week if you haven’t already. (This is in addition to your identification. See the email you recently received from LSAC for details.)

DON’T dwell on what you wish you’d done differently over the last few months. To do so is a waste of critical energy at this point, and your mind should be focused on…

DO think positively. Someone is going to teach this test who’s boss, and it’s not Tony Danza. It’s you. YOU. If you don’t believe you’re going to do your best, you’re less likely to. If you do, you’re more likely to. And if you can see that those two statements are not contrapositives, give yourself a high-five right now, please.

DON’T forget your analogue (big hand, small hand) watch. (Bonus tip: set it to 12 o’clock at the beginning of each section so you can easily track your 35 minutes without arithmetic.)

DO take a snack.

DON’T mistake the LSAT for a mythical tool that measures your self-worth. It’s just a test. Plus, you have more friends than it, and they’re cooler.

Now go put those red and blue and yellow balls in order like you’ve never put them in order before.

 

This guest post is from Mary Adkins, an instructor for Manhattan LSAT. She is the bearer of a 99th percentile LSAT score and a Duke University and Yale Law School graduate. Mary has been teaching the LSAT for nearly a decade. When she is not teaching, she can probably be found scribbling a play, a story, or her book about trying to save the world (and failing miserably!).

Check out Manhattan LSAT’s dynamic new self-study program, LSAT Interact.

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Take 2? Answering Your Top LSAT Retake Questions

 

 

 

 

 

If you walk out of the LSAT shaking your head and wondering what went wrong, you’re not alone. Plenty of test-takers are asking the same questions. Should I cancel my score? Should I wait to see how I did? What if I’m disappointed with my score? Do I retake the test? How will schools view multiple test scores? What should I do differently next time?

We hear these questions over and over again so we gathered our panel of  experts to get you some answers. 

  Our upcoming podcast features the following guests:

 

So, how do law schools view multiple test scores?

Well, schools may differ, but Duke’s Dean Hoye explains the nuances, “[i]t’s a complicated answer, in that two things are happening.  One is that law schools are trying to use the LSAT in the way that it was intended, and to really understand the science behind the LSAT, and use it in a way that’s appropriate in making decisions for law school.  And second, we also have obligations to our accrediting body – that’s the American bar Association – in that we report data after the end of each year about our entering class, and some of the data that are reported are LSAT medians for an entering class.  And that’s important information; it’s consumer information; and so all schools, of course, cooperate with that.  Many years ago, the American Bar Association asked law schools to report the average of multiple test scores.  Yet, a few years ago a change was made, and the ABA now asks law schools to report the highest score that a candidate received if he has taken it more than once.  But that’s a very different consideration than how we use the test and why we use it in the way that we do. 

 “So what’s important to understand is that the science behind the test shows that when an applicant has taken the test more than one time, in most cases the average score is going to be a better predictor for law school performance in the first year than the high score or any of the scores – and that’s on average.  And so we know those data, and so that means that the average might be something that we consider.  But I think, even more important than that, we’re trying to understand every element of the application file.  So we’re looking at the average score, we’re looking at all the scores individually, and then we’re trying to put all of that into context with everything else we see in the application.  Because for me, when I’m reading a file, the LSAT really doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning in and of itself, unless I put it into the context of one’s academic performance in college, and other kinds of abilities and preparation that we think are important for success in law school.”

So that’s some insight into what multiple scores tell law schools.  But what if you still don’t know what your next move is – cancel, retake, leave your current score alone? We tackle those questions and more – stay tuned for the full show!

 

 

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Telling Your Story: Strike Duplicative Statements

 

 

A personal statement is really no more than telling a story—one that illuminates the “you” a law school would be lucky to have in its student body. In this series, “Telling Your Story,” jdMission Senior Consultant Mary Adkins discusses how elements of storytelling can—and should—be applied to your personal statement.

Here is a tip that I give myself all the time: Avoid using two sentences that essentially say the same thing.

Here is the reason I have to remind myself of this tip all the time: I do it often, particularly in first drafts.

Take this paragraph:

When I was a kid, my family went to the circus every year. It was a family tradition for us to go see the animals, clowns and trapeze artists, and to eat cotton candy and popcorn until we felt sick yet still incredibly happy. I hated the clowns almost as much as I loved the beautiful trapeze artists. The clowns scared me, but the trapeze artists were enchanting. I used to wish that I could replace every clown with a trapeze artist—then the circus would have truly been perfect.

Suppose this were an opening paragraph to a personal statement. What is wrong with it? You could probably make many criticisms of it, but the issue I want to highlight in particular is that the last three sentences all more or less say the same thing: I did not like the clowns, but I did like the trapeze artists.

When you are revising your personal statements, always take time to look specifically for duplicative sentences—sentences that more or less just restate something you have already expressed. Elaborating on what you have just written is different and completely acceptable, if not encouraged, but reiterating is much less effective. So be thoughtful when making that judgment call. My bet is that you will typically find at least a few sentences that are purely duplicative. Eliminating them will make your essay tighter and stronger.

 

 

This is a guest post by jdMission, a professional law school admissions consulting firm, specializing in helping law school applicants identify and showcase the strongest aspects of their candidacy in their application.

You can sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with jdMission by submitting the form found at http://jdmission.com/consult.php.

 

For more information on this topic, check out these great podcasts:

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Win a Free iPad Plus Free Enrollment from Manhattan LSAT!

 

Manhattan LSAT is celebrating the introduction of LSAT Interact, their dynamic new self-study prep lessons, by giving one lucky person a free iPad AND a free enrollment in LSAT Interact. Just click here to like their post on Facebook to enter the competition.

In addition to Manhattan LSAT’s one grand prize, for every 50 people who like their post on Facebook, Manhattan LSAT will  give away another enrollment in LSAT Interact. So, if 100 people like their post, Manhattan LSAT will give away the iPad and LSAT Interact enrollment to one person, then two other enrollments to two other people.

Manhattan LSAT will pick the lucky winners at noon EST on March 5th.

CLICK HERE to LIKE Manhattan LSAT’s post on Facebook!

Good luck!!

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Manhattan LSAT Introduces LSAT Interact! New Dynamic Self-Study LSAT Prep Lessons

You call the shots on this one! Set your own LSAT study schedule, but get all the benefits of an “elite”  live course!

Manhattan LSAT’s ‘LSAT Interact’ is a fully interactive self-study program that allows students to study on their own time, at their own pace, without having to passively digest information for hours on end. Designed by Manhattan Prep’s resident LSAT guru Noah Teitelbaum, the program was created to force students to think, just like they would if they were in a live class with a real teacher asking them questions. Each lesson is adaptive, so the direction of the lesson is dictated by the inputs that students make in to the program.

‘LSAT Interact: Complete’ includes all three Manhattan LSAT Strategy Guides, a detailed, customizable syllabus, access to every PrepTests released by LSAC since the test has been in its current form, as well as a host of other resources. Students can request to try the first lesson for each section for free by contacting studentservices@manhattalsat.com or calling (646) 254-6480.

And there’s even a discount code that takes $100 off of LSAT Interact,  now through April 30th, 2013.  Use code LSATINTERACT100. 

See for yourself! Check out this great video introducing LSAT Interact!

 

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Think You May be Public Interest Bound? Start by Choosing the Right Law School

 

 

If you’re thinking you might want a career in public interest law, it’s not too early to start planning, even while  you’re still a law school applicant!  

We recently devoted an entire podcast to this topic.  Our show covers everything a law student heading to the public sector should focus on, from curriculum offerings at law schools, law school career services, financial support and much more. 

 

 

 

 

 In this Law School Podcaster segment, we gathered the following panel of experts to get their take on these questions and to take a closer look at this career path: 

 

Our experts recommend you start by relying less on rankings and more on specific course offerings.  As American University Washington School of Law’s Assistant Director, Public Interest Specialist Christina Jackson explains, “[t]he interesting thing is, particularly if you’re interested in the public sector, rankings, US News rankings, that type of thing isn’t quite as important, for two basic reasons. The first is the types of employers that you’re going to be targeting don’t necessarily use GPA, class rank, those type of… journal or law review, that type of criteria, as their defining criteria.

And the second thing is you need to look at what your school is going to offer you, in order to give you the experience that you need, to go to the employer that you’re targeting. So for instance, when you’re looking at law schools if you want to go into the public sector, you need to look at what are the experiential learning opportunities? What are the clinics? What are the externships? How are you going to get practical experience? Because for some public sector employers, there is no lag time, and there’s no training time — you must be ready to go directly upon graduation.

“You also need to look at what are the course offerings. The public sector employers tend to be a little bit more focused on subject matter knowledge than the private sector may be, or maybe going forward.

 “The other thing you need to look at is the places that the alumni are going. Is the school known for being a public sector school? Or is it known for being a private sector school? And therefore, how are the resources allocated? What are the student organizations that you can join? What are the alumni that you’ll be able to be exposed to? Where are there gonna be the connections for the type of employers that you’re looking for? And that’s really the key. If you are interested in a public sector employer after graduation you need to look at the schools that are going to help you get connected with those employers.”

Tune in to the full show to hear more!

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While You Wait to Hear Back From Law Schools

Once you hit “submit” on the LSAC website, you begin yet another challenging part of the law school application process.

Welcome to the waiting room…  It’s easy to obsess over checking your emails constantly and viewing the law schools’ “online status checkers.”  We know -  it’s a good idea to check these online status checkers periodically to make sure your application has been received by a law school, to determine if there’s anything missing from your file, and confirm your application is complete.  But don’t get carried away and make a full time job of it! 

Once you confirm your application is complete at all the schools you’ve applied to, here’s some tips for what to do while you wait:

1.  Assume with confidence you’ll gain admission to some of your top choice schools.  If you’ve done your research carefully, and used the appropriate LSAT/GPA precentile data provided by law schools, you should receive some good news. 

2. Assume you may not get into all the schools you’ve applied to. If you’ve applied to a range of schools (and you should have), there’s a good chance that one of those ”reach” schools may pass on you.  No worries; there will be good options for you.

3. At some point soon, you’ll be making some tough choices about which school to choose. That’s when the shoe is on the other foot and YOU get to decide!  So now is the time to find out as much as possible about which school is right for you.  

  • Consider all the key factors, including location, cost, reputation, type of facilities, available financial aid, quality of faculty, composition of student body, atmosphere.  Focus on what’s most important to you before you start hearing back.
  • Talk to those (students and recent law grads) who have gone to law school before you. Straight from the horse’s mouth and all.
  • Plan to visit a few of your top choices once you’ve been admitted.  You’ll want to meet with students, admissions and financial aid representatives and you should try to sit in on some classes!

 

4. Don’t call the admissions office every day, every other day or every third day.  As we heard from the Dean of Admissions at one top law school, “it’s a good idea to keep in mind  that the admissions committees now have as large a job going through the applications as the students did in filling them out.” 

5.  We know you’ve heard it before, but it’s really important.  Get your financial house in order now. Pay off (or reduce) as much consumer debt as possible before you go to law school. Save money wherever and whenever ou can.  Live now like a well-disciplined student – borrow as little as possible.

6. If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good time to complete the applications necessary for financial aid consideration,  include the FAFSA, and sometimes additional forms at particular law schools.  Do your homework now and find out what the requirements are for receipt of financial aid. You can’t get too much of this type of info.

7. Think long and hard about why you really want to go to law school.  Is it really the best next step for you?  Consider carefully how this investment in your future really fits with your specific career goals. 

While you do all these things, remember to work out, listen to music, make the most of whatever you’re doing now (finishing  college, working, enjoying your family), and maybe master “Words with Friends.”   That’s also the stuff that will carry you right through to success as a 1L.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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