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2004 Regent University School of Law Christian Prelaw Conference Charles Roboski,

Suggestions for Strengthening Your Application for Admission. 2004 Regent University School of Law Christian Prelaw Conference Charles Roboski, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Notre Dame Law School. Overview. The application-review process and the LSAT

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2004 Regent University School of Law Christian Prelaw Conference Charles Roboski,

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  1. Suggestions for Strengthening Your Application for Admission 2004 Regent University School of Law Christian Prelaw Conference Charles Roboski, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Notre Dame Law School

  2. Overview • The application-review process and the LSAT • Suggestions for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors • Suggestions about timing • Suggestions for letters of recommendation • Suggestions about the resume • Miscellaneous

  3. How an Admissions Committee May Review Your Application • Does this candidate have the ability to succeed academically at our law school? • Does this candidate possess those qualities that our law school considers to be important for the study/practice of law? • How does this candidate compare to others in terms of the various facets of his/her candidacy? • What does our “optimal” class look like?

  4. A few words about the LSAT • The LSAT’s predictive value is based on empirical research -- it’s a good, but by no means perfect, indicator of likely performance in the first-year of law school. • Committee members also may have their own “data” (anecdotal or otherwise) in terms of the value of the LSAT. • Generalization: in most admission decisions, the LSAT accounts for 40 to 60 percent of the decision. • Schools vary in terms of their “risk” tolerance. • Most law schools will average multiple scores. Bottom line: thoroughly prepare for and take the LSAT, and plan to take it only one time.

  5. Suggestions for Freshmen and Sophomores • Select a major that is of greatest interest to you, then enroll in courses that will be relevant to those skills you will rely on in law school. • Continue to develop yourself outside of academics – service, leadership, church involvement, etc. • Seek information and experiences that will provide you with deeper insights about the legal profession: • set a goal of reading two books (or more) per year about the profession; • pursue internships, volunteer or paid employment; • one-on-one meetings with attorneys (“shadowing”); • involvement with a prelaw society. • Develop a relationship with faculty members who, in later years, might provide letters of recommendation.

  6. Suggestions for Juniors • Continue to learn about the legal profession in terms of skills required, demands, and rewards – and then reflect on the “match” with your own gifts, talents, strengths, and skills. • Research law schools. The ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-approved Law Schools is a good place to begin (as is www.lsac.org). Visit law schools to observe a first-year class and to speak with current students. • Having decided on law as a career, reflect on how you wish to develop asa person andas a professional, and then examine and assess schools to determine which law schools will help you reach these goals. • Develop a list of schools that you will apply to, given your personal and professional aspirations. • Consider the financial aspects of law school – the salaries of graduates who go into the area(s) of law in which you have an interest; the total costs of education; the costs of borrowing and its impact on your lifestyle while in repayment; credit readiness/worthiness for private loans; and, opportunities for nonrepayable financial assistance.

  7. Timing Suggestions • Thoroughly prepare for and then take the June LSAT. • By early September, complete first draft of personal statement; final draft of “template” by late September; tailor personal statements to various schools by mid October. • By October 1, solicit faculty/others to write letters of recommendation (letters to be ready by 11/1). • By October 1, create/update resume. • Submit applications by November 15 (perhaps earlier, if applying Early Decision or Early Action).

  8. Your Resume Your resume can provide a reader with an understanding of who you are outside of your academic record – skills you have developed, your priorities, and your background. • A two-page resume is acceptable. • The resume format should be different from that used for employment purposes (e.g., omit objective; omit skills; omit high school information; omit references). • Develop a resume in which most important information is readily noticed (e.g., use of headings, use of bolding and/or bullets). • Support with specifics -- for example: • dates and hours per week of your community service/involvement; • dates and hours each week that you were employed while in college (esp. if you’ve financed most of your education); • include possible description of your work or involvement, especially if you believe the reader would not readily understand the relevance/value.

  9. Letters of Recommendation Identify individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write an insightful (detailed) letter of recommendation. Letters can speak to your past academic performance, your academic potential, and/or personal qualities you possess. • Letters from faculty are generally preferred (though your judgment should guide your choice of recommenders). • You may want to provide samples of your work to the faculty member if it has been some time since s/he has had you in class. • “Comparative” letters often can be helpful (e.g., “Bonnie is just as strong as John Smith, who is now a second-year law student at Notre Dame). • Letters from elected officials generally are less helpful than letters from someone with whom you have established a close relationship. • A letter from someone who can comment on the “fit” between you and the law school can be valuable. • A follow-up email from a prelaw adviser or faculty member – or a supplementary note from them – is welcome.

  10. Miscellaneous • “Explaining” an LSAT or UGPA • Will graduate school help? Will taking a year off to work make a difference? • Going beyond the paper application • Phone call(s) • Interview/meeting with the Admissions staff • Supporting/supplemental documentation • Creative approaches…photos, videos, CDs/DVDs

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