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What’s an Information Session?

October 19th, 2012 No comments

Widener Law hosts two information sessions per school year.  The next one is this Saturday, October 20 and we are excited to greet aspiring law students!  An information session is invaluable if you are interested in law school.  You can meet professors, students, and staff and get a feel for the school’s atmosphere.  Information Sessions may include:

  • Admissions presentation
  • Clinical opportunities
  • Tours of the law school
  • Financial Aid information
  • Career options
  • On and off campus housing

Visiting a school is essential before attending but it’s only one part of the process.  Make sure to do your research – how does a school match your interests?  What clinics are offered?  What electives are available?  Are there legal specialties?  What do faculty publish?  Do they participate in conferences?  Where do students intern?  What student organizations are available?  Can you live on campus?  Do you want to live on campus?  What is the cost of living?  What is tuition and what kind of financial aid is available?

The great thing about an information session is that you can visit and answer these questions all at the same time.  Meet a variety of people, network, and make sure the school you choose is in a geographical area you hope to practice and a place you feel welcomed for three (or maybe four) years.

Hope to see you at one of our Information Sessions!  The second one will be held January 5 from 10 am – 1 pm.  Email lawadmissions@widener.edu to register!

What do you think?  Have you attended an information session or open house?  Was it worth while?

LSAT Prep

September 11th, 2012 No comments

Picture this.  A college student, lets name her Amy, dreams of becoming an attorney.  She did her research about admission to law school and bought a pile of books to prepare for the LSAT.  She took practice tests in her spare time at a secluded corner in the library to minimize distractions.  She read through each question carefully and took her time to consider each response.  After a few weeks of studying, she felt comfortable with the techniques and confident in her practice scores.

The day of the test, Amy can’t focus.  The student next to her is tapping his foot.  The proctor doesn’t notice the construction going on outside.  Time flies by as Amy tries to read through each questions and consider each option.  By the end of the test, Amy is exhausted and defeated.  She bombed.

What went wrong?  Here’s some tips:

  1.  Time yourself when you practice for the LSAT.  Get used to reading quickly and efficiently.  Take tests over and over again in the time allotted for the actual test.  Don’t slack on this!
  2. Take the test in a simulated testing environment before the actual administration.  Testing rooms, especially for the LSAT, can vary.  Although all environments are carefully monitored, things happen beyond our control.  There are many prep courses that offer practice tests.  Widener Law offers two Mock LSAT experiences in the Fall (Sept. 22 and Nov. 17).  They are offered at no cost and follow LSAC guidelines for administration (including the check in process!).  It’s better to be over prepared than not so take advantage of these opportunities!
  3. If there is a disturbance during the test (such as construction outside), bring it up to your proctor!  Follow up with LSAC to make sure they are also aware.  You always have the option to cancel your score if things go awry.

What other tips do you have?

For more information on Widener Law’s Mock LSAT visit:  bit.ly/mmThVA

For more practice tests visit: bit.ly/SAVas9 or lsac.org

Email me with questions!  asdelpuerto@widener.edu.

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What to Do During Your Law School Visit

August 17th, 2012 No comments

As we start a new school year, some of you may be scheduling campus visits as you apply.  Here’s a few suggestions to make the most out of a visit.

  • Do your homework first

I understand that some people prefer talking to someone rather than doing research.  But you give off a much better impression toAdmissions representatives if you visit a law school knowing the basics.  Research is a major aspect of law school after all, show that you are already savvy with it.  Take a look at Widener Law’s website before you stop by.  All of our application requirements and procedures are listed there.  Create an account through our portal and see what the process looks like.  Also, visit lsac.org for information about the LSAT and creating a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report.  These are the basic application procedures.

  •  You interview us, not the other way around

Widener Law does not interview applicants so do not consider a visit as an interview for Admission.  No, a campus visit will not sway the Committee’s decision.  We will gladly help improve your application but any requests for reconsideration or clarification should be submitted in writing (email or letter).

On the other hand, this is your opportunity to gauge whether Widener Law is a good fit for you.  Make a list of questions that you feel are important and ask them during your visit.  If anything is unclear, ask again!  We are here to give you a full picture of our programs and atmosphere.   About.com has a good list of questions to ask, but ask anything you want!  If your tour guide can’t answer a questions, then someone else probably can.  Feel free to request another contact for further information.

  •  When should you visit?

Widener Law welcomes visitors any time of the year.  But I usually suggest waiting until you receive a decision.  I recommend applying to a wide variety of law schools (if you can afford it).  After receiving piles of acceptances (hopefully), narrow down your most likely choices.  Then visit those schools.

  • Meet students, faculty, staff, etc.

Visit a class, request to meet a student, stop by our cafeteria (Crown Court) and stroll through the library on your own.  Make sure to meet as many people as you can to get an accurate picture of student life.  We regularly schedule class visits and have an active Student Ambassador group to answer your questions.  US News offers a great suggestion:

“During your visit, try not to let the awe-inspiring (or underwhelming) facilities distract you; stay focused on what really matters. While a grandiose library may be impressive, pay closer attention to how happy and collaborative the students are and how involved they are in the school and in extracurricular activities. Is there a sense of community, both within the law school and within the broader university?”

  • Don’t rush to judgement

Just as when you visited colleges (if you didn’t then, you should visit law schools now), don’t rush to judgement.  I was highly disillusioned with my college visit.  It was a dreary, rainy day.  The campus was enormous and overwhelming.  The food was barely edible.  The location was not exactly “happening”.  And I had trouble really seeing myself there.  Despite the visit, they had great programs and a good price so I chose that school anyway.  I had some of the best years of my life there and I would choose that school again – I’m glad I didn’t rush to judgement!  Sometimes visits don’t give an accurate picture of three or four years worth of education.  Weigh your options.  We all have bad days, classes are not always lively and interesting, and rainy days happen.  Remember what’s important and take visits into account along with the bigger picture.

  • Now you’re ready to stop by!  

I hope you can all take a look at both the Harrisburg and Delaware campuses.  They both offer more than just a building, it’s an entire community.  For the full experience, call 717-541-3903 to visit the Harrisburg campus or 302-477-2100 to visit the Delaware campus or email lawadmissions@widener.edu.  Further details are available on our website.

What do you think?  What additional advice can you offer?  Comment below!

What to do when you don’t get in.

May 15th, 2012 No comments

Law school admission is a tough battle.  For some, classes and tests come easy and law schools welcome students with these natural academic skills.  Others work hard to reach their dreams and simply need the opportunity to show their work ethic in a legal setting.  For these aspiring lawyers, getting into law school can be a greater challenge.  If your GPA is less than stellar and your standardized test taking skills need some work, then consider these steps to improve your chances:

  • Prepare for the LSAT.  Take as many practice tests as you can and time yourself in the process!  I frequently meet applicants who study for the LSAT but never timed themselves.  Guess what?  They felt rushed and pressured when they actually took the test.  Don’t be one of these applicants; take a prep class if you feel it’s appropriate.  In addition, search online, contact your pre-law advisor or career development center or ask local colleges if they offer weekend prep courses.  Yes, they are expensive but so is law school.  In the end you might save more money with a scholarship if you score well on the LSAT.  Widener Law offer mock LSAT administration every year.  We invite prospective students to take the LSAT under simulated testing center standards.  This is free and typically offered one week before the actual test.

 

  • Ignore the naysayers.  There’s a lot of gripe about law school out there.  First, yes, it is important to know that you definitely want to pursue law as a career.  Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into (this is a topic for another blog).  If you know it, you can do it.  I believe there is a right law school for almost everyone.  Do your research and find out when law schools begin accepting applications.  Widener Law has a fairly open application season.  We begin accepting application in late August and continue accepting applications through May 15.  However, we continue accepting applications through the summer if space is available.  So if you didn’t get in early, try for different options.  Sometimes schools you never considered are a diamond in the rough, check out JD programs for what they offer rather than just what you heard.

 

  • Contact the Admissions office to ask about your file.  If you were not successful this time around, we can help improve your chances next time around.  Remember that the LSAT and GPA are important criteria for admission.  The Admissions Committee generally looks for applicants close to the incoming class median.  Widener Law’s medians are typically around a 151 LSAT and above a 3.0 GPA.  However, every applicant is review holistically and your personal statement, letters of recommendation, work experience and additional accolades can sway the committee’s decision.

Still not sure where to go from here?  I’d be happy to help, feel free to email me at asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu.

How to Write a Personal Statement If You’re Just the “Average Joe”

September 28th, 2011 No comments

So you have no idea what to write and you don’t think you’re special.  What should you do?

  • Think positive.  You’re not that average, you’re applying to law school.  Not everyone has that privilege.  In fact, only around 10% of the U.S. population earns a professional degree.  That in itself is remarkable!   So how did you get into this elite group?  You might be judging yourself more harshly than you realize.  Although cliché, everyone really does have a different perspective to offer in a classroom discussion.  In the U.S., it seems ordinary for some to go to college and graduate school.  But this is certainly not true.  Even if you had support along the way, you didn’t just sleep your way through high school and college (hopefully).  Take the typical and turn it around.
  • Take the pressure off and just write whatever comes to mind.   Once you have exhausted your thoughts and then review your brainstorming session.  Collect what’s relevant and form it into a paper.  You know how to do this because you’ve been trained to write since childhood.  But if you’re struggling organizing your thoughts, then visit the writing center at your college or alma mater.
  • DO NOT start with “although I’m not traditionally diverse . . .” Widener Law’s Admissions Committee seeks diversity in many ways, some you may not even consider in yourself – reflect.  What have you done that your friends or family have not?  How have you been praised?  What’s your favorite hobby?  Where have you traveled?  Who raised you?  Anything that has led you to the point of considering law school is significant.  You have a story to tell, no matter what your background.
  • The personal statement is important but it certainly does not make or break your application.  Make sure it is well written, grammatically correct, and purposeful.  Keep in mind, however, that Admissions uses your scores (LSAT and undergraduate GPA) as the objective indicator of success in the first year of law school.  Spend time on every component of your application, all of it is important, but if you have to choose between mulling over a sentence in your personal statement or mastering an LSAT question – go with the LSAT.

Finally, watch Dodgeball for some inspiration (and probably a much needed break).  The Average Joes come out on top!

Questions about applying to law school?  Email me – asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu or visit law.widener.edu/admissions

Welcome to our Student Blogs- Meet Our Former Bloggers!

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

Meet Our Former Bloggers!
{tab=Tom} Tom TrettleTom: My name is Tom Trettel. I am a regular division (full time), second year (2L) student at the Delaware campus. My plan at this point is to graduate in May 2013, then work as an associate for a few years before opening my own “small-town” practice in Delaware. Being a few years older than most students, I had two careers before law. I counseled teenagers at an in-patient psychiatric hospital and then moved on to running a small retail business. After enjoying that for many years, I decided that it was about time to get my doctorate, so here I am. For me, it was a great decision. Follow my posts!

{tab=Jonathan} JonathanSuzukiBlogger400xp-300x288Jonathan: My name is Jonathan Suzuki and I was born in Tokyo, Japan. Since the summer I graduated high school, I’ve been in and around the music industry, and my first foray was translating for major label bands performing at the Fuji Rock Festivals. Because I got a taste for being around musicians, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Music Technology (sound engineering). I found a job at a music publisher after I quickly realized that I wasn’t equipped with the requisite patience to be at the bottom of the studio totem pole. While working for the publisher, I was exposed to onerous songwriter agreements, publishing agreements, and international royalty-collection agreements but in all honesty, I didn’t understand most of it. Not understanding led me to endeavor in law school. Read more on Jonathan’s Blog Posts!

{tab=Chelsey} ChelseyCrockerBlogger400px-300x279Chelsey: “I am currently taking Torts, Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Legal Methods. To assist you in your understanding of the life of a law student, I intend to blog about my experiences in and outside the classroom at Widener, so you can get a real feel for what it is that we do as students of law. My hope is that as you choose where best fits you for law school, that this may be something that could assist you in that decision. If I could answer any specific questions for you, please don’t hesitate to email me at cdcrocker@mail.widener.edu. Best of luck in the process!” Read more from  Chelsey’s Blog.

{tab=Jana & Jennifer}
Jana DiCosmo and Jennifer Perez are students on the Delaware campus of Widener Law. Jana is an Extended Division student while Jennifer is enjoying her experiences as a First year law student. Click on the slides below to meet Jana and Jennifer! {slide= Meet Jana} Jana & Jennifer’s Blog:

leftSpiffJanaJenAdmissions185pxJana DiCosmo, is a second-year law student in the Extended Division day program. Before joining the Widener Law community, she attended the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She majored in Political Science, focusing on civil rights law classes and statistical analysis in social science research.

Feel free to email any questions about the first year, or the transition from the first to second year: jrdicosmo@mail.widener.edu. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with you! Read More from Jana

{/slide} {slide=Meet Jennifer} MEET JENNIFER: Jennifer writes that her life experiences and cultural background are greatly responsible for her professional and personal passion for United States Immigration Law. As a child of Latino immigrants living in Camden, New Jersey, the struggles that immigrants in her community overcame were just part of life. As she grew older and looked at her surroundings, Jennifer realized that she could make positive change. For years, Jennifer has relied on the prospect of “giving back” to my community by serving its immigrant population. Thus, from a very young age, Jennnifer has strived to join the ranks of lawyers and judges who also believe that character is forged by helping others. Read more from Jennifer
{/slide}
{tab=Kathleen & Meghan} Kathleen and Meghan are both   First year regular division law students on the Delaware campus. They share what it’s really like to be a first year at Widener Law! Click on the slides below to meet Kathleen and Meghan!
{slide= Meet Kathleen}
KathleenHi! My name is Kathleen Hubbert and I am a first-year law student in the Regular Division. Prior to arriving at Widener, I attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA (Go Dips!). There, I majored in Sociology and minored in English. I am from Blue Bell, PA (outside of Philadelphia), but I live on campus in one of the dorms.
I was originally drawn to Widener because of the professor’s reputations, and of the campus’ proximity to both Philadelphia and downtown Wilmington. Now that I’ve been on campus for some time, I know for certain that I made the right decision by coming to Widener.
Through this blog, I hope you’ll be able to get a feel for law school life, and you will get a feel for what life at Widener is like. If I can help you in any way possible, please don’t hesitate to email me at kmhubbert@mail.widener.edu with any questions.
{/slide} {slide= Meet Meghan}
MeghanHello everyone, my name is Meghan Harp. I’m currently a 1L regular division student at the Widener University School of Law and loving it! I’m also a recent graduate from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey where I majored in Political Science. I became interested in the study of law while in my junior year of undergrad after taking a course on civil liberties. I was particularly drawn to Widener Law for its friendly and welcoming environment. In particular, I was interested in their nationally recognized Health Law Certificate Program. Follow along in my blog as I experience what it’s truly like to be a first year law student!
Thanks for reading!
{/slide}

{/tabs}
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Application Deadline May 15

May 9th, 2011 No comments

It’s been a while!  The Admissions office is busy preparing for the new class and continuing to read files.  Remember our deadline to apply is May 15!  Take advantage of our free application through our website to be considered for Fall 2011.  We will accept a June LSAT score, visit LSAC.org for registration information.

Lately, I’ve received many questions from applicants who were not offered a seat this year.  First, remember that you can achieve your goals with dedication and persistence.  Work hard for what you seek.  Secondly, the Committee carefully reviews every application in its entirety.  However, your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA are significant when making a decision.  They are an objective way for the Committee to gauge your skill level.  Although these scores are not directly pertaining to law, they do indicate your level of reasoning and scholarly potential.  If your scores do not approach our medians, admission will be more challenging.  A strong personal statement, persuasive letters of recommendation and supporting materials can help offset lower scores.  Additionally, if you have any weaknesses in your file then address them in an addendum, or separate statement.  You may email any supporting documents to lawadmissions@widener.edu to add to your file.

As another application season winds down, we will continue to offer events and guidance for the entering class.  I welcome any questions or comments, please email me at asdelpuerto@widener.edu.

Update on LSAT Check In Process

April 1st, 2011 No comments

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) recently changed their check in procedures. Test takers are now required to bring a photo.

“All candidates must attach to their ticket a recent photograph (taken within the last six months) showing only the face and shoulders. The photograph must be clear enough so there is no doubt about the test taker’s identity, and must be no larger than 2 x 2 inches (5 x 5 cm) and no smaller than 1 x 1 inch (3 x 3 cm). Your face in the photo must show you as you look on the day of the test (for example, with or without a beard).” – lsac.org

Stand Out From the Crowd

February 22nd, 2011 2 comments

It’s the height of application season and making your application stand out can be challenging.  Here are a few points to consider:

What were your accomplishments?

You want to highlight your strengths in your personal statement. Try not to summarize your resume or extracurricular activities.  What makes you different and extraordinary?  What is most meaningful in your life?  How does this relate to law school?  Discuss any weaknesses or standardized scores in a separate statement, NOT in the personal statement.

Who knows you well academically and/or professionally?

Does this person write well?  Can he or she provide specific examples of your outstanding abilities?  Never rely on a well known name or persona for a good recommendation.  A mentor or coworker might provide more detail than a Senator.

Did you get to the point?

Review all of your documents; remember that Admissions Committees are reviewing hundreds of applications a week.  Be concise, be precise, be coherent.  Can you easily skim your statements?  How long do they take to read?  Always ask others to edit your documents and ask for a general overview.  How do others describe your statement in a word or sentence?  Were there any sentences they had to review for clarity?

Although scores are a vital factor to your application, asking yourself these questions can give you an edge.

Also, remember that Widener Law’s admissions process is paperless.  Please apply through lsac.org or law.widener.edu and we will request your LSAC CAS report upon receiving your application.  Every applicant must register through our website portal, law.widener.edu/admissions, to receive a decision.

As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns, asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu.  Good luck!

Grappling With Your LSAT Score

January 10th, 2011 No comments

December LSAT results were released recently, how did you score?  I received several calls from applicants disappointed with their scores.  Hopefully, you conquered each question but here are some suggestions for those who fell short:

  1. A low LSAT score is not the end of the world. Passion, drive and dedication can get you places – so think positive.
  2. Reflect on your preparation. Did you take the time to adequately prepare for the LSAT?  We advise preparing at least 3 months in advance and timing yourself once you start taking full prep tests. If you prepared solo, would a class help?  If you took a class, was your teacher effective?  Maybe a tutor would give the personal attention you need?
  3. Reflect on your health. How did you feel mentally and physically during the test?  Were you blanking out?  Anxious?  Consider seeking a counselor that can develop skills to counteract test anxiety.  It is completely natural to feel pressured with this test, it means a lot to your future.  But if your anxiety is overwhelming and affecting your score then it’s time to take action, find someone who can give you coping mechanisms.  Illness, not getting enough sleep, hunger, headaches and lack of concentration can all affect your score – keep healthy.
  4. What’s your next step? You can apply with your current score or retake the test.  Keeping your score can be an option if it lies close to the median for the entering class.  Academic records, personal statements and letters of recommendation can influence the Admissions Committee’s decision, so beef those up!  Some schools, like Widener, also offer trial admission programs for applicants with slightly lower scores but otherwise excellent applications.  If you feel that your score could increase, then retaking is a good option.  Consider your timing, the LSAT is only offered four times per year so you may need to wait another year to start law school.  Also consider your likelihood of increasing your score.  If you felt healthy, confident and thoroughly prepared then scores rarely increase more than a point or so (although there are always exceptions).

I hope this offers some advice to those of you grappling with a tough decision.  If you’re still unsure, feel free to email me at asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu with questions.

And happy 2011!