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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 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.

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

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!

How to Prepare for the LSAT

September 27th, 2010 2 comments

As we approach the October LSAT, many prospective students anxiously trudge through prep work to achieve the best score possible.  Here are some tips for you brave souls:

  • Familiarize yourself with the questions.  Nothing is better than walking into the testing center knowing what to expect.
  • Know how you study best.  If you do best studying alone, then do not force yourself into a prep course.  If you need more structure, then a weekend or semester course might be a good option.   If it’s not broken, don’t change it!
  • Take your time on the analytical (logic games) section but allocate it appropriately!  Know where you can cut some corners and where you can’t.  This is best gauged through practice, time yourself once you start taking full practice tests.
  • Take as many practice tests as you can – Widener Law offers free simulated testing four times this year.  Visit http://law.widener.edu/Spiffs/WidenerLawHighlightsII/LSATPracticeExams.aspx for more information.

There are many options out there, do your research.  Along with the test prep companies, some local colleges offer weekend courses or provide personal tutors.  Although prep can be an expensive endeavor, remember that it holds significant weight in the Admissions process.  A high score can even place you in consideration for merit scholarships – is a $1,000 course worth a full scholarship to law school?  That’s a rhetorical question.

For those of you retaking the LSAT, each law school has its own standards for considering multiple scores.  Widener Law considers all LSAT scores, along with the average, but places greater emphasis on the high score.

As always, please feel free to email asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu if you have any questions.  Happy testing!

Jurist Academy

June 14th, 2010 2 comments

Last week concluded Widener Law’s annual Jurist Academy, which is an invaluable program for rising Juniors and Seniors in college.  The Delaware campus hosted a diverse, dynamic and highly qualified group of college students from around the country.  Over a two week period, participants took introductory law courses, LSAT prep work, networked with prominent attorneys, tweaked their writing skills and learned about admission to law school.  What an amazing opportunity to boost your application and add experience before law school!

If you are curious about JD classesl, I highly encourage you to apply.  Please visit the Jurist Academy Admissions page for more information.  And, as always, feel free to contact me with questions!

LSDAS vs. Portal Application

February 17th, 2010 3 comments

We have received MANY questions about applying.  There seems to be confusion about our preferred process so here’s the general idea:

  • Create a portal account.
  • Apply for free through law.widener.edu.
  • Register for LSDAS. They collect your transcripts, letters of recommendation and LSAT scores.
  • Pay for an LSDAS report.
  • Your file is complete once we receive your application and LSDAS report.  If you want to add anything else contact the Admissions Office to hold your file.
  • Keep checking the portal at law.widener.edu.  A decision will be available a few weeks after completing your file.  Exceptions:  wait listed candidates and Trial Admissions Program candidates, these applicants will receive a decision around March and April.
  • If you apply through LSDAS after Dec. 31 you will be charged a $60 application fee! So skip the payment and apply here!

Hope that clarifies things!  It may seem confusing but everything is streamlined by following these steps.  Good luck and happy applying!

Waiting On That Score

October 15th, 2009 No comments

As the September LSAT score release date quickly approaches, many of you are anxiously clicking through your inbox hoping for a surge of satisfaction.  I hope you all sense that wave of relief (or joy!).  Others may not feel as confident about their performance.  In the past few weeks, I’ve met some applicants relaying a sense of uncertainty about their score.  What happens if you don’t meet a law school’s median?  Law schools, for better or worse, do place an emphasis on LSAT scores.  But all is not lost if your score is a few points lower than the rest.

Widener Law offers a Trial Admissions Program (TAP) which takes place in June.  All applicants are considered.  These are the most important points about TAP:

  • Those with a lower LSAT or GPA but otherwise excellent credentials are most closely reviewed.  This is why letters of recommendation and personal statement can be so important!
  • Select applicants are invited (via e-mail and the Admissions portal) to take 3 law school courses on both the Harrisburg and Wilmington campuses.  These courses are for admission purposes only and do not count towards a degree.
  • Those who earn a 2.30 GPA or above in TAP are then invited to join the incoming class.
  • This is an opportunity for applicants with developing test skills to show their talents in a law school setting.

So, although the LSAT is important, many schools offer alternate opportunities like TAP.  Apply early, do your research, and you can find a school that matches you – hopefully at Widener Law!

What does a good application look like?

August 14th, 2009 3 comments

Widener Law prides itself in holistic file reviews.  However, the four aspects that most influence the committee are:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • LSAT score
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation

Your GPA and LSAT are very important to the Admissions Committee because they offer a relatively objective measurement of your skills.  Make sure to work hard and prepare so you are at the most competitive spot possible.  If you are not a good test taker, become one.  Take prep courses, find a tutor and/or seek counseling if you suffer test anxiety.  Law school is largely based on tests so start improving your skills now!

Your personal statement and letters of recommendation show the committee who you are and what you offer to the school.  Personal statements should be concise and well formatted.  Provide information on your work ethic, scholarly potential and any other traits that set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool.

Letters of recommendation should be detailed and well written.  Develop an idea of what you would like a recommender to write about you and ask if the writer can meet your needs.  If not, seek another recommender.  Quality is more important than prestige.  Do not use a recommendation just because of the writer’s reputation; always opt for the person who can write most positively about you.

I will hopefully go into more detail about each of these components in later blogs.  For now, keep up your hard work and feel free to contact me with questions!