Josh Penterman '03
I took the LSAT in December, and still had time to submit everything by the application deadline. I would probably suggest that anyone who is planning to apply to law school try to prepare for and take that test with the knowledge that it will take at least a month to get the results back. Also, the most difficult part about the LSAT is the time constraint. There really isn't any information that one can study for per se, but taking practice exams allows you to gauge how long it can take to get through specific problems and complete as much of the exam as possible.
Other than that, I can say that I had three very good letters of recommendation from HC professors that I'm sure helped out.
I have enjoyed my 2+ years in law school a great deal, and feel that it is as challenging and fun as I had hoped. I would say that UNL-Law probably does not get the recognition it deserves from some of the national rankings?. However, the faculty here is top-notch, and the environment is very similar to that of Hastings College. Almost every professor has an open-door policy, and many go above and beyond what I would have expected in helping students.
Briana Buban '03
Start the application process early so there is plenty of time to make decisions. I would suggest taking the summer administration of the LSAT so that if [you are] unsatisfied with their score, [you] can still sit for the October administration and get [your] applications submitted in time to start law school the following fall. Also, while a law school's rank is frequently stressed, [you] might want to consider the idea of going to a slightly lower-ranked school (along with price, location, specialization programs, etc.) [so that you have a] better chance of being near the top of the class.
Jaci Jenkins '05
In a nutshell, here are eleven of my best tips:
TIP ONE: START GATHERING INFORMATION EARLY
www.lsac.org will be a website you will use religiously. On this website, you can obtain a list of all ABA-accredited law schools and their contact information. You will want to only apply to ABA-accredited law schools, as they are the only schools recognized by the Bar Association and many other organizations. The website allows you to view schools by region, which is a very helpful tool in your law school research.
TIP TWO: WORK ON HAVING A HIGH GPA AND SOLID TRANSCRIPT RIGHT AWAY
Focus on maintaining a high GPA throughout college, so it will be one less thing to worry about as you are applying. The GPA is weighted very heavily in the application process.
TIP THREE: BUILD YOUR "SUPPORT TEAM" EARLY
The better the people writing your letters know you, the better they can make you sound. [My letters of recommendation] were a tremendous asset to me when applying to law school. Also, having these [professors] there to support you through the application process will be very valuable to you.
TIP FOUR: CONSIDER A PERSONALIZED PROGRAM
Prepare yourself in the best way for law school by taking challenging courses in writing, reading, philosophy, logical analysis, and creative thought. [Since law school does not require a specific major, you may consider] a personalized program. I knew I wanted to have a background in business and criminal justice, but I also wanted to emphasize communications while taking a few classes in a wide variety of areas, such as economics, political science, accounting, law, and management. I was able to incorporate classes that I wanted to take with classes I needed to graduate from Hastings College by designing a personalized program.
TIP FIVE: DON'T BECOME A "JACK OF ALL TRADES, BUT A MASTER OF NONE"
Becoming over-committed will never help you. I recommend picking a few [extracurricular activities] you genuinely are interested in and giving them your all. Think quality, not quantity.
TIP SIX: THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Don't procrastinate with this one - start writing down your ideas as you have them. I spent several months on my personal statement and had many, many people give me input on it. I would recommend having at least one English professor, as well as a couple of other professors or advisors, read your statement. I also had it peer reviewed.
TIP SEVEN: TAKE ADVICE, BUT DON'T TAKE IT TOO FAR
It is incredibly important to have mentors and advisors. Listen to them - they will be imperative to your success. They will challenge your thinking and propose ideas to you that you probably had never considered. But, take this advice for what it's worth: ?advice. You have to know what works for you. Once you are really narrowing down your final choices, I would suggest making a pro/con list of all the schools you applied to or were accepted to and what they have going for them. With an honest pro/con list, it will become obvious where you should go.
TIP EIGHT: TAKE THE LSAT EARLY AND PRACTICE FOR IT!
The LSAT is offered four times a year - December, February, June, and October. I [took it in] June in between my junior and senior year. Starting at the very beginning of my junior year, I began practicing for the LSAT. Although you never will be able to predict the questions, you should know exactly what the format will be and the type of thinking required to take the exam before you go.
TIP NINE: DON'T UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF - THINK BIG!
When searching schools, I wasn't really a risk-taker; I played it safe. I was granted admission to four of the seven schools I applied to, and I was wait-listed at each of the other three. Applying to a couple "safety schools" that the program tells you that you have a 95% chance of getting into, along with three or four schools you will probably get into, as well as several "dream schools" is a good idea. However, if you are going to think big, don't forget those safety schools.
TIP TEN: GO VISIT
Of the seven schools I was admitted to, I visited five of them - the four I was actually admitted to and one other that I was wait-listed at. My opinion of each changed entirely with each visit. Five times out of five. [the visit] resulted in me changing my mind about the school somewhat. If you don't go see for yourself, you won't know entirely what type of decision you are making.
TIP ELEVEN: DON'T LOOK BACK
From the moment you make a decision, focus on preparing yourself on what is to come, not what is behind you.