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Law school admission consultant Ann Levine and LSAT instructor Nathan Fox will offer words of wisdom to someone studying for the June LSAT and applying to law school this fall. Tune in for a 30-minute no-holds-barred law school advice session.
This law school applicant is biracial, transferred undergraduate schools and was a college athlete. Listen in as Ann tears apart her resume and Nathan coaches her through Logic Games. Ann also gives tips on law school interviews.
Hi, this is Ann Levine. I am the law school expert of Blog Talk Radio show. Welcome to our 25th Blog Talk Radio Show. Today's topic will be a strategy session with a law school applicant. And we are going to learn all about her in just a moment. We have a special guest today, Nathan Fox, of Fox Test Prep and author of Cheating the LSAT. Hi, Nathan! Welcome.
Hi, Ann! Thanks for having me.
Sure. I am so glad that you are here and we are very excited that you brought in one of your Alpha students, Jessica, to speak with us today. Hi, Jessica!
Hi, Ann! How are you?
Good. Thanks for being a guinea pig today. We are going to learn a little bit about you and found the issues that you are contemplating as you think about taking the June LSAT in about 6 weeks. And as you start thinking about putting your applications together. For listeners, we are talking about what are the key things in getting ready to apply for law school, things that are echoed and discussed more in length than The Law School Admission Game and the new version, updated version of which will be released on June 1st. So, Jessica why don't we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and what are the certain steps so that our listeners can see what about your background that they might have in common with you.
Sure. Well, I have been playing soccer since I was 5 years old. And went to play college soccer at a large state university where I got an athletic scholarship. And then I transferred to a fine art university and I currently have 2 more semesters left and I have a 3.6 GPA. And I grew up in a biracial household. I have a white mother and a black father. And another thing that has been kind of a big deal in my life is, I have a reading disability that has been a bit tough through school but I had strategies and find ways to come and get around it and use it to my advantage almost so much.
That is great. That is super helpful and we will talk about some of the things a lot more in depth as we answer some of your questions today. I also want to make sure that our listeners are listening live so that they can chat questions live online in blogtalkradio.com. And I will be able to see those and hopefully incorporate them into our session today. So, tell me first of all, where you are? You are 6 weeks away from the LSAT. Tell us a little bit about where you are in preparation? How are you doing? How are you feeling about it? And anything in particular that you are concerned about.
Well, Nathan has done a really, really great job. Kind of getting me and my whole class prepared in terms of giving us a list of things that we need to have ready if we want to apply early and have a really good shot at getting in and getting scholarship. So, I have about 2 of my letters of recommendations in process of being written and I am actually kind of help my professor submit one on Thursday which is gonna be nice. So, I can make sure that is really in the system. And I have written probably about 3 jobs in my personal statement so far. It is still really rough, but I am just trying to weed out all the bad_03:20_ before I get a really good one. And I have been taking lots and lots of practice test in Nathan's class and at home and I have improved a lot, I feel. I've actually got a 10 points...
Tell us about that. Tell us where you started and where you are now in home practice set.
Well, I started what I think is pretty low. The first score I ever got without ever looking in LSAT test before was a 137. And since about a month and a half ago I got up 10 points, this is the last practice that I took last week, I actually got a 146. So, I am feeling pretty good about it and I feel like the main thing for me is that I cannot finish the sections in time. It just takes a little bit longer for me to read things through but if I can get to the point where I can just answer every single question that I can get to correctly, then I think I will be in good shape, though. So far, I am very happy with my progress and I think it can only go out from here.
So, Nathan how would you talk about, tell us where she is and where she can go and anything that she should be working on as she gets closer to the test.
Well, the first thing that we have to talk about is this certain point of not finishing in time. I have a feeling Jessica, that you do not need to finish in time in order to get the score you want. And like I said in class a few times, the worst thing you can do is try to finish, right? You really do need to slow down in order to master the questions. And then eventually in a long run, your speed will increase. But I have a feeling that the reason why you have been able to improve by 10 points, is that you have already slowed down a bit. Seems like you are going through the questions slower but you are getting more of them right and eventually reach more of the questions. Did that sound right?
Yeah, absolutely. I have been flying down for sure. I think the first step they took, I was looking at my watch and trying to check what time I was going based on the timer and it was just crazy and I ended up doing so badly because I was focused on my time as opposed to the question. So, once you started drilling that into a -- that I think that really hit home and I think I definitely do need to slow down some more especially on a logic game.
Yeah. Even though you have improved, even my top, top best scoring students say that even though they are not improving, it is tempting to try like a rush a little bit to try to go faster. But as soon as you do that, that is when you are going to fall of a cliff, you crash and burn when questions are extremely hard and then you do not even get that many questions and your accuracy plummets. So, I think you have done great by slowing down. I think you need to keep doing that. Can I just ask, I think I know but your score that increased from 137 to 146, where did most of that improvement come from? What section is that?
Honestly, the reading comprehension and the logical reasoning. I really -- it was slowing down there that I really think helped me to process what was actually happening. And then looking at the questions the way you showed us and kind of arguing with every statement to be able to understand to begin with. And then looking at and kind of coming up with an answer in my head before I even look at the answers was like gold to me. It really, really helped.
That is great. And logic game is still a struggle for you.
Yeah, yeah it is. I still look at a logic game and then we like "Oh my gosh! I feel like I have never seen this before". But it is something we have totally worked on in class. So, I almost feel like it's a test anxiety thing that I feel I cannot solve it on my own or maybe I just need to get over. But probably seeing more of them will be helpful.
Certainly, practice, that is the best thing you can possibly do. Just do tons of these games. But you know, one thing that has been helpful for some of my athlete students in the past, if they start treating the LSAT especially the logic game as if it were an athletic endeavor. Like, start treating it as if it adds score. So, you need to be playing these games you need to be having fun with the games. And maybe if you approach it that way, not worry about the clock so much, slow down, treat it as if it is fun. I think, and maybe I am just a nerd, but I think you can actually have fun with a genius if you approach it with a right mind-set.
I am definitely gonna use that. I have fun in class when you do it I have a lot of fun. So, I am gonna try to like transfer that fun and that can move sense of just like not taking it too seriously and just like looking at it, okay, so this is what I know and just going to the stuffs that I think that will really help. I am gonna practice that.
You listen to me, too. In another context, sometimes change of color plays out a little more when you actually tell something in the past as opposed to something being practiced. That has something _08:14_ testing like performance has been proven to be even more prevalent in change of color. I _08:19_ when you told me but is that correct?
Absolutely. I mean there is new research that is out there on this exact topic. Which is that people of color especially tend to do worse when they are told they are taking a test? So, if you gave them a game and if you gave them a test, they would perform differently even if it was the exact same thing that they were attempting. So, I think the less -- Jessica you can treat this as if it's the test and the more that you can treat it as if it's a game, I think it's gonna be doubly effective for you.
Those are great tips. So, if you are just tuning in, that is Nathan Fox of FoxTestRep.com. And thank you so much, that is incredibly helpful for so many of our listeners who are studying for the LSAT. I want to talk to you and change focus a little bit Jessica and talk to you a little bit about some of your questions regarding the law school admission process. And just for our listeners to know, I do not know Jessica. Never spoke to her before today. And I did have her fill up the same questionnaire that I have my law school admission consulting clients fill out when they sign up with me. So, I have some backgrounds on you. And you also sent me your resume and the list of some things that you were thinking about. So, I have a list of some of the things that are in your mind. What I would like to do is start with your resume, if that is okay?
Yeah, that sounds great.
So this is going to be hard to make this interactive for our readers. So, I _09:45_ this and quick. You sent me a beautiful, very pretty resume. And I am going to point out for our readers something that you got that I think would apply to a lot of people that can help improve your resume and a lot of our listeners this week.
First of all, you changed certain of universities, okay? You have 2 universities listed under education. But, you listed that you received a bachelors from each one, it is very confusing to the reader. It may seem like you have 2 bachelors degree. When really, on your first institution you only have date of attendance. So that is something to consider. The other thing is you did not put your GPA under either institution. And if your GPA is above the 3032 it should actually be on your resume, okay?
Okay. That is really helpful. Thank you.
There are just key things -- you are welcome. Now, you also have in your resume bullet points of experience where you list the jobs you have. And it is good that you list your title, the company you worked for and the dates that you worked there and the location. So, those are key things. But that is only the beginning. I would like to see more description. I would like to see what you are in charge of, what you handled, whether you were working at a soccer club coaching kids, how many kids, how often, how many hours a week, were you working or whether you were working you know what at --for example you actually have a company listed on your resume that share the last name as yours. So, I do not know if it is your company, is that your parent's company, what were you doing, how did this work, you work there off from college, how many hours did you work, so there is a lot information to deal with it you could just fil this up so much more if I provide you more details.
I am going to be picking on you on your resume.
(crosstalk) No please do, (crosstalk) the better it can get that is awesome.
Okay, good. So, you did something, I am gonna laugh at you a little bit. So, allow me to read the joke. I am going to read for everyone all of the skills that you listed that you have.
Okay, go ahead.
Verbal communication, written communication, friendly, outgoing, organized, excellent in multi-tasking, articulate, professional, calm under pressure, reliable, athletic, Adobe Suite and Microsoft skills. Okay, I am gonna take big fat red pen.
All true by the way.
Oh thank you Nathan.
(crossing) We are taking them up your resume for a lot of reasons.
One is many of these things should be addressed in letters of recommendation. That you saying these things about yourself excellent in multi-tasking, organized, excellent in verbal and written communication, it just sounds funny for you to say about yourself on a law school application. I would much rather your recommenders to say each of those things. Number 2, I believe that a man would never put these things on their resume. And I might be attracted_12:39_ right now, I confess, but a man would never put on their resume that they are friendly and outgoing and calm under pressure.
I will take it out, okay?
I can totally -- I completely agree with you, thinking about that now.
I would take all of that out. I would take off that you are athletic because the very next section you have has every soccer team you have ever been on would state as your reference. For most people take out the skills section. Exceptions would be if you speak another language, if you have a black belt in jumping, some real skills that are more factual than subjective.
Last point I want to make about your resume is you have things from high school on your resume and you have really impressive things from high school, you are student body president for example. I still want you to take it off.
My thing is this, even though that is an exceptional thing. I worry that it looks to me, if someone has something like that from high school; it looks to me almost as though they did not fulfill their promise in college. (Crosstalk) That is what got you your scholarship to college, you know what I mean? So, I am not a big fan of having that stuff is in your resume. I feel that is what got you into college and now you have to rely on what you have accomplished since then. So, I just want to beat you up a little bit about that I hope that is okay.
Okay. No, I am an athlete I can take it.
Okay, thank you for that. Cause I think that those issues applied to so many people who are applying to law school. So, I think it is so helpful that you put yourself out there and then other people can learn from that. So, you have some great questions for me. And one of the best ones was how active when _14:23_about your LSAT's form. Because you plan to take the LSAT without accommodation, correct?
Yes, that is correct.
Did you take the SAT without accommodation?
No, actually I had attended counseling for the SAT. Which I found was interesting because I basically was able to sit in this room for hours on end until I finished the sections. But it almost did not help me. I just got more and more tired and I just stopped almost caring at the end and just doubled things and I was like I just need to get out of this room. Because I was in there for 1 section for about 3 hours I think, just for 1 section.
And it drove me crazy. So, I thought you know what, I do not think I would thrive with extra time cause it just killed my brain. So, I might as well just do the best I can with the time allotted. And then kind of write something to attest to that thing.
Not -- you know what I mean. It is kind of like backing up -- I am not sure what you think about that though.
Yeah. I think -- did you receive accommodations in college on exams?
No, I have the ability to but I never really needed to -- for like written test some stuff like that for like our history, as long as I need the information I finish the test well even before the time is up. So, I think its really like strict standardized test that are all multiple choice with like a really short amount of time that I have trouble with.
So, we should do an entirely three-hour blog talk radio show on this issue because it is so complex but I want you answer it very simply. If you feel that if I'm in this consent -- to whether you want to have accommodation in law school and then start to find that you would not, that you found coping mechanism to get through the issues that plague you on -- in an academic environment. And so, if that is the case then I think having an addendum that explains they absolutely be helpful, especially __16.21___ came back low percentiles for how you did, for example comparing to your percentile score on the SAT with the combination, okay? Then absolutely you are a great candidate to have an addendum explaining the factors moving out that performance and why you did not request accommodations and why it impacts the score. I think absolutely you are great candidate for that. In the new book The Law School Admission Game the second edition I have a whole -- Nathan did not feed us back when he reviewed the book because it came after but I had an assistant dean on disability services go through the book and write a lot of comments towards people who have these issues and giving advice on these exact issues but have to prevent getting what you need to bring on in an addendum etc. So, I think that will be really helpful and it affects a lot of people, you are not alone. I am glad that you ask the question. You ask some really good questions. So, one of the things you ask me is about law school interviews. Tell me what your concern about those law school interviews.
Well, I would personally be really excited if I were to get an interview. I feel like I am really good in person and I am good in interviews. And I have a lot to add to myself on paper, in person, so I feel like I would really benefit from that. But I am just kind of curious of how often law schools give interviews and like why in the application process they would do it and what things I would need to go in and be prepared with if I were to get one.
Yes, it is a good question. So, what, people who are just not thinking about law school may not understand and I wane be cleared about that. Because most law schools do not have interviews. Interview is not part of the application process. There are just too many applicants and it is completely impossible. But there are some law schools who interview. And in the new book, I talk about basically I call them 3 categories of interview. One is more expected that every question they want you to do it. For example the Vanderbilt, the Northwestern are examples of this. They want you to schedule an interview with them when you apply or before you apply. And that is one thing with interview where you do get a chance to really _18:31_ and present yourself to be more than just what your application is and to learn about school. Find someone who works there is a _18:38_. They generally have -- they will go down to your resume and ask you questions about what you have chosen to do, how you manage your time and why do you want to go the law school and why do you want to go to their law school. I mean, those are pretty much the essential point. It always good to practice. Just this week alone, _18:56_ practice and see different clients for their interviews. Because there are also 2 other phases of interviews. And one is the informal interview. When you are in LSAT form and you meet someone face to face. You are trying to law school and you meet someone face to face. It is not an interview but it is the same thing. Because it is an opportunity for you to share who you are, that you are more than a name on a piece of paper but you are a real person.
I will try.
You can really do yourself a lot of favors by making that clear and be kind of likeable, relatable person to the people whose job is to read thousands of files a year. I can tell you, I have been there, done that.
Good to know.
So, that is another kind of interview but you would never call it an interview, it is informal. But it does give you that same opportunity and if you feel strongly about your abilities in that respect of presenting yourself in that way. Then you should actually be happy for those opportunity.
The third kind of interview is a requested interview. Harvard is very famous for this. Georgetown does a group interview. The only __20.05__ the only Law school I think to give right at the moment that's not an upper excellent law school that did interviews for example, Southwestern has their scholarship candidate and do an interview with __20.14__ but it's less common, okay, but the informal interviews can be done in almost any law school, but they are not called that, if you call them interview, the requested interview, you will be shut down.
But you will have the opportunity to present yourself. I'm really glad that you raised that. As long as you're thinking ahead, you asked me about negotiating scholarship then tell me a little bit about what are your questions are with that?
Well, Nathan kind of suggested to all of the students in my class that applying to about 30 law schools is like gonna be really beneficial to just open a lot of options up.
I don' know if I'm supposed to say that, but a lot just so you can really open the door. I mean -- somewhere between 1 and 30 would work, but open the door to different schools you get into and then __21.10__ you can get scholarship and that's obviously really expensive, but there is, in some way they are not, but I just wanted to kind of know like if you were to get an offer from the school that you really wanted to go to, but they didn't maybe offer you as much money as you hoped, but you've got like a full ride from a different school that you -- wasn't really on the top of your list and you originally negotiate with the school you wanted to go to and catch to kind of renegotiating, renegotiating are they ever gonna just get kind of frustrated with you and say you're just being ridiculous, we're not gonna give you anything all. Almost call you...
Well, certainly that possibility exists, if you're really that aggressive and talking real about it.
But I personally think that happen, I have, however, seen law school mentioned being, getting grumpy over these things and especially if you try to negotiate with them, a scholarship that from a school that is not in competition with them, they really don't care especially if the school for example -- you're talking to a school in the West Coast and just call the East Coast then -- seemingly but not neck and neck they gave up top 20 but on the bottom of that top and once more towards 10 -- so I don't know what I mean is was, once like in 20 lands on number 10 that kind of a thing. They're gonna know you're gonna choose that number 10 no matter what especially if you're from the East Coast __22.34__ you know what...
There are not a lot __22.37__ to try to beg you to come, but there are professional ways of doing this and many schools had actually released guidelines for how to request scholarships and which schools they will consider scholarships from, Berkeley is a great example of this. They actually have a list if you got scholarships of one of the school, choose one offer, send it to us and __22.54__ their policy, but they're great because they tell you what to do and most law schools we left to your judgment. I have seen a law school that you will get annoyed at being asked for additional scholarship money, they did not tell the -- it was the way the person ask I'm going to be honest, I did not review the act found that about it later, but the sequence that -- they didn't say we will take away your scholarship, but they said you know what good for you, have fun at that school, we wish you the best of luck. Yeah, that does not feel very good you just don't know.
So, but they didn't say we are revoking the scholarship we're giving you, but they just said __23.34__ to you. So you do have to do it halfway and professionally. It's a great exercise. You're going to be doing this as a lawyer. It all comes down to settling things and how you do it actually in a smart way and how you advocate for yourself. Then as above things and I'm saving a few minutes talk about your personal statement and this being combined to all this we all see is about how you back it up. It's about the fact. It's about building credible argument. If you simply send a letter saying please some more money and then I'll think about maybe attending. That's -- no law school is going to respond positively to that. They want to know exactly what it will take and why it will take that. Okay, and then you have to be ready to commit if they come through what you asked for.
Gotcha. That makes sense.
It's very helpful. Thank you so much.
You're welcome so 5 minutes left, with just not nearly enough time, I want to have your personal statement.
Can you give our listeners a 30-second rundown on what you're thinking about writing your personal statement about, and I know you started some draft.
Well, a couple of main things that I wanted to talk about were the fact that I am biracial. I think that has been really influential in my life and kind of really shaped the way I look at the world. And shaped where I am thinking of going to school and the type of environment I wanna be in. And then also being an athlete. I did get a pretty serious injury that ended my collegiate career which was really tough for me. So, that was a huge life change for me that I felt really showed my character to the way I had to deal with the process. But I do remember reading your book the injured athlete story is kind of very tired. So, I tried to write in a way that is very personal to me and not normal because I didn't really have an average injured athlete story, so I'm just trying to convey that. I'm not sure though. The first time I wrote it, I wasn't really sure about my parents and things that had happened with my mom and then I think this isn't really working so I kind of went back and read it again. But I pretty much just sat down in my computer for 4 hours and just wrote and then tried to cut it down and then have some people look at it and help me kind of reword things. But so far, I'm feeling really comfortable with being biracial and what happened with soccer and my injury and how it shaped me as a person. And how I know that I will be able to handle tough situations in law school and being a lawyer based on the skills that I've gained throughout my life so far.
I like that theme a lot, to be able to handle that kind of things and how that transitions professionally. I think that is a great theme to build on. And of course I have not seen what you've written and I always tell anyone who run any personal topic idea by me, I can never say until I see how you do it, right?
So much for different from the presentation. But I would be curious to see how you combine those two things because _26:23_ would tell me to keep the part about your family and that biracial part in it and add a few statement and to keep the athlete part and what you learn from that experience separate. But if you found a way to do it together, I think it is fabulous. I know that in your initial materials to me you mentioned that you are interested in sports _26:43_ and motivation in going to law school and advocating on behalf of athlete. And yes. When I first tried the two sessions last week I gave the poor girl a little bit of a hard trim because _26:56_ with applicant. I really believe that if you do plan _27:03_ this is my motivation in going to law school. I want to see that backed up. I want so see that you work with it, organization that does that shadowed someone who does the kind of work you want to do.
I want to see that you actually know what you are doing so that does not sound purely idealistic. And so, that we know, you know that a lot people can help you to do that. And then it is not high in the sky.
I think it is really important because you do not have to go out around and say, this is what I plan to do. So, if you do go out in that plan, I want to make sure you can support it. In the Law School Decision Game, I wrote about -- I had a lawyer who talks about how he meets a lot of people who really wanted to be a musician so they went into music walk. You really wanted to be athletes so they went to sport walk. They ended not being happy because the underlying thing was their passion and now they are watching other people do it. And they really do contact lawyers. And so, I want to make sure especially with something like sports walk, especially if you are writing about sports induced injury. That you do not come up and being naive about that. That you -- if you are going to make the statement, of what you plan to do with your career, that you have things to back it up, that you have done the research, you will know what you are getting yourself into. Does that make sense?
Absolutely, that is really, really helpful actually for me. Made me wanna go fix it right now?
Okay, alright. I am really, really glad that that was helpful. With that -- I am really impressed with that too Nathan that we fit so much in to a 30-minute program today.
Yeah, we got a lot in. That's great.
I think -- I look forward to feedbacks from our listeners on this show _28:37_ continue the trust that you have been. As fabulous examples, so many of the issues that you are thinking about and presenting your application applied to so many of my clients and of my blog readers at lawschoolexpert.com. So, thank you so much for putting yourself out there and being open to discussing your life and your law school application and your LSAT.
Well, thank you for having me, I really appreciate it. I feel lucky that I got to talk to you personally and get advice. So, I am the lucky one.
Oh, I am really glad. And anyone who would like to be considered to be a candidate for future law school strategy session, feel free to leave a blog comment at lawschoolexpert.com\blog. And keep an eye out for the new Law School Admission Game that will be released June 1st 2013. And Nathan, thank you so much for everything. Anything you like to finish with us today before we are done today.
I have a new online class which is available foxtestprep.com. I also have a new book it is just logical reasoning, it's Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia. And that is available on Amazon. But thanks for having me Ann.
It is always a pleasure and I want to thank you all. Just log on to chat live. So, and we look forward having you join us for future Blog Talk Radio show. Thank you so much and we will look forward to hearing from you again soon. Bye.
It's good to talk.