Pre-Law Kaplan Survey Results Released

Download free: The Law School Admissions Guide: 8 Tips for Success

Nearly 1400 pre-law students were surveyed in Kaplan Test Prep’s recent survey, with the following findings:

•  58% students prefer a two-year law school program (instead of the current three).
•  97% would like additional clinical experience built into the law school curriculum. Meanwhile, 71% of JD programs are taking this almost unanimous preference to heart and are integrating more practical training and clinical courses into their curricula.
•  Law school goals: 58% of pre-law students will be entering law school because of their desire to practice law; 11% are career changers; 7% want to improve their salaries; and 7% are pursuing a career in politics.

See the Kaplan Test Prep press release for more details, and check out law school admissions resources for advice on gaining admission to your top choice law school.

Free Download: 8 Tips for Law School Admissions Success!

Review of BenchPrep’s Online Test Prep Site

Check out BenchPrep!I just logged into the BenchPrep test prep website and am welcomed with their greeting of “Gain an unfair advantage on test day”; I like this – a test prep site with an edge! Let’s continue exploring…

After you sign in and choose your test (see list below), you’ll then choose your target test date. The program then generates a study plan of week-by-week tasks that you’ll need to complete to achieve your optimal preparedness for your chosen exam. Each task has a timeframe next to it, indicating the expected amount of time the exercise should take – a nice touch.

As you move through the little icons on the left side of the screen, you’ll encounter some nice features – games (mainly flashcard games – pretty simple and straightforward), practice tests, discussion boards, study groups, and others. Another organizational feature is the table of contents icon which, when you click on it, gives you a very clear outline of your study plan with links to other parts of the site.

There is also a BenchPrep mobile app (Android and iPhone), making this program excellent for test-preppers on-the-go!

One thing I’d like to see more of on this site are videos. There is certainly no shortage of written prep resources here – there are loads of practice tests and explanations and tips, which of course are extremely important. For some people, this may be exactly what they’re looking for, but others – those auditory/visual types – the absence of video will be noticed.

Tests (a sampling):

• AP Exam • GRE • Police Officer Exam
• CFA Level I Exam                       . • LSAT • Postal Exam
• CLEP • MCAT • Praxis Test
• EMT • Nursing School Entrance Exams        . • SAT
• Firefighter Exam • PE Exam


• Ask-a-tutor, and receive an answer within 24 hours
•  Bookmarking and highlighting features
•  Ratings/tracking of your confidence level (so you can go back to review those weak areas)
•  Games
•  Practice tests
•  Discussion boards
•  Study groups

Head to BenchPrep now to check out these features on your own!

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Personal Statement Fatal Flaw #1: Lack of Substance

Click here to learn how to avoid the other 4 personal statement fatal flaws.Writing about nothing tends to bore, like a trite sitcom or movie with no plot. They lack substance and so will your essay if it isn’t based on:

• Substantive self-reflection.

• Use of specifics, examples, and anecdotes.

• Willingness to reveal your thought processes and feelings.

So start your writing process with self-knowledge. You don’t have to search the internet or a large library. Start with your experiences and your dreams. Search your head and your heart. That is where the substance of a good personal statement is stored.

Then use anecdotes, specifics, and examples to reveal what’s in your heart and show that your dreams are grounded in experience. Good examples can bring your essays to life and engage the reader.

At the same time, recognize that essays with only examples and anecdotes don’t reveal your thought processes and consequently are also superficial. Make sure you balance your stories with insight and analysis.

Avoid Fatal Flaw #1: Bring your essays to life with self-reflection and astute use of examples balanced by analysis.

This tip is an excerpt from Five Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in your Application Essays and Personal Statements. To view the entire free special report, please click here.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay or Personal Statement

8 Law School Tips to Get You ACCEPTED!

Are you looking for specific tips to help you through the various stages of the law school application process?

Download your guide to law school admissions success!

We’d like to introduce you to our newest special report, The Law School Admissions Guide: 8 Tips for Success, in which you’ll receive professional advice in eight different admissions areas including choosing a topic for your personal statement, editing your application, getting your application in on time, developing a strong law school admissions strategy, and more!

Check out the tips now!

How to Write Waitlist Update Letters

You are so close to acceptance, but still not quite there! Get the guidance you need to get that offer of admission.

Continue fighting for that acceptance!

The application process is not over for waitlisted applicants. You’ve still got a chance of getting into your dream school, so now’s not the time to slack off, and it’s certainly not the time to give up. Continue fighting for that acceptance!

Your waitlist updates (you write those) and letters of support (other people write these) should focus on three areas:

1) Your growing list of qualifications. You want to prove to the adcoms that while you were a responsible, accomplished, impressive candidate before, now you are even more so. Discuss recent initiatives you’ve taken—in the workplace and in your community—and developments or advances you’ve made in your career or academics.

2) Steps you’ve taken to ameliorate shortcomings. Figure out what weaknesses were revealed in your application and/or interview and work to improve them. Be able to discuss specific changes you’ve made in your life—education and career—that make you a stronger candidate.

3) How you fit with the school. You were born to attend this school and this school was created just for you. Your fit is as perfect as a cozy glove on a cold hand.

Waitlist Update Writing Step-By-Step:

1) Begin your letter by briefly thanking the school for considering your application. Don’t talk about your disappointment; instead focus on how the school’s philosophy and approach fit your educational goals.

2) Discuss your recent accomplishments. Choose achievements that you did not address in your application and try and tie them back to key themes in your essays. These could include a recent promotion, freshly minted A’s, a new leadership role in a project or organization, a recent volunteer experience, initiatives you’ve taken in your department, business, or club, additional work responsibilities, etc.

3) Talk about the measures you’ve taken to ameliorate your weaknesses, if necessary. Focus on the action you’ve taken rather than on the actual shortcoming. For example, if you have/had weak communication skills, discuss how you enrolled in Toastmasters and how the experience has influenced and inspired you.

4) If you are sure that upon acceptance you would attend, inform the school of your commitment.

Above all, stay positive as your letter will reflect your attitude. Adcoms do not want to read a bitter and angry letter, nor will they want that writer in their classrooms.

A couple of caveats:

• Don’t waste your reader’s time by repeating material already in your application.

• Don’t write if the school states explicitly that it doesn’t want to hear from you.

Help! I'm on the waitlist!

For more information on how to transform your waitlist status into an acceptance, check out one of Accepted’s popular waitlist ebooks:

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Med School Waitlist

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Law School Waitlist

CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

Listen to the full recording of our conversation with Michael and David.

The CommonBond co-founders (L to R: Michael Taormina, CFO; Jessup Shean, Advisor; David Klein, CEO)

Welcome to the glorious world of applications, admissions, and…well, student loans.

CommonBond to the rescue! Meet David Klein and Michael Taormina, Wharton grads and co-founders of this very exciting student loan financing startup.

Listen to the full recording of the show to learn about CommonBond, student loans in general and some excellent advice on financing your education.

00:02:45 – Inspiration at Wharton (or ‘Wow, tuition is high!’).

00:05:04 – The three S’s that make CommonBond unique.

00:09:10 – Beyond funding: community, mentorship, and support at CommonBond.

00:13:00 – Is there a 100 million dollar upgrade coming up?

00:14:02 – Flat rates for all. (Even lawyers!?)

00:17:28 – A guided tour of the loan application process.

00:22:52 – Refinance candidates vs. in-school candidates.

00:24:06 – CommonBond’s goals for 2014.

00:25:40 – What about international students?

00:28:42 – Financial advice for applicants and future applicants.

00:37:18 – A personal question: What motivated 2 guys with successful careers go to b-school?

00:43:17 – Some very concrete tips for getting into business school.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of

Relevant Links:

•  CommonBond
•  MBA Budget Calculator
•  MBA Special Reports
•  Law School Special Reports
•  Pre-Med Special Reports
•  Grad School Special Reports

Related Shows:

•  Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin
•  Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
•  Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
•  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
•  Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

4 Tips for Writing about Last Minute Extracurricular Activities

Learn how to demonstrate leadership in your admissions essays!

It’s possible that you’ve been involved in extracurricular activities without even realizing it.

You want to write about all your fantastic non-school and non-work endeavors so that you really stand out from your competition, but when you start to think about it…you draw a blank. There must be SOMETHING you can show for how you use your free time, but what?

Have you found yourself in a last minute lurch looking for extracurricular activities? Note the following:

1. Better Late than Never.

If you don’t have any extracurricular activities to speak of, then I suggest you find something interesting to do and start NOW. You may ask: “Isn’t it better to try and bypass the subject of extracurriculars entirely rather than highlight the fact that I’ve only gotten involved in an activity for the sake of my application? Won’t that seem phony?” While involvement in an extracurricular activity for just a few months is less impressive than long-term participation, it’s still better than presenting no participation at all. You can keep kicking yourself, over and over again, wishing that you had thought of this earlier and gotten involved in some activity years ago, but now’s not the time to harp on regrets; now is the time to act. Get out there and do something.

2. Even Short-Term Involvement Can Transform You.

Participation in a non-school and non-work activities, even if just for a limited period of time, will elevate your flat, one-dimensional admissions profile into something more vibrant, colorful, and interesting. Now’s your chance to transform yourself from a pile of grades and scores into a real, live human being – one who pursues his or her interests and passions outside of the work and school arenas.

3. Your Application Efforts May be Delayed or Extended.

Another reason why you should jump right into an extracurricular activity, even though you may feel like it’s too last minute, is because you don’t know for certain the outcome of your application effort. You may, for one reason or another, decide to push off applying until the next year; you may get waitlisted; you may get dinged from all your top choice schools and decide to reapply next year – whatever the case may be, this could be the beginning of what turns out to be an entire year of extracurricular involvement.

4. Hobbies are Good for YOU!

Forget for a minute that you’re applying to school (if that’s possible) and think about what’s actually good for you. It’s not healthy to site at work for 18+ hours a day only to go home and crash on the couch because you’re too tired to make it to bed. Forget the application process – you should find something to do non-work (and non-school and non-other-obligations) related because it will enrich your life and make you a happier person.

Also, it’s possible that you’ve been involved in extracurricular activities without even realizing it. Mine your experiences to uncover unique experiences that could be considered “extracurricular.” You don’t need clear-cut activities like “Acted as president of the chess club” or “Volunteered in local soup kitchen”; consider non-traditional or non-altruistic activities, like singing in a choir, participating in a weekly fiction writing circle with friends, helping your hyperactive triplet cousin do homework catch-up once a week since forever ago.

These are all completely valid ways of breaking from work, and it won’t be hard to illustrate your passions and interests in these activities, not to mention the leadership skills your developed and the other ways in which you grew and learned from them.

Take home message: It’s NEVER too late to get involved in some meaningful, interesting, and fun extracurricular activity!

Learn everything you need to know about how to tackle the tricky leadership questions that the adcoms love to throw into applications and interviews.

Interview Tip: Prepare Questions

Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own!

An interview is a two-way street.

Usually when applicants prepare for their admissions interviews, they spend their time trying to figure out what questions will be asked and how they can best answer them. This is important and a good idea. But it’s not the only step to prepping for an admissions interview.

An interview is a two-way street.

Your interviewer will ask you questions and listen your answers, and then will turn the asking over to you. When your interviewer says, “Do you have any questions?” you don’t want to shut the interview down by saying, “Nope, I’m set” but want to keep the flow of the conversation going by taking the reins of the interview into your hands and asking some questions of your own.

There are two things you can do before your interview to help you come up with intelligent questions:

1) Familiarize yourself with the program’s website and other literature. Never ask a question that can be answered easily online.

2) Review your application. Your questions should be specific to your unique situation – your skills, interests, and goals. Questions about the faculty or clubs, for example, should relate to your own education, career, and goals.

Since your goal should be to come up with questions that are specific to your situation, I can’t give you a list of must-ask questions without knowing who YOU are. But here are a few sample questions that you can review and tweak so that the questions are more appropriate for YOU:

• How difficult is it to enroll in a popular class like XYZ? (Insert a class that appeals to you. Not a required course.)

• Do recruiters from XYZ (a company or a particular field that interests you) visit the school? How do students get interviews with recruiters?

• Are business plan competitions (or something else that’s relevant to you) open to all students, or are there certain requirements to qualify?

If you are interviewing with school alum or a second-year student, then you should ask questions about their experiences, for example:

• Who were some of your favorite professors? Favorite classes?

• What is/was a typical day like for you?

• Are there clubs or activities that you would recommend for someone interested in XYZ? What clubs are you involved in? How important do you think it is to be involved in extracurricular activities?

• If you could change anything about your experience at this program, what would it be?

You get the idea. You want to come up with questions that personalize you and that show you have an interest in your interviewer’s experience (if relevant). Be specific, show that you’ve done your research, and most importantly, relax!

Good luck and let us know how we can further help you prepare for your interviews!

Click here to download our free report!

The Best of 2013 at!

Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year!
5 Things Y’all Wanted to Learn More About in 2013:

1. Addressing MBA Application Weaknesses. Let’s face it. Nobody is perfect.

2. The Team! And who can blame you. To know them is to love them we say (and our clients agree).

3. Writing about Goals in a Grad School Statement of Purpose. The opportunity to prove that you know what graduate school is all about.

4. All Things Related to MBA Interviews. Making a good impression on paper is only half the battle.

5. How to Obtain Winning Med School Letters of Recommendation.

Everyone Loves a Sample Essay. :) Here Are the Favorites:

MBA: The Goals Essay  It is critical in the goals essay found in almost every MBA application to show that you have clear direction and purpose based on experience and planning. Business school is not another opportunity to “find yourself.”

Med: The Story  This essay is one of our favorites. The applicant tells a story and weaves a lot of information about his background and interests into it. Note how the lead grabs attention and the conclusion ties everything together. 

Grad: Public Health Essay  “My days in the physical therapy department often made me think about the prevention of injuries as well as the injuries themselves.”

Law: Returning to School  Note how this applicant successfully explains his career change and highlights his professional achievements.

College: While the World Sleeps  “When I wake up to the ear-splitting sound of my alarm clock, and blindly search for the snooze button, a sudden thought dawns: “What am I doing?”"

8 Blog Posts Our Readers Loved Last Year:

•  Harvard Business School 2014 MBA Application Tips

•  Tips for Completing Your Princeton Supplement to the Common Application

•  What to Include in Your Admissions Resume

•  6 Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions

•  7 Fatal Resume Flaws to Avoid

•  Boost your GPA for Med School Acceptance

•  Common Application Essay Tips

•  University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine Secondary Application Essay Tips

Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Your Resume – Part 2: The 10 Don’ts

Recently we offered 9 Do’s for Writing Your Resume. Let’s get right to business now talking about the 10 ‘Don’ts.’

Click here for more resume advice!

Don’t make things up!

1) First and foremost, don’t make things up. This includes inflating your accomplishments, your level of responsibility, or your skills. Besides the fact that it’s dishonest, your resume reviewer may find out (like if he or she follows up on one of your references or does a background check) and then you’ll be busted…not to mention jobless.

2) Don’t turn your resume into an autobiography. Your resume will include biographical information, but its primary purpose is to focus on aspects of your life and career that make you an ideal b-school candidate and that address a potential employer’s needs. Don’t include information from high school or earlier.

3) Don’t provide personal data. This includes marital status, age, height/weight, race, religion, or any other non-work-related information. Besides the fact that it’s irrelevant, it may also be used illegally to discriminate against you.

4) Don’t include a separate “objective” line at the beginning of your resume.

5) Don’t use articles (“the,” “a”) or pronouns (“I,” “you”). They waste precious space, detract from resume impact, and reduce professionalism.

6) Don’t overuse a few action words. There are more words you can use besides “led” or “developed.” Consider similar terms like “accelerated,” “delivered,” “established,” “implemented,” “initiated,” or “reengineered.”

7) Don’t forget your dates. Even functional resumes should include dates of employment, even if they’re only included at the end.

8) Don’t use long paragraphs to describe your accomplishments. If you have a lot of information to convey, use bulleted points instead of dense, wordy paragraphs. Each bullet should be limited to two lines of text, and there should really be no more than five bullets per position.

9) Don’t use clichés like “dynamic” or “self-starter.” Rather, use the details of your resume to show that you personify these qualities.

10) Don’t turn your resume into a list of job duties. Instead, list your accomplishments within each position.

For individualized help with your MBA admissions resume or cover letter, visit Accepted’s catalog of resume services or speak with one of our experienced admissions consultants today!

Download our free special report, Leadership in Admissions.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.