Uh oh, summer’s just around the corner…

… and so are the deadlines! Hard to believe, huh?

I participated in a legal competition last weekend and met a friend I hadn’t seen in several years. She mentioned that she, like me, is intending to write the June 2010 LSAT (Law School Admissions Test).

“Have you signed up?” she asked.

“No, I haven’t – its three months away.”

“Oo, you better sign up. The closest spot now available to write the LSAT is at the University of Western Ontario.”

“What?! What about Toronto?”

“Nope, that was filled months ago.”

Well, she was right. The only two Toronto testing times were completely full, and by the time I got home to sign up for the LSAT, even Western was full. Cue the freaking out. The only options left were Windsor, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Oh boy.

For many of you, my panic may not resonate. So let me explain: the LSAT is the biggest test a pre-law student can take. This four-hour test is weighted equally with almost 8,000 hours of undergraduate study when it comes to being considered for admission. For someone who has spent much of their secondary and post-secondary education working to get into law school, the stupidest mistake I can make is missing the LSAT because all the spots were full.

Luckily, I snagged a spot in Windsor and I’m actually glad I’m going somewhere quiet where I can study (plus, road trip!). But while I was attempting to secure one of the spots (which were disappearing like quicksand right in front of me), all I could think was “how could this have happened?”

Well, my UpbeaT friends, it seems that the good weather blows around more than just pollen (yes, my itchy eyes tear from allergies). It also brings imminent deadlines, disguised by the shadow of final exams. In our tunnel-vision focus on school, we may be missing out on what summer means. For me, it was the LSAT.

For most students, summer means four months of working. In this recession, jobs will be increasingly difficult to find and it is incredibly important to start looking early. A good place to begin your job hunt is at the Career Centre. Perhaps you would like to check out their workshop on how to find summer work. Maybe you just need to beef up your resume before you start knocking on employers’ doors. Why not take your resume for a check-up at the Resume Clinic? If you don’t have enough time to go into the centre, you can spend a bit of time checking out the Resume Tutor online. The Career Centre is also a great resource for helping students search for jobs.

If you are in third-year, like me, then this summer is a whole new ballgame. Maybe you’re eyeing a professional school. Applications will open up this year which require several essays, tests and documentation. Law school, for example, keeps the application process open for 3.5 months as students scramble to get everything in order. Many of my friends will spend this summer prepping for tests such as the LSAT, the MCAT, the GMAT, the GRE, even the SAT.

With the cost of the test itself (e.g. $200 for the LSAT), several hundred dollars to apply to the six law schools in Ontario alone, not to mention the schools outside the province (and the country), plus the cost of a prep-course (which is over $1,000) or at least some books from previous tests, it’s important to do it once and do it right. It costs too much to gamble (both literally and figuratively), and a summer job might have to take a back seat as you prep for the rest of your life.

In the summer, you have a good opportunity to get your application reviewed by the Career Centre and even practice medical school mock interviews, or academic mock interviews for academic positions, or regular mock interviews for jobs!

If you are very lucky, you may be interested in checking out a summer abroad program – there are still a few applications open for places like Australia, Germany and Italy.

No matter what your plans are for this summer, it is so important that you prep now. In the last two weeks of school and with the pending exams, it is easy to push away summer concerns until school finishes. The most important thing is to manage your time so when you come out of the dark school tunnel, you have a new path to take.

What are your summer plans?


– Fariya

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