Meet the Admissions Sherpa Dan Brooks

Dan-Brooks-Law-SherpaThis week, I interviewed Dan Brooks, Founder of The Admissions Sherpa, over email about his comprehensive and affordable admissions consulting services for law school applicants.

Q: What motivated you to create The Admissions Sherpa?

A: Almost no applicant understands the full scope of law school admissions until it is too late to use this knowledge. I repeatedly heard from many of my friends and acquaintances that they had no specific strategy for applying to law school. I started The Admissions Sherpa because I realized there was a need for applicants to know the unique intricacies of law school applications before applying.

Q: I hear you on that. Was there anything else that caused you to start your company?

A: Well, I also realized the need for professional consulting at affordable prices. So, my partner David Rosenthal and I set out to make our consulting services through The Admissions Sherpa more accessible to everyone.

Q: That’s great. Speaking of which, what kinds of law school admissions services do you provide and how much do they cost?

A: David and I do it all from start to finish, and everything in between. We believe consulting should be highly personalized, and not everyone fits into a generic package. But to make things easier, we have three packages as starting points.

Writing Pack: $375
– Personal Statement planning and review
– Review/edit additional addenda (C&F, diversity statement, school specific essays)

Post-Application Pack: $450
– School visit prep
– Wait list strategies
– Scholarship considerations
– Law school selection

Full Service Pack: $975
– LSAT advice and strategy
– Requesting letters of recommendation
– Resume editing
– Personal Statement planning and review
– Review/edit additional addenda (C&F, diversity statement, school specific essays)
– Overall application support
– Interview/school visit prep
– Wait list strategies
– Scholarship considerations
– Law school selection

Q: Your packages are very affordable. Great to see that! Are there specific kinds of students that you most enjoy working with?

A: One of the most satisfying parts of my experience with The Admissions Sherpa is that I’ve helped all different kinds of applicants. No two people are alike and I truly enjoy the process of developing precise strategies for my clients based on an understanding of their unique personal goals.

I’ve helped applicants who were focused on law school for their entire academic career and set on the T14, and others who are seeking admission at regional schools. I’ve even helped those who are unsure what they want out of the process, and have given those clients a better understanding of their options. It’s highly rewarding to ensure each applicant is able to make the best decision for their unique needs and goals.

Q: Why should I hire you over other admissions consultants?

A: Value, commitment, and experience.

The value of working with an admissions consultant like me or David lies in the personal attention we give to every client. There is a wealth of free admissions knowledge available online but nothing compares to a specific plan of action developed for your situation.

We are committed to you every step of the way. We invest heavily in our clients, and are equally as committed to your goals as you are. We welcome our clients to call or email us for any reason, at any time.

Lastly, David and I have both recently been through the application process ourselves, and have consultants currently sitting on admissions committees at Tier 1 schools. Along with the timeliness of our experience, we understand what it’s like to be studying for the LSAT and applying to law school as a student, recent grad, or full-time employee.

Q: Do you have a personal philosophy about how you work with students?

A: Every student is different. My personal philosophy is to listen closely to each of my client’s unique needs and personal goals. What works for one applicant might not be the best course of action for another. I want to know my clients beyond the metrics and provide insight which will allow them to make the best decisions for their entire career.

Q: Anything else you want us to know?

A: David and I have chosen to focus on law school admissions because it’s what we know best and love to do. We don’t stretch ourselves too thinly by working with a broad population applying to all sorts of programs and schools. If it’s law school you’re applying for, we have you covered.

Q: If I’m interested in learning more about working with you, what should I do?

A: Contact us! We are excited to hear from you and discuss your goals with absolutely no strings attached. Even if you’ve just started college and won’t be applying to law school for some time, we’d love to meet you and provide any guidance we can.

You can find us at TheAdmissionsSherpa.com, follow us @LawSherpa or on Facebook, or email us at info@theAdmissionSherpa.com.

Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions, Dan! It’s great to learn that you and David offer comprehensive and affordable admissions consulting for all kinds of prelaw students. Readers, if you want your own personal prelaw adviser to help you through the admissions process, definitely check out The Admissions Sherpa.

Meet Admissions Consultant Shirag Shemmassian

Shirag-Shemmassian-PhotoThis week, I interviewed the awesome Shirag Shemmassian over email about his academic and admissions consulting services for law school applicants.

Q: What motivated you to start your own admissions consulting company?

A: The short story is I love helping students get into top-choice schools so they can pursue their dream careers.

The long story is when I applied to college as a high school senior, I received little admissions guidance. And despite having high grades and standardized test scores, I was rejected from UCLA, my dream school. I was incredibly disappointed.

Rather than get upset, I carefully reviewed my entire application and realized how cliché everything sounded. A week later, I submitted an appeal essay and got into UCLA despite the less-than-1% admit rate for appeals. I was the same candidate; the only thing that had changed was the story I told the admissions committee.

Q: That’s amazing. Is that what motivated you to want to help other people with admissions?

A: Yes, exactly. I fell in love with the admissions process and continued honing my skills to transfer to and graduate from Cornell, graduate from UCLA’s top-ranked clinical psychology Ph.D. program, and secure over $100K in scholarships and fellowships to graduate debt-free. The coolest part is that I translated my knowledge to help my friends, and then word-of-mouth referrals, to get into their dream schools. My passion for helping students led me to found Shemmassian Academic Consulting.

Q: What law school admissions services do you provide and how much do they cost?

A: I help students navigate every aspect of the admissions process. I offer the following three service packages and all of them include unlimited editing of written materials.

Scholar Package ($2499): For students who primarily need help crafting outstanding written materials (e.g., admissions essays, short answers).

Premium Package ($2999): For students who want to develop connections and present themselves effectively across all sections of their applications. This package includes everything in the Scholar Package plus help developing a school list, establishing important contacts at these schools, and reviewing your entire application to ensure that every aspect fits together to tell a compelling story.

Premium Plus Package ($3499): For students applying to schools that require admissions interviews. This package includes everything in the Premium Package, plus 3 1-hour interview coaching sessions.

You can find more detailed information on my Admissions Services page.

Q: Are there specific kinds of students that you most enjoy working with?

A: Believing that you can get into your dream schools is the quality I most appreciate. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get in (that’s my job), but you do have to believe it’s possible. If you believe, you’ll be motivated to put in the necessary effort to make it happen.

Q: Why should I hire you over other admissions consultants?

A: While my primary goal is to help students get into their dream schools, I also want to help them manage their stress during the process. So, in addition to ensuring that my clients submit exceptional applications, I also:

  • Make myself available anytime via phone, email, or text to work through any worries or concerns.
  • Customize an admissions timeline to make sure my clients complete all tasks ahead of time. (That way, my clients can relax while other students are freaking out.)
  • Help my clients build authentic connections at their dream schools.

Q: Do you have a personal philosophy about how you work with students?

A: I’m very confident that my holistic approach can greatly improve my clients’ applications in a timely and relatively stress-free manner. This is why I offer the following satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied by my first set of essay edits, I will issue a prompt and full refund within seven days of receiving my edits. Therefore, you can work with me completely risk-free.

Q: That’s an incredible guarantee. I don’t know many admissions consultants that offer that. Is there anything else you want us to know?

A: I’ve learned over time that no matter how hard you work and what you achieve—whether in school, the workplace, or extracurricular pursuits—you have to effectively present yourself as the ideal candidate to admissions committees in order to get in. That’s what I help people do.

Q: If I’m interested in learning more about working with you, what should I do?

Please contact me via email (shirag@shemmassianconsulting.com) or phone (323-825-9374) so I can answer your questions and learn more about you as well. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions, Shirag! Sounds like you offer incredibly supportive and comprehensive admissions consulting for all kinds of students. I love that all your packages include unlimited help with written materials. Readers, if you want your own personal prelaw adviser to help you through the admissions process, definitely check out Shirag’s services.

Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make: #9

car-raceThis post continues our 10-part series of posts on the Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make.

The #9 Top Ten Mistake That Law School Applicants Make every year is…
THEY APPLY TOO LATE.

In most cases, if you’re applying by the law school’s deadline, you’re applying too late!

Most law schools have rolling admissions. That means that they admit people on a rolling basis until they’ve admitted enough to fill their 1L class. Rolling admissions means that you want to apply earlier so that you can get in earlier. But it’s not just admissions that’s rolling. Scholarship offers are also rolling. So again, apply earlier so that you can better ensure your chance of being admitted and being offered money.

Did you know that only about a third of law school applicants apply by November? Because of this, I believe the ideal deadline for applying to law school is by Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). Applying by the end of November gives you the advantage of having your application reviewed when way fewer people have applied.

But, you don’t have to wait until November to apply. If you took an earlier LSAT and will have your score by July, then bump up your timeline and apply when applications open in September and October. Even better!

If you’re planning on taking the December LSAT, you have two options. You can apply this season or wait to apply next year. If you feel good about your performance on the December LSAT, you should write, revise, and finish your application materials by January 1st. Then, once the scores are released during the first week of January, assess your list of schools and decide if you want to add more or take some off. Then tailor your materials to the application directions for your final list of schools and apply by January 25th.

If it’s already February and you still haven’t applied, I recommend waiting. Take the next eight months to get more work experience, save money, and polish your applications materials until they are stellar. Then apply to your schools in September and October. You’ll be applying before even a third of applicants have their applications in! Less competition = more chances for admissions and scholarships.

So, there you have it. Apply to law school from September through January. Don’t make the mistake of applying too late and missing your chance for successful admissions and scholarships.

Photo Credit: Old Boone via Compfight cc

Two Things Prelaw Students Should Do in College

I often get asked the question: “I just started college, and I know I want to be a lawyer–what should I work on?”

Tip #1: Pick the major that most appeals to you.

Tip #2: Get really good at reading comprehension.

Simple, huh?

You’d be surprised at how many college graduates I meet who haven’t done either of these things.

Don’t make that mistake. Whether you just started college or are partway through, watch my video today for details on two important tips that will help you be more successful when you apply to law school.

Have questions or comments about being prelaw in college? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.

Optional Essays are Usually NOT Optional

Most of the time, optional essays for law school applications are only optional if you do not want to get into that law school.

Let me repeat that.

Optional essays for law school applications are only optional if you do not want to get into that law school.

Watch this video for more details.

Law schools are listing that optional essay topic (or list of topics) for a reason. They want to see who takes the time and effort to read and follow their directions. They want to know who is willing to go the extra mile to write another essay. They want to see who really wants to attend their law school.

Be that person. Stand out from the crowd. Write the essay!

However, there are some cases where “optional” can actually mean optional. Sometimes you read the essay prompt and it really doesn’t apply to you. Or it’s about an issue that you already covered in your personal statement.

If you’re not sure about whether the optional essay is really optional, contact that law school’s admissions office. It’s perfectly okay to ask.

Have questions or comments about optional essays for your law school application? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.