My Last Piece of Advice


It’s bittersweet closing down my business today. I’m excited for the adventures ahead of me, but sad to leave a profession where I got the chance to help so many good people. Despite all this, it feels right to move on.

I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met and everything that I’ve learned over the past 18 years working in higher education student services. My mind has been blown away by so many of my students’ remarkable stories, diverse experiences, difficult challenges, hopeful dreams, and sincerity for wanting to help people. It’s something I’ve witnessed over and over again, and it’s what kept me going through it all, good days and bad.

Thinking back on all these years, I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of the last piece of advice I can give you as a professional adviser. There are so many pieces of advice I want to pass on, but here’s what I’ve chosen for today.




You don’t have to believe in yourself.

It helps, but it’s not necessary. So much of my life has been mired in fear and self-doubt. Still, I managed to create a great life for myself and you can too. I’m not smarter than you. I’m not more brave than you. I’m just a regular person trying to live my best life.

I’ve learned that fear and self-doubt don’t go away once you achieve success. They’re always there. But I’ve also learned they’re not meant to be malignant. They’re there to constantly ask you, is this what you really want?

You don’t have to know what you’re doing.

As Socrates said, “I know one thing: I know nothing.” You don’t have to know anything initially–you just have to know what you really want. Read, research, ask people for help. Try, experiment, fail, try again.

I had no idea how to run a business when I quit my job at the University of Washington in 2010 and hung out my shingle as a private prelaw adviser. But every day I read, researched, experimented, asked others for help, and over the course of six years, I built a successful and nationally known law school admissions consulting business.

I’m not special. I’m not smarter than you. I was just willing to try, try, try, and to learn from my mistakes.

Take it one step at a time.

There’s no such thing as an overnight success. People like to believe there is, but there isn’t.

Behind every “overnight success” is a student who studied slowly and thoroughly for 16 years, a guitarist who practiced 40 hours a week for 15 years, an artist who drew every day after school and after work for 20 years, and so many more people like them who were willing to put in the time.

Celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Learn from your mistakes, no matter how small. And most of all, keep moving forward one step at a time toward what you really want.

Find at least one person who will cheer you on.

People always say, “If you want to reach your goals, surround yourself with supportive, positive people.” What world do these people live in? Yes, in an ideal world, that would be wonderful. But that’s not always possible.

Sometimes the people closest to you (parents, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, partner, friends, etc.) are the ones most afraid of you changing and going towards what you really want. It sure is nice to have a ton of people cheering you on, but if you don’t have that, it’s okay.

You just need one person, one other voice besides your own saying, you can do this, keep going.

So, before I sign off, let me repeat myself.




Thank you for reading. Thank you for teaching me so much. It’s been a blast, y’all. Prelaw Guru OUT!!!

ps. Curious about my new adventures? Visit me at

Make the Most of a Law Fair or Law Forum

business-people-B&WLaw fairs and forums are great opportunities to talk to admissions deans, directors and recruiters for various law schools. These people are the gatekeepers for their respective law schools so treat them with courtesy and respect.

Follow these step-by-step tips and you’ll learn valuable information about each of your prospective law schools at the fair, while also making a great impression on the admissions reps.


  1. Check the law fair’s web site to see which schools will be at the fair and make a list of the schools you’re thinking of applying to. I recommend a diverse list of 10 schools: 2 safeties, 5-6 targets and 2-3 dreams.
  2. Get a 8.5”x11” notepad or a spiral notebook. Write the name of one school at the top of each page. Write down 2-3 questions that you want to ask each school. You usually don’t have time for more than a few questions. Leave enough space in-between each question so you have room to jot down answers.
  • DO NOT ask questions that are already answered on the law school’s web site.
  • DO NOT ask what their median LSAT and GPA are, whether they give out application fee waivers, or what kinds of classes they offer. All of these should be posted on the school’s site.
  • DO ask questions that are open-ended.
  • DO ask questions about things you researched on their site but you still aren’t clear about.

Some ideas for questions to ask:

  1. How would you describe the student culture at your school?
  2. What does your school have in place to foster collegiality between students?
  3. How does the dean communicate or meet with students? How often?
  4. What programs or services does your career center have in place to help your graduates gain an edge in the job market?
  5. What program or services does your school have to support students who are (fill-in-the-blank)…?
  6. (If the law school is located in a different city/state) What do you like most about (city)? What do you like least about (city)?

The following question can be helpful to ask if you are a “splitter”: low GPA/high LSAT or high GPA/low LSAT.

I’m majoring in _________. My GPA is ____ and my LSAT score is ____. I know you can’t tell me if I’ll get in or not but I wanted to get your advice on my situation. What do you think? Any tips?


  1. Pick out your favorite business casual outfit and shoes.
  2. Iron your clothes. Polish your shoes. Wear nice but comfortable shoes—avoid brand-new shoes.
  3. Pack a nice-looking and good-sized tote bag, purse, or messenger bag with your notepad, bottle of water, mints, phone, wallet, keys, and two pens. I don’t recommend backpacks because you want to use an easy-access bag that’s easy to get in and out of, and that can carry all the swag you’ll receive from law schools.


  1. Eat breakfast and brush your teeth after. Don’t drink coffee or smoke after you brush!
  2. Leave early and remember your bag or purse. Give yourself lots of time for arriving, parking, and walking to the event.


  1. Check-in at the front desk and get a map of the fair/forum. Start with your safety schools first.
  2. SMILE, shake hands with the rep, and introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Peg. Nice to meet you.”
  3. As an ice breaker, the rep will likely ask you what you’re majoring in and what year you are in school. While you’re conversing, avoid taking too many notes. Stay in the present, engage, listen, and make eye contact.
  4. I recommend only asking your top two questions if there are people in line behind you. If no one’s in line, then feel free to ask more questions.
  5. Write down the rep’s name or get his or her business card.
  6. At the end of your conversation, shake hands, SMILE again, and thank the rep. “Thank you–you were very helpful. It was nice meeting you.”
  7. After you’re finished conversing, step away from the table. Find a spot away from the crowd and quickly jot down anything that’s memorable on your pad. Do it NOW while your thoughts are still fresh. Take time to do this! You will be glad you did.


  1. Within 24 hours, send an email to each of the reps that you met. Let him or her know that you enjoyed meeting him or her. State briefly what you appreciated learning from him or her. If you have any other questions, include them in your email. If you are going to apply to this school, let the rep know that.
  2. Revise your list of schools. It’s normal to change your mind about some schools after attending a law fair or forum. Sometimes schools you didn’t consider very seriously end up being a top pick and a dream school ends up turning you off. Feel free to revise and adjust your list of schools—it’s all part of the process.

Want all of these tips in a printable check list? Click here.

Business people by Karen Arnold.