Moments ago, I logged off my last Zoom session with Ellen. We spent the last hour reflecting back on our three years working together and after I clicked “leave meeting” I noticed I began to tear up. To me, Ellen is so much more than an LSAT tutor and mentor; Ellen truly is one of my closest friends.
My Second Year of Undergrad:
I realize that this would probably be a good point to introduce myself. First and foremost, I am not a paid actor. Everything in this reflection comes from my own experiences and I am writing this because I remember how daunting the law school process seemed three years ago when I was in your shoes.
I reached out to Ellen because I had an inkling I wanted to attend law school straight after graduation. This path is coined “KJD” which is a fancy way to say Kindergarten – Juris Doctor. I didn’t know this at the time, but most people don’t take this path. Instead of discouraging me from my goal, Ellen did exactly what I needed: she gave it to me straight and told me that I would have to score extremely high on the LSAT and keep my undergrad GPA up. She also recommended I gain as much legal experience as possible during undergrad so I could be certain of my choice to apply straight through by the time my senior year of college came around.
Later that week, I took my first LSAT and scored a 152. Ellen was throwing around numbers 170+ and saying things like “zeroing” logic games; meanwhile, I was staring at eleven red circles per section. At this point, I was overwhelmed with imposter syndrome. I was fearful that Ellen would be disappointed and tell me my goal was out of sight because I truly believed it would be impossible.
When I hopped on our second meeting, I braced myself for what I assumed Ellen would say about needing to lower my expectations. However, my diagnostic score never came up. Looking back, this makes perfect sense. No matter where you are in life, if you tell Ellen what your goals are, even if you don’t believe in yourself and you don’t think you can achieve those goals, Ellen will believe in you.
Reading Ellen’s Book:
This section is dedicated to the skimmers. If you work with Ellen, the first thing she will do is instruct you to read her book. I consider myself a pretty great skimmer so obviously I skimmed it. Somehow… she knew? And she told me she knew. So, I did what most of you are probably thinking, I skimmed the next couple chapters a bit better. I am telling you, she is a wizard, she will know every single time you cut a corner. I think there is a tendency for college students to cut corners during their prep because it truly is a lot on top of a heavy course load. Now, let’s just say I tried every shortcut possible, so whatever you are thinking of, I can tell you it won’t work. Looking back, I was only hurting myself. After wasting weeks, I went back to page one and created an 80 page single spaced study guide on Ellen’s book.
My sophomore year: LR
Since all of my sections needed improvement, Ellen and I began by tackling LR. The first technique Ellen will likely teach you is how to “translate” a stimulus and this is where Ellen’s personality comes into play. You will be translating approximately a billion of these stimuli over the course of your LSAT journey and Ellen’s sense of humor makes this incredibly fun. I never thought I would laugh so much when prepping for the LSAT but Ellen can put a funny twist on the most boring of all stimuli whether it’s on Nethanderals or how dryers shrink garments. When searching for an LSAT tutor, I wouldn’t have ever considered finding somebody that had a sense of humor but I think Ellen perceived that humor was something that motivated me and incorporated it into every session.
My junior year: My academics and internships
Ellen and I worked on my LR sections for a number of months; however, I think it’s important to mention the manner in which she advised and supported me in other sectors of my life during this time. One benefit of beginning to work with Ellen on the early side of the law school admissions process was she helped me stay organized to keep up my GPA. I came up with study plans for my courses with Ellen and often would ask her for advice regarding what my schedule should be like during registration. She proofread my cover letters, retailored my resume, and ran mock interviews with me during our session. I ended up keeping my GPA high and getting multiple top choice internships.
My junior year: RC and Games
The bulk of my LSAT prep took place during my third year. After studying LR, we moved to RC. Ellen brought the same charisma and humor to our RC studying that she did with LR. From that point, we pivoted to implementing Ellen’s games method which is truly phenomenal. I went from -11 on games to -2 within a couple of weeks. Finally, I was ready to start doing full practice tests and I scored a 170 on my first practice test after working with Ellen.
Regardless, I still didn’t feel ready for my upcoming LSAT. I thought my practice scores were a fluke and tried to push the test off multiple times. However, Ellen assured me that I was ready and although I went into the test certain that I would prove her wrong, I ended up scoring in the low 170s on the real exam.
My fourth year: Ellen as a mentor
I was ecstatic with my first LSAT score. I was certain I did the best I could possibly do and I was ready to apply in the upcoming cycle. However, Ellen knew that I could do better. We went back and heavily reviewed what specific types of questions I was missing and it became clear that I was missing points on argument part questions and parallel flaw questions. With this specificity, I was able to perfect my logical reasoning and began scoring in the mid 170s on practice tests. I felt a hundred times more confident on the material but I was still extraordinarily fearful of retaking the LSAT. I was fearful that I would make careless mistakes and my score would lower from what I thought was my best work. However, by my third year, I had really built up a relationship with Ellen, I truly trusted her. At this point, I was also struggling with something else going on in my life and Ellen tailored my LSAT study schedule so I could get through this period while still staying on track to apply straight through and retake the exam. This was an extremely hard point in my life and I will be forever grateful that Ellen was so unbelievably supportive and created a space which prioritized my mental health while staying on track.
As soon as September came, we dove into the application process. We began this process by talking about my life and how I looked at the world. At the time, I remember wondering how this was possibly applicable to my personal statement. However, this big picture approach was extraordinarily helpful because after a couple of conversations I knew exactly what I wanted to write my statement about. I worked harder than I thought I was capable of in September with balancing my 13 applications, my internship, and my LSAT prep for my retake. By the end of September, my applications were complete and I was back to LSAT prep.
A couple of days before my fall exam, I remember calling Ellen and telling her it wasn’t worth retaking the exam. I explained that I was proud of my application and I should just let it be and cancel the retake. She was understanding but nicely said that if she was in my shoes, she would want to show the admissions committees exactly how good she was at the LSAT exam. She assured me that I was far better than I was in January and with this boost of confidence, I sat for the exam. During the test, I kept reminding myself of exactly what she said, I kept reminding myself that this was my chance to put everything I learned down onto the page. I ended up scoring in the mid 170s and getting accepted to both of my top choice law schools.
All in all, if you relate to anything in this account, I cannot recommend Ellen enough. I would be happy to speak with anybody considering working with Ellen and answer any admissions or LSAT related questions.