6 Tips to help with your Law School Search
The LSAC website is daunting, theres no doubt about it. When I first registered I didn't know where to begin and I had no one really to help me navigate the waters. Bottom line to someone who has never seen the website before, it is very confusing to use.
First and foremost you must create an account on LSAC. LSAC is annoying but its so much easier once you register. You can sign up for the LSAT and access applications all in one place. It's amazing. One amazing tool on the LSAC website is the law school search tool. You can access this tool at any time when using the website. The tool allows you to add your LSAT score and GPA, and it will determine what school might be a fit for you. I say might lightly because this is solely based off of numbers.... and you, the smart human you are..are more than a number. Now this tool is great, BUT I want to emphasize that law schools look to more than just numbers, they look at your whole application. Most importantly your personal statement.
Your future is not determined by a number.
Whatever schools you're considering applying to you can just add them and you don't have to commit or fill out their application. But it helps to know they're there and what numbers they typically accept. Keep in mind you can also call schools and speak to admissions counselors to get more information. But with so many schools at the click of your laptop, it's really hard to decide what to look for.
Tip #1: Get uncomfortable
Let me tell you the story about a girl who decided to attend a school that wasn't even on her list. My law school was no where NEAR my options. I was looking at mainly schools in NYC but God had other plans for me. Sometimes the thing we least suspect is actually the best thing for us. Don't not pick a school because its not somewhere you see yourself. Now is the time to play your chances and get uncomfortable. As humans, we tend to grow in un-natural situations. You have to be willing to be flexible with your search. Be open-minded!
Tip #2: Consider your interests
Are you interested in practicing criminal law? family law? immigration? If you have a clue as to what area you want to do definitely look into a school's programs and see if they have one thats a good fit for you, Do they have supportive faculty in that field that you can reach out to? Are there opportunities for you to have hands on experience in these fields? All of these are questions to consider. Even if you're undecided as to what area you want to practice, you might want to look for a school that offers a wide variety of law studies as well as lots of faculty that can help gear you towards the right study. I’m in that position right now and with my summer internship I’m getting the chance to dip my feet in and try new areas of law that are of interest to me.
Tip #3: Consider class size
When conducting your search you might want to contact the school to see if you could sit in on a virtual class or a physical class if that is being offered. Are you a person that learns best in a larger class setting or a smaller one? You might want to appeal to a school that suits your learning style best.
Tip #4: Study Abroad Opportunities
Having the opportunity to pursue international legal education is something I will always advocate for. Future employers LOVE seeing that people studied abroad. Having an international perspective on the legal field is so important as the same legal issues that we handle here in the United States definitely is affected by how other countries handle those issues. Most law schools offer their students the chance to study abroad in one or 2 countries as opposed to undergrad where the opportunities are endless. Definitely check out what the schools you are looking at offers and don't be afraid to expand your horizons.
Tip #5: Academic Support Services
Listen, it's hard adjusting to law school. The first semester tends to be the toughest one. You might want to look into whether the school you're considering offers any kind of extra help or academic support that you can lean on. Personally at my school, we have a first year seminar where the professor taught us about briefing, IRAC, how to answer exam questions, and other study strategies. We also could meet with her one on one as needed. Essentially your style of studying will evolve in law school so it’s important to look to see if your school provides resources that help with the adjustment.
Tip #6 : Mental Health Resources
"Law school is stressful" said every law student ever. It's life changing and what you do now, impacts how you handle things in your legal career. It can be a fun, amazing, experience but also...it can be mentally exhausting. You might want to consider whether or not your school provides you with services that can help you in times you need it. Remember these exhist to help YOU. Mental health is soooo important and so easy to take for granted.
At the end of the day this is YOUR choice so choose wisely but also remember everything happens for a reason!