Choosing a law school is a strenuous decision for every applicant. There are many different factors to consider and assign individual weights to. Like any good prospective law student knows, research is key. And although the next LSAT for 2018 admission won’t be administered until June of this year, you can never begin your due diligence too early. An excellent way to conduct this research is by speaking directly to an admission officer at each law school. The following are questions that will assist you in these discussions and your ultimate decision.
1. What programs are available for specific areas of law?
If you already have a passion for a certain area, this is a great question to ask in order to learn if this school can accommodate that career path. It is important to first research the school to identify certain classes, programs, and organizations available in that field. With this completed, you will be able to ask more detailed questions concerning the specific options available at this school.
2. What are the most common career paths for graduates at your school?
This question will help you to discover if the school has a track record in local private practices or state and federal government offices and agencies. Much like wanting to ensure that there are specific programs available at the school you are interested in, it is important to choose a school that can assist in your desired career path.
3. What is the percentage of employment upon graduation?
This is a great follow up question to the previous one. Almost all students become worried close to graduation time about securing employment. Not only will you want a good office to start your career at but you may have substantial student debts with payments fast approaching. A law school with a high percentage for graduates securing employment upon graduation will help alleviate these anxieties.
4. Does the school offer opportunities for students to meet current practicing attorneys?
A term that you will inevitably hear constantly throughout your law school career is “networking.” Professors and guidance counselors will tell you that successfully being able to network within the legal community will be crucial to not only obtaining internships and a job upon graduation, but also for you to have a successful career. Many schools will host events for students and professionals to attend such as socials within a specific legal event, alumni relations events, speaker presentations and many more. These are great opportunities for students to meet current practicing attorneys and to develop lasting relationships.
5. Is there a class I can sit in on or a current student I can speak further with?
Being able to view an actual law school class is the closest experience that you can get to what the next three years of your life will be like. This would allow you to assess teaching style, legal discussions, and camaraderie or possibly lack thereof between students. Speaking to a current student would also be an opportunity worth asking for. Here, you can get their honest opinion on the school and even ask questions you may be afraid to ask an admissions officer.
Making the best decision for yourself and your family – because this will impact them as well – is essential to how you will perform during your time as a student. Law school is a huge investment, and not just of a financial nature. Asking the right questions not only ensures a more informed decision, it shows the admissions office your level of commitment to the process. Admissions personnel spend long hours reading applications and taking inquiries. It is a waste of their time and yours to apply to an institution you have no intention of attending or that isn’t truly the right fit. Make the most of any opportunities you have to correspond with admissions personnel. Do your research, come prepared, and of course, bring these top five questions.