So You’re Going to Visit Law Schools: Part One

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Visiting a class is a great way to see how professors interact with students!

Here’s an important question: What is the best way to get a feel for what a law school is really like? The answer? Schedule a campus visit!

It’s hard to know what the classroom environment, campus culture, and student-faculty interactions at a school are like until you experience them for yourself. Do you thrive in a supportive environment where you can get to know faculty and fellow students on a personal level? Or do you perform best under the pressure of a more competitive atmosphere? Do you crave the slower pace and easy living of a college town? Or do you need the go, go, go of a city?

Every law school has its own personality. Your goal as a visiting prospective student should be to find the personality that meshes best with your learning style and social comfort zone. In this two-part series, we’ll explore some of the things you should think about when planning your law-school visits.

Here are some things to consider before you head to campus:

  1. What is the school’s visit procedure? Most admission offices will want you to schedule your visit in advance by signing up on the school’s website. Some may allow for drop-in visitors, but it’s always better to register ahead of time if you can. Drop-ins may miss out on class observations, student interactions, and meetings with admission office personnel. Check out the admissions website and be sure to follow the school’s instructions for registering for your visit.
  2. What kind of visit will this be? Many schools offer meetings with members of the admission office during your visit. An important thing to know ahead of time is whether this is an
    informational meeting or a formal interview that will be used as part of the admission process. If it’s the former, treat the meeting as an informal Q&A with an expert on law school admissions. It’s a great opportunity to get all your burning questions answered! If it’s the latter (and the school should let you know if that’s the case), approach the meeting as you would an important job interview. Dress in professional attire, do your research ahead of time, practice your elevator speech, and be sure you know why you’d love to attend that school!
  3. When will you go? Obviously, you’ll want to pick a time that works for you, but if at all possible, schedule your visit when classes are in session. Don’t visit on a weekend or during holidays and breaks. You want to see the school in action and interact with as many people as possible.
  4. Do you visit before your decision or after? Another important consideration – will you wait until you know your admission decision or visit before you find out? If you have the time, then by all means, visit early! But at the very least, you should visit every school you have been admitted to and are seriously considering attending. As mentioned above, there is just no better way to know whether or not you will feel comfortable at that school. You need to visit to find your best fit!

Next time in Part 2…the Dos and Don’ts of law school visits.