Selecting A Law School
Law school will be your home for three years, so you want to be confident in your decision of where to attend. There are multiple aspects of making this decision, and we have illustrated some of the main components below.
Consider your background and determine the size of the place you want to live. If you are from a small town, a large city like Manhattan might sound intimidating. Larger cities have perks like more activities and potentially more opportunities. Smaller towns also have positives like having relationships with more people and spending less time on your daily commute. Also, take into consideration the distance you will be from your friends and family. For some students, living twelve hours away from their family is not an issue. Others prefer to be closer to their loved ones. If you have always dreamed of living in a certain location, for example, DFW, don't be afraid of applying to multiple schools within that area.
Law school can be expensive. This can be unsettling, but it is important to remember that your education is an investment in your future. Law schools also have scholarships and financial aid that they offer to students in order to help offset costs. To learn more about these opportunities, research the law schools you are interested in attending. A law school's 509 Report will have information regarding the number of students receiving scholarships and how much money they are receiving. These reports also have information regarding the school's diversity and employment rates. When looking at the cost of law schools, you should not just look at tuition. There are also other factors like cost of living. You will have to pay for things like rent, food, and utilities. Living somewhere like Los Angeles may be fun, but it will also be significantly more expensive than living in a place like Lubbock. Transportation is another cost to contemplate. If you attend a law school across the country, traveling home for the holidays will be more expensive if you choose to purchase a plane ticket. It is much more cost effective to drive, but depending on the distance, it may not be an effective use of time.
Your GPA and LSAT score are not the only things that a law school will consider when determining if they will admit you, but they are significant aspects of your application. LSAC has a tool on their website where you can enter your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score to see what percentile your scores fall under for a variety of schools. You can use this as a gauge to help determine where you should apply. This tool does NOT guarantee your acceptance or rejection from a school, it is simply ONE way of seeing how you compare to the students of that school. Typically, if a student is at or above the 50th percentile for their GPA and LSAT scores of a certain school, they will be accepted. However, acceptance is also contingent upon other factors like your Personal Statement and resume. If your scores are below the 50th percentile of a certain law school, this does NOT mean you shouldn't apply there. For example, if you are at the 25th percentile, that means that the school has 25% of their class with a GPA or LSAT score that is the same or less than yours. This is a significant amount, and there is hope for you to be granted admittance.
Another factor to consider when selecting a law school is the programs offered. For example, if you are interested in pursuing Healthcare Law, there are certain schools that will offer a concentration in that field. Schools may also offer programs like live-client clinics, dual degree programs, and opportunities to practice legal writing. If you are interested in pursuing a certain program, you should research law schools to determine which offers the best opportunity for you. This information should be readily available on the law school's website. If you don't know what type of law you want to pursue that is okay! You will have plenty of time to determine that in law school.
Living in a community that shares the same beliefs and values as you is important. You should consider your faith, community, and lifestyle when making your decision of where to attend law school. Feeling safe and accepted is an essential aspect of determining where you want to spend your years in law school. All law schools value diversity and acceptance, but some are more diverse than others with regard to race, religion, and sexual orientation.
The key to finding your best fit law school is doing your research. You can find what you are looking for if you put in the time! Once you've narrowed down your list of schools, dig deeper and visit their campus. During a campus visit, you can typically interact with current students, tour the school, and sit in on law classes. You can also get a feeling for the city by visiting the law school. Deciding where to attend law school is an important and sometimes stressful decision, but we hope by providing you with these factors to consider, that your decision is a little easier!