Which One to Choose?
Make objective Criteria
I think the best way to make a decision between schools is to make objective criteria while you are deciding which schools to apply to.
Remember the plan is to apply only to schools you would want to go to, so your options after getting accepted should all be favorable ones.
Things To Consider:
- What area of the law are you interested in? Are there faculty members in your school that share your interests and that you think you can work with?
- Where do you want to work after you graduate? Does your school have good placement rates for that part of the country or the world? Are there resources available to help you find a job where you wish to practice after graduation?
- What is your financial aid package? What is the cost of living?
- What type of environment will best suit you for three years- urban/suburban/small city/large city?
- What was the general "feel" of the school when you visited?
I tried assigning points to each of my criteria. Then I assigned points to each school after doing lots of research. I did not base my decision on this totally, but it allowed me to see each of my choices more objectively.
When Visiting Schools:
- Talk to many different students, especially those NOT involved in admissions.
- Take some time to walk around the campus, especially study areas. Do students seem stressed? Are they working together?
- Look for faculty who share your interests and can be mentors in your career.
- Ask about on-campus interview procedures. Are interviews offered based solely on GPA or class rank? How much power is given to students to choose employers to interview with?
- Seek out alumni. Are they present at school events? Are they accessible? Is there a strong alumni network?
- Ask present students about how students behave during exam times and in general. Ask students to describe the culture of the school
- Ask about students-faculty interaction. You want to be able to develop relationships with faculty so that you can have advisors and mentors throughout your career.
- Find out why present students chose this school. Which schools were they choosing among? Did they get great financial aid? Was this their "dream school" from the start?
- Take time to meet persons in the admissions office, financial aid office, international students office etc. This can make interactions easier when you leave, since you will have a "point person" who knows you and your particular concerns.
- Have fun and get to know other visiting students, they may be your future classmates!
What is really important?
There are so many facts that we hear are REALLY important for a law school, whether it is the specialty rankings, the faculty to student ratio or bar passage rate, we have to figure out what really matters.