Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Law School
So, you’ve watched some court procedural drama or was an avid fan of “Suits” and decided to become a lawyer. At that moment, it’s nothing but blind ambition, as you cannot become a lawyer without proper education. Choosing a law school to get an education.
Of course, when you think about your college or university years, you think about life on campus. You think about bouncing between studies and some odd jobs to maintain a certain lifestyle. And how happy you are that there’s a cheap essay writing service EssayPro, as it can give you an extra hour of sleep between your studies and working hours.
And it’s great that you can picture the exciting college life, and not only your successful career as a lawyer afterward. But there’s one little step before it. And that step is picking the law school. And it can be a painstaking process, as you may spend lots of time figuring out which one suits you best. And that’s just the tip of an iceberg of a long process of getting a legal education.
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Choosing a Law School: Here Are Five Factors
The important thing is avoiding mistakes like being drawn to shiny objects, like the prestige of the school that you are applying to and how high it ranks, but, in the end, it may have little to no impact on your future success as a law alumnus. Thus, instead of focusing on that, you should consider five factors to determine the school of your choice.
Yes, the last thing anyone wants to consider on the way to their dream is the cost. But considering the fact that your student loans may haunt you way after your graduation, you need to take this aspect seriously. Yet, it doesn’t mean that you should opt for the cheapest one. Yet, the list of top five US law schools by fees and tuition currently looks like this:
- Columbia University (NY) – $74,995
- New York University – $71,304
- Cornell University (NY) – $70,274
- University of Chicago – $69,975
- University of Southern California – $68,828
Yes, it may seem like a lot, and that you will be buried under your student loans afterward, but checking the fees and tuition of various schools allows you to plan your budget ahead. You can also consider the prospective part-time jobs that will help you pay at least a certain percentage for your education.
If you are planning to work while studying, you should also consider how to balance work with your studies. As legal education demands your attention and success at studies, probably, more than any other education that you may apply for. And knowing the amount you may have to pay helps you to think several steps ahead.
When you get to know legal education a bit better, you will understand why the majority of law students think that the location doesn’t matter. You will be so focused on your education, that the location of the school won’t matter at all. But such an attitude is absolutely wrong. As the location of it has much more to do with your personality, rather than the cost of the trips home for the weekend or spring break.
Let’s say, you can afford to move across the country for your educational purposes. But a different state or town may have a culture that differs drastically from places you are used to. Some adjust easily, while for others it is a painful and challenging process. And based on the fact whether you are more of the former or the latter, you can pick the school.
Dig a bit about the culture of the area where the prospective school is located. Take a trip there to figure out whether you can adjust or not. You are going to spend at least three years of your life there, and that’s quite a long period. Considering the location allows you to prepare better or choose a different school before it’s too late.
Speaking about the culture, aside from the state or town, you need to consider the culture of your school per se. Actually, it’s the most important fact. No matter how prestigious the place is. The level of academics is also less important if you feel absolutely miserable with your campus life. That’s why you should pay a visit to your prospective alma mater before applying for it.
The people around you, fellow students, professors, etc., they’re going to be your family for the next three years. But in this case, you can choose the family, and it’s better to choose reasonably. Learn about the living arrangements. Ask about the competitiveness between students, as well as about mentoring opportunities.
You can go the extra mile, and find the school’s alumni online and ask them about their experience. But in this case, to get a more or less clear picture of what awaits you ahead, you should listen to the experiences of at least three graduates. After all, personal perception plays a large role in what people say.
Academic Support Programs
Another thing that you need to consider when picking the school is the academic support programs that it has. It would be great if the school offered workshops on case briefing, legal writing, and so on. Whether the school has any exam preparation initiatives. All of that will come in handy in your legal education.
Regardless of whether your prospective school has some or all of those programs, you need to make sure that it has pre-orientation classes. Those classes will provide you with a clearer picture of what it is like to be a lawyer. And it will have an impact on your post-graduate life.
Personal Post-Graduate Goals
That’s the point that a lot of law students miss. That’s why it is so important to learn everything you need about the school beforehand, instead of picking the one, which is considered the most prestigious. The main question that requires an answer when choosing a law school is whether it matches your personal goals.
Some people get legal education without knowing what exactly they are going to do after getting their diploma. Others, on the contrary, see themselves practicing intellectual property law, becoming a personal injury lawyer or opening their own law firm. Regardless of what your personal goal is, you need to make sure that you have any post-graduate opportunities that your school can support.
If you are seeking practice, make sure that your school provides you with internships that match your goals. If you are determined to open your own firm, make sure that the school can provide you with any incubation programs. It doesn’t mean that you can find internships or incubators on your own, but it’s better when your alma mater can help you with it.
Picking up the law school should always be a personalized decision of the applicant. There may be various reasons why you pick this or that school. You may just desire to become an alumnus of a particular school. But the above-mentioned factors will help you prepare better for your legal education. They also allow you to avoid decisions that you may regret afterward.