Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

"Can I give over $100,000 to go to your school?" "Sure, just fill out this huge application and we'll get back to you in a few months."

Immediately below this posting is a picture of me that the University wanted me to post. I’m going to try to figure out how to get it posted in the top left corner of the blog (like all of the other UofM alumni that are doing the blogs).

Anyways, I promised that I would post some comments about my law school application experience. First of all, I remember that it took a long, long time to write my personal statement, but once I had it completed I basically just tweaked it a little bit for each application (there were different page requirements for different schools). I wrote my personal statement about my experience with Dance Marathon (which I will post about next). I know some people wrote about leadership, playing music, a tragedy they overcame, their experience working for human rights, why they wanted to go to law school, etc. etc. etc. I think that the topic you choose is probably important, but not the most important thing. My understanding is that they mostly just want to see how well you write.

As far as how many places to apply, I was told the following and I believe that it worked out well for me:

Apply to three schools that you are confident that you will be able to get into (safety nets)
Apply to three schools that you think you have a fairly good shot at getting into
Apply to three schools that you dream of going to (dreamer schools)

Obviously you should be able to see yourself at each one of these schools since, at the least, you have to pay for each application. Some other considerations for deciding which nine (or however many you decide) schools to apply to would be: location (city, state, and climate), programs at the school, and rankings (various). I was also able to get an offer of a scholarship at a couple of schools, which played a part in my final decision. For me location also played a large part because I really liked the city of Chicago and thought that it would be a city that I wouldn’t mind living near for years.

I also tried to visit all of the schools where I was accepted. I think that is a very important thing to do so that you can get a feel for actually being a student there. Try to go to one of the established visiting events or at least try to set up a tour with one of the current students during a private visit (they should be able to set this up if you call the admissions office). I would also suggest possibly stopping a student in the hall (if he/she doesn’t look too busy) to ask them their personal opinion of the school, since sometimes the staff and students who put on the events and private tours are prepped to say only certain good things about the law school. Also walk around the campus/city and possibly look into the housing options.

One more thing – it is important to figure out a timeline for the applications and stick to it. You don’t want to have to rush through applications and mail them out just before the deadline. Start early (October or November I believe is the usual time) and work through them carefully.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

Michael Mayer Posted by Picasa

 

There are five people...if you can tell us in what order they are standing then you can go to law school!!

It's kinda scary for me to realize that I took the LSAT over four years ago now. I also realized that many of you might be seniors that, if you were thinking of following the same path that I did, already took the LSAT and applied to law schools; but I'm going to start from the beginning anyways. Plus, it is never too late to go back to law school - I would say that about half of my law school class took some time off before going back. There's even some 60 and 70 year-olds running around the halls (and one doctor that I know of)!

Anyways, the LSAT is usually a horrible experience. It's a funky test that, it seems to me, shows little to nothing about how you will achieve in law school. I think that someone's ability to work hard is a much better factor, but I guess it is a little hard to test that in a standardized, quick way. So, instead we're stuck with still having to take the LSAT.

My words of advice for this test is to start studying for it a few months in advance, go to Kaplan class, and time yourself on practice tests. Also, read through the explanations to practice questions (if available). I remember taking my LSAT at the UofM law school. It was almost 100 degrees and the windows were closed. I asked the proctor if we could open the windows because it was so hot in there that I was sweating onto my scantron - and I don't usually sweat very much. His response was: "If everyone else agrees, then I will open them." Well, there were about 90 people in the room. 87 agreed that the windows should be opened. 3 didn't. The windows remained shut and I continued to take the horrible test in what must be an environment similar to hell. So, another word of advice is to scope out where you want to take the exam and whether that location has proper air conditioning or heating (depending on when you it).

I'll be back soon to discuss applications (or whatever questions anyone posts). I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

So you wanna stay in school for 3 more years????

Hello to my fellow Wolverines. As it states in the upper left hand corner (in what must be 60-point font), my name is Michael. I'm a 2003 University of Michigan graduate of the business school. During my time at the business school I asked myself the question that is the title to this post: "So you wanna stay in school for 3 more years?" in reference to attending law school right out of college. And my answer, after thinking that I didn't care for most of the material covered in the business school classes, was "YES." So I took the LSAT, applied to some schools, visited different cities and campuses, and settled on being a law student in Chicago. I believe that I made the right decision, but I'm obviously not sure if that would be the right decision for you. I'm here - well, actually this blog is here - to help you find out how you should answer the title question. And by the way, it might be 4 more years of school if you are planning on attending part-time.

So I invite you all to please leave some comments and questions for me on this blog. I will do my best to answer them as quickly and detailed as I can. Any and all questions are welcome, though I'm not sure if I'll be able to answer them all.

Over the next few weeks I will try to post some more information about me, my experience as a law school applicant, how my time at Michigan prepared me for law school, how I survived first year, the process of finding a job, and more.

Enjoy your St. Patty's Day and the NCAA tourney - maybe we can finally make it next year (I, unfortunately, had to suffer through the Brian Ellerbe years).

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