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.


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