You Got In – Now What?

Law School applicants often plead with Admissions Officers to “look beyond the numbers” when evaluating their applications.  That’s good advice for applicants as well.  Do your homework first and know the facts about the law schools, but, after you’ve been admitted, when you’re making your final choice, visit the law schools and use your powers of observation and intuition to look beyond the law school’s numbers.

Do Your Homework First 

This advice to use your powers of observation and intuition assumes, of course, that you’ve done your homework.  You and your advisors—whether family members, pre-law advisors at your undergraduate institution, or the JD team at InGenius Prep, will have helped you research schools and make good strategic choices about where to apply, based both on your qualifications and on information about the schools.  You know the facts about:

  • admissions (such as LSAT and GPA ranges of admitted students);
  • the law school experience (student-faculty ratio, class sizes, range of course offerings, etc.);
  • post-law school opportunities (placement rates, bar passage rates, etc.)

Once your decision letters begin to arrive, you’re likely—given a good mix of target schools—still to have a decision to make.

Visiting Law Schools

You may have already made some law school visits as you were making your choices about where to apply.  If you have the time and resources, it might be good to visit again – with the new perspective of having been admitted.  Schools are likely to include information about opportunities to visit in their packets for admitted students.  Before you visit, review your facts and determine what further questions you want to ask admissions officers, faculty and students.  The schools will remind you of all the information they think will help you make the choice to attend their institutions, including not only facts, but also information about the intangibles that contribute to the quality of life at their institutions.

Harness your Powers of Observation and Intuition 

During these visiting days, schools will put their “best foot forward”—just as you have done in your applications.  It is up to you to evaluate all the information you are given and come to your own conclusions about the right decision for you.  The most important question for you to ask at this point is “Will I thrive here?”—not a question that can be answered with facts alone.  Open your eyes to what you see around you, as well as to what you hear and are given to read.  Ask yourself questions such as these:

  • “What’s my experience as I visit here?”
  • “Do I feel excited/honored/challenged?”
  • “Can I imagine myself as a student here?”

The clues to the answers will be found in your observations of the physical environment, of student activities and social life, and of student/faculty/staff interaction—whether in the classroom, the dining halls or the dormitories.  The law school will be your environment for three intensive years.  Will the environment of the school make it possible for you to do your best work and accomplish your own goals?

If you need want to work with someone to narrow down your options and make your ultimate choice, InGenius has student coaches who have struggled with the same very decision that are ready to help you at a moment’s notice.

About the Author

For 17 years, I was the Director of Admissions at Yale Law School. As a senior member of the Admissions team, my duties included all aspects of admissions: management, planning, strategy, file-reading, and pre- and post-admission recruitment. My commitment to the Law School expressed itself first and foremost through a dedication to serving well all the people who encountered our office – whether applicant, pre-law advisor, admitted student, or faculty member. I particularly enjoyed talking with applicants about discerning what path was right for them.

Since then I have honed my skills as a writer and as an applicant by working as a grant-writer for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. It helped me that I knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of an application! I look forward to using this knowledge and skill set to help set you off on a rewarding path for yourself.

Originally from Illinois, I have lived on the east coast since my college days in Minnesota, but love to travel, especially to see family and friends scattered across the continent and around the globe. To feed my soul, I am active as an amateur classical musician, as a lover of folk music, as a folk dancer and as a member of my faith community.