By Brian Reid
At some point in the law school application process, you will have to answer the most important question – where will you attend? Determining what law school is the right fit for you is crucial, and the best way to decide is a personal visit. Visiting the law schools you are considering is an essential part of the decision-making process and one that should not be overlooked.
Here are some tips for your visit:
- Consider When You Will Visit
Planning out your visits to law schools can be time-consuming – especially if you are still in school or working full time – so make sure you plan early so that the visit is both feasible and beneficial. It’s always best to visit when classes are in session so you can see the school, and the community, in full gear. Check whether there are any events being hosted for prospective and/or admitted students coming up that would give you a chance to learn the most about the school in one visit. Make sure to look at the academic calendar and avoid school breaks and examination periods if at all possible.
If your schedule absolutely won’t allow you to visit, ask if the school offers a virtual tour and can connect you electronically with faculty and current students. Nevertheless, your first course of action should always be an in person visit.
- Reach Out to the Admission Office
Coordinate your visit with the admission office to make the most of your time on campus. See when the office will be hosting events and offering student-led tours. If you want to meet with an admission or financial aid counselor while on campus, observe a class, or speak with a faculty member, be sure to plan your visit early so they can coordinate the most opportunities for you in one day.
- Explore and Look Around
Once you arrive on campus, make sure you are taking notes (physically or mentally). What is the building like? What are the students doing? Where are student services? Most importantly – can you see yourself here? Visiting is your chance to experience the school and envision your life as a student there. Consider what’s inside and outside of the law school. Can you talk to your professors in their office in between classes? Are there internship opportunities right outside the law school doors?
- Ask Questions
This is where a bit of homework helps before your visit. Consider exactly what it is that you want to learn about and arrive prepared with questions. If there is a particular person you are hoping to connect with while you are on campus, it’s best to reach out to the admission office early so they can coordinate a meeting. Your visit is an opportunity to ask questions about the school, student life, alumni, housing, and much more, so be prepared with specific questions to ensure that those questions are answered.
- Strike up a Conversation
If you are on campus, strike up a conversation with current students or a faculty member. If you’ve coordinated a class observation during your tour, ask if you can briefly chat with the professor after class. See if your tour will be given by a current student or if there is an opportunity to connect with one while you are on campus. Having these conversations will give you a sense of the camaraderie, accessibility, and helpfulness of the school’s community.
Come relaxed and excited for your visit. This is, after all, where you are considering spending the next few years of your life and you want to put your best foot forward but also act like yourself.
Brian Reid is the Assistant Director of Admission for Suffolk Law School and a double alumnus of Suffolk University.