Choosing a law school without visiting?

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jumpropeck
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Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby jumpropeck » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:25 pm

Due to a work schedule that requires traveling mon-fri, I will not be able to visit more than 1 of the schools I am choosing between (at least prior to the deposit deadlines). I would have scheduled vacation but too many questions would have been asked of me as to why. I am not ready to disclose my plans to leave my company to attend law school in the fall. Are any of you in the same situation? Is anyone planning on having to deliberate between schools without visiting them?

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anthonyc350
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby anthonyc350 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:40 pm

I currently live abroad, so yes. Although if I was in the US I'd probably find the time considering the investment.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:08 pm

Ya my company is a bit nosy too, so I just lie. You have accrued vacation days, right? Its nobody's business how you use them, least of all your company. You have the right to use them however you want. Just tell them you are going on a relaxing vacation to wherever, and visit law schools while you're there. It's not that unusual or uncommon.

However I can only visit a few of them anyways, I dont think its that crazy to join a school without visiting. When visiting you generally only see what they want you to see anyways.

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thepcv
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby thepcv » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:17 pm

Yeah, I'll be in Africa until just before law school starts, so there's no way I can visit any of the schools beforehand. I'm really not too worried about it; I've been doing a significant amount of research on my top choices so that I can make as educated a choice as possible. The only aspect that really concerns me is securing housing, but even that--with things like craigslist and housing boards maintained by many law schools--shouldn't be too much of a problem.

JOThompson
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby JOThompson » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:28 pm

Don't commit three years of your life and a burden of debt to a school you haven't physically visited. The literature published by top schools sounds remarkably similar, but the individual atmospheres can vary greatly. I visited around twenty five schools and some of the schools that initially seemed great didn't turn out to be a good fit for me. On the other hand, certain programs/cities that I wasn't originally interested in were able to win me over with their unique environments.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:43 pm

JOThompson wrote:Don't commit three years of your life and a burden of debt to a school you haven't physically visited. The literature published by top schools sounds remarkably similar, but the individual atmospheres can vary greatly. I visited around twenty five schools and some of the schools that initially seemed great didn't turn out to be a good fit for me. On the other hand, certain programs/cities that I wasn't originally interested in were able to win me over with their unique environments.



How were you able to determine the atmosphere so well from visiting the schools? Maybe I am doing something wrong, not looking in the right places, talking to the right people etc, but I've visited a few schools and I just feel that you see what they want you to see, and not much else. I find it pretty hard to experience how it would be to live in a place and go to a certain school based on an hour visit.

Do you have any tips on discovering the true atmosphere of a place while visiting?

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beesknees
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby beesknees » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:53 pm

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Last edited by beesknees on Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

JOThompson
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby JOThompson » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:53 pm

iShotFirst wrote:
JOThompson wrote:Don't commit three years of your life and a burden of debt to a school you haven't physically visited. The literature published by top schools sounds remarkably similar, but the individual atmospheres can vary greatly. I visited around twenty five schools and some of the schools that initially seemed great didn't turn out to be a good fit for me. On the other hand, certain programs/cities that I wasn't originally interested in were able to win me over with their unique environments.



How were you able to determine the atmosphere so well from visiting the schools? Maybe I am doing something wrong, not looking in the right places, talking to the right people etc, but I've visited a few schools and I just feel that you see what they want you to see, and not much else. I find it pretty hard to experience how it would be to live in a place and go to a certain school based on an hour visit.

Do you have any tips on discovering the true atmosphere of a place while visiting?

I found the best way to gauge the atmosphere is by sitting in on at least one class, speaking with students in the cafeteria, bumping into a professor, and otherwise hanging around and observing the school for awhile. I always took notes, listing what I perceived to be the pros and cons of the place. That's a more organic experience than just being schmoozed at an admitted students event. Of course, what you see and conclude will depend on your personal needs. Even with differing criteria, I think that most people will get a different vibe from a school like Cardozo than one such as William and Mary. Personally, I feel like I would've made awful mistakes by choosing my schools on the basis of ranking alone. I discovered a lot about my own desired comfort zone and learning style by checking out so many schools. Anyhow, good luck!

Beesknees: If you can't visit, then you can't visit. No denying that. If you have the opportunity, I'd highly recommend taking it though. I was of the "career prospects will dictate my decision" mindset for awhile, and I realize that's the main deciding point for some people, but I know I would've been miserable if I primarily based my choice on that criteria.

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beesknees
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby beesknees » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:05 pm

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Last edited by beesknees on Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JOThompson
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Re: Choosing a law school without visiting?

Postby JOThompson » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:19 pm

For sure. I admittedly didn't have much experience or knowledge about the cities/schools on the coasts, but I harbored some strange, unexplainable ambition to live there. I explored, researched, observed as much as I could and ultimately found that I didn't want to study or practice in NYC/Boston/DC/LA/SF/etc. I'm probably an atypical case since I lacked clear direction from the outset, but I do feel that visiting allows certain students to discover what they truly want/need out of a school/region.




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