Transfer Students: The "Why Did You Transfer" Question

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Transfer Students: The "Why Did You Transfer" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:35 pm

Any transfers care to weigh in on what kind of approaches they have taken to the "why did you transfer question?" I had the awkward position of interviewing in a secondary market for a summer position, and the person interviewing me attended the school that I transferred from. Frankly, I have no idea if I would have gotten the interview had I not transferred (it was from a mass mailing in a market that my former school does not normally place students in), but it was tough to dance around that one.

Is "access to markets I wouldn't have had access to at my old school" a sufficient answer (I am assuming this would work in DC/NY/CHI if these markets didn't come to my old school)? I have also thought about "academic opportunities" as an answer, but is there a way to put that tactfully to the interviewer without it sounding like "I am getting a superior education at new school X and you didn't at your school?" Maybe spin it so it is like "I am getting a better education at new school X and that will only make me a better lawyer once I am practicing"?

I had also considered "because I want to eventually be an adjunct prof and new school has more people who teach" but that seems irrelevant since I would be interviewing for firm position for the summer and they wouldn't care about anything like that (and in fact it might hurt since it would seem like I would be not committed to practicing).

I didn't think this question would be that hard to answer, but it's turning out to be a bit more difficult than I anticipated. Would be curious to hear how this was handled by others.

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Re: Transfer Students: The "Why Did You Transfer" Question

Postby Arrow » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:46 pm

Obviously, you should tell the truth (but we all know that you should phrase it tactfully).

For some, the easy answer is obvious and simple if there is a geographical preference or family members involved.

For me, I definitely transferred for the employment prospects. Law school is run like a business, and students should also treat it like one. I am simply trying to get the best return possible on my investment.

In addition, when I saw the OCI at my school, I did not realize how limited I was. Now, at Berkeley and even in this economy where OCI hiring has fallen, there are SO MANY more firms (comparatively) in the location that I want to work in. Firms really have focused more of their hiring from the top schools in this economy, and it makes sense to go where the firms want to go. I mean, a lot of these firms that I am now bidding on do not even interview at my old school.

While I definitely could have done okay at my old school and likely (or well hopefully) gotten a big law job, it is about increasing your percentages. You cannot always just bank on luck, and while transferring is tough in the short run, it will hopefully be well worth it in the long run.

I cannot say I am getting a "superior" education because first, I just started at the second school so I cannot make a comparison. Second, there are great professors (and not so great ones) everywhere. It is hard to say that teachers are better lecturers here than somewhere else. I will be doing a lot of reading on my own regardless of where I attend, so I personally cannot claim that my new school gives a superior education (or not yet at least).

For some, it is just important to better their life. We want to do the best we can, and I feel like most interviewers would understand that you are trying to get a job, especially in this economy.

For me, if I get an interviewer from my old school, I will tell him the truth. It was a tough decision. In a good economy, there would be a lot more firms interviewing and I would be able to get a big firm job. In addition, in a good economy, I would have gotten a better scholarship. In fact, someone with the same ranking as me (slightly lower actually) got almost twice the money I got two years ago. I love my old school, and I wanted to stay but the times have changed and I felt like it was very important to adapt to the changing environment in order to succeed.

Best of luck in your OCI.

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Re: Transfer Students: The "Why Did You Transfer" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:41 pm

It really depends on why you did transfer. If you transferred because the job prospects were much better simply saying that you transferred because it opened up so many more doors would work.

I personally find the "why did you go to original school" question much tougher (which was asked a few times). I have said just the scholarship money but I am not sure that is such a good response. I think this would be an even tougher question for people who went to a lower ranked school without any money just because it was the best school they could get into (particularly because firms are looking for the "most intelligent" and "most hard working and motivated" people, so saying you did poorly on the lsat and or had a shitty UGPA wouldn't really work well).

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