Today we want to offer some tips on engaging the community of one’s target programs. Communicating with law school insiders can be beneficial for a number of reasons: in addition to learning about a given school and your potential fit, you can also generate material for your personal statement, demonstrate your interest in the program, and perhaps even make an ally or two. In your efforts to go beyond the schools’ websites and promotional materials, we recommend reaching out to individuals in a few key groups:
Current Students – People who are currently enrolled in a given program can obviously provide the clearest picture of the present state of the school community. They are often more capable of evoking their school’s overall culture than brochures put out by the admissions offices and can describe to prospective students the ins and outs of academic and extracurricular options, the type of students at the school, and the merits of their career services offerings.
Alumni – While students offer a great view of the program itself, a school’s alumni can often provide the best perspective on just how far a law degree from a given program can get you in a certain field. Meeting with alumni working in your target post-graduation field may help you anticipate the program’s strengths and weaknesses in setting you on the right professional course. You might also gain some valuable insight that will help you to refine your career goals and how to achieve them. Law schools are typically happy to give you the names of local alumni near you who have volunteered to discuss the program with prospective students.
Faculty – Law school professors may be less accessible than students and alumni, but if you have identified someone whose research interests match yours or sat in on a class that you found particularly intriguing, there’s no harm in sending a note to let the faculty member know that you find his or her work appealing and would like to speak if possible. These individuals, who are responsible for designing and teaching the curriculum, can offer great insight into the specific skills and lessons you would learn from one class to the next, and may help you to refine your understanding of the ways that a law degree will help you achieve your goals.
Current law school applicants should consider each of these options in the months ahead. Not only are many individuals quite pleased to discuss their experiences with prospective students, admissions committees also like thoroughly informed applicants. Of course, in all cases, patience and manners are of great importance. It’s important to send thank you notes or e-mails to each of the key people with whom you interacted, as this is not only appreciated by the recipients but may also help you in the admissions process.
For additional information about your target law schools, make sure to check out the Clear Admit Law School Guides, available for immediate download. These guides offer information on student body demographics, independent research opportunities, study abroad offerings, and more.