By now, this year’s law school applicants have been through the most trying elements of the application process and are finally (hopefully) coming out the other side with acceptances from some of their schools of choice. Law schools are welcoming their prospective students to visit for specific events or to simply take a tour to see what they’re all about. And while it should be fairly obvious why you would want to go and visit a school in person before you decide to start sending them your $180k worth of tuition checks, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can be sure you get the most out of a law school visits as an admitted student.
To start, think of each law school visit from the mindset that you will be attending that school in a few short months. And if you’re visiting a school that you have no intention of attending under any scenario, then good on you for having the free time, but I would highly suggest a number of other spring vacay destinations that don’t involve guided tours of random law school campuses. So thinking as a “future student” visiting this law school, what’s going to be important for you to learn from your visit?
Experience the academic offerings
Let’s hope that as a soon-to-be JD student, you have a true interest in studying law, and maybe even a particular interest in a certain area of law. One of the great things about visiting a law school as an admitted student is that you will probably be able to experience some of the academic highlights of a law school, especially if you plan ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to contact professors who teach classes that hold special interest for you, because this could give you a chance to set up a meeting with these professors during your time at the school or to sit in on one of their classes. Maybe the material in a mid-semester class will be over your head, but you could still appreciate that the students in the class are engaged or the professor goes out of their way to support individual students who reach out.
Preview your life as a law student
If you want to get a better sense of whether you could see yourself as a law student at a given school on your tour, you should treat your visit like a day in the life of a law student. An admitted students’ weekend can be a great chance to take advantage of activities geared specifically to people in the same boat as you (and to scrounge for some free food), but you may find that your actual law school time is mostly spent in a few places on campus that aren’t a main feature of your admitted student events. In your own time, be sure to check out the library, some convenient food spots, and anywhere else that current students spend significant time. It could give you the most realistic idea of the school’s culture and a basis for evaluating the question hanging over all of your law school visits–do people seem happy here?
Make a plan for your transition
If you’ve narrowed down your law school choices and you can truly picture yourself attending the school you’re visiting, it’s time to think logistically. Do you plan to spend your first year in grad school housing, or is there a neighborhood nearby where you plan to find an apartment? Do you expect to have roommates? How are you going to find them? Do you need a new computer, and is your computer going to be compatible with the school’s exam software? You get the idea. If this area may very well be your home for the next three years, a visit is the perfect time to start looking into the more technical considerations of your transition to school.
If you’ve reached this stage of visiting law schools as an admitted student, then congratulations on making it to this point! From your enviable position (from the perspective of current LSAT students), you’re ready to get the most out of a law school tour knowing that you’re experiencing a school that could very well set the course for the next years of your life.