September 13 marks the kickoff of another exciting season…of Law School Forums! Okay, a couple have already happened, but the rest are still to come – make sure to check out the full schedule. Here are some frequently asked questions about what to expect from these forums, before you decide whether or not they are worth the trip.
First off, what are Law School Forums?
Essentially, they are daylong, open house events put on by LSAC, and attended by a myriad of law school representatives (before you start Googling “myriad” defintions, in this case it means over one-hundred schools attended each of the forums last year). Students are provided with admission materials and given the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the representatives. Additionally, the forums also include live workshops designed to inform students about a wide variety of topics, ranging from taking the LSAT to financing law school.
Are these forums worth attending?
Yes, but only if you plan on actually talking to and engaging with law school representatives. If you are like me, your first instinct upon entering the forum would probably be to walk around quietly, avoid eye-contact, maybe sign a few information sheets and take a few pamphlets, and then beat a hasty retreat; however, if you want to make your attendance worthwhile, this cannot be your approach. Rather, you need to ask targeted, probing questions that will not only help you with your applications, but also help you stand out as a candidate for admission. I would recommend asking the representatives about what they hope to see in a personal statement and what would make for a strong letter of recommendation.
With those DOs in mind, are there any important DON’Ts?
First off, you should avoid trying to pit schools against each other. It is extremely audacious and ill-advised to ask representatives why their school is better than another school. The representatives aren’t there to compete against each other, but rather to inform you about the individual merits of their institution and its application process. Another mistake would be to come to a forum without prepared, thoughtful questions. Not only will you not garner any useful information, but you will not make a good impression by asking a throwaway question (for example, don’t ask a representative about information that can easily be found online, such as a school’s median LSAT score or GPA).
All in all, the forums can be a highly useful opportunity for proactive students to learn more about their target schools. Just remember that you get out what you put in, so make sure you know the forum schedule, budget your time efficiently, and come prepared with insightful questions that will help you help yourself.