Law School Waiting Game
The law school application process is anything but easy:
- You’ve scrutinized the contents of at least a dozen law school catalogs and Web sites.
- You’ve survived the Law School Admission Test.
- You’ve struggled to write the flawless personal statement, a document so complete and convincing that even the most seasoned admission officer can’t help but be impressed.
- You’ve solicited (what you hope are glowing) recommendations from faculty and colleagues.
- You’ve sent off applications to the law schools of your choice.
Now comes the really tough part. It’s called Playing the Law School Waiting Game…
This phase of the application process can be tedious. For better or worse, your destiny now lies in the hands of the law schools to which you’ve applied. We understand. And we sympathize.
So what can you do during this “waiting to hear” period? Here are some tips from our law students about how you can begin to prepare yourself for law school well in advance of the first day of classes. Some recommendations are fanciful; others are serious. In either event, we trust you’ll find them helpful.
Here's What You can do:
Operate on the assumption you’ll be admitted to many of the law schools to which you have applied. At some point in the near future, you’ll need to begin making difficult choices among the law school options available to you. Our advice is to begin that process now by listing the chief characteristics you’re looking for in a law school. You may want to include things like location, the facility, cost, available financial aid, faculty quality, composition of the student body, and reputation of the school among members of the bar and bench. Surely there will be other factors which occur to you. The point is to commit these considerations to paper now, and use them as a checklist to evaluate the various schools you finally consider.
Sound debt management is an essential element in planning a financial strategy for law school. Some key pieces of advice in this regard:
- Pay off (or significantly reduce) credit card debt and other forms of consumer debt. Do it now.
- Save as much money as possible to apply toward your legal education and related costs, and don’t rely on borrowing any more than you absolutely must to finance your legal education.
- Keep lifestyle expectations consistent with your financial resources, and do not expect to live like a well-paid lawyer while in law school.
Now is the time to complete the applications necessary to be considered for financial aid (if you’ve not already done so). These invariably include the FAFSA, but individual law schools often require that you complete additional forms. Find out what they are. In fact, make yourself intimately familiar with the whole range of requirements for receiving financial aid. You’ll never regret getting fully up to speed in this critical area.
Spend time doing the things you most enjoy. Read a good book. Take a long walk. Plan a weekend getaway. Plant some flowers. Chat frequently with friends. Listen to music. Visit a museum. Get tickets for a concert or your favorite sporting event. Go skiing or sailing or swimming or hiking. In sum, have some fun. No kidding.
Write down all the reasons you want to be a lawyer. Put the list in a safe place and plan to refer to it often in the weeks and months ahead. If you’re so inclined, share a copy of your list with the two or three people who know you best. When you are studying for 1L exams next year, call these folks. Ask them to remind you (!) why you’re in law school.
In deciding to go to law school, you are making a significant personal-and financial-investment in your future. Treat the investment seriously. Find out as much as you can about each law school you’re considering.
- Visit the schools. Meet with admission and financial aid professionals. Sit in a class or two. Talk to students.
- Query lawyers in practice. Ask the tough questions.
- Reread law school literature. And get your hands on as much additional material as you can.