Tips for Visiting Law Schools
If possible, you should visit every law school that you are thinking of attending. A visit is a chance to both demonstrate your interest and to test it.
Some law schools, such as Berkeley, offer detailed information to prospective visitors. Others don’t. Your first step is to review such information if it’s available.
Let the admissions office know you are coming. As long as their website doesn’t tell you not to come knocking, ask them (via email or a phone call) if you can have a conversation with an admissions officer while you’re there. If they say yes—or if they have an open-office policy—you should treat it as an interview. See our interview tips. You should also request a tour of the school from an admissions officer or student.
Try not to schedule a visit during exams or a holiday break, since you won’t get a representative picture of the environment. Try to observe faculty and students, and ask them questions if you get the chance. Look inside the classrooms, the library, the seminar rooms, the journal offices, the faculty offices, the clinics, and the student lounge area. Ask to see the administrative offices if possible.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this the kind of school at which I would feel comfortable?
- Do I like the feel of the building, the campus, and the surrounding neighborhood?
- Do the students seem friendly and happy?
- Can I see myself spreading out in the student lounge, library, or other common space with a study group?
- Are the classrooms and common spaces clean and well-maintained?
- Is the technology in the library and classrooms up to date and functional?
- Does it feel like the school is investing in the learning environment?
- Did the administrators engage with me? If I had a problem, how easy would it be to get an appointment with someone who could help me?
- How accessible are the faculty? Do they hold office hours? Do they have an open-door policy? Are their offices easy to find?
- Did I feel cared for on my visit?
- Where do the law students generally live?
- How do the current students feel about the facilities, faculty, and administration?
Answers to these questions cannot be found in a school’s ranking or a marketing brochure. Whether you feel comfortable at a school will depend on who you are and what you are looking for. You should know how you feel about the campus before committing the next three years of your life to it.
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