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What to do, and what not to do during virtual forums

Hi everyone,

Pursuant to some advice that I had recently received, I have signed myself up for a few "admissions roadshows". Would be great if you folks could shed light on what to expect from these events, the degree of interaction that one can have with members of the admissions committees of the law schools participating in/hosting these events, and faux passes to avoid. In essence, the things that one can/ought to do, to: (i) make the most of these events; and (ii) create a favorable impression on the admissions officers with whom one would be interacting.

Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, exactly how specific would it be advisable for one to be in relation to answering personal questions (which I am given to understand may be asked by the admissions officers)?

Thanks a bunch, and hope y'all have a great cycle!

Comments

  • Law and YodaLaw and Yoda Alum Member
    edited October 2020 4159 karma

    I think you started a great thread and I'm definitely excited to see what others share! Of the ones I have attended, they share common similarities for the most part. The structure is general across the board-an introduction about who they are, information about the law school and application process, and then a Q&A. During the Q&A some schools have "break out sessions" where they put you into a Zoom room with someone from admissions with other students. I like the break out sessions because it allows for more interaction and time to ask questions. It feels more personal and like the admission officer is really getting to know you. For the schools that don't do break out sessions, I've noticed they just take Q&As from the chat and try their best to get to all of them within a time frame. I always dress in business attire because some allow for the camera to be on while you speak to them, might as well always be prepared!

    (i) Create a word doc; Add questions you hear other students ask that could pertain to your circumstance and help you in the process. Add recommendations from the host that you found helpful. Ask your own questions too! Be authentic though, don't ask questions you think will make you stand out but rather will truly assist you in your application process.
    (ii) I think its honestly the little things, not going completely out of your way to stand out. Just trying to connect with them on a personal level. I didn't really think about it like this until the LSAC forum when the dean noticed a scratch map in my background so we ended up discussing our bucket list of places we want to visit for roughly 10 minutes. Maybe the dean won't remember that down the line but in that moment I felt like I was seen as more than just an applicant.

    Enjoy the journey and best of luck during these panels!

  • legallyconfusedlegallyconfused Alum Member
    edited December 2020 350 karma

    deleted

  • AllyM_123AllyM_123 Alum Member
    edited October 2020 139 karma

    I think if you're not comfortable asking questions during the session then that's ok. But you can ask about anything that you need clarification on, or if you're curious about an aspect of the program. I don't think there's a wrong question here.
    The important action item to me is following up with the admissions person after the event, like you would do with an interview. That's where you can stand apart from the crowd and the admissions person can get to know you. I typically remark about something new I learned from the session and ask a question. They're always more than happy to answer and pleased by a follow-up.

  • Slow is FastSlow is Fast Alum Member
    445 karma

    @legallyconfused I actually like the virtual forum better than the in-person ones. I attended the in-person LSAC Forum last year and found it hard to maintain energy and ask "good" questions at every booth I visited (introvert problems). I also felt guilty just taking the printed materials and walking away, lol.

    With the various virtual forums I've attended in the last few months, I can sit in on the Zoom calls (video & mic off, woo!) with individual admissions deans/students/counselors and listen to others' questions. And often I come away with a new bit of info about that school/admissions I hadn't thought about before.

    To answer part of @AmbitiousSoul-1 's question re: creating a favorable impression---
    If you plan to ask questions, make sure you're put together before you turn on the camera. :)

    Don't ask questions that can be found on the school's website. It's annoying not only for the admissions folks, but also for other students who have more interesting questions.

    Also, please don't ask "what sets your school apart from others?" That's YOUR job to figure out based on YOUR needs. Every time I've heard this question, the panelists usually provide links to the school's website and their typical elevator pitch about rankings of programs. If you ask a generic question, you'll get a generic answer.

    Lastly, enjoy the events!

  • legallyconfusedlegallyconfused Alum Member
    edited December 2020 350 karma

    deleted

  • legallyconfusedlegallyconfused Alum Member
    edited December 2020 350 karma

    deleted

  • Slow is FastSlow is Fast Alum Member
    445 karma

    @legallyconfused The short answer is yes, especially if you attend the bigger events like the LSAC Forum. (There's another happening in December; you can sign up on lsac.org if interested). It really depends on who's putting on the event though. I sat in on a smaller forum today catered to POC/first-gen students and I'd say there are about 250 people "attending." Some schools have also formed consortiums and work together to put on events so they can share their reach.

    I'm kind of in the same place as you---I've done my research on schools and generally don't have questions about their programs. Most of the questions I've asked at the forums were about my own specific situation and how I should best address it in the application.

    The info at these forums does also get a bit old because, of course, the schools want to court students by lauding their programs' merits. While I would go to the admissions deans/counselors with application and curriculum questions, I actually have found that speaking with the schools' current 1Ls and 2Ls provides greater insight. Many schools will have current students on the forum panels. Keeping in mind that they're still representing their respective institutions, the students generally are more candid and honest about their experiences. You can tell through these conversations whether a student feels supported in their academic journey, how they interact with faculty (if at all), whether they've been able to pursue their interests in a particular field of law, etc. All of these reflect back on the school itself, and they're not necessarily things you're going to find on school websites.

  • 33 karma

    So, I attended one of these events, and spoke to admissions officers from two (2) schools during the break-room sessions held after the events, and would like to set out my observations and take-aways from this.

    But first, I did take note of Law and Yoda's comments regarding choice of attire: I noted that the attendees were dressed in business casuals and formals for the most part (I went with formals, in the interest of erring on the side of caution) but noted that some of the attendees were more relaxed in their attire (sweatshirts, and the like). Not sure if this alone would have impacted the way their questions were answered, and if it did, it certainly was not readily apparent.

    As regards the answers that I received, I note that the quality of the answer (by which I mean, the level of detail, specificity (as opposed to more generic talking points which would cater to a greater percentage of the audience, and not just the questioner)) depended on the individual--some admissions officers did try and address the actual question asked, whereas others merely repeated generic platitudes. I also note that while some admissions officers were very friendly and actively engaged with the attendees, others were more distant (though, I don't particularly fault them, or hold this against them, given that attending events of this kind, and answering questions (many of which can be readily answered by reading the website!) isn't exactly something that they are strictly speaking required to do), but this is a point to factor in, as regards how to approach them after the fact.

    I think the advice mentioned here, to refrain from asking questions in the nature of 101s, and the answers to which are either expressly set out in, or readily inferable from the information set out on the websites of the relevant law schools is excellent.

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