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School Culture

Hi friends,

Congrats to everyone who took the LSAT on Saturday. Potential RC crises notwithstanding, making it through an administration is an accomplishment in and of itself, I think!

I'm shifting my focus towards applications to try and take my mind off the waiting time for scores to be released, and as I'm getting more specific with school lists, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for getting a feel for the "culture" of the schools. Part of my motivation comes from wanting write a kickass "Why X?" essay, but the majority of my curiosity stems from a hesitance to shell out tons of cash if a school isn't going to be a fit for me. I've obviously read all of the website and application materials, but I haven't done the whole "apply to college" type routine for some years now, and my uncovering skills may be a lil rusty. I remember for undergrad, sites like collegeconfidential felt pretty helpful at the time, but I don't know what my resources are in that vein for law school.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks y'all!


  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    edited September 2017 3521 karma

    This is a great question. I think only two of the schools I'm applying to have specific "Why X?" essay prompts; I'm using a blanket personal statement for every other school.

    I'm not aware of any website/source that discusses the idiosyncrasies of each law school. There is this YouTube channel that has personal interviews with a bunch of students at a handful of law schools which may be helpful. For example, here's the one they did for Stanford:

    I think the best way to get a sense of a school's culture is to visit and immerse yourself in it. But that isn't in everyone's budget. Maybe you could find a way to contact students who go there?

    Forums and message boards may be helpful too.

  • thisisspartathisissparta Alum Member
    1363 karma

    Several law schools have YouTube channels of their own. They post various talks, lectures, faculty and student interviews, etc. In my experience, those have helped quite a bit at getting a sense of what the school's like.

    If you're looking for something substantive, I'd definitely suggest watching as many videos as you can. You'd have a more concrete sense of what to write. At least I tend to think so.

  • Mellow_ZMellow_Z Alum Member
    edited September 2017 1997 karma

    What sort of schools are you targeting, or maybe a better question is what sort of culture do you prefer/dislike? The easy ones to isolate are the "fratty southern" schools like UVA, Duke, Alabama, etc., but even that stereotype imo is largely over-exaggerated. Are you someone looking for a social atmosphere? Chicago for instance has a rep of not being a happy/social place, but it is also one of the best schools in the country, whereas Chicago's neighbor, NU, is typically a collaborative and more social atmosphere - despite being relatively close to each other, they are very different.

    Each school has unique pros and cons. If you provide what range of school you're looking for and then either a "want" or "dislike" list, others might be able to provide input to narrow down the scope.

    Apart from browsing TLS for 20 hours, I don't think there exists a repository that categorizes every school, unfortunately.

  • StellaBlueStellaBlue Alum Member
    185 karma

    I would never have thought to look for videos. This is great advice! And yeah, maybe being very specific with myself about what exactly I want will be a good place to start. Thanks!

  • ElleWoods77ElleWoods77 Alum Member
    1184 karma

    What helped me find my dream school is talking to the alumni and attending tours and events. I am lucky to work in a legal environment where there is a ton of attorneys and judges to speak to. If you do not have access to any alumni from the schools you interested in, usually when you take a tour you get the opportunity to speak to a ton of alumni if you put yourself out there. Law schools have recruiting events all year round. If you are looking to attend a law school away from where you live, law schools are present at law school and graduate fairs such as the LSAC forum or at a graduate fair at your local university. All the events I have attended have been completely free. I find these events worthwhile because you get the information you need and get to ask all the questions you need. Another bonus is if you stop at the table of the schools you are interested in, they will give you fee waivers and add you to their email list to keep you updated and let you know when they are in your area. Literally my inbox is full of emails from attending fairs and have extended my network going. There are plenty of opportunities to get a feel of the school without touring every school you interested in.

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