The leaves are beginning to turn, football season is in full swing, and Spirit Halloween outlets are popping up in vacant storefronts. From the AdComm perspective, that means that we’re in the absolute heart of Travel Season when key law fairs and recruitment events are interrupted only by driving your rental car to the next event and—in a shoutout to a friend who texted me the following while driving from Dallas down to the law fair at the University of Texas-Austin—making sure you load up on local food delicacies.
And from the student perspective, we’re still in the midst of document development for applications as well as one of the busiest times of year for LSAT studying. So let’s take a few moments to mention a point or two about recruitment events and some application suggestions, and then turn our eyes towards next week’s calendar of events.
Recruitment Events … Worth It?
One of the main questions we receive from students at this time of year is whether or not attending a recruitment event—either a law fair, LSAC Forum, or law-school-specific event—is worthwhile. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, the quick answer is “YES!!!” Trust us that AdComms are not simply attending events to rack up frequent flyer points and spend time out of the office. They absolutely are doing so with the hopes of meeting a few students at each event whom they eventually see on their own campus at an admitted student event this spring.
The longer answer to that question is “Yes, as long as you have the right attitude and expectations.” Consider these to be networking events. Your job is to meet some folks who are going to read your application. If nothing else, you would like them to have a positive impression of you so that they can apply that impression to your application when they read it. Additionally, you can use this opportunity to ask any questions that have been on your mind. Curious about academic programming, career outcomes, or that sticky optional statement prompt that they have on their application? Ask away! As long as you are polite and professional, AdComms know that their job at law fairs is to address any and all questions a prospective student may have. And for some quick hitting tips:
- Dress business casual. While AdComms are used to working with college students and it’s unlikely you will offend them with your regular going-to-class outfit, you can never go wrong with business casual.
- But wear comfy shoes! You may be standing and waiting in lines for a while to chat with your top schools. Be nice to your feet!
- Speaking of lines, it may help pass the time if you bring a book to read. This will also help keep you in a good headspace for when it’s finally your turn to ask questions.
- Bring a notebook or a portfolio. It’s a good way for you to keep tabs on your notes for each school.
AI … Worth It?
As we continue to go through each school’s application instructions, we are running into a spectrum of ways in which schools are addressing the use of generative AI.
At one end of matters is Arizona State Law, who very publicly announced over the summer that applicants are more than welcome to use programs such as ChatGPT. While their press release notes that applicants may use such software as long as the information is accurate (i.e., you can’t ask ChatGPT to write a personal statement about how you—Paul McCartney or Taylor Swift—wish to go to law school so as to learn more about copyright law vis-à-vis the music biz), their application remains a bit vague. The only mention of AI is in Section 3, Question 2: “Did you use any of the following programs or services to prepare your application?” Washington University in St. Louis asks a similar question but doesn’t offer the corresponding PR announcement. Section 11—“Application Attestations”—asks the applicant a series of questions regarding the accuracy of information in the application, that the student—if admitted—has a continuing obligation to report updated information like final transcripts, etc. It then asks about AI usage on the application and provides a series of answers in drop-down form:
- All essays and addenda are my own work. I did not use AI.
- I used AI as a limited tool.
- I utilized in [sic] AI.
It would seem that WashU’s placement of this AI question in the attestation section would indicate that one should not use AI when completing their application. However, none of the preceding questions nor the language of the application certification asks the student to attest that all written materials in the application are the student’s writing. This seems to be a gray area.
But at the other end of the spectrum are schools like Columbia Law. Their admissions office clearly indicates in the Certification Letter that a student’s application materials are “exclusively [their] own work” and that no AI tools were used to generate said materials. Further, CLS reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission to an applicant found to have used said programming.
So, with that said, the question we keep receiving from students is if it’s worth it to use AI in the writing process. Given that we seem to be on the cusp of a brave new world, we’re encouraging students to be conservative. Far more schools have been taking Columbia’s tack versus Arizona State’s. We simply can’t advocate for students to jeopardize their chances of admission (or receiving a degree, because Columbia reserves the right to retroactively expel a student found to have used AI on their application!) in order to go down this road. It’s far safer to conduct brainstorming, drafting, and editing by yourself or with a trusted friend, pre-law advisor, or writing center instructor.
Law Fairs and On-Campus Recruitment Events
While admissions reps have spent the past two weeks mostly dining on kolaches in Texas, this upcoming week’s fairs start to spread out a bit more nationally:
September 25—Louisiana State University Law Fair
September 26—Cornell University Law School Day
September 27—Greater Rochester (NY) Area Law School Night and the University of Virginia Grad and Professional School Fair
September 28—Boston University Law School Fair, SUNY Binghamton Law Fair, and the Vancouver Law School Fair
September 29—College of William & Mary Grad and Professional Fair
September 30—Miami LSAC Forum
As always, be sure to check in on LSAC’s Recruitment Calendar for the most comprehensive list of upcoming events and details thereof.
On-campus events are also continuing accordingly but this will be a bit of a quieter week for top schools. Michigan Law will offer a workshop on September 27 regarding their admissions process. Otherwise, more schools are back in action for the first week of October. Remember that you can always check out this page on our website for more information about on-campus events.