Researching and Evaluateing Law Schools
Researching law schools is relatively easy; evaluating them and seeing how they fit into your long range plans is more time consuming. The library in the Office of Academic Advisement has a section dedicated to law schools. In our library you will find the guide ABA Approved Law Schools, as well as law school reference books, catalogs, and information on financing law schools. Academic Advisement also has two software programs for your use-the Law School Decision and MAPLA Profiles. You may initiate Web searches to explore law schools (see our Web Resources page). There is also a law school forum held every fall in Boston, and it is attended by representatives from law schools from throughout the country.
Evaluating law schools requires more time because you need develop a different set of criteria when evaluating each school. Many factors should go into your decision to attend a law school, including, but not limited to, academic reputation, geographic location, cost and financial aid package, faculty-student ratios, course offerings, specialty programs and joint degree programs, library facilities, internships, and job placement rates.
Relying on ratings or general notions of prestige or reputation is not sufficient. You should attempt to determine which schools offer the type of environment most conducive to your success. As important as educational quality, employment prospects, total cost, and location are, the intangible elements of campus atmosphere and sense of community within a school are also significant.
If given the opportunity, visit a law school, especially when you are making a final decision. As you decide where you will apply, consider your selections in these three categories:
These are schools for which you have a better than reasonable chance of being accepted. Your GPA and LSAT should meet the minimum requirements.
Your GPA and LSAT should more than exceed the minimum generally required for admission to your safety schools.
Long Shot or Dream Schools
These schools may interest you considerably, but you may not meet either the minimum GPA or LSAT. Students generally select one or two of these schools as schools to which to apply.