The Value of a Visit
One of my favorite clients asked me about how to use a campus visit effectively. I thought to myself, “Surely I covered this in my book!” I looked at the chapter called “Launching Your Campaign to Get In” and arranging campus visits is suggested, but not really explained. My bad.
Campus visits are important for one really big reason – it’s a great way to demonstrate sincere interest in attending. It also puts you face to face with contacts at the school, people you can follow up with throughout the cycle if you are waitlisted or updating your application.
Here are some tips for your Law School Visit:
1. Dress in business casual. No club wear, no gym clothes, but you also don’t need to wear a suit.
2. Don’t bring your parents. Under any circumstances. Ever. Yes, even YOU. (If your mom insists on going with you, show her this post and tell her she will be forever ruining your chances of becoming an adult). Of course, there’s always an exception to every rule, like if your mom is a graduate of that law school and coming with you so she can introduce you to the Dean and personally deliver a big fat donation to the scholarship endowment : ) — wow, that’s very cynical of me, not at all like me to say such a thing … I blame the hour – it’s 6 p.m. on a Friday.
3. Study the website before you go and ask some questions – what would students say is the thing most in need of improvement at the school (at my law school, it was the parking situation – another great reason to be a night student)? Are there alums who live where you live now whom you could talk to? What would students say the best things about the school are? Totally fine to ask about scholarships and loan repayment. Totally fine to ask how many students find employment on campus versus through their own efforts. Of course, the admission counselor probably won’t be able to give you real answers to these questions unless he/she is a graduate of the school and/or used to work in Career Placement, but these are good starts for questions.
4. It’s a good thing to show sincere interest, that you’ve done your research. You don’t have to swear on your life that you want to participate in the Immigration Law Clinic just because they advertise it – show you are serious about the location, show ties to the area, friends and family nearby, that you made the trip out just to see the school.
5. Get contact info for everyone you meet- when you write a thank-you letter after your visit, mention by name the 2L who told you about the great social atmosphere, the 1L who took time to talk to you about the moot court experience.
6. Sit in on a class, and take the initiative to meet the professor. Follow up with a thank-you to the professor.
If you don’t have the deep pockets to visit schools, consider booking one trip and hitting all the schools at once at the Houston, Los Angeles or Bay Area LSAC Law School Forums in February. I’m even thinking about going to LA. Anyone want to meet for a drink?