“Should I go to a lower ranked school and try to transfer to a better school next year?”
I am often asked this question on my blog. I see too many law school applicants making short term decisions at the expense of long term decisions, and I am writing this post to try to talk you out of it. Sometimes the rolling admission cycle feels like it’s putting pressure on you to hurry, or you talk yourself out of applying to a reach school now, or parents tell you to get yourself back in school or they won’t support you anymore. If you’re feeling like it doesn’t matter where you go to law school, so long as you go, you should probably stop and assess the situation. (footnote: people who are going to law school just for fun and have money to spare, and who have no intention of trying to be hired by someone else upon graduation do not need to read this post).
Where you go to law school matters. How much you pay for law school matters. Just because you can get into law school now and you want to start now, doesn’t mean you should. What if you can’t transfer? What if you’re not number one in your class? What if you have a family emergency and miss three weeks of classes? You can’t bet on transferring.
If you tell yourself that you’ll go to a low ranked school, in a location where you don’t want to be, and that it’s just temporary, you’re making a big mistake. Where’s the fire? Wait. In the big scheme of things – and I can say this now that it’s been 20 years since I started law school – a year is not a big deal. Take the time to improve your application, retake the LSAT, get more work experience, work on you, and I promise it’s very unlikely you will ever regret the decision to wait. But you are likely to regret your decision to hurry.