I truly believe that many people want to attend law school, but quite frankly this can be one of the hardest arenas of graduate school to enter and complete. Every student must be competitive to enter law school and I personally know a few people who would do wonderful at law school, but never made it in…ever! So here is some of my advice to those of us who are in law school and to those trying to make it.
Before Law School
Your grade point average, your LSAT scores, community service and leadership skills all matter when applying for law school. I would challenge people that are looking to go to law school to not only look at the rankings in US News and World Report, and look at the school you are going to. I hate to be blunt, not really, but do you want to go to a school where you are a number they are looking to get rid of or are you trying to go to a school that actually wants to see you graduate. The truth is at many schools they will enter a large number of first year students, only to drop many of them after the first year and only about half, give or take, will move on to their second year. If you want to see if your potential school is one of them look at the amount of students enrolled in the first year, then look at how many matriculated. That’s the truth, the truth is in the numbers.
So do your research before you choose that school. And please, please, please VISIT the school. I honestly believe you can feel the right school for you when you go visit. You should talk to the students, talk to the professors, and sit in on a class. Try to get pass the people who admissions sends to you because they always send the bubbly, “I’m so happy to be here” person, and not the average student. Try to find the average student and ask them what they think about the school. Was it their first choice? Or their ONLY choice?
Reality Check: Law school is hard to get into and the truth is you may get into many schools, you may get into two schools, or one school, or NO school. I was blessed enough to choose, some people don’t get that opportunity. If you don’t get in, try again! If this is your dream keep trying…but that’s for another time.
In law school
So now you have made it into law school. Now you ask: What is it like? The biggest complaint from law students is stress. But where does this stress come from? Is the Socratic method used in class where a professor will call on any student and bombard you with questions until you are blue in the face? Or is it all the reading that is required for each class? Maybe it’s the fact that people in law school are not your “friends” but your “colleagues”? Perhaps it’s the competitiveness of the students that leads to such immaturity as people cutting folks computer power cords before finals? Or maybe just maybe it is the fact that your ENTIRE grade is based on ONE test at the end of the semester?
Yes it could any one of these, or all of these that make up the stress of law school. I will be talking about this and more in my contributions on the Erika Pryor Lifestyle. In short, law school is hard! It requires much reading, writing, and prayer. But most of all it requires confidence that you may not have, but hey as the old adage goes, “Fake It ‘Till You Make It”. Hopefully some of the advice that I am able to provide will you give you some confidence that a) you are not crazy and b) yep we all can make it through law school.
About: Theresa Daniel is currently a law student at Ohio Northern University School of Law in Ada, Ohio where she serves as the First Year Representative for the Black Law Students Association. In May of 2009, she matriculated from Denison University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Music. At Denison University she held several positions including Vice Chief Minister of the Black Student Union for two years, Sustained Dialogue, The Community Rights and Standards Board, the Appeals Board, Lamda Pi Eta, and the co-chair of Winter Formal for two years. Theresa also conducted summer research advised by Dr. David Oh, funded by the Young Scholars Program, that continued through her senior year. Her research “Understanding Uplift Films: The Link between Black Adolescents Ethnic Identity and Class”.