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As you research all 180 ABA-approved schools, you're likely to become overwhelmed by your options. Don't just aimlessly browse for law schools. Use your original goals - why do you want to go to law school? why do you want to be a lawyer? - as your guides as you tap into the following sources of information.
Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools
If you haven't already consulted this guide, which is produced annually by the Law School Admission Council (the producers of the LSAT*), this should be one of your first reading assignments.
Each year, all ABA-approved law schools submit a wealth of factual and statistical information about their programs, their applicant pools, their rate of admission, their yield, and the statistical profile of their successful candidates. You'll also find the addresses and phone numbers of schools, along with useful information about the application process, preparation for the LSAT, minority applicant opportunities, organizations, and a geographic guide to U.S. law schools.
Review of Legal Education in the United States
This publication contains statistical information about every ABA-accredited law school. Topics include the size of the student body, the number of men and women, the percentage of minorities enrolled, the number and gender of faculty and administrators, the size of the library collection, the cost of tuition, and the availability of part-time and graduate programs.
Your Career Services Office
If you're currently in college or live near the school you attended, visit your career resource center or placement office. Not only will you find the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools on file there, but you'll also locate a number of other books which discuss choosing a career, focusing within the legal profession, and assessing the relative strengths of various law schools.
Admissions officers may even make special trips to your college. Find out the schedule of these visits and attend as many as you can. You should also visit the prelaw advisor. Part of this person's job is to help you assess whether law school is right for you and assist you in determining which schools are right for you.
Although you may not be ready to visit a school, you certainly ought to visit your local law school to get an understanding of the general environment. Head to the bookstore and browse the texts used in the first-year curriculum. Do you find yourself absorbed in the information?
Most law schools will permit you to visit a class or two if you make arrangements ahead of time. Most important, speak with current students. Ask them about their experiences and selection decisions. This is often the most valuable information of all.
Many schools offer programs where seniors are matched with alumni for a week or a day. In these programs, students have the opportunity to shadow a professional and learn more about their chosen career path. If your school doesn't have this program, speak with a lawyer who has been practicing for a while. Of course, getting a job in a law office is one of the best ways to discover the legal profession and a good way to meet lawyers and gather their feedback on law school and the admission decision.
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