First Generation Success Story: Choosing Law Schools, Where Should I Apply?

I had finally received my LSAT score and was ready to begin the application process. However, I couldn’t just apply to all of the law schools in the country. Applying to law school actually takes a lot of time and money. Personally, I had limited funds (since I was paying for it myself and a fresh college graduate) and was working full time (so had very limited time). Thus, I knew that my next step was figuring out where to go to law school or where to apply to at least.

Since  I was going to be studying at a school for three intense years, it was important to find a school that I felt comfortable at and saw myself being successful at. I asked myself some hard, reflective questions. Where do I want to be in 5 years? What would make me comfortable at a school?  What am I actually looking for? Where can I realistically get admitted to?

Deciding to go to law school was a difficult enough decision but finding the perfect university was even harder. As a first generation student, I had no clue what I needed to do in order to get into law school a certain law school, what to look for in a school, and what schools were looking for in candidates. Obviously, I knew I needed to finish my bachelor’s degree and get good grades, but I had no idea what else was involved. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to turn to ask these pressing questions. What was a young law school hopeful to do? Well, I scoured the interwebs, blogs, and law school websites to find the answers. All of these sources gave me differing answers and tips to finding the perfect school for me.  There are several law schools in the United States and I had to narrow down this large pool of universities somehow. My research helped make this easier by identifying the different factors that are important when looking at law schools. These include (but are not limited to) academic requirements, the resources the law school offers, opportunities that the university gives to students, and your comfort level at the specific school.

After doing some researching and looking into schools, I had decided that I wanted to stay in Michigan to practice and thus planned on applying to mostly Michigan law schools. However, I also looked into a few out of state programs in the T30 ranking. In order to aid my decision, I did some school visits, one to Michigan State University and one to Wayne State University and attended some prospective student events. I was able to get a feel for the schools and gained some intel from the current students. Also, I looked at th schools statistics in who they typically let in and what academic requirements they had. Since I was not fully certain what kind of law I wanted to practice, I was not too concerned on specific programs and degrees that schools offered. However, I knew I wanted to participate in Mock Trial and other opportunities that would help me. Thus, I decided to apply to Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and a few other schools.

    So that’s how I decided on which law schools to apply for, which eventually led me to my law school, Wayne State University. Although I have taken another big step towards being successful, I still needed to actually apply for the schools. This led me to the next leg in my journey, applying to law schools (and deciding where to go!).


Erin Caitlin Callahan

Thanks for sharing your story. How many schools do you think our pre-law readers should apply to? Some experts say you are supposed to apply to reach schools, some schools that are within your lsat score range, and some schools at the bottom of of your range that you are more likely than not to get accepted. What do you think?

Shirlene Armstrong

It definitely depends on how much money you can pay for applications and where you want to apply. If you are not sure what state you want to be in, you may apply to numerous different schools because of this. However if you know you want to be in a particular state, you are limited on the schools you would apply to. If your LSAT score is lower than the “average” that the school accepts, it does not mean you are barred from applying there. The law school’s statistics and acceptances vary each year, so if you do not apply then you will never know whether or not you would get into that school!

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