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BY JESSICA TOMER
How to Have an Amazing Law School Visit: Tips and Questions You Need to Ask

Make the most of your law school visits with this comprehensive list of important questions and helpful tips.

In your search for the perfect law school, campus visits are critical.  

Visiting law schools will give you the best sense of the community, facilities, and overall “vibe” of the school, as well as a real preview of what your life and opportunities there will be like. Plus, given the rigors of law school, it’s important to find a place that makes you feel productive, supported, and comfortable.

Follow the tips and use the questions below to have an amazing law school visit—and ensure you’re learning everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

Law School Visit Tips

A few things to keep in mind as you read the questions below and prepare for your law school visits and tours:

  • Do some research on your own first. The law school visit questions below are designed to fill in the gaps online research leaves behind.
  • Plan ahead and prioritize. Before you ever step foot on campus, let the admissions office know what you’d most like to see and who you’re interested in talking to. Speaking of which…
  • Try to schedule your tour at least a few weeks in advance, so the admissions office has time to personalize your visit as much as possible.
  • Wear comfortable yet professional clothes and shoes, so you’re prepared to walk around but also make a great first impression. Don’t forget to check the weather beforehand too.
  • If traveling costs are an issue, ask the admissions office if they ever offer campus visit grants or waivers for financial hardship. (This is a rarity these days, but it never hurts to ask!)
  • Take notes during the visit and give yourself a few minutes to reflect on the whole experience as soon as you’re done, while the experience is still fresh in your mind.
  • Be sure to mention if you’re considering a part-time JD program, so you get answers tailored to the part-time experience.
  • Do a virtual “campus visit” first if you can, both to familiarize yourself with the school and get inspiration for questions to ask.
  • Check out the surrounding city/town too. This is where you’ll likely be working in clinics, internships, pro bono/volunteer capacities, and more during law school—and perhaps even where you’ll get your first post-grad legal job. Get to know what the area has to offer.
  • Come up with questions of your own! Ask about anything that’s important to you.
  • If you’re still looking for answers at the end of your visit, you can try emailing faculty and staff directly, and/or come back to the school for another event, like an information session or open house. And when in doubt, ask admissions folks. 

Related: Law School Application Timeline: What You Need to Do and When

Questions to Ask

General Admissions

The admissions office is going to be your primary contact throughout your law school research and application process. Do not hesitate to reach out with them with any questions you may have—if they can’t answer directly, they can put you in touch with someone who can.

  • What sets the school apart from comparable law schools?
  • How do you weigh the different parts of the application?
  • What are you looking for in applicants?
  • What’s your waitlist policy?
  • What do you wish applicants knew before applying?
  • What are the average class sizes for first-year versus elective courses?
  • How can/should I address [fill in the blank]? (If you want to give context for something on your application, like a lower-than-you’d-like LSAT score or a gap between jobs, you can ask how admissions will consider it and where to best address the issue—in a supplement, personal statement, interview, etc.)

Questions for Law Students

If at all possible, talk to at least one current student during your law school visit. Your tour guide might be a current student, and, if so, they’re a great place to start. But don’t be afraid to talk to students milling around the school in between classes too. You might be surprised how eager they are to share their experience with you. After all, they were in your shoes not long ago. Also remember that you can likely connect with current students through the law school’s admissions office, LinkedIn, or perhaps even the alumni office at your undergraduate institution.

  • Why did you choose this school?
  • What’s the student community like?
  • What do you like best about the school?
  • What do you most dislike about the school?
  • What do you wish you had known before applying?
  • What do you wish you had known before starting your 1L year?
  • How involved are students in campus organizations?
  • How do students find their niche?
  • How accessible are the faculty?
  • How accessible are staff and the administration?
  • What’s the general vibe among students?
  • What are the networking opportunities like?
  • What are campus events like?
  • How sociable is the student body? Do they spend time together outside of class and studying?
  • How do students unwind?
  • What kinds of hands-on learning experiences have you had, and what were they like?
  • How do you feel the school is preparing you for your future career?

Questions for Faculty

You professors just might be the most influential part of your law school experience. Yes, they’ll be teaching you what you need to know. But they can also be your mentors, advocates, role models, and biggest champions as you prepare for the real world. So it’s important to get to know who’ll be shaping your law school trajectory.

  • Why did you choose to teach at this law school?
  • What kind of student thrives in your classes and in this academic environment specifically?
  • What are student-faculty relations like?
  • What sets the academic experience apart from comparable law schools?
  • How does the course work prepare students for real world legal work?
  • How does the course work prepare students for the bar exam?
  • What research opportunities are available, and how do law students get involved in them?

Student Services

Most law schools have some sort of student-focused services, overseeing things like mental health and wellness, campus activities, study abroad, and more. You may encounter them on your tour. If not, law school admissions folks can likely speak to these issues.

  • What kinds of mental health and wellness services are available?
  • What kind of support services (academic or otherwise) are available?
  • How prominent is the student government/student bar association?
  • How prominent are student organizations/extracurriculars?
  • What are the student housing options?

Financial Aid

Law school…isn’t cheap. But financial aid can make all the difference. So before you gawk at the “sticker price,” get a sense of the scholarships, grants, and other factors that can make law school more affordable.

  • What’s the average financial aid package for incoming students?
  • What’s the average financial aid package for all students?
  • What scholarship opportunities are available, and what are the criteria?
  • What opportunities are there are for aid after my first year?
  • How should I plan financially for the start of school? 
  • What expenses should I plan for, besides basic living and books?
  • What’s the average indebtedness of graduates?
  • What kinds of financial resources are available to students and graduates?

Clinics and Externships

Legal clinics and externships let you earn academic credit while practicing law in the real world. They are invaluable opportunities to test-drive your legal interests, develop the skills you’ll need to practice, and start your professional network.

  • When can students take their first clinic?
  • How many clinics can students take?
  • What clinic placements are available?
  • What clinic placements are available for [insert your legal interests]?
  • What responsibilities do students typically have in their clinics?
  • What are clinic participation requirements?
  • Are students limited in their clinic participation in any way?
  • What percentage of students participates in clinics?
  • How many clinics do students take on average?

Related: Where to Go and What to Do Between Campus Visits in Downtown Boston

Career Services and Employment

The ultimate goal of law school is, of course, to expand your job prospects and graduate ready for the real world. The Career Services Office is there to make sure that happens. 

  • What are some representative examples of alumni placements?
  • How involved are alumni in placing students in internships and postgraduate positions?
  • What’s the local legal job market like?
  • What the local legal job market like for [insert your legal interests]?
  • What career planning resources do you offer? When are they available to students?
  • How do career services shift as students prepare for graduation?
  • What career services are available after graduation?
  • How do “average” students fare in the internship and job search? (The top 10% of the class will likely do well, but what about the students in the middle of the road?)
  • Do you have reciprocity agreements? (Reciprocity agreements allow schools to share career resources, like job postings, with students from other schools. This can be helpful if, say, you live far away from your law school and are looking for more local job listings from a school closer to your hometown.)

Library and Studying

In law school, you may spend more time in the library than your own home. (Kidding…mostly.) Make sure it’s a place you’d like to be, staffed with people who can help.

  • What kinds of reference resources are available?
  • Is the school part of any consortiums allowing students to use library resources at other schools?
  • Where else do law students study around campus? (While you’ll almost certainly spend many hours in the library, you may want to mix things up!)

Bonus! What NOT to Ask

  • Will I be admitted? Law school admissions folks don’t appreciate being put on the spot like that, and they probably can’t tell you anyway. Rather, check the school’s website for the most recent admitted class profile to see how your LSAT, GPA, etc. compare to the average student.
  • How many students attend the school/what are the hours/what clinics do you offer? If it’s a basic question, check the school’s website for the answer first. You don’t want to appear like the kind of person who can’t do a five-second Google search!

There you have it—more law school visit questions than you could possibly ask in one day (though we dare you to try!). Keep in mind that these are prudent questions to ask any schools you’re considering, and they are likely worth investigating as you continue conducting your law school research.

Because the more information you get, the better your chances of finding the best law school for you and your future.

Jessica Tomer is the Web Content Manager at New England Law | Boston.

Ready to put these questions to the test? Schedule a personalized visit with New England Law | Boston. We’d love to show you what makes our law school special!