Choosing the right law school

choosing a collegeLaw school presents some amazing opportunities for your future—as well as some big challenges. It’s an intensive, costly endeavor. So how do you know if law school is right for you, and how do you find the program that best fits your needs. Here are a few good ways to get started in your exploration:

Study the U.S. News & World Report rankings. They provide a wealth of information about each school, including what you’ll need for LSAT and GPA to be admitted.

However don’t just choose a program because it’s prestigious. Make sure the programs offer what you need personally and professionally. For example, what are the class sizes? How much mentorship is there from professors? Do they have a strong alumni network to help with career opportunities once you graduate?

Decide what you want to do once you finish law school. Talk with practicing attorneys, or ask the university to connect you with one of their alumnus. They most likely would be willing to chat with you about their experiences or possibly let you shadow them at work for the day. Once you’ve made this decision about what you want to do with your degree, check out various law schools and see what areas of law they specialize in.

Interview professors. Many law school professors are happy to be interviewed by potential students. They can share their experiences and may even have projects you can work on to get a better idea of the types of law that are the best fit for you.

Research career opportunities. Ask the admissions office for statistics about the percentage of graduates who are gainfully employed in their chosen field after graduation. Do some research into the average starting salary of the roles you’re interested in.

Think about the financial costs. Research the costs of tuition, room and board, fees, and other expenses. Ask the admissions office if you can get in-state tuition or if there are scholarships or grants you could be a good fit for.

Consider your schedule. Find out what the class schedules are and what to expect in terms of study time outside of class before you commit to enrolling.