Our law school is known for excellence in a wide range of substantive law areas and clinical opportunities. We enjoy especially distinguished faculty depth in public international law, comparative law, evidence, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, trial advocacy, human rights, and intellectual property.
Additionally, our state-of-the-art facilities are second to none. We just completed a $130 million investment in new buildings complete with cutting-edge technology that gives our students an advantage over other schools. For example, our students are regularly connected via live, seamless audio visual technology with counterparts throughout the world for classes on comparative law.
6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?
Letters of recommendation provide information on the intelligence, character and potential of an applicant from people who have had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the applicant in the classroom, at work, or as mentors. Letters from public figures or other persons who have had only limited knowledge of the applicant are not nearly as important as letters from those have some real world perspective on the applicant's academic potential.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
We generally review files in the order they become complete. Of course, some applications are easier to make a decision about than others. An applicant could have a decision from us in two weeks or three months, depending on the appropriate path for that person's file. Our application becomes available in early October. We don't promise a decision for our applicants until mid-March. An application is reviewed for completion and assigned to a member of the admission staff. At that point, a decision can be made, or the file can be recommended for further review by the Dean for Admissions or a faculty admissions committee. Decisions are generally communicated as soon as they are made.
8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Our employer pool is incredibly diverse. While the majority of our graduates go to work for law firms, no one employer dominates this sector of employment. We have relationships with large, small, and mid-sized law firms. Approximately 20 percent of our graduates take positions with government agencies, and nearly 15 percent of our graduates go into business and industry. The diversity of our students' employment interests is matched by the interest in them from employers in all sectors, including those in public interest. Additionally, the geographic interests of our students are widespread. Our graduates are in nearly every state, and many are hired outside of the U.S. We plan to keep our employer pool as diverse as possible. It has been a key factor in helping to insulate our students from the worst of the economic downturn.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
- Taking the LSAT without being fully prepared;
- Exhibiting lack of attention in completing their application or personal statement
-Failing to explain obvious weaknesses in their applications
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
Penn State Law seeks students who are serious about obtaining a first-rate legal education in the company of diverse and capable peers. Law is not easy. We seek students who are not satisfied with easy answers or the safe path. Rather, we look for students who will have the confidence, patience, and courage to wrestle with complicated problems and use reason, logic, and language to find solutions.