Before and after you submit your law school applications, you may find yourself browsing law school forums as you search for tips and information on the Web. On these sites, fellow law school applicants pose questions and offer advice to each other and post updates on their admissions decisions.
There are benefits and drawbacks of spending time on law school forums. Prospective law students should know there are effective ways to use these forums that can help them through the application process – without becoming stressed by other applicants’ anecdotes and tips.
Benefit: One thing you will absolutely find while browsing law school forums is camaraderie. It can be comforting to hear that others are going through the same process and may be feeling emotions similar to yours.
Especially if you do not have friends applying to law school at the same time as you, you may benefit from chatting with prospective law students.
Drawback: Be cautious about taking advice from people writing on online forums. You do not know who they are or much about their expertise. In the case of law school forums, these are people in your situation who can provide insight on what you are going through, but may not be qualified to give advice on the subject.
One applicant I worked with said she read that a wait-listed applicant did not send any updates or letters of continuing interest to his first-choice school and advised that others refrain from bothering the admissions committee because he ultimately got accepted.
I explained to my client that she should definitely update the school, since her GPA had risen quite substantially since she had been wait-listed. Everyone has different circumstances and you have to customize your strategy based on your personal situation.
In the end, if you choose to seek admissions advice, be sure your adviser is a professional with significant industry experience.
[Learn how to get off a law school's waitlist.]
Benefit: If you are unable to visit all the law schools on your application list, you may be able to learn more about specific schools on forums.
Prospective students who were able to visit may describe their experience there and how they perceive the culture, and sometimes current students will post their views. This can be beneficial when you are narrowing your school selection or deciding which school’s offer to accept.
Drawback: While you can get some good information from law school forums, do not use them as your sole resource. Seek a variety of sources, including current students you are connected with through the admissions office or a mutual acquaintance, professors, the admissions office, official law school websites, an admissions consultant and prelaw advisers. If you get all your information from one source – particularly an unverified one such as forum participants – you may become misinformed.
Overall, the best practice when it comes to law school forums is to visit them sparingly and take the advice you read with a grain of salt. Many law school applicants develop the habit of seeking answers and hope on the Internet.
Nothing you find online is going to result in a faster admissions decision or provide information about your own candidacy. There will be people who announce they were accepted into a school you applied to, but you haven’t heard back.
This doesn’t mean anything – most decisions, like most applications, are rolling. While people who search for law school news online are generally seeking comfort, I have noticed that most applicants who spend a lot of time reading forums experience more anxiety than those who steer clear.