About the author: Jennifer Gallardo is a WMU-Cooley Law School 2016 J.D. candidate. She is a Student Admissions Counselor, assisting and giving tours to visitors interested in attending law school. She is president of the Hispanic-Latino Law Society, a community outreach coordinator for Sixty Plus, Inc., Elderlaw Clinic, a Student Bar Association senator, Grade Appeals Board member, graduation marshal, Honor Council member, and has made the Dean’s List and Honor Roll every term.
Jennifer gives her top five reasons why she thinks you should tour a law school before you make a decision on where you plan to attend.
(1) Reduce orientation/first day jitters. It’s nice to know where you are going, and you don’t want to be late on your first day because you got lost.
(2) Get an idea of what you are getting for your hard-earned money. Law school is expensive. Go check the place out. Is the campus nice? Are there computers available for use? Are the classrooms modern and comfortable? What’s the library like?
(3) Check out the amenities because you are going to spend a LOT of time on campus. Things to take into account: Is there food and coffee available on or near campus? Is there parking near campus and how much is it? What is the commute like? Or is there a bus stop near campus? How often does the bus run? What kind of neighborhood is the school located in? How are the classrooms laid out? What is the typical class size? Where is the bookstore and what kinds of things do they sell? An Open House allows you to get many of your questions answered, all in one place.
(4) Feel out the school’s vibe. Time is precious in law school. Make sure that the administration is there to serve you. Meet the Admissions, Registrar and Financial Aid staff. Are they friendly? Easily accessible? Visit the Career Office and find out what services they offer to students and alumni. The point of law school is to get a job. Make sure your school is going to be there for you when you need it.
(5) And most importantly, see what the student life is like. Law school is hard. And stressful. And time-consuming. You are going to spend more time over the next three years with your classmates than you will with your significant other, family, or friends. The thing that most impressed me when I toured WMU-Cooley was that Christian, the student admissions counselor who showed me around, knew everyone we passed. They were lots of smiles, jokes, and handshakes, and everyone was happy to meet me as well. It was very welcoming. Now, two years later, I am a student admissions counselor, and the most frequent comment from guests taking a tour with me, is that everyone seems to know and like each other. If you watch How to Get Away with Murder, you know that law school is portrayed as a cut-throat atmosphere, but it doesn’t have to be that way.