(Updated October 2, 2019) Now that your admissions decisions are rolling in, it is time to get down to the business of selecting your law school. One of the most important things that you can do to make this important choice is to spend time and visit law schools you are seriously considering. At most law schools, the opportunities for visitation come in a variety of formats. The most common types of visits at this time of year are “individual visits" and attendance at “admitted student events”. Both have advantages and disadvantages in terms of learning about the environment and ethos of a law school so here are some things to consider regarding each type of visit.
The primary advantage to this type of visit is that it will often allow you to tailor your experience to the things that are most important to you. For example, if you are most interested in sitting down and chatting with a faculty member about a particular area of law – this is probably best achieved by scheduling outside of group events. Visits of this nature can also be more self-paced, allowing you extra time on the tour, extra time with Admissions professionals and/or extra time to explore on your own.
This type of experience can be especially helpful if you have unique concerns and questions. The downside of individual visits is that you will likely only get to meet a small group of people – maybe one current student (if they take you on the tour) and maybe one or two faculty members and/or administrators if you have established appointments. So, you may not really get to experience the true culture of the law school. However, due to its flexible nature and intimate size, some admitted students suggest that this type of law school visit is more authentic than planned events because of its less formal environment.
Be sure to think carefully about what you want to achieve while you are at each school and ask your Admissions Representative to assist you in planning a productive visit. Do you want to meet a faculty member? Do you want to chat with someone in the Office of Career Services? Do you need to discuss housing options or other personal concerns with an appropriate professional? At Seton Hall we will work with you to insure that you get the most out of your time spent with us.
Admitted Student Events
This type of visit is a great way for admitted students to get a better sense of the law school culture and community. Faculty, current students and appropriate administrators normally participate in these events, allowing the attendees the opportunity to meet and talk to many different people. Additionally, these experiences often include alumni – a group it can sometimes be difficult to access on your own. Even though the event itself is planned and scheduled – the individuals involved are not scripted.
Your actual experience at the event can tell you a lot about the law school environment. Are people open and available for questions? Are the administrators responsive to questions and concerns? Are the physical spaces comfortable and conducive to your best work? An additional advantage to this type of visit is the opportunity to meet your potential future classmates. You'll be able to see whether or not you could see yourself interacting well with/studying well with the other admitted students. Seton Hall Law School offers unique Admitted Student events to maximize your ability to get to know us.
A potential downside to this type of visit, however, is its lack of intimacy. Seton Hall Law works very hard to keep our events relatively small (capping attendance around 50 for most events) and offer events on a monthly basis from January to June to accommodate one's busy schedule. Thus, you're still able to get your own questions answered while also taking advantage of the overall group's energy. All of our events include our Dean, a variety of faculty, key administrators, alumni and current students.
So...if you were to ask me which visit is better than the other, you’ll likely get the very lawyerly answer of “it depends.” Both formats allow you the opportunity to learn about the school, but in very different ways. I would suggest that you take stock of the reason for your visit and go from there. If you’re trying to address a particular concern or question, then the private visit may be the way to go. If you’re trying to ascertain the law school’s culture and community, then a larger accepted student event may be better.
If I were to choose my ideal visit, however, I would say “why choose at all?” Seton Hall Law School encourages students to participate in multiple events – allowing you to become a part of our community even before the first day of class.