Law class is highly competitive. The most reputed law schools in the United States all have an acceptance rate below 20 percent. Many students do not make it into their dream program for many reasons, from low undergrad marks to poor LSAT performance, to financial issues.
Many such students opt for a transfer into their dream program after their first year of law school. However, changing schools is always a bittersweet decision and one that you should not take lightly. If you are comprehending as such, here are some factors you’d want to consider.
Give Your Current Program a Fair Try
If you’re currently enrolled in a second-choice program, you are likely dissatisfied. While opting for a transfer might seem like the more lucrative choice, it is also the much harder one. You’d have to deal with adapting to a new environment, new faculties, making new friends – all the while maintaining your academics.
Thus, it might be a good idea to give your current program another chance. You might end up liking it more with time, as well as give you an idea of how competitive you are. However, if you still end up disliking your stay there, you can then officially opt for a transfer.
How Much Can You Bring Your Grades Up?
Most competitive law programs require high GPA scores for acceptance. If that was the reason for your rejection, they’re very likely to be an issue during your transfer application as well. You’ll need to buckle down and be consistent in your academics to raise your GPA to a competitive level.
Some common tips for doing just that are:
- Plan and stick to a proper study schedule. It will ensure that you do not fall prey to unnecessary distractions and get overwhelmed by the enormity of 1L subjects.
- Go over past university papers and attempt online mock exams to familiarize yourself with the examination pattern and the commonly asked questions.
- Follow the advice of your professors since they are often biased towards their line of thinking.
Consider Re-Taking the LSAT
An underwhelming LSAT score is a glaring red flag in any law school application. If that was the issue for your rejection, you should consider re-taking it to strengthen your application.
The LSAT is a tough nut to crack. However, here are some tips that might help you:
- Join a Study Group- Study groups are the best places for prospective students to study together, exchange study plans, and discuss recent happenings.
- Subscribe to Online Coaching Programs- Online tutoring can be a great way to streamline your LSAT prep without compromising on your 1L grades.
- Find the best books to prepare for the LSAT– If you are reluctant to buy brand new ones, you can always hunt the market for used copies or opt for online pdfs.
- Make a Solid Study Plan- Apart from your academics, your study plan should also have contingencies for the inevitable distractions.
Try An Extracurricular
Extracurriculars are often seen as the cherry on the cake of a law school application. But if you are planning for specialization in law, relevant extracurriculars can give you the requisite practical exposure you need to make up your mind. For example, clerking at a law firm is a great way to obtain a sneak peek at the intense world of corporate law.
Besides that, extracurriculars also help you shape your narrative for your transfer application since they highlight your positive contribution to your current program. On the flip side, they help you connect more with your school and might even make you change your mind about transferring in the first place.
What Are Your Career Goals?
Law is a highly competitive career, and a degree from a top institution can indeed boost your chances of getting hired at graduation. However, the legal field is also vast, and your career goals may not necessarily benefit from an Ivy League degree in the first place. For example, a career in litigation is much more reliant on sheer skill and experience than an academic degree.
Following the trend of your extracurricular activities, you can make a note of what your specific career goals are. You can then chart out your future and see if and where a transfer fits into the big picture. If you are confused, you can always avail the help of career counselors for guidance and planning.
Hasty Decisions May Disrupt Your Future
Law school is hard, intense, and overwhelming for most students. Transferring schools mid-program creates additional challenges that can put undue pressure on you and ultimately lead to disastrous results. Thus, you should diligently weigh all the pros and cons of a transfer before making any decision.