Natalie's Application Advice:
- Finding the right school may be a difficult choice. I first began my applications and interest in grad school based upon the location I would like to live when I graduated. Most of the time, graduates from the city they study in, settle down and find employment in that region. Choose a school that is affordable and that you feel comfortable with. Don't just choose a school because of the name; go somewhere that you can see yourself thriving and enjoying. McKinney is an amazing school and is half the cost of Maurer. Cost of grad school is normally all on your shoulders, so find the happy medium.
- Prepare for the LSAT early. I would recommend taking it in the summer (June) before your senior year. This will give you enough time to get your scores back and retake the exam if necessary. I LOVED the PowerScore LSAT Bible Trilogy for study materials. You can buy these on Amazon.
- Attend Hanover's graduate school fairs! They are what gets your foot in the door to begin receiving information about the universities you are considering. When you fill out your contact information, the graduate school kind of pulls the weight in terms of keeping you on track. They will send you law school fairs and information session opportunities. Attend these when they work with your schedule. McKinney had a Law School 101 information session over the summer that was incredibly helpful to keep me on track. They provided a timeline for you and allowed you to ask any questions that you had about the law school process. Truly you should have all applications for law school in by Thanksgiving. The schools normally do a large round of admissions over Thanksgiving break. In addition, reach out to the admission counselors of the schools you are interested in. They will give you little tips and tricks to make your application stand out. Also, if people know you and can speak highly of you, you are more likely to be accepted. I had a Hanover alumni right an additional recommendation after reviewing my resume and chatting on the phone to help strengthen my application further.
- Building your resume is important. Your resume and admission essay are truly what speak on your behalf for law school. A recommendation letter can only go so far. You need to prove that you would be an asset to their school. For law school resumes, make them long. Include everything that you have excelled at in academics, service, and extracurricular involvements. They want to see that you are a well-rounded person. Also, use Margaret Krantz! She helped me revise both my resume and admission statement. She is incredibly knowledgeable and extremely helpful in this realm.
- Your admissions essay for law school needs to make you stand apart. They want to know why you're passionate about this field, why you would be an asset to their institution, and why they want to take the chance and admit you. Include your personal interests, passions, and motivations for law school. You should also talk about what unique characteristics, ways of thinking, and experiences you will bring to law school. Law schools love diversity; make them fall in love with you.
- Paying for graduate school is very different from an undergraduate degree. There are far less scholarship opportunities than for undergrad. Start saving early. I personally will be taking out loans to cover the cost of my dual degree. However, fill out every scholarship application that you can get your hands on. You never know, grad school money may find it's way into your pocket. You truly will not get scholarship money from your intended law school unless you have an outstanding score on the LSAT. Most of the money will come from Federal Aid because you will file the FAFSA as an independent and will not be working for at least the first year of law school, so you will be able to receive the assistance you need. You need to overcome the fear of loan debt. It is inevitable, so uncover the passion behind your decision for law school, and know that the extra money you take out now only allows you to change lives in the future.