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What to Do During Your Law School Visit

August 17th, 2012 No comments

As we start a new school year, some of you may be scheduling campus visits as you apply.  Here’s a few suggestions to make the most out of a visit.

  • Do your homework first

I understand that some people prefer talking to someone rather than doing research.  But you give off a much better impression toAdmissions representatives if you visit a law school knowing the basics.  Research is a major aspect of law school after all, show that you are already savvy with it.  Take a look at Widener Law’s website before you stop by.  All of our application requirements and procedures are listed there.  Create an account through our portal and see what the process looks like.  Also, visit lsac.org for information about the LSAT and creating a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report.  These are the basic application procedures.

  •  You interview us, not the other way around

Widener Law does not interview applicants so do not consider a visit as an interview for Admission.  No, a campus visit will not sway the Committee’s decision.  We will gladly help improve your application but any requests for reconsideration or clarification should be submitted in writing (email or letter).

On the other hand, this is your opportunity to gauge whether Widener Law is a good fit for you.  Make a list of questions that you feel are important and ask them during your visit.  If anything is unclear, ask again!  We are here to give you a full picture of our programs and atmosphere.   About.com has a good list of questions to ask, but ask anything you want!  If your tour guide can’t answer a questions, then someone else probably can.  Feel free to request another contact for further information.

  •  When should you visit?

Widener Law welcomes visitors any time of the year.  But I usually suggest waiting until you receive a decision.  I recommend applying to a wide variety of law schools (if you can afford it).  After receiving piles of acceptances (hopefully), narrow down your most likely choices.  Then visit those schools.

  • Meet students, faculty, staff, etc.

Visit a class, request to meet a student, stop by our cafeteria (Crown Court) and stroll through the library on your own.  Make sure to meet as many people as you can to get an accurate picture of student life.  We regularly schedule class visits and have an active Student Ambassador group to answer your questions.  US News offers a great suggestion:

“During your visit, try not to let the awe-inspiring (or underwhelming) facilities distract you; stay focused on what really matters. While a grandiose library may be impressive, pay closer attention to how happy and collaborative the students are and how involved they are in the school and in extracurricular activities. Is there a sense of community, both within the law school and within the broader university?”

  • Don’t rush to judgement

Just as when you visited colleges (if you didn’t then, you should visit law schools now), don’t rush to judgement.  I was highly disillusioned with my college visit.  It was a dreary, rainy day.  The campus was enormous and overwhelming.  The food was barely edible.  The location was not exactly “happening”.  And I had trouble really seeing myself there.  Despite the visit, they had great programs and a good price so I chose that school anyway.  I had some of the best years of my life there and I would choose that school again – I’m glad I didn’t rush to judgement!  Sometimes visits don’t give an accurate picture of three or four years worth of education.  Weigh your options.  We all have bad days, classes are not always lively and interesting, and rainy days happen.  Remember what’s important and take visits into account along with the bigger picture.

  • Now you’re ready to stop by!  

I hope you can all take a look at both the Harrisburg and Delaware campuses.  They both offer more than just a building, it’s an entire community.  For the full experience, call 717-541-3903 to visit the Harrisburg campus or 302-477-2100 to visit the Delaware campus or email lawadmissions@widener.edu.  Further details are available on our website.

What do you think?  What additional advice can you offer?  Comment below!

Welcome to our Student Blogs- Meet Our Former Bloggers!

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

Meet Our Former Bloggers!
{tab=Tom} Tom TrettleTom: My name is Tom Trettel. I am a regular division (full time), second year (2L) student at the Delaware campus. My plan at this point is to graduate in May 2013, then work as an associate for a few years before opening my own “small-town” practice in Delaware. Being a few years older than most students, I had two careers before law. I counseled teenagers at an in-patient psychiatric hospital and then moved on to running a small retail business. After enjoying that for many years, I decided that it was about time to get my doctorate, so here I am. For me, it was a great decision. Follow my posts!

{tab=Jonathan} JonathanSuzukiBlogger400xp-300x288Jonathan: My name is Jonathan Suzuki and I was born in Tokyo, Japan. Since the summer I graduated high school, I’ve been in and around the music industry, and my first foray was translating for major label bands performing at the Fuji Rock Festivals. Because I got a taste for being around musicians, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Music Technology (sound engineering). I found a job at a music publisher after I quickly realized that I wasn’t equipped with the requisite patience to be at the bottom of the studio totem pole. While working for the publisher, I was exposed to onerous songwriter agreements, publishing agreements, and international royalty-collection agreements but in all honesty, I didn’t understand most of it. Not understanding led me to endeavor in law school. Read more on Jonathan’s Blog Posts!

{tab=Chelsey} ChelseyCrockerBlogger400px-300x279Chelsey: “I am currently taking Torts, Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Legal Methods. To assist you in your understanding of the life of a law student, I intend to blog about my experiences in and outside the classroom at Widener, so you can get a real feel for what it is that we do as students of law. My hope is that as you choose where best fits you for law school, that this may be something that could assist you in that decision. If I could answer any specific questions for you, please don’t hesitate to email me at cdcrocker@mail.widener.edu. Best of luck in the process!” Read more from  Chelsey’s Blog.

{tab=Jana & Jennifer}
Jana DiCosmo and Jennifer Perez are students on the Delaware campus of Widener Law. Jana is an Extended Division student while Jennifer is enjoying her experiences as a First year law student. Click on the slides below to meet Jana and Jennifer! {slide= Meet Jana} Jana & Jennifer’s Blog:

leftSpiffJanaJenAdmissions185pxJana DiCosmo, is a second-year law student in the Extended Division day program. Before joining the Widener Law community, she attended the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She majored in Political Science, focusing on civil rights law classes and statistical analysis in social science research.

Feel free to email any questions about the first year, or the transition from the first to second year: jrdicosmo@mail.widener.edu. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with you! Read More from Jana

{/slide} {slide=Meet Jennifer} MEET JENNIFER: Jennifer writes that her life experiences and cultural background are greatly responsible for her professional and personal passion for United States Immigration Law. As a child of Latino immigrants living in Camden, New Jersey, the struggles that immigrants in her community overcame were just part of life. As she grew older and looked at her surroundings, Jennifer realized that she could make positive change. For years, Jennifer has relied on the prospect of “giving back” to my community by serving its immigrant population. Thus, from a very young age, Jennnifer has strived to join the ranks of lawyers and judges who also believe that character is forged by helping others. Read more from Jennifer
{/slide}
{tab=Kathleen & Meghan} Kathleen and Meghan are both   First year regular division law students on the Delaware campus. They share what it’s really like to be a first year at Widener Law! Click on the slides below to meet Kathleen and Meghan!
{slide= Meet Kathleen}
KathleenHi! My name is Kathleen Hubbert and I am a first-year law student in the Regular Division. Prior to arriving at Widener, I attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA (Go Dips!). There, I majored in Sociology and minored in English. I am from Blue Bell, PA (outside of Philadelphia), but I live on campus in one of the dorms.
I was originally drawn to Widener because of the professor’s reputations, and of the campus’ proximity to both Philadelphia and downtown Wilmington. Now that I’ve been on campus for some time, I know for certain that I made the right decision by coming to Widener.
Through this blog, I hope you’ll be able to get a feel for law school life, and you will get a feel for what life at Widener is like. If I can help you in any way possible, please don’t hesitate to email me at kmhubbert@mail.widener.edu with any questions.
{/slide} {slide= Meet Meghan}
MeghanHello everyone, my name is Meghan Harp. I’m currently a 1L regular division student at the Widener University School of Law and loving it! I’m also a recent graduate from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey where I majored in Political Science. I became interested in the study of law while in my junior year of undergrad after taking a course on civil liberties. I was particularly drawn to Widener Law for its friendly and welcoming environment. In particular, I was interested in their nationally recognized Health Law Certificate Program. Follow along in my blog as I experience what it’s truly like to be a first year law student!
Thanks for reading!
{/slide}

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Finals are just around the corner

One of my professors asked me to address a funk she noticed in class preparation of her first year students. Below is my letter to those students essentially encouraging them through the marathon that is first year first semester of law school. Hope this helps:

Last year one of my professor’s told my class that the hardest time you experience in law school is that period from the middle of October until late November during First Year. He described it as the period where the shock that you are in law school is over; it is no longer a big deal telling people you are in law school; and the period for evaluation is far enough away that you feel like coasting is at least manageable. I didn’t understand what he meant then but now I can see now how that period of time really separates those who “get it” and those who think law school is just like college.

One misconception with law school is that you are simply being tested on your ability to understand and apply the law. That is definitely part of it, but a huge part tests your ability to handle the process that IS law school. Professors have figured out a way to test us so that a canned outline or a week of cramming will just not suffice. The daily preparatory regiment and work ethic required to be in law school is not something you can fake. There was a student in my section last year who obviously barely read the cases for class and used someone else’s outlines to prepare for the final. Two days before the final he called to ask me a question and told me that he had memorized everything on his 65 page outline. The question he had was on an area of law we had not even covered that semester. Suffice it to say, he is no longer here. This isn’t an evaluation of your memorization skills but rather an assessment of the way you train for “game day.”

It is daunting to consider that you have to compete with other students; I know that feeling well being a competitive person. One of the most important things I learned last year was to “stay in your own lane.” Forget what everyone else is doing and don’t define how much you know by how much you think everyone else knows. I have learned that those who know the least spend a lot of their time trying to show others how much they know.

My overarching concept is that law school is hard. Law school is really hard. Being hard is what makes it what it is. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You were selected and are likely spending a lot of money to be here. Consider it a privilege to be forced to know what you have to know every day that you walk into class. Consider each class period a little piece of the answer to the final that you are getting that day. Every single day counts in law school and keeping pace is the only way to be successful.

Being a collegiate athlete, sport metaphors helped me to tough out my first year. Practice like you will compete and when the final leg of the race is approaching, kick it up a notch or you WILL regret it always knowing that you could have done just a little bit more.

I hope this helps and when grades for first semester finals come out, no matter what you earn, make it so you can say you left all out on the field. Best of luck.

On the Injured List

There is certainly no good time for your health to take a hit, but I cannot imagine a worse time than in law school. (Well, perhaps, law school at finals time). Recently I was sitting in Constitutional Law and my ankle swelled up to close to triple its normal size. Being a commuter now, I carpool with a friend and didn’t have my car. I passed a note to a friend next to me and asked if he could take me to the Emergency Room after class, (Con law really is dangerous!). After about a week of pain and limping along, I found out I am confined to my walking cast for at least a month. While I can certainly deal with a hit to my personal fashion with this boot, I was fearing the worst with requiring surgery during the semester! When I stepped back from worrying about things I could not control, I AGAIN realized how we law school kids really stick together! We are certainly in the trenches together and for lack of a better term, I have great people in the foxhole with me. I had 3 friends stay with me all night in the Emergency Room. I had dozens of friends offer to send me class notes for the days I missed, and I had professors sending me emails that they are available for help whenever I was ready and that my health comes first. While I was contemplating finishing this semester without a foot, the people in my corner were reminding me of the importance of taking care of myself and getting my priorities straight. Luckily I have only a limp to deal with, at least for now, but if my law school friends have anything to do with it, I’m not so worried about completing the semester sans my right foot! (Little shout out thank you: Tim, Andy, Ian, Maeve, Lia, Nick, Freddy, Jesika)

Taking on the right amount

With coming back to school and having the opportunities to get involved present themselves again, it is so important for me to remember balance. My priority in law school is to do well and learn the material to the best of my ability. While that is easy to say, it is often difficult to have other opportunities be forced to take a backseat. As a 2L, there are even more opportunities open now. Some include Moot Court, Trial Advocacy, Student Bar Association Representative, Kaplan Representative, Widener Running Club, Student Mentorship, Legal Community Service and so much more. I have moved about an hour away from campus and I have decided that being involved is important, but spreading myself too thin is certainly not a good idea. I am currently a student blogger (obviously), a Kaplan Representative, a library circulation desk worker, a volunteer at the District Attorney’s office, a research assistant, and a Lt. Governor for the Third Circuit of the American Bar Association-student division. I think I have enough on my plate from last year that I can really excel at without jumping into anything else this semester. There is a lot to be said about time for myself and adjusting to a new year of law school in my own time frame!

Back in Gear as a 2L

Wow! What new perspective I have being back here after my summer internship at the District Attorney’s Office. It was such a great experience but not only that, it provides me now with motivation of what it is exactly that I am working towards. I was at first frustrated with the feeling that I had so much more schooling left before I can actually appear in a courtroom on behalf of the Commonwealth but recently I have realized that I am not studying only to be a District Attorney but rather I am studying to be an Attorney, complete with all the knowledge necessary to keep my options open for what paths I choose in life. I love how the classes this year seem to blend so well with one another. For instance I am taking Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure, which seem to teach a lot of the same principles. Additionally my Evidence class often reflects much of the teachings in Criminal Procedure. I imagine my 1L classes had the same coalescence but I was not trained to recognize that at that point. Looks like I am actually thinking like a lawyer!

Internship

The excitement just keeps on coming! It is so interesting here. I have loved having the chance to meet so many different people in the courthouse. I have had interaction with judges, the sheriff, police officers, detectives, and, of course, attorneys. Everyone is so passionate about what they do. Last week I had the opportunity to see something incredible. I watched a suppression hearing involving a blind attorney representing a deaf defendant! Eight sign language experts were brought in to assist in the hearing. It was both amazing and admirable to see the length to which the court went to be certain that the defendant’s rights were protected. The Court’s thoroughness is certainly one of the greatest things I have witnessed this summer. The attorneys and judges are nothing short of cautious to be certain that the defendants understand their rights. The manner in which they do it is like a well-oiled machine. Before I began my internship I envisioned that the defendants would be intimidated and possibly fearful while in the courthouse. However, after this experience I believe the defendants become empowered by the sense of respect that the court gives them. I am really learning about what makes our Criminal Justice System work successfully.

Made for this!

What an amazing opportunity I have had here at the District Attorney’s Office! I love this internship. I am learning so much about the inter-workings of the courtroom and basically how criminal law plays out in the real world. I sat through an entire jury trial from beginning to end earlier this month! I saw everything from pretrial motions all the way to the verdict being read. The case involved drugs and two co-defendants. As interesting as it was to watch the whole trial, I felt very lucky to have been able to be listen in on conversations that occurred during recess, at lunch, and prior to the judge walking into the courtroom. It takes so many hardworking people to conduct a jury trial. The courtroom staff, the lawyers, and the jury were all so professional and respectful of their role in the process. I realize that I was made for this kind of law. It was inspiring to watch the Assistant District Attorney argue with such passion and I was equally enamored with the Defense Attorney’s eloquence with which she spoke. I have been absorbing and learning so much. I am really enjoying my summer!!!

Summer stuff

I am back! Now that finals are over and summer has officially started, I will be updating my blogs again on a more regular basis. Finals were a very hectic and stressful time to say the least. For my summer plans, I have secured an internship at the Bucks County District Attorney’s office which, lucky for me, is exactly what I want to do after law school! I could not be more excited. I hope to update my blog with my experiences there as it will be my first taste of the real world in the legal field. My understanding is that this summer I will be spending most of my time working on research for death penalty appeals. Additionally this summer I am assisting my Criminal Law professor with research on prosecutorial discretion in Japan! In the interim between finals and my internship I assisted one of my professors with ITAP (Intensive Trial Advocacy Program). It was such a great experience for me because I got to meet attorneys from all over the country who volunteered their time to judge trials for our incoming 3L’s at Widener.   My summer is certainly jam-packed and I will keep you updated on my adventures!

Coming full circle

I need to start off by saying that this will be my last blog for a few weeks. I am taking a break from blogging to devote every free minute that I have to studying for my upcoming finals. I will be back when classes start up again though. As this semester comes to an end and my first year rounds itself out, it was somewhat ironic that I gave a tour today to a prospective First Year student considering Widener-Harrisburg. Just about a year ago at this time I was wondering the same things as she was: what this school looked like, and how big the classes were, and how the professors would be. While I guided the tour I told this person about all the things that Widener has offered to me and my friends over the past year of my life. I showed her the library filled with students, equipped with earplugs and lunchboxes hitting the home-stretch for finals. I showed her the pit where all the things you could get involved in at Widener are displayed on various walls. I showed her a classroom equipped with the very technologically advanced “Smart-boards.” (I didn’t have them in undergrad so I thought they were pretty cool). I showed her the student accolades ranging from Law Review articles and Moot Court competitions to the Widener Running Club. Additionally, I walked her around to show her where the professor’s offices were located while explaining that the professors at Widener have a genuine interest in seeing you reach your fullest potential and succeed. It is my opinion that we at Widener are lucky to have professors who are willing to meet you half-way when you show your drive, discipline, and desire to become a lawyer. I realized while I was telling her about Widener’s attributes and my experience here, I never referred to the other students as my classmates, but rather as my friends. It is true that law school can be cut-throat competitive but that is not always the case. I wouldn’t call those people just classmates who will bring you back a coffee when it’s a late night at the library and they ran out to get themselves one; or the ones who help to explain how an equitable servitude is different than a covenant when you got lost in class, or the people who listen to you practice your oral argument and pretend to be a Judge for you. It’s undeniable that here at Widener I have found friends, and as demanding of a journey as law school can be, I have good people to make the trip with. Talk to you in a few weeks!