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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!

Damiano del Pino – Student Bar Association President

June 24th, 2010 5 comments

For the next few weeks, I plan to showcase some of our students, administrators and professors so you can see what Widener Law offers.  Although this post is focused on the Delaware campus, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the Harrisburg campus.

Damiano (Dom) del Pino, president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), is in his fourth year as an Extended Division (part-time) student.  He has been highly active in the Widener Law community and gladly shares his experiences in different programs, classes and organizations.  During a break in his busy schedule, he offered a few comments about Widener Law.

The SBA

Dom has a challenging yet rewarding job leading the Student Bar Association.  Widener Law’s chapter is extremely active with over 30 organizations and a strong commitment to community service.  Students are encouraged to assist the local population and give back to Widener Law.  Social networking is also a key component for the SBA, alumni are invited to every event and regularly attend as guests and speakers.  They actively promote Widener and seek opportunities to interact with current students.  Not only are students encouraged to network with alumni, they are also reminded that fellow students are future colleagues who can offer valuable professional partnerships in the future.

Campus Renovations

As a fourth year student, Dom has witnessed many changes on campus.  The dorm room renovations impressed him.  For example, each floor offers a kitchen unit with two stoves and secure cabinets for each dorm room; this is well maintained by campus services.  Also, each dorm room has a micro-fridge unit for easy storage.  Furthermore, both Shipley and Concord dorm buildings will replace their windows for improved insulation.  In Shipley Hall, there is a gym open until 10 pm for students, faculty and staff.  Furthermore, students are given membership to the Jewish Community Center (JCC), located about a mile from Widener Law, offering state of the art equipment and an Olympic style pool.  One night per week, the JCC gym is reserved for Widener Law intramural sports teams.

In terms of safety, new cameras were installed by the townhouses and entrance to the dorms requires an activated campus ID.  Call boxes will also be installed soon, providing immediate response if needed.

Library

As a law student, you will likely spend a good deal of time in the library.  Dom is impressed by Widener Law’s resources.  As a public library, federal and congressional materials are available for students and the community.  Although thousands of publications comprise three levels, our highly trained staff can locate any printed journal not housed in our center.  Many library staff members also hold a J.D., not only can they assist students with research, but also with legal related questions.

Technology

Dom has also seen additions to technology.  Most recently, Widener Law implemented a closed circuit tv network which allows anyone on campus to view events in our main venue – the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.  The Main Law Building offers outlets by each seat for laptops in every room and the entire campus has wireless internet. Every classroom also has tv and dvd access.

Grading Curve

Some incoming students worry about Widener Law’s grading curve.  Dom understands these concerns but believes the faculty do an excellent job in clearly describing our system.  The grading system is transparent and detailed through two pages in the student handbook.  Dom finds this to be unique at Widener since he heard that other programs allow faculty to develop different curves for each class.  Widener Law has a standard curve for all students.  He finds that the curve becomes less stringent for upperclassmen and is slightly easier now for first year students.  Attorneys in the area know about Widener Law’s curve, especially when interviewing with Widener Law alumni.  It is also well known that Widener Law’s program is very challenging; therefore J.D. graduates are considered extremely well-prepared for practice.

Career Development

Dom mentioned a new Career Development initiative where a counselor provides personal counseling one night per week in the Main Law Building.  Evening students seem to be particularly appreciative of these after hour sessions.  Also, alumni are successfully employed, particularly in clerkships.  He encourages new students to focus on their writing skills when applying for jobs.  Employers care more about writing samples than GPA or class rank.  Fortunately, Widener Law has a strong writing focus with three methods classes and one required seminar with a final paper.

Final Words

New and prospective students should be excited with Widener Law’s growing reputation.  Dean Ammons hired three new faculty with the same vigor and passion as new students and continues to renovate campus facilities.  Dom is excited to see new developments during his final year.

To learn more about Dom, please visit his profile!