#The1Llife: NARROWING YOUR LIS[Z]T

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GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

NARROWING YOUR LIS[Z]T, PART I (Liebestraum No.3)

With finals rapidly approaching, I’m going to deflect by focusing on admissions and planning for law school.  For all the 0Ls out there, this is for you.

Hopefully you’ve been admitted to some schools and now you’re deciding where to go. Here are some quick tips to help focus your decision:

  1. Location: Does location matter to you? If it does, don’t be afraid to admit it. I felt like carrying about location was shallow until I realized that enduring four years of brutal winter and six months a year without sunshine and Seasonal Affect Disorder made it totally reasonable for me to want to go to school in California. Also, after spending four years away from my family and missing four years of weddings, births, and funerals, I wanted to be back in on the family action. I couldn’t be happier that I made location a major factor in my application process. Remember, you’re paying a lot of money to go through a really tough experience—you might as well like where you are while you do it.
  2. Money: Speaking of spending a lot of money, try not to. Bragging about yourself is tough for most of us, but if it’s between being humble and being in more debt, choose more brag and less debt. Let schools know about the scholarships you’ve been offered from other schools if they’re competitive, and let them know if money is holding you back from attending. I was forthcoming about both, and the schools I worked with were very understanding and willing to work with me. If you’re interested in public interest, be sure to ask detailed questions about their Public Interest Loan Forgiveness programs, if they have one. If you’re interested in PI and they don’t have a PILF program, I suggest you reconsider.
  3. People: If you can (and you should be able to), speak with current students. Admissions officers are a great resource for the statistics and wide-view perspective, but the students are in the trenches daily. You’ll even be in classes with some of them in the future. Every student I spoke to gave me very honest feedback, and it was crucial to my decision-making. The one question I asked every student was, “If you were sick the week before finals and missed class, how would your classmates react?” If the answer was anything other than “give me their notes and be supportive,” I knew it was a community I didn’t want to be a part of. My classmates at UCLA Law are so supportive, and that is exactly the type of law school community I was looking for.

Please tweet me any questions you may have @The1Llife! More tips coming your way in the next post!

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