Getting Into Law School - Tips from a Law School Dean
This week on the Law School Insider we bring you Nelson Miller, who is Professor and Associate Dean of the Grand Rapids campus at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. He is joining us to talk about what you need to think about to find success in the first term of law school and beyond.
Dean Miller said he starts to speaks to students even before to begin. From the confersations that he has had he wrote: Going to Law School: Preparing for a Transformative Experience to assist students in this transition.
Why did you choose to attend law school? Dean Miller found that many of the students he has interacted with over the years join law school for similar reasons including:
- They attended because they wanted to reinvent themself
- They attended to extend themself in some way
- They have a cause or group that they feel a special affinity towards
- They want to achieve some sense of fulfillment
- They are using law school for exploration
Even before the first week Dean Miller will challenge students to explore the reasons for why they are choosing to attend. He explained that by knowing why you are attending you will start off your law school experience right.
Students do change their goals. A student who may choose one of the areas above may find that the experiences that they go through in law school may allow them to change and discover something fresh within the law school experience.
When you actually atrrive it is important to understand and grasp what law school is. Understanding the shape and form of law school is important.
Law school's have very different missions, At WMU Cooley Law School they have an access to help others. However, other law schools will have something different. Asd you go through courses your faculty are looking for students to gain an understanding of the importance of the mission as well as an understanding of you
Reduce how you succeed to your work drive or work ethic. There is more to it than just committing to the work. You also have to know who to go to for help. YOu have to reach out to your professors and academic resource persionnel to assist you in your law school journey. You also should be proactive to get que4stions answered before you need them answered.
If you are a student that supports other students, Dean Miller has also found that this leads you to find success sooner!
The information, solutions and support come to you more quickly when you have a network. To find succes in law school you do need to draw from your own knowledge but also from the knowledge from others. Thus, developing and thickening your networks in law school is important. The sooner you reach out to other students and asking for health the more successful you will end up being.
By the end of a term you will be asked to perform well on an exam. As we have spoken in the past about exams, you are working to show how you can apply the knowledge that you have learned about throughout the term. Dean Miller highly encourages students to practice exams early in the term and to ask for feedback.
In law school you will find a time when you will meet your academic match, but this is how you learn. The key is to persevere and adjust. Professors work to give you feedback to be able to quickly adjust throughoput the term, btu again, you need to make sure you reach out and ask for support. Whether this is in regards to law school courses, or in just being a law student, it does not matter.
Some of the pitfalls and challenges that students hit include:
- Student discipline
- Reading to learn the law
- Understanding the Context - Life Skills
Many of the things that Dean Miller shared are a part of a book that he wrote entitled: Going to Law School: Preparing for a Transformative Experience. Dean Miller is offering this book free for all of you! Download the eBook now!
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