Like many people, I have been accepted to more than one school. Also, like many people, I am not sure which school I would like more. Some of the differences are so big that it is difficult to decide what is important.

I have made an excel spreadsheet to help me sort out my thoughts. This approach may also help some other people to decide.

http://www.hunterthinks.com/solo/lawschool/Accepted_Schools_Matrix.xls First, I listed absolutely everything that might influence my choice. I then forced myself to rank them from most important to least important. I put all of these criteria on the spreadsheet.

1. Required courses

2. Section

3. Interesting Classes

4. Avg. Class Size

5. Joint Degree

6. School Attractiveness

7. City Attractiveness

8. LSAT 25th %

9. Faculty Ratio

10. Total Cost of school

11. Family

12. Constitutional

13. International

14. Bar %

15. Leiter

16. Weather

17. Cost of living

18. GPA 25th %

Next I needed to decide how important each criterion was. I picked some criteria that I could easily relate to each other. I decided that the “Total Cost of School” was twice as important as the “Cost of Living” in the city where the school was located. I then decided that the size of the first year section was twice as important as the total cost of school.

I made the “Weight” of “Cost of Living” 1.0, “Total Cost” 2.0, and “Section” 4.0. I then assigned weights to the other categories using those three scores and the ranked list as references.

I filled in the data from various sources. Some of the data is objective. For example, the section size is from the LSAC website. And, some of the data is subjective. How I feel about the city that the school is located (“Attractiveness” under “Location”) is completely based on my feelings about the city.

I calculated cost of living using Austin TX as my base. I put $100,000 into this cost of living calculator and then choose the city where the school is located.

http://www.homefair.com/homefair/servlet/ActionServlet?pid=199&cid=homefair I rounded the cost of living off to the nearest thousand and put that number in the spreadsheet. (No, I do not make $100,000; it was just an easy number to use.)

At the top, I put a “Goal” value for each category. For example, under “Required Curriculum” I put the 30. I would like to go to a school that has only 30 hours of required courses. Above that is the “Units”. This is a little harder to explain. In this case, for every 4 more hours that a school requires (above 30), I subtract a point from their total score. Let’s look at another example. Under section size, my goal is 80. The unit is 5. So, if a school has a section size of 85, then they loose a point. However, if they have a section size of 75, then they gain a point.

One of the tricky parts of this spreadsheet is that some columns must be deducted from the total and some must be added to the total. For example, my goal for “Interesting” under Curriculum is 30. (I look through the schools catalog and count the number of classes that I find interesting; I want there to be 30 of them.) If a school has more than 30, then I

*add* points to their score. Next example: My goal for “Total Cost” is 13000 per year. If a school is above that number, then I want to

*subtract* points from them.

If you are going to use this spreadsheet, then you must know something about excel. Keep an eye on the formulas if you do.

I really don’t know if this will help anyone, but I know it has helped me to sort out what is important to me and exactly how important it is.