Disclaimer: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR (if you're lucky)
Here's my story (I'll try to keep it brief). Last year, I was admitted to Hofstra with a $20K scholarship. I was living on the west coast and Hofstra was the only NY school I applied to. I was admitted to schools with higher rankings (2nd tier), I even got some other (smaller) scholarship offers. I figured "what the heck" and decided to head east.
My first (& last) year at Hofstra has been an eye-opening experience. Here's a synopsis of what I learned:
#1 A Hofstra Law degree is better than no law degree
#2 If you can ignore all of the school's inadequacies for 3 years, it's worth considering
#3 Look at the numbers (and read between the lines); realize that the school minimally meets the ABA accreditation standards (and that’s when you round numbers in the school’s favor)
DON'T BE OPTIMISTIC...it's worse than you imagine.
Every school has its faults. Things can get better, but sometimes they don't. Hofstra University has a very LONG tradition of supporting mediocrity and resisting change. The School of Law honors this tradition. You’ll soon discover that not everyone is bad, but the bureaucracy involved with simple tasks can be overwhelming.
But you may wonder, how do they have such a distinguished faculty??? And how did their ranking the rise last year??? (Answer: rhyme$ with "honey") The faculty pay far exceeds the region’s average; and the “best and brightest” students are given whopping scholarships. Dollar for dollar, the students actually “paying” for this education get less in return than they might expect.
Basically, from an "educational value" standpoint, Hofstra is overpriced. Even with a $20K scholarship, I'm ready to leave for greener pastures. Watch out West Coast, because I’m headed back!!!
NOW FOR THE SCHOOL’S BRIGHT POINTS…
The party scene is decent. Check out the Fall Bash and the Barrister’s Ball for good times (if you’re into drinking). The student body is “friendly” AKA relatively easy to hook-up with. Some of the students are attractive (not all); some of the students occasionally offer an insightful comment; sometimes alums land decent jobs and are willing to lend a helping hand.
A lot depends on your section…Section A=tenured professors anticipating their next paycheck; Section B=newer professors trying to prove themselves; Part Time Evening=professors who command enough experience and authority to require that they teach the more motivated and mature segment of the student body. Don’t get your hopes up and you won’t be disappointed. You might even be pleasantly surprised.
As a student in Section A, I am now a fan of the “mock” Socratic method. Is that to say that so long as information is presented in the form of a question, a professor say they “teach” using the Socratic method? To answer my own question, yes it is.
If you’re ever stumped in class, don’t panic…most professors will repeat the “question” and nudge you in the right direction. You’re also allowed an unlimited number of free passes, so use them often. In the event you don’t have time to read AND go to class, just choose (the content is the same). Class attendance has a bonus: if you pay attention, you’ll realize that the class “discussion” is filled with comical elements. Ha, ha.
WARNING: It is possible to be academically disqualified. So don’t be that ONE student who gets kicked out due to low grades. Otherwise, hang on to your admission letter and in three years, you can redeem it for a degree.
FOR THE SKEPTICS…
In sum, you’ll learn an important skill at Hofstra: how to become and how to remain skeptical. Don’t believe anything an administrator says; strongly doubt information you hear from students and professors.
A few minor points:
--Campus housing is slum-like (those expensive “new” dorm facilities only house a small segment of the population and there’s a lot of competition for those rooms; imagine “Animal House” for a picture of what it’s like to live there); your other option is a government housing project (err, rather now the University-owned “Twin Oaks Apartment Complex”).
--Food choices are limited and overpriced. Buy groceries, you’ll be happier.
--Financial aid refunds are slow to process. BUT you’ll realize that it would be even SLOWER if you weren’t a law student.
--Don’t fight the system. You’re wasting your time and your energy. Expect no one to help you. You’re on your own. You’re not the first to notice a problem and you probably won’t be the one who gets it fixed.
--You want a law degree, and Hofstra wants your money. It’s that simple. After you enroll, you’ll be worth less than a bar of soap. Really. (Once upon a time, I actually thought that the dorm bathrooms would be supplied with soap if I asked nicely…again, big mistake.)
As you struggle to come up with a convincing reason of why you chose Hofstra Law, you’ll improve your sales skills and eventually you will be able to convince a jury to award a criminal defendant a medal of honor. If you decide not to pursue a career in law, you’ll be among a small number of people qualified for a sales job in the direct marketing of frozen water to Alaskan natives.
IN SUMMARY: Hofstra #95…Not the worst, not the best.