Ok, let me start by saying when I first considered law school, I visited one school Seton Hall and was hooked. It was the only place I wanted to attend and only applied to Rutgers cause I didn't want to just apply to one school.
Anywho, I got accepted into Rutgers first so it was a relief cause I knew atleast I'd be going to law school then I got accepted to Seton Hall so I was like
Well I attended Rutgers Coffee & More event a week prior to ASD just for the heck of it and found myself intrigued for the first time about Rutgers so I decided to attend their ASD yesterday at the last minute. So with that being said...Rutgers
For this event you could park in the Rutgers parking lot and pay the student rate of $3.21 (beats parking on the street and worrying you got a ticket-Newark cops are ruthless) I arrived, got my name tag and was sent to their conference room where the event was to begin. First the dean made a speech about the benefits of a Rutgers law education and then the panelists (all former Rutgers students of various backgrounds) spoke about Rutgers and their experience. I must say I found the speeches boring and uneventful. The real pleasure for me came when current students took us from there and we went into a small conference room to talk "real talk" as one student put it. As a prospective evening student it was important for me to find out how it was for other evening students handled the rigors of law school while balancing work and family. To be honest I think that was missing from the panel, all the panel members had been full time day students.
It was from talking to those individuals that I really got a feel for what law school was gonna be like for someone like me and was rather comforting. We then went downstairs for some light refreshments of cheese, crackers, fruit, and wine. Also, the diversity was so evident at Rutgers that I could not help but feel at ease and made many contacts in the short hours I was there, exchanging e-mails & phone numbers promising to call one another once we made a decision. Also, I was accepted into the minority student program which I applied to without knowing too much about it, the brochure on the website I feel is rather vague. What I did learn from the MSP representative and also from students involved in it was that it was a valuable resource for helping students achieve success in law school and make extensive contacts with MSP alumni through various on-campus events.
It was then that I seriously started to consider Rutgers even more. So to that end the Rutgers ASD was a success for me. Next it was on to Seton Hall.Seton Hall
Seton Hall validated my parking for this event so I didn't have to pay anything. I entered the building and was greeted to coffee, juice, water and an assortment of pastries and bagels. Not bad...
I then went into a huge auditorium where the dean introduced members of the seton hall law student softball team who were on their way to virginia to participate in a tournament. I was shocked to discover that a law school had an athletic team and then found out that they had in fact 3 teams. Afterward various other faculty members gave speeches about the program at Seton Hall. To be honest, I felt the speeches were boring once again and in this case rushed as faculty members had to hurry along their planned speeches because someone prior had run over.
Next came a mock class in which the professor treated us as students and asked us relevant questions based upon a recent case. I really felt engaged during that time but it too was rushed. We then heard from the student body president as he briefly talked about his experiences at Seton hall. Afterwhich, a current student gave us a speed tour of the facility and we ended the tour on the first floor for lunch. This consisted of penne pasta, grilled chicken breast, mixed vegetables, rolls and for desert, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and some delicious brownies.
It was during lunch that various faculty members circulated the tables stopping to talk to all the prospective students. Current students stopped and ate with us as well. It was the rapor between the current students and faculty which I found to be the most enjoyable. I found the faculty to be funny, easy to talk to and in one case jokingly referred to as the greatest dancer in the world.
One student accounted how one of his professors is in a band with him and often brings his guitar to class and sings about cases. Another told of how a professor treats class like a game show, calling on 30-35 people per class. Apparently, all the students love him.
So now it was time to make my decision. Rutgers deadline is April 1st, to be honest I didn't so much care before if it passed me by because I knew I was going to Seton Hall but now I really had a tough decision to make.
Rutgers-diverse class both ethnically and age wise; has the Minority Student program which could be advantageous if taken advantage of properly; much cheaper tuition because of my NJ residency; not as technologically savy as I would like with some teachers banning laptops from their class(students surfing the net and playing games was the reason); declining in rankings (currently lower ranked than seton hall)
Seton Hall-more technologically savy (laptops a requirement all tests done on laptop); strong student-centered program ($100,000 given to student organizations, students are members of all boards, i.e. determining curriculum, how school money should be spent); relaxed & easy going teachers giving off a sense community atmosphere; improving in rankings; not much diversity both ethnically and age wise; most students coming straight from undergrad or 1 year later; No minority student program.
So in the end I decided to go with...
Who would've thought it. It seemed that for the stage of life that I'm in (good lawd I sound old, I'm only 27 darn it!) I need a program that's gonna be more supportive of my obligations as a full-time worker and a mom. I felt the support system that Rutgers provides is better in this aspect than that of seton hall which really doesn't have a whole lot of older people with those types of obligations. Also, the minority student program at Rutgers puts you into a mandatory study group with your peers which for me is a good thing since I tend to be introverted and probably wouldn't seek one out otherwise. Also, they give you a mentor for every class you take which can only assist in your learning. Finally, by adhering to these components you are guaranteed an internship through the MSP. For me this was a critical issue, having not done an internship during undergrad and paying severly for that mistake.
I just couldn't pass all those things up then add to it that the tuition is much more affordable and even though declined in rankings Rutgers has a name to it that will definitely assist me in obtaining a job in NJ which is where I want to work anyway.
Whew, that was a long post but I felt the need to share since I've gotten soo much information from this board and thought I had figured everything out until I actually visited. My advice, VISIT every place you're considering, you may be pleasantly surprised.