Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be happy in law school.
Like people, law schools have personalities, and it’s unlikely that one person can be equally happy at every law school.
To enjoy your law school experience, finding the right fit culturally and academically is key.
And just in case you think happiness is frivolous when it comes to choosing a law school, remember: Being miserable makes you a less successful learner.
What Matters to You?
Even among the best law schools, there are major cultural differences. You deserve to enjoy your law school experience, not just survive it. Asking yourself these questions can help you get a sense of what you want out of your law school experience:
Do you want a classroom environment that is lecture-oriented, or one where there is a back and forth? If the latter, do you learn better in a conversation that is hard-charging and sometimes relentless, or in one where viewpoints are broadly valued?
Do you want to make friends, or do you view this as a primarily professional undertaking? Where do you see yourself on a scale with collaboration at one end and competition at the other?
The Role of Faculty
Do you want a school where student learning and faculty research and work are in balance, or do you prefer a school where one predominates over the other? Do you want students to be central to institutional identity? Do you want to have close relationships with faculty?
Do you want to know everyone in your class? Do you want to know everyone in the school? Do you want to feel more anonymous?
Do you want a more immersive student experience, or would you prefer to leave school at school? Do you want students’ social life to revolve around campus, or do you want to focus on life off campus?
Do you need to be near someone or some place to be happy? Do you prefer a city of a certain size?