Well-rounded candidates a plus for grad school
Many students are not only dealing with the stress of finals right now; they are also trying to decide about graduate school, law school and getting applications out on time.
Angela Weisl, professor of English and the director of Graduate Studies for the English department and the chair of the Seton Hall Graduate Advisory Hall, said that all academic programs require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
In Weisl’s opinion, students who have a passion for their subject go to graduate school.
“They are excited about the idea of teaching, but may like the confines or age restrictions for middle or high school,” Weisl said. “They enjoyed writing, research, and classes they’ve taken or had professors inspire them.”
Robert Pallitto, the pre-law advisor and an assistant professor of Political Science and Public Affairs, said that law schools require the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and require that applicants register with the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS).
“The LSAC has a website that contains all the information an applicant needs: how to register, how to request transcripts, how to submit letters of recommendation and how to complete electronic applications, among other things,” Pallitto said.
Pallitto estimates that approximately 100 Seton Hall graduates will apply to law school this year.
“Law school is a popular post-baccalaureate option because it leads to a clear career goal: being an attorney,” Pallitto said.
However, Pallitto also said that law school can be a “default” option for some college seniors.
“They feel they need to have a plan after graduation, and they settle on law school without considering other things,” Pallitto said. “Most importantly, I work with Seton Hall students on every aspect of the application process, from consulting on the personal statement to completing evaluations to selecting schools.”
Pallitto said that law schools generally look for students with strong skills in writing, argument and textual interpretation.
“They are less interested in how much substantive knowledge of law an applicant has and more interested in a record of academic accomplishment,” Pallitto said. “There is no required or preferred major for law school.”
He added that extracurricular accomplishments can also be helpful.
“Think about how you want your resume to look when you apply to law school, and work toward building that kind of a resume,” Pallitto said. “Don’t focus too much on doing law-related stuff. You will have plenty of time to do that when you actually get to law school!”
Senior Mayelin Torres, a criminal justice major, is applying for graduate school in International Relations. She is applying to Seton Hall, as well as several other universities.
“Seton Hall helped me to realize that I want a school that have a good reputation and a good graduate program,” Torres said.
She advised other applicants to be patient, because “eventually everything comes together.”
Senior Christine Mallon, an English major is applying to both law school and graduate school in English because she is not sure what she wants to do yet, and said she wants to keep her option open.
Mallon described the application process so far as tedious.
“The hardest part is trying to keep the time line, and balance it out with my school work,” Mallon said. “There’s too much paper work for the applications.”
Weisl said that students should be realistic when applying.
“Don’t apply to just top tier schools,” Weisl said. “Do your research and talk to faculty in your department.”
Brittany Biesiada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.