You Got Into Law School. Congrats! Now What?

If you’re reading this article, I am assuming you have been accepted into law school. In that case, congratulations! You will never have to deal with the LSAT again. Now, you just have to decide where you want to go.  Here are some tips that helped me.

  • If you’re waitlisted somewhere, decide what school you want to attend in the meantime with the mindset that you will not get off a waitlist. You want to pick a school that you can envision yourself at for the next three years. While that might seem hypocritical because I transferred, transferring is not always a guarantee because just like the preliminary law school admissions process, it is unpredictable with a variety of factors that are out of your control. I was very lucky that it worked out for me. You also do not want to have a negative attitude towards your law school–while you do not have to be head over heels in love with your school, you should not feel any regret or dread of attending.
  • Reach out to the admissions office of your law school and ask them to connect you with a law student(s) that graduated from your undergraduate institution. This helps you get an idea of how the transition will be, especially if you are attending a different university than you did for undergrad. I did this at my previous law school, and I gained not only helpful insights and advice, but also mentors and friends.
  • Talk to more than one student about their experience. Law schools are not one size fits all and everyone’s experience is different. You might talk to someone who will write love letters to their school on Valentine’s Day (which, if you have read my previous post, I am guilty of). However, talk to students who have different experiences to try to get a more well rounded perspective.
  • Visit the town/city where the school is located, if possible. You’re not only committing to a law school for three years, you’re also committing to the city, its weather, etc. You have to not only be happy with the school itself, but with your living environment. This may come as a shock, but there is life outside of law school. 
  • Visit the school. With COVID restrictions getting lifted all over, most schools are giving in-person tours again. Seeing the school in-person, especially while school is in session, makes all the difference than looking at pictures online. BC Law is welcoming in-person visitors and giving tours. I might even be your tour guide if you come.

No matter what your admissions outcome is, just know that by getting accepted to a law school, you already accomplished the hard part. Once school starts, you have to just believe in yourself and your future success and that you’re where you are for a reason. It will all work out.


Melissa Gaglia is a second-year student at BC Law. Contact her at gagliam@bc.edu.

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Law School

Returning to school after Spring Break is always an adjustment. You’ve relaxed, you’ve slept in, and, if you’re luckier than me, you’ve traveled to a tropical destination. Getting up for your 9 am lectures and spending late nights briefing cases can feel harder than ever, especially as the weather is starting to get warmer. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was much easier to hunker down and read when it was freezing cold and dark at 4 pm.

And yet, just as these factors are combining to make motivation for school drop to its lowest, we’re also approaching the home stretch of the semester when it’s the most crucial to keep motivation up.

If you need inspiration to keep going through these last weeks until summer, here are some tips.

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A 1L’s Guide to Experiential Learning

I came to law school not exactly sure about the type of law I wanted to practice, so I was particularly interested in experiential learning opportunities. Sure, I could learn about different legal fields and see how I liked them in practice during my summer internships, but clinics and externships would give me even more chances to try out various specialties and hopefully find what I was most passionate about. Knowing that these options are only available to 2Ls and 3Ls, I came into my first year ready to just hit the books and keep those other plans in the back of my mind for the upcoming semesters.

But Boston College Law School had different plans. 

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Imposter Syndrome: Who, ME?

Today was the first day of my last semester of school, ever.* (*Unless I decide I want another degree down the line, but for now, after seven straight years of undergrad and grad school, I’m definitely done for the near future.) As I saw all of the “happy last first day of school” messages this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of restlessness. I’m externing this semester and was working full-time for the day. I realized my anxiety was building up over being in this new externship placement. Here, I’m working in an area of law that I have no experience in, so before I began this morning, I felt incredibly nervous about this new position: What if I’m in a meeting and get asked a question I have no idea how to answer? What if I’m supposed to know about some substantive area of the law that I actually am clueless about? Until I eventually calmed down, I even started wondering how and why I landed the position in the first place. Who, me? How? Why?

This feeling of doubt and lack of confidence isn’t foreign to me. I felt similarly on my very first day of law school, my first case during my clinic experience, and throughout my 2L summer as a summer associate at a law firm. These feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty are a form of imposter syndrome, which is something I continue to struggle with as a final semester 3L. Imposter syndrome can come in various forms for various people. One HBR article defines it as “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.”

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Enter Spring Semester with a Plan

As we enter a spring semester that is all too familiar with Spring 2021, I encourage everyone to step back and strategize on how to make the most of our short time at BC Law. Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post outlining three strategies for excelling academically and professionally. Additionally, I (unsuccessfully) called on everyone to share their keys to success. I’m reposting that blog, along with other similar blogs, to help first year students navigate the waters after experiencing their first semester. It’s critical for 1Ls, and really all students, to approach the spring semester with a game plan. As always, please fill the comments with your ideas and advice…

A Reflection on My First Semester: Staying Focused on the Big Picture

School is always a bit of a bubble: something that quickly becomes your entire world and focus. This dynamic is especially true at law school, where balancing the intense schedule of classes, assignments, and reading is frequently compared to attempting to “drink from a fire hose.” Even having been out of school for six years, … Continue reading A Reflection on My First Semester: Staying Focused on the Big Picture

A Reflection on My First Semester: One Down, Five to Go

It’s hard to believe that just four months ago, we were nervously waiting in line to pick up our name cards in the Law Library. In a way, that first day of school in August was a lot like the first day of kindergarten, in that we were completely alone in a room full of strangers with nothing but a homemade sandwich in our lunchboxes and a nametag on our chests.

I was told by many upperclassmen that the first semester of 1L year would probably be the most difficult in terms of the steep learning curve–and they were right. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post; what makes 1L such a difficult time for many students is not only the new way of learning material, but also the uncertainty of a new city, new environment, with new people you have never met before. September was the worst period of adjustment for many people, including me. I had nights where I doubted whether or not law school was truly for me. Could I really see myself reading convoluted legal jargon for the rest of my life? Was this really what I wanted to do?

Thankfully, because it was such a prevalent sentiment, I was able to bond with like-minded people who ended up becoming some of my closest friends, and we constantly pushed and supported each other whenever things became difficult.

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“Don’t Make Law School Your Personality”

Before starting my first semester of law school, some of the most repeated advice I heard from those who had taken this journey before me was “don’t make law school your personality.” This sentiment was echoed in personal conversations with current students and in sessions hosted by student reps during orientation, and each time I heard it, I laughed it off.

It felt like such a strange thing to be saying over and over! It was too specific to be coincidentally repeated, but I didn’t really get what it meant. I understood the more general advice to take time off from school every once in a while, but what did that have to do with law school becoming your personality? I started to think this was some weird joke I wasn’t in on.

But then, classes started. It turns out what I wasn’t “in on” was law school, because once I was in on that, I saw what all those 2Ls and 3Ls were talking about.

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How Stress Can Help with Finals

Headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and feelings of exhaustion. I’m not talking about Covid; these are all negative side effects of stress. As law students, we are likely familiar with managing stress, especially during finals season. In the midst of the madness, there are a few consequences of stress that actually benefit us:

  1. Increased Productivity

When you’re about to hit that begin test button on Examplify and a knot forms in the pit of your stomach, it can actually be helpful. This is because moderate stress strengthens the neural connections in your brain which enhances memory and attention span, and increases productivity.

In a UC Berkeley study, researchers found intermittent stressful events caused stem cells in rat brains to proliferate into new nerve cells that improved the rats’ mental performance.

“You always think about stress as a really bad thing, but it’s not… Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance.”

Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

That explains why as a chronic procrastinator, the stress of an impending deadline is sometimes the only thing that can kick start getting my work done.

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1L Guide: The Last Three Weeks of the Semester

Almost there. These are the last few weeks, the final stretch, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’s a red, angry light – not the warm, golden glow you were hoping for – but that’s show business. Papers are due, and exams are right around the corner. This was never going to be the fun part of the semester.

Still, when you’re done, you’ll be done. For at least a little while, there will be no impending assignments to complete or grade-points to score (and if you don’t move, the summer job application deadlines can’t see you). Winter break will be a time for seeing family, celebrating whatever holidays you observe, and most decidedly NOT reading court cases about the axioms of contract interpretation.

The 2Ls and 3Ls have run this race before. For the 1Ls, Travis pulled together a great compilation of helpful final exam advice, so I’ll not bore readers with too much more of my own. Instead, I thought I’d just offer a few quick thoughts about wrapping up the semester, and the break that follows:

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Exams are Coming; Here’s Our Advice

We’re gearing up to enter reading days and next week and final exams will be upon us soon. Over the years, BC Law Impact has offered lots of advice to students about how to prepare and how to manage stress. I put a few of our most widely-read posts below.


Travis Salters is a second-year student at BC Law and Vice President of the Impact blog. Contact him at salterst@bc.edu.