When I started working as a prelaw adviser in 2004, I was told that Georgetown Law receives the most applications of any law school in the United States.
What’s so special about Georgetown? Why does everyone want to go there?
With these questions in mind, I paid them a visit last summer.
Location: Georgetown Law is located in Washington, D.C. If you like big cities, this could be the place for you. But what I like about the Law Center is it’s not on the same campus as the undergraduate college; instead, it’s situated by itself, on an almost idyllic little campus just a few blocks from the Union Station Metrorail station. The law school is about a 10-minute walk to the National Mall and is convenient to many governmental entities such as the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Capitol and U.S. District Court. After sightseeing through the urban jungle that is D.C., it was refreshing to visit a law school campus that was away from all that.
Weather: The first time I visited D.C., I was 21. It was the 4th of July weekend and I was dying, absolutely dying, in the sweltering heat. You could cut the humidity with a knife! On that trip, I made a mental note to not apply to any graduate schools in D.C. The second time I visited D.C. was 20 years later (I know, I know, it’s been too long) and it was June, unbelievably pleasant and barely humid. I thought, as long as I had air-conditioning at home, work and at school, maybe I could have tolerated the weather here. Still, it’s not a temperate place. They have four distinct seasons here. Figure that into your equation.
Environment: My husband Marcus and I stopped by the Office of Admissions on a weekday afternoon without an appointment. I asked if there was an admissions officer I could talk to about the transfer process. The assistant was friendly and checked for me. She said the officer wouldn’t be ready to see me for about an hour but then gave me and Marcus visitor’s badges and a map so we could take a self-guided tour of the campus. We did and found the campus to be clean, well-kept up, quiet (well, it was the summer) and very pleasant. Everyone we encountered on our tour was friendly, from the admissions staff to the library clerk to the front desk person at the gym. Later, I had an informative conversation about the transfer process with Admissions Coordinator Angela Tingler.
Aesthetics: I really liked the design and layout of Georgetown Law. Everything you need is right there on the 5-building campus. You have classrooms, student apartments, a student health center, a Sports and Fitness Center, a childcare center, two libraries (the main one we went into was beautiful), a student center with food vendors, wireless everywhere, lots of cushy chairs for studying, and easy access to the administrative and student services offices. There’s even a moot court auditorium modeled after the Supreme Court! Things are easy to get to and easy to find. It’s a nice mix of modern and more classical architecture.
Career Services: I stopped by the Office of Career Services to check out their bulletin board. It was clean and well-organized. Their office looked welcoming. At the time of my visit, they had 16 career counselors and staff members. For a school with a recent entering class of 575 students, I expect to see a large staff like that. More importantly, according to the ABA Employment Summary for 2012, more than 75% of their 2012 graduates found a job that required a J.D. and bar passage, and only about 5% were still seeking employment nearly 9 months after graduation.
Demographics: According to the ABA Law School Data, in Fall 2012, the minority student population was 16.9%. With a minority population in D.C. that is more than 50%, and with the minority population in the U.S. at almost 30% (depending on which data source you use), it seems like Georgetown Law could work more on increasing their minority student numbers.
To sum up: It’s not just the reputation of the law school and its prime location in the heart of U.S. law-making and politics that makes Georgetown Law a big draw; it is also the campus itself. Georgetown Law is one of the most well-designed law schools I’ve ever visited. After my tour of Georgetown Law, I finally understood why so many people apply there.