Should I Apply to Law School? Should I Even Go?
The decision to study law following graduation from Princeton is one that you want to make only after solid self-assessment and occupational research. A "default" decision - made just because nothing else appeals - is the weakest of the rationales. While the decision to attend any graduate school is a big one, law school in particular seems especially so given its length (three years) and expense ($75,000 + a year is not uncommon). At best, it seems risky to your future happiness if you put yourself through the whole application process and don't feel completely confident that a legal education is a comfortable fit.
While it may seem to you that half of the senior class applies to law school, or talks about applying to law school, the actual number of seniors who do apply each year is quite low - which reinforces that the decision to apply to law school directly after Princeton is one that is made after serious thought and research. And, it is not the decision of half of the senior class!
So, should you go to law school? When considering the study of law, there are key skills that you should excel in and enjoy using: analytical reasoning; research, research, and research (think Senior Thesis); communication skills – oral and written; critical analysis of written works, to name a few. Do you like to argue your point of view? Yes? Good. Now, can you argue the exact opposite point of view with equal passion and conviction? No? Hmm, not so good. Seeing all sides of any argument will put you in good standing in law school - even if you never plan on doing trial litigation.
Conduct research on what lawyers really do, in all practice areas that may interest you. Use the Alumni Careers Network (ACN) to contact alumni and find out how they enjoyed, or are currently enjoying, their law school experience and what it's like to actually practice law. If you don’t relish the idea of doing all this research now, you might just want to reconsider law school – where you will be doing research and reading most of your waking hours.