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Valparaiso University School of Law (cont’d)

What is Valpo’s policy regarding applicants who have taken the LSAT multiple times? (i.e. look at the highest score, most recent score, become concerned if they retake it numerous times and don’t raise their score by at least X points)

All scores are averaged.

Are there any common mistakes that applicants tend to make with their personal statements?

Too often applicants will attempt to create one universal personal statement for all of their law school applications.  That shows, and does not make a positive impression. Or, they cut and paste a personal statement, repeating back to a law school that school’s message from its promotional materials in an attempt to make the statements appear to be school specific.  For example, an applicant to Valpo may state that they are looking for a small law school with a personal approach to legal education.  Then you see that they also applied to some of the largest law schools in the country.  That results in a lack of genuineness in the statement.  Pay attention to the purpose for which each school uses a personal statement, and any particular questions asked to be covered in the statement. This is your chance to introduce yourself and convince the admissions committee that you are a most appropriate candidate for that particular school.  We want to know who you are, not that you read our web site.

In addition to the J.D. and LL.M. degrees, Valparaiso also offers several J.D. dual degree options. Which types of students most benefit from a joint-degree program in your opinion?

Any student who has a specific career interest that would be best served by adding a Masters degree to the J.D. should consider a dual degree.  While we have certain established dual degree offerings, our programs are extremely flexible and can be tailored to fit most students’ educational and career goals.

Can you describe how the financial aid process works and what admitted students can expect in terms of scholarships, assistantships, and loan guarantees?

Every admitted student is considered for the full range of financial aid.  Just about every law student receives some form of aid.  Scholarships range up to full tuition plus a $10,000 stipend.  Scholarship funds are not unlimited, and it is to the applicant’s best interest to apply early, when the scholarship dollars are still available.  Other basic aid includes grants (based on demonstrated financial need) and loans (both federal and private).  The law school also offers summer public interest grants and loan repayment assistance grants for students who elect to work in public interest positions over the summer and after graduation.

How helpful do applicants generally find a campus visit?

The campus visit is a must.  Not just here, but anywhere a student is seriously considering.  It frequently happens that a student’s first-choice law school turns out to offer an environment the applicant considers ill-suited for their personal needs.  Only through campus visits do you really get a feel for what a law school is like and what sort of environment you will place yourself in for the next three years.  When you visit a school, you will leave with either a positive or negative impression.  Rely heavily on that impression in making your school choice.  You should not purchase a car before taking a test drive.  Do not select a law school you have not visited.

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