Thursday, March 1, 2012


It's been a long time since I've heard from a new law school, but after 11 days I finally got news about another one.

I got a congratulatory email from Washington!

So that's acceptance #10. Washington would be cool, because it would be cool to live in Seattle. But, to be honest, I'm not sure how good of a fit it would be for me. None of its curriculum strengths are anything I have a particular affinity for. And I know wherever I go to law school will probably be more liberal than where I got my bachelor's degree, and generally I welcome that (if nothing else to come into contact with more variety of opinions, which is always worthwhile). But when even part of the school's application is a bit of a culture shock to me ... I mean, I still applied, and I'm sure I would love going to school there. When I have 10 schools and counting to choose from, however, I pay attention to any advantage or disadvantage I can.

Washington and Oregon made it on my list because I thought it would be a good idea to include some Pacific Northwest schools -- at the very least to balance the two Texas schools on my list, haha. I find myself increasingly rarer a breed, because I really have no geographic preference for where to go to law school. People talk about wanting to go to a school because it's where they're from or they  have family there ... I almost want to rule out a place because I'm from there or I have family there. Erin leans more toward staying near family than I do, but she also would prefer a new adventure in a new place to call our own, that no one claimed before we did. Call us crazy if you want to.

Anyway, I'm still waiting to hear from five others. But I think the only one that has a potential to shake things up is Duke. It would be cool to get into Stanford or Virginia for the bragging rights, but even if I got in it would be out of our price range. (I doubt I would get scholarships at either one, if I was waitlisted at lower-ranked schools. Plus, it takes a fortune just to live in Palo Alto.) And then there's UC Davis and Arizona State.

I also had some news this week about the other 30th-ranked school I applied to: North Carolina. I mentioned before that not only was I offered a scholarship, but a chance for membership in the Chancellors' Scholars. From what I can tell, the Chancellors' Scholars is like a "National Honor Society" for UNC Law and a ready-made alumni network. And, if I become a Chancellors' Scholar, I get a full tuition scholarship too. (Here's a page that gives a little more information on what the Chancellors' Scholars are.)

They pick 20 finalists out of each class (who at the very least get a 75%-tuition scholarship), and then interview them and select 10 to become Chancellors' Scholars. They had a special weekend for the 20 finalists at Chapel Hill, but I didn't travel out there and instead decided to do the interview through Skype.

This is where Erin really saved the day. A UNC admissions dean and I were emailing back and forth about the Chancellors' Scholars weekend, doing my interview via Skype, etc. When I first told him I wouldn't be able to make it to Chapel Hill, but still wanted to be interviewed, I did remind him that I lived in the Mountain Time Zone and that would need to be taken into account whenever my interview was scheduled. The dean responded to that, and after a few more emails told me my interview was scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m.

I assumed that meant 11 a.m. Mountain time. But the night before, Erin told me I should check what the email said. Even though I was sure enough that I didn't think it was necessary to check, I did anyway, because I'm a dutiful husband. And, after looking at the emails I realized that the dean and I talked about the Mountain Time Zone, and about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, but not at the same time. So Erin told me I should be ready and waiting on Skype at 9 a.m. our time, just to be safe.

Sure enough, the moment I logged into Skype at 8:59 a.m., Mountain time, there was a Skype call from the dean.

Erin, I don't know what I'd do without you.

The interview went well, I think. They asked me about my mission experience and my journalism experience, which are probably the two things that jump out the most from my resume and personal statement. They also asked me about bringing a family with me to law school. And then I asked them a little about UNC.

It was really cool to talk "live" with people at UNC. There was a 3L student, a 2008 graduate and a dean on the panel, who gave great perspectives. And I really enjoyed just talking about law school with other law school people.

It got me excited about North Carolina, but I'm waiting before I move any schools up or down any notches until I find out whether or not I'm a Chancellors' Scholar. If I'm not, I might still go to North Carolina. If I am, I might still go somewhere else. But I think if that perk is available, it will help me make a decision.

Fortunately, they should let me know their decision by the end of the week.


  1. What was it about the application that shocked you?

    1. "Shocked" is probably too strong a word. But it was something I had never seen before. Instead of simply asking to check "M" or "F," the university went so far as to say: "The UW School of Law recognizes that gender identity falls along a continuum. The University, however, is required to report gender as either male or female. Please select one of the three options below: female, I choose not to respond, male."

      I certainly want to be tolerant, accepting and friendly to people who do have that philosophy, and want to go to a school that is too. But of all the gay friends and family members I know, I would still expect them to check "male" or "female" on a form. Making it "official" by putting it on the application made me anticipate three years of my beliefs being challenged in a different way than they would be somewhere else.

      I could be overreacting, and I did still apply. But when I have a lot of schools to choose from, I'm going to remember that feeling of hesitancy.


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