Admitted Students and Families Converge at the Law School
A record number of people attended the April 11, Admitted Student Day/Diversity Weekend hosted by the Law School. The day, which was the second such event this semester, began with a welcome from Dean Stewart J. Schwab and Richard Geiger, associate dean of enrollment and communications, and ended with a housing information brunch the next day. In between, there were tours of Myron Taylor and Hughes Halls; presentations on careers, clinics, and joint degrees; a civil procedure class taught by Professor Kevin Clermont; panels, receptions, and parties; special programs for Diversity Weekend; and countless conversations with one thing in mind: What is the Law School really like?
“You’re trying to look behind the numbers, behind everything you’ve seen on paper,” said Cesie Alvarez, a 1L from California, who chose Cornell after attending last year’s event. “When you come to a program like this, you hear students, professors, and administrators saying over and over again, that it’s all about the sense of community we have here. And it really is.”
As part of a student panel, held in the Law School’s newest and largest lecture hall, Alvarez told a story from her first month at the Law School. When her laptop died, classmates gave her their notes and offered to help in any way they could. Whenever students did well, their peers were quick to congratulate them, and whenever they struggled, there were 2Ls who stepped forward as mentors.
There were other stories too, the kind that come from choosing a school that’s known for its sense of camaraderie and cooperation: How easy it was to spend time with professors, in class and at their homes. How easy it was to find potential employers in New York City, who come to campus for regular recruiting visits. How easy it was to start building the networks that are essential to following your career path.
“I don’t know how things are going to shake out,” said Brianna Cummings, an admitted student who’d driven from Michigan the night before and was staying in a Peace Tower room that had once hosted Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “I really want to do corporate law at a big firm, but I want to go somewhere that does really good pro bono work, too. Because without the support system I had growing up in Detroit, I wouldn’t even be here. So it’s a big decision.”
Before coming to visit, Cummings created a spreadsheet to compare statistics on financial aid, bar passage, employment rate, and faculty/student ratios, narrowing her choice to three schools. On Friday afternoon, describing herself as “still battling” with her options, Cummings was looking forward to the student-organized events of Diversity Weekend, where she hoped to gain a better sense of the community on and off campus.
That’s why Mike McCarthy made his decision, and he’s happy he did. “Had I not come to an Admitted Student Day, I probably wouldn’t have come to Cornell,” says McCarthy, a 2L from New Jersey. “I was intent on going to school on the West Coast, so I didn’t necessarily see myself as a fit. But once I stepped on campus, I immediately felt the sense of community. The place just came alive. There were lots of opportunities to talk to current students, and I was so glad to meet everyone here. I loved it, and those two days made all the difference.”