I Came, I Saw, I Learned: A Primer for a Self-Guided Tour of NYU Law
Visiting NYU School of Law definitely helped me make my decision to come here. But what if you can’t attend an Admitted Students Day, are still waiting to hear back, or are deciding whether to apply? Hopefully, this entry can help you make the most of a self-guided tour.
When you arrive, make sure that you have obtained a self-guided tour pass so you can get through security and access all academic buildings freely. The Law School is comprised of three main sites: Wilf Hall, Vanderbilt Hall, and Furman Hall. Wilf Hall houses the J.D. Office of Admissions, while classes take place in Vanderbilt Hall and Furman Hall. Nifty purple banners on the buildings will help you find your way around, though all the Law School buildings are very close to each other.
Observe a Class
Once you are all set, it’s time for the exploring to begin! The best place to start is to find a class to observe. Though it might seem daunting to walk into a classroom full of unfamiliar people, attending a class (or two!) is the best way to get a glimpse of how you will be spending the majority of your time. In my opinion, a 1L course can help you see what the basic doctrinal classes are like and might be best if you do not have any exposure to legal ideas. But if you are familiar with a certain legal topic (for instance, intellectual property or antitrust), then it could be well worth your time to go to those classes.
Remember, the typical rules of etiquette apply when observing a class. Make sure that you email the professor ahead of time to introduce yourself and tell him or her what day you will be attending class. Also, arrive early and introduce yourself. Getting there early will also enable you to observe and interact with current students. Do not be late, or you might find yourself getting called on!
Pick a Law Student’s Brain
Another good way of getting an insider’s look is to reach out to the leadership in student organizations and ask them if they would be available to chat about their experiences over coffee or lunch. I was lucky enough to know someone already attending NYU Law when I applied, but even if you do not have this type of connection, a face-to-face meeting might help you form a meaningful relationship. You might even be able to attend one of their group meetings or events.
Attend an NYU Law Event
On any given day, multiple panels and lectures are held during lunchtime and early evenings. Take a quick look at the events calendar. With events about upcoming Supreme Court cases, constitutional development, animal law, public sector practice, and more, I promise that you will find something that interests you!
Eat Where We Eat
Between running to and from classes, working on journals or in clinics, and planning events, a law student needs some way of refueling. During the day, a good way to get a quick meal or snack is to go to one of two student lounges: the Watchell Lipton Rosen & Katz Student Café in Furman Hall, or Golding Lounge in Vanderbilt Hall. The lounges, frequented by law students because of their affordable prices and convenience (they take cash or credit, no matter the amount), let you see a more informal part of the school. Again, don’t be intimidated by the fact that you aren’t a student here. The point is to come and absorb all that you can so that you can make an informed decision later on.
Visit Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is not officially part of the Law School campus, but it is definitely a part of the city experience. If you are like me and have never lived in a big city before, then I especially encourage you to visit the park to really sit, listen, and soak up the energy of Greenwich Village.
I love coming here when I need a break from my casebooks. Grab a cup of coffee from a nearby coffee shop and a pastry from a local bakery (try Fay Da Bakery, next to the West 4th Street subway exit) and head to the park to watch street performers, listen to musicians, or coo over the adorable and rambunctious dogs at the small and large dog runs.
If you are considering multiple schools, take the time to write down what you thought about each visit. After a while, the information you receive and the experiences that you have might start to blend together. Reflecting on what you have seen and heard will make that final decision much easier—though obviously I hope that, once you’ve visited NYU Law, you’ll choose to come here!