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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Should I transfer?

One of NBR's favorite first-years came into her office today to tell her that he'd be transferring to the University of Michigan.  It's fair to say that she was happy for him but sad for everyone else.

Transfers happen, though, and NBR still keeps in touch with students who have transferred.

But should YOU transfer?  Here are some considerations:

1.  Your 1L grades are exceptionally good.
2.  You have specific career goals (for example, becoming a law professor) that are best served by graduation from a school that places many of its graduates in law teaching.*
3.  You hate the school that you're currently attending.
4.  You hate the area of the country in which you're currently living.
5.  You don't mind having your first-year grades changed to "pass" at your new school and at having to apply for activities, such as law review, that would have been automatic at your current school.
6.  You have loved ones who live near your new school, or who are moving there.

Each of these is a decent reason to transfer, and the more of these reasons you have, the more you should consider transferring.

Bad reason to transfer:  the USNWR rankings.  The rankings are decent at separating the very best schools from the ones that have scary bar passage and employment statistics.  They're not great at making fine distinctions among schools that are within, say, 30-40 ranks from each other.

As for NBR's student, she wishes him well and is planning to stay in touch with him.  Go, um, gophers?

* A plug for NBR's school:  it's barely old enough for a bar mitzvah but has already placed several of its graduates in law teaching and administrative positions. 

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