Professionalism in the Admissions Process- Email

The New York Times recently published an article on college students and email.  While much of the article focused on students’ desire to avoid email, one student quoted in the article expressed confusion about the level of formality required by email as compared to text messages.  Based upon some of the emails that arrive in my inbox, I know her confusion is not uncommon.  Here are a few tips to assist you in your email communications with admissions offices, professors, and future employers.

Though emails between friends and close colleagues can be informal, emails to those whom you do not know well or to those in a superior position (such as a professor or work supervisor) should generally be written using formal conventions.

  • Include a brief, descriptive subject line.
  • Include a salutation and address the person formally.  If the person is a Dean or Professor, they should be addressed as such.  If you’re not sure about the title, it is better to use “Mr.” or “Ms.” than to use a first name only. For example write, “Dear Dean Dillon” rather than “Jamie” or “Hey, Jamie!”  I get “Hey, Jamie!” a lot.
  • Include a closing such as “Best wishes,” “Thank you,” or “Sincerely”.
  • Include your first and last name.  If you are in the application process, you should also include your LSAC account number (L number).
  • Use complete sentences with proper punctuation.
  • All words should be spelled out except for common terms such as LSAT (for Law School Admission Test) or UHLC (for University of Houston Law Center).  Although we might recognize many common text acronyms, they are not appropriate for email.
  • Emails should be of a reasonable length.  If you find that you have complicated or numerous questions, it is a good idea to schedule an in-person or phone appointment.
  • Don’t take templates from admissions chatboards.

Composing a professional, well-written email will take longer than writing a text message-style email, but it is an important skill to master.  It will set you apart from your peers in the application process, and it will be expected of you later in your legal career.

If you would like to read the full article, it can be access here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/fashion/technology-and-the-college-generation.html?smid=pl-share.

Come See for Yourself

**Post written by current 2L student, Marcelo Hoffmann**

What is law school really like?  How are law school classes conducted?  Is it true that professors call on students, even when their hands aren’t raised?  Do they really make students stand in the middle of the class while drilling them on the most trivial facts of a case?  Is the law school environment so competitive that I won’t have any friends?!

Every year prospective students ask a combination of the above questions, along with a variety of other questions relating to academic resources, student life, law school-sponsored extracurricular activities, student organizations, and alumni associations.  Prospective students need not worry; the Office of Admissions is here to help!  Our office works with prospective students throughout the academic year to schedule tours of the Law Center and visits to first-year classes.

Current students, fondly referred to as Ambassadors, conduct tours of the Law Center and provide attendees with valuable knowledge and personal insight regarding their experience in law school.  During the fall semester, tours are available at 12pm, Mondays and Fridays through November 25, 2013.  Tours last approximately 40 minutes.  You can find more information at http://www.law.uh.edu/admissions/visiting-uhlc.asp.

Class visits allow prospective students to gain first-hand experience of what it’s like inside the classroom.  Our hope is that any scary or unpleasant stories you may have heard about law school will be dispelled by the friendly classroom environment!  Class visits are available through November 25th and resume January 27th.  You may schedule a class visit or tour by calling 713-743-2280 or emailing lawadmissions@uh.edu.

We welcome you to experience the environment and atmosphere of the Law Center.  We expect that you will find it a friendly place where you can enrich your educational background and achieve both your academic and professional goals.  We look forward to seeing you!

October 1

October 1st has always been an exciting day for me—a day I look forward to each year.  There’s a really good reason for that–it’s my birthday, and I love birthdays.  However, October 1 is also notable for two reasons related to attending law school.  (Otherwise this post would seem very self-serving.) 

Foremost in my mind, our JD applications went live at 12:01 this morning so, to me, today is the official start of our new application cycle.  Woohoo!  As excited as I am to receive our first completed applications, there really is no rush to get your application in today, or even this week.  The admissions committee won’t begin file review until after the November 15th early decision deadline so you have several weeks to labor over your application materials before you really need to click “submit.”  Take your time, read the application instructions, proof read everything very carefully, and please call our office if you have any questions. Then click “submit.”

For first-year law students, today is the deadline for submitting the Declaration of Intent to Study Law in Texas. This (very long) form is the first step to becoming licensed to practice law in Texas.  Submission of the declaration allows the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) to begin its background check to assess whether students have the requisite moral character and fitness to be a lawyer.  Many of the questions on the declaration mirror those on our admissions application so, again, please read our application instructions and make sure that you fully and accurately answer the character and fitness questions in the JD application.  And please, please call our office if you have any questions.  It’s very important that you respond accurately.  The BLE reviews students’ law school applications, and they will alert us to any discrepancies, beginning a less-than-fun amendment process for the student.  I will talk more about character and fitness disclosures in a future post so stay tuned…

Best (birthday) wishes to everyone completing their various applications!