Law Students

How to Read Law School Forums Without Going Crazy
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One of the most important legal skills is the ability to process the credibility of information in a short time. From sensational legal news to emotional witness testimony, seasoned lawyers know to never trust a source without verification, investigation, and consideration of competing perspectives. 

Therefore, as a law school applicant, you should be highly cautious of what you read on various internet forums, social media, or message boards. Even though it’s highly tempting to take a sneak peek into the legal world and seek solace when law school is at the top of your mind.

Nevertheless, internet forums can be helpful and a fun release valve during the high-pressure admissions process. Internet forums can also be a great place to find time-saving advice or just to take your mind off of things while scrolling trough fun industry-related memes.

  
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Be sure to keep the following in mind.

Find a credible and trusted source.

Too often, anonymous law school forums have a low ratio of signal to noise, and misleading information and speculation is something that happens all the time. 

For credible and well-curated resources online, look to law school websites, Law School Admission Council, prelaw counselors, clubs, and nonprofits geared to aspiring lawyers. Also, you can rely on the industry’s famous Top Law Schools forum, which regularly checks the credibility of posts and includes the ones only relevant to the topic.

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Avoid mindless browsing and focus on specific topics.

The law school application process can be exhausting and incredibly stressful. So, it’s completely normal to feel stumped at least a few times during the process. While it’s not always clear when to seek guidance and how the instructions apply to your specific situation, crowdsourcing was invented for times like these.

Search a verified internet forum, and look if someone has already addressed a question related to your specific problem. If not, post it yourself. Make sure your question is short, concise, direct, and actionable. You might spark a constructive conversation or turn up a straight answer from someone with similar experience and relevant knowledge.



Avoid mindless browsing, and ignore an irrelevant post that can just send you into a tailspin of anxiety. 

Be grateful and polite.

The internet is not always the best place for mindful and respectful exchanges, as most users see forums and social media platforms as a figurative punching bag to releasing stress and anxiety. Offensive and snobby rants are par for the course. With that in mind, stay cool toward hot takes and trolls, and focus on the entries that include a constructive solution to your question. 

Remember, internet trolls feed on your attention, and you have far more important things to focus on right now. If you are annoyed by vulgar and rude posts, set an example and reply politely to those who addressed your question.

Don’t rush to conclusions.

The upside of internet forums is that everyone has their own perspective and opinion. The downside of internet forums is that everyone has their own perspective and opinion. Therefore, don’t rush into making a conclusion after reading a particular post. If one post says an LSAT practice book is a waste of money and time or that a specific school is overrated, gather more opinions.

While internet forums can be helpful in many situations, they are full of braggarts droning on about how they nailed the LSAT or drove a hard bargain in scholarship negotiations. Regardless of whether these big talkers really achieve what they say, they may be making false assumptions about what worked for them.

A common logical fallacy that happens in such a situation is called “survivorship bias” — when you focus on why certain individuals succeed, without considering why others in a similar situation failed.

For instance, many top scorers on the LSAT will accredit their success to hard work, and the training materials they used. Still, you’re unlikely to hear from those who also worked hard and used the same materials but underperformed.

If someone claims to have found a magic key to master the LSAT, don’t let your brain rush to judgment. Stick with a tried and true study process with documented results, based on regular and purposeful practice.



 

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