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Why W&L Law: Gabriella Alonso on “the Moment”

This is the final post in our series of 1L students discussing their decision to attend law school at W&L. In her post, Gabriella Alonso, a graduate of the University of Idaho from Meridian, ID, writes about the moment she knew W&L Law was the school for her.

The law school admissions process was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Between studying for the LSAT, personal statements, applications, a full time job, and the amount of literature I was receiving in the mail, I felt so overwhelmed and a bit lost. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not sure what actually matters when it comes to school selection. Sure, you can look it up online, or ask friends, family, or anyone you may know in the field, but when it comes time for a decision, you have to choose the school that’s right for you. That’s what I did when I chose W&L, and why I can say with 100% confidence that I would choose this school again, because W&L is unlike anywhere else.

Coming out of undergrad and beginning my search, I knew two things: (1) I wanted to move somewhere completely new, and (2) I wanted a school that valued its students as individuals. I came across W&L by chance, and after reading a little about the school, I thought to myself, “that seems like a pretty great place to be.” I saved the school under potential choices, and put it aside while I prepped for the joyous event that is the LSAT.

After I received my LSAT scores, I didn’t know if I was going to get in to W&L, I didn’t think my score was “good enough,” but I applied anyway, and I got in. My acceptance to W&L proved to me that Admissions didn’t just look at my GPA and LSAT and throw me into a “yes” or “no” pile; it meant that it read and considered my entire application. However, even after my acceptance, I was still on the fence and I was almost positive I was going to attend a different school in a big city. It wasn’t until I received an email from a student at W&L that I started to reconsider my choice.

Now, the fact that a current student took the time to send me an email asking me how my process was going and if I had any questions meant a lot. It was also something unique to W&L as I had yet to be contacted by any student anywhere else. The email wasn’t an attempt to sell the school, or tell me more facts that I didn’t understand; it was an email asking me how I was doing. I was asked about my process, my life, and if I had any questions about law school, W&L, or the way the experience affects an individual; it felt like for the first time in my admissions process, I mattered to a school. Additionally, I was given answers that were 100% honest. That honesty was probably the most refreshing part – the student told me that yes, law school is hard, really hard, and it will be hard no matter where you go, but if you go to a school that cares about you it will make the experience much more enjoyable. After sharing some of his personal experiences, he convinced me to just come and visit the school. I had never been to Virginia, so I signed up for Admitted Students Weekend with a “why not” attitude.

Before my visit, I read testimonials like this one and I knew that a lot of students said they made their decision to attend W&L after Admitted Student’s Weekend, but I thought that was just some cliché line Admissions fed them to get people to visit. I’m here to say that is definitely not the case. At every school I visited, tour guides and current students talked about “the moment.” If you’ve been on a school tour, you know what I mean, the part when they tell you “I just had this moment where I knew this was where I was meant to go,” and you think “yeah, okay, a moment.” If you’re not a believer (like me) I can tell you from experience that “the moment” is real, they aren’t making it up.

If I were to go back and re-do my admissions process, I would choose W&L all over again. In W&L you will find a school that cares about you, wants you to succeed, and works just as hard as you do to help you achieve your goals. The students go beyond being courteous with each other. We’re friends, we’re a community, and most importantly, we’re family. The professors, administration, and staff are always willing to meet and talk: whether it’s about school, life, the future, or just to chat. To anyone considering applying here, I say go for it, even if you think your numbers might not be “good enough” like I did. You are not a number and W&L recognizes that. Show W&L who you are, and give us the opportunity to show you who we are.