Continuing your education?
Osazenoriuwa Ebose '15
Law student, Temple University's Beasley School of Law
A second-year law student at Temple University, Osazenoriuwa decided to pursue law during her senior year at Swarthmore, writing applications while simultaneously finishing up her undergraduate studies. She made the transition to law school directly after graduation, and looks forward to exploring the different career paths available within the law profession.
What advice would you give to recent graduates looking to apply to graduate school?
You need to plan the time to take the test, prepare for the test, and to do your applications. The applications, to me, weren’t especially time-intensive, they were just mind-intensive. You don’t have a lot of space to write, but you want what you write to be the best example of you. Budget your time wisely, and budget your money wisely so you’re able to cover application fees. For law school, it does require dropping $200-300 in one day, possibly more, depending on how many schools you apply to. You also have to get back into the mind of standardized testing. You probably haven’t taken a standardized test since the SATs or ACTs, so be ready to go in and sit down for 5-6 hours and be taking a test. Prepare to be focused during that time.
What did you find helpful during the application process?
My freshman year RA actually helped me with this. I called her my senior year when I realized I wanted to go to law school. Since I was taking the LSATs later, in December, I was getting very anxious while preparing for it, and she basically told me that there is nothing that can make you look better than you already are. We already work to make ourselves the best we can be; by the time the application itself is being written, it’s really just about putting that self into words. It’s recognizing that you are the best candidate you can be, and truly showing that in your personal statement, in your test scores—everything is there, you just have to know how to present it. It was really helpful, because I was in the midst of applications, and I’d started to think, “What if I’m not good enough?” And she said, “You went to Swarthmore. You’re good enough.”
Is there anything you wish you’d known?
I wish I’d known about fee waivers. I didn’t know that schools will literally just email you, based on where you went to school and how likely they thought it was that you’d be a good candidate, saying “We’re going to waive your application fee!” That definitely would have changed the way I applied to schools. I also wish I’d known that the rankings of law schools are important to a certain degree, but are not completely indicative of where you can end up within the profession. Similar to when you’re looking at undergraduate institutions, you want to go to the best school, but the “best” school is not necessarily the best choice for you if it means spending more money, or if it means more effort and time that will not necessarily be returned to you after you graduate. So that’s something I definitely wish I’d known a little earlier—I think my application process would’ve been remarkably different.
Resources for continuing education
Transcripts and Recommendations
Whether your graduate school requires a Dean's Certification, an Apostille, letter of recommendation, and/or an official or unofficial transcript, Career Services and the Registrar's office can help you sort it out. Swarthmore does not charge a transcript fee, but some transcript request and delivery options have fees associated with them.
Use the library
Your days in McCabe aren't over. Alumni are welcome to use library services, just register at the circulation desk.
Log in through the Alumni Directory, and gain access to resources like JSTOR, Project MUSE, and Mango languages. Additionally, a number of faculty and guest lectures are posted online for your podcasting pleasure.
Residents of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia can participate in Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore, a non-credit seminar-style adult class taught by senior or emeriti faculty members. Additionally, Philly residents can register for Swarthmore Discussion groups, held on campus every month during the academic year.
Travel with alumni and friends to various corners of the world through Alumni College Abroad. During a typical week-long trip, a faculty member accompanies the group, offering a few lectures along the way. Each trip (usually held once a semester) is lead by a professional, local tour guide.