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Why WVU? and Rankings


Caption: I don’t have any pictures JAG related so… this is the picture of myself I submitted with my Army application. (A headshot is required, for whatever reason.)

When I was trying to decide on which law school to attend, a lawyer from DC told me, “I’d sooner hire the lowest ranked person from Harvard than hire the top of the class from West Virginia.” I was shocked by the brutal honesty. And if anything, she pushed me toward WVU.

I chose to attend West Virginia because I wasn’t interested in joining a community that judged a person by where they were from. I wasn’t interested in going to school with people I couldn’t trust, or in living in constant competition where pages get torn out of books in the library. West Virginia offered me a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in which I knew I could get as good of an education as I wanted. The professors were accomplished with impressive backgrounds but were friendly and approachable.

I haven’t regretted a moment of it.

I’m also proud and happy to say that, following graduation, I will be joining one of the best law firms in the country, the U.S. Army JAG Corps. And I’m also proud that the fact I attended WVU probably helped to my advantage because I’m coming from an underrepresented state and can add to the diversity. The Army looked at me and my résumé, not just the name of my school. Out of almost a thousand applicants, only eighty were accepted. And in fact, two from WVU were accepted. (Aaron Matthes, my classmate, also was accepted.)

When I meet people who attend higher-ranked law schools, and the conversation disappears once I tell them I attend WVU, I roll my eyes at the snobbery. Some people take the ranking system far too seriously. I understand it’s a huge part of the decision-making process, but far too many people forget to look at what’s best for themselves.

It’s important to choose a law school that will provide you an environment in which you are the most happy. Numbers alone won’t help you thrive. (Well, low numbers in tuition is always a good motivator though, that’s for sure!)

Opportunity to develop your career how you want it can happen at WVU. We have an incredible Career Services Center. Also, it’s highly unlikely for a group of WVU students to sue the school for inflating its job placement statistics. (WSJ: Law Grads Sue Over Tuition: Plaintiffs Claim Alma Maters Misled Students on Job Prospects; Millions Sought)

Your law school education is, to quote the great Miley Cyrus, “what you make it.”

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