Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Wave of the Future? We hope...

We were recently informed that an Admissions Dean of a top-tier law school was offering candid advice to prospective law school candidates via a student-based online message board. While we had our doubts initially, we are able to formally confirm that Paul Pless, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law is, in fact, the poster posting as "Pless" on the Top-Law-Schools Message Board.

Noting that he believes law school admissions should be more "transparent," Dean Pless explains his intentions and rules for discussion at the beginning of the (currently) 33-page thread:
I thought I would take the opportunity to answer questions anyone might have about the University of Illinois College of Law. Couple of ground rules:

I won't answer questions about your specific application (just email me directly and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have)

I won't discuss other law schools

Other than that, have at it. I won't be online all the time, but I will try to check every day and answer questions.
And he's kept his word. So far, he's addressed a wide-array of (prospective) student questions ranging from job prospects, to scholarships and everything in between. His answers have been informative, thoughtful and--to be deliberately redundant--candid. Above all, they yield interesting insights into the otherwise furtively guarded admissions process. We thus recommend that every prospective law student peruse through the thread, and we believe that many current law students and practitioners will find this to be of interest as well.

More importantly, however, we believe that Dean Pless' approach of availing himself in cyberspace is an important innovation that should be followed by other law school admissions deans. Law school is a big, risky investment that is (far too) often made in an abundance of haste or misinformation. By providing a direct avenue for public correspondence, law school admissions deans can both foster a greater sense of their school's virtues, and ensure that the clientele to be served are more informed--and thus better prepared to enter law school. Whether it's done via pre-existing message boards or a school-developed website on a secured server, we hope other law school admissions officers will follow suit.

This is a positive development for everyone involved, and we're delighted to share it with you.

13 comments:

  1. This is pretty remarkable. Thanks for the story.

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  2. Agreed w/ 8:50. Kudos to Paul Pless, and thanks for sharing.

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  3. Wow, I wish I applied to Illinois. Too late now

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  4. This is awesome

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  5. Why hasn't this been done by other schools already? it makes so much sense.

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  6. I am very pleased with my decision to apply to UIUC; everything I have heard about the place has been fantastic. Dean Pless puts the icing on the cake.

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  7. Pless is the MAN!

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  8. I went to the admitted students day at UIUC, and Dean Pless was the man! I am happy I chose UIUC.

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  9. wish my dean did this....

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  10. Very cool. I found this thru the Illini link. Did you guys know UIUC published ur story on their site? http://www.law.illinois.edu/prospective-students/news/article.asp?id=1054

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  11. I'll be 1L this fall. Where's the best housing for the law students. I've heard they tend to congregate in complexes in west Champaign. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

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