3 out of 5 Stars
Class sizes were rather small given the size of the school. Academic advising needs to be sought out, they will not come to you. There were many research assistantships available throughout my time here. Some professors use the Socratic method more than others. 1L classes were almost all based on the Socratic method. Grading is all curved. There is a study abroad opportunity through NIU COL to France that many students choose to partake in during the summer after their 1L year. It is competitive because of the curved grading, but all the students were very willing to work and study with each other.Quality of Life
I would say that it is your typical university town atmosphere. It is sort of small town living. The recreation facilities on campus are nice and are free to students during the school year. There are many apartments to live in around campus as well. The law library has its own computer lab. The Courtroom in the College of Law was recently redone in terms of seating and is also the largest classroom used. There is a certain amount of crime that seems higher than in other places, but I cannot say whether it's more or less than average.Admissions
Fairly basic admissions process. An essay was required describing why you wished to attend the University. LSAT scores are a factor, but I don't think they were a significant one.Graduation Year
Small class sizes, not very competitive, good collaboration, study abroad opportunities, and multiple research opportunities.Quality of Life
Low cost of living.Admissions
LSAT, basic application.
Great financial aid assistance and scholarship opportunities.Level
I was impressed with the quality of faculty -- many graduated from prestigious law schools, had notable careers/publications, etc. Classes taught via Socratic method, but not in an overly intimidating way. There is one study abroad opportunity in Agen France (I did not go, but heard many good things about it from others who did). Good variety of practical study courses and a school-sponsored legal clinic for senior students to get hands-on experience.Quality of Life
The law library is fairly good; staff are extremely helpful. Computer lab could be updated. Courtrooms were recently updated.Admissions
LSAT, Standard admission application including personal statement/essay. Some scholarships are automatically granted (without a separate application) based on undergrad GPA, application, and LSAT scores; other endowed scholarships require an additional application.Graduation Year
I thought that most of the faculty was good at their job. I don't recall any particularly notable faculty. However, the faculty was helpful and generally easily accessible outside of class time.
Classes the first and second semester utilized the Socratic method much more intensely than later years. Classes that I attended ranged from 10 students to 60+ students depending on the year and the subject being taught. The vast majority of classes I took were black letter and theory oriented. There are practical classes available, but more classes that have real world applications would are always warranted in a field such as law where law school does not seem to teach you the practical realities of how to be a lawyer.
There was a study abroad program to Agen France for European Union and Civil Law which is was well done.Quality of Life
I enjoyed the quality of life at the law school. The apartments and cost of living was high, but no higher than your average state school college town. There were plenty of things to do outside of class and the other students were very friendly.
I never felt unsafe during my time at NIU. However, when I attended there was the school shooting there. That said, I believe the campus security did everything possible to resolve the situation. There are a few areas off campus that were a little rough but I don't know anyone that had any problems and most of the areas that had problems were not areas law students had any reason to frequent.Admissions
A full tuition scholarship (tuition only) was available for LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. The scholarship was given without additional paperwork or application. I used the LSDAS coupled with application form for admission purposes. I do not recall any part of the application process that was particularly unique from other schools to which I applied.Graduation Year
The town did not have much to offer.Admissions
Very average applications processGraduation Year
Generally, I thought the academics at the school were good. If you were willing to put in the time and effort, you could learn a great deal. The professors, for the most part (there are always exceptions) made classes challenging. The Socratic method was used in many of my classes. Classes were small and professors were always available outside of class, which was great. The professors generally focused more on practical skills than theory and the school had a great selection of clinics and trial-skills courses. There were also great opportunities to work as research assistants and to get involved with challenging extra-curricular activities. Competitiveness seemed to change year to year; however, every student was generally willing to work collectively and to take the time to meet with others (study groups were common). Don't expect to have pages ripped out of library books or anything like that here. The school really has a family-like student body.Quality of Life
Cost of living is small. The campus has a great feel. The law school building is currently being updated, which will be nice when it is done.Admissions
I don't recall any specific application questions or essays, but I know that one of the individuals that wrote a letter of recommendation for me was contacted by the law school to thank him for his letter, which the board found very moving. The LSAT scores are average. Financial aid opportunities are limited in number, but the school has a great opportunity (due to the small number of students) to obtain Graduate Assistant and Research Assistant positions that provide tuition waivers and/or stipends.Graduation Year
In general, class size is quite reasonable, and access to professors is incredible. The Socratic method was preferred by most professors, although a few did not. My class was much more colleagial than competitive; we had study abroad opportunities (Mexico and France); a range of practical opportunities available--particularly in public interest-- and grading seemed relatively unbiased. As with everything, there did exist a few exceptions to some of my statements--an unavailable prof., grading that seemed a little biased or a competitive classmate; but not significant.Quality of Life
College neighborhood/environment fine. School building itself is very old, which is not a flaw in and of itself, but it does need updating--fix leaks, improve plumbing, regulate temperature.Admissions
I don't totally remember everything for NIU; but I know we were required to write an essay, submit LSAT scores and a general application with transcripts from previous educational experiences.Graduation Year
There is a strong emphasis on practical skills courses, which include challenging first-year legal writing and research courses. Students are expected to take courses such as lawyering skills and trial advocacy later in their law school careers. Some, but not all, professors use the Socratic Method. There are academic advisors, but they are not well advertised or utilized. Class sizes are generally small; the largest class I was in had 90 people, and 1L class sizes tend to hover around 50. NIU could be more competitive, particularly in terms on placing graduates in jobs in the Chicago area. There are research opportunities, but they are primarily reserved for those at the top of the class, though all students are required to write a law review-standard article as part of a seminar course. The curve tends to center around a B-, though this is only a de facto standard and some professors grade tougher than others. There is a study abroad trip each year to France, though students have taken advantage of opportunities sponsored by other law schools. Workload overall is reasonable, though a disproportionate amount of the 1L workload tends to be in legal writing.Quality of Life
The cost of living in DeKalb is very cheap. Given that NIU is a large state school, there are plenty of resources for the university at large. The law school itself could use some physical improvements, but the new dean has worked to do this. It has two courtrooms which are used heavily in moot court and mock trial programs, as well as for classes. Unfortunately, the largest classroom is a little too small, and there is no auditorium. Housing is ample, though the vast majority of it is off campus. There are plenty of dining options in DeKalb. DeKalb is generally a safe community, though certain neighborhoods have lately had a high amount of shootings.Admissions
The admissions process for my law school was standard, consisting of the LSAT, an application, and an essay. While NIU does not offer many scholarships, it is a state school, so they are perhaps not really needed. However, this resulted in my tuition being paid entirely from student loans, so I am actually having to pay more back in financial aid to NIU than to the private school I went to for undergrad and received a substantial scholarship.Level
I think I there is a good mix of discussion/ lecture and socratic teaching. Also there is skills classes as well as substantive classes. Has a summer program in France.Admissions
lsat required, personal statement, and application which can be done electronically through lsacLevel