First off, let’s debunk the biggest myth. Everyone did not get into their favorite law school. Well, unless you count for readjusted expectations. Research shows that, once your hypothetical choices (in love, life, and law school) have been eliminated and you are left with only concrete options, the option you pick will become your “favorite” and you will actually be quite happy with it. This holds true even if one of the previously withheld options suddenly becomes available. How does this work?
Say you applied to Yale (#1), UC-Berkeley (#9), George Washington (#21), Georgia State (#54), Brooklyn Law School (#80), Gonzaga (#113), University of Maine #134), and University of San Francisco (#144). When decisions start rolling out, you get declines from Yale, UC-Berkeley, George Washington, Georgia State, and Gonzaga. You get wait-listed by Brooklyn Law and University of Maine. Only the University of San Francisco gives you the green light and invites you to summer orientation.
At first, you're in denial: "No! I can't have only gotten into one law school. I just don't believe this!" This quickly turns to anger: "I can't believe I wasted all of that time, energy, and worry into a bunch a schools that didn't even want me!" You secretly know that you didn't have a very good chance of getting into some of the top law schools, given your grades and LSAT score. But, come on! Only one school really said yes? As you move into the bargaining stage of your grief you quickly take action to shore up possibilities with your wait-list schools. You update your transcripts, write a few letters, and collect some additional letters of recommendation to send to them; hoping something will change (although doubting it will). Nothing changes over the next few weeks and the silence from your wait-list schools is deafening as you slip into a slight depression. Ugh. The University of San Francisco. Hold on! What is so wrong with the University of San Francisco. They were smart enough to scoop you up, weren't they? You revisit their stats. Yes, it is the lowest ranked law school but look at all of the schools that are unranked or unpublished beneath them. There are a ton! And it is in San Francisco. How rough can it be to spend 3 years in the sun with surfing only a few miles away? You peruse the web site and realize they aren't very bad at all. In fact, Justice Scalia is stopping by USF on his book tour next month. It can't be too bad of a school if Justice Scalia is willing to stop by. The bar pass rate for first timers is 75% - which isn't perfect - but the current pass rate for all California test takers is just a breath over 50% so USF seems to be doing something right. The employment rates aren't stellar but that seems to be the case everywhere. Hey! USF is well known for educating lawyers who fight for social justice and that is exactly what you planned to study! And, my friend, you have nicely moved into the rebound phase of your journey to law school.
Guess which school is your favorite? The one that chose you! You will pack up your belongings, head to law school at your favorite school, and scoff at the poor fools who are toiling away in the frigid northeast while you study, sun, and surf in California. Not a bad life and at the end of the day; everyone who graduates is an attorney so the University of San Francisco is a fabulous school for you!
But wait (list)! Remember those schools where you’re wait-listed? Let’s say the University of Maine contacts you after you’ve made your deposit at USF. They tell you they now have room for you in their upcoming class and invite you to change your mind. Chances are, you’ll elect to forego your opportunity to pull up to a better-ranked school. You’ve become quite content with the notion of being a surfing law student in sunny California and you’ve already worked through the Five Stages of Rejection and eliminated your desire to attend the law schools that spurned you. Your choice may have been very different had both schools accepted you from the beginning. Hence, you were indeed accepted to your (now) favorite law school!
Choice is a funny thing. So when you make your own announcement regarding your law school acceptance, you can honestly say your acceptance is from your favorite law school!