Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finishing up the semester

Interestingly, this is about the time of year when things become very quiet for me, in both my capacity as Director of the Pre-Law Center and as an ASPer at the law school. Students start gearing up for exams, and unprepared students are still telling themselves that they have time. Because this is the calm before the storm, this is also a great time to reach out to students before they hit the wall and panic before exams. Some strategies for reaching out to students...and where to find them at this time of year:

1) Get lunch at the cafeteria. Lots of students who won't come to your office  find it easy to chat with you about exam strategies while you are waiting for your lunch.  It makes them feel like they are not really asking for help if they are not going to a workshop or making an appointment to see you.

2) Send out inspirational emails to the 1L class. Some of Amy's older posts, such as fables for law students, are fantastic for law students needing something lighthearted but purposeful.

3) Put up study hints in bathroom stalls. A shout-out for this idea goes to Julie Kalish of Dartmouth College; she started this with bar prep hints in the stalls of the bathroom at Vermont Law School. Students do pay attention. (If you are uncomfortable going into student bathrooms--I certainly would be--student workers are generally fine with helping you out). 

4) If there is an end-of-semester party sponsored by the SBA, go for the first 15 minutes or half-hour. By all means, do not stay unless you are going with a large group of faculty. Those parties tend to inspire all sorts of student debauchery you want to know nothing about. But they are generally pretty tame at the beginning, and like the lunch line, students who won't come to your office will chat with you at the start of a party. 

5) If you can afford it, put small candy-and-note gifts in their student mailboxes. Candy makes them feel better, like someone is on their side. For $50, you can make law school feel a little less alien and the exam process a little more manageable.

If you have additional suggestions about how to reach out to students at the end of the year, or strategies that have worked for you that you would like to share, please send them along to me or Amy and we would be happy to post them for everyone to read. (RCF)

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