Hitting the Road to Attract More Students to Law School
Hitting the Road to Attract More Students to Law School

The number of applicants to law schools across the U.S. has been in decline for more than a decade. BarbaraKaye Miller, assistant dean of admissions at the law school, is doing everything in her power to counteract this trend at Creighton. Miller shares some of the ways that she is recruiting high-quality students to attend Creighton law school.

Does the law school have particular recruitment goals for its next entering class and beyond?

Yes. We are aiming to recruit students with higher undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT numbers. We are also trying to attract more female students and to maintain or increase our diversity numbers. Task forces have been assembled to help achieve these goals, so this is more of a unified effort within the law school.

What do you see as the most effective way to reach potential students and get them to attend law school at Creighton?

Law schools need be more aggressive with their marketing and recruitment. It is all about getting your name out there and meeting with people face to face. Between September and December 2017, either I or my co-worker Dawn Schaefer-Monahan attended more than 12 recruitment fairs from coast to coast aimed at pre-law students. Later this winter I will be targeting about 12 Jesuit schools and spreading the word about Creighton law school.

In addition to these recruitment fairs across the country, I also travel regionally – meeting with officials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Omaha, the College of St. Mary, Midlands University, and more. We also hosted an open house at the law school last fall for current Creighton undergraduates.

How do you sell Creighton law school when meeting with people?

What makes Creighton law school great is its size. The environment is like a family. We are small by choice – and this enables us to keep that family atmosphere. For example, professors here don’t keep office hours, they live by an open-door policy. Additionally, our alumni base is outstanding. The family atmosphere is maintained once our students graduate and pass the bar and are working as attorneys. I’ve found that Creighton law alumni really take care of their own and maintain a strong tie to their alma mater.

Another benefit of attending the law school is that all first-year students are paired with a faculty mentor and an upper level student mentor. This is rare. I didn’t see this in my last job as assistant dean of admissions and graduate programs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

The administration and staff also get to know the students. If you don’t show up for class, your professors will know it. You can’t hide, but this is a good thing – the entire team wants to ensure students succeed.

I also share information about our six certificates that students can earn in tandem with their JD, the Nuremberg Summer Program and GOAL program, and information about our joint degree programs.

For students coming from outside of the Midwest and who might not know much about Omaha, I also talk about how this city is a well-kept secret. Omaha’s commute times are much shorter than many places in the country, it is a family-friendly city, and for law students with families and children in school, the public schools are outstanding.