NLUNLU — No Life without U! And yet, Nothing Less than U!

Do excuse the pun, but this seemed to be the general mood after the first list of NLU allocation was announced.

The euphoria over a super-easy CLAT 2016 has died down. As we expected, cut-offs skyrocketed, leading to no seat allocation in any NLU — this is the reality after the first round. Rank 1160, at a score of 137-138, is the last invite under the ‘All Unreserved’ category list from NLU Trichy.

If this depresses you to no end, let me tell you that this is no call to lose hope! Here are a few things for you to keep in mind.

1. This is just the first list!
Typically, non-serious contenders about Law as a career tend to drop out in the further rounds. Candidates eyeing only the top few NLUs drop out too. They decide to chase other career options or plan to retake the CLAT next year. With this, the list progresses by one, if not two NLUs in the next rounds! So, keep your fingers crossed and wait.


2. While the wait is on…
(a) NLU call getters: Pay the counselling fees of Rs 50,000 to secure a provisional admission. Choose the ‘Shifting’ option, which will keep your hopes alive of upward movement to other NLUs of your choice. It is safe to choose this option, since there is no downward shifting at any stage of the counselling procedure.

The following table contains the key dates you should watch.

Stage Date
Publication of second list of finalised candidates & additional waitlisted candidates 13 June 2016
Additional candidates provisionally selected against dropped candidates to exercise ‘Lock’ or ‘shift’ option between 14-17 June 2016
The provisionally selected candidates can withdraw from the admission process. (Rs 10,000 will be deducted from the deposited counselling fee) 17 June 2016
Publication of third list allotting seats to candidates 20-22 June 2016
Completion of admission formalities at allotted NLUs 23-25 June 2016
Publication of fourth and final allotment list 29 June 2016
Completion of admission formalities at the allotted NLUs against fourth allotment list 4-6 July 2016

(c) Weigh other admits in your hand, like UPES, Christ College, IPU, Jindal Global Law School, etc. If you are determined to begin law studies this year, you should take a provisional admission while the drama unfolds in other places!

(c) PI/WAT call getters of key universities: Some of you will have reached the next rounds of selection process for universities like Symbiosis Law School, Nirma Law School, etc. It’s important that you perform well, and not let the CLAT results get you down! Let adversities bring the best out of you.

(d) Keep an eye on exams / universities whose admission process is still open. For example, the application deadline for NM School of Law (which accepts CLAT score only) is 12th June. For students who have registered for MH CET (Law) 2016, it is time to get into the mock test practice stage (sample papers are available as part of the exam notification). IMS’s Simulated test pack of 5 is also designed on the same lines, so you can get in a few more hours of practising and honing your test-taking skills.


3. Only NLUs will do!
Think you deserved a better CLAT score, or determined to get into the top few NLUs? You might want to take another shot at CLAT in 2017. But please do it in parallel with your ongoing studies (or job if you are a working professional). It is definitely not worth taking a complete break from your studies and eating, drinking and sleeping CLAT. It doesn’t work that way, since life is all about multitasking, isn’t it? So why get an unnecessary gap of a year in your academic career?


4. Don’t reject in haste.
If you have been selected by a non-NLU law school or even an NLU that isn’t very highly ranked, don’t reject (or choose!) merely based on the institute ranking. Many law schools don’t participate in all India ranking exercises every year. And to tell you the truth, not all ranking surveys are equally credible either. The reputation of a law school is a combination of several factors:

(a) Old vs New law school: The older the law school, the larger is its alumni base. You will be part of this league after you complete your course, and you will too benefit from the direct or indirect interaction with this alumni base. So, find out when the law schools were established.

(b) Faculty, pedagogy and infrastructure: Find out all you can about the law school, from the infrastructure and amenities to the professors who teach there. Once you are in, these will be of enormous importance every day for the next five years! They will have a crucial impact on your learning experience. Within the short span of time that you have now, try and connect with as many alumni of that law school through your friends, seniors, and corporate forums like LinkedIn. They will share loads of experience, more often than not.

(c) Campus placements: To be honest, this factor, especially the average pay package, is given undue importance. Make sure to do your research on the firms that visit NLUs to recruit, and don’t be surprised if you see the same names, more or less. The only difference could be the number of hires from a particular campus. Recruiters of any kind like to select the best fitment from a given pool of applicants, and try to minimise the risk of a bad hiring by visiting several places. Campus placements will largely be a result of your performance in the five years of the law program in any law school you join. Also, it only gives you a starting point, since you will have to shape your career anyway over the next few decades by making prudent and smart employment decisions from time to time about other factors like sector, location, role etc. Bottom line: Don’t overrate campus placements!

(d) Non-NLU vs NLU: You shoud consider the return on your investment. Several reputed non-NLU options are less costly and may offer similar pay packages. On the contrary, the reality is that even with the same investment, not all candidates on NLU campuses end up in the same salary bracket.

(e) Location: This is another key factor, and metros typically score over non-metros, since there generally are more law firms and corporates in these locations.


5. Consult a mentor!
Make sure that while taking these crucial decisions, you consult mentors from reputed and established players in the test preparation segment for a neutral opinion. Most importantly, do your own research and take your own decision. Remember, you are planning to invest time, money and the effort of the next few years with any decision that you take.

All the best for optimum decision making!


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