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Monday, October 22, 2012
Harvard Law School to Conduct Video-Conferencing Interviews
Up until a few years ago, the idea of talking to someone live through a video-feed on a computer seemed positively futuristic. Then, along came Skype and suddenly the world seemed smaller. There is something more tangible and personal about seeing a person's face while you're talking to them.
It isn't a perfect medium just yet-patchy internet connections and geographical distance can cause video transmissions to be inconsistent. But even the echo and occasional frozen screen of a video call doesn't take away from its value as a communication tool.
Apparently, Harvard shares this view. Like many law schools, Harvard uses the personal interview as a tool in its admissions application process. Unfortunately, for students living far away, the interview poses some logistical issues. With the hopes of expanding the interview option to more students, Harvard Law is shifting to video-conferencing.
Telephone interviews will become a thing of the past for the university, something that should come as welcome news to students who would not otherwise be able to make it to an in-person interview.
Harvard taps the shift as another move towards its goal of offering a more "practical-based" law school education. Already, the university has made reforms to its curriculum, including the addition of clinical courses, in order to encourage better practical training for its law students. Law school education is notoriously theoretical; some critiques charge that newly minted law students know the law well, but know little about its real-world application.
The video-conference makes sense. It challenges students' technological savvy, their ability to perform under pressure, and their oral skills of persuasion. A good move in the right direction.
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