Dimensions of Diversity

"We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national and local diversities that enrich our lives." Mahnaz Afkhami

This blog will act as a hub for events and information pertaining to particular affinity groups. Here, you will find various conferences, job fairs, and networking opportunities.  Additionally, you will find postings and articles that describe unique issues facing sub-groups within our society. 

DIVERSITY includes but is not limited to race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and individuals with disabilities. Ultimately, diversity inludes each and every one of us because we are all unique.

 “We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national and local diversities that enrich our lives.” Mahnaz Afkhami

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Top 3 Things to Do After Attending a Law School Fair

img 645_edited(1)You’ve attended a Law School Fair. What now? Congratulations on starting your law school journey. We want to emphasize that as much as the websites and marketing materials would have you believe otherwise, there is no such thing as a perfect law school.  The law school application process is all about fit—finding a law school that is a good match for you based on your interests, abilities, values, aspirations, and preferences, both social and academic. For many, that process begins at an LSAC Forum or any other Law School or Graduate School Fair.  Here are three recommended actions all students should take after attending one of these events:

 

1. Follow Up With The Admissions Rep – Take note of the people you are meeting and follow up with a professional email thanking him or her for their time and reminding them who you are.  The recruiter is meeting hundreds of people per week (or sometimes a day at a forum event) and might not automatically remember you. In the event that you had a lengthy conversation with one or more of the law school reps, it never hurts to thank them for their time. While you probably were not the only student they spoke to, this simple act has the potential to leave a big impression.  Keep it short, polite, and professional.

 

2. Organize Your Law School Information – It could be tempting to toss all the viewbooks in a pile, but I recommend organizing and identifying which law schools were your favorites.  Did you find a diamond in the rough?  Did you talk to a law school that wasn’t on your radar?  Organizing that school’s information in relation to your other top choices makes your decision process even more dynamic.  In addition, look over any handwritten notes you took at the forum.   Revise any sloppy notes to avoid confusion later on. You should also take a moment to include any points you may have forgotten to write down while they are still fresh in your mind. This will help you when it’s time to get all of your paperwork together for the application stage of this process.

 

3. Visit Your Top Law Schools – You’ve met the reps, you’ve read the viewbooks and you’ve visited their websites.  Now is the time to get out and visit all the law schools you plan on applying to if you haven’t already.  This is a great opportunity for you to experience student life and feel the campus environment before making the big commitment to attend. Don’t limit your visit to the formal tour and information session.  Read the notices posted on the bulletin boards. What are the upcoming events on campus?  Walkthrough the library and see how the students are studying.  There is no better way to determine if a law school is a good fit for you than to immerse yourself in the law school’s culture.

Finally, congratulate yourself! Navigating a law school forum/fair is no easy feat. You’re well on your way to finding your best-fit law school. Are you ready to visit Florida Coastal School of Law? We have an assortment of opportunities that we’re sure will fit your schedule and needs so that you will have the chance to visit our campus and speak with the Office of Admissions. To find out when our next campus visit day will be hosted or to see our other campus visit opportunities, please visit: https://www.fcsl.edu/admissions-visiting-applicants.

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Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville While Attending Coastal Law

Florida Coastal School of Law is ideally located in Jacksonville, Florida on the Northeast coast.  With federal and state court houses located right downtown, and more than 80 local companies with national or divisional headquarters in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville offers law students an ideal setting for pursuing a law degree.

Debbie Duncan, Admissions Processor at Florida Coastal School of Law, shares her tips for things to do in Jacksonville while attending law school.  Debbie has been a resident of Jacksonville for the past 34 years. Her family has experienced many of the activities for hobbies, interests, and entertainment that Jacksonville provides.

Below are some of Debbie’s favorite things to do in Jacksonville.

Sports:

We are season ticket holders with the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS and enjoy tailgating with friends and family before each home game.  The Jaguars play at EverBank Field, which is now home to the world’s largest scoreboard!

We love to golf and enjoy going to THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP every year.  Throughout the years I have met many famous golfers such as Lee Trevino, Fuzzy Zoellor, Jack Nicklaus, and Payne Stewart who shared a bag of Skittles with my daughter.  The Players Championship is played at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

NASCAR is another favorite.  The DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY is only an hour away from Jacksonville.  We attend the Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 every year.

Outdoor Recreational Activities:

Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the nation.  My child played many sports so we spent a lot of time at many of these parks. On weekends we loved to spend time at the beach. We particularly liked the beaches in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fernandina. Jacksonville beach is pet friendly! Many residents take their pets to the beach for an early or evening run. The beach is Jacksonville is also great for adventure. Many students pick up surfing lessons or have beach sporting events at the beach.

Dining and Social Life:

Living in Jacksonville as long as we have, we know a lot of people and have a lot of social engagements. We attend fundraisers and different events at venues such as Epping Forest Country Club. Jacksonville offers a wide range of dining options. My favorite cuisine is Japanese but I sometimes like to step it up a notch at Ruth’s Chris.

Also, many of the student organizations on campus host social events at various restaurants around town including Black Sheep in Riverside and Painting with a Twist, to just name a few. Two of the favorites among the students for Mexican cuisine are Taco Lu and La Napolera. Both restaurants have great prices and delicious authentic Mexican dishes.

Although there are many things to do in Jacksonville, the city is within driving distance to Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta. Jacksonville is great place for students to live, work, and play while taking a break from classes and studying!

Please visit www.visitjacksonville.com to find other exciting things to do in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

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Non-Traditional Law Students: Law School is for Every Age

A long time ago in a land far, far away, the typical law school student came straight from undergraduate school.  Times have changed and this is no longer the norm.  More and more “older” law students, known as non-traditional law students, are going to law school.  Of Coastal Law’s applicant pool in 2015, 24% were above the age of 30 and 27% of our 2015 matriculates were from ages 30-67! Our diverse community makes for an easy transition to law school, regardless of age.

Non-traditional law students attending law school seems to be a growing trend.  People are leaving undergrad to start their careers and later learn that a law degree will enhance their opportunities in the field they have chosen.  These non-traditional students go back to law school knowing exactly what they want to do once they obtain their law degree.

Additionally, some “seasoned” law students are coming back for a second career.  They were successful professionals that were ready for a change and saw a need for legal education in that new chosen path. They tend to be more focused and know the direction they want to go.

Some were busy raising a family and now their children are out pursuing their dreams. Now it is time for the parent to pursue their long awaited dream of attending law school.

Many law schools, including Coastal Law, encourage students with work experience to apply.   Even though the typical criteria like LSAT and GPA are important, work and life experience are also very valuable.   Some are already coming from fields in the justice system, such as police officers, Parole officers, paralegals, and many others.  They can bring that knowledge to the classroom not only to help themselves but their fellow classmates.   To help accommodate the busy schedules of our non-traditional law students who may already have a career or family responsibilities, Coastal Law does offer part-time day and evening classes.

According to ACElsat.com there are several reasons why non-traditional law students may opt for a delayed start to law school, as well as several benefits:

  • They have had a chance to explore other fields and have a better idea of what they want to do.
  • They often begin law school in order to do what they love; not because they think they’ll make a lot of money.
  • They have reasonable expectations of the career and its requirements.
  • They have contacts outside of school, which allows them to find job placements quickly.
  • They may have more stable personal lives, which allows them more time to study.

So if you are a “seasoned” student and considering going to law school and have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Admissions office.  We have a very diverse student body of all ages and ethnicity’.  We encourage anyone desiring to pursue their dream of law school to make it a reality with Coastal Law!

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From Canada to the States: Earn your J.D. at Coastal Law

Do you currently reside in Canada and want to learn more about attending law school in the United States? We invite you to join Coastal Law’s admissions team to learn more about studying abroad in the U.S. to earn your J.D. The interactive webinar will discuss the academic and lifestyle benefits of attending law school in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally, the admissions office will provide an overview of the steps you must take to apply and transition from Canada to the United States. Our guest panel will include current Canadian students and Coastal Law alumni who will share their experiences and helpful tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Date: Monday, March 14, 2016 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST

Don’t miss this webinar designed specifically for Canadian students! RSVP Link: http://bit.ly/1OYVGH3  

Virtual Open Houses are interactive and can be accessed using a smart phone, international phone number, or via a tablet or computer.

Canadian JD Facts

 

 

 

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Preparing Your Law School Personal Statement

The law school personal statement is your chance to shine. Many aspiring law students call the Admissions office to ask different questions about their personal statement. Common questions about the personal statement includes:

“How long should my personal statement be?”

“What should I write about in my personal statement?”

“What weight does my personal statement have?”

“Where do I even begin?”

The great thing about your personal statement is that it is the one part of your law school application that you have complete control over. In having this control, you should make your personal statement positive. The goal is to show us your strengths, show us your accomplishments, and finally show us who you are. You want your audience (the law school admissions committee) to act on your behalf once they have completed reading your statement.

There are many different structures of a personal statement and you need to choose the format that best captures you. Some examples include: a personal narrative or story, an explanation of chronological growth, or a presentation of a problem and how you solved it.

When thinking about your structure there are some things that you should NOT do. Some examples are: focusing on your weaknesses, using clichés or slang, discussing controversial issues, and providing us with a review of your academic history that is evident from your transcript. If you have any weaknesses that you would like to make us aware of you should write a separate statement as an addendum to your application. As stated above you want your personal statement to remain positive and show us who you are.

To help you prepare your personal statement, here are some top mistakes that the admissions committee finds in personal statements.

  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Sending a personal statement for School B, meant for school A
  • Focusing on your weaknesses instead of your strengths
  • Summarizing your resume
  • Not letting your personality come through
  • Not using quotation marks when using a quote and not citing sources

If you have any questions regarding your personal statement please do not hesitate to reach out to the Admissions Office at Coastal Law. You can always call us at 1-800-769-2125 or email us at admissions@fcsl.edu. We would be happy to provide some guidance.

 

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Coastal Law’s Third Year at Home

Florida Coastal School of Law is excited to announce our new “Third Year at Home” program that addresses the many challenges faced by law school students who desire to attend school in one place and take the Bar in another.

This new program allows students to complete their third year anywhere in the country and is based on three key offerings:

  • Distance Education – We offer a broad choice of distance education courses that meet ABA requirements and count towards degree requirements.
  • Externships – Whether a student chooses to return home or start a career somewhere else, we’ll assist in identifying and locating qualified externship opportunities.
  • State Specific Bar Prep – Prepare with classes that are specifically designed to help you take and pass your state’s bar.

 

Exciting opportunities are being offered at Coastal Law. This isn’t just an aspiration; whether it’s our ranking as one of the National Jurist magazine’s “A+ practice ready” law schools, or our ranking for having the nation’s #1 Moot Court team for two consecutive years, we’re serious about your future.

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Coastal Law Announces Its Third Webinar Series Aimed at Aspiring Law Students

In its continued effort to provide thought leadership and insight to the questions and challenges that aspiring law students encounter, Coastal Law’s Admissions team launched a series of law school webinars for students or working professionals interested in attending law school. Now in its third round, the webinars cover a variety of topics including tips for completing a law school resume, understanding the admissions process, career advice from alums and employers, and more. The law school webinars also provide interested applicants the opportunity to learn more about Coastal Law’s J.D. programs in a virtual, interactive format.

All webinars are free and attendees can join by phone, tablet, or a computer. Attendees should RSVP in advance to ensure they receive updates and e-mails prior to or following the webinar. Webinars are scheduled for one hour with the opportunity to ask questions to panelists. Webinars are recorded and available for replay on Coastal Law’s YouTube channel for any students that may have missed a webinar or want to review a topic.

Schedule for 2016 Law School Webinars

2/15 – Come See the World with Coastal Law

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC80874E3D

Description: Did you enjoy studying abroad during your undergraduate education? Do you feel like you missed your chance to study abroad? Join us for this webinar focusing on the many international opportunities to enhance your legal know-how. This webinar will include faculty and students who will share their perspectives with international externships, study abroad in France, and much more.

 

2/22 – Discover Coastal Law

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC8089463A

Description: Recently heard about Coastal Law but not sure what the benefits are of the school or the city? Experience Coastal Law with your Admissions Team guiding you through some of the highlights of the Florida Coastal and the City of Jacksonville. Our counselors will be providing you with facts about our facilities, programs and opportunities available to our students and landmarks in the beautiful City of Jacksonville.

 

3/7 – Alumni Spotlight: Traditional and Non-Traditional

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC83804E3D

Description: A JD can provide you with many career avenues evidenced by our alumni’s career paths and aspirations. This webinar will feature two alumni who have taken the traditional route and two alumni who have taken the road less traveled.

 

3/21 – Coastal Law Spotlight: Immigration and Human Rights Clinic

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC83804A38

Description: This Coastal Law Spotlight will focus on our Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. Students in the Immigrant and Human Rights Clinic are involved with both direct legal services to non-citizens as well as legal advocacy projects. This webinar will also highlight our annual Citizenship Day event taking place in April.

 

4/4 – Coastal Law Spotlight Webinar: 2-Year Accelerated & Dual Degrees

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC83804730

 

4/18 – Coastal Law Spotlight Webinar: 3rd Year At Home & Bar-prep Program

Registration Link: anymeeting.com/PIID=EC53DC83814B38

Description: Attending school away from home always comes with the added advantage of broadening your professional and academic horizon. Such is especially true in case of attending law-school. However, staying home also has its advantages; cost-saving opportunities, academic and otherwise, proximity to family and friends, along with networking and professional opportunities, to name a few. What if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could do both and have a comprehensive bar-prep program at your disposal at no additional cost? If any of that interests you, come join us in our next rendition of Coastal Law Spotlight Webinars.

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Factors Considered When Accepting Law Students

 

Admissions committees review thousands of applications per year. The admissions committee at Florida Coastal School of Law reviews all the applications it receives holistically to ensure that the students selected can successfully undertake a rigorous program in the study of law and contribute positively to the profession and society.

Admissions decisions include attention to factors that enhance the educational experience of the entire student body. While LSAT scores, GPA, and the undergraduate institution attended are significant factors in the admission process, these are not the only factors taken into account. Admissions committees also look at the applicant’s personal statement, difficulty of the undergraduate course work, LSAT writing sample, letters of recommendation, work experience (resumé), maturity, community and campus involvement, advanced degrees, leadership, diversity, and background.

Factors Considered When Accepting Law Students:

LSAT Scores: Admissions committees rely on LSAT scores to evaluate applicants’ logical reasoning, analytical, and reading skills, all of which are essential for success in law school. If a candidate takes the LSAT multiple times, most admissions committees will use the highest score, however, they will also be able to review the other scores to see if the LSAT score(s) has increased or decreased.

GPA: Undergraduate performance generally is an important indicator of how a student is likely to perform in law school. Admissions committees consider performance trends in the undergraduate grade-point average. If a candidate wishes to comment on irregular grade trends, they should do so in an addendum.

Course Selection: Candidates who take high level courses in undergrad often are evaluated in a more favorable light than candidates who choose to take lower level/less difficult courses. Because law school is a rigorous academic program, applicants that have done well in a challenging program are considered favorably.

Letters of Recommendation: The most effective letters of recommendation are those from professors and work supervisors who know the candidate well enough to write about the candidate’s work ethic and potential to succeed in law school. Most admissions committees do not look favorably on recommendations written by family members or friends.

Resume: Law schools want diverse and interesting classes. Diversity in thought, backgrounds and experiences. The law school resume can show the candidate’s leadership skills, entrepreneurship, drive, and many other unique qualities make them a good fit for a particular school.

Personal Statement: The personal statement is an opportunity for the reviewer to “meet” the candidate. Most admissions committees are looking for attention to detail, proofreading and grammar skills, and the candidate’s ability to communicate why they want to go to law school and that law school in particular. Admissions committees want to understand how the candidate will use their law degree to accomplish their professional goals.

 

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Financing Your Legal Education

Law school is a huge, but sound investment into your future.  Experience shows that Coastal Law students have a stellar return on their educational investment. On average, our graduates earn $750,000 more in their lifetime than if they hadn’t received their law degree from Coastal Law. Nonetheless, determining how to finance your legal education can be a strain mentally, emotionally, and financially.

When considering how to finance your legal education, here a few tips to keep in mind that can help ease the strain as you begin your legal education. Planning in advance is always your best plan to ensure you are prepared and can focus on your first year of law school without the stress of finances.

 

  1. Scholarships for Law Students
  • Most law schools offer merit based scholarships. Make sure your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score are as high as possible to maximize your award.
  • Ask if the law school offers additional scholarships. You may have to apply or be recommended for additional awards.
  • Coastal Law offers a full range of scholarships for its students.  We offer scholarships for First Responders, Diversity Champions, and more. See a list of the scholarships Coastal Law offers here.

 

  1. Student Loans
  • Apply for Federal Aid to receive student loans with the lowest interest rates.
  • Start with submitting your FAFSA. This will qualify you for $20,500 per year.
  • For additional student loans, apply for Grad Plus. This credit-based loan will help cover the rest of tuition as well as living expenses.

 

  1. Jobs
  • If you currently have a job and want to keep working, consider attending school part-time.
  • As a full-time student it is recommended that you work less than 20 hours per week. Even a few hours of work help bring in a little extra money.
  • Look into on-campus jobs, work-study, or paid internships. These types of positions could help you gain legal experience while easing the financial burden.

 

  1. Budget
  • Creating a budget ensures that you don’t spend money you don’t have and helps you prepare for future expenses.
  • Compare your needs versus wants. Remember to live like a student now so you can live like an attorney later.
  • Borrow smart. Don’t take our more loans than you need.

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Advice on Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation can be stressful because they are a part of the application that is out of your hands.  You don’t have control over what is said or when they are submitted.  Often, it’s a lengthy waiting game once a letter is requested.  Don’t let your law school application sit on the back burner while you wait for letters of recommendation.

 

Here are a few tips to help make sure you receive the best letters of recommendation possible and that they are received in a timely fashion.

 

Who to Ask

 

  1. Consider Relationship Over Title

Someone who has worked closely with you and can speak in depth about your qualities, skills, and abilities will write a much better letter than an acquaintance with an impressive title.

 

  1. Anecdotes Versus Adjectives

Choose someone who will be able to provide specific examples about you rather than just list qualities.

 

  1. Avoid Family

Family will always say nice things about their own.  It’s important to hear from a less biased source.

 

How to Ask

 

  1. Ask for a Favorable Letter

By setting your expectations, it will allow your recommender the opportunity to decline if he/she feels the letter of recommendation won’t be favorable.

 

  1. Offer Your Resume and Personal Statement

Your recommender will be better able to discuss the areas that he/she knows are important to you based on what you highlight in your own writing.

 

  1. Provide a Specific Timeline

You have a better chance of receiving the letters in a timely fashion if you state when you need/want them submitted.

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