Monthly Archives: July 2015

Coastal Law Admissions Spotlight: Nicole Schumer


My name is Nicole Schumer and I am the Assistant Director of Admissions at Florida Coastal School of Law.  I am a native of Mississippi and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000. Upon graduation I knew that I wanted to help people.  I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that whatever I did, it would be to improve people’s lives.  I moved to Kansas City and worked in the financial industry for several years before moving to Jacksonville, FL.  I had researched Jacksonville and was really excited about this new adventure in my life.  Jacksonville turned out to be everything I hoped it would be.  Not only is it one of the most affordable cities in Florida, it is also a city that has something for everyone.  It has the beach, downtown on the river, suburban life, and many other environments.  Since living in Florida, I have gotten married and had two amazing children.

In 2006, I had found the place to truly make a difference in people’s lives at Florida Coastal School of Law.  I initially worked at Coastal Law as a counselor and then transitioned to Assistant Director of Admissions in 2010.  I have spent the last 8 years educating those considering law and guiding them through the admission process.

As a member of the Florida Coastal School of Law admissions team, I enjoy helping students realize their dream to pursue a law profession.  I help the students and their families understand the application process and help make the transition to law school as smooth as possible.  I also enjoy hearing about their lives and what brought them to their decision to attend law school.  Having been with Coastal Law for several years and counseled many prospective students, I can understand the trepidation students feel when starting this journey. I try to make them feel at home and encourage their excitement about starting their law school career.

One of the many things I enjoy about working at Florida Coastal School of Law is the staff and faculty.  We all put the students’ interests and needs first.  This is reflected in the wonderful environment our students enjoy every day.  When students come to visit our office before they graduate, it is a great feeling to know they appreciate the difference we made in their lives.

Besides graduation, one of the best times to work in Florida Coastal School of Law’s admissions office is during orientation.  To witness the excitement and curiosity of each new incoming student is a special time.  They are embarking on a new journey, and to be a part of that is something I really enjoy.  We are there to support and reassure them, ease their nerves, and ultimately join them in their excitement.

Along with my involvement with prospective students and active students, I am also responsible for maintaining the office database systems.  My job is to ensure we have accurate information for every student and that the processes of the office run smoothly.  I keep track of enrollment data from year to year and make sure we are doing the best by our students. I help develop statistical reports to enhance recruitment strategies, and monitor those reports for yield management, forecasting, and operational efficiency.

I am also greatly involved in Florida Coastal’s Alternative Admissions Model Program for Legal Education (AAMPLE®) program.  I am a huge advocate of the this program and strongly believe that the AAMPLE program provides students the opportunity to prove beyond their LSAT score that they can succeed in law school and go on to have successful legal careers.  Since being a part of this program, I have watched many students go on to graduate from Florida Coastal School of Law and find career paths that they enjoy.  That is why we started this program and I am always happy to see those students succeed.

Overall, being a part of the Florida Coastal School of Law community is a rewarding experience for me and for the students we serve.  I always look forward to the next class and assisting them in fulfilling their dreams.

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Tips for Preparing a Competitive Law School Application

law student

Are you currently in the process of applying for law school and need help preparing your law school application packet? We understand the admissions process isn’t exactly an easy one. We’ve put together these tips that will guide you step-by-step on putting together a competitive law school application.

Components of a Law School Application Packet

First, let’s break down what’s included in your law school application packet.

  1. Law School application
  2. CAS report – includes: letters of recommendation, transcripts, writing sample, LSAT score
  3. Personal Statement
  4. Resume
  5. Addendum(s) – optional

Completing The Law School Application

All law school applications are different. Be sure to answer all questions thoroughly and accurately. If you are ever in doubt as to what a question means, do not hesitate to reach out to an Admissions counselor for clarification. Our admissions team is always here to help.

CAS Report

  • Send all undergraduate transcripts to LSAC.
  • You do not need to submit a separate writing sample. Instead, your writing sample is part of your LSAT. The Admissions Committee reviews the writing sample to gauge writing skills and analytical ability.
  • Letters of Recommendation submitted directly to LSAC by your recommenders.

Submitting Letters of Recommendation

  • If you are a recent graduate, try to obtain at least one letter from a professor. He or she can speak to your scholastic ability and work ethic.
  • If you are not a recent graduate, you may ask an employer or someone who can speak about your work ethic.
  • Do not ask family or friends to write you a letter.
  • Make sure the person you ask knows you well and supports your decision to attend law school.
  • Provide the recommender with your resume and personal statement so he or she may gain further insight into why you want to attend law school and why you will be a valuable addition to the classroom.
  • Make sure to ask the recommender if he or she will be able to provide you with a positive/strong recommendation.

Law School Application Personal Statement

The personal statement allows the reviewer to gain insight into whom you are beyond your potential for academic excellence and why you might be a strong addition to the incoming class. The personal statement is also reviewed for writing ability and attention to detail. The personal statement may also be used to gain insight into an applicant’s motivation and interest in law school.

When brainstorming topics, consider the following:

  • What abilities, skills, or talents do you have that will help you become an outstanding law student and lawyer?
  • Why do you want to earn a law degree?
  • What life experiences or people have inspired and helped you become the person you are today?
  • What are your professional goals?
  • Be authentic.
  • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! As your reviewing edits to your personal statement, keep in mind what message you are trying to communicate to the reviewer.

Law School Application Resume

We previously shared some tips for preparing your law school application resume. Remember the following:

  • Physical appearance: Make your resume easy to read. Use a template, good spacing, and a standard font (such as Times New Roman). Do not include photos or designs, avoid different colors. Remember, you want to make it look professional.
  • Education: Focus on college not high school. You can mention any honors, awards, or student organizations you were involved with during your time of attendance.
  • Work Experience: This section is where you will list and elaborate on any jobs or internships you have had. You can include both paid and unpaid work experience.
  • Bottom of Page: This is where you can list any extra-curricular activities; community service, publications, sports, etc. This gives the reader more insight into who you are and what you have to offer.
  • Proofread: Your resume must be error free. Read it out loud to yourself and ask at least one other person to review it as well. Remember, spell check doesn’t catch every error.
  • Length: Your resume should be one page. Focus only on the positive aspects of your previous career, education, and volunteer work.


These supplemental statements can be used to address any concerns you believe the Admissions Committee may have about your application. For example: academic probation, character and fitness issues, gap in time on your resume, low LSAT score, etc. You may also provide a supplemental statement to inform the Committee of any information that was not provided in the required portion of the application such as, diverse professional or personal life experiences.

For more detailed tips on preparing a law school application, check out Coastal Law’s webinar on Step-by-Step Guide to the Law School Admissions Process.

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Coastal Law Admissions Spotlight: Renee Alten

Meet Renee Alton, Coastal Law Admissions Team

Renée Alten is the Director of Admissions Operations and Communications at Florida Coastal School of Law. Renée hails from Syracuse, New York, also known as Sybericuse or Hoth Ice Planet for those Star Wars lovers out there.  When she was 18 years old she escaped the cold, and what seemed like year-round snow, to move to Maryland where she attended Washington College. Renée always dreamed of going to law school. Before fulfilling her dream, she took a year off to immerse herself in a cross cultural experience; she lived in Scotland for one year.

When she returned to the states, she enrolled in law school. She loved it so much she decided to stay in the law school environment and start a career as a law school administrator. After working in the New England area for a number of years she discovered Florida Coastal School of Law where she now calls home. She is grateful every day to work in such a supportive, innovative, and student centered environment.

The highlight of Renée’s job is introducing prospective students to Coastal Law and watching their faces light up as they learn about all of the incredible opportunities the school has to offer. Some of these opportunities include a plethora of hands-on learning experiences (The National Jurist awarded Florida Coastal School of Law an A+ for Best Law Schools for Practical Training – 2015), the potential to become a member of Coastal Law’s moot court team (which is currently ranked #1 in the nation according to the –2014 – 2015 Moot Court National Championship standings), and the ability to enroll in one of Coastal Law’s dual degree programs (JD/MBA and JD/MPP).

Renée is proud to work for such a dynamic law school and serve as a representative of Florida Coastal School of Law as she travels the country to meet with and educate prospective law students.

Connect with Renée on her Facebook page, here.

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