Category Archives: Admissions

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 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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Coastal Law Announces Third Webinar Series for Prospective Law Students

The law school application process can be challenging.  Florida Coastal School of Law hopes to make the transition into law school as smooth as possible with its webinars designed for prospective law students. Now in its third series, the webinars are designed to assist prospective students at every stage of the law school process from submitting an application to succeeding in your first year of law school.

The webinars will take place twice a month and will be held every other Monday starting on November 2, 2015. Webinars will go live at noon, EST. Attendees can interact live through a chat screen, video, or by phone in real time using our interactive webinar platform.

There is no cost to join the webinars and each session is recorded for later viewing on Coastal Law’s YouTube channel.

For questions, email Megan Mattson at msmattson@fcsl.edu.

Webinars for Prospective Law Students

11/2 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST

Topic: Which LSAT Test Prep is Best?

RSVP at anymeeting.com/PIID=EC51D883834D3B

Wondering which LSAT test prep is best for you? With different options available to law school hopefuls, this webinar will help you find the right program for your learning style and schedule.  Attendees will hear from representatives of Focus Approach, Kaplan Test Prep, and Flagler College.  Presenters will share more information about their programs to help you make the right choice.  RSVP to reserve your space.


11/16 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST

Topic: What’s Next After the Law School Fair: Beginning the Application Process

RSVP at anymeeting.com/PIID=EC51D883834D3F

Did you attend a law school fair and now wonder what to do next?  In this webinar, we’ll walk you through the next steps when applying to law schools.  From researching schools to putting together an application to choosing the right law school for you, we’ll share tips and answers your questions.  Presenters include Coastal Law’s Admissions counselors.  RSVP to reserve your space.


11/30 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST

Topic: Military and Veteran Support in Law School

RSVP at anymeeting.com/PIID=EC51D883834D30

Coastal Law is proud to welcome military and veteran students to our law school.  In addition to a growing military and veteran on-campus community that includes students, staff, and faculty, we provide various on-campus support resources and opportunities.  We also offer cost of living assistance for our military and veteran students.  Join us for this webinar with presenters that include a Veterans Affairs representative, a Coastal Law professor, current students, a Coastal Law alum, and a current JAG member.  RSVP to reserve your space.


12/14 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST

Topic: Building Your Resume in Law School

RSVP at anymeeting.com/PIID=EC51D883834C3B

Between law school clinics, legal externships, honors organizations and pro bono work, law students have a lot of choices to building their resumes during law school.  Join us for this webinar where presenters will share how to get the hands-on experience law students need to help them stand out among their peers.  This webinar will include faculty and students who will share their own perspectives on the various options available to you.  RSVP to reserve your space.

 

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Creating A Competitive Coastal Law Application

How do you put together a competitive law school application? We share some great step-by-step tips for prospective law students.

Tips for Assembling a Competitive Application

Components of an application

  • Application
  • CAS report – Includes: Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, Writing Sample, LSAT score
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • Addendum(s) – Optional

Application

  • 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 Admissions for clarification. The Admissions staff is always here to help.

CAS Report

  • Send all undergraduate transcripts to LSAC.
  • You will create your writing sample during the LSAT. The Admissions Committee reviews the writing sample to gauge writing skills and analytical ability.
  • Letters of Recommendation are sent directly to LSAC.
    • Tips for Letters of Recommendation:
      • If you are a recent graduate, try to obtain at least one letter from a professor. They 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 they 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 is they will be able to provide you with a positive/strong recommendation.

Personal Statement

  • This 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.
  • Keep in mind what you are trying to communicate to the reviewer.
  • When brainstorming topics, ponder the following questions:
    • 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!

Resume

  • Some tips for writing your law school resume include:
  • 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.

Addendum(s)

  • 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, check out our webinar on Tips for Assembling a Competitive Application.

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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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