Category Archives: Blog

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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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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Coastal Law Admissions Spotlight: Megan Schade

Since I was a little girl I always told my parents that I was going to grow up and become an attorney.  I also thought that I could be a school teacher and deliver pizza at the same time.  As children, we always have aspirations for when we grow up.  As we progress through the years we change our perspective of what growing up means.   I have gone to college, graduated from law school, was a first-time bar passer, and currently hold my first “adult” job; yet I still find myself thinking “What will I do when I grow up?”  I think that we all reflect on this daily and the little steps we take along the way are what mold us into the person we are and the dreams we have for our life.

My name is Megan Schade and I am an admissions counselor here at Florida Coastal School of Law.  I moved to Florida almost five years ago when I started my journey in law school.  I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and attended Miami University for my undergraduate degree.  I majored in Business Management and Organization in hopes of opening my own law firm or owning my own business someday.  For me deciding what to do before law school was a struggle.  I knew I wanted to get a law degree and help others, but I needed a foundation in order to achieve that dream.  Miami University was a great experience for me and provided me with the knowledge, understanding, hard-work ethic, and passion to be successful in law school.  It was the time that I became independent, confident, and began focusing on what I wanted to do and how I was going to accomplish those goals for myself.

I moved to Jacksonville, Florida to attend Coastal Law because they provided me with the opportunity in pursue my dream.  We all have struggles along the way, but it’s our passion, perseverance, and determination that make us the best that we can be.  I was excited for this new adventure, yet nervous for what I had just signed up for.  Law school was going to be hard, it was going to be a challenge and I was going to have to think in a way that I had never done so before.  I was also in a new city where I knew no one, but had to adapt quickly so that it would not impact my studies.

My three years at Coastal Law were filled with happiness, joy, tears, determination, hard-work, setbacks, but most importantly a new family and a place to call home.  The environment on our campus is second to none.  From the administrators, to the faculty, to our staff, students and alumni we are there to support each other every step of the way.  While some days are harder than others you have the support system needed to achieve your dream.

I hope that you decide to learn more about Coastal Law and think about joining our family.  It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Like I said, I feel like I am still growing up and learning new things every day and contemplate “What will do when I grow up?”  I am now an attorney as I told my parents I would become when I was younger, but I am so much more than that.  I have become a person who stands up for others and works with others to achieve their dream.  I would not be an admissions counselor if that did not become a part of who I am.

I hope this allows you to see that we can all reach our dreams, but the end might not be what we first thought.  Be open to new ideas, new opportunities, challenges and setbacks; because they make you who you are and teach you how to grow and achieve what you have set for yourself.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me and I would be happy to learn more about you and discuss the opportunity to become a part of the Coastal Law family.

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