Students are first introduced to the academic standards at the New Student Orientation. The Academic Dean provides a presentation to discuss relevant and pertinent academic standards for first year students and each student is required to read the Student Handbook. All academic standards and graduation requirements can be found in the Student Handbook.
Florida Coastal is committed to providing advising and support to all our students at all quartiles and we do so from day one with our Academic Orientation, led by the Directors of Academic Programs. Then each semester with our school wide Academic Advising and Registration Fair, we provide students information about all the available curricular and co-curricular opportunities from academic programs, certificates, experiential learning clinics and externships, bar prep and career placement. The entire administrative team plays an active role in student academic advising and support for all cohorts from orientation to graduation.
Each semester Florida Coastal hosts a student town hall forum for students to raise concerns and interact with the school administration. Additionally, student organization leaders attend meetings in the Deans’ Suite with the administration to discuss issues and concerns pertinent to those groups that include: Law Review, Moot Court, Mock Trial, and SBA. Florida Coastal holds cohort academic onboarding sessions to serve as an opportunity for students at all phases of their law school journey to receive important and relevant information tailored to their needs. Each session is tailored to provide each cohort with pertinent information about:
- Academic Programs
- Bar Prep
- Career Placements
- Experiential Learning (Clinics, Externships & Pro Bono)
- Financial Aid
- Professionalism and Social Media
- Student Affairs
New Student Orientation
New Students Orientation is run by Student Affairs and Academic Programs. Students learn about the school’s departments to prepare for their first week of classes. Under the leadership of our Academic Programs Directors, we host a faculty-taught, academically rigorous, introduction to pertinent critical reading, analytical, and organizational (IRAC) skills with mock classes for each corresponding first year class: Contracts I, Property I, Torts I, and Criminal Law. In those classes, students will work on close and effective reading, case briefing, rule breakdown, and legal analysis. Students attend four mock classes – one for each doctrinal class taught by their assigned doctrinal professor. Each doctrinal professor picked a different lawyering skill to teach in their one hour class. Students also attend four additional classes taught by the Academic Programs/Legal Writing Professors on close and effective reading, case briefing, rule breakdown, and legal analysis. The orientation is held the week before classes begin and concludes with a formal convocation ceremony attended by the entire faculty and administration.
Studying the Law Provides Academic Support for the First Year Students
Studying the Law is non-credit bearing first year class that improves skills with assignments that tie directly back to the first-year doctrinal courses, with some assignments having a graded component for the first-year classes. Studying the Law focuses on the four critical first-year skill competencies: issue spotting, IRAC, case reading & briefing, and statutory analysis. Additionally, Academic Programs Directors are available to meet with students five days a week either through pop-in meetings or by appointment and all faculty have a mandatory five hours of office hours per week. First year faculty require graded mid-terms to provide early feedback to students about their progress and to encourage students to seek out help when they need help beyond the offered review sessions in the Studying the Law workshops.
Students in Studying the Law I attend sessions that can include, but are not limited to:
- Academic Onboarding with the Academic Deans
- Essay Exams Workshop
- Outlining Workshop
- Spaced Repetition- How to Memorize the Law
- First Year Faculty IRAC Panel
- Memorization Skills Workshop
- Multiple-choice Questions Test-Taking Strategies with the National Law Survey MBE Professor
- *Torts I Midterm Debrief with their Torts Professor
- *Contracts I Midterm Debrief with their Contracts Professor
- *Property I Midterm Debrief with their Property Professor
- Criminal Law Midterm Debrief with Criminal Law Professor
- *Civil Procedure I Midterm Debrief with Civil Procedure Professor
- Issue-Spotting Exercise with doctrinal Professor
- Stress Management and Test Anxiety (recorded)
Students in Studying the Law II attend sessions that can include, but are not limited to:
- Academic Onboarding with the Academic Deans
- First Year Faculty IRAC Panel
- Proofing/Editing your Legal Memo with their Writing for Law Practice Professor
- *Torts II Midterm Debrief with their Torts Professor
- Criminal Procedure Midterm Debrief with Criminal Procedure Professor
- *Contracts II Midterm Debrief with their Contracts Professor
- *Civil Procedure II Midterm Debrief with Civil Procedure Professor
- *Property II Midterm Debrief with their Property Professor
- Stress Management and Test Anxiety (recorded)
*Sessions are offered for the four doctrinal classes being offered to those cohorts.
Individual Counseling After First-Semester Midterms
The Academic Programs Directors schedule individual meetings with any first-semester first year student who is identified as at risk of failing or underperforming based on any of their four doctrinal midterm grades. The first-year doctrinal faculty provide this midterm information to the Academic Programs directors with additional details about the student’s essay, IRAC, and multiple-choice midterms scores to identify if students are struggling with doctrine, writing, application, IRAC, close reading, or any combination thereof. The Academic Programs Directors also take into consideration the student’s performance in their Legal Research and Analysis course when providing student feedback.
Academic Alert and Probation/Jeopardy Students
Starting in the spring of 2017, under the supervision of the Directors of Academic Programs, all academic probation students (students with a cumulative LGPA below a 2.3) were required to attend one mandatory meeting with an Academic Programs Director, sometime during first three (3) weeks of semester; at the first mandatory meeting; design an individual performance plan customized for the specific needs of each student; and submit finals study schedule on TWEN.
Starting in the spring of 2017, under the supervision of the Directors of Academic Programs, all academic probation students (students with a cumulative LGPA between a 2.3 and a 2.6) were encouraged to attend one meeting sometime during first five (5) weeks of semester; at the first meeting, design an individual performance plan that is customized for the specific needs of each student; and submit finals study schedule on TWEN.
In Fall 2019, the term “academic probation” was changed to “academic jeopardy”. The change of terms was in nomenclature only.
Academic Bar Prep Classes Pre-Graduation
Florida Coastal has three-credit bar preparation courses designed and taught by our full-time faculty — California Law Survey, Florida Law Survey, Georgia Law Survey, and National Law Survey.
Every student who started Florida Coastal in Fall 2014 or after is required to take six credits of bar preparation courses. These bar prep courses are taught in the flipped classroom problem-based model. Modules were designed and created for use in both the asynchronous and the live class. For the live class, students are required to watch a webcast prior to each class. Class time is used to take work through practice problems. These classes utilize multiple formative and summative assessment methods. All students must take the National Law Survey course that covers all seven MBE topics and one state specific bar course.
Florida Coastal created over 400 Florida specific multiple choice questions on Florida Civil Practice, Florida Criminal Practice, Florida Evidence, Florida Wills, and Florida Business Entities; those are the only five topics covered via multiple choice on the Florida Bar Exam and they account for half of Part A, Florida score and one-quarter of the entire Florida Bar Examination score (including the Part B MBE score).
Embedded into the bar prep courses is BARBRI AMP, a highly effective way to master the black letter law and maximize a student’s MBE score, as well as improve their essay scores by ensuring they understand substantive legal rules. BARBRI AMP employs interactive software techniques used by video game developers to keep students engaged, motivated and focused. The program quickly assesses the student’s level of knowledge and confidence in core areas of law, then focuses their attention where they need additional study. BARBRI AMP monitors the student’s aptitude in real time and instantly configures follow-up questions until the student has demonstrated a solid grasp of a concept. Historically, students completing a significant number of the 66 AMP modules have passed the bar exam at a higher rate than those students who did little or no AMP modules.
Students in their final semester will receive academic support from their bar class faculty – Professor Jennifer Reiber for National Law Survey (MBE topics), Professor Scales for Florida Law Survey, and Professor Jennifer Reiber for Uniform Law Survey (UBE topics).
Post-Graduation Bar Prep
In addition to providing all graduates since December 2015 with free BarBri, Florida Coastal also provides two additional simulated mock bars for all bar takers (Mock Bar 5 and Mock Bar 4 – leased from NCBE via BarBri). Students can either take these mock bars at Florida Coastal in a timed classroom environment or at home via ExamSoft which is also timed. All students (first time and repeat takers) who complete a mock bar receive a Maximum Impact Report which identifies how they scored in each of the MBE topics and highly tested sub-topics and suggests the six sub-topics that if improved, would yield the greatest score improvement result. We also receive a cohort Maximum Impact Report that shows us which topics the group as a whole is struggling with so we can provide additional resources.
All Florida Coastal bar takers who have graduated within the preceding eighteen (18) months also have access to our comprehensive TWEN Post-Graduate Bar Coaching page that provides #thingsyouneedtoknow, webcasts, slides, handouts, and materials on multiple substantive bar topics and bar exam test-taking techniques. #thingsyouneedtoknow are slides with lectures created by our faculty on heavily tested bar topics – they are a big picture overview of a topic with essential rules to memorize and understand in order to address that topic in a bar essay or multiple-choice question.
Although we hope all our students pass the bar on their first attempt, we recognize some students will not be first time passers and will need additional resources to ensure they ultimately pass the bar exam. Florida Coastatl provides an effective and sustained effort to facilitate bar repeater passage. We understand students who fail the bar exam have additional challenges, as these students cannot always dedicate the same amount of time to bar prep due to the need to work and financially support themselves while working to pass the bar. As part of our agreement with BarBri all students are provided BarBri at no additional charge. Improtantly, students are not given BarBri for just one exam, but rather for a repeat bar exam if needed (up to two attemptws for the same state Bar exam within two years of graduation). Thus, a student will incur no BarBri bar prepration course expenses for up to the first two times they take BarBri. Combined access to our asynchronous courses and no-cost BarBri greatly increases the likelihood that our students who do not pass the bar the first time, will ultimately succeed.
We provide all repeaters access to our suite of asynchronous bar preparation courses (E.g., National Law Survey, Florida Law Survey, California Law Survey, Georgia Law Survey, Texas Law Survey, Uniform Law Survey) so they may get the benefit of state-specific, targeted bar study from professors who are well-versed in teaching them. In addition to our six, asynchronous state bar survey courses, we have created asynchronous Business Associations, Family Law, Remedies, and Trusts & Estates courses, because those topics are tested on almost all state bar examinations. Because these courses are all asynchronous and free to students, students may use them to improve their bar pass outcomes in a cost-free manner based upon their personalized study schedule.