Law School Information Session–TAMU School of Law

For the pre-law students at SHSU, there are some tough questions to ask as they prepare for law school. What should I include in the personal statement? Who should I ask for letters of recommendation? What should those letters say? What schools should I apply to, given my GPA and LSAT score? When should I take the LSAT?

Those questions were answered last week at the LEAP Center’s “Law-School Information Session,” featuring a visit by Katherine Sims, of Texas A&M University School of Law. Ms. Sims is the Admissions Coordinator at TAMU Law, and she put her knowledge on full display, to the benefit of the students.

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Speaking to 25 motivated students, she went through the process, offering the following advice:

  • Take the LSAT the year prior to your enrollment in law school. The LSAT is offered in February, June, October, and December. For students interested in going to law school in the Fall of 2016, for example, students should probably shoot for a June, October, or December LSAT. In a pinch, a February LSAT might work, but that’s typically after law schools begin making enrollment decisions.
  • The best people to ask for a letter are people who know you and your skills, particularly in the areas of writing, critical thinking, and communication. Typically, these are professors, but a letter from an employer or intern supervisor can also work.
  • For the personal statement, students should try to be themselves while, of course, putting their best foot forward. Ms. Sims resisted describing a “typical successful” essay, because the essays should be appropriate for the individual applicant—and the applicants all have different experiences, strengths, and reasons for wanting to go to law school. Of course, apart from the content of the statement, the applicant’s writing skills are closely scrutinized.
  • To know which schools to apply to, students should research where their LSAT and GPA fit into the rankings, and then to examine specific aspects of the schools and their cultures to find a good fit. For TAMU, the median LSAT is 154, and the median GPA is 3.21, but Ms. Sims emphasized that all applications were examined, and encouraged all the students to apply (no application fee is charged!)

The LEAP Center Advisory Board students would like to thank Ms. Sims for her information presentation, and the 25 pre-law students who attended to learn more about law school—and their future!

LEAP Center Offers Mock LSAT

For the past seven years the Junior Fellows/LEAP Center has offered a Mock LSAT each semester to help students prepare for the real deal.  The LEAP Center encourages students of all classifications to take the Mock LSAT, which is generously sponsored by Kaplan Testing.  For freshmen and sophomores, the Mock LSAT provides an idea of what the test is like.  A lot of younger pre-law students, for example, think the test asks about the law.  It doesn’t.  It asks questions about reading comprehension, logic, and arguments.

For juniors and seniors, it provides an idea of how close they are to being prepared to take official LSAT.  This has to be planned out, because the LSAT should be taken the year before the student wishes to enroll in law school.

Forty-seven students showed up for this spring’s Mock LSAT, following a showing of 51 in the fall of 2014.  These are the largest class of Mock LSAT takers in SHSU history, a testament to the University’s growing number of pre-law students.

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The LEAP Center will follow up this Mock LSAT opportunity with many other law-related activities:

These programs are part of the LEAP Center’s mission of helping students achieve their professional goals.  To attend any of the upcoming events, contact Professor Mike Yawn at mike.yawn@shsu.edu.

Austin Interns Work Hard, Have Fun

Sam Houston State University’s Austin Internship Program, run by the LEAP Center, is off to a rollicking start.

After undergoing orientation training from the crack staff in HR and Career Services, the eight Austin Interns–Oscar Aguilar, Jessica Rodriguez, Lexi Gonzales, Sadie McLaughlin, Ariel Traub, Lupe Cuellar, Shelby O’brien, and Sarah Landsman–underwent an orientation in Austin, Texas.  The event was to start with a Segway tour of Austin, but with freezing rain in the forecast, we switched quickly to an iFLY tour.  It wasn’t a tour so much, but it was a fun way to start the day.

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The day began with an orientation on iFLY’s unique flight system, which evoked some anxiety while also bringing smiles.

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But it was the flights that brought the big smiles.   iFLY doesn’t provide a long time in the air, but it’s a lot of fun.  Some of us were better than others, but all had a good time, or at least were glad they tried.

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The flights also provide that wind-blown look that is so flattering, perfectly complementing the smart flight suits.

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Following the adrenaline rush of iFly, we moved to Quack’s Bakery on 43rd for a caffeine rush and some pastries.  For those who haven’t tried this mid-town delight, it’s definitely worth it.  Try the ginger crinkle cookies or the chocolate ginger; you can’t go wrong.

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There was also some good conversation, with equal measure astonishment, disbelief, and delight.

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But, mostly, it was about the cupcakes.

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Armed with coffee and sugar, we embarked to the 2nd Bar + Kitchen, where we met Blake Roach, Emily Johnson, President Hoyt, and her husband John Hoyt.

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It was an enjoyable time for everyone, and we were very impressed and honored that Mr. Hoyt and President Hoyt drove in to spend time with us.  It’s a reflection of the support we’ve received since we started this 140 day Austin odyssey.

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It was a great group outing, which we ended with a great group photo!

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With the fun over, we prepared for our professional photographs in the capitol building.   Of course, we couldn’t go to the Capitol without getting a photo alongside Elizabet Ney’s statue of Sam Houston…

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But that was just one of many of our stops.  We also stopped in the extension, looking up at the Capitol dome…

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…outdoors…

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…in the House of Representatives’ chamber in front of the podium…

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…and individual shots of us, with Sam Houston looking over our shoulder.

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Indeed, these photographs with Sam Houston’s portrait on the wall serve as a kind of a metaphor for our time thus far.  We have lots of family, friends, and University officials looking out for us, and ensuring we have a great time and learn a whole lot–even while dealing with dangerous flying missions and firearms!

On behalf of all the Austin Interns, we’d like to thank Paul Olle for the great photographs, President Hoyt for this wonderful opportunity, SHSU for supporting its students, and the following legislative offices:

Representative Senfronia Thompson (Jessica Rodriguez)
Senator Charles Schwertner (Ariel Traub)
Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez (Lexi Gonzales)
Representative Ron Simmons (Sarah Landsman)
Representative Todd Hunter (Shelby O’Brien)
Representative John Otto (Sadie McLaughlin)
Representative Carol Alvarado (Oscar Aguilar)
Representative Will Metcalf (Lupe Cuellar)