Academic and Bar Support Program
First Year Law Studies Differ From Undergraduate Studies
In order to be successful as a law student, one must learn to apply a very different combination of skills than those that enabled a good student to be admitted to law school in the first place. Exams taken in law school are unique with essay questions that test the students’ ability to apply to law to facts. Aside from the difference in writing essays, there also is a difference in multiple choice questions. Bar examinations may include multiple choice questions with as many as six, seven, or eight different answers. Accordingly, law professors often develop questions with multiple answers that contain very fine distinctions among the choices. There may be several right answers but the question tests the ability of the student to pick the “best” answer.
Law school classes are also conducted in a very different manner than were undergraduate classes. Some professors prefer to use the Socratic method of asking many questions of students during class but not always providing explicit answers to their own questions. The objective is to make students think about alternative legal theories that could be applied to answer the question. Some students need time to understand that the professors are not looking for a single “right” answer but are looking for students who are willing to engage in legal discourse about the question presented.
Every Student Has Access To Academic Support Sessions
Our first year writing program includes academic support sessions focusing on the following essential skills:
• Read legal opinions for comprehension
• Write a case brief to use in classroom discussions
• Take notes in law school classes
• Compile class notes and case briefs into course outlines
• Take law school exams
• Handle test anxiety
• Manage priorities and the stress of law school
Every Student Has Access To Legal Study Skills Library
Another approach that TU Law uses to ease the transition to law school is to make available to our students books that are focused on legal study skills. These books are kept in our library on reserve so that any student can check them out for a short time. We maintain a bibliography of several very good books that include discussion of some or all of the topics that I listed previously.
Every Student Has Access To Faculty
Our TU Law faculty is very committed to the success of our students. All maintain office hours in order to be available to answer questions from students on what they have been learning in class. Faculty members are very willing to counsel students on how to succeed in their own course. We encourage students to get to know their professors as persons. And professors strive to inform each student about the course requirements and each professor’s expectations. However, it can be a little daunting to a first-year student to admit to his/her professor that he/she does not understand something from class. As additional support for our students, TU Law provides another professor to serve in the role of an academic advisor and mentor, if needed, for students who may be reluctant to confer with a professor who ultimately will give them a grade.
Every Student Has Access to a Student Mentor
Our Student Bar Association offers each incoming student an opportunity to have an upper-class student mentor. TU Law student mentors help first-year students transition to law school by answering questions about class preparation, time management, outlining, and balancing law school and personal life.
Every Student Has Access to the Dean of Students
The Dean of Students at the College of Law is available to assist students with personal problems, concerns with faculty, anxiety, study problems, and any other concerns that could impede academic success. The Dean of Students Office can direct students to the proper resources for academic success, ranging from personal tutoring to assistance with special accommodations.
Practice Exams Help Prepare For Final Exams
With respect to taking exams, we are convinced that the best way for students to prepare for a law school exam is to take practice exams in each subject area. Our professors develop practice exams for first-year students, in particular. These may be put on reserve in our library or offered on a course website. For first-year courses, as part of the academic success program, we provide a designated place and time for each student to take one or more practice exams. Individual professors will also review their exams and provide feedback.
Success Is Achievable Through TU Legal Academic Support
We take exceptional pride in our students’ academic achievements since the study of law requires discipline and dedication. We believe that each student has the capacity for academic success and the determination to stay the course toward graduation and bar passage. However, whenever someone needs a little extra support, we are there with him/her to offer encouragement and extra resources along the way.