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Thinking about being Pre-Law?

Posted by: Website Administrator on 6/27/2012

Many students interested in law want to know about pre-law programs in college. Pre-law is not a major, nor will it prepare you for the bar exam (which is required to practice law). It’s an advising program designed to help you prepare for law school. Pre-law advising will help you explore legal professions, and provide support during the law school application process. Unlike pre-med, pre-law is neither a prescribed course of study, nor a requirement for law school. A Bachelor’s degree is a requirement for law school, however – though you can major in anything you want.

Most commonly, students preparing for law school will major in social sciences such as history, political science, or psychology, but you can major in just about anything and still be prepared for law school. Pre-law programs usually recommend taking plenty of social science and humanities courses, and probably some economics or statistics courses, as well.

Law schools are looking for students who perform well academically in college, have strong critical thinking, writing, and reasoning skills, and will bring a unique perspective to the academic community. With that in mind, if you major in a field outside of the social sciences, you would be bringing that diversity of experience, which could make you a more compelling candidate.

If you really want to major specifically in a law-related field, there are a few majors you could look into such as legal studies, criminal justice, and paralegal studies. Most traditional liberal arts colleges will not offer these majors, but you may be able to find them at larger, comprehensive universities.

Bear in mind that a law degree is not something you pursue because it is a “good degree to have.” A law degree prepares you very specifically to work in the law. If you are truly interested in studying law for academic and professional reasons, law school could be a good fit for you. Fortunately, being pre-law in college does not mean you have to go to law school, but it will provide an interesting framework for your undergraduate studies. 

Co-Op Colleges

Posted by: Website Administrator on 6/20/2012

Co-op (cooperative education) colleges believe that working while going to college is as central to the student’s education as classroom learning. The way these schools see it, learning takes place throughout the college experience, both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition, one of the primary goals of going to college is to prepare students to enter the workforce, so co-op colleges introduce students to full-time employment while they are still in school.

Some well known co-op colleges are Northeastern University (Boston, MA), University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH), and Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA).

So how does cooperative education work?

At co-op colleges, students alternate between full-time classroom learning and full-time learning on the job. Students might spend one semester on campus, followed by a semester off-campus working full-time in a field related to their academic or career interests. By the time a student graduates, they will have held between 2 and 5 different full-time jobs, explored several career interests, and gained the maturity and flexibility that comes from going through the job application process, earning money, and living independently.

Students typically take a pre co-op course to prepare for full-time employment. They are also provided with a co-op adviser or counselor who will help the student search for, and apply to, co-op positions. Co-op colleges have connections with employers throughout the United States, and around the world, to ensure that students can find engaging and exciting employment during co-op terms.

It is important to note that in some cases, the co-op schedule extends the college experience to 5 years instead of 4. However, for some students, the value of earning money and gaining work experience outweighs the extra time it might take to graduate.

Students at co-op colleges are hands-on learners. They like to put theory into practice right away, and then go back and apply what they learned on the job to their academic work. With up to 18 months of experience by the time they graduate, students are confident they will be successful in the workforce. They will be familiar with the dynamics of the workplace, working as part of a team, and communicating with co-workers and employers. And as you can imagine, it’s not uncommon for a co-op job to lead to full-time employment after graduation. Just another (potential) office perk…

All About Pre-Med

Posted by: Website Administrator on 6/13/2012
There’s good news for those of you out there who are thinking about pre-med: quality health care is a necessity, and there is always a need for talented and socially conscious health professionals. A career as a physician is a good option for students who have a strong desire to help and to heal, and also for those who have an aptitude for the sciences.

Most colleges will not have a “pre-med major,” but they will offer an advising program and a required curriculum for students who are interested in health professions. Pre-med advising varies widely, so it is worth asking the schools you are interested in for details about their specific programs.

In order to be pre-med, you have to fulfill the standard general education requirements for all undergraduates, in addition to taking the courses required for the pre-med curriculum. Many pre-med requirements are in the sciences, so you should expect to take courses in chemistry, biology, and physics. But many pre-med programs also require students to take courses in mathematics, computer science, humanities, and social sciences, as well. Contrary to popular belief, being pre-med is not all about science.

Since there is no “pre-med major,” many pre-med students will major in a science like biology or chemistry, especially because so many of the required courses overlap. But increasingly, medical schools are looking for students who will bring diverse academic perspectives to their programs. This means that majoring in a humanities or social science discipline may actually give you an advantage in the med school application process. Just because you may not be majoring in a science, however, you still have to perform at a high level in all of your science and math courses in order to be a competitive candidate for med school.

As you begin to research colleges in more depth, here are some questions you may want to ask the admissions offices at the schools you are considering.
  • Do you have a pre-med or health professions advising program?
  • How does your program work?
  • Is there an application process to the program?
  • How many students are pre-med?
  • How many students are accepted into medical school?
  • Do you have any restrictions regarding who may apply to med school?
  • Are pre-med advisers (or is the pre-med adviser) easily accessible?
  • How early do I have to start the pre-med program?
  • Is there assistance to help undergrads find research, internship, and clinical experiences?
  • Do you offer MCAT prep and med school application guidance as part of your program?
The bottom line about being pre-med in college is that the experience varies from school to school. Typically, you will not be able to major in pre-med, but there will most likely be advising and assistance available to you in your pursuit of a career in the health professions. If being pre-med is important to you, make sure to check with each school about their specific program to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Spotlight on Women's Colleges

Posted by: Website Administrator on 6/6/2012

We know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about women’s colleges. But they’re just that. Misconceptions. Read on to learn what women’s colleges have to offer, and why you might want to actually consider them.

1) You won’t necessarily be taking classes only with other women. Many women’s colleges have consortium agreements with other nearby co-ed colleges. Students who take advantage of these agreements can take courses at multiple colleges, and students at other schools can take courses at the women’s college. This means you’re likely to have male students in at least some – and perhaps many –of your classes. For instance, Barnard and Columbia, Bryn Mawr and Haverford, and Scripps and the other Claremont Colleges all easily participate in class exchanges.

2) You may be more likely to pursue a math or science major at a women’s college. As much as we may be reluctant to admit it, men still far outnumber women in math and science fields, even though more women currently attend college than men. At women’s colleges, however, the sciences are highly-enrolled majors. 

3) You may be more likely to pursue – and obtain – leadership experience. If you look at the gender breakdown of America’s leaders in government (362 members of Congress are men and 76 are women), business (12 Fortune 500 companies are run by women), education (23% of college presidents are women), and other fields, there is a noticeable difference between the numbers of women and men in leadership positions. One of the keys to help level the playing field is for women to obtain more leadership positions in college. At a women’s college, women hold all of the leadership positions, and career services and advising are focused on women. This means that if you are planning to become a leader in business, technology, education, politics – or any field, really – you may be more likely to get that crucial experience at a women’s college.

Women’s colleges provide an environment with strong female role models in numerous academic fields and plenty of opportunities for student leadership…all good reasons to see if one of the women’s colleges might be a good fit for you.