LEAP Welcomes Students Back With Ice Cream and Fun

Written by Staci Antu

The LEAP ambassadors welcomed the fall semester by throwing a party–but not the normal party college students have the reputation for sponsoring. Rather, it was an ice cream mixer filled with delicious ice cream, scrumptious cookies, cold sweet tea, and many different prizes, just what everyone needed some to sweeten up their day, especially with Hurricane Harvey still affecting many of SHSU’s students.. Our annual prize wheel included school supplies, t-shirts, political science bags filled with candy, and sun visors.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

As college kids of course, all prizes would be useful and therefore the wheel was very popular!

Many students, freshman and senior, came not only for the goodies but also to get the inside scoop on what the Center for Law, Engagement, and Politics is and does, as well as to participate in the Pre-Law Society meeting happening right after. The ice cream mixer gave everyone time to mingle with LEAP Ambassadors and Pre-Law Society members.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

It was also an evening of catching up with school friends after a long summer break. Roughly around 60 students throughout the night stopped by!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

However, it wasn’t only the students that were drawn in by the promise for ice cream. Many of professors and staff stopped by to grab a bowl of ice cream as they waited for the elevator.

Right afterwards, we all headed downstairs for the first pre-law meeting of this year. The meeting was a short one, designed simply to cover what the Pre-Law society had in store for its members and to encourage for the students to sign up for the Mock LSAT happening in September 30th. It was great to be able to greet old friends and meet new faces. The LEAP ambassadors are looking forward to this upcoming fall semester, hopefully with more sweet things to come!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

Brushing Up on the LSAT

Pre-Law students at SHSU have extensive resources to help them prepare for law school.  Apart from knowledgeable professors, simulated law classes, a Legal Studies minor, full-time pre-law advisors, and a Moot Court team, the LEAP Center also brings in Kaplan Testing each fall and spring to offer a Mock LSAT.

This spring’s test was offered on April 1st.  With 43 students signed up to take the test, the class was full.  That’s a lot of people to show up for five hours on a Saturday.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

The test is enormously beneficial to students, and the LEAP Center recommends that pre-law students take the Mock test their freshmen year.  While no score on the mock LSAT determines a student’s future, students will need more time to study if their mock score is low.  Knowing that the additional study time is needed is a necessary part of preparing for the real thing.

Also, knowing the mean LSAT of TX Schools is also helpful, giving students a goal for which to shoot.

UT: 165
UH/Baylor/SMU: 160
TAMU: 156
TXTECH: 153
St.Marys/STCL: 150
TSU/UNT: <148

A student who scores a 140 on the Mock LSAT has some studying to do, and that might be difficult if the student is a junior, with little time to prepare for the test.  Students who score lower than a 140 will need to think thoroughly about a plan for improving their score in the time they have before they take the real test.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

And when should you take the real test?  A typical recommendation is to take the exam a year before you plan to enroll in law school.  If you are graduating in the Fall of 2019 and plan to enroll in law school that fall, you should have the exam completed by the end of 2018.

You can find more information about LEAP’s law-related activities (and other activities) here.

The Law School Experience at SHSU

By Victoria McClenden-Leggett

Many students are faced with the daunting challenge of whether to continue with their education once they graduate or simply enter the workforce. For those wanting to continue their education, they often wonder if they’ll actually be able to handle the workload–particularly if that continuation involves law school. On March 30, a select group of students at Sam Houston State University had the opportunity to experience a mock law class taught by South Texas College of Law Professor Val Ricks.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Ricks was cheerful and patient with all of his students…even when such patience was pushed.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Hicks ran the mock class in much the same way that he’d run one of his own at South Texas College of Law.

http://www.stcl.edu/

The students were expected to be familiar with the details involving two different contract cases. In each of cases the contract was declared invalid by the court, and it was the students’ job to use the rules included in the case brief to figure out exactly why. He called on students at random…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks, Staci Antu

…asked them about the various facts of the case, why they thought the case resulted in that particular outcome, and what principle of law applied to each.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

He also presented some hypothetical cases and asked the students to apply the principles they had just learned to them.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

All in all, we had a great time getting a taste of what their future law school experiences could be like, and we learned some valuable lessons.

First, we should speak up when answering or asking questions…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Second, read outside of class.  Having a large vocabulary and understanding usage will be helpful.  Otherwise, we’ll get turned around….

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Third, we should ask questions when we are confused.  The alternative is just to carry our confusion with us as the Professor is lecturing, instead of identifying the material we need.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

They were able to ask Professor Hicks questions about class sizes, test formats, and bar passage rates, and he happily answered them all. The students were able walk away from the mock law class with a much better understanding of exactly what they could expect once they made it to law school.

Law School Informational: Texas Tech Law

By Beatriz Martinez

Thirty or so bright- eyed students attentively paid attention to Danielle Saveedra, the Associate Dean of Recruitment for Texas Tech University’s School of Law.  She was presenting information on the next stage these aspiring attorneys-to-be were contemplating: applying to law school. Crucial questions such as where to start when considering law school, the application process, and what to look for in a law school, were  all discussed during the presentation and absorbed by the students.

TX Tech Law School, LEAP Center, SHSU

Ms. Saveedra had come to SHSU to guide us through the process of preparing for law school.  In a nutshell, she walked us through:

  • A timeline for law-school preparation
  • Taking the LSAT
  • Deciding which law schools to send applications
  • Applying to Law School, including
    • sending in transcripts, reference letters, the resume, and the personal statement

This may sound quite simple, however it is in fact considerably challenging. A law school’s environment whether cut-throat or nurturing, emphasis on certain types of law, and cost of living, Ms. Saavedra told us, will influence where a student may decide to go. Decisions on what law schools to apply to (each application has a fee), or choosing between a good law school that costs less versus a more prestigious at a higher cost can pose challenges even to a well-prepped student.

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However, all of these decisions were weighed and measured during the law school informational. Ms. Saveedra covered every single possible piece of information needed to be successful in law school and gave constructive tips. Every prospective attorney left reeling with information, but departed knowing they were now better prepared for the challenging journey ahead. Law school will now be less intimidating, allowing students to further their education in the legal field.

On the Road to Success: LEAP Offers Mock LSAT

As it does every semester, the LEAP Center again collaborated with Kaplan testing to offer a free Mock LSAT, an opportunity for students to assess their performance on one of the keys to being admitted to law school.

The LSAT is a different test than the SAT or ACT because it tests different skills than what students were exposed to in high school and, to some extent, college.  It takes intelligence, grit, and a lot of practice for students to do sufficiently well to get into the school of their choice.

The LEAP Mock LSAT is traditionally offered from 9:30-2:00pm on a Saturday and this semester was no exception.  A bit before 9:30am, students began filing into the classroom, and we listened to Randy, our prep course instructor.  He was enthusiastic and charismatic, and he captured our attention as we learned how the Mock LSAT is structured.  The sections include: Logical Reasoning (2 such sections), Analytical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.  The actual LSAT also has a writing section and an experimental section. Each section allows 35 minutes for completion.  And with that intro, we began.

If anyone were to look into that room at that moment, they would have seen 20+ students with their heads bent down, faces scrunched in extreme concentration.  As it turns out, Professor Yawn did exactly that…

Mock_LSAT_February_2016_Web

Some were scribbling furiously, while others were staring intently at their paper. All of us were intensely focused, ready to take charge of this challenge. At the second to last section, we were able to take a 15 minute break, where we were provided chocolate chip cookies to give us some much needed energy. Once the 15 minutes were up, we were all energized and I was ready to start the exam again to finish the last section.

Finally, at around 2 p.m. we finished the last section. Randy then started to explain how to complete various questions from some of the toughest sections. He explained it in such a way that I could not believe I did not understand it the first time around.

It was time for the results. We all walked to the computer lab where we were able to receive the scores we got. Emotions varied with each score but everyone was happy that they had taken this test as it had bee worth it. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. Even though it was my second time taking it, the Mock LSAT still makes me nervous but by having the opportunity to take it before the real deal helps me feel more prepared. This experience has boosted my self-confidence and helped me make new goals for myself.

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!