LSAC Plus Program Q&A

LSAC LawHub Webinar Series - LSAC Plus Program Q&A

February 23, 2022

The application period is now open for the LSAC Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program, an immersive learning experience that helps participants explore their interest in law and navigate the law school admission process. It’s specifically aimed at undergraduate students (and prospective law school applicants one year away from applying) who are from minoritized groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession. In this session, we learned about the host law schools, the different program formats, eligibility, how to apply, and expectations. We also heard from a panel of PLUS alumni about their experiences in the program.

Full Transcript

ANGELA WINFIELD: Hello there, everyone. And welcome to this LSAC webinar about the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program. I am so glad that you can be here with us. My name is Angela Winfield, and I am the chief diversity officer here at LSAC. And we have a wonderful panel program for you this afternoon.

First, let me tell you a little bit about PLUS. Every summer for the past two decades, LSAC has partnered with host law schools to provide aspiring law students, like yourselves, to have a unique and immersive experience. It’s a learning experience designed to help you prepare and explore what it’s like to be in law school, and also, it specifically addresses the challenges of minoritized and marginalized students. It offers selected participants a window into what law school is really like. And it provides you with supportive insights about the law school enrollment journey.

And this program would not be possible without the partnership and support of our partner law schools. This year, we have seven law schools that are partnering with us and have wonderful programs. My colleagues at LSAC will drop into the chat a link that you can go to and look at all seven programs. But for this panel, we have three of those programs here that are going to share with you their unique opportunities with PLUS.

But before I introduce our panelists for today, I just want to take care of a little bit of housekeeping. We are going to save some time at the end of this webinar, as you’re probably used to, for Q&A. So, please feel free to use that Q&A feature, drop your questions in. We will not be able to get to all of your questions, but we will do our best to get to as many as we possibly can, but feel free to drop your questions in throughout the panel conversation. And we’ll reserve some time to get to those questions.

So, now I will introduce our panelists. We have Dean Sarah Keiski opens in new browser window; she’s the assistant dean of admissions at the University of Oregon School of Law. We also have Dean Sharon Gaskin opens in new browser window, who is the associate dean of admissions and financial assistance from North Carolina Central University School of Law. And we also have Dean Annette Clark opens in new browser window, who is the dean and professor at Seattle University School of Law. In addition to this, we have two very special guests who are actually alumni from last year’s PLUS Program. We have LaTeisha Ragland, who participated in the University of Houston’s Law Center prelaw program. And we have Jalexis Edwards, who participated in the University of Akron prelaw undergraduate program last year.

So, I’m really delighted to speak with all five of these individuals. And first, what we’re going to do is we’re going to start with Dean Keiski from the University of Oregon. Dean Keiski, could you please join me on video? And please tell us a little bit about the program that you’re hosting this year at Oregon.

 

DEAN SARAH KEISKI: Thank you so much, Angela. And, again, my name is Sarah Keiski. I use she/her pronouns, and I am the assistant dean of admissions at the University of Oregon School of Law. I’m so thrilled to join you today. I’m here located in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, right on the main campus. I am thrilled to share more about our program today.

The PLUS Program at Oregon is a four-week educational experience that takes place entirely online. This program is designed for students who’ve completed one or two years of their undergraduate education at a community college or at a four-year institution. So, that means, in terms of your college credits, if you are a rising sophomore or rising junior next fall, the PLUS Program at Oregon could be the one for you.

This summer, our program will run from June 20 to July 14. Our sessions take place on weekdays only, and it all happens in real time. We have an active and engaged, fully synchronous format. We have a block schedule for this program, and everything takes place between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Time.

Now, again, because this program is exclusively online, as long as you can make yourself available during the dedicated program hours, you can actually join us from anywhere. In fact, we’ve had students participate from every U.S. time zone, and even as far as Egypt and Singapore while they visited family and took classes abroad.

Now, this is intended to be an almost full-time commitment for those four weeks of the program. However, while there’s often some reading, reflection, and writing that needs to take place outside of formal session times, we know that sometimes students need to maintain part-time employment or take a summer class with your college, or even just help out around the house. So, being able to plan around this weekday-only block schedule of the PLUS online program has allowed our students to be successful in those additional responsibilities as well.

So, now let me tell you a little bit more about the educational experience you’ll get. The PLUS online program at Oregon includes a mix of class time and both personal and professional development opportunities that are specifically designed to give you an introduction to, and an opportunity to practice and enhance, some of the skills that are going to be required for success in law school and the legal profession.

For example, participants will take a legal writing course. It’s designed to empower students with the tools required for effective and professional communication. We will introduce the fundamentals of legal writing, which are critical reading, logical reasoning, and careful editing. In our four weeks together, students have the opportunity to write several short pieces of work and receive individualized feedback on their work throughout. Additionally, participants will attend a Race and the Law course that explores issues of race within American law and jurisprudence through historical and contemporary context.

Students will gain an understanding of how claims about responsibility, community, rationality, equality, justice, and democracy have actually been used to justify or resist racial segregation, integration, access, and expulsion. Students are going to be encouraged to form their own assessment of the various ways in which the law promotes and hinders significant social change.

Here at Oregon, we thrive in our leadership development opportunities. Our PLUS participants are going to unpack and unlearn some of the outdated ideas of leadership. And instead, we’re going to reframe it in a lens that allows more of us to see ourselves as catalysts for change. We’ll discuss leadership as a collaborative effort among equals, requiring each of us to step into our own courage to be part of something bigger and greater than ourselves.

Next, our participants will spend time on their own professional development and planning for a career in the law. Participants will network and engage with current law students, law school faculty, administrators, and practicing attorneys in the local legal community.

And importantly, most importantly, woven throughout this experience is a constant focus and preparation for the immediate next steps on the law school journey. Students will engage in activities that preview the law school application process and the path toward pursuing a legal education, including an introduction to the Law School Admission Test. Additionally, our students will participate in a mock application review, current law school panel, and meet admission representatives from all across the country.

So, I hope you can tell we think this program’s pretty special, and I hope many of you will consider the PLUS online program at the University of Oregon as you apply for your law school preparation programs. Thanks, Angela.

 

ANGELA: Thank you so much, Dean Keiski. That was a wonderful overview, and it’s a fabulous program that I’m really excited about. I do want to mention to you folks who are participating that this is one of the seven programs, at University of Oregon, and it is for rising sophomores and freshmen — sophomores and juniors, I’m sorry about that. But we do have other programs, and we encourage you to take a look at all of them and also listen to the other two panelists that we have here today, because the criteria are different for the different programs. We want to make sure that we’re being broad and inclusive. So, there may be a program that is right for you.

So, let’s now move to Dean Gaskin from North Carolina Central University School of Law. Dean Gaskin, can you please join me and share a little bit about the program that’s happening there in North Carolina?

 

DEAN GASKIN: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Miss Winfield. And to the participants, again, my name is Sharon Gaskin. I’m the associate dean of admissions and financial assistance at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, located in the city of Durham. On behalf of North Carolina Central Law’s dean, our faculty, and staff, we are excited to host a hybrid two-week LSAC PLUS Program this summer.

Our PLUS Program is open to students who have completed their freshman or sophomore years at four-year colleges and universities, technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Admissions preference will be given to students who are currently enrolled at historically Black colleges and universities or minority-serving institution.

With this program, we hope to attract promising students from minority groups that are historically underrepresented in the legal profession, college students who are first-generation, and college students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as students who are facing other significant barriers to entering the legal profession. The ideal candidate is a student with a solid academic record who is intellectually curious, ready to engage in coursework, and would like a leg up in preparing for a legal education.

During the program, you’ll be introduced to legal classes, legal principles, and the structure of a law class. You’ll be introduced to reading a legal case and to writing a legal brief on a case, just like a law student. This program will prepare you to be a successful candidate for law school admission. You’ll receive guidance about the timeline to submit your law school applications, along with learning skills that will support your success on the LSAT, as well as assisting you with the development of a plan for LSAT prep, LSAT registration, and actually sitting for the LSAT, because we understand that just hearing “LSAT” is very stressful for prospective law students.

In addition, you’ll receive written instructions about creating your resume, your personal statement, and a diversity statement. Over the course of that two-week program, you’ll learn about financial planning and the cost associated with a legal education. You’ll develop a preliminary budget plan for your top-choice law school and demonstrate at the conclusion of the program an understanding of how to review a financial aid package, to understand more about financial debt associated with law school, and then be prepared for life after graduating law school and passing the Bar.

You’ll be taught by law professors, and you will have current law students who will serve as your mentors. You’ll learn about job opportunities for persons who earn a law degree. And you will network with NCCU Law alumni who are practicing and others who are using their degree to serve their communities in a variety of ways.

During the course of the summer, we’ll connect with community partners to learn about local, nonprofit, and government agencies, as well as visit the other law schools in the North Carolina area. We will make sure that when you complete this program, you have the tools for success on the LSAT, success in the application process, and foundational skills for success in the law school classroom. In addition, you’ll receive instruction about wellness and school/life balance to ensure that you’ll be successful law students. When the program concludes, you’ll continue to have access to a career coach who will provide advice and direction as you chart your path towards law school.

So, now that you’ve learned about this program, here are the program dates: June 6 through 10, the instruction will be virtual. June 13 through 17, which is a part that I’m really excited about, we’ll have participants staying on campus at no cost to you, and you’ll have meals in our campus dining halls, again at no cost. We’ll accept applications through May 1 and begin extending invitations for interviews beginning April 4. I’m just pleased as punch to participate in this program and to talk to you about our PLUS Program. I look forward to receiving your applications. And Miss Winfield, I’ll turn it back over to you.

All right. Fantastic. Thank you so much, Dean Gaskin. Another fantastic program with some really unique elements, including that continued career coaching and support beyond the program — really fabulous. Now, last but not least from our programs, Dean Clark, can you please tell us about the program at Seattle University School of Law?

 

DEAN ANNETTE CLARK: Thank you so much, Angela. And I’m thrilled to be here to talk to you about our program. I’m learning about these other programs and how each of them is unique, and ours is unique as well. We call this the Washington Law Schools Heritage University Collaborative, and it’s a program that’s really geographically bound. It is a collaboration between Seattle University School of Law, the University of Washington School of Law, and Gonzaga University School of Law, and Heritage University, which is located in Toppenish, Washington.

And I thought I would start by telling you how this program came to be, because I think that will tell you a lot about what our goals are. This program came about when a number of leaders in our community, leading legal aid organizations, came to me and the other deans and described how they were unable to find lawyers to fill positions in their organizations in central Washington.

And as we talked about that, we realized that in order to solve that problem and serve those communities that were underserved by lawyers and particularly underserved by diverse lawyers, what we needed to do was to develop homegrown lawyers. So, individuals who grew up in central Washington, Yakima, Wenatchee, Toppenish, who could go to law school and then hopefully come back home to serve their communities. And the best way to do that was to take all of the law schools in the state, the three law schools, two of which are located on the west side of the state and the other of which is located on the east side, to come together with Heritage University, which is located smack-dab in the middle of central Washington, to work together on a pipeline program. So, that’s what I’m presenting to you today.

Our pipeline program is for primarily rising sophomores and juniors at Heritage University. And let me describe Heritage University to you. It is one of only two universities in the nation designated as both a Hispanic-serving institution and a Native American-serving non-tribal institution. And so, most of the students at Heritage are individuals of color, minoritized individuals, marginalized, and we so badly need those folks in the legal profession.

So, we’re going to start with applicants who are rising sophomores and juniors at Heritage, but because we realize that Heritage graduates have not generally been going to law school, we will also look at applications from recent graduates, those who are seniors at Heritage, individuals who went to another university but are recent graduates and reside in central Washington. So, the primary eligibility requirement, in addition to the ability to add diversity to the legal profession, is an individual interested in going to law school who resides in central Washington.

Ours is a residential program, so we will actually have all of our programming on campus at Heritage University. We will run June 14 through June 30, and then an additional week in October. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, afternoons and evenings, during those three weeks in June and then our one week in October. It’s really designed for individuals who need to work during the mornings or have other obligations. We will go from 2 in the afternoon until 8:30.

It’s a cohort-based model. You will get to know your participants, the other individuals, really well. We’ll have a module in the afternoon, then we will have dinner together, followed by another module in the evening. Over the course of this program, you will have the opportunity to interact with law faculty from all three of the participating law schools, admissions officers, financial aid officers. We will take you through a mock class, and then we will unpack that class.

We will do skill development. We will talk about growth mindset. One of the most important parts of this program is going to be to connect our participants with lawyers and judges from the community, particularly individuals who grew up in central Washington, who have either gone elsewhere to practice or who came home to practice in central Washington. They will become your mentors. We will work with you to develop a resume, a personal statement for your application.

We will take you through the nuts and bolts of the LSAT. We will talk about financial planning for law school, what it means to create a community of individuals to help you as you seek to achieve your dream of becoming a lawyer. And ultimately, our goal with this program is to empower students to overcome what we know are social, cultural, economic, and geographic barriers, so that our legal profession can better represent the unbelievable diversity of our community.

I really look forward to meeting the applicants and the participants in this program. And, again, I want to emphasize what a collaborative venture this is when three law schools and a rural university come together to create a pipeline into the legal profession. And I’m, of course, happy to answer any questions that you have about our collaborative. Thank you.

 

ANGELA: Terrific. Thank you so much, Dean Clark. It is truly a one-of-a-kind program, and we are so happy to be supporting it. So, those are our three featured programs for this webinar. I do want to remind you all that there are seven law schools that are hosting programs. So, please do check out that link, read through, learn more about the other programs as well, if these may or may not be the right fit for you; there is one there for you. So, please just take a look at the criteria and see which one makes sense for you to apply to.

Now we’re going to move in, and I’m really excited about this conversation, to hear from two folks who have actually participated in the program and who are PLUS alumni themselves. Jalexis and LaTeisha, would you please join me on video? We’re going to have a little chat together.

Welcome. So, my first question for you is, why did you apply to the PLUS Program? And LaTeisha, why don’t we start with you? Can you tell us a little bit about the application process and how you decided to give it a go?

 

LATEISHA RAGLAND: Absolutely. The application process was easy. You just filled out any information that was required and sent it in. My situation was unique. I found out about the PLUS Program the day before the application closed, and everybody involved was very helpful. They were hands-on with me, making sure that everything I needed was complete, and they even allowed me to turn in some documents after the deadline. So, the application process was easy.

I decided to go ahead and apply because I was looking for information about different programs. And I was directed to this program by the director at the Law Center of University of Houston. And after reading about it online, I knew that this was something I absolutely had to take advantage of.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. Thank you. And Jalexis, why did you decide to apply for a PLUS Program?

 

JALEXIS EDWARDS: So, I attended Akron’s PLUS Program, and I decided to apply because I had a lot of questions about the law school admissions process, and I wanted to know what was going to work best for me. And I also wanted those questions answered. And so, I did a little research, and I was like, “OK, I’m going to apply to somewhere where hopefully I would like to attend.”

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. I’m going to stay with you, Jalexis, because you’re leading me to my next question. It sounded like you had a lot of questions and you were interested and curious. How did the PLUS Program actually prepare you? You said you had some expectations. How did the program live up to those expectations? What did you get out of it?

 

JALEXIS: I got to take three different law school classes. One of them was legal writing, which I was a little nervous about, because I had already done some research in the past. And as an English major, I was a little concerned with what I was learning and how it would translate. And so, being able to take those classes reassured me that I was on the right track. And I also got to do some LSAT prep, and I also got to network with a lot of people, so it really helped in that aspect.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. And what kind of people did you network with?

 

JALEXIS: Oh, I got to meet actual law school students, who were very kind, and they were like, “Reach out to us anytime if you have any questions.” Also, the director of our program was amazing. She helped us a lot with building our resume, creating LinkedIn pages, things of that sort. And lastly, I got to meet a lot of other students who were interested in applying to law school. We all come from different backgrounds and different states, so, it was really nice mingling, and we’re actually still in touch today. So, we send each other support. Like, one of our peers just got into her dream law school, so that’s always exciting. And we also send each other resources.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. That sounds like an amazing community. And LaTeisha, what about your experience? Please share with us, what was it like going through PLUS? And what did you get out of it?

 

LATEISHA: It was like a crash course kind of introduction into what you should expect as a first-year law student. I really loved that it was almost exactly like what a real law school class is. I had an opportunity to sit in on a law school class at the University of Houston after the program, and this PLUS Program 100% prepares you for what you should expect as a first-year law student. Other than that, it was really just the resources, just invaluable resources and information that, if you don’t know where to go to look for it or start, they’ll really guide you and point you in the right direction.

 

ANGELA: Fantastic. And for both of you, and we’ll start with you, LaTeisha, what advice do you have for a student, perhaps one of the participants now who’s on this webinar, what advice would you give to them if they’re kind of on the fence about whether they should apply for a PLUS Program?

 

LATEISHA: Absolutely. So, if you’re on the fence about law school in general, this is definitely a program that you want to take. It’ll help you decide if that’s something that you want to do for your life, or if this is a career that you’re really interested in. If you are interested in law, absolutely take this. You get a glance at what you can be doing and what you should expect, as well as all the LSAT help and process information that you don’t get from anywhere else.

 

ANGELA: Thank you. And Jalexis, how about you? What advice would you give to someone in your shoes, or even to yourself back before you applied to PLUS? What would you say about the program?

 

JALEXIS: I would definitely say to be confident when you’re applying, because originally I was not going to apply to a PLUS Program, because I didn’t think I was qualified for it. But a friend of mine actually applied as well, and she told me, like, “Hey, you should just do it. See how it turns out.” And I don’t think I was confident enough to apply without her encouragement at the time, but being encouraged to apply definitely helped me. So I would say, just be confident in your application, be true to yourself, and it is all going to work out.

 

ANGELA: That is great advice for most situations. So, thank you both so much for that and sharing a little bit about your experience. We’re going to leave some time here for questions, because I know all of you are listening to this program and you’re submitting your questions. So. I’m going to ask that my colleague, Ferris Smith, who is the DEI pipeline and education programs manager, she does all the coordination for PLUS and other programs, to join me now, and see what we have going on in the Q&A. Ferris?

 

FERRIS SMITH: Hi, Angela.

 

ANGELA: Hi.

 

FERRIS: Hi. How are you? So, we do have several questions in the Q&A. So the first question we have is, will travel expenses be covered to attend residential and hybrid PLUS Programs?

 

ANGELA: That sounds like a question for you, Ferris.

 

FERRIS: Yes, I will definitely answer that. No, travel expenses will not be paid to cover for residential and hybrid PLUS Programs. However, when you do complete the PLUS Program, you will receive a stipend upon your completion of the program. So, when you are thinking about which PLUS Programs to apply to, please make sure that you think about those expenses as well. However, at the end, again, there will be a stipend, so maybe that can kind of offset some of your expenses until the end of the program. So, please, don’t let that deter you from applying.

 

ANGELA: And how much is that stipend, Ferris?

 

FERRIS: It is $1,000.

 

ANGELA: All right. Thank you.

 

FERRIS: Yes.

 

ANGELA: So, you can begin your budgeting process there.

 

FERRIS: Yes, it’s always good to start early. The next question we have, which is coming a lot on the questions and answers in the chat, is: Can college graduates apply to the PLUS Program as well as non-traditional students? And I will definitely take that one.

 

ANGELA: That sounds like another one for you.

 

FERRIS: Yes, I’ll definitely take that one as well. College graduates can apply to the program if you are one year away from applying to law school. So, if you do take time to look at the link, which is posted on the LSAC website, you will see other programs, one is Boston University, they have one where if you are one year away from applying to law school, meaning that you are going to apply within that year process of the PLUS Program. And also, with college graduates, you can do that as well, too, in terms of the same facets of making sure that you are the one year away.

 

FERRIS: And, again, we also have the other programs that these three schools just spoke about as well. But please make sure to look at the website to make sure you fit the criteria for each of the PLUS Programs. The next one we have is, are the PLUS Programs free, and will I have to encounter other expenses when attending the program? I think maybe one of the schools, the hybrid schools, or maybe Dean Clark or maybe Dean Gaskin could probably answer that one as well.

 

ANGELA: Absolutely. Let’s start with Dean Gaskin, because you have a hybrid program. Can you talk to the cost?

 

DEAN GASKIN: Sure. There are no costs to participants to enroll. We just need your application and we need to select you. So, the thing I would encourage you to do is forget about cost. You would stay on campus for free. We would cover the cost of the meals. We just want you to bring your full and authentic self and engage in the program so that you’ll be ready for law school when it’s time for you to apply.

 

ANGELA: Great. Dean Clark, how about the Heritage program, the Washington state program that is residential? Are there any costs associated with participating?

 

DEAN CLARK: There are not any costs associated with participating, so same answer. Because we’re looking for residents of central Washington, you would just need to come to Heritage University each afternoon during those three weeks of the program. We will provide dinners each of those evenings, and there are no additional costs associated with it. And then, as Ferris mentioned, there is a $1,000 stipend for participants as they complete the program at the end of June.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. And, just to round it out, because I don’t like making assumptions. Dean Keiski, I know your program is fully online. Are there any additional costs that students should be thinking about?

 

DEAN KEISKI: Fully online, no expense to you other than making sure you have access to a working laptop, a strong internet signal, good Wi-Fi throughout the extent of the program. But no travel costs, no meals beyond what you would normally eat at home.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. No cost. No cost. No cost. Those are answers that I like to hear. So, Ferris, what else do we have in the Q&A?

 

FERRIS: Yes. So, another question we have are about the age. Is there an age gap in terms of, is there an age stop? Can anyone apply within the undergraduate sphere of the PLUS Program, any age?

 

ANGELA: Dean Keiski, let’s start with you.

 

DEAN KEISKI: Yes. A student can be absolutely any age and apply for the PLUS Program at Oregon. What’s specific to our program is that any student who’s completed one or two years of an undergraduate experience. So that could be, if you took a gap in between your high school experience and then attended a community or technical college and are one or two years in. The age at application time doesn’t matter; it has to do with number of years that you’ve engaged in your college journey. And the reason for that, I’ll explain, is that our program is uniquely tailored to offer you skills to use in the remaining year or two to set you up for success in the application process. So, it’s designed to be an intervention point midway, about, through the undergrad experience. But that could happen if you’re 19 or that could happen if you’re 65; age does not matter for our program.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. And it does sound like your program is, I like the term “intervention.” It’s helping you so that you can adjust and do things more intentionally during your last two years as you’re getting ready to apply. Wonderful. Dean Gaskin, I’ll come to you next to see if there’s anything different. Is there any sort of age restriction in your program? Or is it really about where they are in undergraduate education?

 

DEAN GASKIN: I agree with Miss Keiski. Our program is similarly created such that we’re really looking at how many credit hours you’ve attempted. So, really, we’re looking at rising sophomores and juniors. But the thing that I’d just like to emphasize is, when people hear rising sophomores and juniors, immediately, their minds go to four-year colleges and universities, where if you’re at a community college, you’re the perfect student as well. Because we can assist you with building skills that will prepare you for success in the law school admissions process, but also skills that will allow you to be successful in transitioning to a four-year college. Same for a technical college.

So, don’t feel as if, “Oh, I’m not at a four-year college; I’ll be at a disadvantage if I apply for this program.” Absolutely not. What you want to do, again, is to be enthusiastic, let us know that you have some intellectual curiosity about the legal profession and a legal education, and be a good writer. We’re looking for you.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. Thank you so much for clarifying that and really pulling that point out — that it doesn’t matter whether you’re at a four-year, two-year, or technical college; it’s about the number of credits. I think that’s really important to clarify, so thanks for raising that. And again, to round it out, Dean Clark, is there any sort of age requirement or anything else that you’d like to add to this part of the question?

 

DEAN CLARK: Absolutely no age requirement. We welcome anyone and everyone who meets our eligibility requirements. As I said, we’re focusing primarily on rising sophomores and juniors at Heritage University in Toppenish, Washington. But because we know that individuals in central Washington have not had good access to law school, we will look at applications, absolutely, from people who are seniors, individuals who graduated recently and are thinking about going to law school, so a year away from going to law school. Community college is just fine — individuals at Walla Walla Community College, WSU Tri-Cities. We’re really trying to be as expansive as we can, as long as you reside in central Washington, because ours is a residential program.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. And actually, I’d like to pull in LaTeisha and Jalexis into this conversation as well. Since you all were in the program last year, would you mind sharing a little bit about the diversity of the students who were in the program with you, of the scholars? Were there folks from different age ranges and undergraduate institutions? Let’s start with you, LaTeisha.

 

LATEISHA: Yes. In my program, there were students from many different colleges. We have people in New York and Georgia and Ohio, so pretty much all over the country. And we did have students that traveled outside of the country on vacation while doing the program, but it was pretty diverse.

 

ANGELA: OK, wonderful. And Jalexis.

 

JALEXIS: Yes. We had a lot of students from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and schools and states. We didn’t have any older students in my specific PLUS Program, but during the Voices event, where we met a lot of the different people from the PLUS Program, we did meet some older students who shared their opinions about their process and about meeting and networking with other peers.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. Thank you so much for that, because I think it’s helpful to know both from the program perspective and the criteria, but also from people who have participated in the program, what you’re going to experience and who you’re going to be able to interact and network with. And also, Jalexis, thanks so much for mentioning the PLUS Voices program, because that was something that was really fabulous, and it’s a wonderful way of building community. And I’m actually going to toss it over to Ferris, because she coordinated and hosted that event for us. Ferris, can you tell folks a little bit about what PLUS Voices was, and the celebration that was at the end of the program?

 

FERRIS: Well, when we had PLUS Voices at the end, we just wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of the participants within the PLUS Program. So, we had everyone come and share their experiences within the PLUS Program, and what they did. And also how they took some of the skills that they learned, but also their experiences. So, Jalexis and LaTeisha were part of the program, and they gave great speeches on how the PLUS Program has just expanded their knowledge, but also expanded their experience in the law field, and how they wanted to keep going and apply for law school.

So, this is something that we hope to continue on, because it was a learning experience for us, but it was a learning experience for all the participants just to hear some of the different experiences and learn from each other in terms of fulfilling something as great as completing the PLUS Program. So, we look forward to it this year, to hear the other PLUS participants of the seven schools we have, just to keep learning and experiencing, and also create a network and also remain friends and also have a connection with someone who can help you through the law school journey. So, it was a wonderful program and we thank you all who participated, especially Jalexis and LaTeisha. Back to you.

 

ANGELA: Perfect, terrific, wonderful. And so that was really a way to help bridge and make connections, not only within the PLUS Program at the particular law school, but across law schools, so it’s a fantastic opportunity. All right, Ferris, other questions in the Q&A?

 

FERRIS: I’m going to say, so, we have one question: Are the programs available to international students? We have a lot of students who are asking that, who are residing elsewhere.

 

ANGELA: OK. Wonderful question. And I’m going to start with you, Dean Keiski, because you are fully online.

 

DEAN KEISKI: Yes. At this time, the PLUS Program at University of Oregon Law is not available to international students. However, if you reside somewhere outside of the United States but you are currently enrolled in a domestic institution, you would be eligible. So, ours is contingent on current enrollment at a domestic institution. And, again, you can live outside of the U.S. but need to be attending school online or in person here in the U.S. Thanks.

 

ANGELA: Very good, thank you. Dean Gaskin.

 

DEAN GASKIN: Similar answer to Dean Keiski. Typically, the answer would be no for international students, but if you’re enrolled in a domestic program and would qualify, then the opportunity would be open to you. So, it really just depends on each person’s set of facts.

 

ANGELA: Got it. Thank you. And Dean Clark, I know your program is very specific to the central Washington area and having residents there. So, do you want to just clarify whether or not someone could be international, if they’re still residing in the area, can they apply?

 

DEAN CLARK: Thank you, Angela. Certainly, an international student who is residing in central Washington could apply, as long as they meet the other eligibility requirements of being at least a rising sophomore or junior, community college or four-year institution.

 

ANGELA: OK. Fantastic. Ferris, do we have any other questions?

 

FERRIS: I think this is one question, the last question that we have is, in terms of being in the PLUS Program, what can the students add to their application when applying to law school? Does this help you, or does it help plan your role? I’m sorry.

 

ANGELA: Yeah, no, I think that’s a great question. So, the way that I’m interpreting that is, by going through the PLUS Program, how is that going to impact your ability to apply to law school, if you decide you want to apply to law school? Is it going to help with the nuts and bolts? Is it going to help with other things? It’s a really great question. And we’re going to start with Dean Clark for this one.

 

DEAN CLARK: I love this question. And I think the answer is absolutely yes, and I would say for all of our programs, what we hope will happen is that it gives you an opportunity as you participate to envision yourself as a lawyer, to meet other individuals who are like you, who have backgrounds similar to yours, experiences similar to yours. And so, to build that confidence that you can do this. The other thing is that certainly with our program, you will learn the nuts and bolts of what’s involved in taking the LSAT. What does the law school application look like? How do you need to network and work with individuals who are your supporters to get the letters of recommendation that you need?

And I can certainly say, for my institution, that we in an application process for law school would look very positively on someone who had participated in an LSAC PLUS Program, because it shows your interest. It shows your passion. It shows your commitment to being a lawyer.

 

ANGELA: Thank you for that. Dean Gaskin.

 

DEAN GASKIN: I 1,000% agree with Dean Clark. I will say from reading files already, whenever I see an applicant who has attended a PLUS Program, their applications are always so well put together. They really know how to present themselves and to share about their experiences. And, as Dean Clark said, it does communicate that they are very passionate and serious about being a strong candidate for admission. So I would say to you, use every experience.

I talked about, at NCCU, we will focus on putting some tools in your tool belt to get you ready for the law school admissions process, assisting with writing that personal statement, assisting with writing a diversity statement if you choose to write one, certainly making sure you are strong with the LSAT, but remember that ... well, you may not know yet, so, admissions officers review applications holistically, meaning we’re looking at all of the pieces and we’re looking at all of your experiences. So, I can assure you, without a doubt, because I review files every day, that admissions officers would see your participation in a PLUS Program favorably. And quite often I’ve seen these students take advantage of every facet of those programs and translate it into some fantastic law school admission applications.

 

ANGELA: Thank you so much for that. Dean Keiski, would you like to add something to this conversation about whether participating in PLUS will be an addition and a benefit to folks when they’re actually applying to law school?

 

DEAN KEISKI: Yes. And, gosh, it is so hard to add anything to what Dean Gaskin and Dean Clark said; they shared so eloquently a lot of the benefits. So, I will just triple down on the impact that your application itself is likely to look better, because you will have had access and exposure to what good law school applications should look like. We walk students through what a good application looks like, exposure to behind the scenes of the application process.

So, one, it’ll have the immediate impact that you will have a resume that has been reviewed and looks perfectly tight and right and beautiful to admissions officers. And you will feel more confident heading into the process, which I think will show through when you submit your essays and the way that you engage with the admissions team moving forward. So, the PLUS Program just in itself is going to set you up for a more sure-footed step into the process itself.

 

ANGELA: Beautifully said. And one of the things that I like to say about the PLUS Program is it’s not just a wonderful program, it’s a wonderful acronym, too, because the PLUS Program really is additive. By participating in it, you get to bring yourself your unique experiences, and you also get the added benefit of the guidance, the support, the additional information, the tips and tricks, and the understanding what the application process is, what it’s like. It’s truly an additive process. So, I really like the acronym PLUS, because it’s a plus for you, and it’s nothing but a benefit.

I want to also pull back in LaTeisha and Jalexis to see about your individual journeys and how you felt after completing the PLUS Program, when it came to thinking about law school and whether you were ready to apply, if you’re willing to share. And either one of you can start, maybe Jalexis, would you like to start?

 

JALEXIS: Yes. I still am only a sophomore. So, I still have quite a bit of time left, but it did make me start taking the process more seriously, because I had a group of people that I got to see go through the process of it being their senior year and trying to apply. As well as because I now had resources to use to start being able to take the process more seriously, so it made me start studying and really just reviewing how the law school admission process works.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. And I know that it can be intimidating, and it can be challenging to navigate that. So, the fact that you’ve participated and you have a better sense of what’s required on the application, it just gives you better and more time to prepare and get that application ready when you’re ready to apply. LaTeisha, how about you?

 

LATEISHA: After the PLUS Program, I felt relieved and nervous. I’m a mother, so there’s a lot of other things that go into my life and what it takes to complete school and to go to law school. So, the PLUS Program definitely helped me in the aspect of trying to put my life together in a way where I can still be a great mother as well as a great law student. So, I’m definitely grateful for that. And as far as the application, like you said, it just helps me be prepared and really just set a timeline, so that I can do everything according to plan.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you both so much for sharing that personal experience. I know it’s really meaningful, when I was going through the journey, to be able to hear from other folks that looked like me, or maybe had similar experiences, to know that here are the steps that you can take, there is support available in programs like this. And not only is there support in the programs, there’s also community in these programs. So, thank you all for sharing that. And I know, Ferris, you said that was the last question, but I want to check with you one more time. Do we have anything else in the chat that we need to address here?

 

FERRIS: No, I think with time, that is our last question.

 

ANGELA: OK, fantastic. Thank you so much, everyone, for participating. What I’d like to do is just, quickly, maybe a minute for each of the deans who are on the panel. Could you just sum up again for us and tell us why your program is unique and special? And when your application deadline is? I’m going to start with Dean Keiski.

 

DEAN KEISKI: Sure. Thank you. The PLUS Program online at the University of Oregon School of Law is just that — it is entirely online. So, this is accessible from wherever you are. You can join us for this four-week program that will take place from June 20 to July 14, on weekdays only, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Pacific Time. We’re accepting applications now. I would encourage you, if you have interest, apply as soon as possible, and our application deadline will be April 1. We look forward to reading your applications and learning more about you.

 

ANGELA: Wonderful, thank you. Dean Gaskin.

 

DEAN GASKIN: So, when we started this program this afternoon, you saw the words “prepared,” “allowing you to explore,” “allowing you to grow and to learn,” and that’s exactly what would happen in the PLUS Program at the North Carolina Central University School of Law. During that two-week hybrid program, you’re going to be exposed to the law. So, this thing that you’ve been saying to yourself, I have a dream of doing, you actually get to do, get a taste of it, meet professors, meet lawyers, meet law students, and just know that we’ve prepared an amazing program to prepare you. We are accepting applications through May 1, and we will ... is that my one-minute warning, Angela? I’m going to get off.

 

ANGELA: No, that’s a delivery. Go ahead.

 

DEAN GASKIN: But just to make sure that you know in early April, we will also start interviewing candidates. So we look forward to meeting you and to receiving your applications. And there will not be a better place to be, summer 2022, than Durham, North Carolina, in the nest at North Carolina Central University School of Law.

 

ANGELA: Thank you, Dean Gaskin. And Dean Clark, final thoughts about the Washington program.

 

DEAN CLARK: Well, I can say central Washington is another wonderful place to be in the summer of 2022. What makes our program innovative is that it is a collaborative of three law schools and a rural institution, where we will facilitate our participants’ ability to envision themselves as lawyers and really to make their dreams come true. And to realize the community that’s behind their efforts and how much we need you in the legal profession. We are accepting applications through April 29, and we very much look forward to receiving your application. Thank you.

 

ANGELA: Thank you. And I want to thank all of the panelists today for sharing your insights and your stories and your information about the PLUS program. Our host schools, we are so appreciative for your commitment in supporting diversity in the pipeline for law school and supporting students from marginalized and minoritized backgrounds on their journeys forward. We are so pleased and thrilled to be partnering with you to offer this opportunity.

For those of you who are participating, thank you so much for joining. I hope this was informative for you. I also want to remind you, please go to the website, check out the seven programs that are there, see which one is right for you. And when you start your application, please do complete it. You do not need to wait till the deadline; applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis. So, if you get it done early, you’ll get your decision early as well, and you can plan and prepare for which program you’re going to be participating in.

Also, if you have any additional questions, please send them to diversityoffice@lsac.org — again, that’s diversityoffice@lsac.org — and we’re happy to answer any questions that you have about the logistics of the program, applications, et cetera.

So again, I am Angela Winfield. I’m the chief diversity officer here at LSAC. It is my absolute pleasure to be able to provide programs that support you on your journey from prelaw through practice. And that takes into consideration your unique and individual experiences, and also the challenges that you may face as being a minoritized or underrepresented individual in this profession. It can be intimidating. It can be scary, but please know that LSAC is here for you to guide you and support you in exploring, developing, learning, and ultimately succeeding in whatever path that you choose along the way. So, thank you for the time. And, again, if you have any questions, please reach out to us at diversityoffice@lsac.org. Thanks so much, and have a wonderful day.

 

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