preLaw - Winter 2011 - 37
classrooms at 5:29 p.m. three nights a week and run out as soon as school ends to get home to study before lights out. How can you feel part of a school community or have camaraderie with classmates? You can feel very alone in your struggle to balance torts and contracts with your boss and your family. But law schools say that they work hard to help part-time students succeed and fit in on their campuses, which for the most part are dominated by full-time students. One of the most flexible schools in part-time scheduling, and one which has more part-timers than full-timers, is Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, the nation’s largest ABA-accredited law school. According to Stephanie Gregg, assistant dean of admissions, the school has about 3,200 part-time J.D. students and 700 full-time on its four campuses, in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Arbor Hills and Grand Rapids. Students can go evenings or days, or even Saturdays and Sundays. They can finish in from two to five years depending on the number of hours they take, and they can start in January, May or September. In other words, Cooley offers options to do almost anything you want. “Our founders’ mission was to make law school more accessible for non-traditional students,” Gregg said. “You can go year-round. You can go just Saturdays and Sundays. And taking just nine units a semester makes it very affordable.” South Texas College of Law in Houston started out in 1923 as an evening part-time school, said Bruce McGovern, associate dean at the school. “It was not until the 1970s that we started admitting full-timers,” he said. “Many, many of our alumni were once part-time students. So we have a strong commitment to helping part-time students succeed, and we try to maximize that to
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