UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Early in her college career, Briana Knox, now a Penn State senior, wanted to confirm that law school was the right choice for her. On the advice of her advisor, she took part in the Explore Law program at Penn State after her sophomore year and gained valuable insight into the legal profession. Undergraduate students in Pennsylvania are invited to apply for this year's program, set for May 18 to 23.
After attending the program, Knox wrote, “Explore Law … provided me with anything and everything I could ever want to know about law school and being a lawyer. The professionals brought in to speak with us were so friendly, helpful and realistic, you could really tell their main goal was to prepare us for law school wherever we end up. You'll definitely take at least one thing away from it. For me, this program reassured every fiber of my being that law school is where I'm supposed to be.”
Two years later, after studying abroad and working at two Congressional internships in Washington, D.C., and with an accounting firm focused on public policy issues, Knox still keeps in touch with Penn State Law professor Michele Vollmer who leads the program every year. Knox took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) last fall and met up with Vollmer this spring to talk about how best to update her personal statement given all of her new experiences. Knox told Vollmer, “The friendships with other undergrads interested in law that I made during the program have been invaluable to me. I can’t thank you and Penn State Law enough.”
Eligibility and cost
The program is open to all undergraduates in Pennsylvania, including Penn State undergraduates from all campuses and Penn State World Campus. Explore Law is tuition-free and provides meals and housing.
What to expect
The program allows students to gain insight into the experience of going to law school. “It is the perfect way for students to get a taste of the law school experience,“ said Vollmer. “Students learn to brief a case, analyze a statute and negotiate like a lawyer. Just like last year, a substantial part of the program will be devoted to teaching students how to study for the LSAT. That part of the program will be taught in two different groups led by a LSAT expert so that the needs of each student can be met,” she said. She added that one of the goals of the program is to introduce the study of law to students from groups that are under-represented in law school classrooms and the legal profession who may need added support to facilitate their interest in the study of law. The program is included in an LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) initiative called Discover Law.
Students who apply to Explore Law are welcomed into the Penn State Law community and invited to share in any of the events happening at the law school. Highlights include:
-- "Civil Rights Then and Now: The Evolution of Legal Strategies for Achieving Civil Rights For All," a presentation by Kim Keenan, General Counsel for the NAACP, 5 p.m. Feb. 12
-- Explore Law Open House, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 21, Penn State Law commons, all students who have applied or are considering to apply, as well as all alumni of the program, are welcome to attend. Registration for the Explore Law Open House is online.
Law professors and practicing attorneys visit the program to discuss what they do and the fields of law in which they practice. In addition, participants will learn about the law school admissions process and how to succeed in being admitted to law school, and will build relationships with other students with similar interests and possible career goals.