June 12, 2010
Pre-Law Prep Camp
I have written previously about teaching Pre-Law Prep camp at UConn for the first time. The prep camp is a little different from what most traditional ASPer's do. I spend a significant amount of my time working with undergrads applying to law school, and spend my spring preparing them for the transition to law school. My students are a varied bunch, as one would expect at a large public university. After 5 years in ASP, and seeing the skills that students need to succeed, I decided to create Pre-Law Prep Camp for students who have been accepted to law school, but have not yet matriculated. Most schools have orientation of varying intensities and lengths, some schools have pre-orientation that is limited to certain groups of students, and I wanted to bridge the gap between these programs for students who will be starting law school in the fall.
My prep camp ran over 3 Saturdays, mid-spring semester. All students and alumni I worked with during the year where open to attend. Unfortunately, this year holidays and open houses conflicted with at least one day of camp for most participants. However, I had a remarkably committed group considering I was asking them to be at school at 9am on Saturdays and come prepared with homework assignments.
The material I covered was modified from the material I covered when I was in charge of pre-orientation as an ASP Director. We started with the basic logistics of law school, including how and where to get help. We covered what books are worth buying, which books should be read before law school, and which books should be purchased during the summer and used during law school. Then came the ASP basics: reading, briefing, writing, and studying. Instead of asking students to practice studying, we went over the theories of studying and why law school differs from undergrad.
The Prep Camp was a great opportunity for me to impart a bit of advice before students moved to the law school world. The wonderful thing about teaching before they begin law school is that they are not nervous or trying to impress their peers; many of the students knew each other from their courses. There was no need to impress anyone. I was not grading them, and few students would be attending the same law school. Adrenaline and stress was removed from the environment, and all the students needed to do was learn about law school success.
I plan on offering the Prep Camp again next year, and think we may develop it into a P/F, final semester, capstone course for seniors before they graduate. (RCF)
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