Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Most (if not all) law schools offer an orientation program to their incoming first-year class. But, only a few schools offer a specially tailored orientation program for transfer students and visiting students. Over the last few years, I've noticed that our transfer students were missing certain critical announcements and failing to take full advantage of the the school's resources. So, this year we decided to join the growing minority and offered a program for those students who were joining our law school community after their first-year of law school.
We started by inviting all of the transfer and visiting students to a catered luncheon, hosted by two 3L students who transferred into our school last year. After the newcomers had a chance to meet each other, and ask questions of the current 3L transfers, everyone headed into a conference room to discuss topics of particular interest to upper-level transfer students. The academic dean and registrar spent roughly 45 minutes reviewing all of our school's upper-level academic requirements to ensure that each student had a comprehensive plan geared toward an on-time graduation. The rest of the agenda included short (i.e. 5-10 minutes) presentations by the various assistant deans and directors, and covered:
- applying for merit scholarships and other financial aid funding as upper-level students;
- maintaining academic integrity and professional responsibility;
- navigating the already in-progress fall semester on campus interviews;
- taking advantage of academic support resources, especially bar exam preparation;
- trying out for co-curricular opportunities, such as Law Review, Moot Court, and Trial Advocacy;
- participating in student life, including wellness and student organizations;
- registering for Lexis, Westlaw, and TWEN; and
- resolving other logistical concerns, such as parking passes and the bookstore.
Each presenter introduced themselves, briefly outlined the services available at their office, and then provided the students with a handout that they could review on their own. The goal was to keep the entire event, including the luncheon, under 3 hours, while also ensuring that the transfer students became familiar with their new community's procedures and personnel. Despite the tight timetable, we consciously set aside a few minutes at the end of the discussion for students to raise additional topics that they wanted to explore, before concluding with an optional tour of the law school building. (Kirsha Trychta)