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College of Law is second UI institution to create accelerated program

BY LILY ABROMEIT and MEGAN SANCHEZ | NOVEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa College of Law has decided to follow in the footsteps of the UI College of Public Health in creating a fast-track program for students.

UI officials said the “3+3” program will provide students with the opportunity to combine the last year of undergraduate studies with the first year of law school in an effort to provide them with a “leg up.”

“For those who are qualified, it reduces by one year the amount of time … and money they have to spend on their education,” said Eric Andersen, the senior associate law dean.

This is similar to the College of Public Health’s program in that it will allow students to save a year’s worth of tuition costs and time.

The program would permit students to apply for law school in the end of their junior years and begin taking law classes in their senior years of undergraduate studies.

A peer institution to the UI, Pennsylvania State University, has implemented similar programs in its law school.

However, Penn State Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Marie Reilly said the program is rarely utilized.

“It’s not very popular,” she said. “We’ve had it for a while, and only a couple of students have elected to do that. It’s been my experience that college seniors like being college seniors.”

Matt Enriquez, a second-year UI law student, said he believes this will not be the case here.

“There are plenty of students who, by the time they reach their senior year of their undergrad, they are more than ready to be a law student,” he said.

UI law student Clint Hugie said he is earning another degree in addition to his law degree, so the program would help students such as himself stay on track.

“I think that by shaving off a year there, some students in the program might feel like they are opening up to them again,” he said. “Students that maybe start later in life — this can get them back into the market faster and more efficiently.”

Enriquez also said this new program will benefit students and the college simultaneously, adding he hopes it will make the program more attractive to in-state undergraduate students who will stay at the UI to complete law school.

Andersen said the law school predicts it will take a few years before students are able to take full advantage of the program because they will need to plan for the change.

But, he said, students who want to participate must be highly qualified because it is a competitive process.

“They need to compete with the rest of applicants in the class, but if they are competitive, then they are admitted, and we are happy to have them,” Andersen said.

Despite the competition, he said, experience with these kinds of programs have resulted in student success.

“The students who enter the law school this way tend to be highly qualified and do [well] in the College of Law,” he said.


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