The BYU J. Reuben Clark Law admissions team reviews an application and determines the fate of the applicant in ten minutes, despite the years of work a student puts in throughout school. Stacie Stewart, dean of admissions at BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School, spoke about the filtering process and how prospective applicants can get a competitive gain on Feb. 19 at the Heber J. Grant Building.
For the first time and limited until Sep. 2019, students at BYU–Hawaii have the option to take the Law School Admissions Test [LSAT], receive their scores, and choose to re-take the exam without charge or penalty. During the three-hour benchmark entrance exam, students will be randomly selected to take the exam. Stewart strongly advised students to take advantage of this opportunity as students usually have to pay to retake the LSAT.
For the law school application, a personal statement, transcripts (ideally with higher GPAs), a resume, and two letters of recommendation must be submitted. Stewart encouraged students focus on their individual differences to help them stand out among other applicants.
For the resume, Stewart advised to not write in a narrative form or make it a travel log. She said, “Often as admissions, we see statements which are too broad or general, such as ‘I want to make a difference in the world,’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer.’ Start thinking of your best explanation.”
Although the admissions team does not include the social media inspection in the application process, their consultants take the time to review social profiles of the applicant on personal platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or related Google searches. Stewart said this process can determine the acceptance of the student, as they want to uphold a standard in the school. Additionally, the communications department of BYU Law School keeps track of pertinent comments and hashtags of currently enrolled students.
River Gilson, a senior majoring in history from the Big Island, said he often engages in political discussion in assertive arguments on social media. However, Stewart noted arguments with dignity is positive. In the event a comment is deemed perpetually interrogative or provocative, the student is contacted and disciplinary removal action is taken.
“Law impacts every aspect of society. Most of what lawyers do is arguing with writing, whether the focus is writing memos about the law or in legally binding agreements,” said Stewart. “There are 12 lawyers for church education and they oversee the affairs of BYUH.”
The courses offered include torts, property, criminal law, legal writing, legislative regulation, contracts, civil procedure and rules of the legal system. Elective law classes include employment law, civil rights, tax law, wills and estates, family law, criminal procedure, and appellate practice.
“Learning the law protects you. It’s empowering to know and understand what is allowed and what is limited. I want to be a voice for these people be a lawyer for them such as introducing them to social services when they commit a crime and need further help,” said Terrance Dela Pena, president of the BYUH Pre-Law Society and a junior majoring in political science from the Philippines.
Scholarships start at $1,000 and extend to full tuition in merit accolades after students accept enrollment, while a private loan is available for international students. Students who receive partial scholarships receive a top scholar loan award to pay the balance.