Friday, December 8, 2023

Summer Law School Preparation Academy helps students level up for law school

Summer Law School Preparation Academy helps students level up for law school

APRIL 18, 2023 — The UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs will host its hallmark program, the 2023 Summer Law School Preparation Academy (SLSPA) at the UTSA Main Campus from May 30 to August 9.

The competitive program prepares students for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and gives them the skills needed to be successful in law school.

Students benefit from an intentional pre-law curriculum, experiential learning and networking experiences to help them gain admission to and excel in law school. Since the program began in 2001, SLSPA students have been accepted to more than 160 law schools across the country.

The deadline to apply is Friday, April 21.

“Participating in the Summer Law School Preparation Academy can help confirm whether law school is the right path”

UTSA Politics and Law Alumnus Thomas Zapata ’21 participated in SLSPA during the summer of 2020 when he was a junior. At the time, he was only considering a future in law and the summer academy was his first exposure to the law school experience. Today, he is a student at the University of Texas School of Law.

Hesitant at first to apply to the program based on rumors of the program’s intensity, Zapata decided to find out for himself and now claims it was one of the best decisions he could have made toward his legal education.

“While the SLSPA was one of the most intense programs I participated in as an undergraduate, the experiences, connections and tools I gained from the program cannot be replaced,” Zapata said. “I wholeheartedly believe that my participation in the UTSA Summer Law School Preparation Academy contributed to my subsequent acceptance to The University of Texas School of Law and has prepared me for the rigors of law school.”

Zapata offers more insight into what makes this UTSA program so unique.

“On the surface, the SLSPA seems like it is just a culmination of law school-related courses, panels and seminars directed toward those of us who are interested in a legal education,” he said. “While those are, in fact, the essential core elements of the program, there is much more that lies beneath the surface. Not only are the courses in the SLSPA taught by some of the most capable and first-rate professors in their fields, the connections and networking that takes place in the law school experience panels are among some of the most valuable a prospective law school student can have.”

The close connections Zapata made that summer with students and professors alike have proven to be valuable contacts he has been able to rely on for advice, support and even letters of recommendation. In fact, the very admissions dean he met during a law school experience panel was the same person who called to inform him of his acceptance to law school.

He also shares that the rigorous nature of the program taught him essential skills like time management and organization and introduced him to the Socratic method, the form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, that is used in law school.

“Prior to stepping foot into a law school, I had already experienced what it was like to write a case brief, read and examine a case, use logic and reasoning when analyzing arguments, and respond to questions from professors using the Socratic method,” he said.

In addition to giving students a taste of what law school is like, SLSPA provides its participants with the tools to be successful in the law school application process. This ranges from tips on letters of recommendation, LSAT study methods, registering with the Law School Admission Council and meeting with admissions faculty from various law schools to learn about the application process.

Of the SLSPA students who decide to apply to law school, 95% are admitted into at least one school. However, there are plenty of students who attend the summer academy who decide not to pursue law, notes Ana Alvarez, program manager for the UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs.

“For any student who is considering a career as a lawyer or pursuing a law degree, participating in the Summer Law School Preparation Academy can help confirm whether law school is the right path, and ultimately save them time and money if it is not,” said Alvarez.

The 2023 UTSA Summer Law Preparation Academy is offered in two five-week sessions with students taking two three-credit courses during each session. The SLSPA Summer I session runs May 30 to July 5. Summer II runs July 6 to Aug. 9.

The academy is open to undergraduate students attending any college or university who have earned or are on track to earn at least 30 credits by the end of the spring 2023 semester. Admittance is on a competitive basis.

The UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs is part of UTSA’s Career-Engaged Learning ecosystem of offices, services and opportunities that help students connect what they are learning in the classroom to future career goals. The division of Career-Engaged Learning is the organizational driver of the university’s Classroom to Career initiative, which supports experiential learning opportunities, encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration, fosters partnerships with the community and aids in the articulation of marketable skills to improve students’ career outcomes.

KC Gonzalez

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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