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More Students Attracted to Saint Leo Accelerated Prelaw Program

By following a rigorous schedule, students save a year’s worth of expenses in their academic journey.

Saint Leo University has admitted five freshmen to the university’s accelerated program to prepare students for law school. The program is designed for students who are both certain they want to earn a law degree after college, and are willing to take on a challenging course load to save both time and money. The admission of the five new Saint Leo undergraduates was confirmed during the Fall 2020 Semester.

The freshmen join several current Saint Leo sophomores and juniors also enrolled in this academic option, which is formally called the 3 + 3 Accelerated Law Program. Rather than taking the customary four years to complete an undergraduate degree, and then the three years required to earn a law degree, ambitious students complete most of the credits required for college graduation during three years of study at University Campus. Although they can declare a number of different majors, their coursework must include the university’s minor in legal studies, which is comprised of 18 hours of academic credits in specific courses in business law, criminal law, and constitutional law.

Once students are juniors at Saint Leo, they apply to law school. After they are admitted to law school and complete the first year of study there, certain law school course credits are applied back to their four-year degree as electives. Those credits satisfy the remaining requirements for a Saint Leo bachelor’s degree.

This academic plan saves one year of undergraduate tuition and related housing expenses by compressing the bachelor’s degree studies into three years.

The current roster of 3 + 3 Accelerated Law Program students illustrates how broad the program’s appeal is, attracting students with a few different majors (in addition to the required minor) and with a variety of activities. Those enrolled now include these students, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Kiarra Aldarondo is a sophomore majoring in English and has lived in Massachusetts and Florida, and joined the group this year.
  • Joanna Cano is a freshman from Florida majoring in political science and is a member of Saint Leo’s student government.
  • Joseph Emmons is a freshman from southwest Georgia majoring in political science.
  • Jasmine Garnica is a freshman majoring in political science.
  • Andrew Kallis is a freshman from Florida majoring in political science.
  • Carson Lashley is a sophomore from Florida majoring in sport business. After law school, he plans to pursue a career as a sports agent.
  • Kiara McIntyre is a freshman from Boston. She is majoring in criminal justice and is a member of the women’s basketball team.
  • Alora Peters is a sophomore from Florida majoring in English. She is the arts and culture page editor for the student-run Lions’ Pride Media Group.
  • Maddie Reed is a sophomore from Florida majoring in criminal justice.
  • Karianne Sherouse is a junior from Florida majoring in political science.

Dr. Heather Parker, the program advisor and dean of the Saint Leo College of Arts and Sciences, said the students were accepted on the basis of high grades, good time management skills, and a strong commitment. The students had to apply first to the university for admission, and then separately apply for acceptance into the prelaw program. Motivated high school juniors and seniors are urged to consider Saint Leo and ask about this program.

The program is very supportive in helping admitted students achieve their goals, Parker noted. Students receive specialized mentoring and preparation (at no additional cost) in advance of the standardized Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) that all law school applicants must take. Scores on the LSAT can determine admission decisions and influence financial aid offers.

In addition, Saint Leo has agreements in place with two prominent law schools in Florida stating that the institutions will accept Saint Leo 3 + 3 students, as long as the students also meet standard requirements. The institutions are Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, one of the state’s public institutions. The other is Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Although Barry, a private, Catholic university is based in Miami Shores, the law school is in Orlando.

Saint Leo plans to offer its 3 + 3 students day trips to the campuses in the 2021-2022 academic year, as soon as COVID-19 safety protocols permit.

Other options    

Students in 3 + 3 Accelerated Law Program can also opt to apply to other law schools if their circumstances or interests develop in new directions. “Students gain many benefits from participating in the program, even if they choose not to attend one of the partner schools,” Parker said. Saint Leo program participants have gone on to enroll at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, and the University of Montana.

Saint Leo also affords 3 + 3 students the flexibility to move into the traditional four-year undergraduate degree track if they so desire.

Many Saint Leo graduates have been admitted to law school after the traditional four-year course of study and have successfully earned the legal degree.

For more information, contact the program advisor, Dr. Heather Parker at heather.parker02@saintleo.edu.

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