Penn State Students Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
elvenlord21
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby elvenlord21 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:49 pm

Thanks for answering questions. How well does Penn State place in the Washington D.C. area?

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:21 pm

elvenlord21 wrote:Thanks for answering questions. How well does Penn State place in the Washington D.C. area?


I'm not sure how many student after graduation actually work in D.C. after graduation, but I know that the school sponsors a summer program and a semester program where students can work in government agencies, etc. for credit and experience. Beyond that, I am not really interested in D.C. so I have not looked into it. Sorry I can't be of more help there.

elvenlord21
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby elvenlord21 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:35 am

Is it important to have a car at the University Park campus? I live in CA and so i am wondering if it would be worth it for me to drive my car out to PA. I am somewhat concerned what i would do during summer if i don't get a summer job. I don't really want to drive my car back and forth across the country every summer while i am in law school. Do you know if other out of state students take their cars to campus? Thanks again for answering questions.

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:18 am

elvenlord21 wrote:Is it important to have a car at the University Park campus? I live in CA and so i am wondering if it would be worth it for me to drive my car out to PA. I am somewhat concerned what i would do during summer if i don't get a summer job. I don't really want to drive my car back and forth across the country every summer while i am in law school. Do you know if other out of state students take their cars to campus? Thanks again for answering questions.


I do not know any students who do not have a car, but it would be possible if that is the choice you make. There is a very good bus system in State College and a free bus and shuttle system on campus. Many students leave their cars at their apartments over breaks and fly home. During the summer, I do believe that many students plan on driving their cars home, but they may again be flying and leaving their cars in State College. While it would be possible to not have a car (I am sure many, many undergrads do not have cars), I do not know anyone who doesn't have one, so I can't really give any personal input on how difficult or easy it might be.

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TJISMYHERO
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby TJISMYHERO » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:54 pm

I was wondering how quickly financial aid refunds are received through the school. Do you get them before school starts or after? Does the school use a debit card system such as higherone, or direct deposit?

Thanks again for taking questions!

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:36 pm

TJISMYHERO wrote:I was wondering how quickly financial aid refunds are received through the school. Do you get them before school starts or after? Does the school use a debit card system such as higherone, or direct deposit?

Thanks again for taking questions!


I believe I got my fall semester refund during the first or second week of school sometime. They want to be sure you have time to add things to your student bill that you want to. I set up a direct deposit to my bank account for the refund. The second semester I got my refund about a week into the semester.

elvenlord21
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby elvenlord21 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:52 pm

I am coming out to visit Penn State later this month. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what i should check out in the UP area and also Carlislie area, as i will be visiting both campuses. I have never been to Gettysburg, so i want go there, but beyond that, i am not too sure what i should visit. Are they any cool hiking trails or state forests that are near the Penn State law campuses? Thanks for your time.

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:23 pm

elvenlord21 wrote:I am coming out to visit Penn State later this month. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what i should check out in the UP area and also Carlislie area, as i will be visiting both campuses. I have never been to Gettysburg, so i want go there, but beyond that, i am not too sure what i should visit. Are they any cool hiking trails or state forests that are near the Penn State law campuses? Thanks for your time.


I have only ever been to the law school in Carlisle, so I can't really help with any social things to do there. In terms of UP, it is still very cold with a lot of snow here, so I am not sure that you want to attempt to go hiking or anything like that. But if you do, there are a lot of nice hiking trails around. Also, you could go skiing if you want to. When in UP I would suggest taking some time to just drive around the campus or you could hop on one of the free buses and see it that way. There are a lot of restaurants and shops downtown so I would suggest checking those out and doing a little browsing/shopping then maybe grabbing a drink at a bar. If there is any kind of sporting event while you are in town, I would suggest checking that out too. I hope you like the area....dress warm!

jayman6
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jayman6 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:10 pm

You mentioned that you and your classmates are lining up employment for the summer. Where are you finding jobs? What cities does PSU place well in?

avang89
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby avang89 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:54 pm

I'm looking to go into public interest in the DC or NY area. Will I be able to find work in those cities as a Penn State grad?

gewbert
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby gewbert » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:27 pm

Hey all,

As a Carlisle 1L I guess I'll try to help out jbarl1 as best I can.

Just as a brief description of the Carlisle campus, it's pretty small compared to UP. There are only about 70 1L's in Carlisle and there are 230 people in the entire class, so keep that in mind. We only have 1 section, so it's a big class (but it's not that bad). I really like it here. It's a small town, but there's everything you could possibly need. Walmart, Target, grocery stores, etc. Harrisburg is only about 30 mins away and DC is 2 hours.

In terms of job prospects, my goal is to end up in DC working for the government. While it by no means will be easy (considering how many law schools are already there), I will say that the school does a good job helping students who want to go to DC/Harrisburg. As jbarl1 mentioned, there's an internship program in DC/Harrisburg during the school year. Looking at the job statistics the school's given out, about 10-15% or so make it down to the DC/VA/MD area, so that's not terrible. Most grads do stay in PA. I think maybe 10% also make it up to NY. So it's not impossible to do, you just have to work at it.

Summer jobs, so far most people are either finding things around Carlisle. Harrisburg, Gettysburg to some degree, and some other small towns in the area. Some people are looking for jobs at home. Haven't heard much. It's a tough economy (but getting better) and it's especially tough for 1Ls.

Hope this helps, and feel free to ask more Q's!

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:47 pm

jayman6 wrote:You mentioned that you and your classmates are lining up employment for the summer. Where are you finding jobs? What cities does PSU place well in?


avang89 wrote:I'm looking to go into public interest in the DC or NY area. Will I be able to find work in those cities as a Penn State grad?


I have found employment in State College for the summer, so that is convenient. A few of my classmates have chosen to take advantage of study abroad programs and a few others are going to be working as research assistants. I know many of my classmates are going home for the summer to work. "Home" for my classmates includes California, Michigan, Washington, Texas, etc. Some students are going to NYC or the DC area and there are constantly postings on our career portal for those areas. I know many students work in Harrisburg. I think PSU places as well in the big cities as any other school in the PA region would (with the exception of Penn, obviously). I really think your job prospects are what you make them...work hard, get good grades, be persistent with prospective employers.

I hope that helps, keep the questions coming! And thanks for the Carlisle perspective, Gewbert!

oliveminna
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby oliveminna » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:01 pm

Thank you for taking questions, it's so helpful. So I am getting ready to turn in my application and I am wondering how important the "why Penn State" supplemental essay is.

I plan on submitting it but am wondering if you know what they are looking for - ie length, personal vs professional reasons etc.? Any advise would be appreciated.

Numbers:
GPA 3.43
LSAT 163

Non traditional student, single parent, masters degree, 20+ years in Social work - but the social advocacy stuff is what I wrote about in my personal statement.

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:32 pm

oliveminna wrote:Thank you for taking questions, it's so helpful. So I am getting ready to turn in my application and I am wondering how important the "why Penn State" supplemental essay is.

I plan on submitting it but am wondering if you know what they are looking for - ie length, personal vs professional reasons etc.? Any advise would be appreciated.

Numbers:
GPA 3.43
LSAT 163

Non traditional student, single parent, masters degree, 20+ years in Social work - but the social advocacy stuff is what I wrote about in my personal statement.


This is something I really can't tell you much about. I don't ever see any applications that come in (no students do as far as I know) so I don't know what essays do well and what essays don't. I did not write a why Penn State essay, but if you have the time I would guess that it really can't hurt. If you want to write about why talk about any joint degrees you are interested, a particular prestigious faculty member or program that interests you, what you like about the area (maybe you think it would be nice for your child?), or what drew you to want to apply in the first place. Don't think you HAVE to submit something...if you don't feel like it makes your application better, you are probably right.

Good luck! I hope you get in and if you do, be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

elvenlord21
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby elvenlord21 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:09 am

Thanks for answering questions.

I was wondering what the student atmosphere is like at Penn State. Are the students friendly? How competitive are the students? Is there a "cut-throat" mentality amongst the student body? I was also wondering whether the professors are accessible and how easy it is to develop relationships with them.

I have been accepted to Penn State and am seriously considering attending. Thanks for all your help!

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:15 am

elvenlord21 wrote:Thanks for answering questions.

I was wondering what the student atmosphere is like at Penn State. Are the students friendly? How competitive are the students? Is there a "cut-throat" mentality amongst the student body? I was also wondering whether the professors are accessible and how easy it is to develop relationships with them.

I have been accepted to Penn State and am seriously considering attending. Thanks for all your help!


I have found the atmosphere among students to be very friendly. I do not know of anyone who has turned someone down when asked for notes or anything else class related. A lot of people study together and regularly help each other. I have never experienced anyone trying to sabotage anyone else or anything like that. A lot of law students hang out together socially and for school purposes. I also find the professors very accessible. They all have regular office hours and are really happy when students take advantage of them. They LOVE talking about their field of law and really like it when students make an effort to be engaged in and out of class.

I hope to see you at the upcoming Open House and at Penn State in the fall. Please, ask any more questions you may have!

arich24
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby arich24 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:40 pm

3L at Carlisle. Ask away!

jayman6
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jayman6 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:52 am

arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


Can you comment on your employment prospects and also on the internships you've been able to find? Are you near the top of your class? Middle? How well in your class do you have to do in order to have some decent employment prospects?

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:30 pm

gewbert wrote:Hey all,

As a Carlisle 1L I guess I'll try to help out jbarl1 as best I can.


arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


Changed the thread title to reflect that there are multiple perspectives now. Thanks for helping me answer questions!

mark22222
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby mark22222 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:44 am

arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


I'm interested in the Carlisle campus. Can you tell me more about how they orchestrate a personal teaching environment with 70 people in the class?

Also, how do the facilities down there compare to UP?

Thanks in advance!

gewbert
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby gewbert » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:44 am

mark22222 wrote:
arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


I'm interested in the Carlisle campus. Can you tell me more about how they orchestrate a personal teaching environment with 70 people in the class?

Also, how do the facilities down there compare to UP?

Thanks in advance!


Well I'm not a 3L but I can still answer your questions :-).

While you're in a large section, everyone gets to talk. Some professors will keep a list and check off when you talk, and then "cold call" (sometimes randomly cold call, sometimes go down a row so you know its coming), so most professors know your name. They encourage students to stop by their offices if you have a question about anything. Generally, i've found that I can almost always walk to a professor's office and they're either there, or if they aren't, I can send them an email and meet them within the next day.

The facilities are pretty much exactly identical to UP. While there are differences (namely in size and design, obviously), both buildings are brand new (UP opened in 2009 in the fall I think, Carlisle opened last year in the spring). I love the facilities. I wish the library was a bit bigger, but that's just because I like to study in the library and can't really study at home. Usually it's not that crowded though (even during exam time, I was actually shocked at that).

arich24
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby arich24 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:34 pm

jayman6 wrote:
arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


Can you comment on your employment prospects and also on the internships you've been able to find? Are you near the top of your class? Middle? How well in your class do you have to do in order to have some decent employment prospects?


Employment prospects are tough...or perhaps I should rephrase, ideal employment prospects are tough. That being said, that's everywhere. It's a saturated market right now, so just prepare yourself for that.

1L summer I had an unpaid internship with a congressman as a legal intern. I initially came to law school to pursue government/federal work, so the job was right up my ally. As with most unpaid internships, they pretty much hired me right away.

My 2L summer I worked full time (paid) for the Family Law Clinic. I joined the Clinic in the spring of my 2L year, they asked me to work full time over the summer, and I completed my last semester there last fall. I LOVED every second of that job! The Clinic is an incredible experience. The PA Supreme Court certifies you to practice under your supervisor's law license. You then literally handle the entire case: initial interview, filings, court appearances, the works. Absolutely incredible!

The Clinic program is actually one of the big reasons I chose the Carlisle campus. We have the Family Law Clinic, the Disability Clinic, the Elder Law clinic and the Childs Advocacy Clinic based down here. UP did get a Family Law Clinic up there last year...and they also have a few more based there (Arts, Sports, Entertainment and Immigration??...don't quote me).

But back to employment...as a 3L in my last semester (yikes), I'm obviously on the job hunt and have been since probably late summer. Though I've had several interviews, no bites. Up until the past few months I was strictly using the early recruitment action via career services and other career portal postings (though there weren't many). I also applied to several jobs listed in other schools career portals via the reciprocity arrangement. Now I apply to postings on Monster.com, Craigslist (yes, this is true), Indeed, etc. I've also started cold sending, aka sending resumes and cover letters to firms that don't necessarily have job listings but that sound interesting. 99.9% of the letters/emails I'm getting back simply state: "we're not hiring."

Another problem alot of us are running into is lack of experience...ie, most of these firms are looking for people with 3-5 years...well, how can you get 3-5 years if a place won't hire you? So, answer to that question: clerkships. I'm in the middle of the class unfortunately which, of course, is sort of hindering this process. The top gurus have jobs...some amazing (Federal clerkships, 6 figure firms paying for their Bar) and some mediocre (small firms, Common Pleas clerkships).

Bottom line is, where there is a will, there's a way. And you have to realize, it's ok to take a job you don't love because it will give you the experience to get the job you do, plus, by the time you apply to dream job, you will have passed the Bar (another qualification alot of places are looking for).

Alot of people complain about Career Services. They have always been very helpful to me because I realize that they're not going to get a job for me. I strictly use CSO for resume and cover letter edits...I do the job searching on my own.

Hopefully I answered your question.

As far as the personal learning environment question, I'll defer to the answer already posted. When I was a 1L we had 2 smaller sections, so it was a bit different!

Good luck!

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jbarl1
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Re: Penn State 1L Taking Questions

Postby jbarl1 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:15 pm

gewbert wrote:
mark22222 wrote:
arich24 wrote:3L at Carlisle. Ask away!


I'm interested in the Carlisle campus. Can you tell me more about how they orchestrate a personal teaching environment with 70 people in the class?

Also, how do the facilities down there compare to UP?

Thanks in advance!


Well I'm not a 3L but I can still answer your questions :-).

While you're in a large section, everyone gets to talk. Some professors will keep a list and check off when you talk, and then "cold call" (sometimes randomly cold call, sometimes go down a row so you know its coming), so most professors know your name. They encourage students to stop by their offices if you have a question about anything. Generally, i've found that I can almost always walk to a professor's office and they're either there, or if they aren't, I can send them an email and meet them within the next day.

The facilities are pretty much exactly identical to UP. While there are differences (namely in size and design, obviously), both buildings are brand new (UP opened in 2009 in the fall I think, Carlisle opened last year in the spring). I love the facilities. I wish the library was a bit bigger, but that's just because I like to study in the library and can't really study at home. Usually it's not that crowded though (even during exam time, I was actually shocked at that).


I can say that I have had a very similar experience at UP. Most professors have their own style of running classes and they will not cold call a lot if there is frequent class participation. They are very accessible and love talking about their classes and their specialties.

oliveminna
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Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Penn State Students Taking Questions

Postby oliveminna » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:40 pm

Just got my notice this morning! Yea. Waiting to see what they offer. Seems surreal, apply on Sunday into law school on Friday. I'm at work and can not concentrate at all!!

Ridore
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Re: Penn State Students Taking Questions

Postby Ridore » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:58 pm

I have a 20k/yr scholarship and was wondering if there was a way to increase the offer; either during the first year or after.




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