davis900 wrote:Hello all,
I found this thread and I felt the need to respond for the sake of anyone who reads this thread…or for anyone who would ever consider doing Thomas Cooley Law School’s PEP Program.
Two years ago I went to Lansing, Michigan and attended this Thomas Cooley PEP Program. You see, I scored poorly on my LSAT the first time around--I did zero prep and was young and dumb (in my early 20’s) and took this test for granted. After scoring miserably on my LSAT (I had a decent LSAC UGPA of 3.5), I was solicited by Thomas Cooley to attend this program. They asked me to mail them back a check for $100.00 and that would secure my spot at this week long PEP Program. I mailed back the check and then received a very large packet in the mail. The packet also included 2 different personality tests that you were asked to take—I thought that was very weird.
After receiving my packet, I was told in the enclosed letter to brief around 30-40 cases and have them done before my arrival in Lansing. They typically give you about a month to do this before the start of your PEP program. The cases were all based on Intentional and Property Torts. You were advised to have this all completed before arrival and be prepared to answer questions in a classroom setting by law professors. I had somewhere between 15-20 people in my class (most of whom were URM’s from middle to lower class economic backgrounds).
You are put up in a hotel for a week by Cooley Law. You eat, breathe and hang out with the same people all week at this hotel. You arrive on a Sunday afternoon, begin class the next day (Monday) and leave the following Sunday morning (after your “final exam”). The only time that you actually leave the hotel is to tour the school on the Friday before you leave.
When you tour the school that Friday, you meet one of the Deans, a lot of 1L’s and sit in on a real Torts class. The school holds a small luncheon for the PEP participants and they review your personality test results in a classroom with you (a psychologist employed by Cooley does this). It’s all very weird. They then take a digital head shot of you and make you sign a form stating that you waive your right to your “final exam” or any other papers or homework you did while in the PEP program. You are not allowed to see anything you did—whether you are accepted or not.
Besides having the mini-Torts class during the week, you also have a legal writing class. You have class 8am to 5pm every single day that you are there. The last day that you are there (Sunday) they give you a “final exam” and tell you that you will know in 2-3 weeks if they accept you into the school conditionally or not. In between they give you “homework” assignments every night and tell you to write papers on various subjects. Some of the participants stayed up all night and went completely crazy because of the stuff that Cooley officials made them do—it was like an overload of work.
The PEP Program “coordinator” was an URM woman and she was also a graduate of Thomas Cooley. She never took the bar in Michigan and was not doing anything with her law degree. She was very rude, unprofessional and constantly hung out with all the URM applicants (all the time). The other non-URM applicants and I felt very awkward and singled out because of this.
Here are a few things that Thomas Cooley won’t tell you………….
They hold this PEP Program every single month at a hotel in Lansing (every month except for November—because of the holiday). The only actual fee you pay for is the $100 to reserve your spot (the check you mailed in the first time to them). Cooley gives you a $100 stipend for food—at the hotel only (which sucked after a while—the food is bland). Your hotel room is also paid by Cooley for the entire week (hotel management told me that Cooley gets the rooms at 50% off—since they are frequent fliers at the hotel all year). Cooley also won’t tell you that they are getting a large grant from the government to fund this program—so when they say that they are “paying” for you—they really are not. It’s all funded by grant money. All PEP program participants are basically guinea pigs for Cooley’s sick pleasure and enjoyment.
In the end, most of the URM PEP participants were accepted into the school via this program. They sent out letters 2-3 weeks later and informed us Cooley’s decision.
None of the Caucasian participants (including myself) were accepted by the school. I think Cooley basically knew who they “wanted” and didn’t want. It was all just a cat and mouse game to them.
The point of my post is to say that this program was very shady and I warn anyone considering it to stay far, far away from Lansing, MI and this PEP Program. I could tell you some pretty fuc#ed up stories from that week that would make your skin crawl.
Here are a few things that I learned in hindsight while attending this program….
1. Never attend a conditional law school program--It will hurt your future law school applications! This is because some law school applications will ask you if you ever did and if so, where and when.
2. If you do attend this Cooley PEP program (I hope that you don’t after reading this post), check out of the hotel on your last day (Sunday) very early and leave without taking the “final exam” and don’t tell anyone from your class. I wish that I had done this—you’ll basically get a free weeklong vacation via Cooley. Staying and taking the final is a waste of time—especially when you realize that the only people accepted via PEP Program are URM’s. If you’re not a URM, leave early. They can’t do anything to you legally or financially, because Cooley pays for all the expenses up front.
3. Just study and retake the LSAT. Conditional programs are bogus and they just play mind games with students. They are an emotional scam.
4. If you do end up at this program—pay very close attention to what goes on and how the employees of the school act and what they say and do. It’s all very shady. Within first 48 hours you will see that something is not right and this whole thing is bogus.
By the way, Lansing is a miserable dump and a horrible place to think of spending 3 years of your life.
P.S. Here is where I am now in my life…………….
I have since retaken the LSAT and scored 168 (I actually applied myself and studied). I am currently a 1L at a T-25 school.
I know this post is a little old, but I just wanted to comment and say I definitely did not feel this way at all about Cooley's PEP admission program when I attended. Yes, there were a lot of minorities but I did not feel singled out at all because I am Caucasian. The two professors were fair, and treated everyone equally regardless of race. I was accepted to Cooley through this program, and I am a Caucasian male, so if you are considering attending PEP, it is actually a very helpful and interesting program. Yes, it is hard, but do your work and prove to them you can make it in a law school setting and you will succeed regardless of race or gender! I never felt like the program was a scam or anything other than an opportunity for aspiring law students to show they can handle law school even if their LSAT scores were low. I also am very excited to be attending Cooley, and don't think people should be bashing the school. What you do with your law degree largely depends on you, and your own personal drive. Just because you go to Harvard doesn't mean you will automatically be a hotshot lawyer. Anyway, that's just my two cents.