Penn State Law offers free program to experience life as a law student

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Penn State Law will host its annual weeklong residency program for undergraduate students at Pennsylvania colleges and universities, including Penn State World Campus, who are interested in learning more about  law school the week of May 17 on Penn State’s University Park campus.

The Explore Law program is aimed at providing an introduction to the study of law, providing support for students interested in a law degree, and helping students network and form friendships with other students of diverse backgrounds who share similar career goals. The program is completely cost-free for participants, with Penn State Law covering the tuition, meals, and room and board.

During the Explore Law experience, students will delve into the study of law, the analytical thinking skills of a lawyer, and the American legal system. Students also learn how to brief a case, analyze a statute, and negotiate and think like a lawyer. This taste of law school also comes with some LSAT practice and insight, allowing participants to begin studying for the LSAT with the help of an expert. 

The program comes with a history of success, and has been led by Penn State Law professor Michele Vollmer for the past five years. One of the primary goals of the program is to assist students from groups that are underrepresented in law schools and the legal profession and who may not have a mentor to teach them about a career in law.

“The Explore Law Program really influenced my decision to attend Penn State Law,” said Stephanie Lapple, Penn State graduate and current first-year student at Penn State Law. “I appreciated how the Penn State Law community was sincere in their efforts to make undergraduate students believe that they could succeed in a law school environment.”

One of the goals of Explore Law is to build confidence in its participants while they consider their future after college graduation. Lapple said that, “while it is natural for an undergraduate student to feel nervous or anxious about what law school will be like, the Penn State Explore Law Program demonstrated to me that I would be supported by an incredible faculty and study body as a first-year law student.  It also assured me that, if I chose Penn State, I would be challenged not only to succeed intellectually, but to develop into a professional and the utmost example of what it means to be Penn Stater--a leader in society.”

Matt Maragulia, class of 2017, said that the Explore Law program was the game-changer in his future. “As someone whose goal wasn't always to be a lawyer, Explore Law was my first experience in the legal world,” he said. “The professors and student volunteers were beyond helpful and provided me with the information I needed to decide whether or not law school was right for me. I don't think I would have finished my first semester of law school as successfully as I did without the Explore Law program.”

For Explore Law’s first four years, it was open only to Penn State undergraduates, but starting last year, the program has been opened to undergraduate students at any college or university in Pennsylvania who are considering whether to attend law school. Last year, it attracted students from a variety of Pennsylvania colleges, including Allegheny College, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Mansfield University, Marywood University, Susquehanna University, Temple University, Washington & Jefferson College, Penn State World Campus, and several other Penn State campuses.

To learn more about Explore Law, check out a sample itinerary, or browse the Frequently Asked Questions.

Applications for the 2015 Explore Law Program are due March 29.

Last Updated July 22, 2015