Monday, March 2, 2020

Concentrating on Concentrations

Because it is my last year of law school, there were a lot of things on my mind during the summer before 3L when I was planning my courses. I was constantly thinking:

  • “What classes am I going to take during this last year?”
  • “Do I have enough units to graduate?”
  •  “Did I take enough bar courses?”
  • “Do I have enough time and am I going to finish my entertainment concentration by May?”
  • “Am I taking classes that are interesting to me?”
  • “What am I doing with my life?”
  • “Where did the time go?”

So how did I handle the daunting task of planning out not just one semester but an entire year? Luckily, Loyola has fantastic professors and resources that help you figure this kind of thing out and make sure that you’re on the right track to get everything done before graduation.

The first step was looking at the Loyola “Degree Works” page, which basically operates as a checklist for graduation. It lists things you must complete to graduate, such as the residency requirement, upper division writing, mandatory bar courses that everyone has to take, pro bono hours, experiential learning, minimum GPA, etc. and marks them off as you go or lists them as pending if you are currently registered but haven’t completed at the time of the check. It also lists the requirements for concentrations and tells you what your separate concentration GPA is. 

The second step was creating at least one ideal schedule for the year and at least one back-up. Some courses that I needed for graduation and my concentration were offered either in one semester or both but at different times. Other courses satisfied both the concentration and graduation requirements. The challenge was trying to create a schedule that would allow me to meet the requirements for both and have time to work during the week. I compared the registrar’s present semester’s course offerings list with those from other past semesters to determine which semester I would take which course. Then, I found a schedule-maker online and color-coded the classes that I needed to graduate and satisfy the concentration.

Ideal Schedule:

Back-up Schedule:

The third step was reaching out to Professors Craig and Wells and having them take a look at my ideal and back-up schedules. This was really important for me to do because it’s so easy to get caught up in picking out classes that one minute I’m good with units and the next I’m way over the maximum cap. Such professors or counselors because they can provide their honest opinions regarding whether your ideal schedule is realistic and perfect or if it’s going to be overly-taxing and time-consuming. Another reason to reach out to them is because they’ve dealt with similar issues that inevitably come up with other students in the past and know how to arrive at reasonable solutions.

The final step was actually signing up for the classes at exactly 7:00 am when registration opened and trying to get into as many of the classes I wanted to get into. Sometimes a class is limited to only a handful of students and it fills up before you can register, but that’s why you have back-up schedules and why the registrar creates a running waitlist.

As you can see, the 3L academic schedule that I ended up with consists of taking at least two bar courses every semester and completing the requirements for the transactional entertainment concentration.

Final Fall 2019:

Final Spring 2020:

So take a deep breath, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’ve got time and access to fantastic people who will help you get everything figured out.

Until next time friends!