By: Phil Rauch | Managing Editor
SCRANTON – The University of Scranton’s LSAT [Law School Admission Test] prep course, which has not yet been formally approved by the university, will be considered for credit approval in October but is not scheduled to run in the Spring semester.
The course, which is instructed by Dr. Matthew Meyer, did run in Spring 2020.
The course has been run twice as a “special topics” course. Once a professor runs a special topics course twice, meaning two semesters, it requires full approval by the CAS Curriculum Committee and the CAS Faculty Senate. This is required if the LSAT Prep Course will grant credits.
“If the LSAT course doesn’t get approved, it is likely that we will run a version of it that is not for credit,” Dr. Meyer said. “That is, I would just offer a series of LSAT prep classes that students could attend, but it wouldn’t appear on their transcript. We were considering offering this version this semester, but because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we thought it best to wait until the spring (when the regular course might be approved anyway). So it is in this sense that the pandemic affected the class.”
Dr. Meyer further added that, in his view, it was too difficult to conduct the course via Zoom, and he thought it best to minimize face-to-face contact.
Several students, including students who are entering the period in which they should be taking the LSAT on time so as to send them to their desired law schools, have had to pause and adjust their study plans due to the postponement.
Clara Downey, sophomore political science and pre-law student, was planning on taking Dr. Meyer’s LSAT prep course to supplement her study for the LSAT.
“I personally find it troubling, especially because it’s not only pre-law students, but pre-med, pre-dentistry, education, etc,” she said. “Students are losing an integral part of their specific educations. I know it will hopefully pick back up at one point or another, but COVID has thrown us off in so many ways. Will I have to wait an additional year or two to be truly prepared to take my LSAT exam? This is an issue so many students are facing.”
This is one the multitude of ways in which Scranton students have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, the move online and the postponement of certain courses.
Shontae Petrie, a sophomore sociology major with a concentration in legal studies, is another Scranton student who has had to pause plans.
“Hearing that Dr. Meyer’s LSAT prep course has been postponed was definitely shocking news to me,” she said. “I had already taken his Intro to Legal Studies course and it gave me so much insight as to what to expect. I knew I would definitely take any other class offered that would assist my preparation. I planned to take his prep course in the spring as it would effectively coincide with my personal LSAT studies. It’s very unfortunate that the pandemic has halted so many things, but I did not expect that class to be one of them. Hopefully, the course resumes for the spring semester because myself, along with many other pre-law students, were looking forward to taking this course.”
This change also impacts the time-sensitive 3+3 law program offered by the University. The 3+3 law program is a program here at the university which allows an expedited path for pre-law students to obtain their legal degrees.
Because the University of Scranton does not have a law school, the 3+3 program has established affiliations with various law schools who will allow Scranton students to complete first year law school credits in what would be a Scranton student’s senior year. You can refer to the 3+3 information page on the university’s website here.
Diya Patel, a sophomore political science and criminal justice major with a concentration in legal studies, is interested in pursuing the 3+3 program which is time sensitive.
“It’s quite upsetting knowing that given the current circumstances that we find ourselves in we must put a pause on certain academics as others outweigh them,” Patel said. “As someone who is looking to do the 3+3 law school program, it’s more challenging now not having those resources to aid me in putting my best foot forward when taking the LSAT. This definitely makes studying more difficult as it limits my options, but I understand that we are in the midst of a very difficult time.”
Dr. Meyer said he remains optimistic about the resumption of the course in the spring. This pause will hopefully not adversely impact the application process pre-law students are starting in some cases.