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Author Topic: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?  (Read 771 times)

TheNewGuy

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Hi, thought I would put this on the students thread (as an 0L) who really needs students' imput for this question.

I'm looking at two different schools, and one stiking difference between them is that one of the schools has a course listing which is much more expansive than the other's --- courses cover more "focus" areas, specific topics, etc. and there is a greater number of choices overall.

Could this be a "quality vs. quantity" issue? Or are there some good advantages to specific coursework?

Some background info: I've done paralegal work at a a big firm for two years - so I've been well exposed to the practice of law, and I do have a general idea for what specifics I'd be interested in. However, I understand it would be silly to think I know what exactly I'll wind up doing once I get out of school.

Loyola has the more narrowly-tailored curriculum
DePaul has a lot more electives

...but could you try and not let too much prejudice over the schools themselves override the question?

Thanks for the help!

AtlantaSteve

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 11:22:49 PM »
Both those schools are in the same tier, so it's not like a situation where you're comparing an awesome school against a terrible one.  I mean, when in doubt it's fairly obvious that more choices are better than less... but some other factors have to be in play or else the prestigue of the two schools wouldn't be so comparable.  Maybe the school with fewer electives does a better job in teaching the classes it does have.

Do you have any idea what area of law you want to practice in?  I know that's a silly question, since you'll probably waffle back and forth between different paths while you're in school.  However, if your 0L plans are for some incredibly specialized and narrow niche, I could see greater choice in electives carrying SOME weight.  I suspect your success in a narrow specialty has a lot more with seeking out the right internship than anything you're doing in class though.

Ultimately, I'm just rambling here.  I don't want to be dismissive toward your question, but if you work in a law firm right now you should really seek out the advice of the lawyers there, rather than us law students and pre-law students on LSD who probably have less knowledge of real legal practice than you do at this point.  Best of luck to you!

TheNewGuy

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2007, 10:18:08 AM »
Quote
Ultimately, I'm just rambling here.  I don't want to be dismissive toward your question, but if you work in a law firm right now you should really seek out the advice of the lawyers there, rather than us law students and pre-law students on LSD who probably have less knowledge of real legal practice than you do at this point.  Best of luck to you!

Eh, really if anything my questions just raise more questions after a while... nobody seems to reall know - they can just relate to their own experience and how they got to where they are.

Although I think the ppl removed from school tend to want to say Loyola>DePaul, and I'm not so sure that's really all that valid anymore. But okay, not to steer away from the question...

GA-fan

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2007, 10:56:49 AM »
Just because they list a bunch of courses in teh catalog doesn't mean they ever teach them. I'd take a look at what's actually been offered the last couple semesters for a better idea. My school is horrible about offering your choice of 15 electives any given semester, so the choice is overridden by what classes you can actually get into before they fill up...

cesco

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2007, 11:22:48 AM »
Just because they list a bunch of courses in teh catalog doesn't mean they ever teach them. I'd take a look at what's actually been offered the last couple semesters for a better idea. My school is horrible about offering your choice of 15 electives any given semester, so the choice is overridden by what classes you can actually get into before they fill up...

This is a good point.  From what I understand, this is a problem at my school as well.
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slacker

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2007, 12:05:20 PM »
The question of which electives is also, to use a term, fact-specific. Do you want electives for a certain concentration? If so, then as suggested, look at what's actually been offered recently and use that to help your decision. Alternatively, do you want electives that cover more of the bar basics? If so, then either school will probably have you covered.

TheNewGuy

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2007, 05:04:26 PM »
Just because they list a bunch of courses in teh catalog doesn't mean they ever teach them. I'd take a look at what's actually been offered the last couple semesters for a better idea. My school is horrible about offering your choice of 15 electives any given semester, so the choice is overridden by what classes you can actually get into before they fill up...

Alright I'll try and ask an administrator about this then, and see if I can get a list. Thanks for the heads up.

roygbiv

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2007, 10:47:38 PM »
To me, they're only important because being able to choose classes you're interested in means you'll have a little more motivation to stay focused and then hopefully get better grades. In the end, it matters very little to your employer and most all of the bar-related courses will be taught in BARBRI. Not one person in an interview really talked about my class choices except to make small talk. I find schools that don't offer a lot of electives generally do so because they "teach for the bar" and only offer classes offered on the bar so as to boost bar passage rates.

txlawstu

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Re: Can anyone give a rundown of the importance of curriculum electives?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2007, 11:46:52 AM »
Just because they list a bunch of courses in teh catalog doesn't mean they ever teach them.

I completely agree with this statement.  They may teach it, but only once every other year and it fills up extremely fast and you won't be able to get in it anyway, or teach it once in a blue moon just so they can keep it in the catalog as an elective taught.  You really do need to see the registration schedules to get a better idea of what electives are really being taught and talk to someone about when they offer courses your interested in.  Don't base your decision on the catalog entries, they may look impressive but aren't realistic.