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Author Topic: I wouldn't choose Toledo again  (Read 8632 times)

optionK

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I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« on: November 20, 2009, 08:17:32 AM »
I found a blog that pretty succinctly states my feelings about choosing Toledo. The blog applies to scholarship students, but I think it is applicable to anyone who attends UT and is not a part-time/transitional students. The following is the blog posted in full without modifications:
"THIS POST IS PURELY BASED UPON MY OPINION AND IS NOT INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES

So, you received your acceptance from the University of Toledo College of Law. Maybe you were thinking of holding out for a law school with a higher ranking, but you also received a SCHOLARSHIP with the acceptance letter. That's very tempting. Imagine going to a school that has more opportunities, but will leave you burdened with debt or going to a school that has a sliding reputation but will be free. Sometimes people will do a cost/benefit analysis and believe that Toledo is a better choice. In this job market, is it worthwhile to assume a huge debt without knowing what future career opportunities may arise?

The short answer is yes -- you should avoid Toledo College of Law.

Now to the lengthy answer: That tempting Toledo College of Law scholarship is a fraud, in my opinion. The scholarship is appealing to prospective students who may not want to leave law school with a debt load. Thus, a person could easily be swayed from attending a top 50 law school in favor of Toledo because the offer. However, there is a lot that Toledo is not stating when they offer merit scholarships.

First, Toledo Law allows what they call "transitional students." Transitional students are offered the ability to become full time students after successful completion of one academic year. In the first semester, these students will take 3 courses, and then a normal course load in the second semester. Transitional students take summer courses that allow them to enter their second year with the same credit hours as full-time students.

From my understanding, Toledo does this in an effort to avoid plummeting even further in the rankings. Transitional students are not counted in the LSAT/GPA scores, thus the law school rankings that place such an emphasis on these factors are being duped.

However, the reason transitional students are important to a person who may have been offered a scholarship is the first semester course load. Transitional students will be in the same classes as full-time students, thus their grades are counted into the class curve as though they were full-time students. There is no separation of full-time classes and transitional classes. While full-time students are dealing with a full course load during the first semester, the transitional students are given the benefit of taking two fewer classes. The amount of additional study time that transitional students have at their disposal and the fact that transitional students have to memorize far less information will become very obvious when exams are graded. Transitional students have traditionally done very well from what I have witnessed from my first year at Toledo.

Aside from the lessened course load and skirting the law rankings, traditional students will play a huge role in whether you are able to keep a scholarship. The transitional students will likely doom your first semester grades since transitional students account for probably a third to half of the first year students. However, Toledo has been silent in creating a grading scheme that separates transitional and full-time students. Instead, the grades of transitional students are compiled with full-time students in creating a curve for the class. In a law school setting, where grades are competitive, this means that many full-time students who would have gotten high marks on first semester exams are given lower, if not mediocre, grades.

When a student on merit-scholarship must attain a 3.3 cumulative GPA to continue on scholarship, this means that Toledo is hedging against that result. A very manipulative scheme, in my opinion. The results are that maybe half of the merit scholarship students will continue into the second year with their scholarship intact. Suddenly, students that were looking to graduate with no debt are burdened with debt they would have acquired at a much higher ranked school. While Toledo has around 20 firms represented at the on-campus interviews, many school will have 100+ firms at their on-campus interviews. The difference that those numbers alone will make in future earning power is astonishing. Most upper-level students I know at Toledo will be entering careers that pay equivalent to jobs attainable with a bachelors degree.

Now, a person could easily say that I am just a scorned student who lost his scholarship. The fact is that I have maintained a ranking in the top 5% of my class, I have my scholarship and a position with a great firm when I graduate. What I do despise is the number of people I know who should still be on scholarship, but were slighted by first semester grades and now have little or no hope in future employment. These are brilliant students who studied hard for LSATs and law school, but they barely missed the 3.3 cut-off because of the policies in place at Toledo to allow transitional students in the same classes as full-time students. An unfair policy that is only in place to prop up the ranking numbers while still allowing Toledo to collect a substantial sum of tuition dollars."
 

Toledo2011

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2009, 12:01:19 PM »
You're entitled to your opinion, but Toledo is supposed to be ending the transitional program starting with the Fall of 2010 class.

I'm surprised you're unaware of that, since it pretty much undercuts a huge portion of your rationale for not accepting a full scholarship to UT.

It's also surprising to me that other students get worked up about the transitional program. Personally, I think it's a much bigger disadvantage than advantage on the whole. Is the first semester an advantage? Sure. But going from 2 exams first semester to 5 exams and the appellate brief for legal research in the second semester is a huge jump for the transitionals. Many struggle with it. In my opinion it more than evens out any advantages the first semester offers.

I went to UT because of the scholarship and so far it's worked out really well for me. I have friends who are 2Ls at Michigan and we interviewed with many of the same firms this summer. The biggest difference between our experience so far is they'll graduate with as much as 150k in debt and I'll have under $5k (at least so far).

Experiences will, of course, vary.

optionK

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2009, 06:06:56 PM »
I did accept the scholarship at UT and I'm a 1L, so that's why I feel that the blog I posted was relevant. I never mentioned anything about passing up the scholarship, but did have a motive to let prospective students know that this situation exists.

I have not heard any statements regarding the removal of the transitional program. In fact, in a response to my e-mail questioning the reasoning for transitional students attending classes with full-time students, Toledo gave no indication of the program being terminated. In their defense, they would have no reason to indicate that in their reply since I am a student. However, even if I take the termination as true, I still would question if such a termination would happen. Knowing the number of transitional students that are enrolled in my classes, I would tend to believe that the removal of the transitional program will only lead to a reincarnation of the program under different terms and name. Why would UT sever such a huge source of income when the budget is already beyond tight?

The transitional program was put into place by former Dean Closius to increase Toledo's ranking, which eventually backfired (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121971712700771731.html). The program reduced full-time students being accepted but maintained income for the school by creating these transitional students. Toledo cannot simply collapse the transitional program and lose that money when full-time acceptance has been reduced. Based on that, I doubt a true removal of the transitional program is going to happen.

Anyhow, while the course load for transitional students does increase in the second semester, I still follow the belief of the blog about the damage to first semester grades. Classes should be separated for full-time and part-time students. There is a tremendous difference between 3 and 5 courses that should not allow the students to be judged on equal grounds. Regardless of any leveling that may occur in the second semester, Toledo should not have the program in place at all.

Bottom line, the way I see it, is that Toledo could easily fix the problem, but has not done so. Maintaining the program up to this point is irresponsible in light of the curved grading scale, and there is little rationale for the combination of full-time/transitional students. The rationale that did resonate from the blog was that the transitional program allows Toledo to both save and make money (loss of scholarships/gain of tuition from transitional). Universities run similarly to businesses and want to make money, but...

LegalLady2010

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 12:04:07 AM »
There are plenty of reasons not to go to Toledo, but the transitional program should not, in my opinion, be a major factor in your decision.

The reasons I would not choose Toledo again include: the lack firms outside of Toledo during OCI, the fact that the school is in Toledo, the lack of useful information from Career Services, the school's dramatic decrease in rank, the administration, the parking, the library, and the fact that I am at the top of my class without a job.

I also find fault with your logic. During the first semester, only full-time students are enrolled in Property and Torts.  Plus your legal writing grade from the first semester only contributes 30% to your overall LRW grade.  So really only 6 (Civ Pro and Contracts) of your 32 credits from your 1L year come from classes where transitional students are taking less credits than full-time students.  Plus, if it is true that the full-time students are students who are smart and performed well on the LSAT, one could make the argument that it would be harder to do well in the classes with only full-time students.  As full-time students should be the smartest students in the 1L class if you follow that logic. 

Bottom line.  I also would not choose to go to Toledo again.  However, not because of the transitional program.  If you are going to do well in law school, it does not depend on whether you are competing with only full-time students. You will figure out how to study, understand the material and do well on exams.  That is it.

Toledo2011

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 08:36:46 AM »
Ah, I see, you're a 1L who copied and pasted someone else's blog post.

It makes more sense now.

Do further research and you'll find what I'm telling you about the transitional program is true. It was reduced in numbers this year compared to historical numbers and is slated to be eliminated in the near future. Although the fact you're wasting time ripping on your school at a time when you should be slammed studying for finals is a curious thing.

LegalLady's opinions are all fair, although I'd argue that falling from a ranking in the high 80s to the third tier isn't so much a dramatic decrease in rank as a return to historical norms. Toledo is what it is - a third tier Midwestern law school that gives out a ton of scholarship aid. In many ways, it is what you make of it. I know people in my class who had more than a dozen callbacks and people on law review who are disappointed in their inability to land a summer firm position. I know people who transferred from my class to schools that are ranked 25 to 55 and didn't get firm jobs either. What's the difference? I wish I knew, at least in some part luck.

Given that nothing is guaranteed, the chance to go to law school debt free certainly isn't a small thing. Should it make your decision for you? Absolutely not. It's one factor. Probably the best factor - along with the faculty - Toledo has going for it, but just one factor, and the other things LegalLady raises should be considered.

Toledo3L

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 08:58:09 AM »
Interesting topic and thread. I know some students have lost their scholarship after 1L due to being (very) slightly less than 3.3, and other students that were well above the 3.3 needed to maintain a scholarship.

Those courses with transitional students were the classes where I received my lowest grades, but I did well enough to maintain a scholarship. Someone on the margins who lost their scholarship has a great argument for fairness. All classes should compare apples to apples.

Overall, all of the reasons mentioned in this thread for not choosing UToledo are valid. UToledo needs an overhaul, and the transitional program is just one more instance where UToledo is a less than satisfactory school. I'm in the same class of students as LegalLady -- high class ranking and not a job in sight. Such students are not the exception at UToledo, but the norm.

Compare to my ex-roommate who went to OSU (ranked in the 30's), ranks in the middle of the class, but has a very nice job after graduation. Was the money I saved by having a scholarship worth foregoing debt at a higher ranked school? ABSOLUTELY NOT!  

optionK

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 09:56:34 AM »
Although the fact you're wasting time ripping on your school at a time when you should be slammed studying for finals is a curious thing.


Gosh, I already study from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. most days. Now you want me to cut out the few breaks I take between?

homegr0wn

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 04:42:44 PM »
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FalconJimmy

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 02:10:26 AM »
I'd argue that falling from a ranking in the high 80s to the third tier isn't so much a dramatic decrease in rank as a return to historical norms. Toledo is what it is - a third tier Midwestern law school that gives out a ton of scholarship aid.

2011 rankings just came out.  4th tier.  Honestly, that makes me question whether I want to go to this school.  I mean the rankings are flawed, but to be grouped with the absolute worst law schools in the country?  Even Akron fared better.

TTToledoXXXX

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Re: I wouldn't choose Toledo again
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 03:49:03 PM »
I'd argue that falling from a ranking in the high 80s to the third tier isn't so much a dramatic decrease in rank as a return to historical norms. Toledo is what it is - a third tier Midwestern law school that gives out a ton of scholarship aid.

2011 rankings just came out.  4th tier.  Honestly, that makes me question whether I want to go to this school.  I mean the rankings are flawed, but to be grouped with the absolute worst law schools in the country?  Even Akron fared better.

I started when the school was Tier 2 and have seen it descend into the 4th tier first hand (mainly because I am taking my sweet time graduating). My observations on the decline:

1. The quality of student attending now is much worse than when I started. I can see it in class discussion and class ranking.

2. The previous dean, Doug Ray, was not very good. He left last year.

3. The interim administrators have not been very good either.

4. The Career Services Office is terrible.

My recommendation is that unless you want to stick around Toledo metro and practice law, go somewhere else. You would be much better off attending school in an area you wouldn't mind living in.