Legal Education

Sophomore looks forward to her JD, which she'll start on as an undergradate

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When Aja Miyamoto is a senior at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, she will also take two law school classes as part of a program that allows people to get a combined undergraduate-JD degree in six years.

Graduates of the school’s “3-plus-3 program” save one year of tuition, and the classes taken during participants’ fourth year count toward undergraduate and law degrees, the Associated Press reports.

Miyamoto, 19, also has a part-time legal-assistant job, and she recently attended a law school function where she got to meet professors, students and alums.

“Before this, I was more undecided on what I wanted to do, but this program has allowed me to see what life will look like after graduation,” she told the news service. “Looking up to current attorneys and saying, ‘That’s going to be me one day’—that’s really exciting.”

Undergraduates enrolled in the program do have some flexibility if they ultimately decide against law school, Amy Adams, interim vice president of enrollment services at the law school, told the AP.

Tuition for full-time day students at Capital University Law School is $36,060 a year, according to its website. For the class of 2015, 42 percent had jobs that required law degrees, and 18 percent worked in positions that preferred applicants had JDs, the school reported.

Rachel Janutis, the law school’s interim dean, hopes that the six-year program helps students understand how to be successful as law students, and grasp the concept of what it means to be a lawyer.

“It helps the institution, as well, to have students who are better prepared,” she told the AP.

Until last year Ohio prohibited graduates of 3-plus-3 programs from taking the bar exam, and it was the last state to allow the practice, according to the article. Other universities also offer six-year, BA/JD programs; among the participating universities are the Suffolk University, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Iowa and the University of Oregon. The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits law schools, permits such programs.

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