Facts Law Schools Don’t Want You to Know

This tweet just appeared in my feed:

With our high quality, self-paced degree programs you can get an accredited degree for around $6,000 #EndStudentDebt


What separates a “real” college from a fly-by-night diploma mill? One of the ways in which colleges and universities are vetted is by accreditation … and many new for-profit online start-ups like the one in the Twitter ad blast flaunt their accreditation as a validation of their legitimacy. But accreditation comes in many flavors.

Like all respectable colleges and universities, my institution, Ithaca College, is accredited by the US Dept of Education approved agency for our region, Middle States. The Park School of Communications, where I’m the Dean, falls within that overall institutional accreditation and in fact, we’re recognized as one of the top undergraduate communications schools in the nation. However, we are NOT accredited by the group that accredits many communications schools. And we’re going to keep it that way. Allow me to explain — because this is an important issue when prospective students and their families are considering college options.

Most non-profit or state universities and colleges in the US are accredited by a regional agency recognized by the US Department of Education. If an institution is not accredited, it can lose its eligibility for funding for financial aid and its credits may not be transferable to another college. These regional accrediting agencies base their decisions on an institution’s comprehensive self-study and on actual visits to ensure that they offer a solid curriculum with appropriately qualified faculty, that there are appropriate academic policies in place, and that the institution is financially solid and well-managed. It’s very important that any college you look at is accredited by one of these agencies — and colleges will prominently list this on their websites and catalogs.

To check to see if a college you’re interested in is accredited, you can visit the US Department of Education’s database.

Other vocational and for-profit institutions may be accredited by a national agency that covers a specific area. Some of these include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, and the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

That’s the easy part. Here’s where it gets hairy: Many individual schools or degree programs within an institution can also be accredited by an agency that’s specific to that discipline. For some, it’s mandatory. For instance, programs offering a degree in teacher education or in certain health sciences such as physical therapy MUST be accredited for students to be able to sit for licensing exams and for students to be considered for graduate study in that area.

In other disciplines, there is voluntary accreditation. Business is one of those fields. Journalism is another — and that’s one of the degrees in my school. Some journalism programs choose to apply for accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. We’ve never chosen to pursue this and here’s why.

The accreditation standards for ACEJMC actually limit the number of communications courses that students can take.They require that students take a minimum of 80 credits outside of the school while we require that students take at least 60 credits of their coursework outside of communications. But communications is a complex and rapidly changing field; to be competitive, students need a preparation that is both deep and broad. If you want to go into journalism, one course in reporting is not going to cut it. If you want to be a scriptwriter, you need many semesters of practice. Prospective communications professionals also need to learn about skills and practices related to their specific area of interest. Journalism students profit from being photography minors and taking courses in public relations. Cinema majors are well-advised to take some advertising courses lest they don’t get picked up by George Lucas to direct his next epic.

ACEJMC also limits the amount of internship credit a student may take in a degree to the equivalent of one course — 3 credits. That’s counter-intuitive. What we’re hearing is that to be employable, students need intensive and multiple internships. Our students often start out with a 1 credit internship after their freshman year, go to our Los Angeles, London or New York City programs and take 6 credits of internship (basically engaging in full-time work for a semester), and many of them do multiple internships in their home towns during the summer. We limit internships to 12 credits total.

Students come to the Park School and alumni are successful in large measure because we immediately immerse them in coursework in their majors starting day one — AND we promote intensive and meaningful internships. Does this make our students less academically prepared or narrow? I certainly don’t think so. Actually, we find that when students engage in internships and become immediately involved in their professional coursework, they are more likely to value the kinds of courses our college offers outside of their majors. They learn the value of speaking a second language, of being able to grasp scientific and economic concepts, and of being able to construct and balance a budget.

Many other schools of communication agree with our stance; in fact, only about a quarter of the over 400 programs seek accreditation — and some prestigious programs such as Ohio State have voluntarily given up their accreditation so that they could offer what they feel is a more valuable curriculum.

Program accreditation and rankings are also often based on the publication and grant record of a faculty. This makes sense for institutions that are focused on graduate study and primary research. It doesn’t make much sense for primarily undergraduate institutions. Ithaca College’s School of Business achieved accreditation by the most prestigious agencies, AACSB — but at the cost of reducing the teaching load of professors from 21 credits a year to 18 credits a year so that they could keep up with the stringent requirements of publishing required by the accreditation. That means that these great faculty teach less- and that overall the business school education is more expensive.

So accreditation is a two-edged sword. In today’s confusing marketplace, families certainly need some assurance of the quality of an institution and its programs. On the other hand, accrediting agencies are one of the many factors that lead to curricular stagnation — the very last thing that we need in higher education.

Who should decide which programs and colleges are “for real”? And on what basis? I’d love to hear your thoughts….
Follow Diane Gayeski, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DeanGayeski

Article From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Diane Gayeski, Ph.D.
Dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College

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Didn’t get into the law school? Don’t worry you are not alone!


Didn’t get into the law school?

Don’t worry you are not alone!

The California School of Law is an excellent alternative to giving up on your dream, taking the LSAT again, going $100K in debt, waiting another year, relocating or having a long commute.

The next semester begins November 2016. Live Virtual Classrooms The California School of Law is an online law school with the goal of providing an educational experience that is as close as possible to that offered at residential law school.

Online Law School

The classes meet each week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, where students can see and speak with their professors and classmates by logging into a live video classroom from a computer at home or work.

Classroom participation with professors obviously is an important part of law school, but communication between students also is important. At the California School of Law, students can form study groups to discuss cases, trade class outlines, prep for tests, as well as make friends and networking connections that last a lifetime.

Tuition and Financial Aid Tuition is charged by the Trimester.

* One Trimester $3,000.00 *
One year or Three Trimesters $9,000.00 *
4 year Juris Doctor degree $36,000.00

The California School of Law runs on trimesters, following a traditional 15 week/4 month law school semester.

California School of Law provides students with several affordable and attractive installment payment plans.
All students enrolled in the California School of Law will be approved for an installment loan with interest as low as 0%.

All plans require some payment while attending law school. Tuition is charged by the trimester, not the year, keeping both the principal and interest low.

The Application Process We are now accepting applications for the Winter term! If you are prepared to start law school and wish to begin the application process, go to:


In order to complete the application process, you will need to:

1. Sign the Electronic Signature Consent Form.

2. Fill out and sign the Application.

3. Pay the $75 application fee to the California School of Law. (non-refundable)

4. Have your transcripts sent from the college or university to the California School of Law.

If you are using the LSAC service, provide your LSAC# on the application.

Contact Information:If you wish to discuss whether the California School of Law is right for you, you may contact an academic counselor at 805-683-5337 or 866-970-4529. You also may reach us through email at: admissions@csoflaw.com. Social Networking Follow us on twitter @calschooloflaw and “like us” on facebook to receive the latest legal news and law school updates. Sincerely, Admissions Director 5276 Hollister Ave., Suite 262
Santa Barbara, CA 93111 805-683-5337 Fax: 805-683-5339