UH Law School's Admissions Q&A sessions offer valuable nitty-gritty advice to prospective applicants

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Nov 24, 2015

Admissions event at the UH Law Library.
Admissions event at the UH Law Library.

Prospective law students heard down-to-earth advice about how to finance their professional education, and learned what admissions directors look for in applications, during an informal gathering at the UH Law Library this past week.

There will be two more University of Hawai‘i admissions events on December 1, 2015, offering more help in applying to the William S. Richardson School of Law as well as to other graduate programs at UH Mānoa.

“Law school is the best time to discover what you’re interested in,” said Erin Fale ’18, one of three law students who joined the gathering to share their experiences. “I see a ton of people who may not want to take the Bar but feel law is important for any career.”

UH Law School Admissions Director Elisabeth Steele Hutchison spoke about three areas critically important to admissions committees: LSAT scores; undergrad GPA; and everything else, which includes a personal statement, work experience, and letters of recommendation. And she advised prospective applicants to ask for feedback from friends and associates to ensure that their applications truly reflect who they are.

Financial Aid Manager Cyrelle White suggested that, even if  prospective applicants haven’t entirely decided to apply to the UH Law School, they should file a FAFSA and apply for scholarships.

“Fill out the FAFSA early – it opens December 31 – because our grants are priority funding,” said White. “The sooner you fill it out, the more likely you are to receive a grant. The vast majority of students receive financial aid through federal loans, need-based grants, and some merit-based aid.”

Law students may borrow enough funding to cover all their needs, including tuition, housing, books, and other miscellaneous costs, depending on their total borrowing so far, said White. Graduate and professional degree students may borrow up to $20,500 annually as an unsubsidized federal Stafford loan. The federal Stafford loan cap is currently $138,500 for total graduate debt, which includes borrowing for undergraduate studies.

Hutchison and White noted the high employment rates of UH Richardson Law School graduates, as well as the relatively low amount of student debt that Richardson graduates carry upon graduation. National rankings show that Richardson graduates carry the second lowest level of law school debt in the United States, while their employment rates are among the highest.

Richardson Law School provides flexibility for students, including both day and evening tracks, with the latter enabling students to continue working day jobs. Students may also transfer between the two programs.

In partnership with the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business, Richardson Law School also offers a unique joint degree program that enables students interested in both graduate areas to earn both a JD and an MBA in four years.

For more information about applying to Richardson Law School, please see: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/admissions

Two more upcoming events will help graduate degree planning:

  • Tuesday, December 110:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. UH Campus Center Courtyard. This is an open forum that will include about 40 graduate and law school representatives offering the opportunity to speak face-to-face with admissions officers about programs and requirements, including joint programs such as the JD/MBA.
  • Tuesday, December 1:  5:30 to 7 p.m., Law Library, Classroom 119. Q&A with Admissions Directors from several West Coast law schools. This open-ended discussion will offer additional information about the admissions process and what is needed from applicants.

For more information, visit: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/