Real Talk w/CJ: Graduate and Law School

Real Talk with CJ

Tue Oct 9, 2012
3:00 pm - 4:00pm
CJ Cafe (CJava)

Get tips on how to get into law school or graduate school from faculty members at Sam Houston State University at the next Real Talk w/CJ.

Dr. Kelly E. Knight, an assistant professor at the College of Criminal Justice, and Mike Yawn, pre-law advisor at SHSU, will provide an overview of what you need to know to pursue advanced degrees. There are basically three routes to choose in graduate education – law school, academic research and teaching or professional advancement.

“These types of sessions are a must-do for students who plan to go on to graduate-level education,” said Professor Yawn. “You can get a head start in the foot race.”

Dr. Knight will discuss the process of getting into graduate school, including researching programs and topics of study, working with undergraduate professors, taking the GRE, formulating a personal essay and compiling test score, writing samples and grades.

“The thing I would like students to know is to start early,” said Dr. Knight. “Don’t wait until your senior year. Start as a freshman or sophomore. Take time to figure out your passion. I advocate for a mix of real work experience and academics. It better informs your graduate studies.”

Picture of three law student hold law book and scales of justice.Professor Yawn hopes to clear up some misconceptions about law school and identify the criteria that law schools use for admittance, such as LSAT scores, grades, letters of recommendations, and personal essays. He will identify a timeline for actions in the process and discuss realistic expectations for employment in the field.

“It isn’t a gravy train,” said Professor Yawn. “The further down you are in the class, it is even less of a gravy train. I would encourage all students to have a backup plan.”

Dr. Knight earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and her M.A. in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Oswego. She took three years in between each of her graduate degrees to apply what she was learning.

Before pursuing her Ph.D., she was a research associate at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, where she helped evaluate community assessment centers and Parents Anonymous as well as assisted on a project examining women and prison in California. After getting her undergraduate degree, she was a mental health counselor at a residential treatment facility and an intake counselor at a behavioral health care company.

Photo of student studying with books laid open across the table.Dr. Knight said graduate studies are expensive, require a lot of hard work and produce lots of stress. The decision to attend graduate school should not be taken lightly. If academia is your passion, students should be assisting on research projects as undergraduates. It will help them define and refine their future area of study.

“Don’t just apply because you don’t know what you want to do after graduation,” said Dr. Knight. “it’s expensive, it’s a lot of hard work and it creates lots of stress.”

Member of The Texas State University System