By Vivian Kwok | Reporter
The first cohort of undergraduate students who received scholarships and conditional admission to the Baylor Law School as high school seniors through the Baylor² Law School Program (B2B Law) will be graduating this May. Pre-Law program coordinator Benjamin Cooper said it would be interesting to see what the students end up pursing.
“Did they graduate and go to Baylor Law? Did they go and get some work experience first?” Cooper said. “The program is so new that this year is really the first year of people completing their Baylor degree.”
According to the B2B Law School website, high school students eligible to apply must select the pre-law track on their application and submit it by November 1. The program “is designed for students with an interest in attending law school who have scored 1300/1360 (old/new) or above on the SAT (math and critical reading) or a 29 or above on the ACT,” according to its webpage.
Germantown, Tenn. alumna Sheridan Berry said she first heard about the B2B law scholarship through an email she received from Baylor during her senior year of high school.
“Since 2014 was the inaugural year for this B2B law scholarship, they told me I needed to send in a personal statement of my own along with my high school resumé,” Berry said.
This was Berry’s “first bar to clear” for her B2B application. She said in her personal statement, the interviewers wanted to know why she wanted to attend law school and how a law degree could further her career. Cooper said all the applications are reviewed and get dwindled down to about 60 applicants.
“They told me I would be invited for an interview at the law school if my resumé and personal statement were something they were looking for,” Berry said.
For Berry, she said law entices her because it can be used to administer justice. She said she enjoys serving others, and she desires to provide a voice for those who do not have one. She believes the law gives people an edge to help fight injustice.
“I found that my passion lies in giving a voice to those involved within our legal systems,” Berry said. “I have found that I cannot stand by and let an injustice be done to others if I in any way could be of help.”
Berry said her “second and final bar to clear” was the interview on campus. She said she met with numerous family friends who used her resume to ask her questions related to her high school activities.
“They helped me shape how my extracurricular activities aided me in preparing for a career in law,” Berry said.
Cooper said the approximately 60 applicants who get invited to campus participate in a series of interviews with faculty from the law school and undergraduate school. He said the applicants also participate in some on-campus activities including a mock law class and a Dr. Pepper Hour.
“From there, we each [give] feedback based on the interviews and interactions with students,” Cooper said. “And then six spots are awarded.”
Cooper said the award is a scholarship to both Baylor undergraduate and Baylor Law School and conditional admission to the law school “subject to certain GPA and LSAT test scores.” Cooper said he thinks provides an advantage to the B2B Law students.
“There’s a seat and there’s a scholarship waiting for them at Baylor Law School,” Cooper said. “[B2B Law] comes with the certainty of knowing that while you’re pursuing your studies at Baylor, there’s a seat in the law school waiting for you.”
According to Cooper, one of the most difficult requirements for the program is maintaining the overall 3.6 GPA. He said all the students who receive the scholarship tend to be very high achievers, hard workers and very academically focused.
“But the problem with that is sometimes students overcommit,” Cooper said. “One of the primary hurdles is managing that love of learning and the need to maintain a workload that’s manageable.”
However, Berry said maintaining her GPA was not as difficult for her as other aspects of the scholarship program. She said one of the requirements is to get involved in the pre-law department, and so she became a pre-law ambassador and competed in the undergraduate Mock Trial program. Berry said she enjoyed her roles, but it was more difficult to manage because she had other obligations and organization involvement.
“This scholarship is designed to keep the pressure on you until the very end,” Berry said. “I think I put most of on the pressure upon myself to perform at my highest potential.”
Still, Berry encourages people to take on difficult situations and opportunities because they build character and teach you more about yourself.
“I learned to jump into activities and opportunities that highlighted my weaknesses,” Berry said. “I stepped out of my comfort zone to better and stretch myself, so that my weaknesses could one day become my strengths.”
Berry encourages people to take risks because they may “pay off later.”
“For me I took a risk in replying to an email about a scholarship that I thought I was in no way qualified for,” Berry said. “Four years late I’m starting Baylor Law in the Summer.”