Academic Success Program (ASP)

The Academic Success Program is an emblem of the College of Law’s commitment to the success of each of its students. The program consists of several elements, including first-year small-group tutorial sessions, a first-year exam-writing seminar, an upper-level skills course, and a third-year course in Legal Analysis: Skills and Strategies.

First-Year ASP.  The Academic Success Program begins during the first semester of the first year, with small group tutorials organized around the first-year substantive law courses such as Civil Procedure and Contracts. These tutorial sessions are facilitated by second and third-year students and are offered weekly throughout the first year of law school. The 50-minute tutorials focus on learning skills such as note-taking techniques, case-briefing skills and exam-writing techniques. The tutorials (one for each substantive law course) may be scheduled at any time between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. between Monday and Friday, depending on tutorial resources and the nature of the first-year schedule. Materials created for and utilized in these tutorials will be available on the 1L ASP TWEN site.

Selected students whose objective criteria indicate that they will benefit from additional assistance are required to participate in the small group tutorial sessions throughout their first year of law school as a condition to their admission and continued matriculation. These students will be selected during the admissions process and will be notified of this requirement as part of their acceptance to the College of Law. Other students will be invited to participate voluntarily in the first-year tutorial sessions as space permits. These students will be notified of their eligibility prior to or immediately after the first-year fall classes begin.

In addition to conducting the tutorials, ASP study group leaders/tutors offer regularly scheduled weekly office hours open to the entire first-year-class. A schedule of these office hours will be posted on the Legal Writing/ASP bulletin board and distributed to all first-year students. The ASP coordinators/legal writing faculty are also available to discuss students’ individual concerns.

In the second prong of the first-year program, all first-year students with cumulative fall semester GPAs of 2.2 or lower are required to participate in the ASP tutorial sessions during the spring semester of their first year of law school, even if they were not required to participate during the first semester. Students with 2.2 or lower GPAs will also be required to participate in an intensive six- to eight-week exam-writing seminar during the same semester. These weekly sessions offer students the opportunity to receive feedback from the ASP coordinators/legal writing faculty on their responses to hypothetical problems similar to those used during final exams.

Upper-Level ASP.  Second-year students with cumulative first-year GPAs of 2.4 or lower are required, as a condition to their continued matriculation, to participate in an upper-level Academic Success Program designed to furnish additional training by giving students the opportunity to improve fundamentals such as outlining and note-taking skills and by providing individualized feedback from the ASP coordinators/legal writing instructors on practice exam questions. These upper-level ASP sessions are typically held for fifty minutes on Wednesdays at noon unless a more convenient time can be arranged in consultation with the participants. Finally, students with the ten lowest cumulative GPAs at the end of the second year of law school will be required to enroll in the College of Law’s Legal Analysis: Skills and Strategies course offered in the sixth semester of law school. The remaining slots in the course will be open for general enrollment. This course offers the students the opportunity to further develop the skills required to pass the bar examination.

A Student’s Perspective on 1st year ASP:

“The Academic Success Program was one of the most useful programs, helping me to succeed in my 1L year. For me, it was an extra study group that would help me refresh my memory of cases and topics. In addition, my ASP tutors helped me ‘learn the ropes’ of what professors wanted, what was important, how I should brief cases, read cases, how to outline to prepare for finals, and how to write answers for essay questions. I consider myself fortunate that I was in the program because I wanted all the help I could get to survive the ‘dreaded’ first year of law school. I enjoyed it so much and I was fortunate to be hired to be one of the ASP tutors. It has been a privilege to be on the other side by being a tutor and helping first-year students.” – Alex G.

Note: The above is a general description of the Academic Success Program. For more information and a fuller explanation of academic policy with respect to the program, see the Student Handbook. In particular, students who matriculated before August 2012 should consult the Student Handbook for applicable requirements, some of which differ from the above description.