Students in the University Honors Program at SIUE who graduate with any bachelor’s degree are now guaranteed admission to SIUC’s School of Law, as long as they maintain GPA and curriculum requirements.
The program is available now for the classes of 2021 and beyond. To be eligible for the program, an honors student must maintain a 3.2 GPA, complete the 19-hour honors curriculum and service requirements, complete 15 hours of honors pre-law program courses, score in the 85th percentile on the ACT or SAT and take the LSAT.
Students can still apply to other law schools while participating in the program, and there is no penalty if students decide they are no longer interested in legal education.
Cindy Galway Buys, the interim dean of the SIU School of Law, said the undergraduate honors pre-law program started about four or five years ago at Carbondale, and conversations to make the option available to Edwardsville students started roughly three years ago.
“It’s been a long time but other than just, you know, the time involved it’s not been a problem at all. The folks here at Edwardsville have been wonderful to work with,” Buys said.
Ian Toberman, assistant director for the university honors program, said SIUE’s inclusion in the program will benefit both schools.
“It helps the law school by giving them access to a strong academically performing group of students,” Toberman said. “I think for our students it can relieve some pressure where they know that there is a place that will have them. They may not choose Carbondale as their first choice, but they know it exists.”
He also said it will help the honors program by making it appealing to students interested in law.
Buys was on campus on Jan. 30 to speak about immigration law and introduce the program to students. One of the students at the event was sophomore business administration major Maddie Walters, of Elizabeth, Illinois, who said she’s going to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m really excited about it … it’s going to be pretty simple to be able to get a couple extra courses and have this opportunity that I don’t need to worry about admissions and the LSAT score and stress about it as much,” Walters said.
Toberman said this program can serve as inspiration for future collaboration between the two schools.
“It shows some real ability about how campuses can collaborate,” Toberman said. “I think it can become a model for our different types of programs on professional and graduate and doctoral degrees, and I think it shows a real investment and belief in what we’re doing with honors students here.”