FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF ADMITTED STUDENTS
We know that you have many questions as you prepare to begin your legal education, and hope that this information helps answer some of those questions. You are also encouraged to ask questions on our Admitted Students Facebook Page.
Q: I have sent in my enrollment fee to secure my seat in the UHLC entering class. What happens now?
A: UHLC requires that applicants submit a $200 enrollment fee to secure their space in the class. We do not require a second deposit; however, we will require admitted students to complete an enrollment commitment form in June, indicating their intent to matriculate at UHLC. Additionally, if your email (and mailing) address changes during the summer, you should notify our office. We will be communicating with you throughout the summer via email, and failure to update your email address will result in your missing important emails.
Q: Can I defer my admission to law school?
A: Deferments are available on a case by case basis, depending on the reason for the deferment and the amount of time being requested. Admitted students seeking to defer must submit a request in writing to the Assistant Dean for Admissions. Deferments are not automatic and in many cases will not be approved. In such cases, it will be necessary to reapply for admission.
Q: I am excited to begin law school. When can I register for fall classes?
A: Entering law students will be separated into sections and registered administratively by the Office of Student Services, typically in July. Students must complete your Enrollment Commitment form in ordere to be registered.
Q: When will I receive my class schedule and book list?
A: Once Student Services has registered the first year class, they will send orientation and enrollment information to the entering class via email. This email will advise you of your first year section, and your class schedule. It is typically sent in mid-to-late July. You will also receive the schedule for orientation. Book lists are posted on the UHLC webpage.
Q: Where can I purchase my books?
A: The University Bookstore has a Law Center satellite located adjacent to the UH Law Center. Required texts, study materials, and UHLC merchandise can be purchased here. On the corner of Scott and Elgin, the College Store also stocks casebooks and merchandise for the UH Law Center.
Q: Do I have to purchase one of the recommended laptops? What if I already have a laptop?
A: Students are not required to purchase one of the recommended laptops. For students purchasing a recommended Dell via the purchasing link (http://www.law.uh.edu/lit) on the LIT webpage, the LIT department will offer full hardware and software support (such as ordering new parts, replacing parts, etc.). For students purchasing an Apple via the purchasing link on the LIT webpage, the LIT department will offer full software support and the CougarByte will offer full hardware support.
For students who opt to use a laptop other than the recommended models, the LIT department will assist where they can but will be limited in the assistance they can provide, particularly in regards to hardware problems. You will need to configure your laptop with the software given at Orientation and visit the IT webpage for details and instructions. A wireless card is required to access the Law Center's wireless network. No other specific hardware or software is required.
All students who plan to take exams on their laptops will have to complete a training for the exam software utilized at UHLC. Also, Cougar Byte at the University Center sells discounted software to members of the University of Houston community, http://www.cougarbyte.com/.
Q: Am I required to attend an orientation?
A: The Office of Student Services will provide mandatory orientation for entering part-time, and entering full-time students in mid August. Orientation will introduce students to the expectations, policies, and procedures of the UH Law Center, including the Honor Code. Students will also meet their student and faculty mentors, and complete a writing assessment. If a student has an unavoidable conflict with orientation, they should contact the Office of Admissions once they receive their orientation and enrollment information.
Q: What else should I be doing to prepare myself to begin law school?
A: All incoming UHLC students should read and be familiar with the Student Handbook, http://www.law.uh.edu/student/Handbook.pdf., and the Student Honor Code, http://www.law.uh.edu/student/HONORCODE.pdf. These documents detail the governing policies and procedures at the Law Center.
We have a list of books that have been recommended by our faculty (available here), but please don't feel that you need to read all of them, or that you will be behind if you choose to read none of them. If you are not familiar with Houston, you probably will want to arrive in town well before school starts so that you can get familiar with the city and your neighborhoods. Things to consider include finding the closest branch and ATMs of your bank, figuring out the best route to get to school and back home, where are the convenient (and cheapest) gas stations, and where you'll buy groceries. You also want to think about what things you can do to make life easier for you as a law student (automatic bill pay for your utilities, setting up an Outlook calendar with your family members' birthdays so that they don't feel you've forgotten them). And don't forget about planning for and setting aside time to relax and have fun; the University of Houston has a great recreation center that law students are members of, and there are lots of gyms, parks, museums, and live music venues that provide students with a break from law school.
Q: What is expected of students on the first class day?
A: First day assignments will be posted on the UHLC webpage one to two weeks before the first day of classes. Students are expected to have read the assignments and be prepared to discuss them in class on the first day. Some professors will have already assigned seats, and others will create a seating chart on the first day, allowing you to select your seat.
Q: What about class attendance?
A: The UHLC has a minimum 80% attendance requirement. Any student who attends fewer than the minumum percentage of classes may be automatically dropped from the class. Faculty are free to impose stricter attendance requirements, or to consider students who are late or leave early absent for that day; most will discuss their attendance policies in their syllabi. Faculty use different methods to monitor attendance, including roll calls, use of the seating chart, sign-in sheets, or requiring students to make an honor code certification at the end of the semester. Falsifying class attendance is a violation of the UHLC Honor Code.
Q: How are grades determined? Can you explain blind grading and the curve?
A: Most courses have one exam at the end of the course. Letter grades are given to students in all courses and seminars, with numerical equivalents on a four point scale. Prior to the exam period, students will be issued an exam number by the Office of Student Services. This number will be used for all exams that semester. Faculty members submit grade sheets with exam numbers to student services for processing. Professor who credit for class participation or other factors will submit a separate list of those students who are to receive bonus/deduction points. Courses in which seminar papers or projects are the basis of the grade are not subject to blind grading. As the Office of Student Services processes grades, they will review the grades of all the students to verify that the class mean grade is within the guidelines of the curve. For first year courses, the mandatory curve is 2.9-3.1. More information about the curve is available in the Student Handbook.
Q: At my undergraduate school, all you needed was a 2.0 g.p.a. to be in good standing. Is this the policy in the JD program at UHLC?
A: No. The good standing policy for students entering in May 2006 and thereafter requires that students maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the completion of each semester or summer session to remain in good standing. A student who fails to achieve a 2.5 in any one semester, regardless of cumulative GPA, is placed on probation. Any student on probation will have one semester to raise the cumulative GPA to the required 2.5 or be dismissed for academic deficiency. A student who has a cumulative GPA of less than 2.7 will be subject to academic warning. This policy is described in detail in the Student Handbook, http://www.law.uh.edu/student/Handbook.pdf.
Q: I was admitted to the part-time program, but now realize that I would prefer to be a full-time student (or vice-versa). How can I change programs?
A: Students wishing to switch to the full-time program may petition the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to be re-classified, after completion of the first year curriculum (petitions may be submitted before the 2L fall semester begins). Petitions are considered on a space-available basis. Students with extenuating circumstances should include that information with their petition.
Q: Can a student take a leave of absence?
A: Leaves of absence are granted for compelling reasons, but whenever this occurs during the first year it creates significant problems because of the sequencing of the first year curriculum. For that reason, students requesting a leave of absence will be required to take a leave for an entire year. Students contemplating the need to have a mid first year leave of absence for pregnancy, business, or other reasons are encouraged to contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs as early as possible. In some cases, it may be adviseable to defer beginning law school for a year, rather than taking a leave of absence.
Q: Who do students see about problems?
A: Students should contact the Office of Student Services about most concerns relating to scheduling, personal, or health problems affecting law school, and academic concerns. Students are also encouraged to discuss academic concerns with course instructors. For problems related to other aspects of students services (grades errors, registration, etc.), students should see the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
The UH Counseling and Psychological Services Office (CAPS) provides quality mental health services to the UH campus community and helps clients develop the skills necessary for personal, academic, and social success. CAPS services include: Crisis Intervention; Individual, Couples, and Group Counseling; Career Exploration and Testing; Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Personality Assessment; Outreach and Consultation; and workshops. http://www.caps.uh.edu/