On the University of Georgia Athens campus, only half a mile separates Conner Hall, the administrative home of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and the UGA School of Law, currently heralded as the nation’s best value in legal education. Despite the proximity of these two powerhouses in higher education, the journey from undergraduate education to a law school acceptance letter may seem like a much greater distance.
But now, thanks to the UGA School of Law’s 3+3 program, that journey is now made easier for CAES students interested in studying the law.
The 3+3 program, which partners with undergraduate degree programs at multiple UGA schools and colleges, enables students to accelerate their education by applying to UGA’s School of Law during the spring of their third year of undergraduate study, a full year earlier than many candidates. If accepted, students begin their coursework as a full-time Juris Doctor candidate during the fall of their fourth year of undergraduate study.
Expanding the 3+3 program to include CAES students
CAES alumnus and current law student Brooke Raniere heard about the UGA School of Law’s 3+3 program and believes it will benefit other CAES students planning to pursue a legal education at UGA.
“Throughout my undergraduate program in CAES, I have always been interested in law school and saw that other colleges at UGA offered the 3+3 program. I thought CAES would be an excellent option for the track because many of my peers have expressed interest in law school,” said Raniere. “It seemed a perfect fit because CAES already offers many unique college-sponsored internships that touch the legal field, like the Georgia Legislative Internship Program and the Congressional Agricultural Fellowship.”
While serving as a CAES Ambassador, Raniere met with CAES Dean and Director Nick Place to suggest that the college pursue the opportunity for CAES students.
“After that, CAES faculty and staff made it happen,” Raniere said.
Though she did not apply to law school through the 3+3 program, Raniere’s suggestion was the catalyst for a new partnership between CAES and the UGA School of Law, facilitated by UGA staff members Whitney Jones and Shannon Hinson. Jones, the academic advisor who serves the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said the partnership is a great way for highly motivated students to accelerate their education in close relationship with their UGA advisors.
“This program is great for students who are early in their college career and considering law school. In forging the partnership, we’ve created a full plan for students that includes thoughtful use of any AP (advanced placement) and dual-enrollment credits, along with a roadmap for completing your undergraduate education in three years instead of the traditional four,” Jones said. “We really wanted to make this process as clear-cut as possible for students who are passionate about going to law school here at UGA.”
Helping students start law school early
For UGA’s School of Law, the program represents an opportunity to engage with CAES students and to create the relationships that help prepare students for a successful future, connect them with life-changing people and experiences, and foster a commitment to leadership through a first-rate legal education. Hinson, associate director of admissions and director of dual degree programs for the School of Law, said the meaningful student engagement the 3+3 program brings is the heart of the program.
“With 3+3, we’re able to have real conversations with students who are excited about a legal education — that’s what is so great about this partnership,” Hinson said. “This program is for students who have known for a while that law school is on their horizon and are really engaged with their academic success and progress at UGA. We’re committed to supporting their success in joining us here at UGA Law.”
By beginning law school early, students can save significant amounts of time and money while achieving their goals in both undergraduate and legal education.
“At the UGA School of Law, we are always interested in debt mitigation and developing relationships with those who are here to help students succeed — their advisor, admissions professionals and professors in both undergraduate and professional study. 3+3 allows us to do both of those things,” Hinson said.
For CAES students, specialized degrees in agricultural and environmental studies make them unique candidates for law school.
“I just finished my first semester of law school and the experiences I had in CAES have prepared me really well. Coming from a more specialized degree program has provided valuable perspectives when approaching different classes and materials,” Raniere said. “I highly recommend this program for any students interested in the UGA School of Law.”
For students interested in UGA School of Law’s 3+3 program, reaching out to an academic advisor is an important first step. To see a list of all CAES majors currently included in the 3+3 admissions program, visit agecon.uga.edu.