Many students have also complained about the lack of support from Fordham in their endeavors to pursue higher degrees. To its credit, Fordham does offer a pre-health and a pre-law program. I was personally enrolled in the latter.
The pre-law program did its part to strengthen my understanding of the adversity that face law school applicants and graduates, highlighting reasons against applying to law school. Dean Erin Burke, who runs the pre-law program, was always clear and accessible in her message during my application process; she was an invaluable resource for any student wishing to apply to law school. Although Burke is great (if you are interested in law and have questions, I strongly encourage you to speak with her), the pre-law symposium ended after one semester and did little to help me prepare for the LSAT.
Burke, to her credit, has worked to amend this by starting an LSAT tutor program this fall and holding LSAT classes from outside groups on campus; however, the pre-law program needs a stronger curriculum and advising structure. The university needs a support staff to continue education and preparation for law school through all four years of undergraduate education. Many schools have a pre-law concentration or minor that requires students to take courses before submitting law school applications. This would be a great program for Fordham.
The Fordham website instructs those seeking to apply to graduate schools in fields other than law or health to contact Dean Gould; however, although pre-law students have a dean to help them, there is no dean of graduate advising. Dean Gould serves as dean of juniors.
Career services has a listed specialist in preparing graduate school applications. It would be a great investment for the university to create a staff of graduate advisors whose sole duty would be to advise and help guide students through the difficult application process. Dean Burke’s growing program should be looked to as an example of how this could be set up.
Fordham should appoint a dean of graduate advising, equipped with a small support staff to run workshops, classes, lectures and office hours to provide clearer resources and guidance for those seeking graduate degrees. The Career Services website states that six percent of the class of 2012 is doing “Other activities, (e.g., preparing for professional and graduate school exams).” It would be a wonderful opportunity for Fordham to reduce this number by giving students tools, resources and support during their undergraduate years, allowing them to continue into graduate programs rather than having to take a year off.
Hopefully Fordham will continue to follow Dean Burke’s leadership and give students and faculty the resources to strengthen their graduate advising programs in the years to come.