This is my third year to direct the Academic Success Program (“ASP”) at the law school. This program has multiple components, but at its heart, it helps first-year law students learn the skills necessary to succeed on law school exams — which are the same skills necessary for ultimate success on the bar exam.
In the fall semester, the ASP offers weekly, large group “skills workshops” to the 1Ls interested in attending. After giving everyone the first week of class to settle in, we offer five consecutive workshops that cover the major skills necessary for academic success — class preparation, time management, outlining, essay-writing, and multiple choice. Afterward, the weekly workshops offer the students valuable opportunities to take practice tests.
In addition to the weekly large group sessions, we also offer smaller group skills sessions each week, taught by successful upper-division “teaching fellows,” that provide interested students the opportunity to practice the skill taught that week (and then later, to obtain feedback on the practice tests).
Yesterday, Professor Naomi Goodno conducted the workshop on “outlining” and 121 students showed up to learn this critical skill (out of 201 students in the 1L class).
“Outlining” is not a nebulous concept (it is just what it sounds like), but it tends to seem like a secret skill to first year law students. The ability to take a LOT of material and distill it down to the concepts you need to have in your brain for a law school examination is critical to academic success — and it isn’t easy. Professor Goodno is fantastic at teaching this skill, and I know that the students in attendance yesterday received an excellent introduction to the outlining process.
Assistant Dean for Student Life