Western State Dean of Admissions Gloria Switzer
Law school is a huge investment of time and money, and is the entrée to a profession. So picking the right law school, where a student is going to do well, and thrive, and get launched on their career, is very important. And it’s important to us that we give them all the information they need on which to make an informed choice. So our department is all about making sure that their questions get answered, that they get to know all the aspects of life at Western State, and who the members of the community are. So they can judge whether this is the right place for them.
This is an extraordinary community, and I was very much surprised when I came here, the degree to which the Admissions Office interacts and gets support from throughout the campus. At this law school, Admissions is everyone’s work. So, whether a prospective student is coming to visit us, and they’re going to visit a class, whether they interact with staff, whether they interact with faculty, or with the members of the library, I enjoy a tremendous amount of support from throughout the campus. Because we’re all very interested in bringing in the next generation of students, and making sure that they make a good selection for a home and law school.
Anyone who applies to Western State actually is assigned to an Admission Advisor. So, throughout the process, if they have questions, they have a go to person that will help guide them, step by step, through the Admission process, making sure that everything is submitted, and any questions are answered. Once a student is admitted, that counselor can also make sure they have an opportunity to visit, perhaps to sit in on a class, to tour the campus, and will act as their communication connection to faculty members, to alumni, and to current students. So they have a chance to talk to a number of people at Western State about what their prospective life, as a student here will be. We think that personal communication is very, very important, because we want to ensure that we give a student all the information they need for a good decision, and that we find a mutually very good fit. A student that will really thrive at Western State, and for whom Western State will present all the opportunities that they’re looking for.
We have, for several years, been among the top diversity schools, in terms of the national profile of law schools. That reflects, partly, the diversity in southern California, but further than that, we also have a large number of the more non-traditional students. Someone who may be coming back to law school as a second career, to combine it with their skills in their business, or their work experience doing something else, and now, using that law degree to move further in their profession, or to start another profession. We also have a large number of students for whom law school is an opportunity, and they may be the first in their family to attend college. Or the first in their family to attain graduate study and to become an attorney, which is a huge opportunity for the immigrant community, for students that may come from less advantaged backgrounds. It’s progress for them, and for their whole families.
I think the extraordinary thing at Western State is the degree of support and help that students can look to from faculty, from staff, from throughout the members of the school. From our Student Services area, from Career Development, because everyone is anxious to help them succeed, and to build their resume, to build their network, to build their skills, so that upon graduation they’re well prepared, and well connected to embark on their chosen career.
Our Faculty are extraordinarily accessible. In fact, even before students sometimes have been admitted, or between the time they’re admitted and start law school, they’ll find that they have a lot of personal time, attention, and communication with faculty. Visiting their classes, having an opportunity to meet with them at events, or in their offices. And that level of personal communication, they will encounter throughout their time as students at Western State. It’s really quite unusual.
We have a very small student body, and the faculty ratio is about 20:1 on average. So most students will not see a class larger than about fifty, and in fact, most of the classes they take throughout their time will be much smaller, twenty to twenty-five.