Conestoga news

August 29, 2014 2:15 PM

Conestoga grad heads to U.S. law school

While many students across Waterloo Region and beyond are preparing to begin their Conestoga studies next week, recent graduate Josiah Thorogood is building on his four years at the college as he begins a new kind of educational adventure.

Thorogood, 22, completed his bachelor’s degree in Community and Criminal Justice (CCJ) at Conestoga in the spring of 2014 and knew he wanted to continue his education in the field. While many of his classmates enjoyed a well-deserved break during Study Week last February, Thorogood travelled to the U.S., where he visited a number of colleges and universities with law programs.

His objective was to find a school that would provide him with small class sizes and practical training experience, a learning environment like the one he experienced at Conestoga.

Recognizing that he was entering a highly competitive field, Thorogood submitted 22 applications to law schools across Canada and the U.S. His diligence resulted in not one, but 12 offers of acceptance to Juris Doctor (JD) degree programs at American schools. Each of the offers included scholarships to help offset the cost of his studies.

Deciding which school to attend wasn’t easy for Thorogood: some offers provided tuition subsidies of up to 87.5 per cent, while others were located in areas he found very appealing, such as North Carolina and Florida. Other important considerations included the terms of the scholarship, as the strictest school reserved the option of revoking the scholarship based on a student’s ranking within the class or grade point average.

Thorogood’s ultimate choice - the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law - offered several advantages. As well as a $30,000 per year scholarship, Thorogood will also benefit from small classes at a school that is highly ranked for providing students with practical experience. It is located in Concord in close proximity to the courts where he will gain experience during his studies.

For Thorogood, finding a school that would offer a similar learning environment to the one he enjoyed in the CCJ program was very important. At Conestoga, “there were about 30 students in the class per year, and it really offered individualized attention from the professors. They knew the students and helped to guide us towards our areas of strengths,” he said.

As part of his CCJ studies, Thorogood completed research placements with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, where his achievements included writing policy papers. Those placements helped to hone his writing skills for the preparation of his law school applications and will be an asset in the three years of education ahead.

Faculty at the law schools where he completed admission interviews described the integration of a co-op placement in the program as “cutting edge” and impressive in undergraduate research. “The professors seemed to think what I had accomplished in undergrad at Conestoga was surprising and of great value,” Thorogood continued. “"I think this absolutely validates everything we are working towards and demonstrates how far ahead the CCJ program is in terms of providing value and practical experience when compared with other programs.”

The Bachelor of Community and Criminal Justice is a four-year co-op degree program that emphasizes the importance of inter-agency and inter-professional collaboration in addressing both individual and societal issues related to crime. It is one of twelve career-focused degrees delivered at Conestoga.

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