Noah Leavitt (Assistant Dean for Student Engagement)
Whitman College is associated with Columbia University in an accelerated, interdisciplinary program that allows students to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Whitman and a juris doctor degree from Columbia after successful completion of a combined program requiring six years rather than seven.
After spending three years in residence at Whitman in any of the liberal arts, the student will enroll not only in law courses at Columbia but also, after the first year of regular law courses, in other professional or graduate-level courses selected in consultation with Whitman College.
Columbia is one of the nation’s most selective law schools. The program is thus designed for students with high academic credentials, combined with qualities of leadership and maturity that show promise for outstanding professional service.
Requirements for satisfactory completion of the bachelor’s degree portion of this combined program are determined by Whitman. Requirements which should be completed during the first three years in order to qualify as an applicant are set forth in guidelines available from the prelaw advisers. It is important to study these requirements, as well as those of the student’s contemplated field of major study, as early in the years at Whitman as possible. Planning is essential and needs to be started either late in the first year or early in the sophomore year.
Students must formally communicate their interest in being considered for the Whitman-Columbia Program in Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education early in the first semester of their junior year by notifying the prelaw advisers. In the spring of his or her junior year, each candidate for nomination to the program submits to the Whitman College Pre-Law Committee a letter of application, a copy of their transcript, their scores on the Law School Admissions Test (note that students will need to register for the February LSAT in early January), and letters of recommendation from two faculty members. In addition, the candidate undergoes an interview by the committee. During the process, the Pre-Law Committee will consult with Columbia Law School. If the candidate is successful, the nomination is formally forwarded to Columbia which will, in turn, send application materials to the nominee. Acceptance at Columbia will depend upon a number of factors, of which scores on the LSAT and grade-point average are important but partial criteria.