Scholar: Tolulope Adetayo
Undergraduate Course and Grade: Law second class upper
Undergraduate University: University of Lagos
Graduate Course and University: LL. M American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) with focus on International business law, trade and investment.
The journey to my LLM was basically by accident, I didn’t really plan it. I was just simply tired of the monotonous routine of law firms and what I was doing didn’t align with my passion/dream. A friend got admitted to Georgia State University and I was curious about how he did it, eventually when I got the information I was discouraged because of the fees !!!(Graduate schools in America are expensive).
However, I started my application by researching top schools for international law programs in the USA. It was around July and applications for most of the tops schools like NYU, Harvard and Columbia had closed (no spring application). So, I settled for AUWCL not because it was the next big thing or ranking (it ranked 5th at that time for international law programs) but because of the location. The school is located in Washington DC which is the capital of the US and hub for networking opportunities (if you want to play at the international level, then you will understand why I chose to school in DC area). I started the application by writing a letter of introduction to the school to get information and asked a lot of questions (including application fee waiver which was approved), I eventually got the admission but the school fees nearly discouraged me.
My funding story is different because it was in three phases (which amounted to over $30,000). Funding didn’t come easy, I was only offered about $12,000 (25% of my fees) at the point of admission. The reason for low funding was because I applied for spring session, more funding is available in the fall (hint!). However, I accepted the offer with the hope that I will get more by grades. I shouldn’t have accepted the offer. I got to know about this through some friends when I got here that when schools offer you any funding, you can always ask for more and if they have, you will surely get (I told a friend to try it and he got half of tuition funding).
The second part of my funding came in the second semester, I guess my grades spoke for me and I got additional funding which amounted to almost another 25%. The last phase of my funding was through a restricted scholarship. The scholarship is usually awarded to few outstanding students selected by the faculty members but you must apply. As Tom Peters rightly noted if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade, so I didn’t second guess myself, I applied but I was skeptical about whether I was going to get it after getting almost 50% of my tuition sorted out. I eventually got the scholarship which didn’t only come with funding but a recognition by the school.
1. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Goethe. Don’t be afraid to take that bold step irrespective of your present circumstance.
2. When applying for grad school, no one strategy works all the time but you must always have a card to play
3. Networking opportunities: It is quite important to consider the location of your choice school, I decided on Washington College of Law in Washington DC because of the numerous opportunities here (it is home to embassies, international organizations like the World bank, international finance corporation, international monetary fund, also businesses are structured here). I have a startup and Washington DC is a place where you could get numerous offers to fund your startup. My startup is rylypay.com (a platform that helps applicant applicants for FI -student visa pay for SEVIS FEE) please check it out!
4. Ranking is good but your network triumphs over it (I’m open for a debate on this, lol).