Cristal Harris: Self-representation and Getting the Most from Student Support Programs

Cristal Harris wants to create an internet site to raise tuition funds for an important preparation program before she enters law school. What is the best way in which to articulate her goals? Cristal exhibits a great deal of inner strength and purpose and a profound understanding that it isn’t just ‘book knowledge’ that allows one to succeed in higher education. As Cristal says, “It’s not that some people aren’t intelligent or aren’t able to master a topic. Some people just never learn that it takes time to learn to do school well.” One of the best ways to learn the implicit rules or ‘tacit knowledge’ of academia is to engage with student support programs. In this case you’ll learn how Cristal leverages her knowledge through participating in many programs and finding mentors.

Teaching case: CristalHarris: Self representation and Getting the most from Student Support Programs

Questions to consider as you read the case:

  1. What are the various support programs in which Cristal participated? What does she learn from each one?
  2. What is Cristal’s advice to students who want to go to law school? How does this apply to medical school and other professional programs?
  3. Essays about your academic and professional goals are an important part of the advanced degree application. What are the distinctions between a statement of purpose and personal statement?
  4. What are some of the ways in which Cristal learns to ‘do school well’?
  5. How important are mentors to Cristal’s progress through her undergraduate studies?
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