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4 Things That Make Patrick Henry College Student Extremely Successful

4 Things That Make Patrick Henry College Student Extremely Successful

There are several things that we do at Patrick Henry College in Virginia that are very good, but some things are unique and truly excellent:

We may have the best pre-law “program” in America. We don’t have a pre-law major, but, rather, a comprehensive pre-law program. We integrate preparation for the LSAT with our nationally recognized simulated legal academic sports (i.e., Moot Court and Mock Trial), with an approach to advising that law schools just seem to like.

As a result, our students have earned admission to every top ranked law school, and, once they matriculate, they often flourish. For instance, Patrick Henry College alumni have earned editorial and staff positions at journals like the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Virginia Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review to name but a few. Additionally, Patrick Henry College alumni captured moot court national championships for multiple law schools, and several have themselves published in prestigious law reviews. And, Patrick Henry College alumni have been invited to clerk for federal appellate judges on the Second Circuit, Third Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Six Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Eighth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, and the D.C. Circuit. And, as you know, three Patrick Henry alumni will clerk next year for the United States Supreme Court.

We are the best moot court program in the nation. We’ve won 10 of the last 13 American Moot Court Association’s national championships, dozens of regional championships, with scores of All-American and All-Regional competitors. Plus, we often double, or more than double, the number of teams that a school can qualify for the Championship Tournament (e.g., in 2016 we earned 16 bids to the Championship Tournament—so we had to leave eight teams at home). Our mock trial team is among the best 5-10% of teams in the United States. Since 2012 we have qualified nine teams to the opening round of the championship tournament, and advanced two into the final tournament, American Mock Trial Association’s National Championship Tournament. And, perhaps more important, we’ve never had a competitor who did moot court or mock trial that failed to earn admission to law school.

Our “Core” curriculum is very unique. At Patrick Henry College every student takes 63 hours of common courses in History, Government, Economics, Science, Math, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Theology, and the like. Instead of a general education program where students take “six hours of Math”, “two courses in Social Science”, etc., all Patrick Henry College students take the same menu of general education classes. Several classes require them to read “the Great Books”, and this allows for instructors who teach upper division classes to assume that there’s largely a universal exposure to information, ideas, and particular thinkers.

We have a Strategic Intelligence program that is among the best in the nation. The courses themselves are consistent with the other excellent Intelligence/Homeland Security programs, but many of them are taught from a Christian worldview—and the instructors are encouraged to discuss the underlying ideologies that might motivate countries and individuals to take action on a global stage.

Too, we’re 40 miles from Washington, D.C.—lots of opportunities for our students to get hands-on instruction at various internships and, often, jobs with public and private security companies.

Finally, we have a outstanding Apprenticeship program. When I first heard of students doing “apprenticeships”, I thought of the old Disney movie, Johnny Tremain & the Sons of Liberty, about a young man who was an apprentice for a silversmith. But, as it turns out, our program is an old-school name for some cutting edge things that all fine colleges and universities are doing: Internships, service learning, and “capstone” research programs.

We want our students to leave Patrick Henry College prepared to study in graduate or professional schools. We want them prepared to step into a job and to flourish. And, we want them prepared to be excellent citizens who can contribute in their communities, respective states, and to the United States. Hence, this amalgam of work experience (internships), making contacts (internships), service to the school or community, competition on our forensic teams (moot court, mock trial, debate), and learning to produce fine undergraduate scholarship, certainly helps to provide this preparation.

Dr. Frank Guliuzza