Story posted May 23, 2011
On her way to becoming a legal eagle, Alisha Turak ‘12 will rapidly proceed from Bowdoin Polar Bear to Columbia University Lion. Turak has been accepted into Columbia Law School’s Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education (AILE) program, in which she’ll skip her senior year at Bowdoin to instead begin law school next year.
“I'd been vaguely considering law since elementary school, but it wasn't a cemented idea,” says Turak. “By the end of my first year at Bowdoin, however, I knew law school was for me. My two majors, government & legal studies and economics, gave me the knowledge base I needed to know that law would be a perfect fit for me. I love writing, and I love details, and I love complex ideas about society and our value system.”
But love often means compromise. To participate in this three-years-at-Bowdoin, three-years-at-Columbia program, students must be at Bowdoin six semesters (no going abroad) and willing to forego the traditional senior undergraduate year “and all the revelry that goes with it,” notes Turak. Participating students also relinquish the opportunity to apply to multiple law schools and compare offers.
The last Bowdoin participant entered Columbia in the fall of 2007; Turak says it’s easy to see why it’s the rare student who has both the focus and the willingness to make the sacrifice. “They want to go abroad, complete an honors project, be fought over by Harvard and Stanford, or enjoy senior week with their friends.” Also rare is the number of institutions with the ability to nominate students for consideration by Columbia.
Turak’s remaining Bowdoin credits will be earned in coursework at Columbia’s graduate schools in her second and third years of law school. At the end of the 3-3 program, Turak will receive her Bowdoin diploma simultaneously with her J.D. degree in 2014.