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Simran Thakur: Preparing for Law School as a Visiting Student

Simran Thakur is a student at Northern Illinois University - College of Business but came to Columbia University’s Summer Sessions in 2020 as added preparation for her law school aspirations. The visiting program was really attractive to me because of the types of courses that were offered and the faculty that was teaching them,” Thakur said. “For the summer, I took an undergraduate law class, and I would not have been able to take that class or anything similar to it in my home university.”

We caught up with Thakur now that she’s back at her home institution to learn more about her experience as a visiting student during Columbia Summer.

What course did you take while at Columbia Summer?

I took "Constitutional Crises Through the Lens of Higher Education" taught by Professor Christopher Riano. We had a set time to log onto Zoom each Tuesday and Thursday, and we would start the class with some fun discussion about the cases we were about to analyze. The grades were based on participation and a paper (on any legal topic) that would be due at the end of the semester. 

What was your experience in the course you took?

I enjoyed my experience with the online course. It was a very self-motivated experience because I was not on-campus and seeing my classmates every day, so I had to be disciplined and focused to complete my work on my own. However, because of that, it was a very rewarding class for me. I felt like the effort I put in actually meant something because I was analyzing and working through it with minimal help from anyone else. 

Even though it has been a few months since the end of class, I still remember most of the course concepts and I remember every concept that was in my paper. The course was a direct "what you put in is exactly what you get out" type, which inspired me to work harder each class. 

What do you hope to do in the future? And how will your studies at Columbia help you get there?

I am applying to law school this semester and planning on going to law school in Fall of 2021. I hope that my time with Columbia faculty, my classmates, and studies within the academic rigor of Columbia classes will prepare me for my chosen field. I was really happy to network with my professor and classmates, but I also learned so much from the class. I am really looking forward to sending in my application to Columbia Law School!

Learn more about the Visiting Student program here