Concord Bar Results

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Randy Miller, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller New Member

    For years Concord has been saying they have hundreds of law students (1,700 now, around 450 in August 2000).

    Why did only 14 Concord students take the February Bar Examination for the first time? Do they really have a 97% drop out rate?
  2. Maybe a lot of the students are only interested in the JD and not taking the bar?

  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Some of the shrinkage could be attributed to a fairly low pass rate on the Baby Bar.
  4. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

    Not Worth It!

    I think that the costs and fees that are associated with Concord, the customer service, and the lackluster effort (at least when I applied and enrolled back in 200-2001 timeframe) were all bad enough to make me take my business elsewhere. I really don't see them turning out too many "bar exam" takers in the near to distant future...and out of the examinees who know's how many have a chance to pass?

    Oakbrook seems a more sensible choice (even without the DETC Accreditation).
  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Taft and NWCU are looking at Oak Brook to see why Oak Brook students seem to be doing so well? There's a PhD thesis here.
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I think that this might be an illustration of a problem that concerns a lot of DL, not just Concord or the handful of CA distance law schools. Namely, high DL attrition rates.

    Perhaps it's the difficulty of motivating one's self to study in isolation, perhaps it's the competition from other life activities, or perhaps it's those who sought an easy degree and were dissappointed. But my own anecdotal impression is that graduation rates in a number of DL programs are less than 10% of those who initially enroll.

    I wish we had better data on that.
  7. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    “I wonder if Taft and NWCU are looking at Oak Brook to see why Oak Brook students seem to be doing so well? There's a PhD thesis here.”

    You bet Taft has studied the matter. Two of Oak Brook’s early administrators were Taft law students at the time and later served on Oak Brook’s faculty. I know that Oak Brooks approach was influenced by what we were doing five to ten years ago.

    IMHO, Oak Brook’s success on the Baby Bar and General Bar is largely attributable to their admission process. (That’s not to say that they don’t provide good instruction, it’s just that the instruction is not reason their Bar stats are higher than the rest.) Over the years we have admitted students who were denied admission by Oak Brook. Some were successful, some were not.

    But our mission is to provide opportunity and flexibility – not a guarantee of success. There’s nothing wrong in Oak Brook’s mission and nothing wrong with ours. They’re just different.

    I have been told that many Oak Brook students come from a home schooled background. (I understand that their parent organization provides services to home schooled students.) Students who have been disciplined through home schooling bring a huge advantage to the program. Nothing in distance learning is more important than discipline and home schooled students must be very self-disciplined.

    Are their students more motivated? Maybe. According to their website they ask the question, “Is God calling me to law school, and specifically, is God calling me to the Oak Brook College of Law?” If God is calling anyone to Taft, I haven’t heard about it.

    Maybe some Oak Brook students or graduates can give their view and correct any misconceptions I might have presented.
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    David Boyd

    Most interesting. You need to be a good student BEFORE you undertake law studies, hunh? That makes sense. ABA schools lean heavily on undergrad GPA and LSAT scores in making admissions decisions.

    I would like to point out three things, though:

    1) Taft's record of successful lawyer training is not to be sneered at; and

    2) Passing the Bar is not the same thing as being a good lawyer.

    3) Taft erects no idiological barriers to law study.

    I wonder if you have noticed any difference in the Bar pass rates between Taft students with a BA and those with 60 CLEP hours or an AA?
  9. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    Historically, CLEP students have faired far better academically than students as a whole. Why?

    Probably two factors. The CLEP English requirement is fairly high. Second, and perhaps more important, CLEP students are intelligent individuals who don’t have much of a formal education. Therefore, the program means more to them and they work harder. Unfortunately, DETC standards no longer permit us to admit CLEP students.

    What qualified students are least likely to succeed? Probably M.D.’s. Most work too many hours and don’t appreciate the time commitment required.

    But there are always exceptions.
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Interesting! I had an MD in my law school class...very, very bright but never seemed to "get the hang of" legal analysis.
  11. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member


    This may be a question for Rich Douglas (Dr. Rich Douglas) or Dr. Bear.

    My own assumption (based on my choices and the conversations that I have had with 10's of dozens of collegues about going back to school): 1. Bill I think that you are right, people do want to have a degree and unfortunately many think that just buy paying tuition and sending in transcripts that you are going to get somewhere academically. Sadly, that's a B/S way to look at life because they want the respect and the accolades that come with a degree...but not the work to get there! 2. Concord attrition (which is probably representative of other programs) can be attributed partly to their massive, ungodly increases in tuition! How the heck can you afford to go to Concord...anyone afford it? My PhD Program at NCU (Unless they continue with their fee increases) will cost less than a JD-Bar Track at Concord. In fact, my 3 degrees that I have to this point did not cost what 4-years at Concord would cost me. 3. I think that you are especially right about lifestyles...its hard to work at a meaningful career, raise children, take vacations, be a contributor in your community, a loving spouse, a financial provider/partner, and then have to spend 20+ hours/week on the damn computer and in class. Not to mention $10's of hundreds of dollars that leave a family's budget to go to pay for classes. I know that I would be much farther along if I didn't have to make choices of whether to eat, pay my mortgage, and get my "radiator" fixed or pay for some college classes. "Especially when there is constant debate on this message board and in real-life about the Utility of a DL Degree and when/if there will be payoffs" (other than personal fulfillment).
  12. se94583

    se94583 New Member

    I think the "I want as many degrees as possible for next-to-nothing in terms of dollars or rigor" argument, without actually looking at the content of the degree in question, is disingenuous at best and perpetuates the negative impression of DL degrees that most gatekeepers have out there. If one simply wants a vanity degree, or to learn for the sake of learning, I'd take Matt Damon's advice in "Good Will Hunting" and save a whole lot of money and simply go to the library for free.

    What's with all the unwarranted Concord bashing? Has anyone actually taken a course there? You would think that DL advocates/fans would be all for this sort of operation but all I see is that same 2 or 3 people always talking negatively about it, but no personal experiences to back up those beliefs. If there are actual students or grads lurking out there, I'd like to hear from them.

    I think if the choice is between paying the rent or taking classes, then perhaps DL is not advisable. While it may be true a NCU PhD, (with little to no real currency in the academic world) may be cheaper than a Concord JD (which has at least professional acceptance in California), value is really in the eyes of the consumer. Some will pay 28k to be called "Doctor" (and still be unemployable)-- others will pay 28k for the opportunity to sit for the bar exam and receive a professional credential that will at least open the gate to a profession and make that person employable to a degree. Who's the bigger fool, if looking it from the perspective of return-on-investment rather than buying an expensive piece of framable parchment? While I'd counsel anyone to think long and hard before going to a DL law school if they actually want to practice law and keep their options open, AFAIK it seems they (Concord) at least makes an attempt to render legal training by using technology to replicate the B&M experience rather than simply sending out a box of books and a reading list which is the joke most DL is currently. That would be a "win" for DL in general, yes? Some people at least are getting a chance to change their lives for the better; isn't that what DL is intended to facilitate?
  13. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    The difficulty is that Concord's program is significantly more expensive that the programs of several other D/L California Bar qualifying JD programs with equal or better Bar passage rates.

    When I question the wisdom of earning a Concord degree, I am not comparing a Concord JD with an NCU PhD or any other D/L PhD; I am comparing the Concord JD with other, legally equivalent JD degrees. Concord seems to me to be very heavily advertised and overly expensive when compared with Taft U., Oak Brook and NWCU, each of whom has a history of successful D/L legal education, each of which is cheaper than Concord, and each of whose JD degrees are as useful as the Concord degree. In the case of Taft, a DETC accredited program, the degrees have identical recognition.

    I am troubled by Concord's claims to superior instruction. It looks to me like they recorded lectures by prominent scholars but that's the end of it. I don't believe that a Concord student has access to these great names on a one-to-one basis. As a selling point, it strikes me as a bit doubtful.

    As to "a box of books", that's where the law IS. Well, and in the electronic equivalent. Impressive multi-media productions are not terribly relevant to the practice of law. Books and CDs-ROMs ARE.

    Concord students DO pass the Baby Bar and Concord graduates DO pass the General Bar and become lawyers. But a much larger percentage of Oak Brook students do so as well and they pay much less than half of the tuition a Concord student pays.

    No, I have no personal experience with Concord. My D/L law school experience is with the University of London (and a searing experience it is turning out to be!) I base my observations on the information available from the various school web sites, the CalBar web site, my experience as a B&M law student, and my own reading of the law.
  14. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

    I enrolled in Concord

    Hey, I think that the bigger fool is the person that lives in a state other than California and tries to stay the course of study with Concord and then cannot use the degree! Who knows if I will be able to use my NCU Degree? Maybe I will maybe I won't! But, I know that I won't be able to use a Concord Degree; unless I move back to California...not happening! I want to retire in Florida.

    I am not a Concord Basher...I think that it was wonderful that they sought DETC Accreditation. I think that its wonderful that they are trying to work with soldiers on bases around the world. What I hate is that as soon as they felt that they had a credible (or nationally recognized) acceditation they went into the "for profit" seek and conquer mode without showing proven success (like having a respectable percentage of passing scores). Get some number of people through the program before you start thinking that you are the "Harvard of the DL Law Schools!" That's what I hate...I will bash that all day! I took a stand about something that I didn't like, in a program that I was enrolled in and I am sticking by it! That's responsibility.

    Responsibility is also providing for a family. Return on investment is not a "Boiler Plate" equation that is the same for everyone. There are tangible and intangible aspects that you have to assign a value and determine if the Money (tangibles) and time/effort/lack of quality of family life due to school (intangibles) if they will be worth it in the amount of income that you make after you receive your degree, etc. (or prestige, pride, other intangible feelings). In my personal opinion, my ROI is very good...and I am able to enjoy the fruits of my investment; going from and Enlisted Servicemember to an Executive is quite a jump, especially in pay (over a six-figure jump).

    So, don't bash "all of us so-called bashers." Some of us have a reason to bash...and that's what this forum is for; not to bash but to bring different perspectives on things that we have experienced!
  15. se94583

    se94583 New Member

  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    That IS interesting. I am just speculating but Vermont has a four year legal apprenticeship option for qualifying to take the Bar without an ABA JD. I wonder if this person "apprenticed" with a Vermont lawyer or judge during the four years at Concord? The same thing could be done in a handful of other states, like Washington State.

    Vermont is ALSO unusual in that it requires a six month clerkship after passing the Bar unless one is an experienced lawyer from another state, when the requirement drops to three months. On the other hand, Vermont has an open "admission on motion" policy, not restricted to reciprocity states, so in some ways it's easier, I guess.

    Weird thing about that clerkship; neither the clerk nor the supervising Vermont attorney needs to physically LOCATED in Vermont...
  17. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    Concord Bar Results
    For years Concord has been saying they have hundreds of law students (1,700 now, around 450 in August 2000).

    Why did only 14 Concord students take the February Bar Examination for the first time? Do they really have a 97% drop out rate?



    I was a 2L student at British-American and (hopefully) transferring to Taft for my last 2 years. I think I can answer this.

    The statistics for passing the BB then making it through the next 3 years aren't great. In a typical ABA school, 1 out of 3 don't make it passed the first year, 2 out of 3 don't make it to the third year. The "bar" after the first year makes it worse. Even at Concord the pass rate is somewhere around 40%

    Also, as someone posted to this forum said, academic achievement is not indicative of a future law career. In my chat we have two guys who barely finished high school who run circles around us on a regular basis, and my former school has a student who has an MBA who took the BB four times and still doesn't get it (I won't repeat on this forum what he wrote on an essay on his third attempt, but I tell my non-law friends and they split a gut (;-)).

    So Concord may claim 1700 students, but according to the bar they only had approximately 350 students attempt the BB in 2003. Of those around 40% or 130 passed (which is still an awesome stat by the way!).

    Then what they don't tell you is, I don't know any student who thought that the BB was a bar to the GBX after they finished their second year! Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Con Law. They make the first year courses look like intro to reading! So if Concord grades reasonably and I believe they do, they lose more students then. So the 130 drops quickly to some smaller number, probably into the 40-50 range. But we won't see that until 2006, since the students who took the BB in 2003 still have 3 years to go.

    So Concord's stats are actually great. It's just that you are looking back at their students 4 years so if they had 450 in 2000, 14 taking the GBX isn't bad.

    Michael, (soon to be) 3L
  18. marty

    marty New Member


    "In my chat we have two guys who barely finished high school who run circles around us on a regular basis, and my former school has a student who has an MBA who took the BB four times and still doesn't get it (I won't repeat on this forum what he wrote on an essay on his third attempt, but I tell my non-law friends and they split a gut (;-))."

    This doesn't have something to do with a zebra, a zoo and vicarious liability, does it? :)

  19. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    Well you'll have to ask Judge Wapner about that.

    Point wasn't to harass any one student, Marty. There are a bunch of students who are in correspondence schools who are blissfully ignorant that they are working toward their Juris Donut. They truly believe that the feedback (or lack thereof) they are getting from their "professors" means they are doing great, and when they do poorly on the BB or GBX it's those stupid bar graders who all hate correspondence students.

    So when they have to compete against the students from Boalt and Stanford to make that top 40%-50% and pass, it's like they hit a buzzsaw.

    Michael, 3L
  20. marty

    marty New Member


    Sorry, I should have thought before I wrote. I was kiddin' with ya'. I took the BB with you, mit. My "handle" is my middle name, so that probably threw you off. I'm a fellow NY transplant like yourself. ;)

    Anyway, this is a great site. Isn't it?

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