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FAQ


International Student Applicants

Deadlines and Application Submission

What are the LSI application deadlines?

Early deadline: February 7, 2018
Final deadline: March 13, 2018

What is the benefit of applying for the early or priority deadline?

Simply put, the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive a decision and the sooner you can start planning your summer or semester. Admissions and scholarship decisions are made on a rolling basis and priority consideration is given to those who apply for the early and priority deadlines. Our institute staff can also begin working on your internship placement as soon as you enroll. In some cases this can mean a faster placement process. The biggest benefit? If you complete your application for the early deadline you will receive a 5% discount on your tuition balance which can save you a few hundred dollars!

To which Institute should I apply?

You should apply to the program that appeals the most to you. Make sure that the curriculum and internship placements most closely match your career interests. If you have questions about the various programs or are having trouble selecting a program, please contact our institute staff to discuss them. You are welcome to apply to more than one program, but you can only be accepted to one program at a time. Your application will be considered for your preferred institute first, so you must select a preference. Please note that only students currently enrolled in a law school in the U.S. are eligible to apply for the Legal Studies Institute.

Is there a GPA requirement?

There is no formal GPA requirement but in general our admissions committee looks for applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher. We like to see well-rounded students who demonstrate ambition, academic ability, leadership ability, maturity, and involvement in campus and community activities. A low GPA may be compensated for with a strong resume, good recommendations, and well-written essays. The committee also weighs the strength of your curriculum and difficulty of the courses you have taken.

What are my chances of being accepted?

The admissions process is competitive, but if you have strong academic and extracurricular achievements, you have a good chance of being admitted. Admitted students come from a wide variety of schools, backgrounds, and academic majors. Since our class sizes are fixed, the number of admitted students varies on the size of the applicant pool, which is different from year to year. Our admissions committee reviews applications on a rolling basis and students who apply early are given preference in admissions, scholarship awards and internship placement. Something to keep in mind when you are deciding when to apply!

What year should I be in school?

You must be a first or second year law student to apply for admission to the Legal Studies Institute.

Do all of my materials need to be submitted at the same time?

No. Your online application may be submitted before or after your supplemental materials are received. You may also send materials in different packages. Materials will be added to your file as soon as they are received. Please remember that your application will not be considered complete until all of your application materials are received. It is your responsibility to make sure that we have received all of your materials. You may check the status of your application materials by logging into your Apply Yourself application.

Is the whole application due at the deadline or just the online portion?

Yes. Your entire application is due at the deadline. We require that online applications be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on the deadline and that all supplemental materials be received by the deadline in order to qualify.

If items are postmarked by the deadline, will they still be accepted?

No. All of your materials must be received by the deadline to qualify.

How should I send my supplemental materials, by mail, email or fax?

Your official transcript must be mailed in a sealed envelope from your home university or faxed or emailed directly from the registrar. All of your other materials may be sent via mail, fax or through the online application system.

U.S. Programs Admissions Committee
The Fund for American Studies
1621 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Fax: (202) 318-0441
Email: admissions@tfas.org

What is the fee for applying?

There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. Students may choose to apply to multiple programs, but will only incur the single $25 fee.

How do I pay the application fee?

You can pay the application fee online using a credit card when you submit your online application. The system will prompt you to select a method of payment after hitting the “submit” button. You can also pay by check mailed to The Fund for American Studies, marked Attn: U.S. Programs Admissions Committee. The check should have your name and the institute to which you are applying in the memo line.

When and how will I be notified of my admission status?

We review applications on a rolling basis and we make admissions decisions within three weeks after an application is marked complete (upon the receipt of the online application and all supporting materials). International student admissions decisions are made several weeks after the international student deadline. You will be notified by email and regular mail of your admissions decision. You can also check your admission status by logging into your Apply Yourself application. We will not review any applications that are missing documents, so we encourage you to check online to verify that all of your materials have been received.

Application Materials

How long should my resume be?

Your resume should be one-page. We offer detailed instructions, tips, institute-specific guidelines. Please click here to access these guidelines.

What type of experiences and activities should I put in my resume?

You should include all professional experience as well as campus and volunteer activities. Your resume will be used in the admissions process and will also be sent to potential internship sites. We encourage you to refer to the Resume Guide here for more tips on writing a resume.

Do I need to send an official transcript?

Yes. We require an official transcript in order for your application to be considered complete. Your transcript must be sent in a sealed envelope from your home university or emailed or faxed directly from your registrar.

U.S. Programs Admissions Committee
The Fund for American Studies
1621 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Fax: (202) 318-0441
Email: admissions@tfas.org

What if I have attended more than one university – should I send all the transcripts?

If your grades from past universities attended are not on your current institution’s transcript, then you must send transcripts from all previous universities. We cannot accept transcripts that show “TR” to reflect transfer credit. The letter grade earned for each course must be included.

Is it okay to go over the word limit for the essays?

Sure! It’s fine to go slightly over the word limit, but please do not upload any lengthy documents.

Who should write my letter of recommendation?

We require one letter of recommendation from a professor, dean,  academic advisor, or a current/past employer or internship supervisor. Students with a cumulative GPA of below a 3.0 are required to submit a letter from a professor, dean or academic advisor. Please no letters from family members or friends.

What should the letter of recommendation cover?

The letter of recommendation should include information on what makes you a strong candidate for admission to an academic internship program in Washington, D.C. Your recommender should comment on your academic performance, time management skills, leadership potential and maturity.

How many letters should I send and is there a maximum number?

We only require you to send only one letter of recommendation. Any additional letters that we receive will be added to your file.

How should my letter of recommendation be sent?

Your recommender may send the recommendation by uploading it in the online application system, or they may choose to email, mail or fax it.

U.S Programs Admissions Committee
The Fund for American Studies
1621 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Fax: (202) 318-0441
Email: admissions@tfas.org

Scholarship Application

How are scholarship awards determined?

We award scholarships based on academic record, extracurricular achievement, leadership ability and financial need. About 70% of all students receive scholarships. We award scholarships on a rolling basis, so if you need financial assistance we encourage you to apply early.

What do I need to submit if I am applying for a scholarship?

If you are a U.S. student, you are required to complete the scholarship portion of the online application including the scholarship statement, as well as send in the appropriate personal financial materials. You can find details on what materials are required by clicking here.

If you are an international student who is NOT currently studying in the U.S. and you would like to apply for a scholarship, you are required to complete as much of the online scholarship application as possible and you MUST submit the scholarship statement.

If you are an international student currently studying in the U.S., you will have to provide documentation of any scholarship assistance you receive from your university. This does not need to be in a formal letter format, but may be a print-out from your university’s online system or a university bill that shows the breakdown of costs. Additionally you will be required to submit the scholarship statement.

Can I request scholarship funding after submitting the rest of my application?

No. We make admissions and scholarship decisions at the same time, so if you need to apply for funding you must complete the scholarship application when you submit the rest of the application. If you select that you would like to apply for a scholarship, your application will not be considered complete or reviewed until we receive the personal financial materials. You may find details on these materials by clicking here.

Where do I access my Student Aid Report (SAR)?

Your SAR can be accessed through the U.S. Department of Education’s website www.fafsa.ed.gov or obtained from your home university’s financial aid office. Your PIN and password are required in order to log into the site government website. Please make sure to send us the entire SAR document as it is usually 5-6 pages in length.

I haven’t received my SAR for the next school year; can I send the one from the current school year?

Yes. It is fine to send your SAR from the current school year.

My parents don’t claim me as a dependent on their tax return – should I send my own instead?

Yes. You should send the tax return that claims you as a dependent.

I didn’t complete a FAFSA, but instead receive merit based scholarship funding – should I send proof of all grants and scholarships that I received for the current school year?

Yes. If you are receiving any funding for the current school year, including merit-based or athletic scholarships, you must send a copy of your financial aid award summary detailing any grants, loans or scholarships that you received. This does not need to be in a formal letter format, but may be a print-out from your university’s online system or a university bill that shows the breakdown of costs.

Can I use my existing financial aid package to pay for the TFAS summer or semester programs?

Yes, it is possible. Some of our students use student loans to cover the cost of the program, but the loan money must be acquired through your home college or university. Your home institution must be willing to participate in a consortium agreement in order for university certified loans to be used for the TFAS programs. We encourage you to speak with your home institution’s financial aid office early in order to begin this process. If you are interested in using your existing financial aid package you should contact program staff for help with this procedure. You may click here to read more about financing your DC experience.

International Student Applicants

Technical Problems

I am having trouble uploading a document, what should I do?

You must upload all of the required writing samples into the application system. All technical difficulties should be directed to the Hobsons-Apply Yourself technical support by clicking on the appropriate link within the system.

I can’t access the Apply Yourself system pop-ups on my computer, what should I do?

Apply Yourself utilizes pop-up windows in order to provide instructions and notify the user of any errors. We recommend that you configure your computer to allow all pop-ups from the Apply Yourself online application system.

How do I submit my online application?

Once you complete your application, you can submit it by clicking on the “submit” button at the top right of the screen. The system will provide details on any required questions that you did not answer. Please note – our admissions committee will not have access to any information that you have entered into the online system until you hit the submit button. Once the application has been submitted, you cannot make any changes to your online application.

Live

Where will I live during the TFAS program in DC?

You will live in a furnished residential building in Washington, DC along with other students in the Legal Studies Institute. The building is convenient to public transportation, which will allow for easy travel between your classes, your internship, and the great sites of the nation’s capital.

How do I get to DC?

You are responsible for your own transportation to and from Washington, DC. There are three airports, an Amtrak train station, and a bus station located in the DC area.

  • Ronald Regan National Airport (DCA)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI)
  • Amtrak station Washington – Union Station, DC (WAS)
  • Greyhound/MegaBus/Bolt Bus Lines – Washington, DC (Union Station)

Can I choose to opt-out of TFAS housing?

While we strongly encourage you to live in TFAS housing, you have the option to forgo housing and locate your own accommodations for your time here in DC. Many TFAS events occur in the early morning and classes go late into the evening. Our accommodations make it easier for you to attend all required and optional events. If you are considering finding your accommodations, you must notify program staff to receive permission.

Can I bring my car?

Yes, but we highly discourage you from bringing your car. Parking is difficult to find and expensive in Washington, DC (running anywhere from $150 to $250 a month). Parking is not available at the TFAS housing building. Street parking is limited in the city and permits are not available to summer and short-term residents. The DC Metrobus and Metrorail system is safe, clean, and readily accessible in all areas of the city. If you decide to bring your car, you are responsible for arranging your own parking for your time in Washington, DC. Internship sites typically do not have parking available for interns.

What is it like to live in Washington, DC?

Washington is an exciting city, rich with culture, tradition, and history. Visitors and residents alike are surrounded by historic buildings, monuments, and museums that make this city even more appealing. With access to gallery openings, museums, landmarks, unique DC events, and music venues, you will surely find your favorite spot or activity in the District. Students often catch “Potomac Fever”, and move back to The District after graduation.

How will I get around in Washington without a car?

The DC area has one of the cleanest and most efficient public transportation systems in the world, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (see www.wmata.com for more information). You can take the Metrorail or Metrobus system to locations throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. You will need to plan on spending around $30-$40 each week for transportation costs, although the cost will vary by commute. All classes, events, and internship sites are reachable by public transportation.

Do I need to bring my computer?

It is recommended that you bring your own computer if possible.

What should I bring for LSI?

You must provide your own linens, towels, pillows, and all bath amenities. You may bring a computer, television or stereo if you desire. Laundry facilities are located in the building.

In packing clothes, be aware that Washington is very hot and humid during the summer, but can change dramatically throughout your stay in the District. Despite what the meteorologist might say, there is always a chance for an unexpected shower, so be sure to pack an umbrella or raincoat. You can wear casual clothes to class, but you must wear professional attire for both your internship and institute events. You will need to check with your office about dress code before your first day, but typically men wear coats and ties and women wear dresses, skirts, or dress slacks.

Does the program include meals?

You are responsible for your own meals during the program. There are grocery stores and restaurants within walking distance of the apartment building, and cooking facilities are available in each apartment.

Is medical care available?

Yes, there are medical clinics located near your apartment building on Capitol Hill for both emergencies and non-emergencies. There are also numerous walk-in clinics located throughout the D.C. area.

What’s the weather like in DC?

DC summers are definitely hot. The average high is 84 degrees (29 Celsius) in June, 89 degrees (31 Celsius) in July, and 87 degrees (31 Celsius) in August. Apartments and classrooms are air-conditioned. There is always a chance for rain, so come prepared to carry an umbrella.

Washington weather in the fall is very temperate. The average high is 80 degrees in September, with average low being 57 degrees. The high for October is 69 degrees with the average low being 44 degrees. November and December are chilly months with the average high in the low 50s and the lows in the upper 20’s and lower 30’s.

Spring weather is also very moderate. January and February will still be chilly, averaging highs in the mid-40s. You will see a 10 degree temperature increase in the average high and low temperatures as the spring season progresses into March, April and May.

How much money should I bring?

Washington is a relatively expensive place to live and visit, so you should plan to bring enough money to cover your meals, social expenses, transportation costs, and other shopping needs. An estimate of what we have found students to spend each week is between $175-$225.

Should I open a checking account in DC?

If you wish to open a bank account while you are in DC, there are numerous bank branches in the Union Station/Capitol Hill area.

Who will my roommates be?

You will be matched with roommates of the same gender based on the Housing Questionnaire you will complete at the time of enrollment. You will be notified by TFAS staff of your roommate’s contact information before your arrival in Washington, usually several weeks before your arrival.

Learn

Where will I take classes?

Students will receive 3 credit hours from George Mason University School of Law, and sessions are held at their Arlington, VA campus, conveniently located on the Metro system Orange Line.

Do I have to take the classes?

Yes, all students must take the Economic Foundations of Legal Studies course, as well as participate in all other Institute activities.

Will I receive credit for the classes?

After successful completion of the Foundation of Economics law course you will receive 3 credit hours issued by George Mason University School of Law. You are encouraged to check with the registrar or dean of your home institution about the credit transfer policy. The Institute course will often satisfy a requirement for a constitutional law course and is often used as an elective.

Will I receive a transcript?

You will be able to view your grades online and request official transcripts after the completion of the program.

How should I dress?

Most offices require professional attire, but you should check with your internship supervisor about your office dress-code before your first day. You are required to dress professionally for briefings, guest lectures, and other special events. You are not required to dress up for class.

How much will my books cost?

Books generally cost about $100-$200, but costs vary by program. You should plan to purchase them online ahead of time or visit the bookstore upon arrival in DC.

Are classes, site briefings and lectures mandatory?

Yes. You are required to attend every class, including academic lectures, discussions and briefings associated with each class. You must complete all class assignments, actively participate in class, and be respectful to your lecturers and speakers. You are also expected to follow your internship schedule, including works hours and assignments.

How busy is the schedule?

The LSI schedule is packed with exciting events, lectures, classes, internships and more. We want you to be immersed in the Washington DC culture, so you can truly make the most of your connections and maximize your experience in DC. Your days are long, often lasting up to ten hours with your classes and internship. You will have plenty of free time on the weekends and late evenings to explore DC.

What if my school’s schedule prevents me from arriving by the start of the program?

Be sure to notify your program staff if your spring semester extends into June and conflicts with the start of the program. Because of the busy schedule, we discourage late arrivals. We encourage students to arrange to take exams before the start of the program, so they will not miss any internship and class hours. We will do our best to work with you if a conflict is unavoidable – you must receive permission to arrive after the program start date.

Intern

How will my internship be determined?

The internship placement process through TFAS is based on a combination of the student’s skills, experience and interests as well as the needs of internship sites.  For more detail on this process, visit the Internship Placement Process section of the website.

When will I find out about my internship placement?

Each student’s placement process varies, but you can expect to have your internship confirmed anytime from 4 to 12 weeks after you’ve enrolled in the program. Our staff work with internship sites to review application materials and render a decision as quickly as possible.

Can I find my own internship?

Yes, if you know of an organization where you would like to intern you are encouraged to make arrangements independently. However, all internships must be approved by our staff, and you must contact institute staff if you decide to pursue your own internship.

Are internships paid?

Most internships in Washington, D.C. are unpaid; this also the case for most TFAS internships. Some sites do offer compensation or travel stipends, but this is rare and should not be expected.

What if I want to intern for a member of Congress?

If you are interested in interning in an office of a Member of Congress you should make the initial contact with the Senator or Representative. Keep in mind that you should contact institute staff if you decide to pursue your own internship.

What will I do as an intern?

Intern responsibilities vary, but all include substantive work, such as conducting legal research, coordinating depositions, managing caseloads, covering congressional hearings, participating in client interviews, and writing for publications.

How will I get to my internship?

Lucky enough, DC’s public transportation system is convenient, safe and easy to use. All TFAS internship sites are required to be accessible via public transportation. For more information on the Metrorail and Metrobus systems, click here.

How should I dress?

This is another great question to ask your internship supervisor once you’ve received your placement. You’ve heard of the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”?  This could not be more true in Washington, DC.

Even though DC is a major metropolitan city, it follows a pretty conservative dress code. Most offices will be “business professional dress,” with some having a “casual” day on Fridays.

For women, we suggest dress pants, skirts (near knee length), blouses, dresses and cardigans. You will also want to bring at least one full suit in a neutral color (black, navy blue, grey or tan).

Men should plan to bring 2-3 suites in neutral colors, along with dress shirts, ties, and collared shirts.

Some internship sites will not require that a suit be worn, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring one.  All TFAS briefings, professional development opportunities, lectures and networking events are business professional dress.

Can I receive credit for the internship?

You must make arrangements with your home university as each school has a different policy concerning externship and internship credits.