Jeri Mills Scholarship Story
Growing up, I always dreamed of attending law school and one day becoming an attorney. Upon graduating from college, I worked at a small law firm in Dallas for two years. During those two years, my experience helped solidify my passion, and I decided it was time to chase my dream and become the attorney instead of working for one. Juggling work and studying for the LSAT was not an easy task, but I knew the hard work would pay off.
After taking the LSAT twice, I applied to several law schools in Texas and Oklahoma. Growing up in Austin, Texas, I never imagined that I would become an Oklahoma resident. But I chose to attend OCU Law over other schools because of the generous scholarship that was offered to me. It was hard to step away from a paycheck to continue my education, but looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing, and that is all thanks to OCU Law.
My first trip to Oklahoma City was the day I moved here, just one week before classes began. After a long day of moving, my parents and I drove downtown to check out the school I had essentially blindly committed to. Although my decision to attend OCU Law was somewhat spontaneous, it was immediately affirmed when I first saw the OCU Law building.
OCU Law is located in a beautiful, historic building in the heart of Oklahoma City. Not to mention, the school is within walking distance from the county and federal courthouses. OCU Law is also located close to a variety of fun restaurants and one of Oklahoma City’s best social scenes. These amenities provide a nice getaway for students on the occasional and rare study break.
More importantly, what’s inside the OCU Law building has allowed me to focus and concentrate on my studies. The law school relocated from OCU’s main campus to the current downtown location in 2015. Because the building is isolated from the main campus, it is quiet and occupied by only faculty, staff, and fellow law students. On each of the five floors, there are places for both group and individual study. The building is accessible to students 24/7, so naturally OCU Law has become my second home.
In addition to the ideal location and features of the building, the faculty and staff at OCU Law are genuinely invested and care about the future of each student. From my professors to the staff at the career center and library, I received guidance and support that truly helped me survive my 1L year.
When I accepted the scholarship from OCU Law, I thought I was just receiving a bargain on the expensive law school price tag. What I did not realize was that I was joining something even greater—a program over 100 years old in the midst of rebranding. Although already established, OCU Law strives to provide an even better experience for its students. The new building and recent implementation of bar prep resources are just a few examples of how OCU is enacting meaningful changes to its program. These recent changes will further strengthen the education and experience offered at OCU Law, and I am excited to be a part of the process.
OCU Law gives students and alumni a school to be proud of. The scholarship at OCU opened the doors of countless opportunities for me and turned my dream into a reality, and I am thankful that I was invited to join such a remarkable group and program. Although I never imagined leaving Texas, the scholarship opportunity led me right where I needed to be—OCU Law.
Jeri Mills, Class of 2020
Anissa Paredes Scholarship Story
As a little girl, I just knew when I grew up I would be a professional figure skater like Kristi Yamaguchi. But that dream fell by the wayside when I started watching the TV show called Law & Order. I was captivated and amazed by the prosecutor on the show. She was smart and could recite case law instantly off the top of her head. It was amazing. The way she handled herself in the courtroom opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life. At that moment, I felt as if I knew what my life’s purpose was: to become a lawyer just like the lady on Law & Order.
Now I knew this was a scripted television show, which is how she was able to recite the law so well, but that didn’t matter to me. It was how she held her own and demanded respect, and I wanted to be just like her. So, from that moment forward I dedicated myself to being a lawyer. I started actively reaching out to others and asking questions about law school and how I could make myself a worthy candidate for admission. Along the way, I participated in multiple programs, internships, fellowships, and a host of other activities to better prepare myself for law school.
In 2016, I applied to law school for the first time, and when I didn’t get accepted into any of the schools I had applied to, I was devastated. For the first time in my life, I felt as if all my hard work was for nothing and maybe this law dream wasn’t for me. Instead of giving up, I decided to take that energy and use it to make myself a better law school candidate by raising my LSAT score over 10 points and strengthening my application and personal statement. This allowed me to obtain admission into OCU Law.
When I was first admitted into Oklahoma City University School of Law, I didn’t have a scholarship, nonetheless, my parents and I drove to Oklahoma City for a campus tour and a meeting with the Dean of Admissions. After the tour, we all sat down in the admissions suite, and Dean Jones said to me, “I was reviewing your file before you got here and I am impressed, so I am going to offer you a scholarship.” My heart fell out of my chest, and I started thanking her because I was so grateful. I had liked OCU, but I had no idea how I was going to pay for it. Before this meeting, I was concerned that I would not be able to attend because it was so expensive. I was grateful, and I’m still grateful because this scholarship created a pathway to many opportunities I would have never gotten to experience. It has given me the motivation to stay on top of my studies and to remain focused on the goal. It has brought me comfort in knowing that some of my expenses are paid for and has furthered my drive to be the lawyer I saw on Law & Order.
I’m a first-generation college graduate and the first one in my family to pursue a law degree. I am the first of a lot of things in my family and it’s a lot of pressure but it’s also another reason why receiving a scholarship means so much to me. I don’t know how I would have been able to finance law school without it. This scholarship has given me the means to pursue my life-long dream of becoming an attorney and making a difference in this world. Words truly cannot express the gratitude I have for receiving a scholarship. Instead, I’ll have to show how grateful I am by making a difference for others in the future.
Anissa Paredes, Class of 2020