Student Spotlight: Rob Schwarz, Jr.
Rob Schwarz, Jr.
Major: Paralegal Studies
Rob Schwarz, Jr. first attended College of DuPage right out of high school, earning his associate's degree in business.
He then transferred and earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and human services. But even after he started working, Schwarz never stopped thinking about the career he really wanted.
"One of my dream careers in high school was to become a lawyer," he said. "I was unable to pursue that dream early in my life, but I have circled back into my passion for law. I first became aware of the paralegal field and the role of the profession while studying for my criminal justice degree. I saw the opportunity as an inside track into the field of law and hopefully an upper hand if I decide to attend law school."
Schwarz had a friend who took paralegal classes at College of DuPage and recommended the program. Already familiar with the school, he decided to apply to the program after discovering it was approved by the American Bar Association.
Evening and online classes are allowing him to continue working, and he has nothing but high praise for the faculty.
"Most of them are willing to help you beyond the scope of the classroom by providing contacts for internships or potential employers," he said. "If you do poorly on an assignment, they are willing to help you understand what you did wrong. Grades in my opinion are not as important as the knowledge that we can retain from our time here at COD. The instructors understand that as well. They push to give us the tools and resources we need to not only succeed in the classroom but also in the real world. I have already been able to apply this information at my current position, even though I work in sales and not in law."
Schwarz plans to finish his certificate in 2014 and find a paralegal position with a law firm or corporation. His long-term goal is to attend law school and become a lawyer.
His advice to students considering the Paralegal Studies program is to become involved early -- join the Paralegal Club and the ABA, make connections with other students and faculty, and create a LinkedIn profile. Networking in this career field is essential to landing a position, so don't hesitate to start applying and searching for employment opportunities.
"Over my long educational career, I have come to the realization we receive back what we put into our education. If you take the time and put in the effort, you will come out ahead when you graduate from this program," he said. "The knowledge you gain is exponential, and no one can take it away from you. Focus and put all of the effort you can into your studies and don't do just the minimum. Go above and beyond and your experience at COD and in this program will be everlasting. You will make great friends and connections along the way.
"I have never experienced anything in my educational experiences like the Paralegal Studies program at College of DuPage and what it has to offer. I highly recommend it to anyone looking into this field of study."
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