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York College provides foundation History grad needed to start law career

February 20, 2017
Zach Beatty

When Zach Beatty stepped onto York College of Pennsylvania’s campus, he knew right away it was where he belonged.

Originally from Reading, Pa., Zach says he attended a small high school and wanted a similar experience at the college level while also searching for an affordable tuition.  

His goal from the start was to ultimately go to law school, “but I didn’t know what that meant at the time.” He accomplished that goal – and then some – thanks to hard work and the education he received at York College.

An intimate experience

A small component that Zach thinks made all difference was York College’s class size. As a History major, he says most of his core classes included only 10 to 15 students. 

“I thrived in that kind of environment,” he says. “That gave me a leg up when applying to law school.”

Because of the intimacy of his classes, Zach also developed a personal connection with some of his professors, many of whom wrote recommendations for him.

“That’s something I don’t think would have happened if I’d gone to a larger school,” he says.

Building a skill set

Beyond his history classes, Zach’s prowess for law developed during other classes and activities outside of his major, such as:

  • Philosophy: Zach learned reasoning and developed logic, which ultimately helped when taking the LSAT.
     
  • Geography: Zach says the focus on census data and records helped with assembling arguments.
     
  • Writing: Zach became an editor of Past and Present, a journal that publishes a selected collection of political science and history students’ senior theses. “I didn’t know my strengths as a writer at that point, but, once I started doing that, I realized writing was my art.”

The next chapter

When applying to law school, Zach says he took the shotgun approach, submitting applications everywhere he could. Ultimately, he landed a full ride to Michigan State University College of Law, which he attributes to credentials such as his GPA and LSAT score. 

“I was competing with graduates from all of the big universities across the country,” he says. “I was very happy with the knowledge I had coming in.”

Zach’s hard work didn’t stop there. At the end of his second year, he was elected one of six managing editors for the Michigan State Law Review, which significantly boosted his resume.

His tasks included checking citations and footnotes, making sure each supports the corresponding arguments and facts. While the work was tedious, Zach says this offered great experience.

He also interned with a judge in Allentown, Pa., and a criminal defense firm in Reading, Pa.

He later worked for Chimicles & Tikelis in Haverford, Pa., which practices complex litigation, where he was offered a full-time position after graduation in May.

It started at York College

Beatty’s commitment and perseverance brought him success, but he acknowledges that he may not be where he is today if he did not receive a quality undergraduate education.

“York College is a small school, maybe not as widely known as others, but at the end of the day our graduates can compete with any university out there,” he says. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the solid foundation I received at YCP.”

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