By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Getting in to law school can be an arduous process. Taking a non-traditional path toward that goal can further complicate matters. McKinley Malbrough III was already in his late 20s when he decided law school was the path he wanted to pursue. The first obstacle he needed to overcome – he had not yet earned his bachelor’s degree.
Malbrough discovered that Bellevue University, located over 1,500 miles from his home in Oakland, California, was the perfect partner to help him past that first hurdle. Malbrough enrolled in the University’s Communication Arts program in the fall of 2015 and earned his degree in the summer of 2017. He’s just completed his first year at the University of San Francisco School Of Law.
“I knew law school would be a huge undertaking, therefore I needed an undergraduate program that was flexible and affordable. I extensively researched schools and Bellevue University was the best option,” Malbrough said. “I could affordably pursue my undergraduate degree while still working to prepare for the financial burden of law school. Looking back, I’m thankful I found Bellevue University.”
He transferred in credits from Merritt College in Oakland, California, and even took additional courses to meet general education requirements, while working on his degree requirements at Bellevue University.
“My counselor at Bellevue, Dawn Novak, was amazing and it was great to meet her in person at graduation. She consistently talked about the scenarios I had to ensure that I was on track to be ready for law school,” Malbrough said. “Oftentimes, I reached out to Bellevue University prior to taking classes at my local community college, while pursuing my degree, to verify course completion requirements. Bellevue was more than helpful in working with me to complete my degree.”
Malbrough found his Health Communication class to be particularly helpful.
“This class helped me be more assertive with my family and medical staff about my health and the health of my loved ones,” he said. “Recently, my father needed to go to the emergency room. Instead of being passive about the process I was open and transparent about talking to the staff and my family about the process of recovery for my father. This was helpful because my father allowed me to take control and trust that I would ask the needed questions to best help him in his process to recovery.”
Dr. Kate Joeckel, Director of the Communications Arts program, played a key role in helping Malbrough navigate through his Bellevue University experience.
“Dr. Joeckel was amazing,” he said. “I completed my degree in reverse with most of my major courses completed first then my general education. Dr. Joeckel believed in me and gave her blessing for me to complete my degree this way.”
Malbrough found his online experience with Bellevue University prepared him well for law school.
“I’m the only student in my section of about 50 students who completed their undergraduate degree entirely online and doing so helped me to have the discipline to complete work on my own,” Malbrough said.
Once he’s completed law school, Malbrough has several options he’s considering including coming back to Bellevue to complete a Master’s Degree, human resource law, or even becoming a sports agent.
“What I realized is that I don’t have to limit myself,” he said. “With my newfound knowledge, I feel I can do anything and everything but it all starts with a single goal.”