Caitlin Scott graduated from MTI College’s Paralegal Studies program in September 2014. Initially, right after high school, Caitlin completed her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, with a goal of pursuing a career in law enforcement. When Caitlin graduated and began focusing on a criminal justice career, reality set in that this was not the right fit for her. “What would be called for me to do, didn’t quite fit with me. It just wasn’t a career field that I could see myself in.” This came as a surprise because in her undergraduate courses, she loved learning about law enforcement. She is analytical in nature and enjoyed examining the law in various classes. Because of this, Caitlin realized law school may be a better fit. But, upon more research, Caitlin discovered that law schools were turning out graduates with no available jobs. “I read that law schools were only accepting 40 percent of their applicants. I studied for the LSAT, got a decent score, but didn’t get in.” This was yet another detour. It was time for deeper self-reflection. What was she supposed to do now?
Caitlin had to decide on what she could afford. It was then Caitlin found the ABA-approved paralegal program at MTI College. She applied right away. “I looked at other colleges, and one thing I really liked about MTI’s program was their level of attention to students when they graduate, helping them with the job search.” She reflected on her time after her undergraduate degree and described a sense of fear. She talked about how you complete your schooling in a few years, and then you step right into the real world on your own, which is very daunting. But MTI was different. “Having the extra guidance with resumes and how to prepare for an interview was very, very helpful. Also, reading all the reviews about teachers. I did a tour of the campus, and everyone was really accommodating and really willing and able to answer my questions.”
After graduating from MTI, Caitlin obtained a position as a paralegal at a real estate law firm, where she stayed for about two years. It was a small firm, with two attorneys, which concentrated on title issues, landlord/tenant issues, and foreclosures. She was hired to help both attorneys but focused more of her work on property occupancy issues. This was a learning opportunity for Caitlin. She began to understand what that area of law entails and how the state handles regulations. “It was very interesting, very fast paced. It gave me a true taste of what law firms are like. The ebb and flow of how the court system works, having to call court clerks to find information and get hearing dates.” Although Caitlin enjoyed this experience, not only does she dream big; she makes it happen. She applied to Middlesex University in London for its Master’s in Criminology program, and on May 8 she found out she was accepted. She is currently applying for a visa and working on getting housing and everything else together. “It has been an emotional whirlwind. Excitement and nervousness. Moving to another country is daunting. I reassured myself it is a good thing. This is amazing.”
The reason Caitlin chose to take this route is because she has found a big difference between criminal justice and criminology. “I like criminology because it deals with more of the human side of crimes, why people do what they do. Criminal justice deals with the structure within the system – probation, court, all of those nuances of how they all work together.” She chose to apply to Middlesex specifically because it has a program that deals with global criminology. “I wanted to focus on the global aspect of why crime occurs, how to implement new policies, better solutions to existing policies and global crime – terrorism, gang crimes.”
Long term, after Caitlin’s graduate program is complete, she would love to stay in Europe and explore. “I can explore different countries and their criminal justice structures and learn about their policies and regulations.” She is hoping to use her MTI paralegal education, combined with her Master’s in criminology, to find a job overseas that deals with the global aspect of crime. One option she is considering is the Criminologists Without Borders program. Regardless of where she ends up, she has found her passion and niche. This is the career she was meant to pursue. “Before MTI, I was still figuring out really where it is I was trying to go in terms of career. After MTI, it definitely gave me courage to know that I can succeed in any field I choose. And to know that I can find a niche.” MTI was exactly the step in the right direction that Caitlin needed. “That was the great thing, I finally felt like I found something that I can do that I can feel proud of. For me, I want to do more. MTI was a great way to help me see that I can gain confidence and get there. That was the best thing about MTI – giving me the confidence to know I can achieve whatever goal I set my mind to.”
Caitlin cannot recommend MTI College highly enough. “Support was great. I had a really great counselor I met when I was considering going to the school. She was really understanding in terms of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in terms of my career after.” Caitlin continued on to tell a story about how one of her classmates had set up study sessions and made it open to all of their classmates. The same counselor found out about their study sessions and “crashed the party” to check in on them. She was so pleased to see everyone was getting along and helping each other. Caitlin was blown away by this individualized attention and support. When it comes to MTI College, Caitlin stated, “I recommend it to everyone I talk to.” She truly believes that the professors and curriculum are leaders in the field. They teach their students hands-on, valuable skills. “They are not teaching you something just to teach you. They want you to be so confident that you know what you know. You are leaving there comfortable and confident that you can work in the job you want.”
Aside from Caitlin’s passion for criminology and law, she is also an avid runner. She has been running for 13 years. She also likes hiking and exploring outdoors, something she will be able to do quite a bit of when she makes her move to Europe this fall. Caitlin has come a long way from her first day of undergrad to now packing up all of her things and moving overseas. As she reflected on this amazing journey and what she has learned, she provided some final pieces of advice. “They [students] are laying the foundation for their futures, and they picked a really great school to do that. Have the drive to see your program through; give it your all; don’t slack. Put every effort you can into completing your program and to gain all the knowledge they have to offer. There are a lot of knowledgeable people there.” But most importantly, “if you really put in your all, it will pay out in more ways than you can think of.”