School and Ranking Information
While the city of Orlando only has a few options for those interested in studying to become a paralegal, its surrounding towns have additional selections. The top three schools for aspiring paralegals in this area, according to school rankings, program options and number of degrees awarded, are:
- Winner: The University of Central Florida (UCF) stands out by virtue of its No. 174 ranking among national universities from U.S. News & World Report in 2013 and the number of paralegal degrees awarded in 2011-2012. This school is also the only school on the list to offer a bachelor's degree in this field.
- Runner-Up #1: Seminole State College of Florida came in second since its legal studies program is notable in the community and its faculty have all received Juris Doctorate degrees.
- Runner-Up #2: City College - Alamonte Springs offers students an externship program and has small class sizes. This school is located closer to Orlando than Seminole State, however it awarded fewer degrees than the other two schools.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||University of Central Florida||Seminole State College of Florida||City College - Alamonte Springs|
|Rankings||174th among national universities*||N/A||N/A|
|Location||Orlando, FL||Sanford, FL (17.4 miles from Orlando)||Alamonte Springs, FL (10.4 miles from Orlando)|
|School Type||Four-year, public||Four-year, public||Two-year, private not-for-profit|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$6,247 (in-state), $22,345 (out-of-state)**||$3,131 (in-state), $11,456 (out-of-state)**||$14,700**|
|Paralegal Award Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree||Associate's degree||Associate's degree|
|Paralegal Degrees Awarded in (2011-2012)||292**||25**||7**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time)||63% (2005 entering class)**||32% (2005 entering class)**||38% (2008 entering class)**|
|Noteworthy||Legal studies department offers five scholarships, including Margaret M. Samet Memorial Scholarship||Program requires a paralegal internship in the law department of a government organization or at a law firm||Externship provides real-world legal coaching|
Sources: *2013 U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator.
Winner: University of Central Florida
- In 2012, UCF started the Center for Law and Policy
- The school is the 2014 host of the American Mock Trial Association's National Championship Mock Trial
- Has the world's largest law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta
In the fall of 2012, 850 students were enrolled in the legal studies program, according to the schools' website. Students have the opportunity to become part of the mock trial team or participate in the South Atlantic Regional Moot Court Tournament. Two members of the legal studies faculty have published (or are contracted to publish) nine books in almost a decade. Within the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Legal Studies program, students complete coursework in legal systems, legal research, civil procedure and real estate law. Students also can choose to complete a specialization in several areas of study, in addition to completing a capstone.
Runner-Up #1: Seminole State College of Florida
- Legal studies program has met all American Bar Association requirements
- All department faculty are Juris Doctorate holders
- The school offers small class sizes ranging from 15 to 25 students
Graduates of Seminole State's Associate of Science in Legal Studies program can transfer to the bachelor's program at the University of Central Florida. The 64-credit program incorporates mock trials, hearings and an internship. Seminole has a vast law library in hard copy and digital form, including Westlaw and Lexis Nexis resources, which can help paralegal students build their legal research skills. The program boasts a holistic approach and includes classes in law fundamentals, torts, legal research and family law.
Runner-Up #2: City College - Alamonte Springs
- Paralegal department lead instructor holds a Juris Doctorate
- Has a student to faculty ratio of 18:1, according to NCES
The 97-credit paralegal associate's degree program spans seven quarters. Within the program, students explore tenants of real estate, family and criminal law, among other specializations. The required curriculum incorporates an externship to allow students to practice their training in a real workplace environment. Additionally, the program includes courses on contracts, torts and research.