School and Ranking Information
Students who are interested in a legal assistant or paralegal program in the Indianapolis area have four possibilities to consider. Based on rankings in U.S. News and World Report and program offerings, these three schools are the best in the area:
- Winner: Ball State University earns the top spot due to it offering an American Bar Association-approved bachelor's degree program and for its U. S. News and World Report national university rankings. This school was also named a premier institution by The Princeton Review.
- Runner Up #1: Saint Mary-of-the Woods College takes second place for its variety of ABA-approved paralegal and legal assisting programs. Students here can earn a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in this field.
- Runner Up #2: Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis allows students the opportunity to earn an associate's degree in paralegal studies. This school earns third place for awarding the most credentials in this field in 2011-2012.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Ball State University||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||Ivy Tech Community College|
|Ranking||#181 National University (2014)**||#18 Regional College (2014)**||N/A|
|Location||Muncie, IN||Saint Mary of the Woods, IN (75.1 miles from Indianapolis)||Indianapolis, IN|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit||2-year, public|
|Tuition (2013)||$8,980 (undergraduate, in-state)
$23,650 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
|$27,672 (undergraduate, in-state and out-of-state)*||$3,455 (undergraduate, in-state)
$7,302 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
|Legal Assistant and Paralegal Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree||Certificate, Associate's and Bachelor's degree||Associate's degree|
|Legal Assistant and Paralegal Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||N/A*||2*||171*|
|Most Popular Legal Assistant and Paralegal Program (2012)||Bachelor's - Legal Assistant/Paralegal*||Bachelor's - Legal Assistant/Paralegal *||Associate's - Legal Assistant/Paralegal *|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time for students)||57% (started in Fall 2006)*||62% (started in Fall 2006)*||8% (started in Fall 2009)*|
|Noteworthy||Ball State was the first college or university in Indiana to be honored as one of the premier environmentally aware institutions in the United States and Canada||Is the oldest Catholic women's college in the United States||Ivy Tech is the largest statewide community college that features single accreditation in the country|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U. S. News & World Report.
Winner: Ball State University
- Ball State University has nearly 180 undergraduate and pre-professional programs as well as over 100 master's and doctor degrees
- Was rated eight for up and coming colleges and universities in 2011 by U. S. News and World Report
- For the past nine years, the university was rated by Princeton Review as one of the premier institutions in the Midwest
Students who participate in Ball Sate's Bachelor's of Science - Legal Studies program can go on to become a paralegal upon graduating. The program has the approval of the American Bar Association, and graduates can be a paralegal in the government or private area. The common core curriculum for those interested in public law consists of coursework that involves litigation, public policy, estate plan, accounting principles, and real estate. For students who are interested in the business option, core curriculum course will include family law, legislation, government, family law, and litigation.
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Runner-Up #1: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
- The student-faculty ratio at the college in 2012 was 8:1 based on reports by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- Rated the 121st best online bachelor's degree program
- In 2011-2012, 100% of full-time beginning undergraduate students were awarded financial aid
The paralegal studies bachelor's degree curriculum at the college focuses on the legal field and how it translates to society, the court system, and politics. Students enrolled in the program have to take 19 credit hours of legal specialty courses. Practicum, research and writing, enrichment, transactions, computers, and ethics will be covered. The major also requires 14 credit hours of paralegal classes. Students can expect to be instructed on litigation, liability, investigation, and communication. A total of 125 credit hours have to be earned to complete the curriculum.
Students also have the option to attain an associate's degree and certificate in paralegal studies as well. In order to attain an associate's degree, students have to complete 72 credit hours. The certificate program is available for students who have earned a bachelor's degree in another area. The classes students will take are paralegal requirements in addition to an English composition course if necessary. It takes 27-30 credit hours to complete the certificate program. The programs offered by this school are also ABA approved.
Runner-Up #2: Ivy Tech Community College
- The Central Indiana campus of Ivy Tech Community College serves roughly 33,000 undergraduate students each year
- The school is divided across two campuses and also offers academic courses at 13 high schools and community centers in the city.
- NCES reported that room and board expenses at Ivy Tech in 2012-2013 were $7,273
The Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies program is specifically designed to prepare graduates to become legal assistants and paralegals. Courses teach students how to write up legal correspondence, interview clients, perform legal research, and complete any other tasks set forth by a legal professional. Core class requirements include introduction to paralegal studies, tort law, civil procedure, contracts and commercial law, property law, legal ethics, litigation and legal writing. Students also learn the basics of microcomputer technology and law office technology.
Completion of the associate degree program also requires students to complete general education courses in English, mathematics, physical science, public speaking, humanities, interpersonal communication and technical writing. Students are able to select their own electives in the legal field that match their particular interests. Some examples of these include family law, advanced tort law, medical malpractice, bankruptcy law, wills and estates, criminal law and procedure, and medical malpractice. Students have the option to complete either a practicum or an internship experience for college credit. The program consists of 62 to 68 credit hours in total.