With a Seven-for-Seven Acceptance Streak, Triple Jumper is a Hop, Skip and a Jump from Law School
Thursday, May 4, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (May 4, 2017) — When the law school acceptance notices started to accumulate in senior psychology major Prince Charles Yakubu’s inbox, and the formal letters arrived at his home in St. Louis, his mother was “really excited,” says Yakubu. But it wasn’t until he’d heard from all seven schools — the University of Denver, Drexel, Howard, Loyola University of Chicago, Saint Louis, Santa Clara, and Villanova — and all seven had said yes, that his father weighed in.
“He told me he knew it was going to happen,” says Yakubu, with the hint of a shy smile.
Yakubu acknowledges that his acceptance rate is “statistically improbable. It just blew me away. I never thought it was going to play out this way.” He says the hard part was choosing where he would spend the next three years, with “so many viable options from all over the country.”
To get a feel for the best fit, Yakubu went home to visit St. Louis — where he attended the Jesuit St. Louis University High School — journeyed to Denver, and took a trip up the street to Villanova.
Though he liked Denver, and notes that many factors called him back to St. Louis, the future criminal defense attorney says he chose Villanova law school because he’s grown to enjoy Philadelphia and can see himself practicing law here.
“I feel that with the connections I’ve made through SJU’s pre-law program, and those I will make at Villanova, that there will be a place for me in Philadelphia,” he says.
The SJU team captain and triple jumper (a track and field event described as a horizontal hop, skip and a jump), who has placed in the Atlantic 10 top ten rankings several times throughout his undergraduate career with the Hawks, notes that his Jesuit education has shaped his interest in becoming a criminal defense attorney.
“I’ve been taught through a Jesuit lens for eight years, and I’ve learned how important it is to give back,” he says. “I plan to be an ally for those from marginalized communities of color who seek help from a judicial system that doesn’t always have their best interests in mind.”
Yakubu says that his psychology background will help him understand both his clients and his opponents, arming him with insights into the subtleties of personality that will give him an edge in the courtroom. He also carried a minor in political science, and notes that the classes covering societal intersectionality and inequality helped stoke an interest in civil rights law.
“Prince will make a great defense attorney,” says Patrick Garrigan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who taught Yakubu in several classes. “His work in the major has prepared him to recognize people’s cognitive biases, social influences and perceptual processing, which can play a big role in the courtroom. In addition, aside from being really sharp, he’s very engaging and knows how to make a strong argument.”
Asked what he’ll miss about Saint Joseph’s, he talks about his team and the feeling that they have each other’s backs. He also mentions the distinctly SJU phenomenon of everyone holding the doors open for their fellows at entrances and exits.
“That just doesn’t happen at other places,” he says.
But since he’s staying in the Philadelphia area, and Villanova is only a hop, skip and jump away from Hawk Hill, he knows he won’t have far to go to find community.
“When Hawks see other Hawks, no matter where we are, we band together,” he says.