Yeshiva College Pre-Law Advisor Resigns

By: Mindy Schwartz  |  February 28, 2018

Ms. Dina Chelst announced via an email to pre-law students that she will resigning from her post as pre-law advisor on the Yeshiva College Campus. She told students that her last day will be this Friday, March 2nd.

Chelst served as Pre-law advisor to both male and female students since September 2014 until this year when a new academic advisor, Illana Milch, was hired on the Beren Campus who could also cater exclusively to female students. This year she worked as an advisor to male Pre-law students as well as the handful of Pre-law students on Beren who had already begun working with her in previous years.

YU has a robust number of Pre-law students. As the Pre-Law advising department reports on its page, over 70 students have applied to last school in the past two years, with an 100% acceptance rate to at least one law school. Associate Dean at Yeshiva College Fredic Sugarman told The Observer that “we are sorry to lose [Ms. Chelst] who has done a wonderful job in seeing that our students place in law school and, more often than no, tier 1 law schools!”

In her email Chelst informed students that in her absence Dean Karen Bacon and Dean Sugarman will be “the point people for pre-law,” presumably until a  new advisor is hired. When asked whether the Deans will have time to adequately support Pre-law students until a new advisor is brought on board, Chelst seemed unconcerned, insisting simply that “the Deans are always committed to helping the students.”

Sugarman confirmed with The Observer that “Dean Bacon and I have begun to start the process to hire a new advisor.” He explained that “this takes some time,” but that he remains “optimistic that we will have a first-rate in place towards term’s end.”

According to Dean Bacon, the administration was unable to hire an advisor to replace Chelst immediately because she “informed us last week that she is going to return to the practice of law.” Bacon explained that, “clearly with so little notice, we have not yet had a chance to search for someone to take over.” Despite the short notice, she did emphasize, like Sugarman, that “we will start to work immediately on a permanent replacement.”

When asked about his new role, along with Dean Bacon, as interim Pre-law advisors, Sugarman assured that “while neither Dean Bacon nor I have been Pre-law advisors, we have about 50 years of academic  leadership between us so trust me…we will make sure no student is left without guidance.”

Sugarman also pointed out that only a “small” number of students will be directly affected by Chelst’s resignation. “Thankfully, the bulk of our Pre-law students are now waiting to hear on their acceptances,” he said. “There is a very small group who are [currently] in the application process and [Dean Bacon and I] will fully support them.” Bacon echoed this assessment that only a small number of students will actually need their help in the interim until a new advisor is found. “Fortunately Ms. Chelst has already worked with all this year’s students who have applied in a timely fashion,” Bacon noted. “There may be a couple who have decided to submit late applications [so t]hey might need help with their personal statements.”

Sugarman also seemed to imply that the “Yeshiva College Academic Advising team”, Sara Schwartz and Lolita Wood-Hill, will play a role in assisting pre-law students in need of help with their applications. Sugarman told The Observer that the advising team at YC is “extraordinary and will no doubt join in providing students the service they expect and deserve.” Bacon confirmed this and added another resource that will be tapped for the job, telling The Observer that if any Pre-law students require assistance “we will provide help through the Writing Center, the Career Office and the Dean’s office.”

Chelst will be returning to the practice of law, joining a Trusts and Estates law firm on Long Island. She wrote to students that “it has truly been a privilege and honor to get to know and work with each and every one of you. I wish you all success in your pursuit of law and all your future endeavors.” She also students to “please keep me apprised of all your successes,” saying that “I schepp nachas each time one of you gains admission to a law school.”