Webinar Recording: Villanova Online Grad Tax Application Walkthrough Session
Originally presented November 4, 2014
This 30-minute session provides an in-depth overview of the admissions requirements and a step-by-step walkthrough of the application process for the online LLM and MT programs.
Joshua Scofield, Enrollment Advisor, Online Graduate Programs in Taxation
Lauren Accurso, Team Lead & Enrollment Advisor, Online Graduate Programs in Taxation
Speaker 1: For those of you who have just joined us, welcome to the Villanova University Graduate Tax Online Application Walkthrough Session. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us. My name is Annie and I’ll be the moderator for tonight’s session. We’ll be covering a number of topics to provide you with further information about Villanova University and the Graduate Tax Online Programs as well as how to successfully apply. Before we begin, I would like to go over a few logistics for tonight’s presentation. All participants are in listen only mode in order to cut down on background noise so you can hear us but we cannot hear you. Everyone is encouraged to ask questions. Please do so by typing them into the chat box on the right hand side of the screen and hit send. We’ll answer as many questions as time allows at the end of the presentation. If your question was not answered during this session, 1 of our enrollment advisors will follow-up with you directly. And lastly, a recording of today’s presentation will be available after the event and we will email you the link to the email you provided when you registered for the webinar. With that, I would like to introduce each of our presenters and share some of their accomplishments.First, we have Josh Scofield. Josh is an enrollment advisor for Villanova University’s Online Graduate Tax Program. Many of you may have had the opportunity to speak with Josh already. Josh’s background includes over 8 years of experience in recruitment, training and management and he has extensive experience working with certificates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and LLM candidates. He holds an MBA and Master’s in Human Resource Management. Also presenting today is Lauren Accurso. Lauren is an enrollment advisor and team lead for the graduate tax online program. Lauren has more than 5 years of experience as an enrollment advisor for graduate programs in Business and Law. Lauren holds a Master of Education and Higher Education from Abilene Christian University and Lauren is available to answer questions about the program and provide assistance with the admissions process as well. Now, let’s go ahead and get started. Josh will let you take us through our session agenda for today.
Speaker 2: Thanks, Annie and welcome everyone to the Villanova University Graduate Tax Online Application Walkthrough. Tonight we are going to provide you with an overview of the online graduate tax programs, both the Master of Laws and Taxation and Master of Taxation including the differentiation between the 2 programs, curriculum included, noted faculty and rankings and accreditation information. We’ll also cover the admissions requirements for both programs, the online application process, everything from initially starting the application through successful completion, important dates for admissions and the programs, as well as your questions. Once again, we do ask that you type in your questions in the chat box on the right hand side of the screen. First, let’s take a look at the composition of the Master of Laws and Taxation and the Master of Taxation Programs and for this, I turn it over to my colleague, Lauren Accurso. Lauren?
Speaker 3: Thanks, Josh. The LLM or Master of Laws Program is targeted toward candidates who have completed their Juris Doctorate from a law school approved by the ABA or American Bar Association. The Master of Taxation is geared for applicants who have received an undergraduate degree in Accounting and demonstrated an interest in the field of taxation. The programs are 100% online with no residency requirement and can be completed in as few as 2 years. Both the LLM and Master of Taxation show the same level of rigor with their campus based counterparts. The programs are designed to tie together theoretical study with real world applications. The programs consist of 7 or 8 week consecutive courses within 15 week fall and spring semesters and a 14 week summer semester. Courses generally have a weekly live Adobe connect session Thursday evenings with a general expectation of attendance and participation. The live sessions are recorded and archived, so in the event you are not able to participate in a given week, you can review the material at a more convenient time. The courses require a steady and constant weekly amount of work that includes reading, practice questions, viewing or listening to recorded presentations and regular assessments. Now, let’s look at some notable faculty that teach both on campus, as well as within the online LLM and Master of Taxation programs. Our first faculty member Leslie Book is Professor of Law and Director of the online graduate tax program and it will be teaching Taxation I. Some of Professor Book’s impressive professional achievements include writing extensively on tax administration, tax compliance and tax procedure, including updating and re-writing the pre-eminent treaties on tax procedure, the constant Routers published IRS practice and procedure, testifying before Congress and the US Department of Treasury on the Fair Administration of Tax Laws, founding procedurally taxing 1 of the leading blogs in the country addressing tax procedure and tax administration, as well as receiving the 2007 ABA Tax Section Spragens Pro Bono Award for his outstanding Pro-Bono services with respect to Federal tax law. Our next faculty member is J. Richard Harvey, Jr., who is a distinguished professor of practice for the graduate tax program and has over 35 years of multi-faceted tax experience in the highest levels of Government and Business, providing senior Government officials and corporate leaders with valuable guidance and counsel on tax issues. Professor Harvey’s notable career achievements include serving as the senior Government official in the US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service during the Reagan, W. Bush and Obama administrations, testifying before the US Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations in May 2013 on the International Tax Practices of Apple, Incorporated, serving as the senior tax partner with a big 4 accounting firm, participating extensively in the negotiation and implementation of the 1986 Tax Reform Act and has been frequently quoted in major publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Financial Times, Politico, Bloomberg, Tax Notes and Routers. Our third and final faculty member is Joy Sabino Mullane, Assistant Professor of Law and she is teaching Wealth Tax. Having earned her Juris Doctorate, Graduating Order of Coise, Professor Mullane has been teaching since 2005, focusing in areas such as corporate tax, Federal income tax and wealth tax. Some of Professor Mullane’s professional achievements include judicial clerk for the Honorable Susan H. Black, United States Courts of Appeal for the 11th Circuit, specializing in employee benefits and financial products tax as an associate at Davis and Harman, LLP, a boutique tax and employee benefit law firm in Washington, DC, an associate at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, one of the top and biggest firms in the country specializing in legal solutions for the world’s top financial institutions. Her piece entitled Incidents and Accidents Regulation on Executive Compensation through the tax code has been off sited including in a tax policy book written by Bruce Bartlett, a former senior official in the Executive Branch, serving as a domestic policy advisor to Reagan and Bush and it is well respected and well known. Next, I would like to discuss the rankings and accreditations that Villanova University holds. Villanova University is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. US News and World Report has ranked Villanova University number 1 in the best universities Master’s category in the northern region for over 2 decades. US News and World Report has also ranked Villanova University number 2 in the best values school for the northern region. Forbes has ranked Villanova University in the top 100 of America’s top colleges. The National Law Journal ranks Villanova University of Law in the top 50 of their 2014 go to law schools list. Villanova University School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association or the ABA and Villanova University School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business or the AACSB. Now, let’s take a look at the admissions requirements for the LLM and the Master of Taxation Programs. To be eligible for these programs, applicants must provide the following: LLM applicants will need to include within their application an official transcript from their Juris Doctorate Degree from a US law school that is ABA accredited or completion of all requirements to practice law in a foreign country. Official post-secondary transcripts for all credits leading to the JD Degree must also be sent directly from that institution. MT candidates will need to include an official transcript from their Baccalaureate Degree in Accounting from an accredited institution, official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate programs in which 6 or more credits were received must be sent directly from that institution. You will also need to submit proof of having successfully completed the CPA exam or GRE/GMAT scores that were received within the last 5 years. For the MT candidates, 1 year of professional tax experience is preferred, but it is not required. Additionally, all applicants will need to submit 1 letter of recommendation from either a professional or an academic source, a current resume and an essay. International applicants will also need to submit TOEFL results with a minimum score of 100 on Internet based exam or 600 on a paper based exam and a transcript evaluation if you graduated from a foreign institution. Applicants that are required to take the TOEFL should have that score directly sent to Villanova University and finally there is a $50 fee for all applicants. Now, let’s take a look at the online application for both the LLM and the Masters of Taxation. To lead us through the applicant, I’ll turn it back over to Josh.
Speaker 2: Thanks, Lauren. Once you decide to move forward and apply for either the LLM or Master of Taxation Program, your advisor will send you the link for the program and semester specific your situation. When you click through the link provided by your advisor, you will come to an account creation page. This is where you will create your login user name and password. You will simply need to input the pertinent contact information to create your account. After filling in the necessary information, you will receive an email to assist you in setting the password for your account. Once you have successfully created your password, you will be able to login to your application. The process should take a matter of minutes. Once in the application there are several tabs that need to be completed in order to submit your application for review. The first 2 tabs in the application are informational in scope. You do not need to input any information however you should read through both the introduction and requirements for admission tabs. Under the contact information tab, you’ll simply need to input any additional information that you did not/were not able to input when you created your login information. Please make sure the information is correct and complete. Should you be accepted into the program, this information will be utilized moving forward. Under the citizenship and demographic information tab, you will need to denote the following: The country where you currently hold citizenship, gender information, social security information, if you are not a US citizen, you’ll simply enter 9 zeros, date of birth information, if you have ever served in the US military and demographic information. Under the professional certifications tab, if you have passed the CPA exam, you will be able to denote that here. For the application process, you simply need to have successfully completed all 4 segments of the exam. So, you will be able to submit proof of completion with score results or if you carry the CPA license, a copy of your license would suffice. You will actually upload the confirmation documentation in the additional documents tab which we’ll get to in a second. Next, you will select the proper responses to the background questions such as, has your college, university, graduate or professional school attendance been interrupted for 1 or more terms for any reason or have you ever been dismissed, discharged or required to resign by an employer? Also, have you been separated from any branch of the US Armed Forces under less than honorable conditions? If needed, you are able to upload any additional supporting documentation under this tab. If you have ever attended Villanova University or applied for Villanova Graduate Tax Programs in the past, you’ll include that information under the Villanova experience tab. Depending on your program, under the program information and test scores tab, applicants will submit different information specific to their experience and program requirements. For Master of Taxation candidates, you can see in the upper left window that you will be able to input any GMAT or GRE information, if required. For LLM candidates, you can see in the bottom right window where information pertinent to any LSAT scores and bar admission can be input. Again, any supporting documentation can be added under the additional documents tab. The education tab will allow you to enter the name of each institution you have attended in pursuit of each degree you’ve completed. After completing all of the information for 1 institution, you can see in the bottom right hand corner where you will be able to select add another response for additional schools. It’s important to note that by completing this section, it will not automatically request transcripts for you. You will need to contact the Office of the Registrar at whichever school or schools you have attended previously. A best practice is to request the school email official transcripts directly to your enrollment advisor if the institution has the capability to email official transcripts. Otherwise, you will request that all transcripts be mailed to our off site recruitment facility located at 1900 East Lake Avenue in Glenview, Illinois. You only need to include your current employer, under the employment tab, make sure you include all of the information under the required fields such as employer, title, total years of work experience, employer address, city, state, zip code and also it’s important to note whether your employer will be providing tuition assistance in your pursuit. Under the additional documents tab, as we had noted several times previous, you can upload any documents relevant to your application. The only documents you will not upload here are your resume and personal statement. These will be uploaded under the resume essay tab. You also have the opportunity to complete an optional essay which can be uploaded under this tab. The optional essay allows you to address any of the following: any significant accomplishments, honors, academic or professional promotions, as well as any weaknesses you feel may exist within your application. You will be able to input the information for whoever is going to provide you with a letter of recommendation under the recommendations tab. You will only need 1 letter of recommendation however, you can have multiple submitted on your behalf if you would prefer. The letter of recommendation should be either professional or academic in nature. For example, a current or former supervisor or professor who could provide testament to your knowledge and abilities would be acceptable. Personal references from family or friends are not encouraged. Your recommender will receive an email after you input their information within the tab and click send invitation. It’s important to note that 1 best practice to be mindful of is to have your recommender email a PDF copy of the letter of recommendation directly to your enrollment advisor. In the past, some recommenders have experienced some technical issue with trying to email the letter of recommendation to the address denoted within the invitation they receive. You will also need to verify that all the documentation and information you have input throughout is complete and accurate under the verification tab. You simply need to read through the terms of admission and enter your confirmation at the bottom. Under the resume essay tab, you will be able to upload a copy of both your resume and personal statement. You’ll simply select attach file then a pop-up box will come up and allow you to complete the upload. Once uploaded correctly, the attachment will show as complete under this tab. On the charges and additional items tab, the information regarding the application fee is denoted. There is nothing that needs to be completed under this tab. Once you have completed all of the pertinent tabs within the application and double checked or triple checked everything for accuracy, you can then click submit on the bottom of the application. After clicking submit, you will able to complete the application fee. We will get to your questions shortly, but as a reminder, if you do have any questions, please do send them into us through the chat box on the right hand side of your screen. In the interim, let’s cover some common questions that do arise. Can I move my start date? Yes. The application is good for 1 year. So, if a person was to apply for the upcoming spring 2015 semester, but needed to delay starting their program, they would not need to re-apply so long as they started before the expiration of their application. Can I submit more than 1 recommendation letter? Yes. Only 1 letter of recommendation is required however, you are more than welcome to submit multiple letters of recommendation. Who should my recommender be? As stated earlier, the letter of recommendation should be either professional or academic in nature. A current or former supervisor or professor who can speak to your knowledge and abilities would be acceptable. Again, it’s important to note that personal references such as family and/or friends are not encouraged. Do we need all of your transcripts? Yes. You should request transcripts from any institution you attended in pursuit of any completion of previous degrees you have earned. How long does my personal statement have to be? The personal statement should be approximately 500 words. For MT candidates, can I start my application before I take the GMAT or GRE? Yes. It’s highly advised that students start working on the application immediately as it’s never a good idea to wait until or around the application deadline to submit your application. A person can complete the application piecemeal and when complete with the GMAT or GRE, submit their results last. When I can start the program? Well interested candidates can submit their application during any of 3 application windows throughout the year. The most upcoming semester will be the spring 2015 session which starts on January 12th. We are currently in the midst of the open application period for the spring 2015 semester. There are also semesters that start in summer and fall. Some additional useful resources include: the length for the online application which your enrollment advisor can email directly to you, the application checklist which summarizes all of the required documents for the online, LLM and Master of Taxation applications, official transcripts, all email forms including e-transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, et cetera may be sent to email@example.com and for Master of Taxation candidates, you can have official GMAT or GRE scores and reports sent directly to Villanova University. The program codes are as follows and you can see them on your screen: for the GMATs, it is 8PP-NJ-52 and for the GRE 2959. Also, it’s important to obtain an unofficial score report upon completion the date of your assessment as we can use that until the official report is received. The next semester will be our spring 2015 session that begins January 12th. The open application period for the spring semester is currently ongoing and the application deadline is upcoming on November 30th. Applicants should be able to complete all of the application requirements within about a week and a half to 2 weeks and we highly advise that you do not wait until the application deadline as the program has and continues to draw a very high level of interest from applicants around the country. As such, be mindful that things are filling up quickly for the spring. If you’re not accepted for the spring semester, you may be considered for our summer semester. Now for question and answer, I’d like to turn it back over to Annie.
Speaker 1: Thank you so much, Josh and Lauren and for those of you listening in on the webinar today, if you have any questions again you can type them into the question box, the chat box and hit send and we’ll cover as many questions as we can now at this time. Our first question is if I experience technical issues with my application at any point, who should I contact?
Speaker 2: Great question. So, you should follow-up with your enrollment advisor immediately and inform them of the issue and any errors that you are receiving.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you so much, Josh. Our next question is what if I previously completed graduate level coursework? Is there an opportunity to transfer any coursework into the program?
Speaker 3: Yes. If a candidate has previously completed graduate level tax courses, in previous coursework, there is an opportunity to transfer in up to 4 courses. If you do believe that you have previously completed coursework that would match this, you should speak to your admissions advisor further about the transfer policy and the request process.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you so much, Lauren. Our next question chatted in is, how long do I have to complete the application?
Speaker 2: So, there is a stated application deadline for each application window. It’s important to keep in mind however, that the review committee is taking several factors into consideration when reviewing applications. So, it is in the applicants’ best interest to complete their application in a timely manner. We highly recommend that a week and a half to 2 weeks should be a pretty reasonable amount of time to get the application complete. Sometimes there could be a couple of outlines depending on transcript requests and recommended time tables however, for the vast majority, a week and a half to 2 weeks really should be ample time to get that application in completed form and ready for review.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you so much, Josh. Our next question is what are the deadlines for the summer semester and what is the start date for the summer semester?
Speaker 3: Great question. So, the summer semester will start on May 12th and the deadline to get all of your documents submitted for the summer semester will be mid-March.
Speaker 1: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Lauren. Our next question is what if I decide to not move forward at any point? Do I need to notify anyone?
Speaker 2: Yes, absolutely. So throughout the application process, we ask that everybody keeps their enrollment advisor up to date when you complete each of the milestones such as uploading your resume, uploading your personal statement, requesting transcripts, and how you’ve requested them, mainly, so that we can confirm everything is being processed correctly. We don’t want to see folks put in, you know, a lot of legwork and then not get rewarded for all of the efforts. So, the same is true when a person decides not to finish their application or decides to target a future term. The most integral thing is to keep everybody in the loop on where you’re at in process.
Speaker 1: Okay. Thank you so much, Josh. Our next question is what if I want to apply for a future term?
Speaker 3: So, typically we do have an application active for just 1 term at a time for instance, currently we do have the spring 2015 term listed. The summer 2015 term will be posted shortly however, if you are looking for a term further in the year that is absolutely fine to apply. Just make sure you let your advisor know which session you are targeting so that they can let the admissions committee know accordingly to have your file reviewed for the appropriate term.
Speaker 1: Thank you so much, Lauren. Our next question chatted in is for someone with a JD and a CPA license, what are the most significant differences between the LLM and MT programs? Which would you recommend?
Speaker 2: As far as recommend, individuals that carry a Juris Doctorate would want to target the LLM program. The LLM is more focused for those that have a legal background whether it’s just educational or educational and professional. So, for anybody that carries their Juris Doctorate, you would definitely want to target the online LLM.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you so much, Josh. Our last question for the evening is if I don’t complete my application within a year time frame, would I need to start the process over again?
Speaker 3: Great question. That’s something that you would want to discuss with your advisor at that time. There are some documents that we do keep on file for students if they do not finish the application, but there are also some documents that would need to be updated. So, the best answer to that would be to reach out to your advisor at that time to see what is still outstanding from your application and if there are still documents on file from your previous application and that can give you a better idea of what you would need to put together and what you would still need to gather.
Speaker 1: Wonderful. Thank you so much. Thank you again to Josh and Lauren and for those listening in and I would like to now present our contact information which is up on your screen. Again, Josh, if you could go through this with us.
Speaker 2: Sure. Well again, to everybody, thanks for joining us. Our contact information is on your screen now. If you have any questions or think it’s time to apply, please reach out to an enrollment advisor, Lauren or myself, and we’ll gladly assist you through the enrollment process.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you so much, Josh. And thank you to both Josh and Lauren for your time presenting today and this actually concludes our webinar. Again, we answered as many questions as we could during our Q&A portion today on our 30 minute session however, if your question was not answered directly on our session, either Lauren or Josh will follow-up with you directly. And again, you will receive a recording of today’s presentation. Please feel free to reply to that email with any questions as well. Thank you.