In late November, I was contacted by my first student looking for assistance in the study of law. After exchanging initial emails with the prospective student, I got to thinking about the online law school that he was "taking" classes from. For some reason, my "radar" went off wildly that there was something wrong here - very wrong - not with the student but with the school. The student and I talked more and more - still by emails, and more problems were revealed. The online school was not "ABA accredited" which meant that if the student ever wanted to practice law as an attorney, the student would need to transfer his credits to another law school and take additional classes before being allowed to take the bar exam.
After the school's contact answered some rather basic questions with evasive answers, I informed the student of what I feared about the school so that the student could make an informed decision about whether or not to continue with this "international" but non-accredited law school. While I may have shot myself in the foot by informing the student of my concerns that this law school was a rip-off and just interested in the student for their money (most likely U.S. federal financial aid or grants), it felt like the right thing to do.
I may have lost the student for the time being, but I gained the student's trust and respect, and that just feels right, especially at this time of year. Merry Christmas.