Brown Court Reporting Atlanta
I've been in school at Brown College of Court Reporting for about a year and a half as a stenography student. Day school students start class at 8:00 a.m. You’ve got to make sure you're on time because if the door is closed to the classroom, you have to wait. (It makes sense. Court reporters can't be late in the real world!)
The first three hours of my school day are dedicated to speedbuilding. To a steno student, this means that once you learn a court reporting theory, or how to use your stenography machine to make words, you start building speed at 60 words per minute and work your way to the end goal of 225…..yes, I said it! 225 words per minute, verbatim. It's the job of the court reporter to take down testimony with almost perfect accuracy, and this skill takes a long time to master. I'm currently working on finishing my final 120 word-per-minute test so I can move to 140.
We test in various disciplines for speed and accuracy several times a week, so there are a lot of opportunities to move forward. If I feel good about a particular test, I can transcribe it in the testing lab where students get an hour to work on a test from a five-minute dictation to be graded by the dictating teacher. With each passed test you get yellow sheets confirming your accuracy and speed. In court reporting school these are literally your golden tickets!
The rest of the day varies depending on the quarter and academics. I've already taken English Fundamentals and Punctuation, both very important since it's the court reporter's job to take down word-for-word testimony as well as to thoroughly edit and file physical transcripts of said proceedings. Additionally, court reporters need knowledge in areas ranging from criminal and civil law to anatomy and medical terminology. This quarter I'm taking extra drill classes which reinforce my theory and help with accuracy, speed, and challenging words.
Often we'll hear speakers who visit school, quarterly we have awards day, and there are a lot of out of school opportunities to learn through various field trips and demonstrations. This year alone I've attended two mock trials: one at the Dekalb County Courthouse and one at the Georgia State University College of Law.
I work part time in the afternoons and try to practice for at least an hour or two in the evenings. Sometimes I'll even take down dialogue from TV shows or a movie which is interesting and challenging. Often I'll listen to dictations from class or from websites I find as practice.
What does it take to succeed in court reporting school?
· Hard work! That's the most important thing to have if you want to study this discipline.
· A good attitude.
· An interest in English and proofreading. This is a huge part of the court reporter's job, and those transcripts aren't going to edit themselves!
· Professionalism. Being timely and professional is a must. A court reporter is an officer of the court and has to act as such, even as a student.
· Determination. Court reporting school is not for those who give up easily. It takes a lot of time, and it's very difficult, but it's rewarding.