PROS OF A GAP YEAR
HELP PAY TUITION – Let’s face it. College is expensive these days. Even if you’re attending an in-state public institution, the cost of tuition could be around $5,000 per semester. That’s a lot of debt to handle when you eventually earn a degree and get into a job that you’re passionate about. If you can take a job during your gap year and save what you earn, even if it is only part-time work, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of student debt being carried in the future.
CONS OF A GAP YEAR
EXPENSIVE – Gap years might not be everyone’s piece of cake right from the start. When you decide what you want to do with this time in hand, you could come up with some really extravagant ideas. Even if they may prove to be worthwhile and overwhelming experiences, the fact that you are going to add a quite few expenditures on your living is undeniable. Well, if you decide to travel around the world during your gap year then, depending on your location and duration of stay, you might have to pay a good amount of money. It won’t be a concern if you’re financially prepared for it but for most of the people, it might not be that easy way to go.
TEMPTATION – Even though up to 50% of students will return to their educational pursuits after taking a gap year, there is an important 50% that does not. Some students decide that educational studies are too stressful, too rigorous, or too structured to fit their needs. Instead of pursuing a high-skill career, they decide to work in entry-level positions – if you decide to even work at all. It can be easy to lose sight of your educational investment during your gap year.
MOMENTUM – There is a lot of value in having good studying habits. You’ll be breaking those habits when you take a gap year, which means you’ll need to re-establish them if/when you decide to come back to school. Although the stress reduction and personal enjoyment that comes with a gap year can recharge your batteries and be a refreshing back, returning to the learning routine can be very difficult. Life can be very different when returning to school after taking some time off, which is why some students don’t come back.
THERE ARE FOUR GOALS TO BECOMING A LAWER LIBBY
GOAL 1.) BACHELOR'S DEGREE – Your undergraduate experiences generally have numerous writing assignments and research projects which prepare you for your Law School Admission Test. Assignments may range from covering theoretical concepts in political science to making arguments in moot court, a seminar-like activity allowing you to play various roles in a trial.
GOAL 2.) LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST (LSAT) – In order to enter law school, applicants must take the LSAT as undergraduates. Students then submit college transcripts, LSAT scores and completed applications. After reviewing applications, law schools notify candidates whether they are accepted or not.
GOAL 3.) JURIS DOCTORATE (JD) DEGREE – Law school generally lasts three years and culminates with you receiving your JD degree. Programs begin by covering fundamental topics in civil procedure and constitutional law. This may be done through case-study and precedent analysis, which is when you read over previous cases in order to understand the arguments made by both sides and the final decision rendered. Once core requirements are complete, in your second and third years you'll take electives, such as bankruptcy or family law. These opportunities allow law students to help prepare cases, revise arguments and gain better understandings of day-to-day practices in law offices or courts.
GOAL 4.) THE BAR EXAME – In order to practice law, attorneys must be licensed. Although some states practice reciprocity, allowing lawyers who have passed another state's bar to practice within their borders, each state has its own respective licensing exam. Additionally, some states may require graduates to take the Multi-state Performance Test, the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, a local state bar exam or all three exams.
Libby, law school can be the most challenging and rewarding years of your life. These gap year pros and cons look at the various benefits and setbacks that are possible. None of them are guaranteed. Some people thrive during their gap year, then return to school ready to pursue their chosen career. Others discover that they don’t miss school and feel like they will not need it in the future. Maybe you’ll discover who you are during a gap year. Maybe you will not. If you create a plan before starting it, you will give yourself the best chance to have a successful, refreshing experience.
Hope this was Helpful Libby
I feel a year of real world experience is a great idea prior to law school. I worked for 2 years on the floor of the NYSE, becoming the youngest brokers on the floor prior to law school. The knowledge I attained in those 2 years helped me understand the reasoning for many legal issues and business decisions.
I highly recommend taking a gap year between college and law school. In my case, I decided to work for four years as a claims adjuster and supervisor before enrolling in law school. I must admit that this is most likely a minority viewpoint, since most classmates went straight to law school after college graduation. However, in my case, I wasn’t certain that I wanted to attend any grad school, much less law school. I had worked extremely hard at an elite private, liberal arts college and needed to get out in the “real world” to obtain work experience (and to earn some money). As a result, I saved enough money to fund one year of law school when I finally decided to enroll.
If you have the stamina and are not burned out, then going straight to law school might be the best course for you to take. While some of my friends were concerned that it would be hard to readjust to classroom learning if they took a gap year (or more), in my case it was the exact opposite. By that time, I was married, owned a small condo with two dogs (and a yard to mow), and was eager to get back to school to better my career prospects. I had “recharged my batteries” and (after the first semester) actually found that studying law took less of my time than had my undergraduate courses, with their required half dozen or more books in each class and multiple papers to complete. In law school, for better or worse, it’s just taking Legal Research & Writing courses, perhaps a few clinical courses, reading the cases, and studying treatises (textbooks) that explain the principles more directly than we obtained in class through the use of the Socratic Method of Questions and Answers (finding out how, or if, answers would differ if key facts changed).
I hope that I have been able to assist you by explaining how taking time off between college and law school was the right choice for me.
Of course, you may have made up your mind and already have things in place. Law School may be the immediate step for you.
A time to reflect is very valuable. After all, my brother took a year off and worked for a Judge. He found Law School a delight. His work for the Judge promoted an interest in a Legal non-profit: Raising funds for the assistance to Judges in order to promote Legal Solutions and research online.
I did very well in my undergraduate career and I was accepted to several Law Schools. I just was not sure Law School was my direction. So, I worked for a Judge, instead of enrolling right away, at a large insurance company, who tested me everyday about my direction towards the law. It was a great experience for me. In short, I stepped away and went into my family restaurant business with my Father and, eventually, sold the business, allowed my Father to retire, and I headed to a management position in a Bank and, today, I am a Commercial Lending Officer with Berkshire Bank. I have run the gamut in life and I have been rewarded in different ways. I have learned so much and experienced many different aspects of life.
The key is make sure you are committed before any decisions. Then, adapt with your choices.
I would recommend trying to get a job at a law office to keep learning in your field.
Savanna (Savi)’s Answer
While I didn't go to law school, I found the time between undergrad and graduate school incredibly invaluable. For one, to be totally honest, it was very beneficial to work full time to have some savings. Secondly, it was a great time to meet new people and socialize. I found these friends very valuable as post-college friendships can be difficult. Thirdly, I believe I can participate in graduate level discussions at a high level based on my work experience and age. I feel like my experience has made me more aware of how the world works that college shielded me from. This has led to more understanding in my graduate level classes and challenged my learning more.
Best of luck!