If you’re unable to attend law school as a full-time student but would still like to earn your J.D., many schools offer part-time programs and night classes to make that possible. But what comes with being a part-time law student? Check out the good, the bad, and the ugly of attending law school part-time.
A Career Upgrade
Most part-time students are choosing to go to law school to upgrade their career. Getting your J.D. will open doors that are impossible to reach without it. By going to law school, you can change the path of your professional life in a major way that will leave a lasting impact on you, your family, and the world.
If the choice is to go to law school part-time or not at all, we say take the risk and go for it.
Less Financial Burden
Many part-time law students choose to start paying off their debt while attending law school. This is a great way to get ahead of your debt before you graduate. Where full-time students take out extra loans to cover the cost of lifestyle expenses (rent, books, supplies, etc.), part-time students can use the money they’re earning at work tolessens their total debt.
In Good Company
If you go to law school part-time, chances are you’ll be attending with other part-time students. These likeminded students tend to be more focused and diligent than some full-time students due to the compromises they’ve had to make to attend law school. Making friends with other part-time students can help keep you accountable and gives you a person you can relate to when things really get crazy.
As a part-time law student, there will be certain opportunities that will not be made available to you. That includes joining student organizations, attending clinics, and getting on law review or other academic honors. Your career services office hours may also conflict with your busy schedule. That means you’ll have to rely completely on your grades and your ability to network with students and professors to get ahead.
It’s A Lot of Work
You probably could have guessed this one. Law school is a lot of work for every type of student. It involves nonstop reading, rereading, briefing, and more. After a long day at work, sometimes it can feel impossible. In order to get good grades as a part-time law student, you’ll have to create a strict routine and stick to it.
Creating a strong support system is crucial to your success as a part-time law student. You’ll miss out on birthday parties, weddings and even some holidays depending on your schedule. Make sure your friends and family are on board with you disappearing for the next three to four years, and that you can lean on them for emotional support.
It’s Going to Take a While
If you want to finish law school in three years like full-time students, you’ll have to take summer classes. That means not having a single month to breathe for the next three years. If you’d rather take your time, most part-time programs take four years to complete.
Taking the longer route will give you time to fully absorb the material, while not running the risk of burning out.
Potential Burn Out
Speaking of burning out. It’s easy for any student (full-time or part-time) to burn out in law school, especially in the first year. Unfortunately for law students, that first year when you’re trying to figure out how to balance life and law school is the year that has the biggest impact on your future.
Avoid burning out by creating a solid support system and making time for things like exercise and a social life. It’s not easy but adding some “me time” into your schedule can help keep you motivated. It’s always good to remind yourself of the light at the end of the tunnel, and your family and friends can help you do that.
Conquering Law School as a Part-Time Student
Here’s the thing, starting law school as a part-time law student can be stressful. Not only are you reintroducing yourself to the mindset of being a student, but you’re embarking on an educational experience like no other. Plus, trying to balance your family and work life. It’s not going to be easy.
Skip the confusion and first-year jitters by taking a Law Preview law school prep course this summer. In only six days (live, live stream or on-demand) you’ll learn how to outline, take notes and study for exams from the nation’s top law school professors. Plus, you’ll get an introduction to core 1L material including torts, criminal law, contracts and more.
Law Preview is the competitive advantage you need as a part-time law student. Sign up for a law school prep course today.