Should You Take a Year Off Before Going to Law School?

You’ve just graduated from college and are contemplating the idea of becoming a law student at UIC Online or Fordham University. It’s a great plan, but you’re also thinking about taking a year off first. Would this be a good idea or should you go right into law school? This is a question many students have who may be burned out from their studies. However, if you’re truly committed to the idea of becoming a lawyer, then it won’t matter whether you go to school right away or take a year off first.

How Many Years Does it Take to Graduate From Law School?

One thing to consider is how many more years you have to put into your education before you get to practice. Usually, law school is about three years of additional education. However, with a gap year, this would be extended to four years. The gap year is actually legitimate and isn’t frowned upon by law schools, so you don’t have to worry about it hurting your chances of acceptance.

Should You Take a Year Off Before Going to Law School

The Pros of Taking a Gap Year

Here are some good things about taking a year off before going away to law school:

  • This year off isn’t really a year off, since it’s typically used to gain real world experience, which in turn gives your resume a boost. You can try interning at a law firm or even working as a computer programmer, which can teach you a thing or two about patent law. Some become volunteers at a shelter for women, providing insight about how the legal aid system works.
  • This time can be used to determine if you really want to continue on to law school. It’s better to figure this out now than after you already put in years and thousands of dollars into your legal education.
  • Refresh your mind – you just spent four years in college, so burnout is definitely a possibility.
  • More time to study for the LSAT, which is vital for entrance into a law school.

The Cons of Taking a Gap Year

So what’s the not-so-great about taking a year off?

  • It can cause you to lose momentum. Not everyone faces the burnout after four years at a university, so if you feel like you can keep on going, then maybe you should. Taking a year off could throw you off your A game.
  • Your focus and motivation could be lost. Working at a job during your time off could cause you to change your mind about going back to school, especially if you like your position and earnings.
  • It will take you longer to graduate. Instead of graduating within three years, it would take you four years. This also means it will take you longer to finally get into a legal position to jumpstart your career.

As you can see, there are some good and bad things about taking a year off before heading off to law school. What you decide to do will be determined by your own goals and motivations.

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