Part time at Charleston Law School?

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Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby tttcomrader » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:32 pm

Hi, all, I'm new to the forum!

Here is my background:

I'm 26, Chinese (born in Hong Kong), US Citizen, Honorable discharged from US Army (3 years, E-5/SGT), BA in History, BS in Math, MS in Math, all from UNC-Charlotte, undergraduate GPA 3.67, graduate GPA 3.00 (I know... I slacked off during my first grad year). Currently holding a full time math teaching position in a Community College in Charleston. Single, no kids, no stable relationship. (and not planning to have any)

My job is easy, enjoyable, pays okay, and I only work 30 hours a week, so I'm considering fulfilling my childhood promise - Law school. My goal is to finish law school, pass BAR, do some law consultant on the side, may be going into politics in the future.

Doing part time at Charleston Law School is the most logical approach, as it is only 15 mins away, I can keep my job and stuff. Here are some questions:

1. I did a bit research and I found out that Charleston Law is not fully accredited by ABA (something about it has to be established for five years min...), does it matter for my purpose?

2. The tuition looks high, how often do we get financial aids? (My salary is only around 45k a year and have school loans)

3. The median for acceptance is LSAT: 151 / GPA: 2.92. I haven't take LSAT yet but I read the sample, shouldn't be too hard if I study hard enough. But will my grad GPA bite me in the ass? (Considering my undergrad GPA should be fine...)

4. I'm currently taking some grad history courses, and perhaps I will pursuit a Master's in History (that way I can teach history courses here), but with a Law degree I can also teach pre-law here. What do you think? Is it worth it? I'm weighting my options now and to be honest, I might ended up doing both people who work here tend to have enough to finish multiple grad degrees.

Thank you!!!

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby Case2L » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:37 pm

I'll assume this is not a flame. As far as I know, Charleston is not yet fully accredited; only 'approved'. I, nor anyone on this forum, would likely recommend attending an unaccredited law school. Would Univ. of South Carolina be an option? As far as your graduate gpa, I don't think too many law schools will care, since the US News rankings only factor in undergraduate gpa. We'll never know for sure until you take the LSAT, but judging from the background you've provided us, you should aim higher than Charleston School of Law.

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby fwaam » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:56 pm

This is going to be a little weird for you, because I suspect no one on this board will recommend that you attend Charleston, whereas people in real life probably have suggested it. I'm from SC and understand that what seems like a joke of a school to people on a forum like TLS can still be attractive to working professionals living 15 minutes away, so I'll try to give you a balanced answer.

First of all, Charleston isn't fully accredited yet because it's so new. The problem is that it has no alumni network, and that it's widely considered to be the school for people who can't get into USC. Now, USC grads are having a really hard time finding jobs these days. I know many of them, and to the extent that they're even employed (many aren't), they're doing temporary work--document review and such. Not great by any means. At Charleston, it has to be worse, because people at least trust USC. Also, the numbers I've seen indicate that Charleston doesn't give very good scholarships (USC does--they offered me a full ride, and I'm not the only one; Charleston doesn't even offer those to my knowledge). So you'd have to take out quite a bit of debt, or spend a lot of your savings and a lot of time, to get a degree with uncertain job prospects at best.

And in case you're tempted to think things will get better after the recession: the legal market in SC was oversaturated even before Charleston Law opened. A friend's sister graduated a couple years before the economic crash--very bright girl, and she took an internship with state government because that's all she could find. The girl who graduated second in her class went into the Dept of Revenue or something--not an incredibly well-paying job, and this was USC, and while the economy was good.

So my advice would be, if you really want a law degree: do more research into the kind of job you want and what it takes to get there. (If you want to go into politics in SC, I'd recommend USC.) Also, take a good hard look at the money. If you do decently well on the LSAT, USC will probably offer you something and you can leave your job and come to Columbia. (It's also much cheaper to live here than in Charleston.)

If you're actually offered a teaching job that requires a JD and would pay back your debt, then great, but if not, I wouldn't risk it on a school like that.

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:56 pm

In regards to finaid, with your GPA all you would need was a high 150s LSAT score to get a fullride at that school. Very doable. On a full ride you have nothing to lose, its not the best school by any means and if you wanna stay in South Carolina I would STRONGLY suggest University of South Carolina, but I understand thats not always possible, and if you continue to work and go to schol part time for free you arent losing anything so I say go for it.

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby lostjake » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:14 pm

Only if they allow you to chew while there.

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby fwaam » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:22 am

According to USNWR (--LinkRemoved--):

44% of Charleston students receive some grant aid
median amount $7,500/year
0.0% receive full scholarships or full scholarships + stipends

full time tuition $34,500
part-time tuition $27,700

Granted, most people who could get a sizable scholarship at Charleston would probably rather go elsewhere due to employment prospects, but if they gave full scholarships I think at least a few people would accept them, particularly in this economy.

USC, on the other hand, is only $19,000/year for in-state students. Also:

50% receive grant aid
median amount $8,900
1.8% receive full scholarships or more

It sounds very unlikely that Charleston would let you attend for free, and paying that outrageous part-time tuition for, what, 4-5 years could easily wind up costing you more than just going full-time to USC. If I were you I'd study hard for the LSAT.

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Re: Part time at Charleston Law School?

Postby eandy » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:27 am

Charleston is a new school; it doesn't have the financial aid that others schools can offer. So people who say "WOWZERS with your numbers, you'll get a full ride!!!!111!!" are wrong.

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