Best schools for young families

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kfg1010

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Best schools for young families

Postby kfg1010 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:20 pm

Hi all,
I'm applying for law school to start in fall 2020, and I'm narrowing a list of schools that are best for young mothers with babies and preschoolers. My academic and professional credentials are excellent, and I would like to attend a school that is welcoming to spouses and children. I'd also really love schools that provide onsite daycares or preschools, if possible. Thanks in advance for any leads!

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Best schools for young families

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:40 am

By and large, nobody cares either way about families and kids. It's a non-factor most of the time. Bringing spouses/kids to class or to the library is a no-go no matter what. Usually, places like the library are access controlled, and they would really frown on bringing a kid in. If there's an emergency and you can't find childcare, just skip class, email the prof, and get notes from a classmate. Much of the work for law school can be done at home, so you shouldn't feel obligated to spend large amounts of time in the library. I studied in the library maybe 10 or 12 times over 3.5 years, and only 3 or 4 of those times were mandatory.

You're going to be surrounded by a bunch of 22 and 23 year olds who don't have families, but there will be some other people in a similar season of life to you. A few of my classmates had kids during law school (mostly it was guys whose wives had babies), and there were plenty of people in my night school section that had school aged kids. Most schools have a student club for people with families and kids (an "older student" club or something like that).

There may be on-site daycare/preschool at some universities, but that will largely be targeted to faculty and staff (read "heavily subsidized for them"), and I highly doubt it would be financially viable for a student to use. I could be wrong on this, though.

Many of my classmates waited until their kids were of school age to go to law school. That way they could go to school when their kids were in school, and the daycare was essentially taken care of. Some had to sign their kids up for an after school program in order to make things work, but that's much better than paying for an entire day of childcare.

You will probably put pressure on yourself to be good at everything (being a great mother and a great law student at the same time). Go ahead and disavow yourself of that thought. Your spouse (I assume based on your post that you're not a single parent) is going to have to pick up way more than their share of parenting work at times, and there will be times when you really should stay on campus for some non-mandatory event, even though every fiber in your being is telling you to go home and spend time with your family.

If you're planning on going to night school and working during the day, there are a few concerns that come to mind, but I'll not clutter up this comment with them.

nixy

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Re: Best schools for young families

Postby nixy » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:09 pm

I can’t really comment on most of the rest, but I don’t think every school would be so draconian about a kid in the library (ours only required you to show ID to get in, for instance, during extended hours around finals), assuming the kid wasn’t disruptive. A kid sitting in class with you (result of an emergency) would totally up to the prof and some would be fine with it, again, assuming no disruption. I realize you also didn’t bring any of this up as something you were concerned about, so am not assuming you planned on bringing your kids to class/the library on the regular.

I do agree that it’s likely to be very difficult to get into any on-site preschool/daycare, as that’s an option highly sought-after by faculty and they tend to fill up instantly.

I think a lot of your experience will depend on 1) personal supportiveness to parents by individual faculty and admin, which can be a little hard to determine and can change, and 2) the school’s actual experience with students who are parents. As to the latter, look for schools with higher average aged students, or who talk about how many of their students have work experience or such (Northwestern tends to really favor work experience so probably has older students which means probably more experience dealing with parents). As to the former, maybe once you’ve been admitted places, you can ask to meet with/talk to the dean of students (or dean of academics) and just ask them what support they offer parents and see what they say. If they can give you specifics of past accommodations, that’s useful info. If they even sound positive and welcoming, that’s useful info. If they talk about rigor and sacrifice and the like, that would also be useful info (in a different way).

(Anecdote: a woman in my class had a seriously premature baby at the end of 2L and he was in intensive care for months. The school worked with her about recording classes, putting off exams, changing her schedule around, and helping her graduate a semester later, and was very supportive. My school also had a higher number of non-trads than some - I had a prof comment on how much more she liked teaching there compared to a previous school where everyone was K-JD. It’s probably not a school you’re interested in because it’s regional, but I throw it out as an example. I also know of someone who found U Chicago very supportive of a child-related crisis a few years ago. But it can depend a little on who’s in the admin when you’re there and also your relationship with them - I think it’s often very individualized and ad hoc rather than systematized with official options ready to go.)

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Best schools for young families

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:40 pm

nixy wrote:I can’t really comment on most of the rest, but I don’t think every school would be so draconian about a kid in the library (ours only required you to show ID to get in, for instance, during extended hours around finals), assuming the kid wasn’t disruptive. A kid sitting in class with you (result of an emergency) would totally up to the prof and some would be fine with it, again, assuming no disruption.


To be clear, I was specifically thinking about OP's preschool kids. As a parent of a preschool kid, I doubt we'd make it 30 seconds before there was a disruption of some sort. Even just 15 minutes of silent, non-disruptive playing is nigh impossible for a 2 or 3 year old.

I doubt any school would care if somebody brought their high school aged kid in with a pile of homework to do.

nixy

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Re: Best schools for young families

Postby nixy » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:06 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
nixy wrote:I can’t really comment on most of the rest, but I don’t think every school would be so draconian about a kid in the library (ours only required you to show ID to get in, for instance, during extended hours around finals), assuming the kid wasn’t disruptive. A kid sitting in class with you (result of an emergency) would totally up to the prof and some would be fine with it, again, assuming no disruption.


To be clear, I was specifically thinking about OP's preschool kids. As a parent of a preschool kid, I doubt we'd make it 30 seconds before there was a disruption of some sort. Even just 15 minutes of silent, non-disruptive playing is nigh impossible for a 2 or 3 year old.

I doubt any school would care if somebody brought their high school aged kid in with a pile of homework to do.

Fair. I took it as just about bringing them into the building. I do think younger than high school (though not preschool) could also work. But yeah, I skimmed over how young the OP's kids are.

albanach

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Re: Best schools for young families

Postby albanach » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:39 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:By and large, nobody cares either way about families and kids. It's a non-factor most of the time. Bringing spouses/kids to class or to the library is a no-go no matter what. Usually, places like the library are access controlled, and they would really frown on bringing a kid in. If there's an emergency and you can't find childcare, just skip class, email the prof, and get notes from a classmate. Much of the work for law school can be done at home, so you shouldn't feel obligated to spend large amounts of time in the library. I studied in the library maybe 10 or 12 times over 3.5 years, and only 3 or 4 of those times were mandatory.

You're going to be surrounded by a bunch of 22 and 23 year olds who don't have families, but there will be some other people in a similar season of life to you. A few of my classmates had kids during law school (mostly it was guys whose wives had babies), and there were plenty of people in my night school section that had school aged kids. Most schools have a student club for people with families and kids (an "older student" club or something like that).

There may be on-site daycare/preschool at some universities, but that will largely be targeted to faculty and staff (read "heavily subsidized for them"), and I highly doubt it would be financially viable for a student to use. I could be wrong on this, though.

Many of my classmates waited until their kids were of school age to go to law school. That way they could go to school when their kids were in school, and the daycare was essentially taken care of. Some had to sign their kids up for an after school program in order to make things work, but that's much better than paying for an entire day of childcare.

You will probably put pressure on yourself to be good at everything (being a great mother and a great law student at the same time). Go ahead and disavow yourself of that thought. Your spouse (I assume based on your post that you're not a single parent) is going to have to pick up way more than their share of parenting work at times, and there will be times when you really should stay on campus for some non-mandatory event, even though every fiber in your being is telling you to go home and spend time with your family.

If you're planning on going to night school and working during the day, there are a few concerns that come to mind, but I'll not clutter up this comment with them.


This is about the opposite of my experience at UVA. There were many families and there was an active society that represented them.

There's a daycare facility very close to the school, though access is certainly competitive. That said, o knew several students that used it.

I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at seeing a student meeting their family in the school. I know my family brought me food, including in the library without incident.

I had family before law school, but several folk I know had children in school, and I believe the school was generally supportive.



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