Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Were you happy with your decision to take a gap year?

Yes
164
82%
No
9
4%
Didn't take a gap year and happy
22
11%
Didn't take a gap year and not happy
6
3%
 
Total votes: 201

bigben
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby bigben » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:07 pm

Highly recommended.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:12 pm

I've thought about taking a year off and traveling, but what's the point? So I can walk around Europe, stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum, and get drunk at a pub in the evening?

bigben
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby bigben » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:18 pm

honestabe84 wrote:I've thought about taking a year off and traveling, but what's the point? So I can walk around Europe, stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum, and get drunk at a pub in the evening?


Absolutely not. Work. It doesn't matter what job. Work and think about what you want to do with your life. Let the idea of law school marinate and see if you get hungry for it.

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dhg5004
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby dhg5004 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:13 pm

I didn't decide I wanted to go to law school until April of my senior year....and then graduating in May I continued to think about it...then by June my decision was made. So I took a course in August and then took the December LSAT (Then retook the Feb one...that sucked cuz my score didnt go up much)

But overall I am way happier than I would have been if I went straight in. I got a good job with real good pay and I'm able to save up some money. Living at home really isn't so bad...and I'm able to do stuff I wouldn't have been able to do. I think it is good to take off a year between undergrad and grad school.

I was then thinking about waiting anotherrrr year and retaking the LSAT. But I've decided against that. Definitely don't want to hang around for another year. Although it has been nice seeing friends and going out and being able to buy shit etc.

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tikiman6
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby tikiman6 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:58 pm

Okay, for those of us unsure whether to take a gap year, who have taken the LSAT, have a good GPA, and are otherwise ready to take a shot at admissions, what is to be gained by taking a year off? For me specifically, I don't want to spend a year flipping burgers, and otherwise wasting my time at a shitty job, when that saved year means an extra year as a lawyer instead of a year at a stressful, low-paying job. I've already traveled a bunch, and most of my friends are finding jobs, and otherwise unwilling to travel with me. I would consider this Teach for America- type stuff, but it doesn't seem to be a good fit, I'm generally not a good teacher, even though I probably could teach in a spanish-speaking or chinese-speaking country. I know everybody says it helps you to be more mature and take time to make sure you want to go to law school, but I have spent a lot of time talking to law school students, recent grads, and other lawyers about what their lives are like, and even though it is a lot of work, I can think of nothing else I would rather do. Can anybody come up with a good reason why I should wait before going to law school?

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dhatfie1
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby dhatfie1 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:11 pm

tikiman6 wrote:Okay, for those of us unsure whether to take a gap year, who have taken the LSAT, have a good GPA, and are otherwise ready to take a shot at admissions, what is to be gained by taking a year off? For me specifically, I don't want to spend a year flipping burgers, and otherwise wasting my time at a shitty job, when that saved year means an extra year as a lawyer instead of a year at a stressful, low-paying job. I've already traveled a bunch, and most of my friends are finding jobs, and otherwise unwilling to travel with me. I would consider this Teach for America- type stuff, but it doesn't seem to be a good fit, I'm generally not a good teacher, even though I probably could teach in a spanish-speaking or chinese-speaking country. I know everybody says it helps you to be more mature and take time to make sure you want to go to law school, but I have spent a lot of time talking to law school students, recent grads, and other lawyers about what their lives are like, and even though it is a lot of work, I can think of nothing else I would rather do. Can anybody come up with a good reason why I should wait before going to law school?


My main reasoning was that it allowed me, for the first time since Kindergarten, to actually have a year where I'm not in school, to perhaps do some things that were difficult to do before when 3/4's of my year was devoted to school..i.e.-travel, read, work, enjoy life without school to recharge my batteries from the previous 16 years, and most of all..improve upon my LSAT. If you desire none of things nor view them as necessary, then I would recommend going straight on to law school.

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r2b2ct
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby r2b2ct » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:09 pm

tikiman6 wrote:Okay, for those of us unsure whether to take a gap year, who have taken the LSAT, have a good GPA, and are otherwise ready to take a shot at admissions, what is to be gained by taking a year off? For me specifically, I don't want to spend a year flipping burgers, and otherwise wasting my time at a shitty job, when that saved year means an extra year as a lawyer instead of a year at a stressful, low-paying job. I've already traveled a bunch, and most of my friends are finding jobs, and otherwise unwilling to travel with me. I would consider this Teach for America- type stuff, but it doesn't seem to be a good fit, I'm generally not a good teacher, even though I probably could teach in a spanish-speaking or chinese-speaking country. I know everybody says it helps you to be more mature and take time to make sure you want to go to law school, but I have spent a lot of time talking to law school students, recent grads, and other lawyers about what their lives are like, and even though it is a lot of work, I can think of nothing else I would rather do. Can anybody come up with a good reason why I should wait before going to law school?

I guess it depends on what you are capable of doing in that year off. Seems like a lot of people in this thread are able to do whatever they want in their year off, but I don't know anyone in person who is this fortunate. Personally, I don't have the money or time to travel or enjoy life in anyway that I couldn't do while in school. I also haven't been able to get a particularly interesting job. For most people I know, it was hard enough finding a job that pays enough to live decently on, let alone doing something fun/interesting. For me the year away from school has been comparatively boring and really feels like a waste of time when I think about my future plans. In my case I did not take the LSAT while in college so a year off was necessary.

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heyyitskatie
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby heyyitskatie » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:18 pm

honestabe84 wrote:I've thought about taking a year off and traveling, but what's the point? So I can walk around Europe, stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum, and get drunk at a pub in the evening?


You don't need to take a year off just to travel, but don't underestimate the value of traveling while you are young. Yeah, if you do it Contiki tour style, you'll stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and get drunk, but if you actually take the time to travel slowly, get to know people, and truly immerse yourself in different lifestyles, it's incredibly valuable. It's also a great way to let the idea of law school marinate...being around people who don't know or care what you are doing in the states helps you to go to law school for reasons other than prestige/a back-up plan/becuase you got a good score on the LSAT.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:33 pm

heyyitskatie wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:I've thought about taking a year off and traveling, but what's the point? So I can walk around Europe, stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum, and get drunk at a pub in the evening?


You don't need to take a year off just to travel, but don't underestimate the value of traveling while you are young. Yeah, if you do it Contiki tour style, you'll stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and get drunk, but if you actually take the time to travel slowly, get to know people, and truly immerse yourself in different lifestyles, it's incredibly valuable. It's also a great way to let the idea of law school marinate...being around people who don't know or care what you are doing in the states helps you to go to law school for reasons other than prestige/a back-up plan/becuase you got a good score on the LSAT.


But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I want to go somewhere, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).

toaster2
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby toaster2 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:34 pm

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Last edited by toaster2 on Tue May 25, 2010 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:45 pm

toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I would like to travel, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).
go somewhere interesting (and cheap)...like central america, south america, africa, eastern europe, asia, etc.


What would you do in any of the other countries? Walk around on the Wall of China and maybe do some shopping and sightseeing? I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of what a trip is going to be like, but when they get their it's like whatever.

Edit: Deleted portion because I thought you said Western Europe.
Last edited by honestabe84 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bert
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby Bert » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:48 pm

I went with no as there wasn't really a "kind of". I am definitely glad about taking time between UG and LS, but I took too much time. Spent the last few years traveling extensively, paying off UG debt, and living it up. Wish I would have gone to LS a couple years ago though.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:50 pm

Bert wrote:I went with no as there wasn't really a "kind of". I am definitely glad about taking time between UG and LS, but I took too much time. Spent the last few years traveling extensively, paying off UG debt, and living it up. Wish I would have gone to LS a couple years ago though.


Is that the dude from cabin fever?

toaster2
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby toaster2 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:51 pm

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Last edited by toaster2 on Tue May 25, 2010 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:54 pm

toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:
toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I would like to travel, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).
go somewhere interesting (and cheap)...like central america, south america, africa, eastern europe, asia, etc.


Well I definitely would not go to eastern Europe, but what would you do in any of the other countries? Walk around on the Wall of China and maybe do some shopping and sightseeing? I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of what a trip is going to be like, but when they get their it's like whatever.
it's about the things you see, the people you meet (local or otherwise) and the experiences you have. some people might hate being on the road for a few months, others love it. you might be someone who would hate it. my own travels have been extremely rewarding on a number of fronts. i've learned a lot about history and other cultures. i've gained new comfort working and communicating with vastly different people. i've gotten myself into problems, and gotten my out of them. lastly, it was subjectively a great experience that was a lot of fun, and particularly for the summer before law school was worthwhile. again, it's not for everyone, and if you are so skeptical you should look into other options (working).


I would just hate to get over there and wondering what to do besides the touristy stuff. There are just so many wide-eyed undergrads who go to Western Europe so they can see all the cliche sites and then top it off by the "highlight" of the trip - going to Amsterdam so they can smoke pot. :roll:
Last edited by honestabe84 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SkiBumLawyer
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby SkiBumLawyer » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 pm

I've spent nearly 8 months and counting in South America traveling and it has been a great experience. It was a good time to think about where I really wanted to go to law school and the work I want to do. I'm starting to get excited about getting back in the classroom and I know I will be on top of things once I get back.

Its really great to meet many kinds of people you won't meet in law school. Its also not as expensive as you might think. I've worked at hostels, bar tended, taught English, and even danced on street corners to make money. You can make ends meet if you are motivated.

I now speak nearly perfect Spanish and will be said to leave this continent in 2 months but also ready to start a new part of my life.

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heyyitskatie
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby heyyitskatie » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 pm

honestabe84 wrote:
toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I would like to travel, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).
go somewhere interesting (and cheap)...like central america, south america, africa, eastern europe, asia, etc.


Well I definitely would not go to eastern Europe, but what would you do in any of the other countries? Walk around on the Wall of China and maybe do some shopping and sightseeing? I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of what a trip is going to be like, but when they get their it's like whatever.


I'm teaching English in Spain for the year, and I absolutely love it. I live with Spanish people, I've learned to cook Spanish food, I can dance the local style of Flamenco, etc. I also make enough money to travel around...and through organizations like Couch Surfing, you can get beyond the typical touristy stuff and actually experience what it's like being somewhere. I've cooked an American style BBQ for 12 Spaniards in a small village, gone to a public bath house in Morocco, eaten a three course vegan meal at a legalized squat in Amsterdam, etc.

If you've never been somewhere outside the US longer than a week or so, it's tough to fathom just how different living and traveling in different places are. Different traits are valued, people treat each other differently, people eat, drink, and socialize differently, etc.

Obviously, it's your life and you should do what calls to you the most, but trust me when I tell you that if you are open to it, traveling is so much more than "just walking around and shopping."

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Bert
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby Bert » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:57 pm

honestabe84 wrote:Is that the dude from cabin fever?


Props to you. I am actually quite impressed that somebody else saw it and recalls the characters.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:58 pm

heyyitskatie wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:
toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I would like to travel, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).
go somewhere interesting (and cheap)...like central america, south america, africa, eastern europe, asia, etc.


Well I definitely would not go to eastern Europe, but what would you do in any of the other countries? Walk around on the Wall of China and maybe do some shopping and sightseeing? I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of what a trip is going to be like, but when they get their it's like whatever.


I'm teaching English in Spain for the year, and I absolutely love it. I live with Spanish people, I've learned to cook Spanish food, I can dance the local style of Flamenco, etc. I also make enough money to travel around...and through organizations like Couch Surfing, you can get beyond the typical touristy stuff and actually experience what it's like being somewhere. I've cooked an American style BBQ for 12 Spaniards in a small village, gone to a public bath house in Morocco, eaten a three course vegan meal at a legalized squat in Amsterdam, etc.

If you've never been somewhere outside the US longer than a week or so, it's tough to fathom just how different living and traveling in different places are. Different traits are valued, people treat each other differently, people eat, drink, and socialize differently, etc.

Obviously, it's your life and you should do what calls to you the most, but trust me when I tell you that if you are open to it, traveling is so much more than "just walking around and shopping."


See yours and Skibum's trip were actually unique, because you got to be a part of the culture, unlike most people who vacation for a few weeks in several countries.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby bilbobaggins » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:11 pm

All of the people I know who went straight through wish they hadn't.

It can be tough for some people because many of us have spent time out of school and have had the opportunity to mature a little.

That said, if you realize you should've taken some time, you're most likely mature enough to be fun to be around.

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MF248
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby MF248 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:19 pm

It's a mix. I'm glad that I took a year off and have been able to clear my head -- I feel like I'll be much more focused in law school now, But I also haven't really accomplished anything this past year so that's kinda disappointing. In hindsight I would do it again but may have tried to do it different.

honestabe84
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby honestabe84 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:29 pm

bilbobaggins wrote:All of the people I know who went straight through wish they hadn't.

It can be tough for some people because many of us have spent time out of school and have had the opportunity to mature a little.

That said, if you realize you should've taken some time, you're most likely mature enough to be fun to be around.


I don't how working at some average job is going to make you mature anymore than going to law school instead. Maybe I'm not mature enough to understand. :D

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eye
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby eye » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:42 pm

heyyitskatie wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:
toaster2 wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:But what does that entail? I would like to travel, but I feel like I would just be arbitrarily walking around Europe. For example, lets say you went to NY or San Fran or something, what exactly would you do that would make it such a great experience. I would like to travel, but I would hate doing the touristy stuff (i.e. looking through some guide book to find some cliche place to go).
go somewhere interesting (and cheap)...like central america, south america, africa, eastern europe, asia, etc.


Well I definitely would not go to eastern Europe, but what would you do in any of the other countries? Walk around on the Wall of China and maybe do some shopping and sightseeing? I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of what a trip is going to be like, but when they get their it's like whatever.


I'm teaching English in Spain for the year, and I absolutely love it. I live with Spanish people, I've learned to cook Spanish food, I can dance the local style of Flamenco, etc. I also make enough money to travel around...and through organizations like Couch Surfing, you can get beyond the typical touristy stuff and actually experience what it's like being somewhere. I've cooked an American style BBQ for 12 Spaniards in a small village, gone to a public bath house in Morocco, eaten a three course vegan meal at a legalized squat in Amsterdam, etc.

If you've never been somewhere outside the US longer than a week or so, it's tough to fathom just how different living and traveling in different places are. Different traits are valued, people treat each other differently, people eat, drink, and socialize differently, etc.

Obviously, it's your life and you should do what calls to you the most, but trust me when I tell you that if you are open to it, traveling is so much more than "just walking around and shopping."


+1 to couchsurfing.com

I've met up with a local German girl that took me out clubbing in Berlin and I also met up with a sweet Czech girl that gave me a tour around Prague and took me places most tourists don't go.

Best way, IMO, to get a taste of the culture without going the cliche route.

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flying_squirrel
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby flying_squirrel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:54 pm

Currently in my gap year and will likely turn it into a couple of more years.

I took the LSAT the fall of my senior year (Oct. '08) & wasn't completely satisfied with my score. Likely good enough to get into the school I want to go to, but definitely not good enough to get a lot of $$ like I wanted. In addition, the economy was collapsing @ the time, so I decided to look at my other options and develop a better backup plan.

Am currently in a 1 yr. grad program and happily accepted a great job that I start in August. I have learned soo much from grad school that I will take with me to law school. Two main things I have learned in grad school: Professionalism (I graduated undergrad in 3 yrs. & def. never excelled @ this in the past) and interviewing skills (had 25+ interviews last fall that taught me a lot!). I will likely relax/ study for the LSAT all summer, then take my new job in the fall and apply to Law School when I see some evidence that legal hiring has increased.

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flying_squirrel
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Re: Were you Happy with your choice to take a gap year(s)?

Postby flying_squirrel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:05 pm

tikiman6 wrote:Okay, for those of us unsure whether to take a gap year, who have taken the LSAT, have a good GPA, and are otherwise ready to take a shot at admissions, what is to be gained by taking a year off? For me specifically, I don't want to spend a year flipping burgers, and otherwise wasting my time at a shitty job, when that saved year means an extra year as a lawyer instead of a year at a stressful, low-paying job. I've already traveled a bunch, and most of my friends are finding jobs, and otherwise unwilling to travel with me. I would consider this Teach for America- type stuff, but it doesn't seem to be a good fit, I'm generally not a good teacher, even though I probably could teach in a spanish-speaking or chinese-speaking country. I know everybody says it helps you to be more mature and take time to make sure you want to go to law school, but I have spent a lot of time talking to law school students, recent grads, and other lawyers about what their lives are like, and even though it is a lot of work, I can think of nothing else I would rather do. Can anybody come up with a good reason why I should wait before going to law school?


I would say that waiting a year is not ideal for everyone. Main factors I looked at when deciding to wait:

1) Can I improve my LSAT score? ... if you think you can't and are satisfied with where you are, then no reason to wait
2) Am I happy with my options? ... if you got accepted at your ideal school & are happy with $$, then no reason to wait
3) What can I do w/ the off year to improve myself?... not everyone will have the same options. I was lucky to get accepted to a great grad school, which led to a good job, and development of other skills that will likely assist me as an attorney down the road. If your only backup plan is flipping burger, then no way do you sit out a yr.
4) Am I burned out from UG? .. the worst way to enter law school would be to be burned out from UG. I feel that the time off will allow me to relax from the stress and be refreshed for the demanding 1L yr.
5) Do I need more time to evaluate this decision? .. .quite frankly, 3 yrs. of my life & spending tons of money is not an easy investment decision to make. I planned on going to law school right after UG for the past 5 yrs, but when it came time to pull the trigger, I decided it would be better to wait out the economy, network some more, and ensure that this is indeed what I want to do.

Just my $.02 ... everyone will have different factors.




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