I am a part time student and rising 2L, and I am paying sticker. It was my plan to transfer to the day program at my school, unless I found a job that paid enough to justify the extra year's cost of living expenses. (I've been working at an unpaid legal internship this past year). In light of recent events, I am seriously considering remaining in the class of 2013, and I hope some of you will be able to offer sound advice.
If I switch to full time, I will do OCI this summer, and my GPA at the time of my bidding will be based upon five grades (plus three P/F courses). I have reason to believe that I did badly on one of my finals this semester, though I am not quite sure how much damage was done. My school will let me wait to see my grades before making a final decision to switch to full time, and if there was terrible damage done, I could have a year to raise my grades before going through OCI. In addition, I could try to wait out the market. Obviously, no one knows how much better next year's OCI will be, or if it will be better at all, but this is something to keep in mind. It is likely that I will keep interning if I stay part time, and there are some intriguing pro bono opportunities the school may offer that I will have more time to explore if I stay here an extra year. Tuition costs the same.
There are a couple of major caveats, however: I will have to borrow cost of living loans for an extra year. This is really the big one, and if I found paying legal work during the school year, I would feel a lot better about doing this. I am realistic enough to know that I shouldn't expect to find relevant paying work, though I intend to look. There is also the opportunity cost of the year itself, and the social consideration that I won't be graduating with my classmates (most of my friends are in the class of 2012, or intend to switch to full time status.)
Assuming I want to keep my job prospects as open as possible, would it make sense to stay part time if my grades slide? Even if they don't?
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I am not going to offer any advice because the decision is really one that you alone have to make. But I do want to point out one other factor that you might want to consider: the economy right now is bad. Real bad. While you are in law school, you are insulated from it, and the longer you stay in school, the more likely it is that you graduate in a better economy with more job prospects. Just something to keep in mind.
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Jarndyce wrote:I am not going to offer any advice because the decision is really one that you alone have to make. But I do want to point out one other factor that you might want to consider: the economy right now is bad. Real bad. While you are in law school, you are insulated from it, and the longer you stay in school, the more likely it is that you graduate in a better economy with more job prospects. Just something to keep in mind.
This is something I definitely have in mind. Many more of my classmates have opted to stay part time because the economy is still such a mess. We are lucky to have a reprieve, but in the absence of a high paying job, it could be an expensive reprieve.