Taking 1-2 years off

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icanbeohyes
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Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:52 am

I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but I am considering taking a year or two off before heading to college. I am fairly young even in comparison to my fellow graduates and am thinking that perhaps a year off would do me some good.
However, I am unsure of how I would spend my time off. Currently, my sister has taken a year off from entering medical school to find that she was unable to find employment anywhere since May. She holds a psychology degree from a very well-regarded private university. And I only hold a English degree from well regarded public school. With employment being so scarce, I am hesitant to throw caution to wind and follow in her footsteps and sit on my butt for one to two years working part-time at some department store or fast food joint.
My motive for taking the year off is so I can have time to retake the LSAT and mature a little more before entering law school. And also, perhaps be able to narrow the field that I want to work in so I can come in more focused than I would otherwise. But, in the state of the economy, this seems pointless.
Anyway, I was hoping that perhaps people on here could have some constructive thoughts on how to approach this situation and very importantly, (as juvenile as it seems) how to pitch this idea to my parents who think taking a break is a waste of time. I can't very well say that people on an online forum have pointed me in this direction.

Additional Information: I have taken the LSAT 3 times. The last time was this past October. Would that mean the earliest I could take it again would be Dec '13? Would it be worth sending in late apps for not even a guaranteed improved score?

Also, if I end up doing nothing for the next year, what would I tell law schools when they ask why I took the year off?

Another concern of mine is more LSAT prep. So far, I've prob spent upwards of $4k to $5k on LSAT prep with my parents footing the bill. It will be hard to convince them to foot the bill once again. I have a minimum-wage part-time job but have currently not saved enough to pay for the preparation I'd probably need.

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cinephile
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby cinephile » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:34 am

You need to make some kind of plan. Start looking into positions now. If you want to do something worth-while, but not primarily directed towards saving $, apply to something like Americorps or even the Peace Corps.

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northwood
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:42 am

schools generally dont care that you took a year off. just do something anddont worry about it. who knows, maybe you'll decide to put off law school for a while, or for ever??

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby DoveBodyWash » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:05 am

I know you PMed me but I thought I would post on the thread so that the TLS hive-mind could speak on the merits/demerits of my post. This will be a very long post so buckle down 8)

To preface this, it's commendable that you're willing to take some time off. It's a hard decision to make, especially for a liberal arts major. I'll tell u a bit about my situation (it's not too different from yours) before I jump into any advice I may have:

-I graduated with a degree in Euro History (the most unemployable type of history, which is already an unemployable field)
-My entire undergrad career was designed to prep me for law school..so all my work experience, minus a few tutoring gigs, were law firm clerkships..DA internships...and/or research assistant positions for professors. I was also an editor for two academic journals at school.
-My parents have been telling me since I could remember, that as an Asian male, I essentially had to go to some kind of grad school. Everyone in my family has an advanced degree of some kind. So I sympathize with your reservations about telling your parents.
-I withdrew my seat deposits and seats on the waitlist the week before my Graduation...but I had been job hunting for a few months beforehand.
-Taking a year off was the best decision I've made in a long time.

Now for the pointers:
-Law schools will not care that you took a year off and they won't really care what you did during it. You can spin virtually anything into your favor. I have older friends at HYS who went to culinary school before law school. Don't worry about getting a leg-up in admissions through work experience. Unless it's something like TFA or PeaceCorps or Americorps...how you package your work experience will matter much more than the actual job title. Find something you'll enjoy doing, hopefully in a position where you can learn/grow.
-If you want to do something "legal" to get more experience, then it wouldn't be too hard to get a position as a legal assistant or paralegal. Some major law firms have programs that last for 1-2 years designed for students like you. ProskauerRose is one of them, I'll link you to their program at the bottom of this post.
-As an English student, your degree is worth nothing and everything. Meaning that there are almost no jobs that English degrees inherently lead to (i.e. Accounting students go to accounting, engineering students go into engineering). But this also means that you can adapt to a wide array of fields. I know plenty of English majors who went on into finance, advertising, editing, medicine, IT. You need to leverage the skills that you have, which I imagine are writing, analytical skills, research skills. These aren't "hard" skills like accounting or computer science, but they are extremely important soft skills that employers value. It may be hard and you may have to send out a ton of resumes and cover letters, but I'm confident you can find something you'll enjoy doing for a year or 2.

Re: LSAT and admissions
-Apps are dropping like crazy. As long as you send apps in before February, I don't think there's any real advantage to applying earlier anymore. Schools are sitting on applications and reviewing all of them before making big decisions. Don't worry about applying after a December LSAT, just do well, and send apps in once they're ready.

Pros to taking year off:
-It will free you from the panic of "Wtf am I gonna do with my life?"
-It will show you what it's like to make loan repayments (if you took out undergrad loans), which will in-turn let you make more responsible loan decisions once you have to make enrollment decisions.
-Making money and having to budget will help you be more realistic about your finances during law school and after. It astounds me that many TLS-ers think you can pay off 250K in loans in 3-4 years of BigLaw. There are countless little things that come up and budgets NEVER go the way you plan them to.
-It will give you time to watch the market and talk to attorneys/current students.
-You may change your mind about going to law school.
-Options, options, options. If you do decide to pursue law school, it will be because you want to and you're making an informed decision. Because you'll be going in spite of having alternatives. Not to imply that you're currently pursuing law school because you don't know what to do with your life, but you'll approach the process completely differently once you have back-up options.

Re: Parents
-They will understand. They are your parents. As long as you demonstrate that you've thought about it and considered everything, they will support you. Sometimes you just gotta take the leap.

In sum, law school isn't college, where we all applied our senior year of high school and went to the best college we got into no matter what. Law school is grad school and you shouldn't go until you're ready and/or satisfied with your options.

Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.

Link to the Proskauer program:
http://www.proskauer.com/careers/paralegals/
Last edited by DoveBodyWash on Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Xs20
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby Xs20 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:12 am

Tl;dr

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby DoveBodyWash » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:14 am

Xs20 wrote:Tl;dr


</3

T20hopeful89
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby T20hopeful89 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:23 am

I took 2 years off, and in that time, took the LSAT again (I took them for the first time in 2009). I am currently in one of those biglaw 2 year programs that Cuse mentioned (not at proskauer - if you are interested in proskauer, I can give you some info on their NY office; I interviewed there and was offered the job but ended up at a different firm for a myriad of reasons).

Taking time off is great because it gives you time, away from school, to figure out whether law school is the right next step for you before you actually sign off on all of those loans. It also gives you a breather away from academia (something I really needed after undergrad). So long as you actually do something with your life, as opposed to bumming in front of a tv for 12 months), I think schools even prefer it.

Regarding parents: my parents also laid out tons of money for me in regards to this process. I paid for my lsat class the first time around, but my parents paid for my tutoring the second time around (go figure that I had more money as an undergrad than I do as a fully employed 24 year old). They also very graciously paid for my applications. The way we all think about it is that it's an investment in my future. I think if you explain it to them like that, it could help.

Feel free to pm me with any questions if you are looking into 2 year paralegal programs!

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:39 am

If you think you can improve your LSAT score, the benefits to taking the time off will be about a bazillion times greater than the drawbacks.

icanbeohyes
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:18 pm

So to clarify, the earliest I could retake the LSAT would be Dec' 13? Also, I am not necessarily confident that I can improve on the LSAT and it is the only way I could become competitive for schools that I really want (in the T6) since my GPA has suffered. Every time before the exam, I had been PT-ing 10 points higher than my actual performance. Most people only drop 2-4. I feel as if that may reoccur and if at that time it does, I'm worried that schools that may have considered me previously may not extend their generous invitations to me once again.

In terms of employment, I will do my best from now to look into some work if this is the path that I ultimately choose, but are there any other "worthwhile" positions other than TFA or the Peace Corps? (FWIW I would be more interested in the Peace Corps).

Thanks for all the responses!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:22 pm

icanbeohyes wrote:So to clarify, the earliest I could retake the LSAT would be Dec' 13?

What matters is when you first took the LSAT. When was that?

icanbeohyes
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:24 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
icanbeohyes wrote:So to clarify, the earliest I could retake the LSAT would be Dec' 13?

What matters is when you first took the LSAT. When was that?


I took some really bad advice and took it in October '11 before I was ready.

Edit: sorry, meant '11

I also wonder what score would be needed to break away from my (horrible) GPA of 3.1

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Nickg415
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby Nickg415 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:34 pm

I have been thinking about taking a bit of time off as well. I'm already 26 so I doubt I will since I traveled and worked for a few years between highschool and finishing UG. Something you might want to consider in choosing what to do while away from academia is that for jobs like Teach For America, a lot of schools have a couple of scholarships set aside specifically for these applicants each year.

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nickb285
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby nickb285 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:34 pm

cusenation wrote:Re: Parents
-They will understand.


I've heard different.

Image

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Drake014
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby Drake014 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:39 pm

northwood wrote:schools generally dont care that you took a year off. just do something anddont worry about it. who knows, maybe you'll decide to put off law school for a while, or for ever??


This. I had another career before law school and it substantially increased my employability after law school.

Doing something unpaid or Americorps is seriously underrated. If you can afford to live off your parents, unpaid experience can be very valuable, generates good letters of rec, can be something far more meaningful than being a waiter, and can often help you focus your interests.

icanbeohyes
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:46 pm

Nickg415 wrote:I have been thinking about taking a bit of time off as well. I'm already 26 so I doubt I will since I traveled and worked for a few years between highschool and finishing UG. Something you might want to consider in choosing what to do while away from academia is that for jobs like Teach For America, a lot of schools have a couple of scholarships set aside specifically for these applicants each year.



Considering my aforementioned GPA, TFA is almost certainly off the table.

justme17
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby justme17 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:56 pm

If you're interested in living abroad for a while, you might also investigate teaching English in a foreign country. The fact that you have a university English degree would make you very employable. Salary wouldn't be enormous, but certainly better than minimum wage in the U.S., and there are a lot of programs that will provide you free housing and sometimes even airfare.

icanbeohyes
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:01 pm

justme17 wrote:If you're interested in living abroad for a while, you might also investigate teaching English in a foreign country. The fact that you have a university English degree would make you very employable. Salary wouldn't be enormous, but certainly better than minimum wage in the U.S., and there are a lot of programs that will provide you free housing and sometimes even airfare.



Do you know of any particular programs that would be worth looking into? Or just google search? lol.

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cinephile
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby cinephile » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:09 pm

Nickg415 wrote:I have been thinking about taking a bit of time off as well. I'm already 26 so I doubt I will since I traveled and worked for a few years between highschool and finishing UG. Something you might want to consider in choosing what to do while away from academia is that for jobs like Teach For America, a lot of schools have a couple of scholarships set aside specifically for these applicants each year.


I was 25 or 16 when I started law school, I'm not sure anymore, and honestly I regret not taking more time off. Like, I regret not owning a house and being financially stable. Even my roommate was able to pay for law school using her savings, so she wasted a ton of money, but at least she can start over at zero. Everyone should get out of law school at least with a zero net worth, not a negative net worth.

LaBarrister
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby LaBarrister » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:43 pm

icanbeohyes wrote:
Nickg415 wrote:I have been thinking about taking a bit of time off as well. I'm already 26 so I doubt I will since I traveled and worked for a few years between highschool and finishing UG. Something you might want to consider in choosing what to do while away from academia is that for jobs like Teach For America, a lot of schools have a couple of scholarships set aside specifically for these applicants each year.



Considering my aforementioned GPA, TFA is almost certainly off the table.


"[A]lmost certainly"? Never mind.

Anyway, have you even looked at the prerequisites to joining TFA? Why are you making assumptions about such a big decision? Or am I making assumptions about how irresponsible you are?



Go to Google and type "TFA minimum GPA." Lo and behold, the first link will lead you to this TFA applicant prerequisite:

"Your undergraduate cumulative GPA is at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale."
Last edited by LaBarrister on Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

icanbeohyes
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby icanbeohyes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:52 pm

LaBarrister wrote:
icanbeohyes wrote:
Nickg415 wrote:I have been thinking about taking a bit of time off as well. I'm already 26 so I doubt I will since I traveled and worked for a few years between highschool and finishing UG. Something you might want to consider in choosing what to do while away from academia is that for jobs like Teach For America, a lot of schools have a couple of scholarships set aside specifically for these applicants each year.



Considering my aforementioned GPA, TFA is almost certainly off the table.


"[A]lmost certainly"? Never mind.

Anyway, have you even looked at the prerequisites to joining TFA? Why are you making assumptions about such a big decision? Or am I making assumptions about how irresponsible you are?



Go to Google and type "TFA minimum GPA." Lo and behold, the first link will lead you to this TFA applicant prerequisite:

"Your undergraduate cumulative GPA is at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale."


From what I understand, it is a terribly selective and difficult program to get into. The minimum may be 2.5, but I doubt they dip so low.

kase5771
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby kase5771 » Wed May 01, 2013 2:29 pm

..
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worldtraveler
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby worldtraveler » Fri May 03, 2013 1:24 am

icanbeohyes wrote:
justme17 wrote:If you're interested in living abroad for a while, you might also investigate teaching English in a foreign country. The fact that you have a university English degree would make you very employable. Salary wouldn't be enormous, but certainly better than minimum wage in the U.S., and there are a lot of programs that will provide you free housing and sometimes even airfare.



Do you know of any particular programs that would be worth looking into? Or just google search? lol.


daveslcafe.com

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dietcoke0
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby dietcoke0 » Sun May 05, 2013 4:45 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
icanbeohyes wrote:
justme17 wrote:If you're interested in living abroad for a while, you might also investigate teaching English in a foreign country. The fact that you have a university English degree would make you very employable. Salary wouldn't be enormous, but certainly better than minimum wage in the U.S., and there are a lot of programs that will provide you free housing and sometimes even airfare.



Do you know of any particular programs that would be worth looking into? Or just google search? lol.


daveslcafe.com


Yeah, I recommend this. My school I taught at, with about 10 teachers, 3 of us went to Law school (all top 25 schools, including one to Stanford) And another was thinking about it. Don't know if she decided to take LSATs. It's something new, different, usually a lot of time off to study for LSATs (I taught 24 hours a week, and was at school for less than 27) and was making decent bank in Korea (me and my now-wife were each making about $25US an hour, with nearly no bills other than rent) for relatively easy work. The places might treat you like dirt (research different schools) but generally not too bad anyway.

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northwood
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Re: Taking 1-2 years off

Postby northwood » Sun May 05, 2013 6:52 pm

the more time away the better... itll allow you to save money an pay off loans




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