?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
strawberryfanta
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:49 am

?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

Postby strawberryfanta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:36 am

I am about to enter my junior year of college. I've been set on law school for about a year and a half. I always planned to go straight after undergrad. Recently I decided I would prefer one or two years off before going to law school. As I had been set on going straight on for the entirety of my interest in law school, and all my research revolved around that, I've got a lot of questions.

1) I know the LSAT score itself doesn't expire for 5 years, but I have heard that some schools only accept scores 4 or even 3 years old or younger. If I were to take it the standard 'June after my junior year', would it be good if I applied 2 years late? I would be entering law school the fall of 2014 and I would have taken the test in June 2011. I do not know if the 3 year mark refers to when you apply or matriculate and I don't want to take chances.

2) I am going to graduate with a major in French from a non-flagship state university. I assume I will have to take a job that is not remotely nice or noteworthy. I worry law schools may feel like this was wasted time or be critical generally of how I spent my time... Should this be a concern and a possible deterrent to taking time off?

3) Considering the type of job I expect to be doing in this gap period, I want to secure solid academic letters of recommendation, and I want to do this before 2 years has passed and they don't remember me. However, I know that we are not supposed to see the letters our recommenders write. Is it possible for the letters to be stored online through LSAC for an extended period of time?

4) I go to college in the parish (county) I have lived in my entire life. If I spend my year(s) 'off' working in the same parish or very close, will this be a negative sign to law schools or, further down the road, to employers? Especially if I do not intend to work in Louisiana, my home state, after law school? I would move not only to eliminate this concern, but to broaden my horizons etc., but I am, again, graduating with a not so great major from a run of the mill state school. I worry that moving will automatically lower my chances at an ok job. Not to mention the cost of living here is very low...

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
Eugenie Danglars
Posts: 2353
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:04 pm

Re: ?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:52 pm

First, two years is not "an extended period of time" in law school land. A lot of people work for two years or do something else for at least that long. I'm in my 2nd Peace Corps year and am applying to schools now, so I can answer some ?'s

If I were to take it the standard 'June after my junior year', would it be good if I applied 2 years late?

I've never heard of anyone running into a problem with this. I also don't know of any schools with the three year thing. If you have specific examples, check their websites, or call and ask.

I worry law schools may feel like this was wasted time or be critical generally of how I spent my time... Should this be a concern and a possible deterrent to taking time off?

If you think your job is/will be unspectacular, do something else too. Volunteer with your French to help Vietnamese refugees. Intern a few hours a week for a local lawyer.

Is it possible for the letters to be stored online through LSAC for an extended period of time?

Yes. I don't know how long they stay, but it's WAY more than two years. Check the account expiration on your LSAC- mine's like 2013 or something.

If you're really worried, and you don't want to spin your wheels for two years, just apply straight to law school. Gap time is often a plus, but it depends on the school. If you're shooting for Northwestern, it matters. Otherwise, it's just one of many factors.

User avatar
strawberryfanta
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:49 am

Re: ?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

Postby strawberryfanta » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:05 pm

Thanks for responding.

I know many people take the time off, it is just that it seems that most of them weren't sure they wanted to go to law school until after they took the time off and they have to take some of the steps that I want to take now, later.

Hmm it seems I heard of specific schools, Cornell was one I believe, but yeah I guess I should look at each school individually and contact the ones that have the 3 year expiration.

Volunteering and such is a good idea. Even so, the concern was more them seeing that such-and-such job was the best I could get. I don't know. It's a very unspecific and vague worry. It's just that most people I notice on these boards that say they go to a "crappy school" go to Rice or William and Mary or even a nice public. I go to a small unknown public that has zero students at all of the top schools I have checked that list the UGs represented. Seeing me land a retail job or something post-graduation might reinforce their judgment of my UG instead of, say, them giving the university the benefit of the doubt etc.

I'm not shooting for Northwestern or anything. I just want some time to hold down a full-time job and live. Basically, see life outside of a school setting for the first time. I hope it will make life after law school easier by making me more mature and experienced.

I am really worried, but it's just my personality. It doesn't help that all law school advice tends to be centered around people either going straight to law school from undergrad or people who have been out of UG for a few years and suddenly decide to go to law school. I don't see much centered around people who are sure they want to go to law school but want to wait one or more years after UG. Add to my neurosis the fact that I know zero lawyers or even people interested in law school, and good ole TLS gets to hear me ask even the most simple questions.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: ?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

Postby 09042014 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:31 pm

It won't hurt you, but it won't really make you a better applicant (other than at NW).

However it gives you a prospective out of the school environment. You've been a student since before you can remember. Try out adulthood and think about if you want to be a lawyer, not about whether you want to go to law school. Because law school is 3 years, whether you love it or hate it, but you'll be a lawyer for a career.

I've been out of school for two years and I'm headed back next week. I highly recommend at least two years.

User avatar
strawberryfanta
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:49 am

Re: ?s regarding taking 1-2 years off

Postby strawberryfanta » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:34 pm

Thanks for giving your perspective, DF. I tend to agree regarding the reasoning. :)




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests