Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:50 pm

Hey,

I was just wondering whether I should go to grad school (master's) and then apply to law school or just apply to law school and go to grad school if I don't get in. I know that a master's degree is usually considered to be a soft factor at best, but I feel that this will maximize my chances of getting into law school. My previous 2 years of my studies are pretty bad--lots of low B's. But starting on my 3rd and 4th year, I'm getting a lot of low As, high Bs and one or two mid to high As.

P.s I'll be 23 by the time I'm done my undergrad and 24 when I'm done my master's (if I do get into grad school and do my masters). So I'll be around 24-25 by the time I start law school. Is this unusual? Will this count against me (socially speaking)? I know the average is like 23-25, but if I remember my math correctly, a 40/50+ yr old student can incr the avg easily...

What do you guys think? Gad school--> Law OR apply to law right away?

Thanks in advance!

Brian

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Adjudicator
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby Adjudicator » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:53 pm

First of all, what would you be studying in grad school?

The consensus is that graduate degrees don't factor very much in law school admissions unless it is a Ph.D in hard science.

Also, 24-25 is not very old.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:59 pm

1) Redundant username is redundant.

2) 25 is not old or unusual. Many people in top law schools have at least a year or two of work experience after graduation. In fact this is becoming a plus factor for admissions at a number of schools.

3) That said, actual work experience is more valuable to a legal career than a master's program. Getting a master's to get into law school is a waste of two years of your life; it won't make a substantial difference in your applications and it's two years you could be spending making money and doing something that might help more.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:07 pm

Assuming (in light of your undergraduate major) that your masters degree would be in the social sciences, then the better route is to select between working or law school.

Danteshek
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby Danteshek » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:17 pm

Get a job.

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vamedic03
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Danteshek wrote:Get a job.


^this.

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99.9luft
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby 99.9luft » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:43 pm

Danteshek wrote:Get a job.


+ 1

Why get extra $80k in debt for a degree that doesn't matter?

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AreJay711
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:57 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Assuming (in light of your undergraduate major) that your masters degree would be in the social sciences, then the better route is to select between working or law school.

This. Social science masters are among the few degrees that actually hurt long term income.

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retake
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby retake » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:21 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Assuming (in light of your undergraduate major) that your masters degree would be in the social sciences, then the better route is to select between working or law school.

This. Social science masters are among the few degrees that actually hurt long term income.


Can't be as bad as humanities masters. :?

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dr123
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby dr123 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:22 pm

work and then apply to law school > both options

grash
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby grash » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:59 pm

law school application -> grad school if it fails, if and only if you can't find a challenging job and the degree is in something that will be useful in the practice of law.

i did it, it worked out okay for me. i was also 24-25 when i started law school, and the age difference is nonexistent - i'm about the average age.

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northwood
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby northwood » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:12 pm

if you arent absolutely sure as to waht you want to do, i would say take a year off, rest your brain, think about what it is you want to do, then start working towards that. Get a job, see how much you like or hate it. Then start thinking about what to do next.

If you are still unsure, repeat for another few years. It took me 2 years to make sure that law school is waht I want to do, and that was after working for 2 years. Ill be 27 when I start law school in the fall. You may think that you will be old when you start, but you wont be. A lot of people take time off after UG.

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:59 pm

What if the degree I am interested in is applied criminology? I am interested in going into criminal law in the future. Isn't it still somewhat relevant?

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dextermorgan
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby dextermorgan » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:12 pm

BrianGriffintheDog wrote:What if the degree I am interested in is applied criminology? I am interested in going into criminal law in the future. Isn't it still somewhat relevant?

No.

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DeeCee
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby DeeCee » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:24 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
3) That said, actual work experience is more valuable to a legal career than a master's program. Getting a master's to get into law school is a waste of two years of your life; it won't make a substantial difference in your applications and it's two years you could be spending making money and doing something that might help more.


Please listen to this. As a current Master's student who is incurring debt and about to take on more debt for law school, vanwinkle's advice makes sense.

I rushed into my Master's straight out of UG, thinking I wanted to be a professor, and I graduated from UG at the height of the recession so I felt this was my only choice. However, in the back of my mind I always thought about doing LS. One year into my master's I realized this degree was a mistake after figuring out I really didn't want to be a professor and I really wanted to do LS. Yes, it's been fun and I've learned new skills, but I'd be debt-free and have very different life experiences if I would have just volunteered, gotten a job, or worked in a law office after graduation. And it would have cost less.

Edit: If you think grad school is a soft it is, but if you want to improve your LS chances take some more UG classes and boost that GPA! Grad school GPA doesn't count for school rankings or admissions.

fuzzypeach
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby fuzzypeach » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:29 am

It depends on your options for grad school. I got a research assistant position so have payed close to nothing for my degree. I have also had two years experience reading, researching, and writing and am SUBSTANTIALLY better at these things than when I started. This will give me a huge advantage in law school.

Also, I know I wrote a good personal statement, but I think I am getting more scholarship options than my GPA/LSAT score should merit. And I am not a minority and my only work experience is sales and at the university. I am assuming my recommendations were excellent, all from professors I have worked for.

Also also, HAS ANYONE ACTUALLY TRIED TO GET A GOOD PAYING JOB IN THEIR "FIELD?" I mean really, the chances are pretty small. Maybe not as bad as 2008, but pretty bad.

Different from DeeCee, but thats just my experience.

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megaTTTron
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby megaTTTron » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:12 pm

dextermorgan wrote:
BrianGriffintheDog wrote:What if the degree I am interested in is applied criminology? I am interested in going into criminal law in the future. Isn't it still somewhat relevant?

No.

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northwood
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby northwood » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:14 pm

You will learn what you need to know in law school. Dont waste your time and money on that degfree.

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DeeCee
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby DeeCee » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:18 pm

fuzzypeach wrote:It depends on your options for grad school. I got a research assistant position so have payed close to nothing for my degree. I have also had two years experience reading, researching, and writing and am SUBSTANTIALLY better at these things than when I started. This will give me a huge advantage in law school.

Also, I know I wrote a good personal statement, but I think I am getting more scholarship options than my GPA/LSAT score should merit. And I am not a minority and my only work experience is sales and at the university. I am assuming my recommendations were excellent, all from professors I have worked for.

Also also, HAS ANYONE ACTUALLY TRIED TO GET A GOOD PAYING JOB IN THEIR "FIELD?" I mean really, the chances are pretty small. Maybe not as bad as 2008, but pretty bad.

Different from DeeCee, but thats just my experience.


This is all true for me, too. I have an RA position that has paid most of my bills. And I've published a lot more, gotten better at researching and presenting, etc. I have also gotten better acceptance for LS than I would have otherwise. I don't regret it because I have learned some skills. And I don't regret it because I thought I wanted to be a professor when I started, it's not like I just went to go. However, I just don't think it's worth it to spend extra time doing all this when its not required. If you know you want to be a lawyer, don't waste 2 years and take out loans to do something else. Go be a lawyer and minimize your debt and stress.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:32 pm

fuzzypeach wrote:Also also, HAS ANYONE ACTUALLY TRIED TO GET A GOOD PAYING JOB IN THEIR "FIELD?" I mean really, the chances are pretty small. Maybe not as bad as 2008, but pretty bad.

Unless you're going for hard IP, there is no "field" that matters. Just get a job, any job that provides some kind of meaningful real-world work experience. I know people who have done all kinds of crazy things between UG and law school and it helped them during OCI. For the vast majority of legal jobs, employers don't look for pre-LS WE in a specific "field", they just look to see whether you've had WE at all, and whether it was the kind that would make you develop maturity and general real-life skills.

It has little to do with what you did and a lot to do with making sure you're not some kid who's spent his whole life in academia and doesn't know what working in the real world is like.

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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:35 pm

Vanwinkle and the others are right... Get a job for a few years, put some coin in the bank, and then go to LS. Having a job will be infinitely more valuable in your admissions cycle than grad school, and getting good grades in grad school will not have much effect in the way of mitigating the damage from your undergrad GPA. Plus having some money saved up rather than having 80k more debt would be nice.

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:52 pm

SOOO I guess the consensus seems that work experience is valued more than getting a master's degree :D I'll definitely take this into consideration before applying to law school. But this makes me worried because I'm in social science. And from what I've been told it's nearly impossible to get a decent full time job if one is in humanities or social science, which is why I regretted for past 3-4 years for not going into business or engineering. With that being said, is ANY form of full time work experience is considered valued?

Just throwing it out there, the cost (including living expenses) of the MA degree would be somewhere between 10-15k at most(even less as I am 80% sure that I'll be getting some sort of grant) and it will be a year long instead of two. And my undergrad deb will be around 20-25k by the time I graduate. Would it matter if I do get my master's degree at Oxford or somewhere prestigious?

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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby DeeCee » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:14 pm

BrianGriffintheDog wrote:SOOO I guess the consensus seems that work experience is valued more than getting a master's degree :D I'll definitely take this into consideration before applying to law school. But this makes me worried because I'm in social science. And from what I've been told it's nearly impossible to get a decent full time job if one is in humanities or social science, which is why I regretted for past 3-4 years for not going into business or engineering. With that being said, is ANY form of full time work experience is considered valued?

Just throwing it out there, the cost (including living expenses) of the MA degree would be somewhere between 10-15k at most(even less as I am 80% sure that I'll be getting some sort of grant) and it will be a year long instead of two. And my undergrad deb will be around 20-25k by the time I graduate. Would it matter if I do get my master's degree at Oxford or somewhere prestigious?


You could do what you want to do. A year isn't as bad as two, but I don't know of many MAs that you can do without going crazy and still finish in a year. However, if you could get a job lined up, that would put you ahead and show that you are more mature, since you have WE. Plus, it could be easier in that you won't have extra debt.

Also, I know you're all about this MA but it depends on what you want to get out of it and how debt averse you are. With 20k in debt, I believe your loan payment would be $172/month on the ten year standard plan taking out the maximum subsidized loan allowed.

Add this to LS debt (say 130,000 is the end, if you get a partial scholly and pay approx 43k a year in tuition and COL combined), you're looking at 150,000 in debt. I think it's a bad choice to tack on even 20k extra if you know you're just going to LS anyway. Unless you have rich family or something.

EDIT: 150,000 on the 10 year standard plan at 6.8% interest with maximum subsidized loans= $1,705.00/month loan payments. That's a lot of money!
Last edited by DeeCee on Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:18 pm

I just see little point in getting an MA that won't help you much (if at all).

fuzzypeach
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Re: Grad school then apply to law VERSUS apply to law right away

Postby fuzzypeach » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:45 pm

You have to figure out what kind of job you can get and how you can swing it show it is developing maturity. Some other threads have said that working in something like retail is an awful idea because it looks bad. I guess it depends on where you live and whats available.

It is true that being out of school and working a job and paying bills entirely on your own will develop maturity. And by entirely on your own I mean not having the student loans to fall back on, not racking up credit card debt, ect. It seems simple, maybe it is for most people, but it was a really tough year for me.

If you were working and had sufficient time to really prepare for the LSAT that would probably be nice too.

What exactly do you want to do? Is your only aspiration to be a lawyer? Then just law school makes sense. I would guess if you want to teach, research, or publish articles at some point having a masters degree would be a good thing. Maybe not though. I don't actually know, this is just what I think.




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