Should I take a year off?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
SUCO
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:06 pm

Should I take a year off?

Postby SUCO » Sun May 15, 2011 6:20 pm

So I'm trying to decide whether to go to FSU which I have paid the seating deposit for, or to take a year off and reapply during the next cycle. I'm from New York and I'm worried about going all the way to Florida for law school, because if I end up not liking Florida I don't want to be stuck living there. I do have an uncle who could probably help me get a job in New York, as he was a lawyer for years and is now a judge, but I don't want to depend only on that. Also, FSU isn't terribly expensive compared to some other schools, especially after the first year if I get in-state, but i'll still likely end up in 100k of debt. I'm considering retaking the LSAT and trying to get a scholarship to a similarly ranked school or better closer to New York, or just pay sticker at a significantly better school thats also closer to New York. My GPA is only a 3.38 which concerns me, and my LSAT score was a 162. I think that I can raise my score significantly because my preparation for a 162 included 40 hours of instruction from Powerscore and 2 practice tests over the summer. That was the only studying I did and I didn't look at a single LSAT question for 4 months leading up to the December test which is what I got a 162 on. This is with the exception of the September test I took which I decided to cancel. I got 6 questions wrong on the reading comp, 4 on one section of LR and 6 on the other, and 11 questions wrong on the LG. I figure that because LG was by far my worst section and because it is the easiest to improve on, I should definitely be able to increase my overall LSAT score to at least a 165. Plus, I would be applying in late October instead of mid march like I did for this cycle.

Sorry for the wall of text but what do you guys think?

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby bdubs » Sun May 15, 2011 6:37 pm

Yes, take the year off. Get the best job you can that will still allow you to dedicate a fair amount of time to studying.

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2824
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby haus » Sun May 15, 2011 6:50 pm

Although I do not think that going to FSU would be tragic, if you would like to step away from law school for a year or two, it can be OK as well.

If you do take some time away from school, please do something, find a job, volunteer, something. Do not make the time about just getting a better LSAT score.

SUCO
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby SUCO » Sun May 15, 2011 10:03 pm

Yeah I was thinking of trying to do something legal related just to make sure that's the environment I want to be in. I was thinking paralegal at first but there doesn't seem to be many openings for inexperienced people.

User avatar
boilermaker11
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby boilermaker11 » Mon May 23, 2011 10:10 pm

I have been looking for a secretary or administrative position in a law firm but it doesn't look like anyone in my area is hiring. I am studying for the October LSAT and hoping to gain some experience at the same time. If I can't find a job in a law firm should I just volunteer and work a shit job just to save money? I don't want my application to weaken this summer because I can't find a decent job. Any recommendations on how to fill my time for a year (but leave my study time until Oct) would be greatly appreciated!

User avatar
Magnolia
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:06 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby Magnolia » Mon May 23, 2011 10:17 pm

boilermaker11 wrote:I have been looking for a secretary or administrative position in a law firm but it doesn't look like anyone in my area is hiring. I am studying for the October LSAT and hoping to gain some experience at the same time. If I can't find a job in a law firm should I just volunteer and work a shit job just to save money? I don't want my application to weaken this summer because I can't find a decent job. Any recommendations on how to fill my time for a year (but leave my study time until Oct) would be greatly appreciated!

Working in some sort of legal environment or in some job in which you're mildly interested would be best, but as long as you're doing something, it doesn't really matter what that something is. Being a waiter or a barista is fine. The only thing that will hurt you is just sitting on your couch for a year.

User avatar
boilermaker11
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby boilermaker11 » Mon May 23, 2011 10:29 pm

good to know, Thanks!!

WayBryson
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:24 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 10:38 pm

If you do take a year (or more) off, then make sure you consider all your options. Aside from getting a job within the legal profession, you might consider getting work in a foreign country or in a city that interests/excites you. You might also consider getting general professional experience. There are lots of interesting things you could do. I have taught English in Japan for the past four years. Best decision I have ever made.

If you don't have significant student debt, then you really have limitless options:

Get a job in a hotel in __(insert tropical location here)__ and learn to surf.
Get a job in a hotel in Aspen and learn to snowboard
Volunteer with an international aid organization
Move to Portland (my home town) and buy a fixed speed bike and some really tight pants
Teach English in: Taiwan, Korea, Japan (this might be an option even if you do have debt because of the higher salary/cost of living)
*all of the above are compatible with studying for an improved LSAT, which you should do.

Professional experience looks great on law applications, but it is by no means necessary. How you present yourself is every bit as important. FYI, a higher LSAT will have a big impact on how you present yourself on a future application regardless of whether you work for Hertz Rental Car or spend a year reading Dostoevsky and surfing in Costa Rica.

User avatar
krasivaya
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby krasivaya » Mon May 23, 2011 11:33 pm

Magnolia wrote:
boilermaker11 wrote:I have been looking for a secretary or administrative position in a law firm but it doesn't look like anyone in my area is hiring. I am studying for the October LSAT and hoping to gain some experience at the same time. If I can't find a job in a law firm should I just volunteer and work a shit job just to save money? I don't want my application to weaken this summer because I can't find a decent job. Any recommendations on how to fill my time for a year (but leave my study time until Oct) would be greatly appreciated!

Working in some sort of legal environment or in some job in which you're mildly interested would be best, but as long as you're doing something, it doesn't really matter what that something is. Being a waiter or a barista is fine. The only thing that will hurt you is just sitting on your couch for a year.


How would they even know? My resume is already packed to one page with more fancy work experience. If I work as a waiter during my year off, I wouldn't include it anyway.

So theoretically, I could have sat on my ass.

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby bdubs » Mon May 23, 2011 11:36 pm

krasivaya wrote:
Magnolia wrote:
boilermaker11 wrote:I have been looking for a secretary or administrative position in a law firm but it doesn't look like anyone in my area is hiring. I am studying for the October LSAT and hoping to gain some experience at the same time. If I can't find a job in a law firm should I just volunteer and work a shit job just to save money? I don't want my application to weaken this summer because I can't find a decent job. Any recommendations on how to fill my time for a year (but leave my study time until Oct) would be greatly appreciated!

Working in some sort of legal environment or in some job in which you're mildly interested would be best, but as long as you're doing something, it doesn't really matter what that something is. Being a waiter or a barista is fine. The only thing that will hurt you is just sitting on your couch for a year.


How would they even know? My resume is already packed to one page with more fancy work experience. If I work as a waiter during my year off, I wouldn't include it anyway.

So theoretically, I could have sat on my ass.


If you don't list a most recent position that covers the period up until your app, some schools will ask. I know that Michigan sent e-mails out requesting updates on what people had been doing with their time.

WayBryson
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:24 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 11:43 pm

bdubs wrote:If you don't list a most recent position that covers the period up until your app, some schools will ask. I know that Michigan sent e-mails out requesting updates on what people had been doing with their time.


ALL of the schools to which I applied made it clear that they wanted a coherent picture of what I had been doing with myself between graduation and the present. Many specifically requested an addendum if this wasn't already apparent in other application materials.

User avatar
krasivaya
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby krasivaya » Mon May 23, 2011 11:58 pm

WayBryson wrote:
bdubs wrote:If you don't list a most recent position that covers the period up until your app, some schools will ask. I know that Michigan sent e-mails out requesting updates on what people had been doing with their time.


ALL of the schools to which I applied made it clear that they wanted a coherent picture of what I had been doing with myself between graduation and the present. Many specifically requested an addendum if this wasn't already apparent in other application materials.


Sweet, thanks guys :) I wasn't sure how that would work out.

Now I feel pressure to do something impressive!

User avatar
Bill Cosby
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:56 am

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby Bill Cosby » Wed May 25, 2011 8:40 am

I would take the time off. If you're not sure you want to work in Florida, FSU isn't worth it and I say that as someone who will be attending FSU in the fall.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby cinephile » Wed May 25, 2011 10:25 am

A few things:

In response to putting things like waitressing, etc. on your resume, it's fine to have a resume longer than one page for the purpose of law school admissions. They want to get a complete picture of all your work/internship/volunteer experience as well as extracurriculars. Several applications encouraged a multiple page resume.

Also, I agree with taking a year off. Like WayBryson, I spent a few years teaching English abroad and I absolutely loved it. It's an amazing experience to put yourself out there in a foreign country without any sort of program or safety net and just sink or swim. Not to mention how rewarding it is to spend your weekends and school holidays traveling.

Finally, if you want to go to school in New York, consider getting that LSAT 5-6 points higher and apply to Fordham.

User avatar
boilermaker11
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby boilermaker11 » Thu May 26, 2011 8:42 pm

what about being a personal trainer? would a tier 1 law school look at that negatively? I have an offer to work as a full-time personal trainer for a year. I think it would be fun but I don't know if I should give up on trying to work in a non for profit or do volunteer work. I mean the money would be nice but I just want to increase my chances since my college GPA isn't super strong.

User avatar
Magnolia
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:06 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby Magnolia » Thu May 26, 2011 9:52 pm

boilermaker11 wrote:what about being a personal trainer? would a tier 1 law school look at that negatively? I have an offer to work as a full-time personal trainer for a year. I think it would be fun but I don't know if I should give up on trying to work in a non for profit or do volunteer work. I mean the money would be nice but I just want to increase my chances since my college GPA isn't super strong.

Being a personal trainer is fine. Seriously, unless you become a pornstar or a prostitute, the type of job you have isn't going to hurt you. If it's a job you'll enjoy, go for it. If it's a job that will let you save up some money for school, even better. You can always volunteer in your free time if you so desire.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby cinephile » Thu May 26, 2011 9:54 pm

Do it, it sounds like fun and it's full-time work.
No one is going to look down on you for any kind of work experience.

User avatar
boilermaker11
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 pm

Re: Should I take a year off?

Postby boilermaker11 » Thu May 26, 2011 10:24 pm

yeah prostitution is definitely not for me! haha Thanks I definitely feel better about it now.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: apricots, Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests