WGU to Law School?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Post Reply
jsnr89

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:36 am

WGU to Law School?

Post by jsnr89 » Wed May 20, 2020 12:44 am

To start off, I'm considering taking my undergraduate at Western Governors University. This is due to it's low cost, money saved will go towards any graduate program. I have explored other options and nothing has come close as far as affordability for me. However WGU's grading system is a pass/fail model. No GPA is calculated in their program. Now my question is, is your undergraduate GPA or program as important as your LSAT score when being considered for law school? With an undergraduate degree from WGU will I be laughed out of consideration?

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 7408
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed May 20, 2020 6:23 am

First things first: You're way too young to be thinking seriously about law school. So quit it.

When looking at undergrads, you should be looking at whether the specific program is a good match for you. I'd never heard of WGU, but at first glance, it's only useful if you're interested in a degree in four areas (business, teaching, IT, or "health professions"). So if you don't want to go into one of those fields, WGU would probably not be a great idea. And based on its similarity to other online-only programs, it probably isn't a great idea even if you do want to go into those fields. Based on their Wikipedia page (which is clearly curated by their admissions department), they enrolled over 100k students last year. There's no way all those students are actually getting jobs in their degree areas, especially since at least half of them won't graduate.

From the law school admissions perspective (again, this is not relevant for you yet), having a degree without a GPA would just mean that the LSAT becomes the most important component of the application. And although schools generally don't care where someone gets their bachelor's, a degree from somewhere like WGU may raise eyebrows.

decimalsanddollars

Bronze
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Wed May 20, 2020 9:52 am

Most 4-year state schools, depending on where you are, only cost a little bit more than WGU. I don't know your specific situation---military? late college? high schooler?---but I'd recommend going to the best state school in your state to maximize value. Assuming you really, really want to save money, you could do 1-2 years at community college and transfer the credits to a 4-year state university (this degree plan would probably cost less than WGU, all things considered).

As for your underlying question, online-only and pass/fail-only students are usually at a disadvantage in law school applications, and as Cavalier indicated, your LSAT would need to carry the load. I recommend going somewhere with real grades and getting good ones, and I second Cav's advice to choose the best program for you rather than a low-cost, high-compromise scenario like this one.

jsnr89

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:36 am

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by jsnr89 » Wed May 20, 2020 1:11 pm

To give some background, I am a career changer. I've worked in IT for many years, however I never did attend college. I'm 30 years old (not quite young) and deciding to return to school. When I was 18 and out of high school, I had no idea what to study so I just started working. But I do agree, I think looking at a regular B&M University would be a safer idea.

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 7408
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed May 20, 2020 1:44 pm

jsnr89 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 1:11 pm
To give some background, I am a career changer. I've worked in IT for many years, however I never did attend college. I'm 30 years old (not quite young) and deciding to return to school. When I was 18 and out of high school, I had no idea what to study so I just started working. But I do agree, I think looking at a regular B&M University would be a safer idea.
That helps with context. I'd still say you're thinking about this way too early, but going straight through wouldn't be as much of a bad idea for you.

This post does raise some more questions for me though. You said you decided to return to school, but nothing in your post indicates a specific desire to practice law. Why are you interested in attending law school in the future?

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


jsnr89

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:36 am

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by jsnr89 » Wed May 20, 2020 2:13 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 1:44 pm
jsnr89 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 1:11 pm
To give some background, I am a career changer. I've worked in IT for many years, however I never did attend college. I'm 30 years old (not quite young) and deciding to return to school. When I was 18 and out of high school, I had no idea what to study so I just started working. But I do agree, I think looking at a regular B&M University would be a safer idea.
That helps with context. I'd still say you're thinking about this way too early, but going straight through wouldn't be as much of a bad idea for you.

This post does raise some more questions for me though. You said you decided to return to school, but nothing in your post indicates a specific desire to practice law. Why are you interested in attending law school in the future?
Frankly, I'm flattered you think 30 is young. I certainly don't feel young. To answer your question, I have always had an interest in law. I've also came to the realization that I want to do something that makes a difference in the lives of people. My goal if I attend law school is to get into criminal defense. To give some background as well, I have always been involved in activities that helped people to include being a suicide hotline operator and volunteer firefighter.

mysonx3

New
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 8:26 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by mysonx3 » Wed May 20, 2020 7:31 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 6:23 am
And based on its similarity to other online-only programs, it probably isn't a great idea even if you do want to go into those fields. Based on their Wikipedia page (which is clearly curated by their admissions department), they enrolled over 100k students last year. There's no way all those students are actually getting jobs in their degree areas, especially since at least half of them won't graduate.
WGU's IT-related programs are actually pretty well-regarded, from what I've heard. They are particularly solid for degrees for people already working in a given field, but who need the degree to advance further (due to their format, these people can often get through their degree quicker than 4 years, or can do it in 4 years while also working). I also know a good number of teachers who went to WGU, so I guess their education program must not be too bad. Can't speak to any of the other stuff they have.

jsnr89

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:36 am

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by jsnr89 » Wed May 20, 2020 9:36 pm

mysonx3 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 7:31 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 6:23 am
And based on its similarity to other online-only programs, it probably isn't a great idea even if you do want to go into those fields. Based on their Wikipedia page (which is clearly curated by their admissions department), they enrolled over 100k students last year. There's no way all those students are actually getting jobs in their degree areas, especially since at least half of them won't graduate.
WGU's IT-related programs are actually pretty well-regarded, from what I've heard. They are particularly solid for degrees for people already working in a given field, but who need the degree to advance further (due to their format, these people can often get through their degree quicker than 4 years, or can do it in 4 years while also working). I also know a good number of teachers who went to WGU, so I guess their education program must not be too bad. Can't speak to any of the other stuff they have.

It's good for someone like myself with IT experience. Also it will help me in my IT career I believe. Also gives me the option to earn a decent living if I go to law school. I'd do the part-time night program and make payments towards tuition as I go along. Considering my ultimate end goal is law school, I'm a bit apprehensive to continue. To shed some light their grading system is rather confusing. It's pass/fail, but also says on the transcript that the persons GPA is equal to 3.0. Which frankly is average to say the least. I plan seeing if I can take the majority of my credits at WGU then transfer to a state university. This way for the remaining credits I can earn a GPA to show on a law school application. I figure I'll call a few law schools and honestly ask. In my area we have Penn Law, Kline School of Law and Beasley School of Law.

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 7408
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu May 21, 2020 6:17 am

jsnr89 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:36 pm
It's good for someone like myself with IT experience. Also it will help me in my IT career I believe. Also gives me the option to earn a decent living if I go to law school. I'd do the part-time night program and make payments towards tuition as I go along. Considering my ultimate end goal is law school, I'm a bit apprehensive to continue. To shed some light their grading system is rather confusing. It's pass/fail, but also says on the transcript that the persons GPA is equal to 3.0. Which frankly is average to say the least. I plan seeing if I can take the majority of my credits at WGU then transfer to a state university. This way for the remaining credits I can earn a GPA to show on a law school application. I figure I'll call a few law schools and honestly ask. In my area we have Penn Law, Kline School of Law and Beasley School of Law.
If they don't report a GPA, you won't have a GPA (in other words, LSAC won't report it as a 3.0 because WGU say it's equivalent).

But it also seems like you're hedging your bets with this WGU idea. Do you want to improve your IT career prospects or become a lawyer? Because working in IT while going to law school isn't going to help set you up for a career in criminal defense. At a certain point, you'll need to cut the cord and commit to the new career.

What will set you up for a career in criminal defense is going to a real college, getting decent grades, getting a good enough LSAT to put yourself in a position for a full scholarship at a decent law school, and taking advantage of defense internships/clinics during school. From the schools you listed, you'd only want to consider Temple or Penn. Temple on a full ride would be sufficient for your goals. But again, this is all way too early; you have at least four years before law school applications are a serious consideration.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


jsnr89

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:36 am

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by jsnr89 » Thu May 21, 2020 12:40 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:17 am
jsnr89 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:36 pm
It's good for someone like myself with IT experience. Also it will help me in my IT career I believe. Also gives me the option to earn a decent living if I go to law school. I'd do the part-time night program and make payments towards tuition as I go along. Considering my ultimate end goal is law school, I'm a bit apprehensive to continue. To shed some light their grading system is rather confusing. It's pass/fail, but also says on the transcript that the persons GPA is equal to 3.0. Which frankly is average to say the least. I plan seeing if I can take the majority of my credits at WGU then transfer to a state university. This way for the remaining credits I can earn a GPA to show on a law school application. I figure I'll call a few law schools and honestly ask. In my area we have Penn Law, Kline School of Law and Beasley School of Law.
If they don't report a GPA, you won't have a GPA (in other words, LSAC won't report it as a 3.0 because WGU say it's equivalent).

But it also seems like you're hedging your bets with this WGU idea. Do you want to improve your IT career prospects or become a lawyer? Because working in IT while going to law school isn't going to help set you up for a career in criminal defense. At a certain point, you'll need to cut the cord and commit to the new career.

What will set you up for a career in criminal defense is going to a real college, getting decent grades, getting a good enough LSAT to put yourself in a position for a full scholarship at a decent law school, and taking advantage of defense internships/clinics during school. From the schools you listed, you'd only want to consider Temple or Penn. Temple on a full ride would be sufficient for your goals. But again, this is all way too early; you have at least four years before law school applications are a serious consideration.
I did speak to a 4 year program, they said they would essentially take my credits. And I could earn some sort of a GPA. But at this point, if my goal is law school I agree. There is no point in taking risk that isn't needed. However I'm not sure what programs are reasonably affordable. I'm assuming my states university Penn State University would offer some sort of discount for in state residents. As well, thank you for your honest feedback. I have been going around in circles with many schools, never able to get a straight answer. Figures I'm able to get one from an attorney :mrgreen: .

The Lsat Airbender

Silver
Posts: 1100
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Thu May 21, 2020 2:11 pm

jsnr89 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 12:40 pm
I did speak to a 4 year program, they said they would essentially take my credits. And I could earn some sort of a GPA. But at this point, if my goal is law school I agree. There is no point in taking risk that isn't needed. However I'm not sure what programs are reasonably affordable. I'm assuming my states university Penn State University would offer some sort of discount for in state residents. As well, thank you for your honest feedback. I have been going around in circles with many schools, never able to get a straight answer. Figures I'm able to get one from an attorney :mrgreen: .
Schools are after your money. Never forget that in your interactions with them. Most take their educational mission seriously as well, of course, but they're strongly incentivized to tell you "oh yeah you'll totally be able to transfer your credits elsewhere" if it means getting you to enroll.

Penn State is quite reasonably-priced for PA residents and is probably your best option. If you're in the Philly metro area you're likely within easy commuting distance of a campus and I assume they have solid online offerings too. Trying to go any cheaper than that (except maybe to do 2 years of community college and then transfer to a 4-year program) is penny-wise, pound-foolish IMO.

mysonx3

New
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 8:26 pm

Re: WGU to Law School?

Post by mysonx3 » Fri May 22, 2020 1:46 am

Re: getting "some sort of" a GPA

Note that you will only have an official GPA for your law school applications, you must have at least 60 graded semester hours (quarter hours, if you go to a quarter system school, count as 2/3 of a semester hour)

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Post Reply

Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”