Undergrad student debt is at an all-time high. Thus, applying more debt from post graduate work is something not to be taken lightly. The question of whether or not spending three years at law school accruing interest on your other student loan debt and incurring the significant debt of law school is worth it is something every applicant should consider. Will your time spent at this extra schooling result in a job or career you want and that will benefit you?
Consider the School’s Reputation
There is a huge discrepancy in the rates of employment between top-tier and lower-tier law schools. You are almost twice as likely to get a job when you graduate from a more highly-rated school. If employment guarantees mean a lot to you, but you don’t get into an amazing school, you might want to consider taking some time to boost your application and reapply at a later date. If you’ve applied out of undergrad, then perhaps you’ll benefit from some work experience or other graduate studies.
What Will Your Rank Be Within the School?
Future employers will also want to look at your rank compared to your other classmates. It’s an incredibly important factor in the hiring process. If you’re looking at a school and think you might have a hard time stacking up to your peers, seriously consider whether or not this school will be the right place for you. It might be better to go to a less competitive school if it means you can be a big fish in a small pond.
Specializing Makes a Difference
If you know right away what kind of law you want to practice, get to specializing early on. You will only make yourself more marketable if you can do something not everyone else can do. Take classes in your specialty, source mentors and other contacts that have the same interests and start looking at related internships as early as possible.
That said, if you know your specialty doesn’t have the best job prospects, poke your nose around in a few others so you won’t have to be jobless while you look for the perfect fit. The price of law school won’t seem nearly as daunting if you do everything you can to guarantee a job for yourself after you graduate.
What’s the Financial Aid Package?
Finally, it’s very, very important not to ignore the price you’ll be paying out of pocket. If a school is amazing, but they don’t want to help you out much with tuition, it could have a drastic effect on the rest of your life. If you already have student loans from undergrad, you might not have to start paying them off while you’re still in law school, as you will start accruing interest on them. If you graduate with more debt to add to that quantity, you’ll end up with loan payments that could cost more than your mortgage.
This will affect what jobs you’re able to take, not to mention your daily life when it comes to normal expenditures you might not be able to make. If Chicago State University lets you in but doesn’t help you attend, it might not be the right place. To be honest, traditional school isn’t always the way to go, anyway. Click here to learn about USC’s masters in LLM online program.