Going to law school is a big step. Making a commitment to spend years pursuing a career the highly competitive field is not something that should be taken lightly. That’s why it’s important to make a personal checklist before even applying to schools, just to make sure you really know you’re ready. Here are a few questions to consider before taking the plunge.
1. Can I Afford It?
Before even taking steps to apply, it’s extremely important to consider the financial burden you’ll be taking on by going back to school. When you decide to attend law school, you’re making a full-time commitment. Whether you decide to get an online llm from USC or pursue an on-campus education from the University of Oregon, you’ll have to take time out your life to make time for school. For many people, that means cutting back on work. Many schools offer financial aid and stipends as more affordable ways of pursuing an education, however, it’s very important to have a financial plan in place that leaves nothing to chance.
2. What Do I Want Out of It?
Many people go into law school with preconceived notions of what it will be like. Some of these students have their expectations met, and some are rudely awakened. Take a moment to ask yourself what you’re actually looking for in pursuing law. Are you interested in helping people in need? Is there a specific cause you’d like to work to champion? Do you want to pursue a more lucrative career path? Are you interested in learning more about the legal system? All these reasons are valid. Finding the one that relates to you is important from the start.
3. Will I Have the Time?
Only you know the reality of your life and schedule. Figuring out if going back to school is realistic depends entirely on you being honest with yourself about how much time you actually have to give to pursuing a new career. For instance, if you have kids, and are their sole support, or if you have other responsibilities that tend to take up a lot of time, you might want to pursue a less rigorous option for studying law, for instance, a program that allows you to have more control over scheduling. It’s also important to think about the long-term implications of becoming a lawyer. A career in law can involve odd hours, unpredictable scheduling, and a lot of overtime. If you’re not prepared to give over all the time you have, you might want to rethink your decision for the moment.
4. Am I Ready?
This question is possibly the most important of all. Only you can say whether or not you’re ready to pursue a new career as a lawyer, and if you’ve truly thought out all the implications of taking on this challenge. But figuring out your level of readiness is important. It’s even more important than having good test scores and a flawless application essay. Being ready to learn is the most important part of getting a great education.