Wednesday, January 16, 2008

4 Things To Consider Before Applying Part Time to Law School

You may have noticed that at schools with part-time programs, the 25th-75th percentile LSAT numbers are a bit lower than that for the same school's full time program. In some instances, applying part-time may increase your chances of being admitted if your numbers are more in line with those of the part-time admitted students.

Here are some things to think about in using this strategy for law school admission:

1. Is it a fully operating part time program? If it's not a full section of students in the part time program (around 100-130) then then part-time option is probably intended for people who have significant work and/or family obligations. They may even attend part time during the day or in a similarly customized program for their situation. You may want to call the law school and find out more about the formality of the program.

2. How easy is it to transfer from part time to full time after the first year and still graduate in 3 years? If it's pretty much just a formality to transfer to full time after taking 2 classes over the summer (whether on campus or as part of a study abroad program), then this might be an attractive option.

3. Are you planning on trying to transfer to another law school as a 2L? If so, you may be restricted to transferring only to schools that offer part time programs (and you'd probably remain a part time student throughout law school).

4. Consider your social and professional networking goals. Do you want to be surrounded by other people who may be older, married, with families, and with professional careers under their belts? Or, do you want to be meeting other single folk and having a good time after a long day of classes? Socially, there can be a big difference between the demographics in part time and full time programs and 1L year tends to be when people create lasting friendships.


  1. I like this post, I'd like to know more about how to prepare to what things can you do to hit the ground running and prepare to transfer after 1L. Also, what are some of the downsides to transferring? I have this feeling that I might get a cool reception as a transfer...

  2. When you transfer, it's all about 1L grades. LSAT and UGPA are of minimal importance in the process. I've helped people transfer from Loyola (Los Angeles) to Georgetown, from Touro to Cardozo, and from Golden Gate to William & Mary (for example).

    There are downsides, including eligibility for law review at the new school, access to on campus interviews, the way employers view transfers (can be negative), and social networking aspects (bonding during 1L year), etc.

  3. Thanks for posting.
    I just had one question for you.
    How do employers view students who complete 1L as a part time student and then switch to full time for the last 2 years of law school?
    (this is at the same school)

    Does it affect your employment prospects in anyway??


  4. It didn't for me! (I did this at U of Miami because I was working in advertising during my first year of law school).
    In fact, employers were very impressed that I'd pulled it all off....
    It's all in how you sell it.

  5. I am trying to decide between attending a full-time program at a lower ranked school and an evening program at a significantly higher ranked school (luckily I have the option to stay on at my current job, or leave in the fall). Would I be better off trying to transfer from the lower-ranked full-time program, or stick with the evening and build my resume and earn some money along the way??

  6. Hi, each school has a different policy about transferring to full time after the first year. If you are part time your first year, transferring to another school could really only happen if you were going into another part time program. I hope this answers your question.

  7. Thank you for this post.

    I'm not the traditional part-time student. I'm looking at part-time programs with the intention of attending while working part-time instead of full-time to offset some costs of law school.

    I think having the extra time as a part-time student will give me more flexibility in studying. I have a gut feeling that the trade off (spending more time and money in law school) for even the slightest chance of making better grades is worth it. What are your thoughts?

  8. Hi. First of all, during your 2L and 3L years (as a full time student) you can work part time. In fact, many people have clerkships in firms and agencies making a pretty good wage. So, if you go full time it would really just be the first year you don't work.
    Dedicating yourself fully to law school is more likely to result in good grades than going part time and working. And, right or wrong, employers may view part time programs as being easier and therefore will discount your GPA a bit.
    Unless you need to go part time, you will get a more complete law school experience as a full time applicant.