The decision to take a gap year(s) or not, needs to be thoroughly considered. I took one gap year and it was the best decision I could’ve made for myself. As this post goes on, you’ll learn about my journey to make my final decision. There were many factors that went into my decision, so I thought I would share some things you may want to think about.
Money. If you’re like me, discussing finances in large amounts gives you anxiety. When I was thinking about the finances of law school I knew the bare minimum amount of information such as tuition and that I would be borrowing as much money as I could for it. Knowing that made it a little easier because if you’re willing to get loans, your gap year(s) before law school may be a little shorter than others. I also had a goal to save an amount of money because I knew I wouldn’t work my first semester and possibly my second semester.
Experience. When I got into my major and decided that I wanted to go to law school, I was pretty far into my undergraduate studies. For the first two years of undergrad I thought I was going to be a business major. Ooooo! Money, heels and suits. I was wrong. This set me back about two years worth of legal experience because I was looking for jobs that would give me some business experience. By the time I graduated, I only worked one legal internship and one research assistant position with a professor. All my other experiences were unrelated to the legal industry besides all of the clerical, customer service, and organization experiences from every job. Pretty much all of the foundational skills we need as professionals. Gaining experience was the biggest factor (tied with the LSAT) in my decision to take a gap year. My primary goal was to work in a firm in a legal field that I was possibly thinking about studying in school. I ended up at an immigration law firm. GREAT experience and now I know that I probably will not practice immigration law.
Career. Ask yourself if this is something you want to do for the rest of your life. Easy, right? Luckily for me, I knew. Being the true crime obsessed woman that I am, I knew criminal law is a path I would love to travel for the rest of my life. Of course, I’m keeping an open mind for other legal fields.
LSAT. As I previously mentioned, I was a bit behind on my undergraduate/pre-law timeline. By the time I started thinking about the admissions process, it was my senior year in undergrad. I took an LSAT course (which I talk about here) in the spring of that year and decided that I needed A LOT more time to study. I couldn’t recommend this enough because everyone says the average/minimum amount of time to study for the LSAT is 3 months. Yeah, right. I studied for 6.5 months and would’ve studied more if I could.
Grades. My entire senior year was dedicated to raising my GPA. Grades ended up being the second biggest factor of why I took a gap year. Since I thought business was going to be my major for the first two years of undergrad, I was forcing myself to take many classes that I was performing poorly in. For my senior year I was able to fully concentrate on getting above a 3.5 every quarter, which I was able to do! If I had worried about law school admissions I wouldn’t have been able to give my GPA the boost it desperately needed.
Readiness. What does that even mean?!? I think this is something everyone should think about overall. There are probably only a few students who feel “ready” for law school around their last year of undergrad. When I mean ready, I mean everything I discussed above and your personal feelings. It’s hard to know when it is the right time for something, but I do believe it’s a little easier to know when it’s the wrong time for something. My senior year as an undergraduate was a year full of catching up on my mistakes, which is why I knew law school right after undergrad was the wrong decision. Make sure you are ready when you make the decision to pursue law school, or at least make sure it’s not the wrong decision.
As always, I hope this helps. If you want to know more information or advice, feel free to comment below.