What You Need To Know About Online Law Programs
JD programs have been slowly embracing online learning. For applicants, one question remains: is an online law program right for you?
Kerriann Stout, a millennial law school professor and contributor at Above The Law, recently broke down a few aspects applicants should look at when considering an online JD program.
The number one benefit of an online program is, of course, flexibility.
“For many online courses, you don’t have to be present online at any specific time which leaves a lot of freedom to create your own schedule,” Stout writes. “Further, avoiding the commute to campus for all your classes can be a real time saver, particularly if you have kids or a part-time job. Additionally, an online class can also give flexibility to a student who is participating in an internship in another state but has time to also take a class or two.”
At the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, students can take part in a hybrid J.D. program, which allows students to take online classes 12 weeks a semester. The program, however, requires 10 campus visits.
“The biggest selling point for me was really the flexibility in terms of in-classroom time,” Shemario Winfrey, a student in the program at the Loyola University Chicago, where J.D. candidates come to campus every other weekend, tells US News.
Stout says format is another important factor to consider when looking at online programs. Generally, law schools will offer two types of formats: synchronous or asynchronous.
Synchronous programs are live online courses that require students to report online at a specific time and day. Asynchronous courses don’t have a required specific time.
“Another formatting question to ask is how the course will be delivered,” Stout writes. “Will there be video lectures? Reading Assignments? Discussion boards? Other media? Knowing this information will help you determine if the course is suited for your learning style.”
Being A Self Starter
While online courses offer more flexibility and timing, Stout stresses that they aren’t for everyone. She says online programs are best suited for students who are self-starters, highly disciplined, and motivated to succeed.
“The best way to approach time management in an online course is to look at all your assignments on the day they are released and estimate how much time it will take you to finish each one,” Stout writes. “I always recommend adding some time to your initial estimate because we tend to think we will do things faster than we actually can.”