You want to take a year off before law school, but you’re worried about how it will affect your chances.
Gabriel Kuris, a contributor at US News and founder of admissions consultancy Top Law Coach, recently discusses the pros and cons that come with a gap year before law school.
CAN HELP WITH EXPERIENCE
One of the pros of a gap year, according to Kuris, is that applicants can gain worthwhile life experience that they may lack.
“Undergraduate law applicants often claim that they have nothing to write about in their applications because they haven’t done much yet. Often, those students are being too defensive or doubtful of themselves,” Kuris writes. “However, a year or two of meaningful work or volunteer experiences may help such applicants clarify their reasons for applying to law school, gain convincing recommendation letters that speak to their abilities outside the classroom and come up with a great topic for a personal statement.”
Experts say a gap year can be especially beneficial if an applicant can find work.
“Working between college and law school will not only help prepare you for the rigors of law school, but it will provide you with a perspective that many of your fellow students won’t have,” according to Enjuris, a public legal resource site.
According to the experts at Enjuris, it’s actually a common misconception that all law students go directly to law school from college without taking some sort of gap year.
In fact, according to numbers reported by Enjuris, “Only 14% of Yale Law School’s 2021 class came straight from college. At Harvard Law School, 82% of the 2021 class is at least 1 year out of college and 64% of students are at least 2 years out of college.”
Those numbers show that, despite popular belief, it’s completely normal to take time off in between college and law school. And, sometimes, it may even help.
TIME IS MONEY
Applying to law school takes time – something not many college students can afford.
Kuris says taking a gap year can help with that.
“It may be easier to focus on applications after graduation or during the downtime afforded by many entry-level jobs and internships,” Kuris writes.
On the flip side, a law degree for many is a means to increase their salary.
“Thus, many applicants want to graduate as soon as possible to earn a professional salary earlier in their career,” Kuris writes. “An early income boost can make it easier to pay down debt or save for homeownership or retirement since compound interest increases the value of early savings over time.”