What To Know About 3+3 Accelerated BA-JD Programs

3+3 accelerated B.A.-J.D. programs can offer aspiring lawyers a fast track route to a law degree by completing both degrees in six years rather than seven.

While these accelerated programs may be attractive to some, experts say they have trade-offs that applicants should consider.

Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently discussed what those trade-offs are and what applicants should know when it comes to accelerated B.A.-J.D. programs.

DEMANDING AND SELECTIVE

Due to the accelerated nature of 3+3 programs, experts highlight the selectivity when it comes to admissions.

“These programs set strict admissions requirements, including minimum grade point averages and strong recommendation letters,” Kuris writes. “Most programs also require applicants to earn admission through the standard J.D. process, including an LSAT score and personal statement.”

At University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, the 3+3 program requires applicants to complete their undergraduate degree requirements by the end of their third year of college, maintain a 3.80 undergraduate cumulative GPA, and report an SAT/ACT score within the 85th percentile.

“Such selectivity makes accelerated programs prestigious,” Kuris writes. “Graduates will not only enter the legal field at a younger age, they may have a leg up securing jobs and clerkships.”

STRONG COMMITMENT

3+3 programs are specifically designed for students who are dead set on a law career.

“Accelerated law programs often require applicants to express their interest early on and meet with a program adviser by their second year of undergraduate study,” Kuris writes. “This means that program participants need to commit to a legal path early in their undergraduate studies, at a time when they may still be exploring career options.”

Kuris notes that while this gives accelerated students a leg up in securing legal jobs and clerkships, it also may close other doors.

“Participants rushing to meet undergraduate requirements within three years may have to sacrifice other valuable learning opportunities, from campus activities and leadership to elective courses or exchange programs,” she writes.

Sources: US News, University of Southern California

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