Switching From Full-Time To Part-Time Status In Law School - JD Advising
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Switching From Full-Time To Part-Time Status In Law School

Recently, JD Advising has received a number of questions from full-time law students considering transferring to part-time status. We’re here to fill you in on what you should know when considering whether to make the switch. Many law students who make the switch from full-time to part-time status do so for a variety of reasons. These reasons can range from academic, to financial, to personal.  Continue reading to get some more information about why students tend to switch from full-time to part-time status in law school.

Switching From Full-Time To Part-Time Status In Law School

Academic Reasons

Many law students switching from full-time to part-time status do so for academic reasons. For example, students who transition from full-time to part-time often explain that the pace of a full-time law school schedule is too intense. Given that part-time students do not take as many credits per semester, the coursework is more spread out. This means rather than taking five classes per semester, part-time students might only take three. The lower number of classes gives the amount of time dedicated to each class a boost. More time to spend per class = a better understanding of the material, which = a higher final exam grade. A lower number of classes might also allow students who might be working or have other personal obligations more time to work on their studies. This being said, the lower number of courses per semester means it will take you longer to graduate. Generally, most part-time law students graduate in four to five years, rather than three.

Financial Reasons

Saying that law school is expensive would be a tremendous understatement. Tuition, books, rent, living expenses – it all adds up quickly! This leaves many law students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate. For students who want to try and minimize law school debt, part-time status allows many students to work (or keep) their full-time job. Rather than paying for law school solely through loans, part-time students can use income generated from their jobs to help. In addition, students supporting a family can’t always quit their jobs and attend law school on a full-time basis. Part-time status allows these students to continue working while supporting their families and attending school. Many part-time law students are professionals (many in non-legal industries) with husbands, wives, children, or parents for which they are responsible.

Personal Reasons

Apart from academic and financial reasons, sometimes life has other plans for law school students. Maybe a close family member becomes ill and requires care. Perhaps a child is born during the school year. Maybe a student faces health-related complications. Whatever the cause, students sometimes transition from full-time to part-time status for reasons outside of their control. Part-time law school programs offer students the flexibility of managing their personal lives while still attending classes. However, part-time students might not become as close with their classmates because they simply do not see them as often. Full-time students are around their classmates…full-time! This means more opportunities to form relationships and bonds, attend law school events, and create lasting connections.

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