should you take a gap year before grad school

Kate Spade Notebook, Planner and Calendar

One thing that I’m commonly asked by friends and acquaintances considering law school is if their time before law school would be best spent perusing a graduate degree or working.

I did both. During my final year of undergrad I was debating between a career in academia or a career in the legal field so I took both the LSAT and the GRE. I did well on both test and was honestly a little more interested in going to law school but because of the state of the legal market at the time I  decided to pursue a graduate degree (I didn’t know it at the time but it was the best decision I could have made for myself).

I pursued an M.A. (via a two year program that I completed in one year) and upon graduation, when I realized I was still interested in going to law school I worked for one year as a legal administrative assistant.

I thought a masters program would prepare me for dealing with the work load in law school, however they’re very different. I could get away with not doing the reading in in my masters program (and often did), in law school I wouldn’t even dare. A masters program also has the potential to be super expensive…and more importantly more expensive than its worth. At the end of the day, I don’t know if a masters program just for the sake of filling up a gap year is worth it.

Although it was a little difficult landing a job in the legal field, the time I spent working as a legal administrative assistant was a better use of my time. I was able see first hand what what a job in the legal field entails and I made contacts in the legal field. Additionally, I had experiences that I could talk about in my interviews and admissions essays.

When it comes down to it, my time spent working was the most productive use of my time before law school and I’m glad I took the opportunity to make sure law was really what I wanted to do.

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