Will An Online Degree Hurt My Chances Of Going To Law School?
There is a lot of appeal to being an attorney. On a very basic level, there is something impressive about becoming a lawyer, and a lot of people simply dream of that idea for themselves. Yes, there is often an increased earning potential for attorneys in comparison to those in different career paths, but that’s not the main reason why many people become lawyers. Being an attorney gives you a lot of knowledge, and you’re able to help not only yourself but others as well. A criminal attorney, for example, could apply their legal skills to ensure that justice is served and an individual gets their literal day in court, avoiding going to prison for something that they did not do. Adoption attorneys help bring families together, creating a truly positive experience for those that deeply need it. Becoming an attorney can also help an individual aid their families and themselves, as it’s a career that often presents a lot of upwardly mobile opportunities. Nonetheless, regardless of class, race, or gender, everyone has the technical opportunities to become an attorney in the United States and to use their law degree as they see it. The issues that often arise for aspiring attorneys has less to do with their abilities and more to do with the accessibility of college and earning a law degree.
College, in general, can often be expensive, and it’s only made more so when, tuition aside, other expenses are heaped on. This can include the expenses related to housing, as many people have to move to go to a university and earn their undergraduate degree in law. A lot of universities with great law programs are located in cities, and it can sometimes be more expensive for people to live within commuting distance of their school than it would be to stay home. This can be a bitter pill to swallow. Furthermore, even becoming eligible to attend law school after college can be expensive, as the LSAT costs money and many students have to take study classes before they achieve the scores they wish. Add on books and others fees, and you have a potentially financially crippling burden. This is why many people dismiss the idea of becoming an attorney before they start the journey, especially if they already have debts related to other aspects of life, like medical bills. So: why not consider an online undergraduate degree in law? It’s more feasible than you think to earn your law degree online, and in fact, it’s often a better option for certain students not only financially but academically. Let’s look into what it takes to earn your law degree online, and whether or not it could work for you.
Is It Possible To Earn Your Law Degree Online?
Right now, it’s not possible to earn an American Bar Association-accredited Juris Doctor degree online. Therefore, you want to earn your law degree online in terms of going through your full law school track, you can’t at this point in time. However, you can earn your law degree online in terms of your undergraduate track, which could accelerate your ability to go to law school. A lot of people earn an undergraduate law degree online and then put off going to law school for their J.D., simply because they’re bogged down with debt from their undergraduate degree. This then further puts off their timeline for becoming a fully-fledged lawyer; remember, law school graduates still need to pass the bar exam before they’re fully qualified. Much of this debt can potentially be cut down exponentially if you attend a university with an undergraduate law program online, as opposed to in-person.
If you attend an accredited university, your law degree earned online will be just as eligible as it would be if you attended a university in a traditional setting. With that being said, there is always some variation to keep in mind, as people have individual perceptions regarding an online education. Some law schools have been slower to adapt to online learning than other types of institutions. This shouldn’t necessarily put you off of earning your undergraduate law degree online, as this would be a highly individual matter and really depend on who is looking at your degree. But it is something to keep in mind. Some students choose to take a combined approach. This means you would earn your law degree online partially, while still taking some classes in person, or perhaps attending certain seminars in person.
You can combat this, however, with great grades and dedication, as well as, of course, a great LSAT score. You should also keep in mind when choosing the school that you attend that perception does matter. If you earn your law degree online from a small, unknown university with a very generalized program, some top law schools may not take you seriously. If you attend a more well-known, prestigious university with a great faculty, a lot of law schools will take notice just as they would if you went the traditional route. You may also have the opportunity to explain in an essay, depending on the application process, why you chose law school. This could also be an opportunity to explain why you chose to earn your law degree online.
How Can I Differentiate Myself From Other Online Students?
There are a number of reasons why lots of future law school applicants are earning their undergraduate law degrees online, which we’ll explore more as well. But every good law school has a competitive application process, and as online undergraduate law degrees are still a fairly new concept, it’s possible that your school may only admit a select amount of students with these qualifications. Therefore, you’ll have to make sure that you stand out, and that it’s clear that you’re dedicated not simply to becoming a lawyer, but really embracing law school itself and being the best student that you can be.
Many law schools will look not only at your GPA and test scores but at the types of coursework that you took and what you did outside of your undergraduate studies. Therefore, when considering the type of online program that you’re going to pursue, think about the type of lawyer you may want to be. Part of your undergraduate students is, of course, figuring out what you’re good at and what you want to specialize in; therefore, you shouldn’t feel as if you have to choose a path and stick with it throughout your undergraduate degree and later law school. However, now is the time to consider what types of law interest you, whether it’s criminal law or perhaps a divorce lawyer. If you’re thinking about becoming a wrongful death attorney someday, add in coursework that could aid in your endeavors.
Another thing that you need to consider when building your resume for law school is internships and perhaps shadowing attorneys at a law firm that works within your interests. If family law is something you may want to pursue, see if a family law firm has internships available, or even as an assistant job that you could take up. You need to show real interest in doing active work, even if you’re not physically on campus when you take your classes. Many online schools understand the need for hands-on work and can help facilitate these types of opportunities for their students. During this time, you may be able to make contacts as well. Letters of recommendation are required by most law schools, and if you’re able to provide a letter of recommendation, particularly from a graduate of the school you’re applying to, it could very well aid your chances when attempting to get into school.
With that being said, it’s also important to remember that law school admissions are not merely about the grades that you get when you’re studying for your undergraduate degree. You must also get a great score on the LSAT. This in itself will hopefully prove that you have been studying just as hard as any student who received a degree through traditional school, and further aid in the argument that you’re deserving of being admitted into law school. Fortunately, online LSAT study courses are very much accessible in this day and age. You can even use products like Zoom in order to stay in touch with your fellow students and perhaps organize study groups. Be prepared to take the LSAT more than once; a lot of people are not happy with their first score. Even if you are, you never know if you might get something even higher on your next try. Therefore, you could benefit from taking the test more than once, just to have the maximum score possible your application.
What Are The Benefits Of Choosing To Earn Your Law Degree Online?
Although a complete law school experience is currently unavailable online, this may very well change in the not-so-distant future. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many law schools to conduct classes online temporarily. In the future, this may very well transition to a full-time online experience for law students. For now, however, there are plenty of benefits being shown through online undergraduate law degrees, proof that you can successfully study the discipline remotely.
While safety has forced us to turn to online schooling as a society, there were other health-related benefits to online degrees far before the pandemic. Many students with compromised immune systems already needed to attend school remotely, and their approach to education has not changed with regards to the pandemic. Online education also makes school more accessible for a number of disabled students. You shouldn’t have to put off your dream of becoming a wrongful death lawyer because you have any kind of health condition, after all!
One of the principal reasons why students attend any form of online school, of course, remains money. An undergraduate education is rather expensive, and many of the expenses do come from moving to a commuter-distance school and maintaining housing there, as well as meals and books and other materials. School is much less expensive and more feasible when you are able to attend remotely. Those that want to someday start their own bankruptcy law firms don’t exactly want to begin them by piling debt on top of their degrees, and as law school itself will inevitably cost money, saving where you can is rather important.
Another major reason why people want to attend their undergraduate courses online is that sometimes, it simply works more for their learning styles. A number of online courses, due to the lack of physical classrooms, rely heavily upon visual learning. As around 65% of the population is made up of visual learners, this means that it can actually be easier for some individuals to learn online than it would be for them to learn through traditional schooling. Online schools give them an alternative that works for their specific learning styles, which may very well result in them getting higher grades and learning more in general.
If you do choose to earn your law degree online, you may find yourself presented with certain challenges to becoming a disability attorney or medical malpractice attorney, or for that matter any other type of attorney that you’re interested in becoming. However, there are just as many different challenges to pursuing a traditional path towards success as a lawyer. Ultimately, many different things could change quite rapidly, and the path to becoming an attorney may not be what it was even five years ago, particularly in the light of the pandemic.
Your online education does not dim your prospects, but rather makes them more practically feasible. An undergraduate law degree really is just the beginning, opening the door to you attending law school. Whether they’re interested in becoming real estate lawyers or prosecutors, law schools want to attract promising students. Set yourself apart while earning your undergraduate law degree, and you’ll be able to make your own promise clear.