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Issues with graduating in 3 years

BurgerMan1BurgerMan1 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
edited August 5 in Law School
I am a current History major (no real interest or talent for being a Historian, just want to get my degree and get out of my university) who has plans for law school. I am really unhappy with my current undergraduate school (my parents basically veto'd every other option) and only went there because it offered the lowest cost. I'm a poor fit for it but I don't really have any other options. I took tons of AP History classes in high school and as a result, I can graduate in 3 years easily.

My current university, Purdue-West Lafayette, does not have a law school, , so advising on it is relatively shallow. I was told that graduating in 3 years and going to law school is a possibility, but it was hard to do. Unfortunately, my adviser did not have the specifics on hand.

As such, I was wondering what difficulties could arise with me graduating in 3 years. So far, I could see that I wouldn't have much time for internships or anything and probably wouldn't be able to get any leadership positions. Aside from that, what other options are there?
Post edited by sybbie719 on
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Replies to: Issues with graduating in 3 years

  • TempeMomTempeMom Registered User Posts: 2,680 Senior Member
    Law schools mainly care only about your GPA and your LSAT.
  • BurgerMan1BurgerMan1 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    So stuff like internships, EC's, and leadership positions aren't important as they are in undergraduate admissions? I have a 3.8 GPA right now and decent EC's, but internships and leaderships are at zero.
  • PentaprismPentaprism Registered User Posts: 358 Member
    edited August 3
    "So far, I could see that I wouldn't have much time for internships or anything and probably wouldn't be able to get any leadership positions."
    You got it there.

    I'm not familiar with law school admissions, or law school in general. But here's my story.

    My D started college at a flagship university, majoring in computer science when she was 16. She wanted to finish undergrad in 3 years, not because she disliked the school but because she wanted to concentrate to a very specific field in CS and disliked the "general" class requirement for BS degree. My wife and I left the decision up to her. Her advisors, including the one later becoming her PhD advisor, were against it. They wanted her to take 4 years so she would have more time for research/internship and thus make her application to PhD stronger.

    But she'd decided, and essentially put her social life on hold during those 3 years. She graduated in 3 years with honors. By the time she graduated, she'd done TA jobs, had 2 years of research (with pay). She was admitted to 5 top-10 schools for PhD, including her undergrad school, which was #1 in the field she wanted to concentrated on. Note that graduate schools in general don't care about ECs/leadership, unless the activities are closely related to the field of study.

    So, it is difficult, but is quite possible.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,565 Senior Member
    Two things:
    1) You need to attend a much better than good or great law school. You need great grades and a great LSAT. Study for the LSAT big time. Those are very important for admission.

    2) Graduating early has the drawback that you will be one of the youngest in your law class and competing against students who are older and possibly have advanced degrees. Their extra experience is a real plus in their favor in the job market. And they already know how to study and know what they want.
    I doubt though that a single year makes that much difference. It really will be up to you to excel.

    Graduating in 3 years saves you a ton of bucks. It does not mean you aren't ready or cannot compete.
    Use the law school years wisely--go for the internships and try to get into law review, moot court etc which are all resume builders.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 24,133 Senior Member
    All professional schools prefer a little life experience. There is no plus factor for getting out 'early.'

    If you do graduate in 3 years, my suggestion is to work for a year or two, then apply to LS.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,565 Senior Member
    I disagree with bluebayou. Go on to law school if you feel you can get the scores.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 13,297 Senior Member
    The only disadvantage is that you'd have to study for and take the LSAT in your 3rd year. Everything is just compacted in time, and you need to stay on top of it.
  • BurgerMan1BurgerMan1 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    In case any confusion happens, strike the word "law" from paragraph 1, sentence 2. Typo and can't edit anymore.
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 1,651 Senior Member
    I started law school shortly after turning 21. I had entered college intending to graduate in 3 years but became seriously ill the first year and wound up taking the full 4 years; I had 24 credits going in. Had i not become ill, I would have gone to law school at 20. I was one of the youngest in my class and graduated second. I see no reason why the OP should not go straight to law school. Apparently, it is beneficial to have some work experience before pursuing an MBA, but people I know who went to law school after being out of school for years had a tougher time than people like me, who powered straight through. Being in the swing of studying and in the school mode is a positive for law school.
  • Demosthenes49Demosthenes49 Registered User Posts: 1,475 Senior Member
    In today's legal job market, you'd be crazy not to have at least a year's work experience. Law schools won't care, but you can be sure employers will.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 30,484 Senior Member
    Since you don't like your university, does it have domestic or international exchanges? Obviously you'd pick an area of the world you're interested in/writing your thesis on, or a domestic university that is strong in the area you're good at.

    Can you complement your history major with stats for social sciences and poli-sci? Can you take graduate seminars? Can you politely ask the Head of the history department what areas of history Purdue is known for (us military history, East Asian modern history, history of the quotidian, technology in Ancient Times...) Since you're meh about history in general, decide to develop your specialty in whatever Purdue's known for. It'll "signal" more rigor.

    In September start looking for an internship for next year. Take all the workshops they offer about resumes, interviews, etc. Go to the career fair. Be polite but persistent at the career center since Purdue is Stem-focused and they may not be used to a History major (especially one with a disability). Due to your credits you'll be able to apply to internships for juniors.

    Are you close to a professor? Can you get involved in research? Can any of your papers be turned into a conference presentation?

    All these elements would matter to your application. You don't want to graduate in three years and be stuck.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 30,484 Senior Member
    Since you don't like your university, does it have domestic or international exchanges? Obviously you'd pick an area of the world you're interested in/writing your thesis on, or a domestic university that is strong in the area you're good at.

    Can you complement your history major with stats for social sciences and poli-sci? Can you take graduate seminars? Can you politely ask the Head of the history department what areas of history Purdue is known for (us military history, East Asian modern history, history of the quotidian, technology in Ancient Times...) Since you're meh about history in general, decide to develop your specialty in whatever Purdue's known for. It'll "signal" more rigor.

    In September start looking for an internship for next year. Take all the workshops they offer about resumes, interviews, etc. Go to the career fair. Be polite but persistent at the career center since Purdue is Stem-focused and they may not be used to a History major (especially one with a disability). Due to your credits you'll be able to apply to internships for juniors.

    Are you close to a professor? Can you get involved in research? Can any of your papers be turned into a conference presentation?

    All these elements would matter to your application. You don't want to graduate in three years and be stuck.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,574 Super Moderator
    edited August 5
    Even though there is not such thing as a pre-law major, you need to make an appointment with career services.

    https://www.purdue.edu/preprofessional/career/index.html

    they will have information as to what law schools students from your school end up getting accepted to along with the average LSAT for your school.

    There are schools in the T-14, Northwestern, which really values work experience (pretty much requires it).

    Graduating early -the University of Chicago may make your acceptance contingent on taking a gap year and getting some work experience.

    I agree with others, while graduating early may not necessarily hurt you in the admissions process, you could be at a disadvantage in the hiring process.
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 3,982 Senior Member
    edited August 5
    A very good friend of my D graduated in 3 years and went right into a top 30 law school on a full tuition scholarship. He is a rising 2L now and is interviewing next week with some heavy-hitter firms for a summer associate position for next year. (Note that he did very well his first year.) He did get involved with political organizations over the summer while in college which likely helped his application. I don't think you have to worry about graduating in 3 years being a hindrance to your app. You should seek out meaningful internships or jobs though, and you should be forming relationships with professors so they can write you a good recommendation.
  • BurgerMan1BurgerMan1 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    edited August 5
    @MYOS1634 Purdue does not have a domestic exchange program. I do not consider a foreign exchange to be viable. They are either too expensive or require independent living in a foreign nation, which I am not prepared for.

    There is no general "statistics for social science" type classes, I'd just have to take a standard statistics class. The "statistics for x" classes at Purdue are major specific and require knowledge in the subject area that requires 1-2 years of study in that major area.

    I'm not particularly close to any professor and don't know any in anything more than standard class relationships.

    @sybbie719 By work experience, does that mean experience in the law industry?
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