Law School -- Need some advice !

<p>This thread is important and a bit early because I need to choose what I want to do in order to pick either Pre-Med or Pre-Law OR start preparing for the LSAT or MCAT.</p>

<p>My Information:
International [Non-US citizen, No green card] Student.
My parents will be sinking all the money in my Undergrad education. </p>

<p>Current Course- First year Mechanical Engineering
Top Public University </p>

<p>About Me- Public speaking, Hardworking, Soccer and preplanned. </p>

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My impression was that studying engineering taught you how to solve problems, and isn’t that a prerequisite for most careers? I also thought that MechE would train me to think analytically about systems – both how to design them and how to fix them when they “break.” Since the human body seemed to be a web of interconnected systems (circulatory, muscular, digestive, immune, etc.), I thought this training would make me a great doctor, as well. I actually care about people and would love to help people out

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<p>^^ So Medical School might/will be a good choice for me and which ever career path I take I will give it my 100%. </p>

<p>
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Patent and Intellectual property law are two fields which I am interested in and they actually seem to be a more reasonable option than med-school as I would be using my MechE degree put to a lot more use. I have been reading manuals on how to write patents and I am working on it and I like doing it

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<p>^^ Now I am torn between two choices both of which I like and I did try Shadowing or interning for a law firm. But I guess doing all three - Engineering (Hardcore, trust me!) + Shadowing + Law firm will be just too much for me to juggle and I don't want to mess it up !. </p>

<p>My adviser tells me it is all up to me -- and I don't know which one to pick. So I am putting down a few parameter's :- </p>

<p>1) No money, International -- No federal aid. So basically scholarships (Which I will be working towards, by doing well in Engineering) and Loans. So Med/Law school which ever would provide me with the best support in higher education. </p>

<p>2) I know both these options seem to be SAFE career paths (in the sense that they pay well, but trust me I am happy just to touch the 100K mark and be happy at what I do and have no loans to repay). Because if I get motivated by money and go to law school and have no interest whatsoever in patents, then, trust me it gets very very boring. </p>

<p>Future plans for either careers:- </p>

<p>1) Work as an Engineer (get set with the prerequisite' and Test scores), earn some money, get some experience and head to Grad(Med/Law) school. </p>

<p>2) Get Possible scholarships and head to Grad(Med/Law) School.
a) For med school -- DO schools or Canadian MD schools. [Only with possible loan/scholarship options] </p>

<p>I need to hear both sides of the story and I would be grateful if someone else would give me their perspective.</p>

<p>I again forgot to state in my post that I am a 100% sure that I will not be heading back to my native country for education. And I plan to stay/settle in the United states.</p>

<p>Frankly, I find the whole idea that you'll be a doctor or a lawyer after getting an engineering degree a bit odd in the first place, but for argument's sake, lets assume that your choices are as you have outlined them. However, before saying anything else, I really think the BEST advice anyone can give you is to focus on your engineering studies your first year and worry about med and law school later. </p>

<p>You are setting up a dichotomy that simply doesn't exist. The only prerequisite for law school is the LSAT. There are no required courses. It is not necessary to intern for a law firm to apply. (I also think it unlikely any law firm would offer you any sort of internship until you've completed at least 2 years towards your engineering degree.) And, IMO, there's no need for you to worry about studying for the LSAT for at least 2 years--and probably a bit longer. So, you do NOT have to choose now. In fact, I think it would be foolish for you to choose now before you've taken any courses and found out whether you can both succeed in and enjoy your engineering program. </p>

<p>If you are not planning on becoming a US citizen, you're not eligible for federal aid for either med or law school. Most private lenders are unwilling to make student loans to people who are not US citizens or at the very least a green card holder. These debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy in the US, which is one of the reasons private lenders will loan $180,000+ to young students with no income. If you are from another country, you can get on a plane and leave without paying off the debt. So, the vast majority of US private lenders/banks will require that a US citizen or green card holder co-sign a law school loan. It's often easier to seek funding sources in your own nation.</p>

<p>Only a very small # of law schools give need based financial aid. If you are under 27 or 28 when you apply, most--though not all-- will count your parents' $ and assets in determining the amount of aid you receive. It doesn't matter how much your parents have already paid, except to the extent it reduced their assets. </p>

<p>Cornell Law explains:

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International candidates for the JD program must complete a Need Access Report. Parent financial aid information is required for grant consideration. An applicant must also submit parent and student translated tax returns or wage statements for both parents.</p>

<p>Applicants needing loans may also apply for a private student loan. However, most loans will require a U.S. cosigner with significant credit history. Cornell Law cannot assist in securing a student loan.

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International</a> Students</p>

<p>You might take a look at these links from a few law schools: Non-US</a> Citizen JD --parent income not considered
Financial</a> Assistance</p>

<p>You can look at the websites of other law schools as easily as I can. </p>

<p>Most law schools do give merit aid. Engineering is a tough field, and gpa's tend to be lower. This will make it more difficult for you to get the sort of gpa necessary to get a merit scholarship. The top 3 law schools give NO merit money. Below that level, the rest of the top LSs give a FEW merit scholarships to people with very high LSATs and gpa's.</p>

<p>Below the top 14 law schools, merit money is more common, but again it is usually offered only to folks whose scores/grades put them well above the median for that law school. Even then, the merit $ rarely covers all of the associated costs. </p>

<p>Realistically, the best chance of going to law school if you don't have the $ and don't have someone willing to co-sign a loan for you is probably to become an engineer, work for several years as a patent clerk or in some other capacity and convince some corporation to subsidize your LS education. But that's very "iffy"--not something you can count on. </p>

<p>LSAT scores are only good for 5 years, at a few schools only for 3, so if you are going to take that route, it's REALLY dumb to start studying for the LSAT now. </p>

<p>It's not as easy to stay in the US after your complete your education as you seem to assume it is. A lot of people do it, I admit, but not everybody who wants to do so is able to do so.</p>

<p>However, once again, IMO, the BEST thing you can do is focus on your engineering coursework your first year, get the best grades you possibly can and worry about law or med school when you have at least a year under your belt. To take time away from your studies to prepare for the MCAT or LSAT now would be, iMO, very, very foolish.</p>