Deciding to Attend Law School Part-Time

Deciding to seek a law degree can be one of the most important education and career decisions a person can make. For some people, attending classes full-time isn’t practical due to daily work or family commitments. Part-time programs can make it possible for those with other commitments to still be able to attain the goal of earning a JD degree.

Evaluating Your Personal Interests and Abilities
Most legal jobs require a lot of reading, analysis and writing. Skills such as reading comprehension, logical analysis and clear writing are put to use in law school and in practice. Of course, you’ll develop your existing skills during your studies. If you find language arts challenging, take your time and make certain that you understand texts you are reading and also proofread writing carefully to confirm it makes legal sense. Many schools provide a legal research and writing center to help new students.

In part-time, evening or online programs, you may need greater self-discipline as you may not be studying in a school setting. You’ll need to set aside time each day to study and outline cases.

Finances
Law school is expensive. How expensive it is will depend on factors such as whether you choose a public or private school, and if you are able to attend as an in-state student of a public school.

Online and correspondence programs can be cheaper than classroom-based law schools. If finances are a concern, one of the online or correspondence schools may be a good choice.

Time Commitment
Earning a law degree, even on a part-time basis, requires a significant time commitment. Evening program classes usually meet four or five nights a week from 6 – 9 or 10. Several hours of reading may be assigned each week. You’ll also need time to consider the readings and prepare notes for use during class. Plan to devote 40-60 hours per week to law school.

Online programs can save time compared to classroom-based courses.

Careers
A law degree opens up many doors in areas beyond law firms, including business and government. Law graduates can find positions in business, universities, government and non-profit organizations. There are legal positions with law firms (of course) and also with some other types of organizations you may not have thought of such as universities, and federal, state and local governments.

In the end, you’ll need to evaluate your own interests, resources and abilities to determine if law school is the right choice for you. If you have work or family commitments, but still want to go to law school, then part-time law school may be the right choice for you.

Choosing the Right Online High School

Choosing the right online high school can be fraught with peril. While that sounds a little like a soap opera, if you choose the wrong one, you could end up with a worthless piece of paper. Choose right and you have a document that will be accepted by colleges around the world.

What should you look for in choosing the right school?

1. Check accreditation. While a number of online high schools will claim accreditation, it is not the type that will be accepted by colleges and employers. An online high school should be accredited by DETC, CITA, AALE, or one of the six regional accreditors (that can be found at CHEA.org).

2. History. How long has the school been in existence? While new schools are formed all the time, having a longer tradition of offering courses, typically makes for better schools. Some of these schools have been open for decades as pre-Internet correspondence schools. This can be an advantage in producing quality programs.

3. Listed in standard references. Is the school listed in one of the standard references like Complete Guide to Online High Schools (Degree Press, 2007) or Bears’ Guide to Earning High School Diplomas Nontraditionally (Ten Speed Press, 2003). Being listed is not necessarily a hallmark of legitimacy, but it helps.

4. Cost. Some of these online high schools are free public charter schools while others are quite expensive private high schools. The most expensive that I have come across is attached to a university in the south. Is there an advantage to paying more? Not really, but there may be an advantage with your program being attached to a university. However, being attached to a university most definitely does not mean that it must cost more.

5. Independent study or teacher-led. There are two basic types of programs. The first gives you the materials and you work through them on your own. The second provides you with a teacher, either one-to-one or similar to a classroom, and instruction is given. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but you should decide what sort of learning experience you need or want. There is a third option, more of a hybrid solution, and that is programs, like Laurel Springs School, that provides you with the amount of support that you, personally, need.

While this is only the beginning, it is a good place to start. You can also check out BestOnlineHighSchools.com for listings of schools.