You have set your sights on law school, but now are trying to weigh the options of attending full-time or part-time. At Western State, we offer both part-time and full-time programs so students can choose the path that works best for them. When evaluating your options, here are some key things to consider:
Our full-time program allows students to complete their degree in six semesters within three years. This requires an average of 14 to 15 units or four to five courses per semester. In the part-time program, students complete five to 10 units per semester or roughly two to three courses. Part-time students can expect to earn their degree in 11 semesters spread across four years. Another key difference is part-time students attend classes during the summer semester. The full-time students who start in the fall do not have any summer classes during their three years and can use that time for internships or externships. Any full-time student who starts in the spring is only required to complete one course during the first summer. At Western State, students are able to begin both programs in the fall or spring semester.
One of the most appealing benefits to a part-time program is the opportunity to work or balance external obligations while pursuing your JD. However, not every law school’s program has a flexible part-time program. At Western State, we offer two options for part-time including day or evening classes. Additionally, most evening programs are four nights per week, but Western State’s part-time evening program is only three nights a week, allowing students added flexibility and time for studying. This makes it possible for students to choose a schedule that works best for them.
Part-time programs not only spread the cost of law school across another year which makes it more affordable for some students, but it also allows students to work and earn money while attending school. This can help students manage the costs, and some employers will pay for a portion of the tuition. When looking at part-time programs, it is important to ask the schools about the types of scholarships available, as some programs reserve a larger amount for full-time students. At Western State, we offer both diversity and merit-based scholarships students in both programs have the same potential.
Gaining real-world experiences during law school is critical to success after graduation. Therefore, when considering both options, it is important to look at what activities you might want to participate in to ensure they also fit your schedule. Talking with the admissions team can help part-time students understand if they will have the same opportunities available as full-time students. This can include moot court, law reviews, clubs and associations, etc. At Western State, we believe it is important to provide students in both programs’ similar experiences.
Part-time programs in the past have had the reputation of being less rigorous than full-time – both in academics and admission standards. Additionally, some law schools have different professors for each program. At Western State, our full-time and part-time students receive the same academic experience. Also, because we do not have a forced curve grading system, students are only competing against themselves in the classroom, not their peers. Therefore, regardless of the program, students who are willing to put in the work can succeed.
Overall, choosing between full-time and part-time is a personal choice. But it is important to evaluate the different programs available as not all are the same. If you are interested in learning more about the options available at Western State, contact our admissions team.