The time has (regrettably) come for me to make a decision about my life. And, for those of you who currently have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m thinking about applying to law school! Yay, how exciting! And it is exciting… for the most part. It’s nice to be able to tell people (AKA, actual Adults™) what you plan on doing with the rest of your life. Sometimes Adults™ even tell me how impressed they are that I’m planning so far ahead. Oh, if they only knew. But, to get back to the topic sentence of this paragraph, I have a decision to make. I need to decide if I should take a gap year. From where I’m standing, there are both real pros and cons to taking a gap year. So, without further ado, here is my pro/con list. It probably won’t actually help me decide, but whatever!
Pro: I get to put off taking the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test, or LSAT for short, is a three and a half hour test that pretty much determines the course of your law career. I wish I could tell you that I was exaggerating. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit. One test does not determine the course of a career or life-- chill out. However, the LSAT is one of the most important parts of your law school application. While the LSAT is a test that can definitely be conquered through careful preparation, that “careful preparation” usually means studying full-time for 3-9 months. I’m not sure if I should even continue, because this pro definitely outweighs all of the cons on this list.
Con: Not wanting to going back to school
Every time I ask my friend (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) why she doesn’t plan on taking a gap year, she tells me that she is afraid that if she takes time off of school, she might not want to go back. Which I think is a semi-valid point. It probably is great to wake up in the morning and not have to worry about a midterm that you have next week or the homework that is due tomorrow. But, I think that it’s also great that midterms or homework are all that I really have to worry about right now. I love school. I love the atmosphere and I love learning. So, this con might not actually apply to me, but I’m sure that it applies to some of you out there.
Pro: Gaining some real-world experience/an upper-leg in the admissions process
Its no coincidence that the average age for a first year law school student is 24. At Yale Law School, arguably the best law school in the nation, 80% of 1Ls took at least one year off. The Dean of admissions at Yale Law, Asha Rangappa, said that taking time off often leads to more insightful and interesting personal statements: “Sometimes the experiences themselves can also just make them more interesting, particularly if they are able to write about it.” Rangappa also added that she is more confident accepting someone who has taken time off because they likely know what they want to get out of law school and are not just applying as a default option.
Con: Failing to do anything valuable with my time off
Like I mentioned earlier, studying for the LSAT can take a lot of time. But, if I do decide to take a gap year, I don’t want to spend it just studying for one test. Life is more than an admissions test. I would like to actually do something during my time off. Like, crossing some countries off of my bucket list or being part of a start-up company.
This probably won’t come as a shock, but I still haven’t made my mind up completely. While I am leaning towards taking a gap year, I think that I will have to sit on this decision a little bit. But, I hope that this article was even a little bit helpful to those of you in the same boat.