How is it Being a Part Time Student?

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How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby VPplaya » Tue May 22, 2018 11:04 am

Hi Everyone-

I recently found out that even though I can defer my refinanced student loans, they still want me to pay the interest each month (~$600). I wanted to quit my job and go full time but more than likely I will need to go part time in order to pay this fee. Can anyone here give a general overview of what it is like being a part time student? I am really afraid that I will not be able to handle work and school, but luckily my boss is very flexible and understanding and I can have almost any schedule (even part time) that I want.

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Re: How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby thriller1122 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:47 pm

Im getting ready to start my 3E year and it can be tough. If you aren't very good at time management you are going to have a tough time. Other than that, it's very workable. Obviously you are taking less classes, so if you can limited your classes to 10 credits a semester you should be in good shape. That will likely require summers though, which is less than ideal.


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Re: How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby pfunkera » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:56 am

I worked full time and finished in 3.5 years. I loaded up on classes in the summer and just made it work somehow. My job is somewhat flexible so I was able to stack work for slower times at school and vice versa. The majority of my work is done through emails and online so I could work remotely from the law school in between classes or even during class if I had to. The only time it became an issue was when I was prepping for the bar exam.


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Re: How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby DFWFellow » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:13 pm

The first year is brutal! The content is not hard, but the time constraints by being employed full-time will make you feel like you are constantly running. Legal writing was by far the most difficult class. It was hard to accurately calculate how long an assignment would take. For this reason, if the assignment exceeded the time I allocated to it, I would likely not read for my other classes or cut my sleep that night. Also, you will have to take vacation time during your finals. It sucks, but the last thing you want to worry about during finals is work. If you are taking legal writing, avoid taking more than two other courses.

I'm starting my second year at my school, which has no formal part-time program. This semester I will be taking some first year courses that I have not completed and other upper level courses. I am enrolled with students who attend only full-time, which is unfortunate because they don't have the added stress of being employed, thus making the curve not in my favor. Just realize that you will be at a disadvantage time wise, but this can be mitigated with excellent time-management skills. Most 1L's spend a lot of time socializing. The time they spend socializing is the time you will need to be studying. You will have no time to socialize or go to bar reviews.

You will learn a lot about yourself during this journey. Furthermore, you will become an expert at time management. You will likely work the most that you have ever worked in your life. 80 hour weeks will be the norm. Fortunately, you will not be bothered by these long hours by the time you graduate. First year attorneys will complain about billable hour requirements exceeding 2000 hours. You, however, will view this as a walk in the park because you were accustomed to working 70-80 hour weeks.


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Re: How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby Toadvine » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:09 am

DFWFellow wrote:The first year is brutal!

You will learn a lot about yourself during this journey. Furthermore, you will become an expert at time management. You will likely work the most that you have ever worked in your life. 80 hour weeks will be the norm.

I second both of these sentiments.

The biggest bitch your first year will be finding time for the writing assignments. I basically blew off my readings for my other classes in the week or two before papers were due. Luckily, being in a night program, so did everyone else. Second year was actually harder for me because in my program they increase your credits in the second year, plus I had law review work which included a 25+ page comment to research and write. That said, I did it, I'm better for it, and I ranked top 10 in my section in both of the first two years.

In my experience, the key is to basically give up your weekends during the school year. I spend all day Saturday and Sunday in the library. Friday nights are my night off, which I need after 4 straight 14 hour days.

I'll also echo DFW's point about taking PTO for finals. I used nearly all my vacation time for finals the last two years. If you have a Monday exam you can get away with just taking a half day on Monday, provided you use the weekend exclusively for studying for that exam. I actually really like this method for a Monday exam because you can get some shit done at work which will take your mind off the law for a couple hours.

After the first semester, you'll almost definitely have two exams in the same week for one of the two weeks. My suggested PTO schedule for two exam weeks is as follows:

M/Tu Exams: take off F/M/Tu/W
M/W Exams: take off M/Tu/.5W/Th
Tu/W Exams: Only work on Friday
Tu/Th Exams: TAKE WEEK
W/F Exams: half day Wednesday, take rest of week off
Th/F Exams: Only work Monday

Your 1E and 2E grades are CRUCIAL--you don't get a second chance and they will define your post-grad job prospects. If your boss is flexible like you say, I'd just ask for the whole week off any time you have two exams in the same week; grades are just too important not to. I had two in a week both weeks in the spring last year. I took 9 days of "vacation," but it was definitely worth it. I do like to sneak in half days where I can just to catch up on email and make sure nothing blew up while I was out. I always do them the day of an exam, where I know I've had 48 hours of studying and could use a change of scenery before the big show anyway.

Especially for your first semester, you'll want the day after each exam off. I came into work late, looking like a zombie and was completely useless the day after my first exam--don't be like me. Worst work day of my life. Take the day off, sleep in and start studying for the next one after breakfast.

Final note: DO NOT go part time at a school that doesn't have a dedicated night/part-time program. You would be putting yourself at a wild disadvantage because of how the curve works--everyone else will be dedicating all the time that you are at work to studying, making it much harder for you to score near the top of the class. Props to DFW for pulling it off, but I wouldn't recommend it.


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Re: How is it Being a Part Time Student?

Postby NonTradinStLou » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:24 pm

I haven't found it bad at all, but I go to a weekend/partially online program. I would highly recommend a weekend program if you have one nearby. I was considering part-time/evening law school, but realized I did not want to spend four nights a week in class

You just have to be good with time management. I'm in my early 30s, so I have no social life anyway. My day revolves around work, picking my kid up from school, napping, and listening to the audio lectures. I spend my weekends reading the cases and supplements and/or doing assignments.

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