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JMR

Put off school for $

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Hi everyone,

I've applied to law schools this year and have not yet received a response but am anticipating getting accepted to at least some of the schools I've applied to.  Now, as I am planning my finances, I have considered putting school off one year in order to be in a better position financially.  I have student loan debt from my undergrad as well as a small personal debt.

In taking a year off, I would have a position that pays decent (don't want to reveal the position at this point in order to remain anonymous - but 'decent' in this context means roughly the average for Canada).  In addition, I have a connection who would be willing to hire me on a part-time basis beside my full-time job with flexible hours.  The pay for the second job is lower than the full-time job, but I could put that entire paycheque into a savings account for law school, and over the year, this would hopefully add up.  

I have also had a tough year with being in my school, writing the LSAT, and working.  I didn't get much chance to relax and a year to focus on working and saving could benefit my well-being as well and revamp my motivation.  This is not a major factor to putting off the year, but it is a surely benefit that could come from it.

My biggest fear is running out of money while in law school and also graduating with a huge debt.  I've asked advice from those close to me and the responses have been fairly split so I would love to hear from those of you who have gone to law school or those of you who have saved before going.  Did it benefit you?  Do you wish you had just started right away or was it worth it to hold off one year?

Thank you all in advance.

 

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I took a few years off and I'm very glad I did. It allowed me to save up money and gain experience that looks good on my resume. 

I was also burnt out at the end of my undergrad degree, so the time off was nice to regain perspective and make sure law was something I wanted to do. If you have a good job lined up, I say go for it. Law school will always be there.

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Take the time off. Real world experience can go a long way in helping you stand out when firms are considering which candidate they want to interview or hire. 

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I agree with the commenters above. I applied last cycle and chose not to accept offers to instead focus on addressing my mental health. The last couple of months have been so pivotal for me and I can't imagine what I would have been like if I ended up starting school in September. I'm so glad I decided to wait! 

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I'll give a different perspective. You're certainly in no rush and taking a year or two off won't negatively impact you, but if your concern is purely about the money, it's likely not a wise decision financially. Your earning potential once you become a lawyer is significantly higher than your current job. Not only that, you're also gaining an additional year of experience as a lawyer.

That said, you didn't comment how much debt you current have, so if you'll be living off ramen throughout law school, maybe take off the year. Remember that there are generous lines of credit for law students. I wouldn't advise using all of it, but people often come in with undergrad debt and gain more debt throughout law school and turn out fine.

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There are many advantages to delaying, in terms of becoming more mature, a better focus on what you want, being more stable and in a better position to take advantage of opportunities.

 

Financially, however, isn't really one of them. Your earning potential after graduation is probably higher than it is beforehand, and worse than that, the assets you build up by saving can mean you don't qualify for bursaries and debt-reduction (there's something of a perverse incentive in these which is hard to get away from - if you don't make them needs-based, people who need money suffer, if you do then people who saved up for school and were responsible suffer, as they have to pay full price).

 

Waiting can absolutely be a good thing, but you should consider both the upsides and downsides, especially if your driving force for doing so is financial reasons.

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Thank you to all who replied.  If some perspective would be helpful, the amount I owe between the two loans is about $30k.

I have done some calculations and I think I would end up using the entire LOC available to law students between tuition and cost of living, meaning that by the time all is said and done I would have  close to 130k in combined debt.  This is especially true considering I dont plan on working during the first year of law school, as this is what is recommended.  I've never not had an income to rely on so I think this is what is holding me back.  

I definitely have some thinking to do in the upcoming month or so so thank you all for taking the time to pass on your insight!

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10 hours ago, JMR said:

Thank you to all who replied.  If some perspective would be helpful, the amount I owe between the two loans is about $30k.

I have done some calculations and I think I would end up using the entire LOC available to law students between tuition and cost of living, meaning that by the time all is said and done I would have  close to 130k in combined debt.  This is especially true considering I dont plan on working during the first year of law school, as this is what is recommended.  I've never not had an income to rely on so I think this is what is holding me back.  

I definitely have some thinking to do in the upcoming month or so so thank you all for taking the time to pass on your insight!

Not sure if you already considered this, but make sure to calculate for government grants (OSAP) if you qualify and bursaries the school provides.

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