If you are thinking about applying to law schools or in the process of doing so, you may be wondering if there is a difference in the level of difficulty between schools. In general, law school is known as a difficult undertaking, and if you wish to make life a little easier during your studies it is understandable that you are wondering this.
The difficulty or easiness of a law school will largely depend on the individual program requirements. For instance, if a school has a light credit load, it is reasonable to expect that it is easier than a school that demands many commitments from its students. Overall, higher-ranked law schools are not necessarily harder than lower-ranked law schools.
So, if the challenges of law school usually depend on the individual school, how can you expect to know if your law school of choice will be easy or hard? Keep reading to find out the answer to this question as well as some general criteria to consider when trying to determine the difficulty level of a certain school?
Why Are Some Law Schools so Hard?
Law school is not an easy undertaking, but some students find themselves more overwhelmed by the demand and rigor of programs than other students. The difficulty level of your law school can vary a lot, but usually depends on the following things:
- Course load: Some law schools may expect you to take a consistently high course load throughout your education, and this results in a lot of studying and exams that students must prepare for. Additionally, law school programs that offer accelerated or dual degree tracks are likely to be much more time-consuming than those that do not.
- Faculty expectations: Faculty expectations differ vastly, and many programs have a mix of lenient and demanding professors. If you are trying to get a sense of how demanding a particular law school’s faculty is, it may be helpful to speak to current students or read reviews.
- Additional commitments: Many law programs will require you to do internships or make the most of other extracurricular opportunities. Law schools that place great emphasis on this type of experience in addition to studies may be more challenging.
- Grading style: Many law classes are graded on a curve, meaning the number you get on an exam is not necessarily the grade you will receive. Some schools have higher curves, meaning it is easier to attain good grades. If a school has a lower curve, it may mean you have to study much more to get good results.
Keep in mind that, while some law schools may be easier than others, there is no such thing as a truly easy law school experience. Every accredited law school will expect rigor and dedication so that you can become a reliable and knowledgeable legal expert.
Most of the time, the difficulty of law school will depend on the individual student’s background and capabilities. Students with more time to dedicate to their studies and with an undergraduate degree from a rigorous program will likely be more prepared to take on law school.
Are All Law Schools the Same?
Many law schools are very similar in the requirements that they have for their students. Especially within a particular state, students will have to obtain a certain skillset to pass their bar exam.
However, law schools can be vastly different, and often for the following reasons:
- Funding: Whether a law school is private or public may seem to have little bearing on student experience but can affect how programs are funded and scholarships are given. Students who have to work to support themselves in addition to law school will most likely have a harder experience than those who receive a higher amount of scholarships.
- Connections: Prestigious law schools will have many connections with important firms across the country. Law students often strive to get into these schools because of the impressive employment opportunities they can result in.
- Course load: While many law schools may expect similar things of their students, how many courses they expect you to take while doing so can vary. Some schools even offer part-time options to accommodate working students.
- Areas of specialization: If you wish to specialize in a certain area, such as environmental or patent law, some schools are better than others and offer focused areas of specialization so you can learn the most during your time as a student.
Sometimes the differences between law schools can even be a general sense of atmosphere or community values. Although these less tangible things are almost impossible to find on a website, you can get a sense of what a law school will be like through talking to current or former students and inquiring about their experiences.
Are Higher-Ranked Law Schools Harder?
If the top law schools in the country are on your application list, you may wonder if these are more challenging than their less-prestigious counterparts. In general, high-ranked law schools are harder to get into but do not have a necessarily harder curriculum. High-ranked law schools may offer more generous grading curves or scholarship packages which can make the experience easier for students.
Worrying about law school is a completely normal reaction considering the reputation it has for three years of rigorous studying and demanding schedules. However, no two law schools are exactly alike and much of their difficulty or easiness will depend on factors such as the course load, professors’ expectations, and especially on the experience and background of individual students.
Before applying to law schools, take some time to research if a school offers reasonable course loads and other factors such as generous funding. Identify which things will make your time easier and then search for these attributes in a dream school. Remember that a prestigious school does not necessarily mean an overwhelming level of difficulty.
As you apply for schools, do not be afraid to talk to experts who can provide advice on the difficulty levels of schools. While your law school may never be easy, it does not have to be overwhelming.