Similarities (and Differences) Between Law School and Undergrad

Law school, especially during your first year, is very different than undergrad. In fact, I'd say 1L year is more like high school than undergrad (future post on that coming soon).

Similarities between 1L Year and Undergrad
  • The freedom: Just like in undergrad, you have a lot of freedom. You live on your own, do your work on your own, and professors can only make you do so much. 
  • Pressure to find a summer job: This is exactly the same. For my undergraduate degree, I had to complete at least one summer internship. While it is not mandatory that we have a summer internship at my law school, it is highly recommended. Plus, it makes getting a job after graduation easier.
  • Volunteering: Especially at my undergrad, there was a huge emphasis on volunteering your time. Law school has that same emphasis, but instead of volunteering, it's called pro bono hours.

Differences between 1L Year and Undergrad
  • Organizations
    • Fewer options: There are a lot less organizations at my law school than there were at my undergrad. However, there was still many organizations that I want to get involved with.
    • Less frequent meetings: Most law school orgs are run less strict than undergrad orgs. For example, we don't have weekly or even bi-weekly meetings. Meetings average once a month (if that). Plus, if you miss a meeting, it is not a big deal.
  • Time spent on school work/free time: In Undergrad, I had so much free time. As an overachiever, I always read the textbook and prepared for class, but I still had so much free time. In law school, especially the first year, you will spend a ton of time preparing for class alone. You will have a lot less free time than you did in undergrad.
  • Class itself
    • 1L Schedules are made for you: Unlike most semesters in undergrad (except maybe your first semester freshman year), both of your 1L semesters are planned for you. At least that is how it is at my school. There is one class that we can choose the teacher for, but every other class and professor is assigned to you.
    • Cold calls: In undergrad, I was never cold called. In law school, it's gonna happen. A few of my law school classes have been run as a lecture, but almost all have cold called.
  • Grading: In law school, you're usually graded on one final exam. That's it. Nothing else.
  • Ranking: At my undergrad, we didn't rank. There were too many students and majors for that. Law schools do rank, and employers often want to know your class rank.
  • Student Differences: Majority of students in undergrad are 18-22 years old and fresh out of high school. Although a lot of students go directly to law school from undergrad, a lot don't. A lot of law students take gap years and some have had experience in the workforce. 
  • Textbooks
    • Cost More: Law school textbooks cost a lot, even more than undergrad textbooks.
    • You will actually use them: A lot of undergrad students did not use their textbooks. I was one of the few in my major who did. In law school, everyone will use their textbooks. 


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