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How Non-Traditional Students Can Prepare for Law School

Making the decision to pursue a law degree can be exciting, yet nerve-racking at the same time. You eagerly await your future career as a lawyer, but wonder how, as a non-traditional student, you can get ready for the educational endeavor before you. Before you enroll in your first class, you can prepare yourself for law school by taking these simple, yet vital suggestions in stride.

Apply for Financial Aid

Non-traditional students have on key advantage over traditional college students: access to more financial aid. As a non-trad, you will be given independent filing status by the federal government, which means you can apply for financial aid without having to include your parents' income information on your forms. Because you are independent, you will have access to aid like student loans, work study, scholarships, and in some cases, grants.

Build a Support Network

Even as a non-trad, you will need a support network to cheer you on as you go through law school. If you are married and have children, explain to them how important and challenging this next step in your professional life will be. If you are single, get your parents, friends, coworkers, and others on board to support you as you work toward your degree.


“Because you are independent, you will have access to aid like student loans, work study, scholarships, and in some cases, grants.”



Take Online Classes

Online law school can be a viable option if you have been out of college for several years and are not ready for on-campus classes. An online law school master’s degree also can be a great choice if you are busy with work or other obligations and do not have time in your schedule to attend on-campus courses. When you take online law courses, you still learn everything you need to become a lawyer. However, the courses can be taken during your downtime every day and also in the comfort of your own home instead of in a lecture hall.

Commit to Success

Many non-traditional students psych themselves out by telling themselves that they are too old or too unskilled to complete a professional degree successfully. They believe that their younger counterparts have more going for them and give up before they graduate. When you attend law school as a non-trad, you must commit to your own success and remind yourself that you have what it takes to finish. You could end up being an example to younger students in your program.

Preparing for law school is a challenge regardless of your age. You can succeed as a non-traditional student by keeping these tips in mind.

Submitted by Anica Oaks, a freelance writer based in San Francisco.