Keeping up with Keala: Differences between Undergrad and Law School

Keeping up with Keala
Hi all! This week, I will be highlighting the differences between undergrad and law school. Keep in mind, that this is not to frighten you the about difficulties of law school. Rather, it is to get you excited to take on the challenge.

Making the transition between undergrad and law school can be challenging, but is certainly worth it. First, everyone around you is intelligent and driven. If you are considering law school, chances are you took college seriously and did well academically. In law school, your classmates are just as dedicated. This is great! Your classmates will push you to be a better student. Because the environment is so stimulating, you will constantly be challenged through case readings, cold calls and class discussions. Embrace that challenge. Professors love when you offer your unique perspective and ask critical questions; it lets them know that you understand the material.

Second, you are in a specific section. This means that you and 70 other 1Ls attend your core classes together for the entire first year. Unlike undergrad, where you never know if you’ll have a familiar face in your lectures, in law school, you are surrounded by the same people each day. You get to know each one of your classmates well and create long-lasting friendships.

Third, the work load is much heavier. In undergrad, it was rare that I ever did homework on a Saturday. In law school, I often find myself doing homework all weekend (breaks included) in order to prep for the week ahead. Time management is crucial your 1L year. In order to be efficient, try to set a study schedule that is consistent each week (i.e. “Every Saturday I complete Property for Tuesday”). This will help you to stay on track. However, it is important that if you find yourself overwhelmed, take the day off and come back to it later. For me, my off-day is Friday where I explore the city, do my grocery shopping and do not think about law school. That way, on Saturday I am recharged and ready to take on my cases.

Finally, networking, networking, networking. In undergrad, I rarely attended networking events, especially because there were very few focused on the field of law. In law school, there is a networking event every week. Although you need not attend all of them, it is good to attend the ones that you are interested in. Attending these events hosted by your school and different organizations can really help you get ahead. Practicing attorneys, especially Loyola Alumni are more than happy to help you get your foot in the door. That being said, it is important that you come to these events ready to mingle. If networking is not second nature to you and you get nervous around a senior partner, do not worry. These successful attorneys know that approaching someone well-established can be intimidating. Even more so, they know how you feel because they did it when they were a 1L.

Undergrad and law school are very different, as they should be. Think of it this way: you are in a small percentage of your school’s student body who has chosen to continue their education. Law school is unlike other grad school programs because there is no pre-requisites, meaning that everyone enters at the same level. It is then when you are taught how to “think like a lawyer.”

Thanks so much for reading my blog! Stay tuned for next week as I feature one of Loyola’s many great professors.


Loxley Keala is a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  She is blogging about the journey of her first year of law school. To search all posts written by her search the Loxley category on the right hand side. Questions for Loxley? Email with the subject “Ask Loxley” and she will make sure to answer them in a future post.

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