Law Students: Should You Transfer After Your 1L Year?

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After the LSAT, the dozens of applications, the campus visits, the scholarship negotiation, and finally, matriculation, comes finals. But what comes after that?

In a month or so, you'll have your first semester 1L grades. Some schools consider transfers based on these grades alone, while other schools will take applications but hold off on making an offer until your entire 1L is in the books. Nonetheless, you need to be thinking about whether you want to transfer for 2L and 3L year.

Setting aside soft factors, such as how much you love/hate your current school's social scene, what factors should play into your decision? Here a few you may want to consider:

1. Can You Squeeze More Money Out of Your Current School?

Maybe you got a scholarship on the way in. Maybe you didn't. Can you get more of a scholarship now?

While most schools prioritize incoming 1Ls when it comes to scholarship funds (as those folks' numbers are what plays into the schools' rankings), that doesn't mean your school won't pony up to keep you around. Why? The students with the best grades are the most likely to find employment after graduation. And the employment rate is a big part of the rankings.

2. How Much More Will Your New School Cost?

Speaking of cash, if you're currently attending a cheap school, or are living off of scholarship funds, you might want to think twice about transferring: Incoming transfer students rarely, if ever, get scholarship funds. Instead of paying a heavily discounted rate and taking out minimal loans at your current school, you might find yourself in six figures of debt after finishing up your next two years at a "better" school.

3. How Do Employment Figures Stack Up?

Never be penny-wise and pound-foolish, however. A little more debt might be worth it if your destination school has vastly superior employment figures. As always, we'll point to Law School Transparency as a great place to start your research if you're looking up possible schools that you're considering applying for -- they have extremely handy employment data and school comparison tools that will help you to weigh your options.

Did you transfer after 1L year? Or are you a 1L considering it? We want to hear from you. Tweet us @FindLawLP.

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