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Splitters, joint degrees, and the application process

LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
edited January 2018 in Law School Admissions 13286 karma

Hey! It's me, again, for like the gazillionth time.

As I am organizing and submitting my applications I am reading more and more about different joint degree options. Some of them are right up my ally. I feel like I'm not qualified to apply for them though because I am a splitter (high LSAT, low cGPA). I feel like I'd just be lucky to get in under their JD program and that I should just ignore the dual degrees and be thankful for getting in as a JD only.

So I have some questions, and they might be better tailored for the schools, but I thought I'd ask my favorite people first.

1.) If I apply to a joint program, and get accepted for the JD but not the LLM, can I still attend the school for the JD only?

2.) If I choose a school on just their JD program, do any schools allow you to enroll in a joint program after you start your law degree. (say I finish 1L at a school, and then sign up for a joint degree the summer between 1 and 2L)

3.) Any other advice/recommendations about joint degrees in general?


  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited January 2018 23929 karma

    Generally speaking, yes to both. At least at most of the T13 schools I've looked into.

    Advice on joint recommendations in general: They're largely a flame. Law school is a professional school for people who want to be lawyers. If you want to be a lawyer, get a JD from a well-respected school. Most people with joint degrees end up spending more money and time to end up with the same (or, even in some cases, less desirable) opportunities as with just a JD. But like anything else, there are exceptions and it depends on the joint degree/degree granting institution. For example, a tax LLM is a useful thing to have if you're interested in working at a Big 4 accounting firm in the tax practice. But equally important to note is that at top schools like NYU/G.T. Tax LLMs are way different then Cooley's tax LLM.... At least insofar as whether they're "worth it." Then there are schools with joint degrees/ LLMs or Masters programs in "cyber security" or "entertainment law" -- these should likely be avoided at all costs. These are usually just a way for lower ranked schools to advertise that that they the "#1 Cyber Security Law program in the nation!"

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    In the lsac forum, admission officers told applicants to not apply for dual degrees for reasons listed by Alex above.

  • dantlee14dantlee14 Member
    617 karma

    Fpr 2, the answer is almost always yes. As for the other parts of your post, I was similarly torn between a JD vs MPP vs joint degree for a long time. But for many of the reasons Alex listed, unless there is something specific that you want to do after school that an MBA/MPP/whatever would significantly add to your toolkit and ability to succeed in that job, then no, it's almost never worth it.

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @"Alex Divine" @westcoastbestcoast @dantlee14 Thank you guys! Knowing this, I'll just apply JD and if the opportunity comes, and it seems like something I should do, I'll think about a joint degree at a later point!

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited January 2018 3072 karma

    I've looked into joint-degree stuff somewhat extensively. In my opinion, you should only do one if you have a particular interest, not to try to impress reach schools. I've discussed this stuff with admissions officers, current law students, and a recent law grad who earned her master's in Environmental Management alongside her JD. It takes longer, but it only seems worth it if you really want to do it/really like to study. The recent grad I spoke with sold me on her experience, though, for whatever it's worth.

    Also, it seems most schools allow you to apply for a second degree program up until the end of 1L. Some schools extend that deadline significantly. It seems the higher up the rankings you go, the more flexibility there is, with a few exceptions.

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