By KRISTEN BUSH
Many students who enter BYU’s law program leave with more than a career to think about.
Many graduating students accumulate sufficient debt to affect their career options when first entering the work force.
Eileen Crane, BYU’s pre-law advisor said the average law student leaves $50,000 in debt.
“Minimizing debt allows interested students to take jobs in the public sector, where starting salaries are lower, and still manage their loan payments,” Hoagland said.
She said students who incur heavy loans may choose their first job for its salary with less emphasis on personal preferences.
Crane said the school works to educate students about the potential problems associated with debt.
There are many factors contributing to student debt. For example, Crane said the law program takes longer than other degrees, running three years.
Crane also said that because BYU has the largest married population, many students are trying to balance the cost of a family on top of their schooling.
Beth Hansen, assistant director of career services for the law school, said she agreed that not worrying about feeding a family allows single students more flexibility.
However, she said she has observed students with families tend to be more conscious about making ends meet.
She said it is purely economic thinking.
Mary Hoagland, director of career services for the law school, said at $5,330 per year, BYU has the one of the lowest tuitions among top tier American law schools.
She said BYU ranked second in a study by Christopher Sgarlata, which re-ranked the top 50 law schools, as designated by U.S. News & World Report, in terms of cost-benefit.
However, Hoagland said difficulties arise because graduating students can’t take jobs that fail to pay the amount needed for loan payments.
To help students prepare for employment, the law department’s career services will host a career fair at the J. Reuben Clark building, from 4-8 p.m., Feb. 9.
Hansen said the career fair will give students an opportunity to do mock interviews with professionals, mainly from the Wasatch Front.
Professionals will give students advice on what went well and how they can improve, she said.
According to a BYU study done on the graduating class of 1998, within nine months 99 percent of law students were employed to some degree.
“They might not be working their dream job, but they’ll be working,” Hansen said.
Crane said students need to face the reality of their profession. She said while BYU helps find jobs, the majority of students will need to find jobs on their own.
Only 10 percent of students will go on to top corporate structures, Crane said.
Crane said 83 percent of jobs will come from personal networking. She strongly urges students to begin making their connections now.
Hansen said many students make connections at the career fair.
Last year, Hansen said she remembers one student who impressed an employer so much during a small group discussion that he was offered a job.