Law Students

First-Generation Law Students Lack Support from Family
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law student stress

Summary: Entering college for the first time, especially law school for the first time, can be a stressful period when there is a lack of understanding from family about the demands on time it requires.

First-year college students and especially first-generations college students stress about passing classes and even dropping out even in law school. They have experienced the worries that come with being in college for the first time before but those don’t change when entering law school. Many universities have been implementing workshops and introduction courses to help undergraduates and even law students conquer these fears.


USC Gould School of Law Has a New Dean

USC Gould School of Law is one such place where students have been discussing their fears more publicly. The law school only accepts a quarter of their applicants with a median incoming GPA of 3.76. Only one person dropped out for academic reasons last year and 85 percent of alumni pass the California bar exam their first go around.

New 3+3 Program at USC Gould School of Law

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Even with such positive odds of succeeding at the law school, students still worry. First-generation law students are afraid to speak out because they lack the encouragement from family to do so. Approaching professors or asking questions in class in front of classmates that have parents with advanced degrees is intimidating. This is why USC started a new program, similar to ones at Yale and Columbia. As Andrew Guzman, dean at Gould law school, explains, “Law school is a mysterious place to people who have never been there. Our goal isn’t to tell them how to study for this exam better; it’s to make it clear that they belong.”

Stanford Law Professor Helps Students Cope with Stress

The first semester of the program included around 40 students. They are able to discuss the struggles they face at home from family not understanding the demands from school. Many of the students are benefiting more from realizing they are not alone in their fears. Informative sessions for families may be the next step to helping first-year and first-generation students get the support they need from home.




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