Learning should be an enriching, enjoyable experience at any level. Indeed, the educational process is often tedious whether one is in secondary school, high school or college in light of numerous requirements that bolster a liberal arts education.
Graduate students, however, are allowed to delve into a specific subject matter that genuinely intrigues and excites them so much so that they intend on pursuing that subject matter in the professional world. Often for the first time in their lives, graduate students focus solely on what they enjoy and then practically explore and maximize the subject’s intellectual opportunities. Void of monotonous, disinteresting requirements, graduate school should be the epoch of one’s academic endeavors.
Nevertheless, just as time in high school is often darkened by the stresses of the college process, graduate school experiences are being increasingly darkened by the uncertainty of the job market. Well-educated, qualified students are graduating with crippling debt and nowhere to go.
This trend is glaringly rampant in law schools. Only 86% of the nation’s class of 2011 law students found employment after graduation, a figure that is six points lower than four years prior. Those who find employment have an average annual starting salary of $60,000, which is $12,000 less than was the median in 2009.
A law degree, although impressive, no longer guarantees a well paying job, or, unfortunately, a job of any sort. So in law schools, where students often work incredibly hard as a sacrifice for a better future, the incentive for which they toil is growing increasingly elusive. Neither a school’s party scene nor social atmosphere nor any other factor can rectify the stresses that this trend provokes — law students will be happiest where their scholastic labors will most likely lead to a fulfilling career.
Below are the top 5 law schools where graduates have optimal employment prospects and, subsequently, in which students are likeliest to be happy.
1. Columbia University School of Law
2. University of Chicago Law School
Graduates from University of Chicago’s Law School have identically positive prospects, with 99% of graduates employed within the first 9 months of entering the real world and with an average starting salary of $160,000.
3. University of California at Berkeley School of Law
Aside from the undeniable benefits provided by the school’s California location, UC Berkeley law students have a 96% chance of finding employment upon graduation, and in a job with an average starting salary of $160,000.
4. Northwestern University School of Law
5. New York University School of Law