Students eager to start their adult lives as corporate attorneys, tax lawyers and judges will now be able to start a year earlier. The Boston College Law School, in conjunction with the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, has created a program called “3+3,” in which eligible students can complete their undergraduate and law degrees in six years. Interested juniors can apply and will then, in exchange for their final year of housing, take law school classes their senior year and reduce the time and cost of earning a J.D.
The program is attractive for a number of reasons: it’s cheaper, faster, and displays the motivation and drive that law firms scouting for new hires covet. Juniors certain they want to attend BC Law School will be able to complete their degree a year earlier than their competitors. Other competitive schools have similar programs, such as Georgetown University and Columbia University. Interestingly, only a few students have chosen to enroll in those comparable programs. Perhaps the same will be true at BC—there can’t be that many students who, as juniors, are certain they want to be BC-educated lawyers. Although participants in the program will still walk at their original class’ graduation, they will be a member of the Law school rather than their undergraduate program for their senior year.
BC has several programs like this, including the Lynch School of Education’s five-year master’s program and the master’s of social work program offered by the Graduate School of Social Work. The shift toward these programs reflects a change in how a University education is viewed. BC has never been one of those schools where students linger on for five or six years, slowly collecting credits. But, it also is not a school that students strive to escape from as fast as possible, in two or three years. It’s rare that a student is able to graduate in under four years. That makes the BC experience fairly regulated. Five or six-year programs like the 3+3 program upend the strict BC experience, for better or for worse. Students in this program will spend their senior year taking classes on the Newton Campus, where they will see the faces of law students rather than the fresh smiles of new freshman. They’ll be in a different world than their fellow peers—a world of pressing law cases and legal internships, not one where senior week is around the corner. And for the few students who choose to go that route, that may be fine, but the program must be approached with the right reasons and a firm mind.
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