Is a Summer Paralegal Program Worth It?

Any academic program, be it a degree path or a continuing education opportunity that culminates in a certificate has to have a purpose to be worth the investment in money, time, and resources. If you’re interested in participating in a summer paralegal program, I imagine you are probably looking at the fastest way to become a paralegal. When reviewing intensive programs of this kind, you will see that compact summer offerings will, in many cases, give you the most bang for your buck. If you can take the time to focus the majority of your energy and resources in one run, to a program that will certify you to enter a lucrative career path like that of a paralegal, it is definitely worth the plunge. There are many other ways to go about this endeavor that requires less of a time commitment all at once, so it is a matter of determining the right path for you personally. It is also important to assess how you learn best. Some people do better with more time to absorb information, a little at a time. For example, many programs meet one or two evenings or weekend days per week, and students are multi-tasking with their other jobs and personal obligations while they complete the course of study. Not everyone can shut down the rest of their lives for summer to jump into something that requires so much commitment.

What is a Summer Paralegal Intensive

Intensive paralegal programs that are delivered in the summer are designed to be fully immersive. Many programs are residential. They give students the opportunity to leave their lives for a few months and jump into a world that is completely committed to delivering all of the information and experiences necessary to learn the skills of a paralegal. For example, the Duke Paralegal Summer Intensive requires students to be in Durham, North Carolina for the extent of the program. They will convene in class for 5-6 days per week, and on other days they will attend additional lectures, go on field trips, and obtain as many hands-on experience as possible. At the end of the eight-week program not only will students emerge with an excellent handle on the skillset necessary to become a paralegal, but also an understanding of how to pass the national certification exam. This test is mandatory in order to work as a paralegal.

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Will a Summer Paralegal Program Get Me a Job?

This is not a one size fits all question, as every summer paralegal program is different as is every participant. Generally, students will emerge with a portfolio that consists of the work they create in the program that they will then share with potential employers. Certainly, most intensive paralegal programs include some networking opportunities, which never hurts when a job search is impending. Don’t forget, following the summer program, you still have to pass the official paralegal certification exam before putting yourself on the market. It is also a good idea to take a look at the statistics regarding the number of graduates that were soon employed in the field following completion of the programs you are considering. The obvious answer to this question is no. The program will not get you a job, however, it will give you the tools to get a job if you use them well.

Can I Pass a Paralegal Certification Exam with a Summer Intensive?

The paralegal certification exam, as you may have guessed, is not an easy test. If you take a look at some of the summer intensive programs, you will see that many of the necessary skills required to pass the test are covered in great length. Generally, there are quizzes along the way, as you work through the program. This will give you a sense of how much you need to re-study a given topic in order to do well on that part of the final exam. Generally, the programs will be laid out to not only give you the skills you need to do well in the field but also to master all of the aspects of the exam itself. This is to say, much of the efforts that you exude throughout the program will be in service of passing the big exam. Many people come to the table with test-taking anxiety, and unfortunately, there is no way around this aspect of preparing for a career as a paralegal. If this is you, that is something you might want to be addressed as you move forward with this programming. There are many test-taking strategies that can be beneficial to your career path.

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