Could Stereotype Threat be Impacting Your Academic Performance?

Stereotype Threat - What it is and How to Minimize it

Please welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to talk about how stereotype threat could be impacting your academic performance in law school.

Despite the strides towards equality and fair treatment that have been made over the last decades, negative academic stereotypes about women still exist. While on the surface you may dismiss these stereotypes as utter nonsense deriving from outdated beliefs, they could still be subconsciously affecting your academic performance through a psychological occurrence known as stereotype threat.

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Law School Myth #6: You Can Trust a Law School’s Employment Numbers

GamblingLaw schools release a decent amount of information about their graduates’ prospects, so it’s easy to think you’re getting the full story.

You’re probably not.

Schools fudge data in a variety of ways, but the most common approach is simply not to report unflattering information on graduates’ salaries.

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Law School Myth #5: Getting a Law Degree Opens Lots of Doors

Closed door“A law degree is really flexible! It opens lots of doors.” Do not believe this statement. Hearing it makes me want to scream.

While it’s true that huge numbers of lawyers simply quit the profession entirely, it DOES NOT FOLLOW that the reason they’re no longer lawyers is because their law degree opened lots of other doors.

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Law School Myth #4: Life as a Lawyer is Exciting and Intellectually Challenging

StressIf you believe pop culture, life as a lawyer is pretty exciting.

Jury trials take half an hour and there’s an ongoing highlight reel of witty cross-examination and bombshell surprise evidence. Sadly, that’s not the way things work in reality.

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Law School Myth #2: Student Loan Debt is Good Debt

Cut up the credit cardsPeople often say you shouldn’t worry about student loan debt — that it’s “good debt.” In some cases, this might be true.

Taking out student loans is an investment in your human capital.

To the extent they enable you to do something you couldn’t otherwise do, i.e., afford to pay for law school so you can become an attorney, student loans might be justifiable.

However, it depends on the specifics:
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Law School Myth #3: Law School Gives You Three More Years to Decide What to Do With Your Life

MazeAre you applying to law school because you want three more years to figure out what to do with your life? Guess what. That’s not the way this works.

You need to know where you want to work geographically, and what kind of work you want to do, well before graduation.

In fact, it’s helpful to know both of these things before the end of your first semester.

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Law School Myth #1: Lawyers Make a Lot of Money

Dollar signTo put it charitably, one reason people consider joining the legal profession is to cash in — lawyers make lots of money, right? Sure, maybe they work all the time and aren’t always happy, but they’re rich! Totally worth it.

Reality check: Most lawyers don’t make all that much money, given the time and cost required to become one.

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