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How to Study for the LSATs

No doubt, law school is a major undertaking requiring a lot of hard work as you train for a challenging and rewarding career. And a key part of getting accepted into law school can be scoring well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). What’s more, a high LSAT score can potentially increase a student’s scholarship and other funding opportunities to pay for law school.

But getting an LSAT score you’re proud of can take some planning and preparation. To help with that, this guide will break down how to study for the LSATs. In addition, you’ll learn some helpful study tips, test-taking strategies, and important dates to remember.

What Is the LSAT?

The LSAT is a standardized test that many law schools require. It is considered to be a good predictor of how well a student will perform in law school.

The test contains four sections, and test takers typically have about three hours to complete it. The LSAT score range goes from 120 to 180, with the average score currently being approximately 152.



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What Does the LSAT Cover?

The LSAT is administered in two distinct sections. One section is a multiple choice exam that is divided into categories including logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension.

There is also a writing section that is administered separately from the multiple choice portion of the LSAT. Test takers are allotted 35 minutes for each of the four sections required for the exam, and there’s a 10-minute break between sections two and three. These sections are:

•   Logical reasoning, 24 – 26 questions

•   Logic games (aka analytical reasoning), 22 – 24 questions

•   Reading comprehension, 26 – 28 questions

•   Experimental section (typically used to develop questions for future LSATs), 22 – 28 questions

•   Writing. This section is administered separately from the multiple choice portion of the exam, but test takers will still be limited to 35 minutes.

The writing section gives test takers a prompt to articulate a stance on. The written section is available to test takers eight days prior to their testing date.

It can be taken at any time during this testing window and is proctored online using secure software. Although this section is not used to calculate the score, it is still sent to law schools and used to some degree for admissions.

The experimental portion of the exam is also unscored. This section is used internally for measuring the difficulty and effectiveness of LSAT questions. However, test takers will not be aware of which section is experimental.

The LSAT can be taken in person or remotely via a proctored online portal.

Recommended: What Is the Average Student Loan Debt After College?

What Is a Good Score on the LSAT?

As mentioned above, the LSAT scoring system ranges from 120 to 180, with a current average of 152.

What qualifies as a good score will vary depending on your outlook and how competitive the law schools are that you plan on applying to. For instance, if you want to attend one of the top-tier law schools in America (that is, one of the top five programs), you will likely need at least a 170 on the LSAT.


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How Do I Prepare for the LSAT?

Preparing for the LSAT can involve time and energy. There are a variety of methods. Some people choose just one and stick with it. Others combine a couple of techniques. There’s not one best way to study for the LSAT; it’s a personal choice.

Preparing for the LSAT has become a full-fledged industry, with a slew of specialized tutors, study guides, and courses offering their services. Among the options:

•   LSAT preptests

•   LSAT prep books

•   Test prep companies and tutoring

•   Official LSAT Prep on Khan Academy

•   Study groups with other students/prospective test takers (such as prelaw students at your college).

Read on to learn more about a couple of the methods.

Taking Official LSAT Prep Tests

How to study for the LSAT? Get organized before you start planning your applications for postgrad education. One popular option to consider is signing up for the LSAT Prep® on LSAC’s LawHub.

LSAC stands for the Law School Admission Council, a nonprofit that supports access, equity, and fairness in law school admissions.

By signing up, you can get access to four full practice tests. If you want further practice, you can purchase a service known as LawHub Advantage. This provides one year of access to more than 75 full Official LSAT PrepTests® for $115.

Recommended: What Is the Maximum Student Loan Amount for a Lifetime?

Tailoring a Study Plan To Your Needs and Goals

Following your first pretest, you now have a starting point to build from to reach your target score. In some cases, you may excel in one section and struggle in another.

Does reading comprehension have you stumped? As part of your LSAT preparation, brushing up on vocabulary and dedicating more time to related practice questions could be a better use of your time if you already have a knack for logic games.

If your GPA is on the lower end of the spectrum, you might want to set a goal for scoring higher than a law school’s median LSAT score to help improve your candidacy.

As noted above, you have an array of options in terms of how to prepare for the LSAT. For some prospective test-takers, paying a tutor or for a prep class can help keep them accountable. For others, the social aspect of joining a study group at their college can be the right fit. And still others may prefer online learning as they work towards law school admission.

Making a LSAT Study Schedule That Works For You

The amount of time you plan to study for the LSAT may be influenced by how much you’d like to improve your score, based on the pretest.

•   A general bare minimum baseline is around 120 hours. Those that are interested in a significant score boost or other factors may require more time.

•   Kaplan Test Prep generally recommends that students spend between 150 and 300 hours, spread out in 20 to 25 hour weekly increments, preparing and studying for the LSAT.

•   Many LSAT takers are also juggling other responsibilities, like finishing an undergraduate degree, working, and taking care of family.

•   Consider all of your responsibilities and demands on your time as you build your study schedule. The goal is to set a schedule that will help you prepare effectively and prevent burnout.

•   Bridging a narrower gap between your initial score and target score may require less study time to achieve, but individuals with higher LSAT scores may be more likely to secure scholarships to help pay for school.

•   If you’re still in undergrad, think about taking an elective course that is geared towards the LSAT, such as logic, to simultaneously help stay on track for graduation and preparing for the LSAT.

Simulating Actual LSAT Testing Conditions

While day-to-day studying can be broken down into shorter segments to work on logic games, vocabulary, and mastering concepts, it may be helpful to take several LSAT sample tests in full.

Creating realistic testing conditions is as simple as following the 35-minute time limit per section, sitting at a desk, and getting up on a Saturday morning to take it. Not only could this approach provide a more accurate LSAT score sampling, but also build endurance and time management skills in a test environment.

In between practice tests, allowing time for review and doing more practice problems can also help gauge growth and identify which section needs the most improvement.

LSAT Test-Taking Tips

As much as the LSAT is about mastering logic and thinking analytically, test takers can also benefit from an in-depth understanding of the LSAT itself. On top of finding and adopting the best ideas for how to prepare for the LSAT, these test-taking tips could be helpful.

Answering Every Question

Unlike the SAT, the LSAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers. That’s right: You’re not penalized for getting something wrong. Since leaving questions blank could potentially result in losing out on coveted points, it may be worth allotting the last 30 seconds of the section to fill in an answer bubble for remaining questions.

If you’re stumped by a difficult question, you might benefit from entering in your best guess and moving on to dedicate time and effort to questions you feel more confident answering.

Keep in mind that once a section ends, you are not permitted to go back and answer questions or correct responses.

Using Process of Elimination

Multiple-choice questions on the LSAT can contain similar answers that can trip up test takers, especially when rushing.

Given the test’s emphasis on logic and analytical thinking, employing a process of elimination strategy can help get rid of flawed answers one by one and avoid choosing a well-crafted, misleading answer.

Relax… It’s Okay to Retake the LSAT

Given the importance the LSAT plays in law school acceptance, it may come as no surprise that many people retake the test.

One benchmark study found that, at a given test administration, about 26% were second-time test takers. Another finding was that second-timers in a given year typically raise their score by two or three points. (Keep in mind that law school admission committees will likely receive all of your test scores.)

If you’re worried about your nerves getting the best of you, planning to take the LSAT well-ahead of admission deadlines could help alleviate some stress since you’ll have another chance or two to retest if needed.

There are limits to the number of times the LSAT can be taken within certain timeframes, including five times since 2018 and seven tests in a lifetime. It’s possible to cancel test scores if you are unhappy with how you did, but canceled scores will count towards the totals mentioned here.

Important LSAT Dates

When figuring out how to start studying for the LSAT, it might be helpful to map out a timeline of test dates and law school admission schedules. There are multiple options and locations for testing dates, as well as law school application deadlines to be aware of.

If you’re hoping to pursue your J.D. within a year or two, it may be easier to work backwards from when you actually need to apply to law school. Deadlines for law school applications can vary, with many regular-decision dates falling between February and March and early-decision ones in November or December.

Many experts recommend taking the LSAT in June so there’s time to retake it in the fall, if needed. Scores are generally sent three weeks after the exam on a pre-specified release date. The current schedule of 2024 test dates runs from January through June; for updates, visit LSAC’s site.

Paying for Law School

Education is an investment — both in time and money. Typically, law school spans three full-time academic years, and the rigorous schedule can make it challenging to work outside of summer internships. Here’s some important information about paying for law school:

•   While the payoff can be considerable for legal professionals, the upfront cost can be a heavy lift. When thinking about how to pay for law school, know this: Using the most recent data, the average total cost of law school is $220,335, according to the Education Data Initiative. The average in-state tuition for public universities was $9,610, while the average for private universities reached $53,034.

•   When law school scholarships and financial aid are not enough, students can take out federal or private student loans to help pay the difference for law school. Coming up with a plan to pay for law school early could help put you on track to tackling law school debt and focusing on your budding law career.

•   Students or graduates still paying for their law school (and potentially undergraduate) student loans could opt to refinance and combine payment under one loan. This may make payments simpler and/or more affordable, but it’s important to note that if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan. In addition, refinancing federal student loans means forfeiting federal borrower benefits and protections, so it won’t be the right choice for everyone.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


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If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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A Guide on Splitting a Joint Bank Account

Closing a joint account typically involves the same steps as you would take with many other types of bank accounts. Whether it’s due to ending a relationship, preventing any legal liabilities, or any other valid reason, understanding the right protocol to close or separate a joint bank account can help make the process much smoother.

Read on to learn the steps usually required to split a joint bank account.

What Is a Joint Bank Account?

A joint bank account is a checking, savings, or other type of deposit account owned by more than one person. When one is owned by two people (which is a common arrangement), both of your names will be on it. Either of you can conduct transactions such as make deposits, withdrawals, write checks, and take steps to close the account.

Almost anyone can be a joint account owner as long as they meet the requirements of the bank. Most commonly, spouses or an adult child and their elderly parent(s) tend to be joint account holders. Sometimes parents open a bank account with a child who is a minor as well.

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Steps to Separating Joint Bank Accounts

Splitting or closing a joint bank account is fairly straightforward, the first of which includes contacting your bank.

1. Call Your Bank

In most cases, the first step in how to separate a joint bank account is both joint owners agreeing to close the account. Contact your bank via any of their available methods to ask what it will need from you to be able to separate your joint account. Closing the account could mean the bank will check to see if you have any outstanding fees you owe. Or you might need to complete written documentation stating that you want to close the account.

2. Wait for Current Transactions to Clear

Consider holding off on any transitions until all pending transactions clear from your account. For example, you and your joint account holder both receive your paychecks via direct deposit. It’s probably best to wait until the payment clears before taking any additional steps to split a joint bank account. (That way, you can avoid having direct deposit go to a closed account.)

3. Withdraw Your Money

You should allocate the money in the account between the two of you, the joint owners. Take the time to determine whether you want to divide the money equally, a percentage based on the amount each of you contributed, or another fair agreement. Once you’re both happy with the arrangement, you can withdraw the money, either to another bank account or another option.

4. Apply for New Bank Account

In most cases, the bank won’t let you split a bank account into two. Instead, you will likely have to apply for a new individual bank account. You can choose to open one with the same financial institution or a new one. Follow the steps to open one, such as providing your personal details, Social Security number, and how you plan on making your initial deposit. (How much you need to open an account can vary depending upon the financial institution and kind of account you have chosen.)

Opening this new bank account while you’re waiting for the transactions to clear on the joint one may be a wise choice. It could take some time for certain transactions to kick in, such as your direct deposit payments and automatic payments on your utilities.

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Ways to Close Joint Account

There are many ways you can separate your joint account separation, such as through the phone, in person, online, or via the app.

Online

Many banks and especially online vs. traditional banks let you close your joint account after you log into your account online. The steps to do so may vary: Some may require you to submit a form via an automated process, or you may have to contact customer service through secure messaging. Banks will most likely need both account owners’ permission, which could mean you sign in separately to e-sign documentation or provide some other verification that you each agree to the decision.

Through the Mail

Some banks, like the more traditional ones, may allow you to mail in a form with both your signatures to close the account. Contact your bank to see what forms you may need to fill out. You may need to take additional steps, such as notarizing the paperwork.

In Person

In the case of traditional brick and mortar banks, you may have to (or can) close your bank account in person. You may need to bring documentation such as your ID. It could also be more time-consuming, as you’ll need to speak with the joint account holder when they’re available, and the process at the bank could take some time.

Reasons to Close a Joint Bank Account

Closing a joint checking or savings account is a sound decision if you’re doing it for certain reasons, such as trying to minimize fees, prevent legal liabilities and if you end your relationship with the joint account owner. Before doing anything, carefully consider your decision first.

Prevent Penalties

If your joint account owner hasn’t been using the account responsibility and racking up a bunch of fees, it may be time to close the account. For example, perhaps the joint account owner keeps overdrafting an account or goes over the allotted debit card transactions per month. Before closing the account, you will need to make sure to pay off all penalties.

Minimize Fees

Some joint accounts can come with maintenance fees or even other features that you’re no longer happy with. Closing the existing account and opting for a new one (individual or joint) could save you some serious bucks.

Legal Liabilities

Remember, a joint account means that both owners own the money held there. If you’re unsure of the joint account holder or you believe they’re in legal trouble, it may be better to close the account. For instance, if someone sues your joint bank account owner, you could lose the assets in the account as well.

Relationship Ending

Joint bank accounts and divorce usually don’t coexist. If you and your spouse have joint bank accounts and you’re now splitting up, closing the bank account could help ensure your assets are divided equitably. Or maybe you just want to move on from the relationship and don’t want the joint account open as a reminder of this person.

Getting Rid of Full Shared Access

Since any one of the joint account owners can move funds around, you may not want this other person having shared access if you can’t trust them. For example, separating money into different bank accounts may be the best move if you’ve broken up with your business partner and have moved onto other ventures.

Recommended: Guide to Bank Account Closure Letters

The Takeaway

There can be several reasons to end a joint account, including divorce, irresponsible use of the account by one party, or simply the high price of some account fees. The process is fairly simple to close the account, but both parties must agree and determine how to divide the funds.

When you open a separate account, consider whether your current financial institution is the best choice for your needs.

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FAQ

Is it easy to close a joint account?

Depending on the financial institution, it could be easy to close a joint account. Many banks offer multiple ways to do so, such as online, by app, by mail, or in person.

How do you change a joint account to single?

Most financial institutions don’t allow you to separate or change a joint account to a single owner. You will likely need to open your own separate bank account and close the joint one.

Do both parties have to agree to close a joint account?

Yes, most state laws stipulate that both account owners need to agree to close a joint account.


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SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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7 Tips for Acing a Video Interview

Whether you recently graduated school or are just seeking a new job, work interviews are increasingly conducted online, via video. This can be especially true as more companies take on remote hires and millions are working from home.

With this rapid rise in digital job interviews, you may wonder, What are some ways to ace a video interview? Do I need a fancy lighting set-up? What should I wear?

To help you make a good impression, read on for seven video interview tips, from practicing ahead of time to tweaking your background. They can help you make a great impression.

Get the Details Right

Video interviews could lead to a rewarding job. So it can be a smart first step to confirm the logistics of the video interview in advance to make sure there’s not a last-minute panic. Some questions to wrangle could include:

•   Will you get a calendar invite or event link for the interview?

•   What time zone will the interviewer be calling in from?

•   Which video conferencing platform will be used?

•   Will you need to download software to be able join the interview?
Knowing the answers to logistics can help bring more confidence to the video interview.


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Dress for the Video Interview

Whether you are applying for an on-premises, fully remote, or part-time remote job, certain interview expectations stay the same — namely, presenting yourself with professionalism and dressing for the job. Even when (especially when) you’re interviewing from home.

Even if you’re applying for a fully remote job and you’d likely wear a hoodie and leggings every day, this is a moment to look professional. Business casual is a good bet, and remember the adage to dress for the job you want, not the role you have. Going a notch more formal is typically better than too relaxed.

Do check out how you look on camera in your interview outfit in advance. A shirt that looks fine in real life could wind up looking odd when cropped on camera.

Now, the seven tips to help you ace a video interview as you move forward with job applications.

1. Practice to Make Perfect

Different companies or organizations may use different platforms to host the interview — from Zoom to Google Hangouts to other programs. Don’t worry: You don’t need to become a pro at all the expert features. Still, it’s a good idea to become comfortable with:

•   Dialing into scheduled calls

•   Checking the audio and the camera

•   Understanding what the interviewer can see

•   Ensuring the WiFi signal is strong enough for the video interview and doesn’t lead to lag.

If you’re scheduled for a video job interview via a program you’ve never used, it’s advisable to download and try it out well before the actual call. Opening up an unfamiliar program just before the interview only to realize it’s not compatible with your technology might not create a positive first impression. Also make sure you double-check that you have all logins or passwords for the call.

Recommended: How to Get Out of Student Loan Debt: 6 Options

2. Set the Surroundings

Here’s the next video interview tip: Generally, it’s a good idea to do a test call on the planned video-interview platform. This could help you assess how you and your surroundings appear via video. You may even want an extra set of eyes and ears: Ask a friend or family member to do a “mock” call to ensure the audio and visuals are clear.

When prepping for a video interview, put yourself in the position of whoever will be interviewing you. Some questions to chew on:

•   What can the interviewer see of your space? Are you too far from or close to the camera?

•   Are you easily visible or is more light needed? Or is the setting too bright and full of glare?

•   Are there any distractions in the camera frame? Are you able to make eye contact as you talk, or are you looking sideways into the camera?

Some digital platforms allow users to record sessions. So, interviewees may want to record themselves talking and then watch and listen. You could run through the main things you want to say in the real video interview. Talking aloud on camera can help some people to become more aware of their own body language and improve it, if needed.

These steps can be a good way to finetune your online interviewing skills and hopefully get you on your way to accepting a job offer.

3. Take Brief Notes Beforehand

With job interviews, researching the company beforehand could give you ideas of how to connect previous work experience with the brand’s values or role’s responsibilities. One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can make these research notes quite literal.

Write out key points on a big piece of paper near your computer. Or, jot down a couple of accomplishments (say, an in-demand internship) on a sticky note next to your camera. It’s likely that the employer conducting the video interview will have no idea you’re looking at those pre-prepared notes. Just make sure you keep your notes short, so you can naturally weave in key points while maintaining good eye contact with your interviewer.


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4. Minimize Off-Screen Distractions

Another important online video tip is to keep your on-screen image distraction-free. It’s worth remembering that the only person the interviewer wants to interact with is you…not your adorable pets, lovely roommates, or kid sister. You ask the folks you share a living space with to keep quiet or stay in their rooms during your interview. Plan ahead so the conversation isn’t distractingly interrupted by unexpected visitors. (If your dog does somehow come bounding in and sits on your lap, own the situation, apologize, and remedy it as quickly and calmly as you can.)

And, on this topic, it’s a smart idea to turn off notifications for texts and emails during the interview time slot. Otherwise, a funny group chat could make your phone blow up with the distracting sound of alerts flooding in.

Also, as part of how to prepare for a video interview, check your background. Not everyone has a camera-ready home office. Do you have a messy shelf behind your head? Or your roommate’s horror-movie poster hanging there? Style your space so it doesn’t distract your interviewer from you and all you can offer a company.

Recommended: When Do Student Loans Start Accruing Interest?

5. Show up Early

Just as with an in-person interview, it’s wise to show up early. This can communicate that, yes, you’re punctual, but also that you are organized, dependable, and eager for the job.

Also remember that with video calls, there can be issues. Perhaps your passcode doesn’t work, or your video camera won’t turn on (despite having tested it the day before). If you aim to be online and logged in early, you can troubleshoot as needed. Just keep your posture and demeanor professional while you are in any digital waiting rooms before the call starts.

6. Go Outside for a Breather

It’s hard to feel energetic and friendly if you’re cooped inside all day. A good way to minimize nerves is to get fresh air. Don’t just open up a window. Take a quick walk around the block to get a jolt of sunlight and catch a breeze. They can help reset the mind. It can also be a great idea to do these between video interviews, if you have more than one scheduled on a given day.

7. Remember to Be Yourself

After preparing for the logistics of video job interviews, it can be easy to forget one simple thing: Be yourself. While a strong WiFi signal and well-lit space won’t hurt your chances during a video interview, it’s helpful to recall that interviews are conversations between two or more people. You’re not being grilled on a TV news report. Sure, you want to be prepared, but also relax, and share who you are.

Ways to help communicate across the digital divide: Aim to make good eye contact, have your voice show energy, and try out a signal to show that you are done speaking and ready for the next question. A nod might work well in this case.

Getting to Work

How to prepare for a video interview and ace it is just one part of navigating life after college. Being ready for a video interview is just one new way to get noticed these days.

On top of looking for a full-time or better-paying job, some grads also want to find ways to reduce their outstanding debt balances. That can include long-term bills, like student loan repayments. Some borrowers decide to refinance their student loans with a private lender.

Refinancing student loans could reduce monthly bill payments, though it’s important to note that you may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term. In addition, if you refinance federal student loans, you will forfeit certain federal benefits and protections. If you are curious to learn more about refinancing student loans, it can be a good idea to research different offers.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How Much Does a Crane Operator Make a Year

A crane operator is responsible for the safe and precise transportation of large loads at building sites. Crane operators play a crucial part in the dynamic world of heavy machinery and construction, and the need for people in this role is growing along with the demand for infrastructure projects.

For those interested in this profession, the income potential is a key consideration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a crane and tower operator in May 2022 (the latest data available) was $65,220 per year, or $31.36 per hour. Depending on experience, industry, and location, some crane operators can make considerably more.

Read on to learn more about how much a crane operator can make, typical salary ranges, where to find the top-paying jobs, and the training and experience required to get a job as a crane operator.

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What Are Crane Operators?

Crane operators handle all aspects of operating a crane — a machine that is used to lift and move heavy loads, machines, materials, and goods for a variety of purposes. A trade job that is often in high demand, crane operators are vital to many industries, including manufacturing, transportation, and construction.

Individuals in this role are responsible for more than just operating controls. To guarantee the safe and effective transportation of objects, crane operators also need to have a thorough awareness of load capabilities, safety procedures, and other site-specific factors.

Crane operators may use a variety of different cranes, including tower cranes, mobile cranes, and boom trucks, to perform their jobs. Though crane operators work solo, it’s not necessarily a good job for people with social anxiety, as they must be able to effectively communicate with other members of the construction team on the ground.


💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

How Much Do Starting Crane Operators Make a Year?

The starting salary for crane operators varies depending on industry, region, prior training, and certifications, but pay for an entry-level position averages around $35,000 per year, according to Zippia.

The earning potential of crane operators tends to improve as they gain more certificates and experience. The first few years lay the groundwork for skill development, and operators who put in the time and effort can move up the pay scale. Working overtime and overnight shifts can also boost crane operators’ salaries.

Recommended: 11 Work-From-Home Jobs for Retirees

What is the Average Salary for a Crane Operator?

According to the BLS’s most recent data, the average salary for a crane and tower operator in 2022 was $65,220. The lowest-paid 10% earned less than $37,680 that year, while the highest-paid 10% percent earned more than $93,410.

How much a crane operator makes, however, will depend on the operator’s level of expertise, industry specialization, and geographic location.

Crane operators working for construction and mining companies typically earn more than those who work in warehousing, storage, and manufacturing.

The highest-paying cities for crane operators are Vancouver, WA; New York, NY; and San Diego, CA.

How Much Money Does a Crane Operator Make by State?

As mentioned above, how much money a crane operator makes can vary by location. What follows is a breakdown of how much a crane operator makes per year, on average, by state.

State Average Annual Salary
Alabama $52,270
Alaska $78,630
Arizona $65,820
Arkansas $44,900
California $62,730
Colorado $67,550
Connecticut $82,430
Delaware $62,960
Florida $63,310
Georgia $52,830
Hawaii $105,170
Idaho $72,860
Illinois $58,680
Indiana $56,640
Iowa $62,220
Kansas $59,050
Kentucky $53,500
Louisiana $61,710
Maine $55,440
Maryland $63,580
Massachusetts $72,600
Michigan $63,350
Minnesota $74,210
Mississippi $57,190
Missouri $73,020
Montana $67,090
Nebraska $59,440
Nevada $103,350
New Hampshire $67,270
New Jersey $97,930
New Mexico $71,660
New York $136,330
North Carolina $57,080
North Dakota $78,890
Ohio $66,020
Oklahoma $56,580
Oregon $89,190
Pennsylvania $58,920
Rhode Island N/A
South Carolina $55,360
South Dakota $72,060
Tennessee $54,490
Texas $61,500
Utah $60,230
Vermont $64,540
Virginia $64,470
Washington $82,640
West Virginia $51,210
Wisconsin $59,390
Wyoming $75,520

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Crane Operator Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

To become a crane operator, you first need a high school diploma or an equivalent. While not required, many crane operators attend trade school to learn practical construction skills and how to operate heavy machinery, including cranes. This is typically a one- or two-year course.

After graduating from a high school or trade school, many crane operators enroll in a general crane operator training program. These programs, which last between three weeks and three months, help prepare aspiring crane operators for the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) examination.

It’s necessary for crane operators to hold the certification relevant to the types of cranes they operate. Some states and cities also require crane operators to hold a local license.

Once you have a job as a crane operator, you can not only earn competitive pay but also benefits. Many companies supplement the base pay with perks like paid time off, health insurance, and retirement programs.

When thinking about a career as a crane operator, it’s important to take into account the whole range of compensation and benefits that come with the job.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of a Crane Operator Salary

As with any profession, working as a crane operator comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons of this role will help you determine if you’re well-suited for this career path.

Pros of Becoming a Crane Operator

•   Competitive salary: While you may not earn a $100,000 a year salary as a crane operator, this is generally a well-paid position.

•   Opportunities for overtime: Since construction projects often take longer than originally anticipated, crane operators frequently have the opportunity to make extra money by working overtime.

•   Industry need: The need for construction projects is ongoing, which helps to maintain a solid job market for crane operators and a constant flow of employment prospects.

•   Opportunities for advancement: As crane operators gain knowledge and specialized skills, they may be able to negotiate higher wages.

Recommended: The Pros and Cons of Salary vs Hourly Pay

Cons of Becoming a Crane Operator

•   Physically demanding: Operating a crane can be physically taxing since it involves standing or sitting for extended periods of time.

•   Safety concerns: Working with heavy machinery at significant heights is a necessary part of the profession, which has inherent safety concerns. Strict adherence to safety procedures is essential to avoiding accidents.

•   Variable working conditions: Crane operators are often exposed to a range of weather conditions and terrain. Work conditions can be challenging.

•   Training and certification requirements: You can’t just get a job as a crane operator right out of high school. Training and certification is necessary, which means you may need to invest some time and money into the career before you can start making a good salary.

The Takeaway

Crane operator jobs are one of the most coveted positions in the construction business thanks to the competitive pay. On average, crane operators earn $65,220, but certain jobs in competitive areas can pay considerably. Crane operators often have the opportunity to work overtime and typically get benefits on top of their base pay.

Whatever type of job you pursue, you’ll want to make sure your earnings can cover your everyday living expenses. To ensure your monthly outflows don’t exceed your monthly inflows, you may want to set up a budget and check out financial tools that can help track your income and spending.

With SoFi, you can keep tabs on how your money comes and goes.

FAQ

Can you make $100k a year as a crane operator?

The average annual salary for a crane operator is $65,220. However, a highly skilled and experienced crane operator may be able to make a six-figure salary, especially those employed in high-demand industries or areas.

Do people like being a crane operator?

Many people find a job as a crane operator rewarding due to its competitive pay, diverse work environments, and opportunities for skill development and advancement. For some, however, the physical demands and safety risks lower overall job satisfaction.

Is it hard to get hired as a crane operator?

Working as a crane operator can provide ample job opportunities for people who are qualified to work with these machines safely. To get a good job as a crane operator, you typically need to take trade school courses, complete general operator training, and gain apprenticeship experience.


Photo credit: iStock/ewg3D

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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How Much Does a Lawyer Make a Year?

Lawyers are highly educated and command high salaries to match. How much a lawyer earns a year depends on what type of law they practice, what school they attended, as well as their competence and experience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a lawyer in May 2022 (the latest data available) was $135,740 per year, or $65.26 per hour.

Corporate lawyers who work in the private sector tend to earn more than those in the public sector (such as district attorneys or public defenders), and sole practitioners typically earn less money than lawyers at large firms.

Read on to learn more about how much a lawyer makes, where you can find top-paying jobs for lawyers, and the benefits and drawbacks of becoming a lawyer.

What Does a Lawyer Do?

Lawyers advise and represent clients on legal proceedings or transactions. They typically conduct in-depth research into law, regulations, and past rulings. They also prepare legal documents, including lawsuits, wills, and contracts.

Not an ideal job for people with social anxiety, lawyers will often appear in court in support of their clients and present evidence in hearings and trials, including arbitration and plea bargaining. Lawyers also counsel their clients in legal matters and suggest courses of action.

A lawyer’s exact duties will vary depending on the type of law they practice. For example, criminal defense attorneys advocate on behalf of those accused of criminal activity; family lawyers handle family-related legal issues like divorce, adoption, and child welfare; and corporate lawyers handle legal matters for businesses.
Some lawyers work for the government or in the public’s interest, and are known as public interest lawyers. Public defense attorneys, for example, represent criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Public interest lawyers also work for nonprofit organizations to support civil rights and social justice causes.

Other types of lawyers include:

•   Environmental lawyers

•   Bankruptcy lawyers

•   Immigration lawyers

•   Intellectual property lawyers

•   Entertainment lawyers

•   Tax lawyers

•   Personal injury lawyers

•   Estate planning lawyers


💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

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How Much Do Starting Lawyers Make a Year?

Lawyers tend to be well paid even at the entry level because they are highly educated. And, the more experience a lawyer gains, generally the more they will earn. According to ZipRecruiter, entry-level lawyers make $100,626 a year, on average, with a range from $47,000 to $138,000.

Those who choose to invest the time, money, and work into becoming a lawyer can feel relatively confident about being able to get a job when they graduate: The BLS projects an increase of 62,400 attorney jobs between 2022 and 2032, representing an 8% growth (which is faster than the average for other occupations).

Recommended: What Trade Job Makes the Most Money?

How Much Money Does a Lawyer Make a Year on Average?

According to the BLS’s most recent data, the average salary for a lawyer in 2022 was $135,740. The best-paid 25% made $208,980 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $94,440.

A lawyer working for a law firm or as in-house counsel will typically be paid with an annual salary versus an hourly wage, but the average hourly pay for a lawyer works out to be $65.26 an hour.

How much a lawyer makes, however, can vary widely depending on their experience, specialty, and location.

The highest paying legal specialties include:

•   Patent attorney

•   Intellectual property attorney

•   Trial lawyer

•   Tax attorney

•   Corporate lawyer

The cities that pay the highest lawyer salaries are:

•   San Jose, California ($267,840)

•   San Francisco, California ($239,330)

•   Washington, District of Columbia ($211,850)

•   Bridgeport, Connecticut ($209,770)

•   Oxnard, California ($207,970)

Recommended: 11 Work-From-Home Jobs Great for Retirees

How Much Money Does a Lawyer Make by State?

As mentioned above, how much money a lawyer makes can vary by location. What follows is a breakdown of how much a lawyer makes per year, on average, by state.

State Average Annual Lawyer Salary
Alabama $138,250
Alaska $120,590
Arizona $144,890
Arkansas $116,730
California $201,530
Colorado $168,680
Connecticut $174,520
Delaware N/A
District of Columbia $226,510
Florida $135,840
Georgia $165,560
Hawaii $106,520
Idaho $96,810
Illinois $158,030
Indiana $143,060
Iowa $117,500
Kansas $115,860
Kentucky $99,840
Louisiana $127,150
Maine $102,060
Maryland $158,150
Massachusetts $196,230
Michigan $127,030
Minnesota $163,480
Mississippi $101,240
Missouri $138,680
Montana $98,170
Nebraska $119,310
New Hampshire $130,130
New Jersey $163,690
New Mexico $110,970
New York $188,900
North Carolina $146,890
North Dakota $120,780
Ohio $130,320
Oklahoma $114,470
Oregon $144,610
Pennsylvania $144,570
Rhode Island $156,300
South Carolina $115,230
South Dakota $109,190
Tennessee $149,050
Texas $166,620
Utah $133,920
Vermont $101,610
Virginia $162,640
Washington $162,200
West Virginia $122,070
Wisconsin $147,530
Wyoming $88,570

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Lawyer Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

To get a job as a lawyer, you must complete a four-year undergraduate degree and then attend law school to earn a juris Doctor degree, or J.D. This can mean four years pursuing a bachelor’s degree, followed by three years of law school (or four years if you go to law school part time).

After graduating from law school, you’ll need to pass the multi-day bar exam for the state in which you want to practice. In addition, most states also require lawyers to keep up to date with law and take training courses throughout their career.

The hard work and financial investment can pay off, however. In addition to competitive pay, lawyers who work full time for a specific company or organization typically get a wide variety of benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, flexible scheduling, and more. They may also get bonuses for cases won, costs of bar association fees covered, and training and development opportunities.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of a Lawyer’s Salary

Becoming a lawyer can be a clear path to making more than $100,000 but, as with any profession, working as a lawyer comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the pros and cons of this role will help you determine if you’re well-suited for this career path.

Pros of Becoming a Lawyer

•   Multiple job opportunities: As a lawyer, you have a variety of career paths, giving you the opportunity to work in an area you feel passionate about, whether that is corporate law, family law, real estate law, criminal law, or immigration law.

•   Option to start your own practice: With a law degree and significant experience, you may be able to start your own business and determine the types of clients you want to represent and how many cases you want to take on at any one given time.

•   Earn a high salary: Lawyers have the potential to earn well over six figures a year. Though you may not earn this salary right out of the gate, there is ample opportunity for career advancement and salary increases over time.

•   Stimulating and challenging work: As a lawyer, your daily duties will likely be intellectually challenging. Lawyers typically need to understand complex legal theories, form a hypothesis and create a legal strategy to benefit their clients, and argue and debate in a courtroom.

Cons of Becoming a Lawyer

•   Work can be stressful: Lawyers must meet deadlines as well as the demands of their clients. You may also come across stressful and emotionally difficult cases, which can take a psychological toll.

•   Long hours: This professional is notorious for its long hours, particular for those who are just starting out in a prestigious law practice. It’s not unusual for an associate lawyer to put in 60 to 90 hours a week each week, depending on the demands of the case they’re working on.

•   High level of student debt: In addition to a bachelor’s degree, lawyers need to pay for law school, which often comes with a high price tag. Generally, the more prestigious the school, the higher the price. Even with a high salary, new lawyers may not be able to pay off their debt for many years.

•   Today’s clients have more options: The opportunity to get clients has gotten more competitive with the rise of self-help legal websites, legal document technicians, and virtual law offices. If a client seeks legal advice or counsel, they don’t always have to go to a lawyer for help.

The Takeaway

A law degree is a valuable credential that takes around seven years of study to achieve (including a bachelor’s degree). Lawyers can choose where they want to work and what type of law they would like to specialize in, whether it be criminal law, corporate law, environmental law, or immigration law.

The amount a lawyer makes will vary depending on the school they attended, experience, type of law they practice, and where in the country they practice. According to the BLS, the highest paid lawyers earn over $230,000, and the lowest paid lawyers earn around $66,500.

Whatever type of job you pursue, you’ll want to make sure your earnings can cover your everyday living expenses. To help ensure your monthly outflows don’t exceed your monthly inflows, you may want to set up a basic budget and check out financial tools that can help track your income and spending.

With SoFi, you can keep tabs on how your money comes and goes.

FAQ

Can you make $100k a year as a lawyer?

Yes. Most lawyers earn over $100k a year. The average salary for a lawyer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $135,740 per year. The best-paid lawyers, however, can earn more than $200,000 a year.

Do people like being a lawyer?

Being a lawyer can be a great career choice if you enjoy working in a fast-paced and challenging environment and have an interest in upholding laws and defending an individual’s rights. According to a recent survey by Law360 Pulse, 83% of surveyed attorneys report they are stressed at least some of the time, nonetheless 68% percent say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their overall job.

Is it hard to get hired as a lawyer?

It’s generally not hard to find a job as a lawyer after you pass the bar exam, especially if you attended a top-rated law school, graduated in the top third of your class, and/or had strong internships and clerkships. Jobs for lawyers are expected to grow 8% between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than the average for other occupations (3%).


Photo credit: iStock/shapecharge

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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