Securing a Visa
Prior to beginning their studies, students who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders must secure a visa. Most such students will need an F-1 or J-1 visa. The Office for International Services (OIS) can help students determine which visa is appropriate for their situation. The process for securing a visa should be completed as early as possible after a student accepts the offer of admission at a Law School as students frequently encounter visa. Students who have previously deferred their admission must obtain a new Form I-20 or DS-2019
A good idea for the student is to go the the U.S. Department of State website and look at the requirements for the two types of visas and which one applies to you. Here is the link to the Department of State website, where they have information about the F1 and J1 visas: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1286.html.
An F1 allows 12 months of “Optional Practical Training” before and / or after graduation; a J-1 allows 18 months of “Academic Training” before and / or after graduation. J1 has a residency requirement. The downside of the J1 visa is that the student cannot re-enter the US for two years after the visa has expired. You can still re-enter US in 2 years after the J1 visa expires for leisure / business (like B1 / B2 visa) but you cannot re-enter US to reside there.
There’s no really choice between F1/J1. If your study is sponsored by US Government (or enter US by sponsor listed here: http://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/) then you’ll be at J1. Your sponsor will tell you that you have to get J1 visa, so you won’t be confused if you have to acquire one.
If you study in the U.S. with other means (self-funded, scholarship other than J1 designated sponsor) then the student will need the F1 Visa. To get J1 one will need to get form DS2019 from the sponsor, however with an F1 one will need to have to get an I20 from the University.