By Shirlene Armstrong • May 28, 2018•Writers in Residence, Law School, Pre-Law
I had decided on which schools to apply to but actually had to go through the application and deciding on what school I should actually go to. I decided to apply to Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and a few other schools. In order to apply for law school, there are several things you need to do. You have to take and pass the LSAT, fill out extensive applications, write personal statements, update your resume and other documents, and pay so many fees.
As a first generation law student, no one really told me how expensive law school would be. I knew it was a doctoral program and it was going to be more expensive than my bachelor’s degree but I never imagined what the cost would really be. Funding a law school education is not an easy feat. There are many expenses that go into attending law school such as tuition, fees, books, boarding, travel costs, and any extra expenses for organizations and extracurriculars. Also, law school typically lasts about three years for most students so all your costs are really multiplied by three. While a legal education is extremely beneficial for your future, it can be a detriment when it comes to finances. Although each law school sets their own tuition and fees, a legal education costs upwards of $150,000. This amount can seem pretty daunting especially considering you are only allowed to work twenty hours a week while enrolled in classes. Going to law school is a large monetary decision that typically requires financial assistance.
Law school itself is expensive but applying to law school is just the beginning of these expenses. The cost of law school is a serious consideration when applying. Prior to starting your first year, there are several expenditures that are typically not well-known until after you have to pay them. First, the LSAT costs a couple hundred dollars each time you take it. This does not include any extra fees, cancellations, or travel costs. Some people choose to purchase preparation courses and/or utilize prep books to help prepare for the exam. When beginning the actual application, there is a couple hundred dollar fee called the ‘Credibility Assembly Service (CAS)’ that is associated with complying all of your application documents safely on the Law School Admission Council (LSAC)’s website. After completing and uploading your application, many schools have individual application fees that are not associated with the LSAC. On top of the application fees, there is a law school report fee for each completed application in order to send your law report to the individual schools. After successfully getting into a school, there are also seat deposits, activity fees, books, and other expenses in addition to tuition.
I was shocked that there were so much money into just applying to law school. I wanted to go to law school, but I also did not come from money. Fortunately I graduated from undergraduate early and was able to work full time before law school and saved a bunch of money. I was able to apply to schools, got a few waivers for application fees, and got accepted into several law schools. It was time to decide on the school I would spend three years of my life at. I ended up accepting my position at Wayne State University Law School and was about to begin my legal journey.
So that’s how I discovered how much law school costs, applied to law school and eventually led me to my law school, Wayne State University. I was geeked about starting law school but also extremely nervous. Thus, I started checking off days on my calendar until I began my first day of law school orientation.