Managing the Costs of Law School

The costs associated with seeking higher education can be astronomical. At this point in time, debt is an issue that plagues many students and their families. As the nation becomes more sensitive to the negative implications associated with student debt, it is essential to seek ways to keep the costs of receiving an education low.

1. Make sure you apply to law school early

The majority if not all law schools have rolling admission. Rolling admissions means the law school evaluates applications as they are received and continue to evaluate applications until the seats are filled for the incoming class. What you may not know is that most law schools have a deadline to receive priority scholarship consideration. Applying early is one simple way to make sure you have the best opportunity to receive at least some sort of financial assistance.

2. Choose a valuable law school

Choosing a valuable law school means choosing a school with a reasonable cost of attendance where your likelihood of success is high. This can be a difficult feat because there are a number of reasons why the cost of attendance of a school may be high. For starters, if you are thinking about attending a public institution, there is a different cost associated with being an in-state versus an out-of-state student. Schools sometimes will give an out-of-state student in-state tuition as a quasi-scholarship, but it is important to know if a law school is willing to do this. Further, some students will take a gap year to establish citizenship in the state of the school they plan on attending to qualify for in-state tuition. Next, there is a considerable cost of attendance difference between public and private school tuition costs. It is a personal decision to decide what institution you want to attend, but it is best to be prepared to bear the burden of higher costs at a private institution.

3. Location matters

Location matters for a myriad of reasons. Depending on what region you decide to attend school, the cost of living can become very expensive. For instance, if you plan to attend school in California, it is important to understand that even if you have a full scholarship to school, the cost of living could still create the potential for debt. Conversely, living in certain parts of the Southern region is much less expensive, and even if you only have a partial scholarship, the costs associated with living could make the overall costs associated with law school less expensive than living in other parts of the country.

4. Do not forget about outside scholarships

Google is your friend. If all else fails, do not be afraid to search for scholarships outside of the institution you attend or are planning on attending. Many law firms have scholarship competitions for various topics, such as writing an essay on a particular area or just writing about why you want to attend law school. Various organizations also host scholarship competitions for law students, and this is another way to earn money for tuition, housing, or books.

5. Graduate Research/Teaching Positions

GRA positions are a great way to have tuition assistance. However, these coveted positions are not always easy to come by, so it is important to ask your institution what the requirements are. Also, GRA positions are not only available in the law school. Your university at large will likely have other GRA positions and therefore, it is important to talk to your school’s administration to figure out what departments these positions are in and how you would go about receiving one.

6. Use your school as a resource

One of your institution’s jobs is to support you during your law school career. They are often the perfect resource to help you lessen your financial burden on this journey. Stop by your admissions office and ask them about the different ways to receive financial assistance while in law school that does not come in the form of a loan.

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