How Much Does Law School Cost?

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    If you are considering attending law school, cost is a major factor. Ranging anywhere from $60,000 to totally free, attending law school can quickly become a pricy undertaking. When considering the cost, it’s important to consider all of the costs involved. These costs include applying for law school, which can easily be about $100 for each individual application (unless a school invites you to apply for free). Another law school cost to consider is travel to and from potential law schools to see if they are located in a place where you would want to spend three years of your life. Books, housing, groceries, transportation, and health insurance are other basic costs to consider that go above and beyond the tuition price. Law school demands intense studying and it is virtually impossible to work part time while attending. All of the costs associated with law school need to be paid by someone, whether that is a student loan company, your parents, or you.

    Average Cost Of Law School

    Law school tuition varies greatly. The most inexpensive law schools will be public universities in your own backyard that offer instate tuition.

    For instance, you could attend an instate public law school for as little as $15,000 per year. Out of state tuition for public law schools doubles that amount to approximately $30,000 per year. Of course, these amounts do not include cost of living or books. By attending law school locally, you will most likely save in those areas as well. If you are able to go to law school while living at home with your parents, you could easily save up to $10,000 a year in rent. Private law schools are a whole different ball game. In fact, tuition averages $45,000 each year. It is important to note that most private law schools are in big cities where cost of living is also going to be substantially higher. The average cost of law school varies widely from state to state, and the top 20 law schools tend to charge much more than the rest.

    How Much Does Law School Cost Per Year?

    Private school tuition ranges from $30,000 to $55,000 per year. In contrast, public law schools offer instate tuition as low as $15,000 per year. You could end up paying the same tuition for an out of state public law school and an instate private law school. Be aware that the law school cost per year is subject to inflation and could actually go up by a few thousand dollars each year that you are enrolled.

    How Long Is Law School?

    Law school takes three years to complete. Some schools offer programs where you could choose to do a dual degree such as an MBA combined with your law degree. These programs sometimes take one or two years longer.

    Paying For Law School

    Law school will undoubtedly make a dent in your bank account. There are quite a few hidden costs associated with paying for law school. These include taking the LSAT, which costs $139. If you are an American or Canadian you could be eligible for the LSAT fee waiver. Individuals who are in dire financial circumstances can apply for the fee waiver from LSAC.  The bar exam, which is taken after you complete law school, can cost around $4,000. The actual bar exam is only about $200-$400, depending on the state. However, a test preparation course is highly recommended by experts and these can cost up to $2,000. You also will not be able to work while preparing for the bar, which means additional costs of housing and food can quickly add up.

    Grants For Law School

    Applying for grants for law school usually begins with the FAFSA. Filling out this application will highlight any financial need that you may have to the law schools. Many friends and alumni also offer students private grants that have individual requirements. It is wise to ask the financial aid department of your future law school about different grants that you qualify for. A little research could save you big bucks.

    Law School Scholarships

    Many law schools offer scholarships to prospective students. These law school scholarships are based on either need or merit (sometimes a combination of both). Often law schools will send a financial aid offer shortly after or even with the acceptance letter. Students use these offers of financial aid to help in making a decision as to where to attend. Universities frequently give students a choice of whether they want a lump sum in their first year or want to have the money distributed over three years. If the student chooses to have the money distributed over the three years, the law school frequently requires that a certain GPA be maintained. This may seem relatively easy for brilliant students who were successful during undergrad. However, law school classes are curved and many students lose their scholarships after the first year. Therefore, it is important to not make a decision to attend a particular law school solely based on their scholarship offers.

    How Much Does Harvard Law School Cost?

    Harvard University has a very high tuition of $45,000 for each year of law school.  Going even higher, Yale stands out as the top law school in the country and its $50,000 tuition matches its reputation. As a top twenty law school, the University of Texas offers instate individuals a deal at only $28,000 per year. However, out of state law students at the University of Texas can expect to pay a whopping $45,000 each year. That is a $17,000 discount for instate students!  Similarly, instate students at the University of Florida’s Levin School of Law only pay $16,000 per year, whereas out of state students pay $35,000. The cheapest law school is North Carolina Central University, which charges only $6,000 for instate tuition and $18,000 for out of state tuition.

    Preparing For Law School

    Preparing for law school is a multi-step process. The most important step is the LSAT. In fact, the LSAT shows law schools what you are truly capable of and also serves as a predictor of your success the first year of law school.

    You may have a great undergraduate GPA but law schools do not necessarily know if your coursework was challenging. A way to combat this inevitable discrepancy is to use the LSAT. If you have a great score on the LSAT, it will give more weight to your undergraduate GPA. Remember to register for the LSAT several months before you plan to take it. Not only will this give you a deadline for studying, it will also guarantee you a spot on a particular test date and help you avoid late fees. You will also need to start early on your personal statement. This is one area where you get to shine and show the real you. Have friends and family proofread your personal statement several times and make sure that it is not a last minute effort. Researching different law schools should also be done fairly early. It helps to know where you plan on applying even before you take the LSAT. By choosing potential schools early on, you will be able to familiarize yourself with their standards. Maybe you need a very high LSAT score or maybe you’ll be fine with a mediocre one. Only by knowing where you’re aiming to go, will you know how much effort to put into your applications.

    What are the requirements for law school?

    Law school admissions officers look for students with a good GPA, LSAT, and personal statement. Students with a GPA over 3.0 and a LSAT of 150 shouldn’t have a problem getting accepted into law school. However, students with a GPA above 3.5 and an LSAT score over 160 could expect to be accepted into a top 50 law school. Finally, if you hope to get into a top twenty law school, you’ll need an outstanding personal statement, a wide variety of undergraduate coursework, at least a 3.5 GPA and an LSAT score of 170 or above.  Note that requirements for law school are not set in stone. You could have almost any undergraduate major and still attend law school. Furthermore, a high LSAT could completely overshadow a GPA that is considerably low. Know where your strengths are and highlight them in your application.

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