Since the economic downturn in 2008, the number of law school applications has dramatically shifted. Law schools saw thousands of law school applicants applying to schools to weather out the economy by enrolling in law schools. However, the influx of students has now reversed and leading to smaller 1L classes at many large law schools.
However, the dwindling law school applicants is a hidden opportunity for law students looking to apply to law schools. The LSAT saw a reduction by almost 5%! That number is huge, and will continue to effect the law school admissions process for at least the next year. Law schools are facing fewer applicants, smaller classes sizes, and looking at looming budgets and fiscal periods. This means two great opportunities exist: First, that high-scoring applicants have more weight to use throughout the application process as schools are seeking to fill deficient class sizes and maintain their current rankings. Two, even those students that have lower scores are able to bargain with schools to get the best admittance packages to ensure that law schools fill their 1L seats.
As always, remember when considering schools to not only look at the award money and dollar amount. There are often hidden details that must be taken into account. Here are some of our top recommendations to help you make the right decision:
- Always look to the percentage of the total scholarship reward compared to the tuition. This is more insightful to help weigh your options.
- Compare the estimated living expenses in each city and take those into account. A law school in your home state may offer less money, but living expenses alone could save you $10,000 a year.
- ALWAYS research how you are able to retain your scholarship. Is it guaranteed? Renewable? Is there a minimum GPA? Class Rank? Once you know this, research what this means. If there is a minimum GPA, determine what grades you would need to receive throughout your first year to be able to retain the offer since law school classes weigh grades differently than what you may be used to. Furthermore, know that you have the ability to negotiate. From my experience, I found that fellow students with similar award money did not have the same renewal policies. Look to discussion boards, talk to fellow applicants, and leverage your research and information to use it to your advantage.