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Law School Apps Are Down, Scholarship Money is Up

Law School Apps Are Down, Scholarship Money is Up

Want to go to law school? Now is the time.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

August 01, 2012

If you were thinking about going to law school, now is the time. The economy has not been kind to recent law school graduates, and as a result, the number of applicants to these schools, even top-tier institutions, has dwindled.

The American Bar Association recently released its figures for the 2011 – 2012 school year, which showed that enrollment is down nearly seven percent.

Law schools are obviously feeling the decline, and The Wall Street Journal reports that they are taking extreme measures to lure students, stating, “Some schools are having so much trouble filling their seats that they are negotiating scholarships, accepting some applications long after formal deadlines, and offering up other perks to entice the best prospective students.”

And this isn’t happening at the average law school. The Wall Street Journal reports that Northwestern University, Georgetown University and Cornell University, just to name a few, are still accepting applications for start dates in August and September.

The Wall Street Journal implies that a lot of “giving in” on the part of admissions offices has to do with rankings, specifically U.S. News and World Report. News and World rankings are formulated in large part by the GPA as well as LSATt scores of all applicants, meaning those students who will make the school look best on paper have a bargaining chip over the admissions offices.

If you’re considering law school, here’s what you need to do to take advantage of the low application season:

1. Take the LSAT. Obviously, if you’ve already taken the test, skip ahead to #2. For those that haven’t taken the test, unfortunately, the soonest you can take the LSAT is October. However, that gives you plenty of time to study if you haven’t started already.

2. Contact the law school’s admissions office. If you have taken the LSAT, ask about getting last-minute enrollment opportunities. If you have not taken the LSAT, express interest in starting mid-way through the year or next school year.

3. Don’t start negotiating right away. This will be a huge turn-off for the school. At this point, they’re not taking anyone and everyone; they still have a right to reject applicants if they don’t feel it’s the right fit. Wait until you have some bargaining power. For instance, get a few offers from other law schools and compare packages.

4. Stay on top of it. At this point in the game, your admissions and enrollment could move very fast. Keep up with the paperwork and the admissions office, and before you know it, you’ll be sitting in your first class at law school.