5 ways to save on the cost of applying to law school

By Hillary Mantis

It’s expensive to apply to law school. There are the application fees, the processing fees, the LSAT test fees and the LSAT test prep course fees. It can easily add up to well over $1,000, and potentially thousands of dollars just to apply to law school. This can be difficult, especially during the times we are now experiencing.

But there are a few ways to potentially try to lower some of these costs. Here are a few ideas:

- Fee Waiver: Those experiencing severe financial hardship can apply for a fee waiver through the Law School Admissions Council, www.lsac.org. If granted, the fee waiver can substantially defray the cost of taking the LSAT and applying to law school. If you are denied, there is an appeals process which I recommend you consider trying.

- Candidate Referral Service(CRS): If you check this off in your LSAC account, it enables law schools to reach out to you directly. This is a way they have of marketing their schools to you. I have sometimes seen law schools send individual applicants fee waiver codes, so applications to those law schools are free. For more information about CRS, see https://www.lsac.org/about/lsac-policies/privacy-policy/crs-information-recipients

- Law Schools with Free Applications: Not all law schools have individual application fees. Some have free applications. If you look at the ABA Standard 509 Reports there is a full list of law school application fees, which can range from zero to $75 or more, depending on the law school. You can also try emailing a law school directly, and requesting that they waive their application fee, if you are experiencing financial hardship.

- Free or Discounted Test Prep: The Khan Academy offers completely free online LSAT test prep, https://www.khanacademy.org/prep/lsat. Many of the other test prep companies also offer early bird discounts and scholarships. There may also be free LSAT practice tests, or course discounts, or scholarships offered on your campus. There are also some free LSAT practice tests on www.lsac.org. For the GRE, check out www.ets.org for free sample tests/questions.

- Law School Scholarships: Once you are done with the initial application costs, you will probably be looking into law school scholarships. Many organizations offer scholarships, and law schools also offer merit scholarships to those who have high GPA/test scores. One scholarship resource I like is the AccessLex Scholarship Databank, https://www.accesslex.org/databank, which has a wide range of potential scholarships for those applying to, and in law school. Also check out the financial aid section of individual law school websites for more school specific scholarship ideas.

Hillary Mantis works with pre-law students, law students and lawyers. She is the assistant dean of the pre-law program at Fordham University and author of career books including “Alternative Careers for Lawyers.”