The Cost of Applying to Law School and Why It’s Worth It
Applying to law school can be expensive
I wish someone would have told me how expensive applying to law school can be. Should the expense deter you from applying to law school? No. Not even for a minute! You have studied and worked hard during your studies with the School of Arts and Communication as a Humanities-Prelaw or Strategic Communication major, and you will attend law school. But I am hoping to help you be better prepared for the law school application process.
Everything will have fees
First of all, everything will have fees. The majority of law schools work with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the organization that offers the LSAT. In one sense, it makes applications easier. You submit your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and LSAT scores only once to the LSAC. The LSAC will then generate a Credential Assembly Report (CAS report), which analyzes your academic performance, and then send your entire package (transcripts, LOR, LSAT score, and CAS report) to your selected schools. Each school additionally has a separate application available through the LSAC website, lsac.org. Additionally, after you make an account on LSAC.org, you can enter in your GPA and LSAT score and it will determine your probability of acceptance at each school.
Pretty neat, huh?—Except for those pesky fees. Registering for the LSAT and CAS service (both a requirement) is $320. The application fee per school typically ranges between $60 and $100. The average student applies to nine schools; in addition, each CAS report fee is $28 per application. Typically, students spend $900 in application fees alone.
Expect to have an interview
Once accepted, you may be required to attend an interview, or you may wish to conduct a campus visit. After leaving a unique atmosphere like the School of Arts and Communication—with amazingly supportive professors and administration, trust me: go for a campus tour at your top choice schools. It is very rare to find a school similar to Florida Tech’s atmosphere as a Humanities-Prelaw student with the School of Arts and Communication.
Some schools offer travel vouchers
On the plus side, some schools offer admitted students travel vouchers, ranging from $250 to $300, to help cover some costs. However, if your law school is in a city like NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, or New Orleans, even two-star hotels can be $200+ per night. On average, the flight and hotel will cost at least $750 per school. In my opinion, it is nonsensical to skip a campus visit before deciding to attend a law school.
The average cost of attendance of law school is $80,000 per year (approximately $48,000 in tuition and $32,000 in miscellaneous living expenses, like insurance, books, room and board—each school is required to publish an annual cost of attendance, so you can check your favored schools’ cost easily). If you are willing to invest up to $240,000 in your legal education, why on earth would you skip a visit that costs half-of-half-of-one percent of your total law school experience?
It could cost up to $5,000
To give you a general idea, this is what my law school application procedure cost. I’ve spoken with several other friends in law school, and this is about the standard cost, (except my other friends spent more on the LSAT prep course, and less on campus visits).
- LSAT + CAS report registration: $320
- LSAT prep course: $500
- LSAT prep books: $600
- Application fees: $1080
- CAS report fees: $504
- Campus visits: $2,000 (actual cost was $2000, but received $500 in travel vouchers)
- Total: $5,004.
Should this discourage you? No. You have time—start planning accordingly!
Why it is Worth It: Scholarships and Student Success
You also have a secret weapon: Florida Tech prepares its Humanities-Prelaw and Communication students for law school. The School of Arts and Communication produces students that succeed. Previous graduates were offered full scholarships to law schools like the University of Virginia, Florida State University, Tulane, Penn State, Northeastern, and Pepperdine, and a former classmate is currently thriving at Harvard Law. Graduating from Florida Tech’s programs in Humanities-Prelaw or Communication makes you a competitive candidate.
Your aim is to not only be admitted to law school, but to get a scholarship. You can do it.
While applying to law school can be an expensive process, it is an investment in yourself and your future. If you are strategic, the payoff can be an admission to a top law school, or a scholarship. As a lawyer, you are going to spend a large amount of time doing prep work to prepare your case before stepping in front of a judge—think of the application process as no different. You have worked hard in your studies with Florida Tech’s School of Arts and Communication and are equipped to succeed. With early planning, the cost of the applications should not come as a shock.
Remember, Florida Tech is there to help you succeed. If you feel overwhelmed at any time during the application process—as I did—the faculty of the School of Arts and Communication is more than willing to help!
I wish you the utmost success in your future endeavors and hope to see you in law school!
Kate Broderick, Global Strategic Communication ’14, Humanities ’10