Law School Offers
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Once you have submitted your law school applications, you will be tired and yet satisfied. However, the most significant part is still to come: deciding where you will pursue your law degree. Much like applying to DePauw, the process will include many different costs and benefits on deciding where to go. For some applicants, the law program’s prestige will be the determining factor, while for others, the university offering the best financial aid package will be the top choice. Still other students may attend school while working, requiring a program that allows students to pursue their law degree part-time.
The Law School Admission Council provides some very good details on what to consider when determining which of your offers to accept. A law school’s reputation is certainly worth consideration; but a different school may offer a fellowship that will cover a substantial portion of your costs in law school while providing valuable experience that you can use in your career.
The law school programs that you apply to will offer various opportunities for you to consider.However, as not all students consider the same criteria, and you may get waitlisted at some schools while accepted into others, you should fully consider all of your opportunities and do a cost/benefit analysis of whichever course of action you pursue. There will be a number of different elements of each opportunity to consider, along with the importance you give to each particular element of the search (do you want to go to a law program with the best reputation? Does it have to be in a city? In a particular part of the country? What impact does the total cost have on your decision?) Be sure to take time to compare each of the elements of your choices, narrowing it down to the best choice that makes the most sense for your long-term and professional goals.
The Law School Admissions Council has some great insights on financing law school. When considering law school, many of the same principles apply as to considerations you factored when choosing to attend DePauw. Your particular cost for three years of law school is a major factor for consideration; different schools will vary in total cost to you. Also, you may qualify for Federal Work-Study, though that will be in your second and third years of law school. Fellowships, scholarships and other monetary awards may be offered or available at some institutions, but not others; these opportunities may require more consideration of a particular program than you initially considered. Public and private student loans also likely will be available, though students should take all aspects of their financial situation into account before determining whether to borrow, the types of loans to pursue, and how much should be borrowed (it is customarily advisable to borrow the least amount needed that enables you to accomplish your goals).
As you are considering finances, be sure to keep in mind the cost of living in the region of the country where you will live while in law school - particularly if you will not be living on campus. What is the going rate for an apartment? Will you be living close to an urban campus, or are you willing to live farther from campus if housing costs are substantially cheaper? Also, your ability to work while in law school will have a direct impact on your finances, impacting the amount you might want to take out in student loans and – ultimately – your long-term indebtedness. When considering different law school programs, be sure to learn more about the particulars of the communities where you are planning to live, and reflect on the additional factors you that you consider to be most important before determining which law school is the best choice for you.