LAW SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS
Students should be careful when deciding which law school to attend. Many scholarships are offered to potential law school students, in order to encourage them to attend their law school. Although many of these scholarships are allegedly based on undergraduate grades and LSAT scores, students usually do not become aware of the fact that these scholarships are significantly weighed on an LSAT score (which is not a great predictor of success in law school) and these students may be part of a huge group of students who were also offered scholarship money.
SCHOLARSHIP STATISTICS & THE FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
Why does this matter? Students often feel secure about their ability to perform well in law school because of what the law school has offered them prior to their first year of law school. Many students are not aware that many of their fellow classmates, who are part of the same incoming class, were also offered scholarships. For example, if 60% of the students who were admitted into the same school have scholarships, and only the top percent of students (ranging from the top 10 percent to the top 30 percent) will be eligible for Law Review, renewed scholarship money, or new scholarship money, a significant portion of the students who originally had scholarship money will lose their scholarships. This could mean that 50% of the students who entered law school with a scholarship will lose their scholarship. A student may not like the odds of flipping a coin; however, they may have the same odds of keeping their scholarship! As an additional consequence, these students will also not be eligible for Law Review, they will not be eligible to transfer to another school, and they will not likely be considered for prestigious job opportunities (these job opportunities matter because there is a great divide in salaries in the legal profession, resulting in a two hump salary distribution curve: salaries around $60,000/yr and salaries around $160,000/yr).
HOW PROFESSORS GRADE AND HOW LAW SCHOOLS RANK STUDENTS
In addition, many students do not realize that some of the contingencies for scholarship renewal will have a significant negative impact on them after their first year of law school. For example, if a student is offered a scholarship for their first year of law school and that scholarship can only be maintained for the student’s second year of law school by obtaining a 3.0 GPA, that student is likely to feel that it will be easy for them to maintain their scholarship. However, law schools usually fail to give more details on how they give grades to students and how they rank students. For example, some law schools do not allow professors to give grades above a 3.4 or 3.6 for certain classes and they also force these professors to give a certain amount of students grades below a 2.0, even if these students do not deserve these grades. Some professors, who do have the ability to give 4.0 grades, will usually only give these grades to 2 out of 60 or 80 students. These same professors may also only give 2-4 students a 3.9. They may also only offer grades ranging from a 3.0 to a 3.8 (including a 3.7, 3.6, 3.5, 3.4, 3.3, 3.2, and 3.1) to approximately 4-20 students, depending on the size of the class.
How does this affect a student’s GPA and ranking? Students are ranked by their GPA. A student’s GPA is greatly affected by the fact that high grades are rarely given to a significant amount of students. In addition, many students fail to recognize that their GPAs are very close to their fellow classmates’ GPAs. For example, if the top 30% of the class has GPAs ranging from a 3.0 to a 3.5, and there are 180 students in that class, 60 students may have GPAs that are only .1 or even .01 away from their fellow classmates’ GPAs. As a result, a student who is ranked #1 in the class may have a GPA that is fairly close to a student who is ranked #20. A student who is ranked #20 may have a GPA that is really close to a student who is ranked #30.
THE PATH OF MANY STUDENTS – FROM SCHOLARSHIP TO A STUDENT LOAN
Once the student is unable to retain their scholarship, they will most likely need a student loan. However, because of the poor job market, borrowing through a student loan is now a controversial matter.
THE STUDENT LOAN CRISIS AND THE JOB MARKET
For more information on the poor job market and the student loan crisis for law school students, please visit these articles at www.abovethelaw.com:
1) Law School Grads Answer Questions about Their Ongoing Search for a Job:
2) Surveys of Future/Incoming Law Students:
3) President Obama’s Response to a Law Student’s Question about Their Student Loan:
4) Law School Dean Announces Refunds to Students Because of the Job Market:
HOW STUDENTS CAN AVOID MAKING A DECISION THAT THEY MAY REGRET
This is why grades are so important in law school. To avoid these issues, students should read the contingencies attached to their scholarships, ask other schools that they plan to transfer into about their GPA and ranking requirements for transfer students, ask their school if they rank part-time students with full-time students, and ask their school to provide them with their professors’ grading charts from prior classes. This will help the student better understand their chances of achieving certain goals during and after law school.
HOW LST HELPS STUDENTS
LST – Law School Tutor assists students in achieving high grades, in order to ensure that they have better academic opportunities during law school and better job opportunities after law school.
For more information, please contact LST at firstname.lastname@example.org