While the ethics of merit-based scholarships are debatable, at many schools now, you get the opportunity to affordably get a law degree. Scholarships are crucial beause law school debt can reach over $100,000 from tuition alone. Students also have to consider income they miss out on, and the living expenses they’ll incur while actually going to school. With all this in mind, it’s not only reasonable to think about 100% scholarships; it’s the smart thing to do! So if you’re ready–read more about how to score a full-ride law school scholarship!
Top 10 Law Schools That Offer Full-Ride Scholarships
One of the first steps to take as you decide where to apply is to ask your prospective law school about full-ride scholarship opportunities. You’ll definitely want to be sure that these opportunities exist before you submit your application! Try not to assume that all schools offer full-rides based on merit. For example, the University of Florida doesn’t, although they have various smaller merit-based scholarships available. It definitely helps to go straight to the source and confirm whether or not a full-ride is even possible at your preferred schools.
To make your search a bit easier, here are the top ten law schools that definitely do offer full-ride scholarships.
1. University of Chicago Law School
The University of Chicago automatically considers all for scholarships. Most importantly, that includes the full-ride scholarships. And thankfully, there are several to go around. You can check out the full list of scholarship opportunities here.
2. New York University Law School
Next, NYU Law offers several full scholarships. For one, there’s the Latinx Rights Scholarship. It awards full-ride scholarships to two incoming first-year students. Those awardees should be committed to social justice. In addition, NYU offers several other scholarships you can explore.
3. University of Pennsylvania Law School
Next up, UPenn offers several merit scholarships to incoming first-years. There’s the Levy Scholars Program that generously covers full tuition and fees for all three years.
4. University of Virginia Law School
The University of Virginia Law School is the next of our law schools that offer full-ride scholarships. UVA automatically considers all admitted students for its merit-based scholarships. The amounts range from $5,000 to full tuition.
5. Duke Law School
Each year, Duke Law School selects 4-8 students as Mordecai Scholars. Duke considers all admitted students, and will invite some for interviews. The program seems pretty competitive, but it’s good to know about!
6. The University of Texas Law School
Texas Law also considers all admitted students for scholarships, which can be very generous.
7. Boston University Law School
BU Law provides many generous scholarship opportunities. If you’re interested in public-interest law, there’s a number of full-ride scholarships available. They also include stipends for 1L and 2L summer internships.
8. Arizona State University Law School
Merit-based awards are there for you at ASU Law. Just remember,some might be conditional. This means you must maintain good grades. You can read the interesting story of a woman’s choice between ASU Law and UT Law.
9. UCLA School of Law
Next, if you’re willing to apply early, UCLA Law has the new UCLA Law Distinguished Scholars Program. Full-ride scholarships are available for students who participate in their binding early-decision program.
10. Washington University Law
Washington University is the last school on our list of law schools that offer full-ride scholarships. In fact, there was controversy over their 24-hour “exploding” scholarship offers. Whether or not you’ll have much time to consider, you should definitely take advantage by applying!
How to Score a Full-Ride Law School Scholarship
Focus on Your LSAT Score
If you’ve already graduated from college or you’re about to, then your GPA is likely already determined. Hopefully, it’s as high as possible. So at that point, it’s best to focus on what you can control in the present, like your LSAT score. The higher your score, the better your chance at a full-ride scholarship.
Enhance Your Resume
Many special full-ride scholarships or fellowships reward students with outstanding qualities and leadership records. By making an effort to continuously do good work, you’ll up your chances of being recognized through one of these programs. For example, the Mordecai Scholars Program at Duke University Law School offers a full scholarship to great leaders. THe university invites students with impressive records to come to the campus and be interviewed.
Negotiate Your Scholarship
Just like job offers, you may be able to negotiate your law school scholarship! If you get a full-ride or high scholarship from other schools, save the offer letter (or get the information in writing if it was discussed verbally). Attach a copy in a formal email to your desired law school and ask if they’re willing to match the scholarship offer. Don’t cast your net too wide with this approach— save it for schools you really want to attend!
Keep Your Mind Open About Law Schools
A significant debate is whether students should sacrifice generous scholarships for lower-ranked schools for a place in a higher-ranked school (but with less of a discount). Some argue that the prestige of a higher-ranked school is worth the extra debt. Why? Because you’ll supposedly have a better chance of landing a higher-paying job. Many testify that graduating from a lower-ranked school isn’t as beneficial.
But, is that so? Consider this: If your goal is to practice in South Florida, for example, it can help your career to go to a local law school, make great connections, and earn relevant experience while you’re there. You can take advantage of an affordable law school in the place you want to build your career. Then, you can end up coming out way ahead. For more on this topic, check out When Do Law School Rankings Matter?
Good Luck Scoring a Scholarship!
All in all, the key to scoring a full-ride law school scholarship is researching opportunities, maintaining a great record, and being flexible. Have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments!