Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to law school.
Then reality hits in, and you realize that it is hella-mutha-fuckin expensive.
I am struggling right now and I know I should just finish my final year and my final semester with a big bang! But I can’t. I just can’t…I have been struggling to accept this reality as of lately. I know I am not alone in this reality. I just wish more people would talk about it. Undergraduate school is fuckin expensive…now law school?! Fuck.
When I first started researching the application process for law school, I remember reading all these blogs about how hard the LSAT would be. I didn’t read one blog on how much it actually cost. At the time, I was living and working in northern Alberta so that cost to write the test wasn’t that bad. I mean, it was still quite high. All I could think about was other students who might not have a job or extra funds to even write the test.
One step down.
I didn’t do as well as I thought I would on the test but I did better than what I was doing in my practice tests. So, it wasn’t that bad. After receiving my LSAT results back, I still applied to two law schools. I wish I could have applied to more, even as others provided the advice, “apply to as many law schools as you can.” Two law schools was all I could afford. What my research into the application process didn’t tell me was that the more law schools you apply to you, the more expensive your application becomes.
Two steps down.
Today, I am sitting here at school and I literally just want to give up. Why? The reality is that law school is fuckin expensive. I am struggling to finish my last month of my undergraduate degree. I mean, I am in a good position to make a decision to either give up or to continue on. I mean, if I give up, I can always go the MA route. It isn’t that bad of a situation to be in. I struggle with these decisions as of lately, MA route vs. law school. I wonder sometimes if it would have been better for me to take the route that offered me a summer job and guaranteed funding. Sounds pretty easy doesn’t it? I guess I should say, I’ve been in worse decisions and this isn’t the worst place to be in. But I am struggling.
It isn’t by accident that these barriers exist, not just for me but for others like me. I struggle having to think about what I am supposed to do next. I thought to write this post because I felt that in my research none of the blog posts talked about this—the reality that law school is fuckin expensive including the application process. There were plenty of blog posts on how hard the LSAT was, how to improve your score, how to study better, how to write your statement for your application, etc. etc. Maybe we should also begin conversations around this reality: how expensive law school actually is including how expensive it is to just apply to law school.
Yes, you might cry while preppin for your LSAT. Yes, you might cry during the actual test. Yes, you might cry over your final LSAT score. Yes, you might cry because you are applying on the final day to submit your OLSAS (law school application service) application. Yes, you might cry when you realize you completed the hardest steps. Yes, you might cry because you received your letter (and you either got in or you didn’t). But truth is, you might also cry because you are in a situation where you don’t know what the hell you are doing with your life because the reality is, law school is fuckin expensive (just as expensive as the application process is).
In closing, I will say this, people have been asking me what I am doing in the fall and it’s stressful too. I don’t know what I am doing in the fall. I am working on finishing graduating first because I won’t be able to go anywhere unless I graduate first–I guess I didn’t have this dream for nothing.
Note: Please use this post as a cue to reach out to others who have attended law school (or who are currently attending law school). There are people that want to help you and if it wasn’t for the people that have helped me along the way (up until this point), I probably would be struggling a lot more than I actually am. I am thankful for those people. ❤
The expense is staggering, isn’t it? I know I am writing from an American experience, but on the expense of applying to law school: http://bjj-law-living.blogspot.com/2011/05/cost-of-applying-to-law-school.html. On the cost of law school interest and associated costs (which you may not have one set that I do?): http://bjj-law-living.blogspot.com/2011/05/so-much-money.html On the cost of law school: I couldn’t write it. You will be floored by the cost of books. It is literally sickening, especially the first year. The cost for me to apply to the take the bar exam: $585. The cost of the MPRE (ethics bar): $70. Oh, and if you want to transfer law schools, at least in the U.S., they will not even consider a fee waiver for the application once you have matriculated at a law school.
Is it worth it? I hope so. I will be graduating in May. I have loved the experience and never looked back, but I start hyperventilating when I start thinking about all the money I have to pay back.
One more thing: Many summer “legal experience” jobs are either unpaid or pay very poorly. Here, our student loans do not cover summers, or bar prep time, or bar prep courses. BarBri? Approximately $3,000.
Also, per ABA rules, law students can only work 20 hours a week while enrolled full time.
I don’t want to dissuade you from your dreams. Your post said you wish you had been able to find more information. Like I said, I am glad I took the plunge. I think I will continue to be. But, it was an agonizing decision.
Good luck with your decision!
Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living
Thanks for sharing on the American law school experience! Very useful still!