The Law School Applicant’s Version of Christmas Presents: Fee Waivers

July 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm (Applying to Law School)

I’ve been pretty addicted to my email lately. No, it’s not the latest shopping discounts that’s got me checking my blackberry every 10 minutes, its law school fee waivers! Also known as “presents” for law school applicants.

I love getting emails like the one I received from University of Minnesota who complimented me on my “exemplary” LSAT score (which by the way, is lower than their 25% for 2009 admitted applicants) and the one from University of Richmond which welcomes me to drive across the country for a visit.  These emails certainly provide helpful information that I may have otherwise not considered and are actually enticing me to apply since its free.  Though, I have not yet received any fee waivers from any of the schools that are already on my to-apply list but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  Interestingly, the Law School Admissions Council (a/k/a “LSAC”) Candidate Referral Service asks which states you are most interested in attending law school (you can choose up to five) and I have yet to receive any from my list of 5 states.  So it appears many law schools send them to applicants who are not even initially considering a given geographical area.  I’ve been told by other law school applicants that if there is a school you would really like to apply to but have not received a fee waiver (and think you really deserve one either because your numbers are above their admission medians or because your just too poor) you shouldn’t feel shy about asking for one.  Some recommendations:

  • Send a short, concise email – its more convenient and easier for response.
  • Keep the email at 3-6 sentences in length.
  • Make sure you indicate your LSAC Account Number, GPA, and LSAT score.
  • Be sure to include if you have received an LSAC fee waiver (which waives the credential assembly service, two LSAT administration fees, and grants you a copy of the “Official LSAT Superprep”).  Law schools may feel that if you were deemed “financially needy” by the LSAC which fact checks your financial situation, then you are legit and really do need the application fee waived.
  • Show a sincere interest and indicate any mitigating circumstances.
  • Additionally, I am told that law school admission forums give applicants a great opportunity to learn more about schools and speak with admissions representatives about schools and application fee waivers. 

    These fee waivers tempt me to send in my application, however I am being realistic about what this means in terms of my own pursuit of law school admissions.  It is my understanding that part of the law school rankings compiled by U.S. News and World Report is the consideration of the ratio of applicants who apply to a given school and who are ultimately granted acceptance.  Law schools use fee waivers to entice applicants who may or may not have a chance of actually being admitted to their school to boost the number of total applicants who sent applications for consideration by law school admissions committees.  So while I’m excited for the application fee waiver (and flattered by the complimentary emails) I am keeping in mind this does not mean the school is particularly interested in me as a future law student of “X School of Law.”

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