Last week, the first scholarship offers for the 2022 law school admissions cycle started rolling in. Savvy applicants who applied with their best LSAT score in the beginning of September already have their first offers in hand.
You’ll hear us tell the following two stories on the LSAT Demon Daily podcast in the next few days:
LSAT Demon student Ronnie reported that his dad, “an old-school Puerto Rican guy from the Bronx,” got a little emotional on the phone when Ronnie told him about his full-ride offer from Penn State Dickinson. Ronnie has until April 15 to decide whether to accept this offer. He’ll have many more to choose from by then.
LSAT Demon student Brandon has a half-tuition offer at a top-20 school, plus a full-ride offer at the next-highest ranked school on his list. Brandon’s stats: an abysmal 2.5 UGPA alongside four official LSATs of 152, 164, 158, and 168.
Both applicants improved their LSAT scores dramatically. Both applied at the beginning of the admissions cycle. Both will attend law school for free.
Our mission statement at LSAT Demon is “don’t pay for law school.” You don’t have to be a perfect applicant to make that happen. But you do need to understand the game you’re playing and play in a way that takes advantage of its rules.
- Law schools use rolling admissions. This means they open their applications in the fall for the following fall’s entering class. And they immediately start throwing scholarship offers around in an attempt to poach the best applicants.
- Law schools give full-tuition scholarships—and sometimes even stipends—to applicants with LSATs and GPAs that will lift the numbers on their American Bar Association 509 profile and, in turn, lift the schools’ rankings. To see what kind of scholarships you might expect with any GPA/LSAT combination, visit our Scholarship Estimator at LSATdemon.com/scholarships. (The Estimator aggregates publicly available 509 data on tuition, scholarships, and LSAT/GPA percentiles to make its predictions.)
- Law schools care about only your highest LSAT score because that’s what they have to report to the ABA. If some random school tells you otherwise, then they are mistaken, lying, or making applications decisions that lower their public ABA 509 profile, which will undermine that school’s ranking. (Why would you want to go to a school that does that?)
- The LSAT is learnable. Excited students tell us about 15-, 20-, and even 25-point improvements every time scores are released.
- Law school in the United States is wildly overpriced. One big reason that tuition is so out of whack is the scholarships. Simply put, law schools are charging everyone a different price. If you’re not getting a scholarship, you’re paying for someone else’s. The reason we say “don’t pay for law school” is that you simply don’t have to.
In the coming weeks, Ronnie and Brandon will continue receiving offers. These offers will have deposit deadlines sometime in the spring. Ronnie and Brandon will have the option to accept whichever offers they like best—and they’ll have time to negotiate even better offers before settling on anything.
If you’re thinking about applying in October or beyond, you’re already standing in line behind applicants like Ronnie and Brandon. Yes, you could still get into great schools. Yes, you could still get great scholarship offers. I’m not saying these things are impossible. But I am saying your plan is suboptimal. The later you apply, the more offers will already have been made. Those seats and scholarship offers will be unavailable to late applicants while the Ronnies and Brandons of the world make their decisions.
Our advice is to apply with your best LSAT score.
Our advice is to apply in September, or next September, or the September after that. Or not at all.
The reason we say those things is that they serve our broader mission. Don’t pay for law school.
People who follow our advice—people like Ronnie and Brandon—will save themselves $150,000 or more in law school tuition. People who don’t follow our advice will foot the bill.
We didn’t create these rules. We’re just telling you how to take advantage of them. None of this is new or shows any sign of changing. In highly competitive cycles, and in down cycles, students who apply early with their best LSAT scores get the best offers.
If you’re considering applying in October or beyond, just don’t. Wait until September 1 of next year. Keep working on the LSAT—you can take multiple shots at it between now and then. And by this time next year, you may already have your first offers in hand.
Paid Demon subscribers can comment on this post below. Anyone can email me directly: email@example.com.