Law School Scholarships

Should You Accept Law School Scholarships that Go Out for Merit

Amazon ImageMerit-based legal education scholarships were virtually unheard of up to the mid-80s. Something happened though when USNews began to publish rankings for law schools. Those rankings are based in part on the kind of grades and GPAs that the students at every law school have. When they began to rank law schools this way, the schools right away became desperate.

They knew that they had to get the best students in the door or face being pushed down in the rankings. That’s when they devised merit-based law school scholarships. The idea was a cunning one.

The idea was to offer scholarships to every talented law school student who applied. But they would design a back door (for themselves) into the scholarships. They would tell applicants that they would have to maintain a 3.0 GPA and a B grade throughout.

How is this a back door out, you’re probably wondering. It doesn’t sound like a terrible burden to have maintained a 3.0 GPA. Therein lies their trick.

These colleges do not have the money to hand lots of merit based law school scholarships out. But they do want those students. So they maintain a strict quota for the number of B grades that they will allow each year. In other words, when a student receives a scholarship offer, it’s nothing but complete lie. The school just doesn’t intend to make good on its promise.

They just give out scholarships for the first year. And then, they give most students poor grades, no matter how hard they study. At the end of the year, these students will discover that they haven’t made the cut. They’ll be staring at a tuition bill for tens of thousands of dollars for the years to come.

So what do the colleges have to say about this strange game that they play?

They say that there is plenty of information available in their prospectus and all the other literature they offer students. It’s in the fine print somewhere, they say.

Amazon ImageActually, that’s not quite true. You do need to a bit of deep investigative accounting to uncover all of this even if you do have these materials. For instance, the school expects you to look at the median grade that they publish there. If their median grade is 2.5, you’re supposed to guess from this that it should be very difficult to achieve a 3.0.

A lot also depends on how many other students in your class have accepted these merit-based scholarships. You need to hunt around on the website to find out how many. Once they put all this together, you should be able to find out if the scholarship for education you’re offered really makes any sense.

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