If you are currently a law student or were thinking of enrolling, knowing how to manage your student debt will allow you to recover much faster once you’re done and enter the job market.
Law school doesn’t come cheap, and it might take time before you’re able to find a position once you get out. However, there are some ways that you can keep your debt under control that anyone can implement. Here are a few of them.
Get a Scholarship
Most law schools will have merit-based scholarship programs available to students. These are awarded based on academic achievements only, unlike need based scholarships. These will usually be awarded based on your score on your LSAT and GPA.
Some universities will have a variety of different scholarships, all with different admission requirements. South Dakota law school scholarships, for instance, will take a variety of factors into consideration. Their Frank Biegelmeier Scholarship is reserved for those who were thinking of working in public service in South Dakota after graduation.
The Everett A. Bogue Memorial Law Scholarship is reserved for law students in their first year who manage to rank among the top 25% of their class and have a spotless disciplinary record. And the Joy Cunningham Scholarship is awarded to students with special financial needs and are member of a federally recognized tribe.
So, don’t expect that because your GPA is not in the top percentile that you aren’t eligible for a scholarship. Check out the many scholarships available at your university and also consider independent scholarships offered by third parties. Don’t dismiss smaller scholarships either. Since they often have less applicants, you’ll have a better chance of actually landing them. And you can always get multiple scholarships at once.
While law school is never cheap, it would be better if you considered options beyond Ivy League schools. While Georgetown or Harvard Law might seem tempting, they will set you back a bit. And the gamble isn’t always worth it either.
Try to look for state schools if you’re a resident, or online programs as well. While tuition fees for online programs aren’t always cheaper, you’ll be able to save on other costs like lodging, transport and manuals.
Get Supplemental Income
If you don’t have a support system to pay for tuition, then you’ll have no choice but to find work during the time you’re in law school. Getting a campus job is a great way to alleviate some of the costs while staying close to school grounds.
If you can, try to get a campus job that complements your skills and interests and apply as soon as you can. Ideally, you should apply before your semester since on-campus jobs tend to fill up very quick. If you’re starting in September, start inquiring in the summer to better your chances.
Another way to increase your chances of getting on-campus work is to network. Join student organizations, talk with professors and visit the departments you’re interested in. If you manage to build a rapport with people in managerial positions, you’ll be halfway through the door when you submit your application.
As you can see, controlling your debt can be done if you know how to go about it. Apply these few tips, and you should be able to control or completely erase your debt by the time you graduate.
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