Finding scholarships for law school involves many of the same strategies as finding scholarships for other professional school programs, as I have discussed in earlier posts. Here are some important things to consider as you search for law school funding:
1. Always investigate all scholarship opportunities at the schools you’re applying to. Especially if you have a particularly strong undergraduate record, are a member of an underrepresented group, or plan a career in public interest law, you might find that there are special fellowships offered by the law schools themselves.
2. Carefully research extramural funding opportunities that you qualify for based on your background, interests, affiliations, and goals. Are there professional organizations for the area of law you are most interested in pursuing? Often, such organizations offer scholarships to support the next generation of leaders in their field (again, this is particularly true of public interest fields).
3. Sometimes, field-specific fellowships are directed at third-year law students: if you find listings that interest you, make note of them so that you’ll be aware of them when you’re advanced enough in your program to apply.
4. As I discussed in my post on med school scholarships, there are a number of general graduate/professional fellowships that may be used for any field. Examples include the Soros Fellowship for New Americans —$20k/year plus half tuition for up to 2 years) and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarships — up to $50k/year for up to 6 years).
5. Find additional scholarship opportunities by searching online databases that allow you to create a tailored profile. Examples include www.fastweb.com and www.scholarshipexperts.com. Scholarship books can also be a very helpful resource, allowing you to search by your field of interest, the name of the sponsoring organization, and other terms. A targeted reference for law school applicants is How to Pay for Your Law Degree by Gail Schlachter, available as an e-book from Reference Service Press.
Start your search early and be aware of all deadlines. Like your admissions applications, scholarship applications will generally require essays, recommendations, and transcripts. Your effort can pay off in reduced debt and a distinguished resume!
By Dr. Rebecca Blustein, Accepted.com editor and former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center. Dr. Blustein can help you with your application or scholarship essays.