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How to Get a Full Scholarship for Law School

They say the best things in life are free, but they probably didn't go to law school.

Law school costs a lot of money, and maybe law school isn't the best thing. But you don't have to pay for law school if you know how to get a full-ride scholarship.

You know already that you have to do well in undergraduate school, excel on your admissions test, and apply to the law school that gives you a competitive advantage for a scholarship. Here are some more things maybe you didn't know:

Early Decision

Some scholarships are offered exclusively to applicants who commit early. Pritzker School of Law, for example, offered a $150,000 merit scholarship to early-decision applicants. The University of Texas, Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis also offer them.

"It's not a program for everybody, because students often want to look at a variety of options, and this program precludes them from doing that," according to Alissa Leonard, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid at Boston University.

U.S. News reports that applicants should try as early as possible because decisions are typically made in cycles each year.

Deferred Admission

If you plan early enough, law schools give applicants opportunities to commit and defer admission for other opportunities. That includes making money for law school.

Harvard, for example, encourages deferred admissions for applicants to take at least two years before starting their legal studies. It's long enough to make some money, save some money or even get the government to pay for law school.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the government will pay more than $20,000 a year for private schools and all tuition for in-state students at public universities. With law schools like Syracuse and Wyoming cutting tuition in half, it's a buyers market.

Special Scholarships

While every law school offers financial assistance, there are even more external scholarships. Yale directs applicants to outside scholarships based on home country, state, diversity, disability and other special programs.

Unlike many merit scholarships, which typically go to students who don't need financial aid, some special scholarships are based on interest groups' preferences. Put them all together, and you can get a free ride.

Such scholarships are available to students interested in animal law, Indian studies, women's rights, for example, as well as those concerned about diabetes, autism, leukemia, and a host of other issues.

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