I'm nearly 27 years old, and will be almost 28 when I start law school in Fall 2005. I have been working full time as a computer engineer since graduating from college in 1999. When I started thinking about law school several months ago, there were so many potential obstacles that I couldn't think about the big picture - I got the ball rolling and concentrated on one thing at a time. First practicing for the LSAT, then getting letters of recommendation, even though I'm in the difficult position of having been out of school too long to get anything meaningful from past professors, and not being able to go to my current and only employer because I cannot reveal my plans to leave so far in advance. At any rate, I'll be taking the LSAT in early October. Based on the dozens and dozens of practice exams I've taken, I should score in the 166-172 range. Obviously, my goal is the higher end of that range. My undergrand GPA at Penn State was 2.86 in electrical engineering. I've punched the numbers into the admissions calculators on the Internet, and come up with a short list of schools to which I would like to apply, at which my estimated LSAT scores give me anywhere from 10% to 90% chance of admission. So in a few short months, I expect the acceptance letters and rejections to start rolling in. I'm now approaching the next obstacle in my road to law school: Paying for it. From what I can tell so far, the good thing is that price is not an issue with most of the top law schools: They all cost around $30,000/year, give or take a couple grand. I have noticed a couple exceptions, notably Texas (Especially for in state residents). But all my calculations assume about $30,000/year for tuition, regardless of which school I choose. Since I don't have $90,000 sitting in the bank (Or even $10,000, for that matter), my law school plans are entirely contingent upon borrowing money - Which I have no problem doing. At the same time, I'm hopeful that a great LSAT score (172 or up) might get me some scholarships or grants? How common are they? Does anyone with such a low GPA have a shot at any grant-based financial assistance, no matter how close I come to acing the LSAT? Assuming no grants or scholarships, and $20,000 a year cost of living expenses, I'd have to borrow $150,000 for 3 years of law school. Will it even be possible for me to borrow this much money? Once I exhaust all government funds, to what extent are private lenders willing to go? The one thing I do have going for me is a perfect credit rating, but I'd trade it in a second for a decent GPA
Do a lot of people have part time jobs in law school? Is working 15-20 hours a week waiting tables or tending bar feasible in a top law program? I hope this wasn't too rambling, but this is my first step and I have so many unanswered questions about paying for everything at this point. Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!