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Fee waivers from Top Law Schools

avstepanianavstepanian Starter Alum Member
edited January 2015 in General 33 karma
So I heard from a few people that Top Schools were sending them fee waivers to apply even though their LSAT scores were below (some even 5 points less) than the 25th percentile acceptances. Are these schools doing this on purpose to make applicants apply and just reject them so that their "stats" look good?


  • msmith85msmith85 Starter Alum Member
    edited January 2015 213 karma

    This has been happening to me. Two schools far beyond my reach have sent me waivers and while I guess its harmless to apply because it is free but I feel a bit confused. Why do schools do this? Especially top schools which have a large pool of applicants?
  • joegotbored-1joegotbored-1 Ultimate Alum Member
    edited January 2015 802 karma
    Quick note, even with a waiver from these schools, it isn't free to apply. LSAC charges you for every application you send through the CAS. That fee is in the $25 neighborhood... I'm too lazy to look right now.

    And yes, their rankings are affected, if only slightly, by their selectivity. Selectivity is formulaically derived and one of the variables is number of applicants. Since they only have to show LSAT stats for those that actually attend (which is different from the pool they admit!), it's in their interest to inflate their pool of applicants as much as possible.

    If you're a cynic, you might even think this is why certain schools show their full LSAT range, as opposed to their 25%-75%. If they admit one kid with a 15X at Columbia, even though EVERYONE else they admit scored far higher, then future applicants might see that and think, "Hey, that could be me!" I don't know that they do this, but for some schools, I wouldn't say it's out of the question. Remember your sample bias questions from the LSAT. That's why ABA makes them publish the 25-75%, but doesn't require the full range. Too much room for manipulation.

    Edit: removed a random incomplete sentence fragment. Does not change my post at all.
  • tsamvelyantsamvelyan Premium Alum Member
    431 karma
    @joegotbored-1 Yup. And, this is yet another reason why the whole US News ranking system has driven law school admissions to do these kinds of shady things. I've received like 5 e-mails already from top law school where my LSAT score is at least 5-6 points lower than their 25% and they're trying to "convince" me to apply.....phhhleeze
  • msmith85msmith85 Starter Alum Member
    213 karma
    Thanks Joe and Tsamvelyan. Good explanation. I suppose it makes sense!
  • When UCLA and Harvard law came to visit my university, the reps both gave out fee waiver codes and said lsac is the one who requires them to charge otherwise they wouldn't. So I guess yeah their just giving out fee waiver codes cause they understand law school is expensive and their trying to make it easier on us unlike lsac
  • joegotbored-1joegotbored-1 Ultimate Alum Member
    802 karma
    @Roy. I can't believe that LSAC requires them to charge a fee to apply. LSAC already charges its own fee, and schools up and down the rankings charge between 0$ and $80 to apply. Since some are free, I can't imagine LSAC actually requires a fee in addition to what they already charge us to send our candidate reports.

    Does anyone know if this is true? Also, Roy, did you by chance go to an elite college? Having schools like Harvard and UCLA offer fee waivers on campus sounds a bit odd unless you went to some place like Wellesley or MIT or something.
  • @joe. I went to university of southern California where the tuition is $50,000 and it's known to be the school of rich kids. UCLA is actually our neighbor and rivary school so I don't think especially UCLA would want to help us out.
  • Also, for those who cannot afford the fees, lsac will waive them all and reimburse the fees you have already paid if you qualify for fee waiver. They'll need your parents tax returns and your own tax return. You have to apply for fee waiver on by signing into your account.
  • jdawg113jdawg113 Ultimate Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    LSAC fee waivers are by no means easy to get lol LSAC is stingy af
  • danballinger5danballinger5 Starter Alum Member
    198 karma
    My scores are above the 25% for most top schools and nobody has sent me anything. Why don't they love me!!!

    I wonder if they just want some extra $$ from people they are likely to deny.
  • abe_hernandez08-1abe_hernandez08-1 Starter Alum Member
    18 karma
    I've been wondering the same thing, Going through my emails once I saw the fee waive part on a couple I researched them and noticed the median LSAT score was higher than my score some being top 15 schools. I am thinking the same thing probably just to keep their acceptability rate stable or something. I might apply after the ones that I do meet the requirements first. Has anyone found anything online about it?
  • joegotbored-1joegotbored-1 Ultimate Alum Member
    edited January 2015 802 karma
    @Roy, awesome that you went to USC and that the big names showered waivers on you! Curious, will you be applying to USC? It's on my list, so I'm wondering what you thought of it...
  • @joe usc has the best litigation law in the country. I am studying family law so I am not really interested in usc. However, I also want to get out of Los Angeles so even though I'm applying to USC I will not go there if I have a better opportunity.

    I have also worked at usc law school admission office and career office for law students. They throw many great opportunities to their students. We make a deal with some of the biggest firms in the country to come out and provide usc law students with life time career after law school or summer internship. The counselors and everyone in the law school is friendly. I would def. Apply there is you are thinking about it. Good luck
  • Also, I don't know why you guys are so worried that just because you didn't get fee waiver you are being denied or something. They don't know who can afford it or not. If you haven't applied for fee waiver then how are the schools supposed to know you can't afford it and offer you a fee waiver?
  • stepharizonastepharizona Starter Alum Member
    edited January 2015 3197 karma
    @danballinger5 do you have your LSAC set so it can be reviewed? I haven't received any waivers from top 5 schools, but I have from top 20, and my UGPA, is a 3.35 and I haven't even taken the LSAT yet.I just started an application to their schools. I am a NTS so maybe my work or graduate GPA has had some effect, but I doubt it. I also have a few schools find me on linkedin, and I got a waiver that way.
  • danballinger5danballinger5 Starter Alum Member
    198 karma
    I hope no one took my joking response seriously. If I wanted fee waivers I would just email the schools and ask. I seem to be a unique applicant, I am not surprised I haven't been offered any fee waivers. Funny though, last time I went through this process, I was still getting fee waiver offers from low tier schools well into the summer.
  • turnercmturnercm Starter Alum Member 🍌
    edited January 2015 770 karma
    attending law school fairs and signing mailing lists meant getting lots of fee waivers just for showing up! and, as stated, fee waivers do not imply an increased likelihood of acceptance. don't be fooled D:
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