Transcript

Jenifer: I think the best thing when a school is silent and you're curious is to call and ask or to email and ask the general admissions account just what the policy is. And then that way, you know how to proceed, whether you need to be preparing an email that goes into a little bit more detail and actually making the ask or scheduling that meeting where you do that.

You'll have the information that you need to know how to move forward, but you definitely should just ask what the policy is when none is stated.

J.Y.: Hello, and welcome to the 7Sage podcast. I'm J.Y. Ping, and on today's episode, 7Sage admissions consultants Tajira McCoy, Elizabeth Cavallari, and Jenifer Godfrey host the Clubhouse Room for law school candidates to discuss scholarship negotiations and reconsideration.

Tajira moderates the panel, inviting the audience to inquire about scholarship offers, the timing of scholarship increase requests, and negotiation strategy. So without further ado, please enjoy the conversation.

Tajira: Good evening and welcome, everyone. I'm Tajira McCoy, but you can call me Taj. I'm a professional writer and law school admissions and administration professional. For 10 years, I worked in law school admissions at four schools, spanning public and private institutions, including two Jesuit schools, a T14 school, and an HBCU.

Most recently, I served as the director of admissions and scholarship programs at Berkeley Law and the director of career services at the University of San Francisco School of Law, before joining 7Sage as an admissions consultant and project manager. Tonight, we have a fun conversation planned for you that's all about scholarships. Tonight's panelists, my colleagues and I, represent 7Sage.

For those preparing to apply to law schools, 7Sage offers LSAT preparation, admissions consulting, and editing services. If you visit our website, 7Sage.com, you can create a free account, which gives you access to some sample lessons, an LSAT prep test, and a hundred question explanations. The free account also gives you access to our discussion forum, where you can ask questions about the admissions process, hear from other 7Sagers who are currently in the process, and learn about other events we have coming up.

You can also follow us on Twitter. Our handle is @7Admissions. The three of us on the panel are admissions consultants and have worked on admissions teams at various law schools across the country.

So, literally, tonight's conversation is all about money: negotiations, reconsideration, and the like. I'll be facilitating the panel questions and then we'll open up the conversation for some Q&A. I encourage you all to ping your friends who may be interested in this conversation or who have questions themselves.

And if you're not already a member of Club 7Sage, I encourage you to tap on the green house at the top of your screen. It'll take you to our Club page, where you can follow us and be notified of upcoming events. We do plan to have one next month that will be on waitlist offers and letters of continued interest.

So let's go ahead and get started. So, to my panelists, welcome. I would love to have each of you please introduce yourself, share which schools' admissions teams you served on, and then we can go ahead and get started. And Elizabeth, I'll start with you.

Elizabeth: Hi everyone. My name's Elizabeth Cavallari. For six years, I was the senior assistant dean for admission at William and Mary Law School. I also have served in undergraduate and graduate admissions.

Tajira: Great. And Jen?

Jenifer: Hi everyone. My name is Jen Godfrey. Happy to be here. I have about 10 years of experience in law school admissions. I worked at the University of Idaho, also at Louisiana State University, and at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. At each of those institutions, I played a lead role in scholarship awards. So, very happy to help you guys out on negotiating the money.

Tajira: Wonderful. So the three of us have each had extensive experience when it comes to scholarships, scholarship committees, review, negotiations, reconsideration. And so I have some questions for our panelists, and if you think of anything that I don't ask, please go ahead and jot it down. The last 15 to 20 minutes or so we'll dedicate to you all being able to ask questions as well. So certainly hang on to those, and then at the appointed time, I will ask people to raise their hands and bring them up on stage to ask their questions.

And so the first question is, and I think for many of these, several of us are going to answer, but the first question is, what do admissions officers consider when making scholarship awards? And I'll start with you, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: So I would say, first and foremost, when I was looking at making scholarship awards, I was looking at LSAT and GPA. And then in breaking down the GPA a little bit more, I look at rigor of curriculum. But generally, there's like certain benchmarks based on LSAT and GPA, and then from there, all those other factors, so work experience, recommendations, quality of writing. All of that could potentially increase the scholarship offers.

So while, for me, it was primarily numbers driven, the other pieces certainly made a difference in awarding initial aid but then also in reconsidering merit aid.

Tajira: Anything to add, Jen?

Jenifer: I would say at the institutions where I worked, we certainly, of course, were very interested in the numbers, like Elizabeth stated, but we also had different sets, different pools of money, and so a lot of times we had pools that maybe were geared toward diversity, or broadly speaking, so of course in those instances it was numbers plus those other elements as well.

And then also we honestly were very interested in just the likelihood of whether the award would actually influence the applicant to accept our offer. And so sometimes even an applicant that had outstanding numbers, it wasn't out of the norm for us sometimes just to kind of test the waters by not giving a scholarship, to see if they would say something because that would indicate that they were actually interested and, you know, kind of felt like, hey, come on, man. I need the money.

And so it made us feel like it was worth it to extend that offer and not have that scholarship on the books, so to speak, if it wasn't really going to make an impact with that student.

Tajira: That's really helpful information. And I would add, you know, of course we're looking at LSATs and GPAs and things like that, especially when it comes to merit awards, but there are still many schools that also consider based on need. And that might be based on a FAFSA, it might be based on that school-specific institutional aid form.

It can include any number of factors, but it's something that helps us determine based on someone's need. Can we also give award from that particular pot of money? There are also awards that are based on endowments, and so a lot of times we call those institutional aid. There are special named awards based on donors who have decided to give and have designated funding for very specific groups of people and/or areas of interest.

And so there's a lot of different moving parts when it comes to awarding scholarship. It doesn't all come from one pool, but there are certainly different ways that you can go about going after that money, even in the negotiation part.

So to move on to our next question, and I'll start with you, Jen, what would you say is the difference, or is there a difference between scholarship negotiation and reconsideration?

Jenifer: In my experience, the difference, at least at my schools, when we use those two different terms, would be, you know, the scholarship negotiation is, you know, when we would already, we've made the award and the applicant has come back with some sort of leverage. Maybe they have another offer from other schools and they're trying to negotiate a higher award.

Reconsideration sometimes just comes with, you know, maybe a lower offer coming in or no offer coming in, and we would then take another look at that applicant after that April 15th deadline has passed, and we might have additional funds on the table that we can then go back and say, hey, is there someone that maybe seems out of alignment or didn't receive anything at all? Now we can look at them, or a second time, with this newly found money.

Tajira: Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: I, personally, don't like the term negotiation and I know what people use it pretty frequently, but when I would hear from an applicant and they would reach out and say, I want to negotiate my scholarship, it never quite sat super well. I would still, you know, go through the process, but I prefer to be like, I'd like you to reconsider, where it felt like more of a level of respect rather than saying, like, I'm a used car salesman.

I think when you're talking about negotiation or reconsideration, it's the way you approach it really does make a difference.

Tajira: It's funny that you say that because I actually think the same thing. I think in years past, there was a lot more leverage on the student side, especially as we were coming out of maybe the subprime in 2008, 2009, and there was a shortage of applicants, and it felt like there was this leverage that students had to really negotiate and try to get schools to match offers from others.

But even schools that used to have matching programs have moved away from those. And reconsideration seems to be a little bit more of the norm, at least in my view. And so it's really interesting that I thought you said that, because I'm with you there.

In going into negotiation/reconsideration, do all law schools negotiate? Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: No, not all schools will look at your scholarship offer or no scholarship offer in trying to think about you for merit aid again. So it really does depend on the school. I think it's important to look at what schools are saying in their directions. So some schools might say we'll consider schools that are similarly ranked.

Others might say that they don't offer merit aid, but they're willing to consider you for "additional need-based aid." And others will say that they reconsider and some will say they don't do it at all. So I think it's really important to check with each individual school to see what their policy is.

Tajira: And some will actually look at the possibility of increasing awards without considering any other offers. It's really interesting how different the policies can be across the board, but it is something that, you know, I would highly recommend that candidates research because it varies vastly. You know, some schools want to see all of the offers that you've received while others only want to see what you perceive to be your strongest offer.

And that might be from the school that's ranked the highest, or it might be from the school who gave you the biggest award. It's based on your perception of which of those awards is the strongest. And I would say that that's really based on which one you're most likely to go to other than the school that you're requesting an increase from.

And so it just depends. But definitely research is tantamount here when it comes to scholarship. What would you say you should do if the school doesn't publicize a scholarship negotiation policy, Jen?

Jenifer: I think the best thing when a school is silent and you're curious is to call and ask or to email and ask the general admissions account just what the policy is. And then that way, you know how to proceed, whether you need to be preparing an email that goes into a little bit more detail and actually making the ask or scheduling that meeting where you do that. You'll have the information that you need to know how to move forward, but you definitely should just ask what the policy is when none is stated.

Tajira: Great, thank you. And if the admissions office says that they don't negotiate, what is your thought on someone still sending other offers that they received? Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Kind of waffle back and forth on this, because I think when schools say, some schools say they don't negotiate merit aid, but I've seen them increase other types of aid as kind of a reconsideration. So I think that's something where I would probably pick up the phone and ask the question and say, "I understand you don't negotiate, but I'm wondering if I can send you my offers in terms of cost of attendance from other schools in case your office decides to do any reconsideration down the road."

And so that way it's, you're saying yes, I'd like more aid, but you're saying it in a way that is, feels more general versus like them pushing it on the school. But, Tajira and Jen, you guys might feel differently on this.

Tajira: Jen, any feelings?

Jenifer: I just really come from a school of thought where, you know, you have to shoot your shot, you have to ask for what you want. And there is a way to go about it respectfully, as Elizabeth suggested.

But I think that what, what I advise clients to do is they go in, of course, saying, "Hey, I understand that this is not something that you do. I really want to come here, but I'm struggling because I have this other offer, and what is it that I can do, what can I avail myself of at your school that could potentially, you know, lower my price tags? So are there other opportunities in terms of need-based aid? Are there other opportunities that I can apply for? Are there assistanceships in the second and third year?"

So basically just having a conversation about other ways that could make it more affordable for you, but, of course, mentioning that the reason why you're struggling is you have this other great scholarship offer. And I think a, just because that, again, like I said, as part of my, kind of my values, but I also think that the reasons for a school saying that they don't negotiate vary, and some schools, they state that just because they don't really feel like they have the ability to, but when they have the information, sometimes I love to know. So you never know if that might get your name to the top of a discussion for a different opportunity later. So I think it is better to just shoot your shot.

Tajira: Along those same lines, Jen, if a school limits consideration to reviewing one offer, how would you feel about a student that sends in all of their offers?

Jenifer: So at that point, I think you're doing too much. When they tell you only one, give them only one. And so you are going to have to seek some counsel with someone outside of that school to really, you know, if you're feeling unsure about which one is the best one, then you'll need to put your head together with someone and actually follow the instructions in that scenario.

Tajira: Anything to add there, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: No, I agree with that. I think especially when a school is saying like, but very simply, only give us one offer and that's clear in their instructions and you totally violate it, that it shows kind of professional judgment or lack of judgment.

Tajira: Yeah, I would agree with that as well. And so coming back to the panel questions, Elizabeth, I'm going to come to you first. Let's say that the school wants to consider a candidate's best offer. How would you advise them, you know, because sometimes to a candidate that means the highest offer they've received total. Sometimes that means from the school that's closest to this other school in the rankings. How do you determine which is the offer that you should submit?

Elizabeth: That's a great question. There's also another piece that I would look at. And when I was looking at scholarship considerations, I would also look at which one had the lowest cost of attendance overall. So if school X offered 30,000 but school Y offered 40,000, and you're going back to school X saying, well, this other school offered me 40,000, but the initial school is $20,000 cheaper, it's actually not, I think, a comparable scholarship request.

So I think that's also important to consider, what is the actual cost from these schools, before you go back to a school and say, here's my best offer from another school. So I would say the best offer would be a combination of lowest cost of attendance. But it could also be ranking.

And so I think that would kind of be a personal judgment where if your choice is between the school that's maybe a higher rank, but scholarship could entice you to go to another school, and that could be considered your best offer. Or if you're kind of looking at schools all of similar rank, I would say the best offer would be the one that offers you the lowest cost of attendance.

Tajira: Is there anything you would add, Jen?

Jenifer: No, I would agree with it.

Tajira: I would too, actually. Now, Jen, how does it work? How do I approach a school to negotiate scholarship or to ask for reconsideration if they haven't made me any offers as of yet?

Jenifer: So this is a person who I'm assuming has offers from some other place. They just have not heard back and, or just have not received a scholarship from the school that they desire one from. I think the approach is somewhat the same. You might, you know, of course, verify, I think, first that you have actually been considered for scholarships. Because I think that sometimes applicants come in hot a little prematurely, not really realizing when the school does that in their process.

But if you, you know, get confirmation that you have been considered and you have not received an award, then that's when you might respectfully request that they consider the fact that you have been offered another award from maybe a similarly ranked school or one that offers you a better overall cost of attendance, et cetera, the things that we have talked about before. But I think the process is much the same, other than that initial step of confirming that you have actually been considered already.

Tajira: Great. Anything to add there, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Nope. I think that answered it pretty concisely.

Tajira: Perfect. Thank you so much. If I were to negotiate with a school and they increased my award, but then I get a better offer elsewhere, can I ask for more? Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: That's where I feel like it gets into some muddy waters where it really kind of is a judgment call. You don't want to continually go back and forth to this school, because at some point, the school is going to say like, nope, this feels like you're playing one school against another.

But if you did get reconsidered and they increased an award, and then another offer came that wasn't necessarily part of your negotiation, then I think it's okay to say, in good faith, "I received this other offer that I wasn't expecting and so I'm hoping you'd be able to consider me again." But the idea of continuing to kind of negotiate back and forth, back and forth, just doesn't kind of leave a good taste in my mouth. I've seen people do it, but it's not necessarily successful.

Tajira: I would agree with that. And I think it's extremely important to read the fine print of these negotiation and reconsideration policies, because some schools actually explicitly limit the number of times that people can come back and request. There are schools that only give one bite at the apple.

And so then you have to be strategic in when you're coming to that school to request that increase, because if you come too early and you get a better offer, well, that's too bad, you've already made your request and they won't consider again. And so it's really, really important to be aware of how each school moves in terms of these policies. Definitely ask questions if it's unclear to you, definitely be mindful of your commitment deadlines, because that often ends up coming into play as well.

There are some schools that will extend commitment deadlines for some reasons, but not indefinitely and not for just any reason. They certainly don't want to give an extension just because you haven't heard from your top choice. Be wary of that, but also be really strategic in thinking about what all of your options are.

If you were to not receive a reconsideration decision in time, you know, what would your decision be? You have to think about, you know, if I have all of the information that I'm going to have today, what would my decision be, and how would it change based on these factors adjusting? If I were to hear back from this school and they do give me an increase, or this school decides not to, think about all of the different ways that this could play out, but always keep in mind your priorities as you're doing this, right?

Because before the money conversations, there were other priorities when it came to law school. That might be location, that might be programs, that might be certain faculty that you wanted to work with or certain types of clinics where you wanted to get hands-on experience. Once we start talking money, everything gets a little bit muddled and people really focus in on that one thing, but that's not the only thing that determines your fit for a school. So make sure that you're keeping all of that in mind as you're thinking about these awards.

So, moving forward, this next question, Jen, is for you. Are there any instances in your experience where a school will keep an applicant in mind for more money even after the negotiation process is over?

Jenifer: Yes. I mean, that definitely was something that I was up to over the course of my career. If there was a student that I really was worried that I would possibly lose over the summer, because I knew it was someone who was very realistically on a waitlist or competitor schools that, you know, they would likely be moved on over the summer, I would always kind of have a little flag or a note on their file that if push came to shove, we needed to find some money.

But then also just students who might've made that really respectful ask and maybe have very compelling reasons, maybe citing that they were, you know, drawn to a public interest career and they really were just concerned about their ability to live well after law school. If I didn't have the money at, you know, in April or in March when they asked, I would keep an eye out for if I did lose another student where that money, you know, frees up, I would have that student in mind kind of first and foremost.

Tajira: Elizabeth, what about you?

Elizabeth: I think what Jen mentioned, but schools often have like fellowships that they initially award, and then if that person might not ultimately attend, like I would go back to people that I've kind of built a relationship in the process and consider them for that.

There's other times where there were students that I was able to give a little bit more money to, and they came, and they were intending to come, but I knew it wasn't quite enough, but they were still trying to make it work. And so if there's any kind of wiggle room in scholarship budget, I have been able to go back. But I think that is really built upon like relationships that formed between admissions officers and applicants.

Tajira: Great. Yeah, I did the same thing. Oftentimes, you know, through renegotiation, you really learn about students and what they've got going on financially and what they're hoping to achieve, and a lot of times, reconsideration is to provide the increases that you can, but your goal is also to touch as many people as possible.

What I used to do was I would keep kind of a running list of folks who reached out to me and would say, you know, "Hey, you know, Tajira, if there's anything else that frees up, even if it's $500, if anything frees up after commitment deadlines, would you please consider me?"

And I literally kept a running list and I would wait until after all the commitment deadlines passed to see, you know, once the dust settled and some of the summer melt started to happen, did money free up? Was there anything that I could distribute to those few that were still hoping for just a little bit of a bump where maybe they didn't get some huge merit scholarship or maybe they kind of maxed out on need aid, but that wasn't really enough?

Was there a little bit more that we could kind of push in their direction in an effort of goodwill? And so I think that it's always a good idea to ask questions and to get to know the folks in admissions who are making these decisions, because they are people and they get it. They know how expensive this is. They want to help where possible.

They can't necessarily do it all at once, but staying on their radar is a good idea. Especially if you know, like, hey, I'm going to commit to this school regardless, but if anything frees up, would you please consider me? And that is a reasonable request.

Let's see. Next question is, I had this happen recently. I'm interested to see, ladies, what your take is on this. What would you say for a candidate who has applied to schools, and the schools say that more money might free up after commitment deadlines. And so if they check a box saying, yes, consider me after commitment deadlines, it's possible that the awards will be bigger. Is it best to agree to wait for consideration after those deadlines passed, if they intend to go to that school regardless? Elizabeth, I'll start with you.

Elizabeth: Ah, this feels like a really hard one. I think for me, this would be a really tough thing, because if you're already telling a school, yes, I'm going to come anyways, regardless of my financial offer, then it doesn't necessarily entice a school to maybe want to give you money after that deadline.

But we also don't want people putting down multiple deposits for schools, but we understand that finances are a reason why some people do that. And so if I think you were to say, yes, I'm going to click that button, I think I would make sure to have a conversation with the admissions office, like how much finances are playing a role and to kind of gauge kind of their thought process about how it's worked in the past, and if there potentially is a strong likelihood of receiving aid. But I'm interested to hear what you all think about this too.

Tajira: Jen?

Jenifer: This one is hard. And then in a way, somewhat of an unfair position to put an applicant in. I hate to sound too judgmental, but I do think I would tell an applicant honestly to put their ask in before. I mean, granted, it sounds like it's kind of this form sort of situation. I mean, a lot of times people aren't in a position to put down money for the possibility of maybe getting money that they need later. So I don't know that many applicants are in a position to play that game. So I know that doesn't really answer the question, but I do think that it's a pretty rotten position to put applicants in.

Tajira: Yeah, I'm of the same frame of mind. And this actually happened to a client of mine recently. And for me, the first thing I thought of was, you think to even just last year's cycle, right? Last year, volume was incredibly high and schools were inundated and overenrolled. That meant that in last year's situation, it's unlikely that any money freed up, and so where does that leave that person that agreed to be considered later?

It leaves them in a worse-off position because there is no money. And so, in thinking about my client, that's what we discussed. They're telling you that the money might free up, which means it might not. And so to agree to be considered in the off chance that additional funding frees up puts you in a worse position.

And so I said, first of all, even though you intend to go to that school regardless, they don't know that. So go ahead and let them consider you up front because they have more money now, they have money now, whereas later there's no guarantee that they will. And so it's important to think about it in terms of that distinction, unless they're giving you some sort of concrete information that says, oh no, well, we actually hold a certain portion of our budget for after, which seems unlikely to me.

You want to make sure that you're putting yourself in the best position, and while it's kind to defer to schools to make that very best decision, you've got to think about yourself first. This is you advocating on behalf of yourself and to make sure that you're doing that in this.

The next question that I have is, if I get an increase after negotiating and then get pulled from a waitlist at a top school, let's say Harvard, can I use that as leverage to negotiate again? Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: I think that would probably depend to me on intentionality. And so if your plan is to go to Harvard regardless, and you're hoping that if you go back to the school that you were initially deposited at, because maybe you can get some money from Harvard, that's not necessarily the way to do it.

But if you got pulled from the waitlist at a school and you're like, I could go here, however, if the aid would really make a difference to stay, I think just being honest and forthright about that with the admissions office feels better to me and feels more realistic than trying to kind of leverage schools against each other back and forth in that process.

Tajira: Jen, anything to add?

Jenifer: In that situation, I will point-blank ask the student, if I give you this money, are you coming? Because if they can't give me a clear answer on that, then I would just say, you know, you're in an enviable position, you've gotten, you know, admitted to probably your dream school. I think you're going to have to think about things outside of money in making this decision.

And I would leave it at that because, like Elizabeth said, I'm not, even though I'm not offended by the word negotiation, I certainly don't want to be involved in any sort of, or never did want to be involved in any sort of bidding war.

Tajira: That's great information. And it's important to note, if you think that you're going to get a school to increase their awards, that you can take that back and try to negotiate with Harvard, Harvard doesn't actually do any merit-based aid. It's need-based only, so you're not going to be successful in that.

It's really important to think about and be aware of who's going to accept what information and how that can be used. It is important to note, you know, if, when I used to receive information like that, it would just kind of let me know that maybe we weren't their first choice. And so, like, depending on how the ask was communicated and what information was provided to me, part of what I was looking to see when I would re-review their file is, you know, how committed does this person say they are within their application? And do I get a sense that they're really going to come here?

If I don't, then I'm unlikely to even bother trying to negotiate again, but I've also been at schools where even if I wanted to negotiate again, I wasn't allowed to, because our policy was one bite of the apple. So just be wary of all of the possibilities. If you get pulled off of the waitlist at a top school, sometimes that also means that you have to make a decision about that top school without having any information in terms of aid from that school.

Waitlist offers are different than offers that are made throughout the rest of the cycle, and they can be ones that have very quick turnaround times that don't allow for you to have all of the information. And so be wary.

The final question that I have before we open things up to our wonderful audience here, and Jen, I'll bring this to you first, is if a school requires me to withdraw all other applications to accept their scholarship, does that include places where I'm waitlisted?

Jenifer: If I were advising a client, yes, I would say that that does include places where you're waitlisted, but when, in doubt, ask.

Tajira: Easy-peasy. So, first of all, thank you to my panelists. This has been a great conversation so far. We have exactly 20 minutes left and we have some wonderful people in the audience. If you have a question related to scholarship or negotiations, please feel free to raise your hands. I am going to ask at first that we have people limit themselves to one question, no follow-ups, so that we can get to as many people as possible.

However, if things begin to slow down, I'll invite those who have asked questions to return for another round if they'd like. If we have more questions and the time allows, please feel free to ask them on Twitter using the hashtag 7SageonCH. And just as a reminder, we do plan to have another event next month to discuss waitlist offers and letters of continued interest. And the first person I'm bringing up, their name on here is T. Lessor?

New Speaker: Hello.

Tajira: Hi there. How are you?

New Speaker: I'm doing well. Thank you. My question has to do with, how do I phrase that I would like to, you know, after, I haven't applied to this law school that I'm thinking of and I would really only go if it were a full scholarship. And I know that's a big ask and that I'm late in the cycle in terms of, I haven't hit their deadline, but I had to kind of make a decision later due to unforeseen circumstances.

But I would only go if it was a full ride. I'm even considering just applying again in the early fall if I have to, and that I would want them to consider my March 11 LSAT, because I feel like I'm going to shoot far above their 75th percentile score. So I guess, I'm saying this so awkwardly because I don't know how to phrase this.

Tajira: Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: All right. So I think I understand what you're saying. So you're planning to apply, essentially for them to review your application in April once your March scores are there, but you're only willing to go if you receive a full scholarship. So I guess the question would be, are you, would you want, would you not want to apply if you weren't receiving the full scholarship?

Because I feel like you're putting maybe like the cart before the horse here, where I think that if you're going to apply, you just need to put your best application forward and see what the scholarship offer is. However, at this point in the cycle, and I can't speak for every school, but a full tuition scholarship is certainly something that's probably tough to come by.

And so if you're saying to go to this law school or to go to law school is going to require a full tuition scholarship, I probably would recommend holding off this cycle. Hopefully that score you get from the March LSAT comes out higher than the 75th percent of the school you're interested in and applying first thing in the cycle next year. And I think that's the best opportunity to have your best foot forward, but also the strongest possibility of receiving that type of scholarship.

New Speaker: Okay. So it sounds like maybe I shouldn't apply because it might be shooting myself in the foot somehow, or...

Elizabeth: I mean, you could absolutely still apply, but I think to reach your goal at this late in the cycle could be more difficult.

New Speaker: Thank you.

Tajira: Thanks for joining us. I'm going to bring up the next person. An invitation went out to Q. Tang 2?

New Speaker: Hi. I applied to two law schools in Canada and in the state. Currently I got a couple of offers in Canada, so my question is related to the situation in Canada. So the offers require me to accept them before they could tell me how much scholarship they will give it to me. So would it be bad if I accepted multiple offers and paid the deposit at this time?

Tajira: Jen?

Jenifer: I'll have to admit that I'm not as familiar with Canadian law schools, but for US scholar, US law schools, it's not bad to deposit more than one school. I mean, ideally, we'd love for you to deposit only at your top choice, but I also feel like if it's a situation where you can't have the full picture of what your financial aid package is like without depositing, they're kind of asking for that, in my opinion. But yeah, I mean, I'd be curious to hear what Tajira or Elizabeth think, if they might have more experience with Canadian schools.

Tajira: I think the biggest thing that you need to watch out for is some schools, as you're committing, there are forms that you fill out, and some schools will have terms that say, in committing, I'm agreeing to withdraw all applications. If they're requiring that of you, then that's something that you need to be mindful of, because that would mean that they're expecting that you're not depositing at other schools.

And that can end up calling into integrity, calling into question your integrity later on. And so if you end up saying, oh, well, I didn't have all of the information, well, but you did agree to specific terms. In agreeing to those terms and then breaking those terms, a school does actually have the right to rescind their offer. So be very wary of the terms.

New Speaker: Thank you.

Tajira: Okay. You take care. The next person coming up is Lexi Lucos.

New Speaker: Hi.

Tajira: Hi there.

New Speaker: My name is Lexi. Thank you for sharing this information today. It was very helpful and it provided me with some clarity. So for me, in my situation, I am a current undergraduate student and I am kind of debating between taking gap years and then going to law school, or going straight into law school.

And one question that I had referred to whether or not need-based income would differ if I were to take a gap year and thus have a full-time income, whereas if I were to be a student and then directly apply, I'm assuming if I'm a student and haven't had a full-time offer or any sort of salary or income in that sense, there would be more of a need-based help. But if you could just shed some more light on that, that'd be great.

Tajira: That's actually a great question, and the answer really is it depends, because depending on the schools that you're applying to, depending on what they use for their need-based consideration, some will use the FAFSA, and if you're still within, I believe, under the age of 26, that means they'll still consider your parents' information in determining what your expected family contribution would be.

And so sometimes that doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be a higher need as a student. Sometimes it would actually be with you working on your own. So it depends, but it also depends on that school and what they use to determine need. Schools that use a school-specific form tend to take some of the parent information out because law school is a professional school. And so each one is going to kind of manage that a little bit differently.

But there are also quite a few schools that do not have need-based aid. And so you're just going to want to research really carefully and then be in touch with those financial aid offices to get a sense for how they calculate out that information.

New Speaker: Thank you so much.

Tajira: No problem. You have a good one. I have another hand here. It looks like Sonia Henry. Hi there.

New Speaker: Hello. Hi, good night. I'm just from Jamaica. I just wanted to ask a question, if you know of any instances where students from the Caribbean have received a full, a fully funded scholarship to the United States to study law?

Tajira: Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Yeah, so, I mean, I feel like all students are considered for merit aid. And so we, in my [unclear], we have awarded full tuition scholarships, and we didn't necessarily break it down by demographics. So I think, yeah, it could be a possibility depending on the school, but also your profile.

Tajira: Yeah, I would agree. It's definitely a possibility. There are certainly schools or students from other countries that are offered full tuition scholarships all the time. It just depends on the school and the way that they're able to award aid. Sometimes there can be issues at public institutions in awarding full tuition scholarships internationally because it is public funding.

So it just depends on the schools. And so it's a good question to ask schools directly, you know, are international students allowed to receive full tuition scholarships, and would that be based on merit? Would that be based on aid or a combination? But admissions offices are happy to answer questions like that.

New Speaker: Thank you so much, guys.

Tajira: Our pleasure. Thank you. And we have Erica.

New Speaker: Hi there. Can you hear me?

Tajira: Yes.

New Speaker: Awesome. Thank you all for hosting this panel, it was really helpful. So just wanted to describe my situation a little bit and hope to get some advice and insight. So I submitted almost all of my applications late January and early February, and I let all the schools know I'd be retaking the LSAT this March to see if I could increase my score, and in my mind that was to use that as leverage, but I'm sure they know why I did that.

So I asked them if they could consider my file using my January LSAT score, which was around their medians. I've only heard from one school, but I did receive a 75% scholarship, but it was like a lower-ranked school.

So my question is, could the rest of the schools possibly be waiting to hear or see my LSAT score from March? Hoping you can provide some insight because I fear that being offered admission late in the cycle, but also possibly being offered scholarship late in the cycle, or at least being offered admission late might jeopardize my chances of possibly receiving scholarship. So hopefully that makes sense and hope I can get some insight.

Tajira: So, just to clarify, you want them to review your application now, but to wait to review your scholarship after your March score comes out, correct?

New Speaker: Yeah. So I basically just asked if my file could be considered using my January score.

Tajira: Right. What does your online status checker say? Does it say you're in review?

New Speaker: Yeah, for most of them.

Tajira: Okay, so the ones where it says it's in review, they are moving forward and reviewing your application. They're not waiting for your next score to come out.

New Speaker: Okay, so, got it. Got it. Okay. That does answer my question.

Tajira: Good. Good. Good.

New Speaker: Thank you.

Tajira: No problem. Well, we have about five minutes left. Oh, there you are. Hi there.

New Speaker: Hello, I'm sorry. I pressed the button and I was just kind of waiting and nothing was happening. I'm so sorry. It must be my phone.

Tajira: No problem.

New Speaker: So my question is, I guess, a little specific. I wanted to know if the panelists, first of all, thank you so much for your time, if they could speak a little bit about conditional scholarships. I received a pretty substantial scholarship, but it is conditional versus at another school, where I received a much smaller amount, but it is a non-conditional scholarship. And I was wondering if we could talk about negotiation or reconsideration of that if it's at all possible, or if it's just not a good idea at all.

Tajira: That is a great question. Jen, do you want to start it off?

Jenifer: Sure. So just so that I'm making sure that I'm clear and kind of answering the correct part of your question, is it that you are trying or asking for advice about whether it's advisable to try to negotiate the renewal, the conditions of your scholarship and not so much the amount?

New Speaker: Well, there's a lot of contradictory information online, but I've seen both. I would probably [unclear] negotiate or reconsidering the condition. That would be my biggest concern, but just whether or not it's advisable to even consider a scholarship with a conditional, or would it just be advisable to go with the institution that's offering less money, but it is not a conditional scholarship?

Jenifer: I see. Well, I think, I have not personally, over my career, ever been in a position where I could adjust the conditions of the scholarship. I'm not saying that it doesn't take place at any other institution, but pretty much that wasn't something that I had the authority to do. I could adjust the award but not the conditions.

But I don't think it's always a bad thing to accept an award that has conditions tied to it, but I do think you need to educate yourself on exactly what those conditions mean. So that's when you're taking to those ABA 509, standard 509 reports, and you're really looking at, you know, the data on how many scholarships were awarded in the past few years, how many of those students were renewing their scholarships versus losing their scholarships.

And that gives you an idea of the likelihood of any one candidate moving forward in a cycle to keep their award. I don't think it's as common as it maybe used to be, where schools were giving just an unconscionable number of awards at a level that, you know, they just knew they were going to get a lot of their awards back.

I don't think that that's as commonplace as it used to be because of those reporting standards now and them having to kind of be very forthright about that information, but there still is always going to be a risk, and then you would have to kind of weigh and consider whether you would be in the number of those students who are able to keep the award.

Tajira: Yeah, I think I would also add, you know, in terms of conditional scholarships, sometimes it really depends on what the conditions are. Sometimes it might be just that it's called a conditional scholarship, and then that seems predatory just based on the name, but it might be a reasonable condition depending on what GPA they're requiring. If that GPA happens to be like right at their level in terms of like good standing, that's not atypical. So there's differences there.

Can you go back and say, "Hey, I do have other awards that are not conditioned. Is there anything that can be done?" It's perfectly reasonable to ask. That might be a school that can make adjustments. Like Jen, I haven't worked at one where I had the power to do something like that, but it's worth bringing into the conversation and letting them know that that's a concern for you. And that might be something that they can adjust, it might be something that they can't, but at least you were able to address it with them.

In terms of which school you should choose, I think part of it depends on, again, what that condition is, and do you think that that's something that you would be able to consistently meet to keep your award? And also the way Jen's mentioned, you know, looking at 509 reports and seeing, on the whole, how many people were keeping those awards and how many were losing them. What does that look like? Are you able to win it back if you do lose it?

There's a lot of questions there that can be asked, and so, hopefully, they're going to have some sort of an info session to kind of go through those terms with you. But if not, you can absolutely request to have a conversation to go over those terms so that you have a full understanding of what all of it means before you make a decision. Is that helpful?

New Speaker: Absolutely. Yeah, it was kind of a big sticking point for me. I had never heard of conditional scholarships, so getting more information, really, really helpful.

Tajira: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. Thank you for joining us. And with that, you know, thank you all for joining us this evening. It's been a really wonderful conversation. Do keep a look out on the 7Sage website. We've got some webinars coming up, one this week, one next week, I believe one the week after that. And so definitely join us for conversations on what it's like to be a 1L on, we're going to have another webinar on scholarships and negotiations.

There's some really great conversations coming up, and do join us for those, and then keep a look out here on Club 7Sage for our conversation next month on waitlist offers and letters of continued interest. Thank you so much to my panelists, and thank all of you for joining us tonight. And I hope you have a great evening.

J.Y.: Hi, it's J.Y. again. Thank you for listening. As always, if you're studying for the LSAT, applying to law school, studying for your law school exams, or studying for the bar, come visit us at 7Sage.com. We can help.

That's it for this episode. Take care of yourself, and see you next time.


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