Law School Scholarship Tips From An Actual Application Reader

Looking for law school scholarship tips that work? Law Preview President, Don Macaulay, gives you his best tips for scholarship applicants.


Now that the excitement of gaining admission to law school has passed and your seat deposit(s) have been submitted, reality begins to set in — you’re going to have to pony up some serious money for your law degree.

LawSchoolTransperency.com estimates that even when applying for the median school-awarded scholarships and grants, the cost of financing a legal education can easily exceed $250,000; paying “sticker price” can tack on another $100k to that number. That’s just the cost of law school and doesn’t include any other debt a student may carry.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Free Downloadable PDF: 3 Must-Reads Before Starting Law School

Now, if you’re among those lucky “trust fund babies,” you can click here; everyone else should focus like a laser on applying for outside scholarships to supplement their law school tuition.

Having just reviewed hundreds of applications for the BARBRI Law Preview “One Lawyer Can Change the World” $10k Scholarship, I’m uniquely positioned to offer advice for making sure your submission receives the attention you desire.

Check out the tips below to help you optimize your scholarship applications.

Tip #1: Respond To The Prompt

If the scholarship sponsor presents you with a prompt, please answer it. Sure, you spent a ton of time perfecting your law school personal statement — but if it doesn’t respond to the prompt, don’t submit it.

Apart from looking lazy, the reader is judging the strength of your essay against other applicants who followed the directions and responded to the prompt.

Failure to answer it will quickly take you out of consideration.

Tip #2: Proofread Your Entire Submission

If you’re taking the time to draft an original response to the prompt, then proofreading to catch typos and grammatical errors is a must. Same with making sure you are addressing the correct scholarship sponsor in your response.

While those items are obvious, what I wasn’t prepared for was how many people submitted Word Docs with “track changes” still on so I could see comments/changes from family and friends who reviewed your essay.

C’mon people!

Tip #3: Have A Hook, And Set It In The First Two Sentences

If you take a moment to review the top 10 semi-finalists for this year’s scholarship contest, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common — they grab the reader’s attention at the very beginning.

If the reader is anything like me they have two characteristics: (1) reading scholarship essays is not their only job and (2) they probably plan to spend less than 90 seconds reading your submission.

With that in mind, you need a hook that grabs the reader’s attention so they are compelled to read until the very last word.

As a general rule of thumb, for every scholarship essay you draft, ask yourself whether the amount of effort you expended was worth the dollar amount of the scholarship; essentially, “is this essay worth $X?”  If your answer is “no,” then keep plugging away.

As lame as this may sound, from my experience, following these simple tips will quickly place you among the top 5% of all scholarship applicants.

Don’t Risk Losing Your Scholarship

You’ve done the research, applied for scholarships, and landed them. (Awesome!) Now what?

Don’t risk losing your scholarship due to poor 1L performance. Law school is unlike any other experience, and proper preparation can mean the difference between climbing to the top or flunking out.

It only takes six days this summer to learn the ins and outs of law school with the nation’s #1 law school prep course, BARBRI Law Preview.

Here’s what our courses cover:

  • An overview of core 1L material (Property, Torts, Contracts, etc.)
  • Legal writing and research 101
  • Outlining and note-taking techniques
  • Proven exam-taking strategies
  • And more

Sign up for a Law Preview 1L Prep Course today.

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