Los Angeles, CA (September 5, 2012) —As the number of students taking the LSAT and applying to law school decreases, it appears that those who remain are well aware of the costs associated with obtaining a JD.
In fact, a recent survey of Blueprint LSAT Preparation students, done in conjunction with Above the Law Career Center*, found that the majority of pre-law students are actually overestimating the cost of attending law school. According to US News and World Report, law students in 2011 graduated with an average debt of $100,433. When asked how much student loan debt they believe the average law graduate carries, 69% estimated $120,000, 20% estimated $200,000, 10% estimated $60,000, and 1% estimated $30,000.
Moreover, the majority of students surveyed also overestimated the average cost of law school tuition by approximately $10,000. When asked to choose the average tuition price at a private law school, 46% of surveyed students estimated $50,000, 37% percent estimated $40,000, 12% estimated $60,000, and 5% estimated $30,000. According to the National Law Journal, average tuition and fees at private law schools this year will be $40,585.
Pre-law students also anticipate that it will take some time to pay off their law school debt. In fact, 68% of students surveyed estimated that it would take 10 or more years for the average law graduate to pay off his or her law school debt, followed by 25% who estimated 6-9 years and 7% who estimated 3-5 years.
The recognition of the cost to attend law school didn’t seem to affect students’ thoughts regarding the difficulty of admission. When asked whether they thought it would be harder or easier to gain admittance to law school this year than in previous years, 37% of students surveyed said there would be no change. Meanwhile, 35% said it would be easier, and 27% said it would be harder.
The survey results provide an interesting snapshot of how pre-law students view today’s law admissions landscape. The majority of them recognize that the cost of law school is rising, but they are willing to go, even with a perceived long time period of loan repayment. But the majority of them also don’t believe rising tuition costs will have much of an effect on their competition during admissions. In fact, more than a quarter of them think it’s more difficult now to get into law school than in the past.
In a series of articles, we’ll explore the results of the surveys, beginning with the impact of fewer LSAT takers on law school admissions.
To arrange an interview with a Blueprint LSAT Preparation admissions expert, please contact Hank Layton at email@example.com or 888.427.7737.
* The survey was administered by email in August 2012 and included responses from 587 Blueprint LSAT students.