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Monday, April 28, 2014
Law School Tuition on Sale
According to the American Bar Association, law school tuition is cheaper now than it has been in a very long time. In 2012, for instance, public law schools dropped their median tuition by a whopping 8%. Private law school tuition was up-but only by 4%-the lowest increase in three decades.
This move is just one of many made by law schools in recent years following dramatic drops in applications as a result of a woeful job market for attorneys. Some schools downsized their classes. Others trimmed salaries, faculty and amenities. All of the belt-tightening prompted national discussion. Even President Obama entered the fray, suggesting that the traditionally three-year law programs be pruned down to two.
A recent Time article notes that several public law schools have recently cut tuition by nearly 20%-and the reductions are paying off. At the University of Iowa Law School, a 16% in 2014 tuition triggered a 70% increase in applications.
In some regards, the dismal job market makes it astonishing that people are still applying to law school at all. This is especially true given law schools' notoriously hefty price tags. Yet most of us find it hard to pass up a good deal.
Time argued that law schools could teach colleges a few things about cutting costs to boost business. The flaw with that logic is that colleges-unlike law schools-aren't suffering a shortage of applicants.
If you're still considering law school, now might ironically be the best time of all to take the leap. After all, law degrees are still a form of currency. Their present value may be low, but there's no telling what the future of the market may hold.
For the Hechinger Report article from Time: Time
Labels: Law School Tuition on Salelaw
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Using Your College Debt to Save the World
I write so much about getting into college that it's sometimes easy to forget there's life after admission. Clearly, getting your foot in the university door wouldn't matter so much if the main course wasn't so delicious, right? College is fun. College is, um, important, if you want a professional degree or a job. It's formative, memorable-maybe even life-altering.
It's also expensive.
This means, I also write a good deal about scholarships, and a little about financial aid (which, let's face it-is pretty dry prose). So let's tackle a good story about college and money, shall we?
Enter SponsorChange.org. Basically, this non-profit helps match ambitious, debt-ridden graduates with charity organizations in need of quality volunteers. Then they add the missing piece: donors. Rather than giving money directly to the charities, the donors help pay down the college or graduate school debts of the volunteers.
Students also have the ability to get crafty with the fundraising, using a crowd-sourcing model to invite people to donate to their charity of choice. This part is genius. Asking someone outright for cash to help pay down your loans? Not likely to work. Asking someone to donate to a charity in which you planned to invest some time and energy? That's got a better ring. The end result is the same.
The charity organizations benefit from an educated, motivated volunteer force. The volunteers enjoy the obvious benefit of loan-paydown, but also get a shot at leadership and work experience. This can be particularly vital for new college graduates looking to flesh out a resume.
So while graduation may seem miles away for the class of 2018, it's never too soon to plan ahead.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Summer Internships for High School Students
It's that time of year again. The weather is starting to warm up. The next class of seniors has one foot out the classroom door. Teenagers across the country are plotting the course of their summer months. Or maybe not. For lots of high school students, summer is still actually a break.
I see it as something different. An opportunity.
Don't get me wrong. I wish life was the way it used to be. When you're in high school, summers should be about long days by the lake or on the beach. You should be hanging out at the mall, or running through sprinklers, making memories. Unless, of course, you're really serious about going to college.
That's the new sad reality.
My last couple posts have been about the woefully declining acceptance rates around the country. If you're not aiming for an Ivy, things may not be all that dire, but there's no question that getting into college has become more competitive than ever.
Bright, ambitious high school students are a steal for companies looking for inexpensive help. It's a win-win situation for students who would otherwise lack the professional experience to get hired. Internships and jobs look great on college applications. They can help demonstrate a student's ability to excel outside of the classroom.
So while it may cut into your down time, it is a creative way of getting an edge over the competition while gaining experience with long-term payback. Don't worry too much. The beach isn't going anywhere.
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