As most of you know…
I am a recent graduate and of course I am studying for my bar exam this summer. I was fortunate to receive a full scholarship to take a BarBri course offered through my state “Bar Review School.” Now, it surprised me to know that when I mentioned this on Twitter, a lot of students were not aware that many Bar Prep companies offer financial assistance. Naturally, I am sure they don’t publicize this information because getting that $1200-$2000 from you is wayyy more pleasing.
Well, I will let the cat out of the bag! There are several ways to obtain financial assistance for a bar preparation course…
1) Campus Rep – The first and likely most obvious way is to become a campus representative for one of the major programs (KaplanPMBR or BarBri). Campus reps will have their course paid for or significantly reduced.
2) Procrastinate! – Another way is to forego all those hassling emails and “tabling” events they do throughout the school year, and wait till about April or May to sign up for a course. I know that reps for BarBri sent emails reducing the price of the class after the supposed “deadlines” had passed.
3) Check around and READ the fine print – As I mentioned above, I stumbled across a scholarship that was being sponsored by our state bar association and my law school. It wasn’t highly publicized and it was in one e-mail blast sent by our career development office during finals time when people were less than concerned about emails. Check with your law school and state bar association to see if they offer a reduced rate or even scholarships (generally a refund of the course fees) to take a review course that has been approved by them. Also, in the really small print on a lot of the ads and emails for these bar prep programs, they do state there is financial assistance available (payment plan or tuition reduction). *Themis Bar even ran a contest to blog your bar prep experience and get a free course!
4) Get a sponsor! – If you are part of the lucky few who have obtained employment or have interviews lined up prior to graduation, negotiate your deal to where your employer pays for you to take the bar exam and possibly a prep course. Or at least ask for some assistance! Closed mouths don’t get fed, and you know you’re worth it!
5) Take your school’s bar prep class – A lot of the lower-tier schools offer their own in-house bar review course. I took the one offered by my school and it was a major help in relieving some of my fear in taking the bar exam. I pushed myself and took the course seriously (even though it was pass/fail, and all you had to do was show up!) I knew my financial situation and that I was likely not going to be able to shell out the $1,200-1,600 for a bar prep class in my state. So if you can stay disciplined and do the work, I would definitely advise taking the bar prep class offered by your school and save yourself a few dollars!