Minority Law Students

International Students

Some International Student Options

International students tend to come to the US to do LLM programs. These students already hold law degrees from their home countries, but intend to practice law in the US. LLM programs tend to last about 1 year.


International students can also apply to JD programs. For students that are not from Canada, the JD degree can seem a daunting task, especially when it comes to financial aid.

International Status

Having International status can affect the way your application is seen by the admissions committee. If you are a Canadian citizen, there seems to be funds available in the form of Canadian scholarships or other scholarships where Canadian citizenship makes you eligible. Be sure to talk with the financial aid office at the schools you are applying to for more information. Information can also be found on the Internet.

For students who are citizens of other countries, some admissions committees think twice about accepting because they think you will have better financial aid opportunities elsewhere and so will not matriculate at their school.

One way to gauge a school's propensity for admitting international students, is to check the LSAC web site. Go to the list of ABA Approved law Schools and find the breakdown of students by ethnicity. There you can tell if there are any international students in attendance and what proportion of the student body consists of international students.

Caution

Do not be discouraged by numbers. Like the Lottery, you only have a chance if you play the game. Your application can set you apart and show that you are worthy of the opportunity to study law at any school. Many schools are looking for an opportunity to make their student body more diverse and and international student can have a lot to bring to the table. Be sure to show the admissions committee what you can contribute.

Financial Aid

Undergraduate institutions tend to have financial aid designated specifically for international students. Law schools on the other hand, tend not to have aid specifically for international students. This means that the international student must compete with the applicant pool for any merit or need based aid that is available.
If financial aid is important to you, you should be sure to ask schools if you will be eligible for any type financial aid as an international student. Also, find out from schools if there are any special steps that you, as an international student, have to take to apply for financial aid. Be sure to explain that you are not eligible for federal aid.

International students should also research which schools offer loans through the law school. International students sometimes find it quite difficult to find private lenders willing to offer student loans at reasonable interest rates.

Below is a small list of schools that have aid available for international students, that is, international students are eligible for some type of financial aid through the school.

University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor
Harvard Law School
Yale Law School
Emory School of Law
Duke Law School
Stanford University
Santa Clara University
University of San Francisco