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Northeastern Law School Gives a Personal Touch on Fee Waivers

It’s law school application season. Applicants are choosing their favorite schools and attempting to put their best foot forward. Schools are trying to entice the best candidates and wooing them with cash and prizes. The whole process is reminiscent of a courtship ritual, higher-education style.

Since I took the LSAT this past September and scored reasonably well, I have received a slew of fee waivers and invitations to apply from schools.

If you are new to this process, it is important to understand that it is not always the students that try to impress law schools, sometimes it is the law schools that try very hard to attract students. If you have impressive numbers (LSAT score and GPA), law schools will waive the application fee for you and even offer scholarships if your lofty credentials will grace their entering class. By analogy, you suddenly become the attractive woman who enters a bar and has men offering to buy her drinks from every direction.

Shoot, some schools are even sweetening the deal these days. A former Blueprint student forwarded us an email in which the University of Alabama School of Law offered her 20 free iTunes downloads in addition to a fee waiver if she applies to the school.


One can only imagine the possibilities. I am thinking I will write an email to USC asking if they will lease me a new Mercedes in exchange for filling out an application. Maybe an Xbox in exchange for completing the Georgetown forms? ShamWow for Tulane? Lakers tickets for Loyola?

As I sorted through the various emails, I was impressed with the personal touch that each law school inserts. It seems like they really want me, not just a good LSAT score for their rankings.

Golden Gate University invited me to the UCLA Law School Fair, clearly showing that they are aware of my whereabouts. Roger Williams University School of Law sent me a personalized fee waiver with my name on it. And I have never even heard of Roger Williams or his law school. The University of Wisconsin School of Law complimented me on my “broad educational background and life experiences.” And Hofstra Law School’s dean wrote that I had “demonstrated intellectual acumen.”

You have to give these schools a lot of credit. They receive thousands of applications every year. They attend fairs and other events and meet thousands upon thousands of other candidates. Yet they clearly took the time to get to know me. I’m not exactly sure how this happened—perhaps they called my mom and asked for my old report cards. Regardless, it demonstrates that law schools really do care, that applicants are more than just a GPA and an LSAT score.

Until Northeastern School of Law.


Something caught my eye, but you might have missed it. Let me zoom in.


I was very confused when I saw this. My name is not First Name. My name is Matthew Riley. I would have been happy with Matt or Matthew or Mr. Riley. LSAT Ninja would have been kinda cool. Even the generic Prospective Law Student would have sufficed.

But First Name?

Law schools try very hard to convince students that they are more than just a $70 application fee and a number, but this school could not even fill in my name.

I was demoralized, so I checked out the Northeastern website. Here is an excerpt.

“Northeastern is a small, close-knit community…”

“…an intimate environment conducive to the School of Law’s unique collaborative learning style.”

Sure, it must be pretty easy to keep a close-knit community and an intimate environment when you just call everyone First Name. Although I would imagine it gets pretty confusing in class.

I am not one to jump to conclusions, so I am not ready to say that law schools don’t care. But all of a sudden I did get an empty feeling that I was just a number in a sea of thousands of applicants. Just some dude with a good LSAT score. For the first time in my life, I think I know what it feels like to be the girl who wants people to notice something besides her cup size.

Well, I am gearing up for some payback. I am planning to send out the following letter to all ABA-approved law schools across the country.

Dear [Name of School] School of Law:

I will not apply to your school unless you prove to me that you want to get to know me as a person and not just an LSAT score. This will require that you prove to me that you are aware of my favorite color, preferred ice cream flavor, and most watched reality TV series. Once you have gathered the answers to these questions, then we can speak again about that whole application thing.


First Name