The Oxford C’Mon | There shouldn’t be extra barriers to higher education

Photo Credit: U.S Army Photo A friend asked me at the end of last semester to proofread an essay that he is submitting in his law school application. The stress in his voice was obvious, and at first, I assumed he was staying up too late trying to force-feed his brain information for finals. Instead, the cause of his stress was something else entirely.

“These law school applications are killing me,” he said. “They don’t even use a centralized application system.” Now this surprised me. My friend has been preparing his law school applications for months, carefully selecting the six schools he would be spending the time and money on, and just a few weeks ago, he finished combing through their disparate application systems. He showed me the grand total: $1,055 dollars. That is an unrealistic application cost for low-income students and adds an extra barrier to their pursuit of higher education. An application cost of over $1,000 dollars is not a likely deterrent for students who can afford counselors and LSAT prep books . However, for students who can’t afford luxuries such as these, an application cost of over $1,000 is a likely deterrent.

Law school applications become available between the end of August and the beginning of October, and often enroll students on a rolling basis. In a world that already caters to wealth, putting one more boundary in the way of less privileged students is not the way to ensure equal access to higher education, especially when applications are predicated on a rolling admission cycle. When a student must work or save up money in order to send applications into schools, this can increase the amount of time the student must wait before submitting an application. Students who already have access to the necessary funding for their applications have only the content of the application in their way.

To make $1,055 dollars, my friend would have to work 105.5 hours at his work-study job, and, considering the fact that Penn only allows work-study students to work […]

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