• Ben Olson

Ep. 238: How to Ask for Stipends

Going to law school ain’t cheap. That’s why the Thinking LSAT rebuttable presumption is “don’t pay for law school.” But what about the other costs? Rent, food, transportation. These things can set you back a pretty penny. Nathan and Ben field some questions about to understand scholarship info on ABA 509 reports and how to ask schools for more money to cover expenses beyond tuition. Plus, the guys talk augmented writing tools, how much time to spend on RC passages vs. questions, what’s going on with smaller classes at Wake Forest, and an LSAT Writing #fail.

As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.

LSAT Demon

Personal Statement Review Package

Strategy Prep Fox LSAT

Thinking LSAT Facebook Group

Instagram (upcoming events)

Important Dates

April 25, 2020 – LSAC is hopeful that this will still be the date for the April test.

April 25-26, 2020 –Thinking LSAT Live! online LSAT prep class with Nathan and Ben.

12:01 – LSAC and COVID

Above the law recently reported on how the LSAT is being affected by the spread of the new coronavirus (read the article here). And y’all can wipe your brows and let out a sigh of relief along with yer peers. According to LSAC president, Kellye Testy, applicants were happy to hear that the March exam was cancelled. Shocker, right? The guys discuss the article and some of the ways the pandemic may continue to affect law school applicants.

20:30 – Pearls vs. Turds

Anon writes in to ask if using augmented writing tools is considered a pearl of wisdom. Augmented writing tools are things like spell check and Grammarly. The guys discuss the benefits of augmented writing tools and agree that as long as you use them to actually augment your writing instead of doing the writing for you, then using augmented writing tools is a wise, pearly, move. Ben recommends BriefCatch as the augmented writing tool for lawyers.

30:15 – RC Time Per Passage

L is powering through RC sections and she’s wondering how much time she should spend reading and absorbing the passage vs. answering the questions. Ben jumps in right away to let y’all know he spends about 40-50% of his time reading the passage and 50-60% of his time answering the questions. The important thing is to absorb and understand the passage so that you can slice through the wrong answer choices like a hot knife thru buttahhhhh.

35:56 – LSAT Writing

George has quite a conundrum on his hands. A real sticky situation, as it were. He waited a longass time to get his sh*t together for his law school application, and now he needs to complete his LSAT Writing before shipping them off. The only problem is the deadline is imminent, and he tried to complete his LSAT Writing sample using Safari, but his attempts broke the m-effing internet. Or at least his LSAT Writing window. When he tried to finish the task using Chrome, the LSAC website told him that he already had an LSAT Writing instance “in progress.” Here are some tips if you find yourself in a similar situation on the eve of your application deadline…


  • Don’t find yourself in this situation—apply WAY earlier in the cycle

  • Call LSAC and get it sorted

  • Complete your LSAT Writing

  • Call the law school and ask if you can apply late, now that you have all of your materials together

42:03 – Small Classes at Wake Forest

For this upcoming school year, Wake Forest is reducing its class size by almost half! Their 2020-2021 1L class will be around 90 students as compared to their traditional 160 students. But the way WFU announced this change had the same amount of grace as a bull in a china shop. The guys read through the announcement and rip apart Wake Forest’s writing along the way.

55:21 – ABA 509 Reports + External Scholarships

Several aspiring law students have inquired: when an ABA 509 report lists “Grants and Scholarships,” is the school reporting the money that the institution divvied out? Or does that figure also include external grants and scholarships that students attained? The guys offer up their best guess…

58:32 – Living Stipends

Penny and other faithful listeners write in to ask how you can eek out even more money to make your law school experience even freer. After all, if you get a full-ride scholarship, you will still need tens of thousands of dollars for living expenses over three years. How can you ask for more when you’ve got a generous scholarship on the table? Nathan and Ben weigh-in, and here are some pro tips:

  • Always make the ask—express gratitude for your offer, but tell the school how important it is to you to attend their school and make other ends meet.

  • Remember that YOU are an asset! Schools are giving you a scholarship because your GPA, LSAT, and drive will elevate the standing of their institution, don’t forget that you hold some cards, too.


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