LL.M. Chronicles #3: For a (good) fistful of dollars (English Version)

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LL.M. Chronicles #3: For a (good) fistful of dollars (English Version)

In the last column, we discussed the application process and all documents to be provided. As you probably know, the majority of them require an investment of time and money. It is now time to speak more precisely about the financial aspect of your application. 

There are so many different organizations that one cannot generalized about this topic. For example, transcripts translation of my 5 years studies and of my CRFPA (specific French program to study for the bar), namely 11 transcripts cost me about 230€. You should only ask for the version endorsed by the university as only the seal will rely upon the selection committee. 

Here, things are less ambiguous because TOEFL costs 245$, while IELTS 200€, which makes a slight advantage for the TOEFL depending on the exchange rate of the day.


Considering this small price difference, the real question is whether you prefer a more academic test, TOEFL, with oral exam facing your computer, or a more analytical test, IELTS, with an oral exam in front of a real examiner.


I took the TOEFL and bought the official TOEFL Guide which is more than enough to obtain a top rating in the written test. Nevertheless, it is true that the oral expression exam is somewhat disconcerting: you have to interact with a computer in a room where several candidates speak simultaneously.


In both cases, you will have to become familiar with the test format and avoid the trap of thinking that your proficiency in English is enough (requested scores are indeed often quite high). 

If you wish to apply for an LL.M. in the USA, keep in mind that the program will be very expensive starting from the application.


Indeed, you will have to pay the $170 registration portal and the $165 for the service. Once you your documents have been sent to the USA (with $60 spent to registrate them to be sure they arrive), you will be asked $28 for the LSAC to deliver the documents to each university you applied for; these universities will ask you about $50 to review your application.


For information, Uncle Sam will not offer you the visa: I paid about €250 to get this precious document. 

Application fees are only the visible tip of the iceberg. You will quickly discover how our French system is wonderful with its low registration fees, free health insurance and housing assistance.


All of this will no longer exist once in the aircraft (or the Eurostar).


Fortunately, all universities provide estimates of the overall cost of the year, that you will need to consider before leaving for adventure.

Clever transition, there are scholarships too!


Some are financed by the regions and answer almost exclusively to social criteria. You must not neglect them even if they are rather modest and should find information as soon as possible on regional or Town Hall websites.


Then, there are private scholarships, such as White & Case or Herbert Smith / British Council (applying only to UK candidates). Their advantage is that they are far more generous and offer a significant visibility next to law firms. The competition is tough!


Speaking about competition, we reach the firmament with the Fulbright Scholarship funded by the American government. This is probably the best you can get if you leave for the USA. There will be no application fees for you, but I would advise you to go through the application process right now because it closes very early in the year.


Finally, universities and especially American universities offer scholarships on the basis of application files (ex: UCLA) or essays to write (ex: NYU, Boston U).


Chronicles: Matthieu Sabonnadière

Translation (French to English): Coline Vériaux



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