The Pros and Cons of a Bar Exam Loan

A bar exam loan can cover the cost of studying for, registering for and otherwise taking the bar. Bar exam registration fees vary from $500 to $1,000 depending on the state. In addition to this fee, many students will spend time and money in studying for the exam. Finally, some will need to travel to exam locations in other states in order to receive opportunities for employment there. Ultimately, the costs can reach multiple thousands of dollars. A bar exam loan will cover these costs but not without penalties.

Pros of a Bar Exam Loan

  • Pay for registration - The main purpose of a bar exam loan is to cover the cost of registering for the bar exam in the state of your choice. This sum is fairly small in terms of personal loans, so the loan can typically be paid back very quickly without too much stress.
  • Pay for classes and study materials - It is increasingly popular to take preparation classes for the bar exam. Further, study materials can cost hundreds of dollars. While you are studying for the bar, you will unlikely be able to work. Bar exam loans can give you a little income to pay for day-to-day expenses during this period of time.
  • Pay for travel to exam sites - Many students take the bar in a different state than where they currently live. This is particularly true of students who have a job offer in another location. As a result, there can be costs associated with travel. A bar exam loan can help pay for plane tickets and hotels, and it can also cover the cost of dining and spending time away from home.
  • Pay for interview travel - Interviewing for legal jobs may take you out of your neighborhood or out of your state. Bar exam loans can be taken in sums large enough to extend to these expenses as well, and the loans often have lower interest rates than credit cards, saving you money.

Cons of a Bar Exam Loan

  • Add to application hassle - During your time in law school, you will fill out your fair share of applications. You will apply for student loans, internships, jobs and fellowships. You will sign up for bar exam classes and class schedules. You will be buried in long to-do lists, and applying for one more loan can significantly add to the hassle of an already stressful period.
  • Pay interest on all fees - If you can find a way to budget for and pay for the bar exam, you will end up spending far less in your route to becoming a licensed lawyer. Some employers will pay the cost of taking the bar if you pass on the first attempt. Asking for this from your future employer will ease a small amount of the large debt burden you likely have.
  • Add to student debt - Lenders will have you believe you can easily repay debt once you become a lawyer. This is not always the case. The real key to a profitable legal career is keeping your debt low and living financially free.

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