The book's cover was black with dark red around the character. The plot was about a young woman who was living in a poor family when her mother told her she was going to have her go to a boarding school to learn magic. It was very expensive, but her mother had been saving up her whole life for it. The school graded magic on seven levels, and most teachers were only on the 5th or 6th levels. She made a friend who could turn into a panther and the two of them, as well as a third friend, saved a child from a well, resulting in the child's parent offering to pay her tuition for the next year.
The main character ended up
Casting a spell that split her into 3 parts; 2 of the parts end up getting killed, one right in front of her.
The story ends with:
Every graduating student getting a gift. She was last and when she walked up to the table there was nothing left, so she began to cry because she thought this meant that she didn't graduate. Slowly her tears mixed with the dust on the table, creating a small world in the palm of her hands full of life, but every time she looked away the world was thrown into chaos. Her favorite teacher goes on the explain that when her copies died, their level was added to her own making her a level 7.
I read this book at the release of Harry Potter 4 or 5, and being younger have forgotten the name. If anyone could help, this book is something I remember to this day and would love to see it again.