Advice, choosing b/w very different schools! (GW, Vandy...)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

GW($$$) -- Vanderbilt ($) -- Fordham ($)

GW
25
57%
Vanderbilt
15
34%
Fordham
4
9%
 
Total votes: 44

OptionsMakeItHard
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Advice, choosing b/w very different schools! (GW, Vandy...)

Postby OptionsMakeItHard » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:45 am

Hey everyone,

This is my first posting here, and I'm very curious to hear any advice or thoughts from the various posters about my current choices for law school next year. I'm having an extremely hard time deciding, based on many factors (duh), so just wanted to get outside opinions. Let me also state that I'm very happy to even have choices through this tough admissions cycle, and I wish everyone the best of luck in the process.

Choices:
- GW Law ($30k/year, free housing first year)
- Vanderbilt ($15k/year)
- Fordham (EDIT: $10k/year)

Waitlisted:
- UPenn (where I went undergrad, ouch! haha)
- Georgetown

Haven't heard:
- NYU
- Columbia
- Duke

My main concerns are:
(1a) If I were to get into Penn or Georgetown, would it be worth passing up that sizable chunk of money from GW? I think GW is a great school, but of course it doesn't have quite as high a reputation of either of those schools.
(1b) What if, by some miracle, I got into NYU or Columbia or Duke. THEN would it be an obvious choice (pass up GW/Vandy for these schools)? More prestige, more debt!

(2) I visited GW and liked the school enough, and the city a lot. I am visiting Vandy soon. For people who go to either or are going to either, what are your thoughts? I know this is a massive, difficult quesiton given how compeltely different those schools are, but any anecdotes or general thoughts are appreciated.

(3) Fordham. Would it make any sense to pass up ([strike]barring any financial aid news[/strike]) GW$$$/Vandy$ for Fordham$? Fordham does have the benefit of being in NYC, but Fordham doesn't seem to have as high a reputation (besides immediately in Manhattan) the others do and I hear there are a lot of people there who only really wanted to go to NYU/Columbia (chips on shoulders).

Thanks to everyone who replies.

EDIT: Career Goals - I'm very undecided, but at this point I do think I want to go into intellectual property (or other careers in the tech sector) and/or entertainment law. I haven't ruled out Big Law (despite knowing how amazingly awful the QOL is, having worked as a paralegal in such a firm for two years).
Last edited by OptionsMakeItHard on Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:41 am, edited 4 times in total.

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby Flanker1067 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:52 am

I voted Vandy, but I am admittedly biased a little for Vandy and a little against GW (not a fan of the large size). That being said, this is obviously a tough decision between some good schools so definately don't base your entire decision on a TLS poll :) Just because the majority of people would do one thing, doesn't mean it is the best thing to do.
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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LawandOrder
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby LawandOrder » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:53 am

GW. Vandy is in the middle of nowhere (aka Nashville).

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jakeoooh
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby jakeoooh » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:55 am

I'd say Columbia or NYU would be worth sticker, UPenn and Duke probably not (depending on what you want to do). Georgetown and Fordham definitely not worth sticker verses $30k a year at GW. Likewise I don't think Vandy is worth $15k a year more than GW is, especially since you've also got free housing the first year at GW.

For me, barring an acceptance from NYU or Columbia, GW would be the right choice (provided they don't have some insane stipulations attached to the scholarship).

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thickfreakness
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby thickfreakness » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:01 pm

Tell us a little bit more about your career goals, where you want to work after graduation, how averse you are to student debt, etc. and I think you'll get feedback that is much more useful to you.

dreman510
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby dreman510 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:04 pm

GW. Def not Fordham-dont expect much, if anything from them. GW rep is about equal with Fordham, and better everywhere outside of NYC. Add that to $90K plus housing for a year=no brainer. Especially since you liked GW, I would argue for GW over Vandy.

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Jerome
Posts: 334
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby Jerome » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:07 pm

dreman510 wrote:GW. Def not Fordham-dont expect much, if anything from them. GW rep is about equal with Fordham, and better everywhere outside of NYC. Add that to $90K plus housing for a year=no brainer. Especially since you liked GW, I would argue for GW over Vandy.

+1. Debt load matters a ton, and unless you're sitting on huge pots of money, take the basically free option, as GW is by no means a poor school.

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holydonkey
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby holydonkey » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:08 pm

LawandOrder wrote:GW. Vandy is in the middle of nowhere (aka Nashville).

What the middle of nowhere looks like.
Image

dreman510
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby dreman510 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:10 pm

I would definitely not rule out Vandy. It appears to be a great school, and they gave you significant money. Fordham here seems to be the first one to go, since they will likely give you the least, and they are also ranked the lowest. You may also love Nashville...

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:19 pm

I'm in pretty much the same boat. I have the same offer from GW with an acceptance at G-Town and WL at Penn. I'm waiting on a response from Fordham but I've pretty much ruled them out as GW has a slight edge on BigLaw placement and much greater national placement.

I would say take the offer at GW. That's what I'm leaning toward, although I would go to Penn if I got off the WL. I also intend to negotiate with GULC for some aid.

What did you think about the GW campus? How are the dorms?

I went to the GW student reception last night in Philly and it was pretty informative. The alumni network seems to be vast (an advantage of the large class size). I felt better about choosing them over a T14 after the discussions I had.

Anyway, we may end up as classmates one way or another.

OptionsMakeItHard
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:16 am

Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby OptionsMakeItHard » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:34 pm

Yah we do have similar situations here. I wish I could make a reception, but am actually visiting Vanderbilt the weekend GW is in NYC - what did they say that made you feel better about it, because that is definitely something worth hearing haha.

I was not wowed by the GW Campus itself - it does not have a "campus" feel, i.e. not a lot of connected green spaces, and is not directly in a really exciting area of the city (unless being close to the International Monetary Fund excites you...). With that said, the campus is in very close proximity (the entire city feels really small, especially after living in NYC) to great areas that are fun, have places to eat, etc. Also, all of the famous monuments/government buildings are close to, which was suprisingly cool.

I'm assuming you got housing at the Aston. It was about an 8 minute walk from campus, and close to a subway/going out areas. The studios have very large bedroom areas (again, by NYC standards), a decent kitchen, closet and bathroom. I was actually impressed by that dorm (the size), especially since it would be free. People say there is a fun social atmosphere there too.

What makes you say that about Penn ("definitely go there")? I really enjoyed it undergrad, and thought the law school was definitely really nice. Also, Philly is an awesome city to go to school in (but I wouldn't want to live there).

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: Advice on choosing b/w very different schools!

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:14 pm

OptionsMakeItHard wrote:Yah we do have similar situations here. I wish I could make a reception, but am actually visiting Vanderbilt the weekend GW is in NYC - what did they say that made you feel better about it, because that is definitely something worth hearing haha.

I was not wowed by the GW Campus itself - it does not have a "campus" feel, i.e. not a lot of connected green spaces, and is not directly in a really exciting area of the city (unless being close to the International Monetary Fund excites you...). With that said, the campus is in very close proximity (the entire city feels really small, especially after living in NYC) to great areas that are fun, have places to eat, etc. Also, all of the famous monuments/government buildings are close to, which was suprisingly cool.

I'm assuming you got housing at the Aston. It was about an 8 minute walk from campus, and close to a subway/going out areas. The studios have very large bedroom areas (again, by NYC standards), a decent kitchen, closet and bathroom. I was actually impressed by that dorm (the size), especially since it would be free. People say there is a fun social atmosphere there too.

What makes you say that about Penn ("definitely go there")? I really enjoyed it undergrad, and thought the law school was definitely really nice. Also, Philly is an awesome city to go to school in (but I wouldn't want to live there).


At the GW reception I spoke mainly to alumni. They did a range of things from PI, to government contracts, to BigLaw, to IP boutiques. I know the purpose of these events are intentionally to make people want to attend, but I got a genuine feeling that if I were a GW grad and worked hard, I'd be able to reach out to these alumni for help in finding a career. That's what a lot of schools (even some in the T14) are relying heavily on. Anyway, I got a good feeling that GW alum look out for their own.

I also talked to a recent grad who told me how much she enjoyed her time and the general consensus was that everyone at GW was happy.

Plus...it's DC, I love that town.

As for UPenn, I'd definitely go there mainly because it would allow me to stay in Philly. I have a lot of personal ties to the city that I want to maintain for the near future. But I also would prefer the smaller class sizes (the GW director of admissions was there and said that most 1L courses have 60-80 sitting in class people per session!). And there are a few academic offerings that I'm attracted to at UPenn.




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