WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

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Melkaba
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:31 pm

WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Melkaba » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:39 pm

Okay, I plan on staying in St. Louis or at least Missouri for awhile. My WUSTL scholarship is $54k total ($18k per year) with no disclosed strings attached, and the scholarship to SLU is $72k total ($24k per year) with a 2.0 GPA cutoff. Given that I'm interested in Family Law, what would be the better deal balancing debt and future post-law school prospects?

Emboss
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:58 pm

Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Emboss » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:49 pm

I don't see much of a contest.

I understand the need to minimize debt, but it's not at all clear that you will get a good position out of SLU. SLU does graduate great attorneys, however, and it is respected in the region. I would just be incredibly nervous to go to the school in this market.

Keep in mind that in the case that you might change your mind and seek highly competitive positions while in law school or years down the road, Wash U's name should carry you, while a degree from SLU cannot even guarantee a mediocre job in this market. Wash U will also give you far, far better job security. If you intend to stay in the region, you can't do better than Wash U in terms of opening doors.

If you go into public interest, keep in mind that there is LRAP as well as an Act that will negate your debt if you work for 10 years in the field. If you are not in public interest, on the other hand, you can do family law for a far higher salary coming out of Wash U, and the degree will pay for itself promptly.

ndpfn
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby ndpfn » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:53 pm

Emboss wrote:I don't see much of a contest.

I understand the need to minimize debt, but it's not at all clear that you will get a good position out of SLU. SLU does graduate great attorneys, however, and it is respected in the region. I would just be incredibly nervous to go to the school in this market.

Keep in mind that in the case that you might change your mind and seek highly competitive positions while in law school or years down the road, Wash U's name should carry you, while a degree from SLU cannot even guarantee a mediocre job in this market. Wash U will also give you far, far better job security. If you intend to stay in the region, you can't do better than Wash U in terms of opening doors.

If you go into public interest, keep in mind that there is LRAP as well as an Act that will negate your debt if you work for 10 years in the field. If you are not in public interest, on the other hand, you can do family law for a far higher salary coming out of Wash U, and the degree will pay for itself promptly.



+1

MJMD
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby MJMD » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:58 pm

Go to WUSTL.

lsatbdog
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby lsatbdog » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:58 pm

Melkaba wrote:Okay, I plan on staying in St. Louis or at least Missouri for awhile. My WUSTL scholarship is $54k total ($18k per year) with no disclosed strings attached, and the scholarship to SLU is $72k total ($24k per year) with a 2.0 GPA cutoff. Given that I'm interested in Family Law, what would be the better deal balancing debt and future post-law school prospects?


First, I'm surprised that with a WUSTL acceptance and scholly you didn't get a full-ride at SLU, or at least a little closer to it. From the looks of things, you'd have to pay about 35-45K for tuition at SLU, and about 85-95K at WashU, depending how much tuition goes up over the next several years. COL for each is about equal, though you could find dirt cheap housing around SLU if you wanted, but thats a genuinely dangerous area. Though 50K difference may not sound huge on paper, it will come due. I also talked to a WashU 3L who said he knows plenty of people who will graduate jobless, for whatever that is worth. Also had a long conversation with a co-workers sister who graduated from WashU law who said she wished she had gone to SLU so she still wouldn't be paying off her debt, since she wound up in a smaller firm (but who knows if she could have got the job coming out of SLU).

I think outsiders overestimate the power of a WashU degree in St. Louis, and underestimate SLU-every attorney I talked to in the area encouraged me to go to SLU as soon as they found out I was applying to law school, and they seem to have a very loyal alumni base. Further, firms around here really DO view WashU students as a flight risk (thats confirmed by attorneys I talked to, not conjecture). On my visit at a WashU my tour guide stated directly that if you knew you wanted to work in St. Louis, "you may be better off going to St. Louis University". If you are originally from the area though, the flight risk thing won't be a problem. Personally, I would have seriously considered SLU if I did not have zero desire to live in this city.

How much are you looking at in living expenses? If you happen to be living with a family member or have significant personal savings, I think you go to WashU. If not, you'll be taking out well over 100K-thats a lot of money. Run your estimated debt totals for both schools on a repayment calculator and see how comfortable you feel with both.

If you're really happy to live in St. Louis, I'd think long and hard on this decision to sign on for significantly more debt at WashU. Seriously, call up as many practicing attorneys as you can in the next few days, especially those who have graduated in the last few years and see what they have to say. It will be much more useful info than you can find on this board.

I can't make a definitive recommendation of one over the other and won't try to, but its important to remember that debt will have to be paid back, and a WashU degree isn't going to guarantee you a great job unless you finish fairly high in the class.

Melkaba
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Melkaba » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:56 am

Thanks for the input from every one so far. At this point, I kind of wish I applied to Mizzou for the sake of having a school in the middle to balance things, but eh. What's done is done.

lsatbdog wrote:How much are you looking at in living expenses? If you happen to be living with a family member or have significant personal savings, I think you go to WashU. If not, you'll be taking out well over 100K-thats a lot of money. Run your estimated debt totals for both schools on a repayment calculator and see how comfortable you feel with both.


I have savings, but not enough to substantially cover a lot of debt. My mother lives pretty close to both schools, so staying there would dramatically cut down living expenses. But with that said, she's a single-parent and she got laid-off a few months prior, so I can't really expect much family assistance if at all. So that would be around $30-35k in debt after SLU and around $66-70k debt after WashU, not counting the $20k debt from undergrad. My only fear from going to WUSTL at this state is getting out of school and not being able to find a job. However, one thing that another poster in this topic mentioned which goes strongly in their favor is their Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which is something that SLU seemingly lacks (for SLU, you have to take it up with the individual lenders and even then, actual assistance/forgiveness may vary). So now I'm trying to juggle coming out of WUSTL with substantial debt with a better chance of having means of assistance for paying it off and going to SLU with less debt but possibly having fewer ways to pay it. Alternatively, some other students bring up the possibility of going to either and not getting a job at all. Regardless, my mother is of the opinion that it should be as easy as going to the school that gives you the most, but when considering that rankings are pretty important, things are never that easy.

Also, I definitely should have mentioned this, but in addition to my main areas of focus being both Family and Criminal Law (more leaning towards family anyway), I do want to work in some government or Federal field after getting some legal experience (my first thought was FBI). Since these fields are eligible for WUSTL's LRAP, that seems to be another plus in its favor, depending on whether or not those fields are actually healthy these days.

sluguy14
Posts: 122
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby sluguy14 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:20 am

lsatbdog wrote:
Melkaba wrote:Okay, I plan on staying in St. Louis or at least Missouri for awhile. My WUSTL scholarship is $54k total ($18k per year) with no disclosed strings attached, and the scholarship to SLU is $72k total ($24k per year) with a 2.0 GPA cutoff. Given that I'm interested in Family Law, what would be the better deal balancing debt and future post-law school prospects?


First, I'm surprised that with a WUSTL acceptance and scholly you didn't get a full-ride at SLU, or at least a little closer to it. From the looks of things, you'd have to pay about 35-45K for tuition at SLU, and about 85-95K at WashU, depending how much tuition goes up over the next several years. COL for each is about equal, though you could find dirt cheap housing around SLU if you wanted, but thats a genuinely dangerous area. Though 50K difference may not sound huge on paper, it will come due. I also talked to a WashU 3L who said he knows plenty of people who will graduate jobless, for whatever that is worth. Also had a long conversation with a co-workers sister who graduated from WashU law who said she wished she had gone to SLU so she still wouldn't be paying off her debt, since she wound up in a smaller firm (but who knows if she could have got the job coming out of SLU).

I think outsiders overestimate the power of a WashU degree in St. Louis, and underestimate SLU-every attorney I talked to in the area encouraged me to go to SLU as soon as they found out I was applying to law school, and they seem to have a very loyal alumni base. Further, firms around here really DO view WashU students as a flight risk (thats confirmed by attorneys I talked to, not conjecture). On my visit at a WashU my tour guide stated directly that if you knew you wanted to work in St. Louis, "you may be better off going to St. Louis University". If you are originally from the area though, the flight risk thing won't be a problem. Personally, I would have seriously considered SLU if I did not have zero desire to live in this city.

How much are you looking at in living expenses? If you happen to be living with a family member or have significant personal savings, I think you go to WashU. If not, you'll be taking out well over 100K-thats a lot of money. Run your estimated debt totals for both schools on a repayment calculator and see how comfortable you feel with both.

If you're really happy to live in St. Louis, I'd think long and hard on this decision to sign on for significantly more debt at WashU. Seriously, call up as many practicing attorneys as you can in the next few days, especially those who have graduated in the last few years and see what they have to say. It will be much more useful info than you can find on this board.

I can't make a definitive recommendation of one over the other and won't try to, but its important to remember that debt will have to be paid back, and a WashU degree isn't going to guarantee you a great job unless you finish fairly high in the class.


This. It's a lot more complex than a couple above posters are trying to make it out to be. Yes, WUSTL is ranked much higher, has much greater prestige/name recognition, and will travel much better than a SLU degree. However, if you're looking at staying in St. Louis, I would give serious consideration to SLU. And after your first several years working, where you went to law school takes on much less significance in your job hunt.

Have you attempted to negotiate more scholarship money out of SLU? It seems like you'd have quite a bit of leverage with the WUSTL acceptance and scholarship.

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Vincent Vega
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Vincent Vega » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:23 am

You shouldn't even be considering SLU. In your situation, you should either take your scholarship at WUSTL or T14 at sticker. Even then, WUSTL is probably better for St. Louis than the bottom half of T14 at sticker.

Melkaba
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:31 pm

Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Melkaba » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:34 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

I've been talking to various people about this for the past couple days (folks, some attorneys, law students, etc), and so far they're leaning more towards WUSTL due to better long-term opportunities. People on the legal side definitely have confirmed what a lot of the people here are saying about SLU: It and WUSTL are not drastically different in regards to the STL area. However, I do realize that just because I want to stay in STL now doesn't mean I'll always want to, especially three years down the line (and in addition, I've lived in STL my entire life, so who knows). WUSTL's portability across the nation is especially key, as it opens a lot more options than merely SLU's STL options. Plus, I've been put to ease on the debt concerns by using debt calculators and what-not: Even with a 50k job, I should be able to pay off my LS loans and my 10k-20k undergrad loans in 3-5 years, which isn't too bad when considering that I'm quite accustomed to a frugal, single-parent, sub 30k life-style for my entire life.

Right now, I'm leaning more towards WUSTL due to how it opens a lot more potential than SLU at least, and the difference in debt might be significant, but it definitely isn't crushing given what I would like to do concerning Family/Criminal Law for a few years -> FBI or some government position (Some people I know are going into LS with 100k-150k undergraduate loans). But even so, I have until April 1st to make any final decisions, and you can never have too many sources of info and advice, so any other input would be welcome.

Melkaba
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Re: WUSTL ($) v SLU ($$)

Postby Melkaba » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:35 pm

Definitely my last bump, I promise (especially since it seems like all that could be said on this topic already has been said). But yeah, pretty much two more days until I make a decision that could potentially make (or potentially ruin) the rest of my life. Of course, I'm quite paranoid about loans, but according to my folks, I'm going to come out with some debt no matter what I do. That, and I kind of want to see if WUSTL is all that's cracked up to be (essentially going for the education for its own sake). Second, I decided that there's a good possibility that I will be sick of this city in three years. If I'm not, there's still better job prospects.

Although, I am getting cold feet about basic fears and anxieties. I kinda scored below WUSTL's median LSAT, so I'm pretty concerned on whether or not I even have the ability to succeed in this setting, because Law School can't possibly be all about hard work and effort (or maybe it is, I don't know; that will be a good thing at least, given that I have an obsessive-compulsive habit of trying to do my best in everything school related). Although, I can see that it might even be harder to stay afloat among droves of hungry students in SLU, students that know they have to be in the top 10% or bust.




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