Agonizing Over This Decision...

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dakatz
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Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:28 am

So I went to visit BU this past weekend, and I think there is a chance they will up my scholarship offer a bit, perhaps to the range of 30-32K a year. I really liked BU, and have a ton of reasons to want to go there, but I also have a Chicago offer at sticker price that I simply can't discount. As for BU, here are some of the things drawing me there:

1. Went to undergrad there so I have a network of friends, contacts, and colleagues in the city.
2. It is a cost-friendly option, and I am a very debt averse person. If BU ups their offer to 30 or 32K a year, I would just need to pay the remaining 10K a year in tuition. My parents will cover most of living expenses, so debt would be very manageable.
3. I want to work in the Northeast upon graduation, either in the Mid-Atlantic or New England.

Am I crazy for seriously considering this option? I talked to a TON of people with perspective/experience at both BU and Chicago and they all pointed out to me just how intense Chicago is and how the rigor is insane, especially with the quarter system. However, the flip side is that Chicago grads enjoy some amazing employment prospects, though I'm not sure how much that has changed ITE. I know that TLS is a very skewed place, but I guess any opinions can only help broaden my perspective.

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Nihilist
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Nihilist » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:33 am

Take BU. You are obviously a bright person, so you will do well and have great opportunities in the area. You will also be helped by having a network and family in Boston.

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Cupidity
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:46 am

Dude, after that sing-along contracts class how could you even consider anywhere else?

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los blancos
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:55 am

Depends on what you want to do after graduation, I think. If you want BigLaw or Clerkships/Academia, I think you have to go with Chicago. That said, I'm a clueless 0L so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:58 am

BU is the top school in Boston which is one of the biggest legal markets.

Before you say "HARVARD DUMBASS"

Harvard grads are so elite they get scattered to the winds, leaving BU with a distinct advantage. Top 20-30% of BU can still get biglaw even ITE. I also think that BU's excellent clinics and Journals would seriously help pad a resume in the event of less than stellar grades.

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:01 am

los blancos wrote:Depends on what you want to do after graduation, I think. If you want BigLaw or Clerkships/Academia, I think you have to go with Chicago. That said, I'm a clueless 0L so take my advice with a grain of salt.


I guess I don't really know for sure yet what I want to do upon graduation. I'm looking possibly into real estate law. I majored in hospitality administration during undergrad, and I love the hotel business. I have many contacts from the industry, including those very high up in the chain of command, and I'm hoping these contacts can eventually get me into a position with a major hotel company down the road. But I guess that's just one possibility.

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los blancos
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:03 am

Cupidity wrote:Harvard grads are so elite they get scattered to the winds, leaving BU with a distinct advantage. Top 20-30% of BU can still get biglaw even ITE. I also think that BU's excellent clinics and Journals would seriously help pad a resume in the event of less than stellar grades.


Fair enough, but median or even slightly below median at Chicago probably will get biglaw even ITE.

OP is probably really bright, but I don't think anyone can bank on ending up in the top third at any decent law school in the country.

I guess it just depends on how fluid his/her preferences are as far as location vs probability of getting biglaw (if he/she even wants biglaw)

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:07 am

los blancos wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Harvard grads are so elite they get scattered to the winds, leaving BU with a distinct advantage. Top 20-30% of BU can still get biglaw even ITE. I also think that BU's excellent clinics and Journals would seriously help pad a resume in the event of less than stellar grades.


Fair enough, but median or even slightly below median at Chicago probably will get biglaw even ITE.

OP is probably really bright, but I don't think anyone can bank on ending up in the top third at any decent law school in the country.

I guess it just depends on how fluid his/her preferences are as far as location vs probability of getting biglaw (if he/she even wants biglaw)


What is causing the most anxiety for me is, what if I finish in the bottom half of my class at Chicago? I mean, half the class has to obviously finish at or below median. So it seems like a very real possibility. With 200K in debt, the idea of not getting a biglaw job seems horribly scary with that much debt.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:11 am

seriously, after that ASD how is it even a question. Maybe I'm just blinded by love or something, but I thought everything was impressive except the library--and even that wasn't awful.

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:17 am

Cupidity wrote:seriously, after that ASD how is it even a question. Maybe I'm just blinded by love or something, but I thought everything was impressive except the library--and even that wasn't awful.


Yeah, facilities are probably the least important on my list of factors when considering a school. Sure, the tower wasn't pretty, but it had everything the students need. Glad you really enjoyed the ASD. I did as well. Even got the butterflies out by volunteering during the mock class, as dumb and nervous as I probably sounded.

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los blancos
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby los blancos » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:19 am

dakatz wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Harvard grads are so elite they get scattered to the winds, leaving BU with a distinct advantage. Top 20-30% of BU can still get biglaw even ITE. I also think that BU's excellent clinics and Journals would seriously help pad a resume in the event of less than stellar grades.


Fair enough, but median or even slightly below median at Chicago probably will get biglaw even ITE.

OP is probably really bright, but I don't think anyone can bank on ending up in the top third at any decent law school in the country.

I guess it just depends on how fluid his/her preferences are as far as location vs probability of getting biglaw (if he/she even wants biglaw)


What is causing the most anxiety for me is, what if I finish in the bottom half of my class at Chicago? I mean, half the class has to obviously finish at or below median. So it seems like a very real possibility. With 200K in debt, the idea of not getting a biglaw job seems horribly scary with that much debt.


This is definitely a valid concern, especially if you're not biglaw or bust. Have you visited Chicago? It sounds like you really like BU, so I can see a strong argument for it.

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:26 am

los blancos wrote:
dakatz wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Harvard grads are so elite they get scattered to the winds, leaving BU with a distinct advantage. Top 20-30% of BU can still get biglaw even ITE. I also think that BU's excellent clinics and Journals would seriously help pad a resume in the event of less than stellar grades.


Fair enough, but median or even slightly below median at Chicago probably will get biglaw even ITE.

OP is probably really bright, but I don't think anyone can bank on ending up in the top third at any decent law school in the country.

I guess it just depends on how fluid his/her preferences are as far as location vs probability of getting biglaw (if he/she even wants biglaw)


What is causing the most anxiety for me is, what if I finish in the bottom half of my class at Chicago? I mean, half the class has to obviously finish at or below median. So it seems like a very real possibility. With 200K in debt, the idea of not getting a biglaw job seems horribly scary with that much debt.


This is definitely a valid concern, especially if you're not biglaw or bust. Have you visited Chicago? It sounds like you really like BU, so I can see a strong argument for it.


I have never visited the school, but I have been to the city of Chicago and thought it was pretty nice. I wouldn't say I'm biglaw or bust, but I hear so much commentary of law having a bimodal distribution of salaries. So its made out to seem like, if you don't get a biglaw salary, you will most likely end up with something paying around 50K. So if I was presented with only those two options, as the bimodal distribution seems to suggest I am, I would much rather fall into the high peak rather than the low peak.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:37 am

dakatz wrote:
Cupidity wrote:seriously, after that ASD how is it even a question. Maybe I'm just blinded by love or something, but I thought everything was impressive except the library--and even that wasn't awful.


Yeah, facilities are probably the least important on my list of factors when considering a school. Sure, the tower wasn't pretty, but it had everything the students need. Glad you really enjoyed the ASD. I did as well. Even got the butterflies out by volunteering during the mock class, as dumb and nervous as I probably sounded.


Only one person struck me as dumb all day. On my tour, a girl asked what the curve was--you know, B or B+, which is a legitimate question. The guide starts explaining the curve, the fact it goes from C-A+, and the percentiles...and this dude goes "What?.....They seriously do that...that sounds dumb!" He had never heard of a law-school curve before....everyone in the room did that thing where you all make eye-contact and go "Did that just really happen?"

So, if you are in BU and Chicago, what are your other options?

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:40 am

Cupidity wrote:
dakatz wrote:
Cupidity wrote:seriously, after that ASD how is it even a question. Maybe I'm just blinded by love or something, but I thought everything was impressive except the library--and even that wasn't awful.


Yeah, facilities are probably the least important on my list of factors when considering a school. Sure, the tower wasn't pretty, but it had everything the students need. Glad you really enjoyed the ASD. I did as well. Even got the butterflies out by volunteering during the mock class, as dumb and nervous as I probably sounded.


Only one person struck me as dumb all day. On my tour, a girl asked what the curve was--you know, B or B+, which is a legitimate question. The guide starts explaining the curve, the fact it goes from C-A+, and the percentiles...and this dude goes "What?.....They seriously do that...that sounds dumb!" He had never heard of a law-school curve before....everyone in the room did that thing where you all make eye-contact and go "Did that just really happen?"

So, if you are in BU and Chicago, what are your other options?


I have GW at 30K a year + 1st year housing, but that school is really big, and the offer is really comparable to BU. All things equal, I'd just go with BU. I also have 32K from WUSTL but don't really want to leave the East Coast for anything but Chicago. I'm waiting on BC's offer but it would also need to top BU's in order for me to consider it. Finally, I have Cornell, though I haven't heard about any financial aid yet, and doubt I will get much at all. Again, if I break the bank it would only be for Chicago.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:44 am

I think you will have wider career options out of BU. If you go to Chicago--you will have to work biglaw, 100 hours a week and a massive salary. I mean..while yes, that is what everyone on this site talks about--it isn't a lifestyle for everyone, and though you may think you want it now...if it turns out you don't, you'll be forced to by your Chicago loans. If you go to BU, you can still bet Biglaw with work, but with your decreased debt you have the oporutnity to find more interesting though less high-paying jobs.

dakatz
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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:47 am

Cupidity wrote:I think you will have wider career options out of BU. If you go to Chicago--you will have to work biglaw, 100 hours a week and a massive salary. I mean..while yes, that is what everyone on this site talks about--it isn't a lifestyle for everyone, and though you may think you want it now...if it turns out you don't, you'll be forced to by your Chicago loans. If you go to BU, you can still bet Biglaw with work, but with your decreased debt you have the oporutnity to find more interesting though less high-paying jobs.


That's sort of been the mindset I've been using when I think about the debt and my career goals. Yes, I would like to make a solid salary when I graduate, but I don't want to necessarily be tied to biglaw with no other option for paying my massive debt. I would really like flexibility upon graduation to enter whatever type of law I find most interesting or rewarding.

Anyone have any counterpoints, or reasons why I should say no to BU and pick Chicago?

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby Cupidity » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:50 am

I'll systematically attack them all.

The reasons are obvious though:

1. Prestige
2. Portability
3. Placement

Chicago also opens the possibility of teaching law, which is something that you may not have as an option from BU. Chicago will open cooler jobs than BU, but again--you have debt.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby dakatz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:55 pm

Anyone with any other thoughts on this?

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby gossipgirl » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:27 pm

People constantly refer to the lower debt situation as the risk averse choice, but I really think in this case that Chicago is risk averse in terms of opportunities. If your parents are paying COL, your debt burden will be slightly less at Chicago than most people at sticker. The benefits seem pretty good to me:

1) Portable degree. Chicago won't limit you anywhere.
2) Great placement. Being at median or even a little below won't screw you at Chicago; it probably will screw you to some extent at BU.
3) Excellent culture. Unlike Chicago UG, the law school is supposed to be more chill because of the quarter system (managing 2-3 classes is better than managing 4-5), the small class (fewer competitors for jobs means people are more friendly), and being separated from the crazy UG.
4) Top opportunities for clerkships and other prestigious positions. Chicago places very well in these positions and being in the top 10% at BU and Chicago will mean completely different things for you. Even if you think right now you have no interest in this, you never know what will spike your interest in law school.
5) New environment. If you went for UG in Boston, spending three years in Chicago cannot be a bad thing.

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Re: Agonizing Over This Decision...

Postby beesknees » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:44 pm

Seems like BU would be a sensible choice for you because it doesn't seem like your career aspirations solely revolve around getting biglaw, academia, or a prestigious clerkship. If you really wanted one of those, then I'd say Chicago all the way because it would certainly maximize your chance for those types of employments.

However, you just have to realize that you are probably giving up some great job opportunities that Chicago could offer you that BU is unlikely to match. Hence the scholly; you give up something for the money. But for those who don't live and die by prestige or biglaw, going to a strong regional school with good $ can be a great choice. Also, haven't been to Chi-town, but Boston is awesome.




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