WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

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

Which School for Me?

WUSTL @ full price (130-140k, pre-interest debt)
31
43%
Indiana-Bloomington @ full tuition (30-45k, pre-interest debt)
41
57%
 
Total votes: 72

SirThopas
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WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby SirThopas » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:56 am

Long time lurker, first time poster, need some advice, etc.

Heres my situation: I've got to make a decision within a week between WashU and IU-B (I'm waiting on 2 WLs at t14s, but pessimistic about my chances). It's a painful "head vs. heart debate" and I don't know which I should choose. I got offered one of the IU-B full tuition scholarships, but also accepted to my favorite school in the world, WashU, with 0$. I'm trying to maybe negotiate some money from them, but lets say I don't get any. Would I be crazy to go to take out 130-140k in loans for tuition to go to WashU over IU-B (parents will help me with living expenses, but not tuition)?

As for post-graduation plans, I want to get the best firm job I can get, either in the Midwest (Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis) or DC, although I'm not really opposed to another large city if thats where I can get a job. I'm only having to make this decision because I LOVED WashU when I visited. The facilities, the administration, the students, the campus, etc, etc. I know St. Louis well and would be happy spending 3 years (and even the rest of my life) there. I've got friends and family there. It seems by far and away the "best fit."

As for IU-B, Spring Law Day left me with mixed feelings. The facilities were alright, but obviously not comparable to WashU. I really prefer "city-living" to college-town life too (Been in DC for a few years). However, I was fairly impressed with the professors, curriculum, and the student body (both current and prospective) seemed like decent people. Graduating with almost no debt would great, but I am hesitant of getting "stuck in Indiana" (SLD was my first time in the state, so this is mostly just a fear of the unknown I guess). I'm just scared of hating where I live and thus making my 3 years of LS all the more painful. Also, I'm not sure of how important no debt is since I plan on working at a (hopefully big) firm.

Looking at the NLJ250 employment statistics, WashU placed about 3x as many in top firms as Indiana (29% v. less than 13%). Furthermore, WashU grads clearly have more flexibility in where they go after graduation. When I visited IU-B they told me Indianapolis and Louisville were the best markets for them right now, but hopefully they'd be able to continue to place decent percentages in Chicago and DC if hiring picks up at all. I know for either school I will need to be far above median to be able to get said jobs, but clearly much higher at IU-B than WashU

Also, this is all academic if I get off one of my WLs. I liked those schools a lot (albeit not quite as much as WashU, but the employment #'s more than make up for any difference. However, lets keep this between options I actually have at the moment.

Thanks for voting, and SUPERthanks for giving me some actually input beyond checking a bubble.

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holydonkey
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby holydonkey » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:09 am

I checked IU-B, but then I read your post. If WashU really is your "favorite school in the world", you should go there and eat the debt (after trying to negotiate for more $ from WUSTL). Happiness counts for a lot.

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stratocophic
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby stratocophic » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:10 am

holydonkey wrote:I checked IU-B, but then I read your post. If WashU really is your "favorite school in the world", you should go there and eat the debt (after trying to negotiate for more $ from WUSTL). Happiness counts for a lot.
It's second only to avoiding Indiana shitlaw, but maybe those two things are one and the same?

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underachiever
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby underachiever » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:20 am

WUSTL just isn't good enough to be worth paying sticker for. I would go with IUB for free. If you do well you can still get a big law job but if you don't, you will not be buried in debt.....which is exactly what will happen if aren't in the top 25% at WUSTL and have 200k in loans after interest. I understand wanting your dream school, but you really have to weigh happiness for three years with the high likelihood of no big law job and tons of debt after....good luck, and im sorry if i sound like a dick, its just law school really is a joke and the money they make you pay crushes so many and scares so many, like me.

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Chichaca
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby Chichaca » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:21 am

SirThopas wrote: :arrow: I LOVED WashU when I visited.
:arrow: It seems by far and away the "best fit."
:arrow: As for IU-B, Spring Law Day left me with mixed feelings.
:arrow: I am hesitant of getting "stuck in Indiana"
:arrow: (29% v. less than 13%)

I voted WashU. It's a tough choice (I am dealing with a somewhat similar one), but when push comes to shove, I think personal happiness should be a very important factor in law school decisions. People perform best when emotional distress is minimized, so having friends and family in St. Louis and being happy in your environment will increase your chances of success in 1L.

I think you know where you're going. Be mindful of the financial risk involved, and have a backup plan (or two) in case you don't get big law.

theantiscalia
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby theantiscalia » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:33 am

I am the most debt averse individual you'll ever meet, and I'd go to WUSTL in your situation. The opportunities are MUCH better out of WUSTL than Indiana, especially in in Kansas City and St. Louis, and maybe even Chicago. Plus, if it is the better fit, then that is an added bonus.

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84Sunbird2000
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby 84Sunbird2000 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:58 am

I voted IUB, but given your reasoning, it's tough. I don't think you'll be stuck in Indiana - only about 30% of IUB's students remain employed in-state, and less than 60% or so end up in the whole Midwest region. They have a very good DC alumni base, and a smaller one in NYC. Of course, no one knows what the market will be like in 2013, nor if IUB's higher rank will actually pump up its large firm placement from the illogical backend.

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ggocat
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby ggocat » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:20 pm

I think IUB is the better decision, but I voted for WUSTL after reading your post. You certainly seem to want to go there, so WUSTL seems like a better school for you.

weis14
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby weis14 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:12 am

I think that this debate boils down to a question of how much debt you are willing to carry. Neither school is a lock for a big law type job so if you graduate at the median you will be faced with two scenarios:

1. $140k in loans = $1600/month after graduation

2. $30-40k in COL expenses and $500/month after graduation.

I would, and did, go with option 2.

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najumobi
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby najumobi » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:25 am

i wouldn't pay 200k to go to wustl, but different strokes for different folks i guess.
if wustl is what you really want don't let price deter you. debt can be overcome.

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FullThrottle
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby FullThrottle » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:36 am

A tough choice. I personally don't want to rack up too much debt because I would like to start a family in 5-7 years. Cost is pretty important to me.

For you, honestly, it's 3 years of your life and you'll have more than enough stress with simply taking law classes.
Go with the choice that makes you happy: WUSTL.

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najumobi
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby najumobi » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:38 am

FullThrottle wrote:A tough choice. I personally don't want to rack up too much debt because I would like to start a family in 5-7 years. Cost is pretty important to me.

For you, honestly, it's 3 years of your life and you'll have more than enough stress with simply taking law classes.
Go with the choice that makes you happy: WUSTL.
+1, don't pay 60k in cost of living to be someplace to don't really want to be.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby Great Satchmo » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:10 pm

As stated above, tuition may be free, but not COL which may be around $60,000.

Law school is a big investment, but it's also going to help determine some of your future (or at least provide a stepping-off point). Do what is going to make you happy.

WUSTL.

keg411
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby keg411 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:30 pm

Great Satchmo wrote:As stated above, tuition may be free, but not COL which may be around $60,000.

Law school is a big investment, but it's also going to help determine some of your future (or at least provide a stepping-off point). Do what is going to make you happy.

WUSTL.


OP said parents would help with COL expenses, so the OP will not end up with 60k in loans for that.
This is a tough tough choice. I would pick IUB because while I think WUSTL is a good school, it's not worth sticker.

Since you didn't like IUB all that much, do you have any other options? Or just the T14 WL's?

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby romothesavior » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:47 pm

I'm surprised no one has said this yet, but keep in mind that IUB seems to be grossly over-ranked. They really belong in the 30s, and they place more like a school in the 30s. Yes, Chicago biglaw seems doable if you're at IUB, but it's going to be awfully tough.

I know how hard it is to turn down a full ride. I'm turning down a full ride at a school that is objectively better than IUB (UIUC) for WUSTL. Granted, I'm not going to be paying sticker at WUSTL, but graduating with very low debt is an awesome opportunity. One of the biggest factors in my decision was that I truly felt I would be unhappy in Champaign (since I have lived in central Illinois my entire life) and I truly loved WUSTL on my visit. If you are unhappy during your three years, you risk hurting yourself academically. You only live your life once; you should do what makes you happy, especially since both are good schools.

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danquayle
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Re: WUSTL v. IUB0$$$ (Am I smoking Crack?)

Postby danquayle » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:13 pm

romothesavior wrote:I'm surprised no one has said this yet, but keep in mind that IUB seems to be grossly over-ranked. They really belong in the 30s, and they place more like a school in the 30s. Yes, Chicago biglaw seems doable if you're at IUB, but it's going to be awfully tough.

I know how hard it is to turn down a full ride. I'm turning down a full ride at a school that is objectively better than IUB (UIUC) for WUSTL. Granted, I'm not going to be paying sticker at WUSTL, but graduating with very low debt is an awesome opportunity. One of the biggest factors in my decision was that I truly felt I would be unhappy in Champaign (since I have lived in central Illinois my entire life) and I truly loved WUSTL on my visit. If you are unhappy during your three years, you risk hurting yourself academically. You only live your life once; you should do what makes you happy, especially since both are good schools.


Wow, this is just dripping with bias. (As is my response). I think its worth noting that only 10 years ago Wash U was "ranked" 30th and didn't even get past 25th until about 5 years ago. I'm sure 10 years ago some other 0L was saying the same things you're saying now but about Wash U. Your chosen school is the poster child for how long term trends in a law school's rankings can track improving law schools. If you want to argue now that we should ignore those rankings, then please tell me the appropriate year cut off that favors your school.

Now if you want to argue that short term trends in law school rankings can't be trusted, then that's a horse of another color. I'd be ok if you were to say "don't trust that high ranking" ... but "grossly over-ranked" seems to be a hasty assertion. Especially coming from someone who seems so ready to declare Wash U one of the old elites, which is clearly isn't.

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... ing_1.html

OP: The question is whether you'd be more tolerant of living somewhere you don't like for three years or more tolerant of substantial debt encumbrance. This is really about your preferences. What its worth, I don't think you'd be foolish if you took Wash U, particularly if you want to work in St. Louis. Your performance will lag if you're miserable all the time.

Just figure out whether location or debt aversion means more to you. I get the feeling location wins.




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