Berkeley vs. Michigan

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

Where should I go?

Berkeley
21
41%
Michigan
30
59%
 
Total votes: 51

tal
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:39 am

Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby tal » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:49 am

Hi everyone, I'm trying to pick between Berkeley and Michigan and I'm having a hard time deciding between the two. I'm leaning towards Berkeley but I have a decent scholarship offer from Michigan, so it's coming down to the money mainly. I'd really appreciate any advice you can give. Here's my situation:

If it weren't for the money, I'd very likely choose Berkeley. But Michigan is offering me 10k a year, and I'm from Michigan, so going to Michigan would be at least $50,000 cheaper than Berkeley (scholarship + out of state tuition for Boalt + cost of living in the Bay Area). I haven't received my financial aid letter from Michigan yet, but I assume it'll be about the same. The financial situation in California/the UC system is also sort of unsettling.

I'm interested in doing tax law, and Michigan is top ten in tax, whereas Berkeley is unranked (i.e., below 25). I'm not sure how much this should matter, since I'll probably get an LLM after my JD, and from what I hear, specialty rankings don't really mean that much. But in this case, there's a pretty big disparity in ranking.

I like urban areas. I went to Yale for undergrad and didn't mind New Haven at all. On the other hand, both Ann Arbor and Berkeley would be a step up from New Haven. That being said, I much preferred Berkeley over Ann Arbor. It's got more character, and it's very easy to get to San Francisco, which beats Detroit any day. And the weather is a plus. I don't have any location preference, and if I go to Boalt, I could do an LLM on the East Coast anyway.

I've been to both schools (ASW for Berkeley, visiting a friend who's a 1L at Michigan) and could see myself at either school. I was sort of surprised that everyone at Berkeley seemed so interested in doing public interest, but I assume that's just people being idealistic. But I didn't get that vibe at Michigan. I'm interested in going into government but am open to working at a firm too. Berkeley's LRAP is much better than Michigan's from what I've read.

Is Berkeley worth the extra $50,000?

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gochrisgo
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby gochrisgo » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:14 am

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Last edited by gochrisgo on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

joonhp
Posts: 157
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:19 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby joonhp » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:18 am

I think the gap is far too small (and can go either way depending on who you ask) for you to choose Cal over Michigan; especially with the money you will save (bay area living is EXPENSIVE). From what I know, you have a bit more flexibility with job placement if you go to Michigan because it doesn't funnel its students to Detroit (haha) like Berkeley does for the bay area.

hooty86
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:40 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby hooty86 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:21 am

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Last edited by hooty86 on Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

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gochrisgo
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby gochrisgo » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:25 am

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Last edited by gochrisgo on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hooty86
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:40 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby hooty86 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:29 am

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Last edited by hooty86 on Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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existenz
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:06 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby existenz » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:33 pm

I'm kind of in the same spot as the OP, though only in a "what if" sense. I'm in at Mich with $67k and on the WL at Berkeley.

Obviously I could never get off the waitlist and there will be no decision to be made. But I'm really torn about what I'd do if Berkeley called me. I'm guessing they don't offer any merit aid off the WL. Berkeley was my top choice at the beginning of the cycle but $67k is a lot of extra money for a school with similar job prospects.

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worldtraveler
Posts: 7669
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:26 am

Have you gotten your need based and merit aid from Berkeley yet? If you really want to come here, try and get a matching scholarship. It's unlikely but give it a shot before you commit.

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Dignan
Posts: 1110
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:52 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby Dignan » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:40 am

They're both excellent schools, roughly equivalent in terms of reputation and opportunities. As you probably experienced at Berkeley's ASD, a substantial percentage of Berkeley grads self-select into California PI. These students would not work in a big law firm if you (literally) paid them. The students who want big law seem to do well; I'd be surprised if their success rate was significantly different than the success rate of Michigan students who want big law.

If you have no preference about where you want to go to law school, then you should take Michigan and the money. But you do seem to have a preference for Berkeley. Is that preference worth $50K? That's a tough decision, and a personal one. Good luck.

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Tangerine Gleam
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Michigan

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:43 am

I'm down to these two schools as well. It's a tough call -- and it your case, you're definitely going to have to weigh some personal preferences to a degree that no one here can really help you with.

The schools are equal, more or less. By some metrics, Michigan is stronger...and the same could be said for Berkeley. I personally think that for someone who is *not* sure where they want to work after school, Michigan might be the more prudent choice. It's true that Boalt's California placement is largely due to self-selection, but regardless, this has an effect over time in terms of the disbursement of the alumni network. I personally am interested in a clerkship and Michigan fares better in that regard as well.

But the Bay Area is fifty times more awesome than Ann Arbor. And yes, the Boalt LRAP is markedly better than Michigan's. Much, much better. Anyone who says otherwise hasn't done their homework.

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably pick Berkeley...but I already live out in the Bay Area, and that's a big factor. If I lived in Michigan, I can see that AA would be a smooth choice, especially with the scholarship money.




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