Pitt $$ vs George Mason

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Pitt $$ vs GMU sticker

Pitt 19K/year
12
38%
GMU - No money
20
63%
 
Total votes: 32

aeqvitas
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Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 9:55 pm

Just got into pitt with 19K /year
George Mason has offered me nothing - I am definitely OK with practicing in NoVA/DC - Not so much with practicing in Pittsburgh.

2009 Prospective
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby 2009 Prospective » Fri May 07, 2010 9:58 pm

Are you a VA resident?

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 9:59 pm

No - South Carolina resident. 3.5GPA 164 LSAT

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 10:09 pm

Turned down Quinnipiac (Full ride) and U. South Carolina (15K/year) already. The job market in SC has been really really rough lately, and USC grads don't really stand a chance out of state.

I've put in my seat deposit at GMU - and made my decision based on Income Based Repayment. With IBR and government/military work (which is what I'm shooting for), GMU debt seems to be very manageable.

HOWEVER, now that I've received the scholly to Pitt law, I've got a decision to make. Pitt sends a lot of grads to DC, which is really attractive to me. They have a semester externship program in DC, and cost of living in Pitt is super cheap. Total debt 90K (60-70K if I gain instate after 1L).

I'm visiting the school next week. My second seat deposit for GMU is due in June.

2009 Prospective
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby 2009 Prospective » Fri May 07, 2010 10:11 pm

Tough call. I'd be weary of the cost of GMU though out of state. NOVA is very expensive and you can probably expect upwards of $160k debt out of state at Mason. Also, it seems like Mason's placement doesn't quite live up to its rank and the school is a bit quirky. It's known to have a commuter feel which might be difficult coming from SC. The area around Mason though is really pretty nice and expensive. I know one Mason grad and he wound up w/ a pretty good Fed. Gov't gig.

FWIW, I know a couple people at Pitt. One was able to work at a small NOVA firm 1L summer and I've heard they place decently in the DC area for an out of state T2. They also just started a DC semester program I believe. Nonetheless, I don't think you'll find Pitt's placement outside of the Western PA area to be too spectacular.

I guess my final thought is that you're likely to have better chances at a DC area job coming from Mason but the question is whether it's worth the extra price. I guess you've probably already considered these factors though so I'm not sure if any of this really helps.

2009 Prospective
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby 2009 Prospective » Fri May 07, 2010 10:18 pm

aeqvitas wrote:Turned down Quinnipiac (Full ride) and U. South Carolina (15K/year) already. The job market in SC has been really really rough lately, and USC grads don't really stand a chance out of state.

I've put in my seat deposit at GMU - and made my decision based on Income Based Repayment. With IBR and government/military work (which is what I'm shooting for), GMU debt seems to be very manageable.

HOWEVER, now that I've received the scholly to Pitt law, I've got a decision to make. Pitt sends a lot of grads to DC, which is really attractive to me. They have a semester externship program in DC, and cost of living in Pitt is super cheap. Total debt 90K (60-70K if I gain instate after 1L).

I'm visiting the school next week. My second seat deposit for GMU is due in June.


Sounds like you generally have the right considerations in mind for the most part. You might not have much to lose in trying to see if Pitt will offer anymore money. I'd also check w/ Mason to see if they'll offer anything in lieu of the Pitt scholarship. I have a feeling neither school will budge but it couldn't hurt to try and might ultimately make your decision easier.

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OGR3
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby OGR3 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:19 pm

I had the same decision to make. Though I didn't receive quite as much money from Pitt. I visited both schools in March and GMU didn't even compare to the awesomeness that is Pitt.

GMU: The campus feels overwhelmingly commuter-y and it was difficult to justify the higher tuition and huge COA for a school that was so... blah. By the time I left campus it had dropped from a top-3 school to a definite no.

Pitt: An amazing campus, even if the Barco building isn't beautiful (it is getting remodeled over the next couple years, starting with the main student congregation areas in the basement this summer). Super low cost of living, DC program for those who are interested, easier (though still difficult) instate tuition opportunities, and pretty much every publication in America lists it on their best cities or most livable lists (#1 in the case of Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/29/cities ... ncome.html).

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 10:35 pm

See, I was almost the opposite - I wasn't really excited about GMU, but I really love the location. I love that the school is set apart from the main campus and that it's right on the orange metro line. I'd probably try to live in Alexandria or in Fairfax and take the metro.

This is all from someone who has never been to pittsburgh. I have a good friend who's finishing up her first year there, and has nothing but good things to say about the school.

Will I need a car in Pittsburgh, or is it manageable with public transit.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 10:40 pm

I actually finagled that 19K. The admissions officer offered me the 15K deans scholarship, but then upped it to 19K when I was hesitant about attending.

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OGR3
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby OGR3 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:45 pm

aeqvitas wrote:See, I was almost the opposite - I wasn't really excited about GMU, but I really love the location. I love that the school is set apart from the main campus and that it's right on the orange metro line. I'd probably try to live in Alexandria or in Fairfax and take the metro.

This is all from someone who has never been to pittsburgh. I have a good friend who's finishing up her first year there, and has nothing but good things to say about the school.

Will I need a car in Pittsburgh, or is it manageable with public transit.


You definitely won't need a car. I'm bringing a car, but mainly because my girlfriend and I will be traveling to see friends on a regular basis.

You have free access to the Pittsburgh public transit as a Pitt student, and the school operates its own scaled down bus system around campus. On top of that, it has a free drive home program for the times public transit isn't operating.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 10:48 pm

Damn.

So are you a 1L now, or are you starting in the Fall?

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OGR3
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby OGR3 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:52 pm

aeqvitas wrote:Damn.

So are you a 1L now, or are you starting in the Fall?


Starting in the fall. But I'm a big fan of public transit so I made sure to read up on the transit systems of all the schools I was considering. I'm a big fan of DC's Metro system, but I also like free stuff. Pitt's free transit > DC's Metro.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 10:58 pm

are you from PA? do you plan on staying there and practicing afterwards?

Scurredsitless1
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:59 pm

It's all moot if you don't want to work in pittsburgh.

But how could you reasonably make that assertion without ever visiting the city?

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 11:01 pm

that's what I figure. Which is why I'm visiting this coming week.

Scurredsitless1
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby Scurredsitless1 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:04 pm

aeqvitas wrote:that's what I figure. Which is why I'm visiting this coming week.



Right on. I didn't see that you mentioned that before. I love Pittsburgh and I bet it's not what you are expecting. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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OGR3
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby OGR3 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:06 pm

aeqvitas wrote:are you from PA? do you plan on staying there and practicing afterwards?


No.

That's my goal. It'll mainly be a matter of employment prospects. I have strong ties to the legal community in my home state, so I have something to lean on if I can't find anything in Pittsburgh after school. I'm also strongly considering the Semester in DC program.

Scurredsitless1 wrote:Right on. I didn't see that you mentioned that before. I love Pittsburgh and I bet it's not what you are expecting. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Even though I had high expectations for Pittsburgh, I was still very impressed with the city.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 11:17 pm

Though all this is moot if I get in off of the "reserve" list at Columbia.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 11:18 pm

not holding my breath on that, but still. :)

Colton
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby Colton » Fri May 07, 2010 11:29 pm

aeqvitas wrote:Damn.

So are you a 1L now, or are you starting in the Fall?



I am, I love it here. I'm from MI but I'll be working at a firm in DC this summer. 40% of every graduating class doesn't even stay in PA. So, you won't likely be without exit options. But, to be sure, a lot of people come to Pitt because they want to be here after word. If you visit and you know there is no way you'd want to start you career here then maybe GMU is worth the extra money.

There are currently 600 Pitt law alums in DC. We just opened a full-time office for alumni relations there and they just launched the DC externship program which allows you to get 13 credits by spending a semester working for a non-profit or government agency. Most schools only allow 4 externship credits. It's a nice deal.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Fri May 07, 2010 11:45 pm

Any comments from GM students (current or future)?

splinter23x
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby splinter23x » Sat May 08, 2010 8:56 am

I'd definitely say GMU if you had in-state tuition, but without it, I'd have to say Pitt. Personally I can't stand the city of Pittsburgh, and I laughed pretty hard when Forbes rated it #1 (why do most of its residents ditch the city if it's #1?). But there are a lot of people from the Pittsburgh area who live in DC, and the university is quite well respected, it's a very good institution overall (I admittedly know nothing about the law school). GMU is a great school but the DC area is so hypercompetitive that its job placement is pretty darn weak, certainly not good enough to justify out-of-state tuition. Also GMU doesn't have much of a reputation outside the DC area, it's just not very well known because it's a relatively new law school, even though it's quite good.

Given the state of the legal job market, I think only the top students at both schools would have a chance at a DC area firm, so I'd suggest the debt-averse option.

Case2L
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby Case2L » Sat May 08, 2010 12:15 pm

I would agree with OGR3, even with the difference in rank, I still think Pitt is the better school. While you may prefer DC over Pittsburgh, keep in mind that Pitt dominates it's market, whereas GMU has a lot of competition. If you were a VA resident, it would be an easy choice, but in this case, I vote for Pitt.

aeqvitas
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby aeqvitas » Sat May 08, 2010 8:25 pm

Well I got my plane ticket, so I'll be heading up on monday.

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klmnumbers
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Re: Pitt $$ vs George Mason

Postby klmnumbers » Sun May 09, 2010 5:00 pm

aeqvitas wrote:Well I got my plane ticket, so I'll be heading up on monday.


Haha what a bad time to visit though! We're in our second week of 1L exams (at Pittsburgh). So, you'll see stressed out students leaving their Crim Pro exams.

If you have any questions about getting around or random things with Pitt, feel free to PM me. I'm just finishing up my 1L here, and I am originally from out of state. I brought a car with me, but I absolutely never use it unless I go grocery shopping. Even then, I wouldn't really need it. Pitt is an EXTREMELY nice place to live, and even though the job market is terrible, 99% of my fellow 1Ls have internships lined up for summer (I have two myself). Additionally, the ugliest part of the building (the basement) is getting remodeled this summer. So, things will only be nicer.

Anyhoo, I love it here. So, I'll stop gushing. =)




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