90K at UVA - Considering not going

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jm19
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90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby jm19 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:52 pm

I applied in Fall 2009 for the Class of 2013 (172, 3.96). I was waitlisted at H and S (didn't bother with Y), and I ended up choosing UVA with 90K. I'm fairly risk averse, and since I didn't - and don't - particularly want NYC or academia, CCN didn't make much sense and UVA offered me more money than any of the others. I also don't know where I'd eventually like to settle. I chose to defer because I wanted a break and a chance to get even nominal work experience.

Since I've been out of undergrad, I've been thinking more seriously about what I want to do with my JD. I've grown pretty attached to this work-life balance idea, which I hadn't even considered while applying, and BigLaw is looking more and more like my worst nightmare. I have a vague sense that I'd like to work for the government and a less vague sense that I'd enjoy being a JAG. Unfortunately, with both being as competitive as they seem to be, I'm hesitant to go to UVA and, after the 90K, still graduate with over 100K in debt.

I'm considering giving up my spot in UVA's C/O 2014 and perhaps reapplying later to several schools when I have a better sense of exactly what my career goals are, assuming they still involve the law.

I suppose my question is whether forgoing UVA with money because of what basically amounts to indecision and cold feet would be foolish. My friends and family are hardly good sounding boards ("zOMG!!!11!!!!1! UVA!!! (So that's a good school, right?) 90K!!!1! You're going to be rich@!"). I'd like to hear the opinions of an anonymous interwebz message board.

Also, for you TL;DR people, here's the question:

Is giving up 90K at UVA foolish?

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LSATWIZ
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby LSATWIZ » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:56 pm

jm19 wrote:I applied in Fall 2009 for the Class of 2013 (172, 3.96). I was waitlisted at H and S (didn't bother with Y), and I ended up choosing UVA with 90K. I'm fairly risk averse, and since I didn't - and don't - particularly want NYC or academia, CCN didn't make much sense and UVA offered me more money than any of the others. I also don't know where I'd eventually like to settle. I chose to defer because I wanted a break and a chance to get even nominal work experience.

Since I've been out of undergrad, I've been thinking more seriously about what I want to do with my JD. I've grown pretty attached to this work-life balance idea, which I hadn't even considered while applying, and BigLaw is looking more and more like my worst nightmare. I have a vague sense that I'd like to work for the government and a less vague sense that I'd enjoy being a JAG. Unfortunately, with both being as competitive as they seem to be, I'm hesitant to go to UVA and, after the 90K, still graduate with over 100K in debt.

I'm considering giving up my spot in UVA's C/O 2014 and perhaps reapplying later to several schools when I have a better sense of exactly what my career goals are, assuming they still involve the law.

I suppose my question is whether forgoing UVA with money because of what basically amounts to indecision and cold feet would be foolish. My friends and family are hardly good sounding boards ("zOMG!!!11!!!!1! UVA!!! (So that's a good school, right?) 90K!!!1! You're going to be rich@!"). I'd like to hear the opinions of an anonymous interwebz message board.

Also, for you TL;DR people, here's the question:

Is giving up 90K at UVA foolish?

If you did not want to practice law, giving up a full ride + living stipend would be foolish.

Another thing to consider is whether law will help in another field you would like to pursue.

rose711
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby rose711 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:11 am

I don't think you should look at the money you are giving up - you need to look at how much debt you will leave with. Do you want that amount of money hanging over your head? I know you know that $100,000 might be easy to borrow but it is a lot of money to pay back. Even if you only had to pay $1,000 a month, it will take you more than 8 years to pay off the principal. And you know that no assumptions can be made about getting a job after school. Do you think that the government is going to be hiring in 3 years?

If you are really into work/balance: I don't know what to advise. You know that private practice requires long hours; but, even before you get there, law school is incredibly time intensive. Don't expect a work/life balance while you are in school.

I know you didn't say this, but I know it has been mentioned in other threads: Don't assume that you will work harder than everyone else. People who attend any decent law school work hard, really hard. Don't assume that all you need to do is hustle and you will be fine. Many people will have connections to help them move ahead, if you don't have that, work on making them as soon as you can.
And don't assume you will be smarter than everyone else. Most people at law school are pretty smart and the people that you will be competing against at the top of the class are very smart. Don't assume it is easy to get good grades at law school, even with grade inflation. You really don't know what you can do until you are there, living the law school life and taking exams.

Don't go to law school unless you are sure it is what you want to do. You wouldn't just go get a PhD in Physics because they offered you a scholarship would you? :)

Ultimately, only you can decide what you want to do with your life. Just don't dig a hole you can't reasonably get out of.

keg411
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby keg411 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:14 am

If you don't want to be a lawyer - don't go to law school. Enjoy your 9-5 job and figure out where you want to be first.

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Grizz
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby Grizz » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:16 am

keg411 wrote:If you don't want to be a lawyer - don't go to law school. Enjoy your 9-5 job and figure out where you want to be first.

cornellbeez
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby cornellbeez » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:16 am

Not foolish at all. 100k is still a ton of loans.
Last edited by cornellbeez on Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:22 am

rad law wrote:
keg411 wrote:If you don't want to be a lawyer - don't go to law school. Enjoy your 9-5 job and figure out where you want to be first.

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IAFG
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby IAFG » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:26 am

vanwinkle wrote:
rad law wrote:
keg411 wrote:If you don't want to be a lawyer - don't go to law school. Enjoy your 9-5 job and figure out where you want to be first.

this is why i tell people coming straight from UG to get a job. you don't know nearly as much about what is important to you as you think you do.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:34 am

IAFG wrote:this is why i tell people coming straight from UG to get a job. you don't know nearly as much about what is important to you as you think you do.

Working a few years after UG instead of trying straight for law or grad school was the best decision I ever made.

uci2013
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby uci2013 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:57 am

I think UVa is supposed to be a great school if you are interested in JAG. In fact there is a JAG school at UVa and UVa students can enroll in some of the courses.

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Shaggier1
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby Shaggier1 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:51 pm

If you don't want to be a lawyer - don't go to law school. Enjoy your 9-5 job and figure out where you want to be first.


This. + 1 million.

Besides, you still have a few years left with that LSAT. Get more work experience, see how you feel and if, in two years, you have decided you want to go to law school afterall, you will have the same stats plus new work experience.

ran12
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby ran12 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:01 pm

If gov't or JAG is what you're looking to do, it makes complete sense to go to UVA. UVA is one of the best places for a potential JAG career. Also, UVA has a pretty good loan repayment program where if you do something public service related which would include gov't and JAG, and make lense than 75000, they will help pay off your loans. Plus, JAG has its own loan repayment program too.

UVA is a great school and if you're truly interested in gov't or JAG, 100k shouldn't worry you.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby bgdddymtty » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:22 pm

If your real hang-up is about whether you want a career in the law, you're wise to consider foregoing the scholarship.

If your real hang-up is about debt, you will have so many tools available to you at UVa that I think you'd be a fool not to take the money. You'll have federal IBR (work 10 years in government/non-profit, pay a fixed percentage of your income for your loans each month, and the remaining balance is forgiven), LRAP (UVa pays your entire IBR-based payment if you earn $55,000 per year or less, and pays a portion of that payment if your income is between $55,000 and $75,000), summer work (assuming you land a decent 2L SA position, you could bank at least $15,000-20,000), part-time work while in school (as an LSAT tutor or research assistant, for example), proximity to the JAG School and its complement of officers from all branches of the military, UVa's national reach, etc., etc., etc.

r6_philly
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby r6_philly » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:54 pm

How about ask to defer for longer. Better yet take the time to find something worthwhile and then ask to defer longer. Buy yourself some time with no obligation. If you still want to do law after what that, you can get back to school with better appreciation.

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jm19
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby jm19 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:36 pm

r6_philly wrote:How about ask to defer for longer. Better yet take the time to find something worthwhile and then ask to defer longer. Buy yourself some time with no obligation. If you still want to do law after what that, you can get back to school with better appreciation.


I've considered asking for an extended deferral, but I think I'd rather have the freedom to re-evaluate schools down the line given whatever decision I come to about where/what I practice.

And I wholeheartedly agree with the "don't go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer" bit. But that's a harder question to answer that I thought it would be. I'd like to be a lawyer, but not at the expense of all my personal time and sanity.

Snape
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby Snape » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:20 pm

You wont find the anser here....do you want to be a lawyer? It really is that simple.

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zonto
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby zonto » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:35 pm

Are you equating being a lawyer with biglaw?

I think it might be beneficial for you to talk to a few attorneys locally and see what their daily life/jobs are like and how they got there. See if what they talk about resonates with you or not.

krad
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby krad » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:38 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
IAFG wrote:this is why i tell people coming straight from UG to get a job. you don't know nearly as much about what is important to you as you think you do.

Working a few years after UG instead of trying straight for law or grad school was the best decision I ever made.


This times a million.

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pixytree
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Re: 90K at UVA - Considering not going

Postby pixytree » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:34 am

90k at UVA is great, congrats on that! Your family should be proud of you and of course, they want the best for you. But at the end of the day, they don't really know anything about law school and won't be there to help you get through it. My family is the same way. I even had one family member that suggested that I was so smart I should go to med school instead--"it's just another year." The only difference between law school and med school is one year. Riiiiiiight.

Forgo the scholarship and take time to work and figure out what you really want. Your LSAT scores and recs will still be there--and you'll be able to write an even better PS and possibly get more money. In 1-3 years, you may still want to go to law school and be ready to take on that debt-- I am. I changed my career goals half a dozen times after undergrad, and held several different jobs. All of which allowed me to figure out not only what I wanted in a career but also what I wanted in a work environment (it's just as important, trust me!). And what I was willing to sacrifice to not just have the career I wanted but the life I wanted.




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