Goals: Not totally sure. Would love to gun for PI, but I in the end I am a realist. I feel that if I attend GULC/NU with sticker I pretty much am forced to shoot for biglaw. If I attend the lower ranked schools, I feel like I can't be picky and should jump at any opportunity of substantive legal employment.
Geographic preference: Wouldn't mind returning to Texas to practice, but also wouldn't mind being stuck in Colorado. I really have no desire to work in NYC, but I am well aware that it is the easiest biglaw market to break into. Ideally, I would love to return to Austin, but I am not counting on it. I i don't enjoy the sound of being stuck in the midwest, but I have also never really experienced it. Perhaps, I would love St. Louis/Chicago/etc.
Debt aversion: Pretty significant. I don't have that much in UG debt left, about 10k, but I also can't stand being in debt... let alone 120k+. From my cursory research, it seems that both Chicago and D.C. have pretty high COL, with Chicago being slightly cheaper. SMU/WUSTL seem to win out in COL. However, SMU is in Highland/University Park and from little I know about Dallas... that is the ritzy neighborhood.
I also have a dog (over 50lbs pitt mix). Taking him to D.C. will be impossible... Chicago prob just as impossible. Unsure about St Louis, but I am fairly confident I could find some place in Dallas that would work. However, I am leaning towards leaving him with my family. Even if I could bring him with me, I am unsure if it would be the best thing for him. Cooped up in an apartment for a significant portion of the day with no yard or other dogs/pets/people to keep him company.
I also will most likely be requesting a one-year deferral. I know NU scholarships don't roll over and I would have to reapply for them the following year. Does anyone know the policy at any of the other schools or their leniency in granting deferrals?
EDIT: situation has slightly changed, copied my last post into the main topic
My situation has slightly changed. I flew up to Dallas a few days ago and interviewed for the Sarah T Hughes scholarship, awarded to one or two minority candidates. I was informed that I was awarded it and I am heavily leaning towards SMU. However, UIUC also increased their offer to full-tuition and WUSTL mentioned that they would be able to re-evaluate my scholarship offer after the first seat deposit.
Current options I am considering:
Georgetown (sticker) aprox 200k COA
Northwestern (30k over 3 years) aprox 180k COA
SMU (Sarah T Hughes, full-tuition, possible stipend? unsure about the last part) aprox 30K COA
UIUC (full-tuition) aprox 30k COA
WUSTL (currently 114k scholarship, but would consider if it was raised to full tuition) aprox 30k COA
I don't have much interest in biglaw. I am from Texas and would love to return to Texas to practice. I am actually interested in criminal law, but I would love to have as many options open as possible. Am I foolish to pass up my T14 options for SMU? My current game plan is to submit deposits at WUSTL and SMU (both due by the 1st), fly up and visit NU/UIUC/WUSTL in 3-4day trip and then drive up to SMU one weekend to visit. Is there really that big of placement difference between T1 schools in the 20-50 range? I know the Sarah T Hughes isn't a Hamilton/Ruby/Darrow, but it is a named scholarship that would allow me, presumably, a chance to network with past scholars and other leaders within the Dallas legal community. I am pretty set on SMU and I just wanted to ensure that I am not crazy for passing up my other options or that I am not missing anything in my calculations.
I was notified by Georgetown that they were unable to award me merit aid in the first round of notifications. I just now submitted the last part of GULC's financial aid app, but it I submitted the "yellow-form" past their deadline.