Columbia at Sticker vs.

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delusional
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Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:58 pm

The No School of Anything for free.

Dilemma - close enough to reality that it's worth a discussion. Married, 2 kids, two incomes, numbers in my profile are real. Assume that because of various details, my application is not likely to perform better in another cycle.

Accepted at various T14 schools at sticker, among which Columbia is the highest ranked. I could apply lower, and hope for schollies, but that would inevitably involve moving my family - Columbia is close enough that i can at least come home weekends. I imagine I'll qualify for some sort of "need based" aid, but apparently they don't give much - say about $10,000 a year. Because of my life situation, I would have to make major sacrifices to attend Columbia - whether it means moving my family/losing BOTH incomes, or not being home all week. And I'd take on roughly 180,000 in debt from tuition, COA, lost income, etc.

Soooo to go or not to go? And please elaborate. Thanks in advance!

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Malcolm8X
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby Malcolm8X » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:01 pm

First congrats!

What is the combined income/earning potential (without law school) of your family? Are you dead set on going to law school?

xyzbca
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby xyzbca » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:33 pm

OP:

Any chance you could keep working and do a PT program? Fordham or GULC? I am not at either of those schools but PT has worked out very well for me at my T50 (with a nice scholarship to boot). I've kept my job and my only complaint is that I don't see my wife or kid nearly enough.

delusional
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:04 pm

Malcolm8X wrote:First congrats!

What is the combined income/earning potential (without law school) of your family? Are you dead set on going to law school?

Thanks! It's hard to remember when the debt has me in such a tizzy, but yeah getting accepted to Columbia is a good thing and I should try to remember that.

My combined income potential... I'm like anyone else who doesn't have a great targeted education (yet). I could live where I am now indefinitely. But I can't choose to move, and without a specific degree, I am at the mercy of the whatever place I get hired. If nothing changes, our combined income in a good economic climate would top out at around $100,000 within a few years. That's a big reason I want to go to LS.

The best case scenario is, I get biglaw, have a choice of places to live, live frugally and keep my job, and pay off my loans within five years. I HATE debt. But so much can go wrong. I can end up utterly and completely screwed into the ground by huge debt - which I would not be if I just give up.

delusional
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:06 pm

xyzbca wrote:OP:

Any chance you could keep working and do a PT program? Fordham or GULC? I am not at either of those schools but PT has worked out very well for me at my T50 (with a nice scholarship to boot). I've kept my job and my only complaint is that I don't see my wife or kid nearly enough.

I dunno, I'd likely have to move and leave both our jobs for GULC, and even Fordham's PT program doesn't seem so much easier that I'd be able to work at my current job.

USAIRS
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby USAIRS » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:24 pm

Delusional,
As someone with a family (but out of law school), I don't see how in the world you think the opinions of people on this site even matter. Your wife has an opinion, and she'll have an opinion on whether your kids need to see you more than just on weekends (your kids may not be expressing an opinion now, but maybe they will later). I will say this - if you don't like your current options, it sounds like you may do better applying next cycle to some nearby schools which would give you a better scholarship and not force you to miss another 5 years with your family working 80 hours a week at a law firm, unless that is something you actually want to do. This is totally up to you and your family, though. People with families do this all kinds of different ways, and no one is in a position to criticize.

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Malcolm8X
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby Malcolm8X » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:18 pm

USAIRS wrote:Delusional,
As someone with a family (but out of law school), I don't see how in the world you think the opinions of people on this site even matter. Your wife has an opinion, and she'll have an opinion on whether your kids need to see you more than just on weekends (your kids may not be expressing an opinion now, but maybe they will later). I will say this - if you don't like your current options, it sounds like you may do better applying next cycle to some nearby schools which would give you a better scholarship and not force you to miss another 5 years with your family working 80 hours a week at a law firm, unless that is something you actually want to do. This is totally up to you and your family, though. People with families do this all kinds of different ways, and no one is in a position to criticize.


TLS can provide a very valuable service in terms of anecdotal evidence and an unseen different viewpoint. I'm sure OP is smart enough to take our advice with a grain of salt. With that being said, MY opinion is as follows: Columbia is seen as an elite school. It offers GREAT job potential from academia to biglaw, and it's internationally renown. From the surface, I'd take it. But I don't know a whole deal about your current debt load and ability to provide for family while you are in school. Seems like your wife can take care of housing for the family which will greatly minimize your COA. Hopefully you got some money saved up to cut into tuition as well and your current debt is under $50K. If I could say those two things for sure, I'd go to CLS.

mcat4life87
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby mcat4life87 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:23 pm

OP, why didn't you apply to lower ranked schools in your area so you could stay home while you attended?

delusional
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:30 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:OP, why didn't you apply to lower ranked schools in your area so you could stay home while you attended?

Because the lower ranked nearby schools are in the 70s and 80s.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby Fred_McGriff » Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:03 pm

delusional wrote:
mcat4life87 wrote:OP, why didn't you apply to lower ranked schools in your area so you could stay home while you attended?

Because the lower ranked nearby schools are in the 70s and 80s.


Not necessarily the end of the world, especially if you're going with $$$. That being said Columbia at sticker is a very, very good option to have.

Sam Seaborn
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby Sam Seaborn » Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:14 pm

If your number are accurate them wait and reapply next cycle. Apply to HYS, then leverage your acceptance at one of those for $$$ at Columbia or NYU. At the very least you could guarantee a full ride to a local school.

That seems like your best course of action if you decide to do the law school thing. As to whether you actually should go, only one person can answer that.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:07 pm

If I had those numbers and those circumstances, I would try like hell to get a full ride or close to it at Penn, Cornell, even BU/BC depending on where in the NE you currently live... heck, you really should be getting serious money from CLS and NYU.

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Malcolm8X
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby Malcolm8X » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:12 pm

Wow, I just saw your numbers. Yea, a reapplication might be justified. You can get full ride from a T10 too..

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typ3
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby typ3 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:50 pm

Get HY or S. With your #'s you're selling yourself short on Columbia. Also, as others have said you can leverage those offers for $. I would seek out Columbia or Chicago on a full with an HYS acceptance.

delusional
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:59 am

typ3 wrote:Get HY or S. With your #'s you're selling yourself short on Columbia. Also, as others have said you can leverage those offers for $. I would seek out Columbia or Chicago on a full with an HYS acceptance.

See, that's what everyone assumes, but it just doesn't work that way. Columbia claims not to offer merit aid aside from the two named scholarships, and according to the applicant thread, the most they'll do is give a merit boost to need based aid. As much as it sounds nice to be able to leverage, it really does also involve a significant amount of luck - and the downside of being eligible for the top schools is that they seem to be less open to negotiation. I probably should and will try it with Penn, but from everything I've seen, it takes luck along with leverage.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:16 pm

delusional wrote:See, that's what everyone assumes, but it just doesn't work that way. Columbia claims not to offer merit aid aside from the two named scholarships, and according to the applicant thread, the most they'll do is give a merit boost to need based aid. As much as it sounds nice to be able to leverage, it really does also involve a significant amount of luck - and the downside of being eligible for the top schools is that they seem to be less open to negotiation. I probably should and will try it with Penn, but from everything I've seen, it takes luck along with leverage.

The scholarship money I was offered at CLS was substantially similar to other schools that were "merit based" ($30k at CLS, $45k/37.5 at NYU depending on PI or firm work, $45 at Chicago). YMMV but I tend to think "need-based" is used quite liberally, particularly because so few people can actually "afford" law school and most people finance it with loans regardless.

delusional
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby delusional » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:24 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
delusional wrote:See, that's what everyone assumes, but it just doesn't work that way. Columbia claims not to offer merit aid aside from the two named scholarships, and according to the applicant thread, the most they'll do is give a merit boost to need based aid. As much as it sounds nice to be able to leverage, it really does also involve a significant amount of luck - and the downside of being eligible for the top schools is that they seem to be less open to negotiation. I probably should and will try it with Penn, but from everything I've seen, it takes luck along with leverage.

The scholarship money I was offered at CLS was substantially similar to other schools that were "merit based" ($30k at CLS, $45k/37.5 at NYU depending on PI or firm work, $45 at Chicago). YMMV but I tend to think "need-based" is used quite liberally, particularly because so few people can actually "afford" law school and most people finance it with loans regardless.

was that per year or total?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:31 pm

was that per year or total?

Total! I wish per year.

rose711
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby rose711 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:09 pm

OP: wow this is a tough one. Honestly, I don't feel comfortable advising a married man with 2 kids to take on so much debt and send themselves to biglaw or other career.

On the other hand, it could be a fabulous opportunity so turning it down seems foolish.

If it were me, I would probably go for a year and see how I did and how it all works out, with the idea that if I was miserable or my family was falling apart or something happened, then I would change my plan.

rose711
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Re: Columbia at Sticker vs.

Postby rose711 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:09 pm

OP: wow this is a tough one. Honestly, I don't feel comfortable advising a married man with 2 kids to take on so much debt and send themselves to biglaw or other career.

On the other hand, it could be a fabulous opportunity so turning it down seems foolish.

If it were me, I would probably go for a year and see how I did and how it all works out, with the idea that if I was miserable or my family was falling apart or something happened, then I would change my plan.




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