What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

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pkt63
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What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby pkt63 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:51 pm

I want to go to Berkeley, but there are many reasons I should be considering U San Diego. Notwithstanding all of them, I am still choosing Berkeley. I just want to make sure I haven't overlooked anything, or underemphasized something, at USD that I should consider before I finalize my decision. Here are the relevant facts:

USD full scholarship
I already live here and my husband has a great job, so COL is nothing different than we are already paying.
I MAY end up in San Diego after graduation, but at this time kinda don't want to and would like to have doors open to live and work elsewhere
Berkeley hasn't started handed out their regular scholarships yet, so I can hope I might get a little something.
Also, I am super not concerned about debt. I could go into a lengthy post reasoning why I won't mind debt to explain this unusual stance, but let's just say it's a very minor, as opposed to major consideration.
I do wonder if I would feel stupid to come back to San Diego to practice with a Berkeley degree when I could/should have just stayed at USD (the strong school here in town and where "everyone" goes) and made it all easier (I.e. is there still an advantage to the Berkeley degree if I come back here that will preclude the me feeling stupid part?)
I don't know exactly (or even, at all) what I want to do, so one reason I am leaning toward Berkeley is just because it's a better school period and will open more doors in whatever direction I want to go.

I guess the bottom line is, I think Berkeley is the best choice for me in so many ways, except for this possible case in which I come back to SD in 3 years and have no real advantage over USD grads and it makes me wonder why I left and did the long distance thing with my husband in the first place. I'm a little scared that this is more than a remote possibbility because we like warm weather and husband's job may just convince us to stay. Would you still take the Berkeley degree in this situation? Are there other reasons that USD is a better choice than I am thinking in any case (i.e. even if I am not sure I will end up in SD)?

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KMaine
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby KMaine » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:55 pm

If you are not really concerned about debt and your husband is on board with it, I don't see a problem. Just out of curiosity, you guys don't think it will be a big deal for your husband to get a new job after you graduate LS, but he doesn't want to leave now?

pkt63
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby pkt63 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:58 pm

He just started this job about 6 months ago, so it is not the time to leave. But when I grad, he'll be at almost 4 years, which is more legit.

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KMaine
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby KMaine » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:19 pm

To me it sounds like a great opportunity and one you may regret if you don't take it. With the caveat that debt is not a big issue, I would go there if I were you.

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Upton Sinclair
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby Upton Sinclair » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:45 pm

How long have you been married and how old are you guys?

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bk1
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:47 pm

Your husband's job is so great that he would want to give it up in 3-4 years?

I don't think this is a question any of us on TLS can answer. It comes down to you and your husband and how you feel about long distance, his job prospects, staying in SD, etc.

pkt63
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby pkt63 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:21 pm

Upton Sinclair wrote:How long have you been married and how old are you guys?


7 years and we are 33

Your husband's job is so great that he would want to give it up in 3-4 years


Well, it looks weird to leave a place after 6 months, so that's why 4 years is better, not to mention hopefully the economy is better and it is easier to find a different job (took almost a year to find this one).

I do know it's something only I can answer and I pretty much have, but just looking for other perspectives like, "actually USD has X or Y going for it that you may want to consider" or yes, getting a Berkeley degree and going back to San Diego with it is a poor choice, so to the extent that is possible, you have to discount the Berk degree that much, etc.

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bk1
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:25 pm

pkt63 wrote:I do know it's something only I can answer and I pretty much have, but just looking for other perspectives like, "actually USD has X or Y going for it that you may want to consider" or yes, getting a Berkeley degree and going back to San Diego with it is a poor choice, so to the extent that is possible, you have to discount the Berk degree that much, etc.


I don't think going from Boalt back to SD is a bad idea assuming you have a way to pay off the debt from Boalt.

All I'd say USD has going for it is $ and being close to your husband (which are pretty big things).
Last edited by bk1 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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99.9luft
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby 99.9luft » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:31 pm

I'd take boalt at sticker in all cases except if you wanna stay and practice in SD forever.

bhan87
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby bhan87 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:34 pm

Berkeley's degree will take priority over USD's when you're being hired up by firms. The quality difference is just too great. Also, the fact that USD is the school that "everyone goes to" in the area is all the more reason why you want to go to Berkeley. Would you rather stand out or get lost in a pile of resumes? When employers see Berkeley's name, they will likely take an immediate interest to your application. The only risk you'll have is if they ask you about your commitment to San Diego, but this doesn't seem like an issue (especially if your SO is working in the area).

Going to Berkeley is the right choice in this situation.

AP-375
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby AP-375 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:35 pm

Personally, I could never do long distance with my spouse for years through a very stressful experience. I'd quickly take just about any option over it, including a full-ride to USD.
Also, I think that a Berkeley degree would be an advantage in San Diego.

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FlanAl
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby FlanAl » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:44 pm

I'd say it really depends on what kind of work you want to be doing and whether or not you want to end up in sd. For sd biglaw (what little there is) it seems like connections and prestige are the only way in (haha isn't this always the case?). But outside of biglaw it's all about connections and USD definitely offers those up big time in san diego. I'm also wondering if UCLA is an option? LA would be way less strain on your marriage than the bay area and it doesn't have the hippie stigma of berkeley.

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99.9luft
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby 99.9luft » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:46 pm

FlanAl wrote:I'd say it really depends on what kind of work you want to be doing and whether or not you want to end up in sd. For sd biglaw (what little there is) it seems like connections and prestige are the only way in (haha isn't this always the case?). But outside of biglaw it's all about connections and USD definitely offers those up big time in san diego. I'm also wondering if UCLA is an option? LA would be way less strain on your marriage than the bay area and it doesn't have the hippie stigma of berkeley.


some LA people prefer the hippie stigma over a stigma of douchiness and superficial pretense.

pkt63
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby pkt63 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:00 pm

FlanAl wrote:I'd say it really depends on what kind of work you want to be doing and whether or not you want to end up in sd. For sd biglaw (what little there is) it seems like connections and prestige are the only way in (haha isn't this always the case?). But outside of biglaw it's all about connections and USD definitely offers those up big time in san diego. I'm also wondering if UCLA is an option? LA would be way less strain on your marriage than the bay area and it doesn't have the hippie stigma of berkeley.

Yeah, UCLA hasn't gotten back to me yet. But even so, a 2-3 hour drive from LA is about the same as a 45 min flight (+airport BS and etc) from Oakland.

I do have some connections already in SD having lived here and worked professionally with many lawyers for over a decade. Does anyone have thoughts on the likelihood of going to Berk, getting the Berk degree, but being able to get externships/internships, SA jobs down in SD for the summers? I don't know if that is even possible, but that would help. However, even if it's possible, given how small a market SD is, is it also likely that the types of opportunities for that summer work would be a lot more limited?

USAIRS
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby USAIRS » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:56 pm

pkt63 wrote:Yeah, UCLA hasn't gotten back to me yet. But even so, a 2-3 hour drive from LA is about the same as a 45 min flight (+airport BS and etc) from Oakland.

I do have some connections already in SD having lived here and worked professionally with many lawyers for over a decade. Does anyone have thoughts on the likelihood of going to Berk, getting the Berk degree, but being able to get externships/internships, SA jobs down in SD for the summers? I don't know if that is even possible, but that would help. However, even if it's possible, given how small a market SD is, is it also likely that the types of opportunities for that summer work would be a lot more limited?


From what I see, you have a better understanding of how insular the SD market is than most on TLS. In my experience, and that of someone to whom I'm pretty close, going to a prestigious school does not get you very far in SD even in "biglaw". We went to Chicago and Harvard, and focused on SD only to completely strike out - nearly ruining our chances at landing jobs at all. As you are well aware, Most people in SD are either students, unemployed, under-employed, under-compensated, or semi-retired. Everyone in the world wants to live or retire there, so you have a ton of experienced attorneys on hand and very few openings or need for people with no experience. USD is the school in SD, and there really isn't a better shot at getting a job in SD (not necessarily the best job, but A job) than networking your tail off while going there.

Also, having tried distance relationships, going through the process of just getting to and through the airport is going to make it not worth it, plus your schedule would be better if flexible and not having to plan trips weeks in advance just to cancel them. As someone suggested, USC and UCLA deserve consideration. There really isn't a substitute for the flexibility of you or your spouse being able to jump in a car at a whim and see each other in a couple of hours.

rapstar
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby rapstar » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:11 am

This entire scenario confuses me. Most people go to law school so they can eventually make some money, and thus, debt is a relevant and major concern. How is debt not a concern for you? If you have loads of family money then I can understand. If that's the case, and you are only going to law school so that you can feel accomplished and not for the primary goal of making money then i understanding going to boalt. Presumably, you would feel more proud of yourself for having gone to a better school. otherwise, i think USD is the best choice. you will save $200,000. you will live in the same house as your husband. you will enjoy life. there will be no need for your husband to be forced into relocating in three years. san diego will have jobs for USD grads, and if you truly are tired of the area then you will be able to still look for work elsewhere without having to worry about doing biglaw to pay off boalt loans.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby Fark-o-vision » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:18 am

USAIRS wrote:
pkt63 wrote:Yeah, UCLA hasn't gotten back to me yet. But even so, a 2-3 hour drive from LA is about the same as a 45 min flight (+airport BS and etc) from Oakland.

I do have some connections already in SD having lived here and worked professionally with many lawyers for over a decade. Does anyone have thoughts on the likelihood of going to Berk, getting the Berk degree, but being able to get externships/internships, SA jobs down in SD for the summers? I don't know if that is even possible, but that would help. However, even if it's possible, given how small a market SD is, is it also likely that the types of opportunities for that summer work would be a lot more limited?


From what I see, you have a better understanding of how insular the SD market is than most on TLS. In my experience, and that of someone to whom I'm pretty close, going to a prestigious school does not get you very far in SD even in "biglaw". We went to Chicago and Harvard, and focused on SD only to completely strike out - nearly ruining our chances at landing jobs at all. As you are well aware, Most people in SD are either students, unemployed, under-employed, under-compensated, or semi-retired. Everyone in the world wants to live or retire there, so you have a ton of experienced attorneys on hand and very few openings or need for people with no experience. USD is the school in SD, and there really isn't a better shot at getting a job in SD (not necessarily the best job, but A job) than networking your tail off while going there.

Also, having tried distance relationships, going through the process of just getting to and through the airport is going to make it not worth it, plus your schedule would be better if flexible and not having to plan trips weeks in advance just to cancel them. As someone suggested, USC and UCLA deserve consideration. There really isn't a substitute for the flexibility of you or your spouse being able to jump in a car at a whim and see each other in a couple of hours.


0L with no experience in San Diego, but evidence around here suggests that San Diego isn't all that insular at all. In fact, it appeared so in the past because, other than weather, there wasn't much reason for kids at better schools to want to work there. Pay wasn't great and jobs were few. Several USD students have lamented on TLS that UCLA and USC grads have no trouble displacing them, and since the market crash even kids from Boalt and Stanford have been taking jobs that USD students used to fall into. I'd have to look around some, but I believe there was even one guy claiming to be top third who couldn't get an interview around town. OCI, rumor has it, is even less than useless there.

All of this is gossip, so if someone has something more concrete by way of example I'd happily defer. I'm actually considering USD.

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FlanAl
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby FlanAl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:39 am

[/quote] some LA people prefer the hippie stigma over a stigma of douchiness and superficial pretense.[/quote]

not sure if this was aimed at me and I'm sorry if I put it the wrong way but san diego is a very republican city with a good deal of residents serving in the military. People on TLS have commented a bunch about Berkeley's reputation on the east coast and in the south and even though SD obviously isn't these two places berkeley still has a bit of a stigma. Also note that the majority of people in SD aren't from California and bring their prejudices or whatever with them.

That being said I'm sure with connections you will be able to land a gig in SD.

USAIRS what are your SD connections? Did you and your friend grow up here and try to get back?

USAIRS
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby USAIRS » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:54 am

Fark-o-vision wrote:
USAIRS wrote:
From what I see, you have a better understanding of how insular the SD market is than most on TLS. In my experience, and that of someone to whom I'm pretty close, going to a prestigious school does not get you very far in SD even in "biglaw". We went to Chicago and Harvard, and focused on SD only to completely strike out - nearly ruining our chances at landing jobs at all. As you are well aware, Most people in SD are either students, unemployed, under-employed, under-compensated, or semi-retired. Everyone in the world wants to live or retire there, so you have a ton of experienced attorneys on hand and very few openings or need for people with no experience. USD is the school in SD, and there really isn't a better shot at getting a job in SD (not necessarily the best job, but A job) than networking your tail off while going there.

Also, having tried distance relationships, going through the process of just getting to and through the airport is going to make it not worth it, plus your schedule would be better if flexible and not having to plan trips weeks in advance just to cancel them. As someone suggested, USC and UCLA deserve consideration. There really isn't a substitute for the flexibility of you or your spouse being able to jump in a car at a whim and see each other in a couple of hours.


0L with no experience in San Diego, but evidence around here suggests that San Diego isn't all that insular at all. In fact, it appeared so in the past because, other than weather, there wasn't much reason for kids at better schools to want to work there. Pay wasn't great and jobs were few. Several USD students have lamented on TLS that UCLA and USC grads have no trouble displacing them, and since the market crash even kids from Boalt and Stanford have been taking jobs that USD students used to fall into. I'd have to look around some, but I believe there was even one guy claiming to be top third who couldn't get an interview around town. OCI, rumor has it, is even less than useless there.

All of this is gossip, so if someone has something more concrete by way of example I'd happily defer. I'm actually considering USD.


I'm sure USD grads get beaten out for top law firm jobs a lot, there just aren't enough of those openings to bet your bank that you'll get one, given - again - that everyone would love to work there. I don't think most USD students get jobs from OCI. They basically pick up something through being local for three years, and maybe through alumni connections, not necessarily jobs that advertise. OP may have an in through connections already, and those connections are much more likely to lead to a job than leaving the city for a fancy degree. If you want a more concrete example, then take one Harvard grad who did at least twenty interviews with firms that had a San Diego branch, got three call backs (two for the LA branches of those places, despite making clear the SD preference), one interview, and one offer in a SD branch of a national firm that hired 4 associates. That firm, in a good 2006 economy, no-offered 3 of the 4 associates, including one Michigan grad. They hired the UCLA associate who was wining and dining the hiring partner on the side.

My associate and I both went to school in SD before going to law school and have degrees from those schools.

ETA: I should say that I could easily get a job in SD now, after having several years of good experience in other cities. I often think about it. When I do it, it will be yet another example of the over-qualified semi-retired guy coming to town squeezing out potential openings for rookies :)

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FlanAl
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby FlanAl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:03 am

Yeah definitely wouldn't have figured the summer classes for SD firms would be very big at all considering how small the offices are. Thanks for letting us know about the connections. You don't think they worried about you guys being a flight risk? I mean those are some big deal schools you guys went to and it must have been really hard to convince hiring partners that you wanted kinda lower prestige SD jobs instead of academia or clerking with that Harvard degree.

OP It should also be said that with no debt if you get a decent small law gig in SD you will be in a very good position. It seems like a lot of the smaller firms pay pretty well in SD.

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FlanAl
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby FlanAl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:05 am

USAIRS wrote:ETA: I should say that I could easily get a job in SD now, after having several years of good experience in other cities. I often think about it. When I do it, it will be yet another example of the over-qualified semi-retired guy coming to town squeezing out potential openings for rookies :)


so classic haha

pkt63
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby pkt63 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:18 am

rapstar wrote:This entire scenario confuses me. Most people go to law school so they can eventually make some money, and thus, debt is a relevant and major concern. How is debt not a concern for you? If you have loads of family money then I can understand. If that's the case, and you are only going to law school so that you can feel accomplished and not for the primary goal of making money then i understanding going to boalt. Presumably, you would feel more proud of yourself for having gone to a better school. otherwise, i think USD is the best choice. you will save $200,000. you will live in the same house as your husband. you will enjoy life. there will be no need for your husband to be forced into relocating in three years. san diego will have jobs for USD grads, and if you truly are tired of the area then you will be able to still look for work elsewhere without having to worry about doing biglaw to pay off boalt loans.

Yeah, I think you are right, now that I think about it. It's not about making money. It's about doing something good or big or impressive in a career. I've already done the money-making thing, and it's cool, and I would do it again if the chips fall that way, but no matter which way they fall, I guess I (and my husband) am (are) more concerned about doing the best I possibly can and being able to look back and be proud. We're not rich, but we are in a position not to worry about money. So, I definitely think I will be more proud of going to Berkeley and challenging myself that way, but like I said, if I come back to SD (tail between my legs) and am in a negligible position due to my degree, then that would be counterproductive. What with coming back to SD still being a minor scenario, it's playing the odds no matter what, but I just want to maximize my chance of being proud of my law school experience and proud of where I can go with it.

I do know some attorneys that are not products of SD schools, so I should probably talk more to them about the atmosphere. Definitely the hardest thing (that I have thought of) is being away from my husband, but he is so supportive, and I already have a whole other thread going on that topic (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=147546).

Really interested in the feedback so far. Helpful comments, looking forward to more.

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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby bartleby » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:24 am

Go to Boalt. Fly every now and then. 10 months out of the year for three years is nothing for a mature marriage. I think being at a better school w/ smarter and more qualified students will elevate your game. No disrespect to USD.

rapstar
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Re: What am I missing? (USD full scholly vs. Berkeley)

Postby rapstar » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:25 am

pkt63 wrote:
rapstar wrote:This entire scenario confuses me. Most people go to law school so they can eventually make some money, and thus, debt is a relevant and major concern. How is debt not a concern for you? If you have loads of family money then I can understand. If that's the case, and you are only going to law school so that you can feel accomplished and not for the primary goal of making money then i understanding going to boalt. Presumably, you would feel more proud of yourself for having gone to a better school. otherwise, i think USD is the best choice. you will save $200,000. you will live in the same house as your husband. you will enjoy life. there will be no need for your husband to be forced into relocating in three years. san diego will have jobs for USD grads, and if you truly are tired of the area then you will be able to still look for work elsewhere without having to worry about doing biglaw to pay off boalt loans.

Yeah, I think you are right, now that I think about it. It's not about making money. It's about doing something good or big or impressive in a career. I've already done the money-making thing, and it's cool, and I would do it again if the chips fall that way, but no matter which way they fall, I guess I (and my husband) am (are) more concerned about doing the best I possibly can and being able to look back and be proud. We're not rich, but we are in a position not to worry about money. So, I definitely think I will be more proud of going to Berkeley and challenging myself that way, but like I said, if I come back to SD (tail between my legs) and am in a negligible position due to my degree, then that would be counterproductive. What with coming back to SD still being a minor scenario, it's playing the odds no matter what, but I just want to maximize my chance of being proud of my law school experience and proud of where I can go with it.

I do know some attorneys that are not products of SD schools, so I should probably talk more to them about the atmosphere. Definitely the hardest thing (that I have thought of) is being away from my husband, but he is so supportive, and I already have a whole other thread going on that topic (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=147546).

Really interested in the feedback so far. Helpful comments, looking forward to more.


I can't imagine that a Berkeley grad would be in an inferior position to a USD grad in any city in the country, even San Diego. If 30 years from now you will feel the most proud by looking at a Berkeley degree hanging on the wall instead of a USD degree, then go to Berkeley. I was in somewhat of a similiar situation last year. T10s with more debt or hometown T30 for free. I chose to take the T30 for free. I enjoy life right now so much, and I am not worried about finances. Hopefully, I will have nice things sooner in life with this choice. Still though, the hardest part about turning down the T10s was knowing that ultimately I wouldn't feel as proud of myself because I wouldn't have that degree. I think about this all the time. If you're sure you have the money to pay then go to Boalt.




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