Vandy (free if 10 hrs work/wk, Penn, GULC, NWestern, UT ($$)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which should I choose? (Estimated COA)

Vanderbilt (free, but have to work 10 hours/week)
84
47%
Penn ($204,000)
62
34%
Texas ($150,000)
6
3%
Northwestern ($214,000)
11
6%
Georgetown ($175,000)
10
6%
Cornell ($217,000)
2
1%
UWashington ($110,000)
5
3%
 
Total votes: 180

Tarheel10
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Vandy (free if 10 hrs work/wk, Penn, GULC, NWestern, UT ($$)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:30 pm

I have used this board for reference often in the past and got a lot of tips on studying for the LSAT, etc. This is my first post, though. I hope you guys don't mind my selfish solicitation of information without any contribution. I'll see if I can make myself useful in the future as a thank you. Also, I am still waiting to hear back from Michigan, Chicago, NYU, Duke, and USC, as well as merit-based offers from Northwestern, Cornell, and Penn (anticipating none), but I'm not counting on any game-changers at this point. I applied to Mich, Duke, and NYU 5 months ago, so yeah...Also, I have about $70,000 saved up to help with expenses.

OK, here is the situation:

Preferences:
1. PI/clerkship/maybe big law for the doors it opens in California (no ties), Pacific Northwest (did a year of AmeriCorps there), Colorado (love the area, but no ties), DC (no ties), Nashville (raised there). Could maybe do Atlanta, New York, Chicago, or Boston, but am turned off by the traffic/congestion of the first, the expected billable hours and pressure of the second, and the cold of the third and fourth. Not sure about Texas cities. I am concerned with work/life balance, and am willing to sacrifice money and prestige if necessary. I am also willing to try big law first, though, to find out, though I'd prefer prestigious PI/government - specifically in environmental law, international development, human rights law. I also have a solid back-up option outside of the field of law, should I fail completely, though I'm obviously trying to avoid that.
2. I went to school at UNC, and while I don't require a fun, friendly college town, I would like to be among friendly students, have good, nearby nightlife and outdoors activities. I definitely don't want a super-competitive, anti-social crowd.
3. I know it sounds bizarre, since I said I was focused on PI and government, but I'm also very interested in business and would love to take some business courses or maybe even get an MBA at the same time. Down the line, I see myself getting involved with venture capital and entrepreneurship with a PI tilt (work with me here; I know it's strange).

Vanderbilt with $50k
Estimated COA $152,000 (UPDATE: family company offered to pay remaining COA if I went to Vandy and worked ~10 hours/week)
In my hometown, decent scholarship, love the city but would prefer to get away. Beautiful women is a plus, as is the nightlife. Inferior job prospects to some others. Less national weight. Less likely to get me out west or to DC than some others.

Texas
Estimated COA: ~$150,000
This is actually assuming they'll match my Vandy scholarship, which they might not. Shitty facilities, but everything else about the area is pretty much ideal to me. I love music, cycling, sports, warm weather, and women. I know I'll be studying my ass off most of the time, but it's still something to consider. I've never been to Houston or Dallas, though, so as someone who prefers to commute by bicycle and walk to bars/restaurants, rather than drive, Texas's placement might not be ideal. They also are much more connected to the energy industry than the environmental movement, so that might be good for career prospects - $$$ - but not for my conscience.

Penn
Estimated COA: $204,000
Best career prospects hands-down. Focus on NY placement has me worried, as well as the big law emphasis. Never been to Philly, either, and not sure how I feel about it. I'm visiting soon, though. It's also more expensive than the others.

Georgetown
Esimated COA: $175,000
Curriculum B. I love DC, love the traditional strengths in PI and government, and could really see myself here. However, it is more expensive than Vandy and Texas, has a much larger class size than Penn, Northwestern, UW, and Vandy, and seems to have a bad reputation on these boards, which, I assume, reflects somewhat dubious job prospects? I also hear it's in a less-than-ideal part of DC. I prefer to be able to go from class to coffeehouse to bar to home on foot or by bike.

Northwestern
Estimated COA: $215,000
Good business emphasis, but the older students aspect turns me off a little bit, not because I'm anti-older student, but because I want to have a class that is oriented more around the school, as I will be moving to a city where I know no one. Their baseline COA is also much higher than the others. I'm also not sure how I feel about Chicago, since I've never been there, and I imagine their strength is Chicago big law placement.

University of Washington
Estimated COA: $110,000
I would be happy working in the Pacific Northwest after school, and they have an emphasis on PI that appeals to me. I like their small class size, have good friends in the area, and would generally love to attend school here. However, I recognize that attending here would likely limit me to working here, as well as maybe getting a job in Nashville (is that even possible?).

Cornell
Expensive as shit. Cold. Lonely. Dark. NY-feeder. Nah.

...unless they come through with the money.
Last edited by Tarheel10 on Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:33 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Tarheel10
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:57 pm

Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:39 pm

Good lord. I typed a book. Sorry guys.

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guyincognito
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby guyincognito » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:42 pm

NU best prospects hands down :evil:

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:01 pm

guyincognito wrote:NU best prospects hands down :evil:


I'll argue the same, if I end up going there.

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:27 pm

Really? 3 people think Northwestern over Penn at 10k cheaper and Vandy and Texas at 60k cheaper?

cornellbeez
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby cornellbeez » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:08 am

guyincognito wrote:NU best prospects hands down :evil:


Huh? Only for people with work experience. NU's placement doesn't control for people having way more work experience than those at other schools.

I'd go to Penn - better placement, after controlling for work experience, and cheaper.

I'd take Texas if you want Texas.

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:58 am

Is this a case of people just voting for the highest ranked option or do people have strong reasons for thinking Penn at 50-60k more than Vandy and Texas, 30k more than GULC, and 100k more than UW?

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incase2011
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby incase2011 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:14 am

Tarheel, I can promise you I'm going to get reamed for this, but I voted Georgetown. You said you were interested in DC (in two of your school descriptions), which was building cheap, and decent, housing in crappy neighborhoods to bring people back into the city the last time I was there - maybe a sign of improvement, who knows. Stop me if I'm wrong, but I would think you've got a good chance at PI/clerkships/big law from there.

Cal4future
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Cal4future » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:00 am

Because you don't have a strong desire for Biglaw, going to Penn really is not necessary. However, if you are really serious about the JD/MBA then Penn is hard to beat. I wouldn't worry about job prospects being NYC centric because if you are interested in government jobs anyways they won't be coming to OCI for the most part and you'll simply submit your application along with everyone else. Going to Penn will give you a boost over the other schools on your list, but ultimately getting those jobs will come down to your grades and other experience.

I would consider Washington if you can get more money out of them. Because you have acceptances and scholarships at some terrific schools I would use that to try to get more money out of UW. It sounds like for work/life balance, climate, job prospects, and overall happiness, UW would be a good choice. Keep in mind it will be much more regional than your other options so if half way through law school you change your mind about where you want to live, you'll be disappointed.

If I were in your shoes I would tentatively pick Penn for now, wait for word from your other choices, then try to get more money out of the other schools.

Good Luck!

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Moxie
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Moxie » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:51 am

Cal4future wrote:If I were in your shoes I would tentatively pick Penn for now, wait for word from your other choices, then try to get more money out of the other schools.

Good Luck!


+1. I'd knock out Vandy and UT from consideration, and wait for your other schools to get back to you.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:50 am

Because of your interest in taking business courses, Northwestern is my top pick. Wait for NU's financial package before deciding.

Bumi
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Bumi » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:57 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Because of your interest in taking business courses, Northwestern is my top pick. Wait for NU's financial package before deciding.


Agree with this. This thread is two or three weeks too early.

Tarheel10
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:57 pm

Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:36 pm

You guys are probably right about it being too early. I've heard Northwestern is much stingier with money, or rather that it's very giving to a select few and not at all to the rest. As a splitter with only 1 year WE, I'm not expected to be one of those selected. Same with Penn. I feel lucky just to be in, and I'm pretty sure the people who hand out merit aid will feel the same way.

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Grizz
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Grizz » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:05 pm

So out of your three top markets, CA, Pac NW, and CO, you have no ties to two of them, and weak ties to the last one. Hoo boy.

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:25 pm

Yeah, I know. I didn't list them in order, though. DC, Nashville, Austin, are equally acceptable to the three you listed. And I have no idea about Chicago. I'm going to visit, but it's hard to say you're targeting a market you've never been, too...

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Grizz
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Grizz » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:34 pm

Tarheel10 wrote:Yeah, I know. I didn't list them in order, though. DC, Nashville, Austin, are equally acceptable to the three you listed. And I have no idea about Chicago. I'm going to visit, but it's hard to say you're targeting a market you've never been, too...


Austin is a no go unless you go to Texas. DC is hard to get into from everywhere. You can be top 20% at a T14 and still strike out at DC firms at OCI. Nashville's doable with your ties probably. I'm here now. See if there's any lawyers you know who can talk to you about getting Nashville with a school other than Vandy. Seems pretty parochial around here.

tipler4213
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby tipler4213 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:11 pm

When did you get your GULC offer?

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drylo
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby drylo » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:53 pm

rad law wrote:
Tarheel10 wrote:Yeah, I know. I didn't list them in order, though. DC, Nashville, Austin, are equally acceptable to the three you listed. And I have no idea about Chicago. I'm going to visit, but it's hard to say you're targeting a market you've never been, too...


Austin is a no go unless you go to Texas. DC is hard to get into from everywhere. You can be top 20% at a T14 and still strike out at DC firms at OCI. Nashville's doable with your ties probably. I'm here now. See if there's any lawyers you know who can talk to you about getting Nashville with a school other than Vandy. Seems pretty parochial around here.


I second the "hoo boy" about your target markets. I mean, good luck getting a job in Denver with no ties. If you went to UW, I would assume that you would be able to get a job in the Pacific NW.

I think if work-life balance is important, you will probably not want to be in DC or Chicago for long--NYC might be worse, but at that point we are talking about shades of black. Honestly, biglaw in Houston/Dallas/SF/LA is probably not much different either. If they are paying you $160k, it is for good reason.

So, if quality of life is truly more important than prestige to you (as it is to me), I think your most desirable and realistic career options are probably in Austin or Nashville, possibly depending on where you go to school. If you want to practice in Austin, you probably have to go to Texas (because no ties). As a Nashville native, you will not foreclose the ability to practice in Nashville by going somewhere other than Vandy. However, if you really want to practice in Nashville, I think Vandy is the best choice at the end of the day.

To me, you should go wherever you want to go, because it sounds like your experience over the next three years is important to you. I think you should be realistic about your career prospects, though. The way I see it, you have only a few options that are worth staking any money on: (1) go to UW and practice in Seattle, etc.; (2) go the biglaw route and practice in NY/DC/Chicago/California (which city maybe depending on which school you go to); (3) go to Texas and practice in Austin; (4) practice in Nashville. You don't foreclose Nashville as an option by going to Northwestern/Penn (but I also don't think Northwestern/Penn really give you any advantage over Vandy in the Nashville market--grades are the important thing, no matter where you go).

EDIT: I would also agree that DC is difficult to get into from pretty much anywhere--you need good grades. I will also add that while you always the potential to get back to Nashville because of your ties, you need pretty good grades to get a top job in Nashville as well. Basically, what I am really saying is that, to a very large extent, your grades are more important than your school.

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:36 pm

Thanks for the advice. Those are all good points, and it is definitely true that I need to do some realistic thinking and figure out my true target market, and that will likely determine where I attend. In my OP, I was just listing all of the places where I'd enjoy working after school, not saying I was going to pursue those markets in order, regardless of grades. Agreed about the options you laid out, drylo - all of which, of course, are dauntingly hard to attain in themselves (work in Austin, Nashville, etc).

Rad, after what you and drylo said, I'll do some research and see how Nashville attorneys think a Texas JD, etc, will do for me in Nashville. I am going to visit all of the schools, aside from Northwestern and Cornell if they don't offer any money, so hopefully that will clarify things.

casterfield
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby casterfield » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:57 pm

I feel that I'm in a somewhat similar position.

I've got Northwestern (no merit package received yet) as a JD-LLM in International Human Rights (4 year program) vs. Vandy with a 60k scholarship. I'd like to do public interest but I'm open to the idea of private work for a couple of years if I need to pay off loans.

Do you guys have any suggestions?

xcountryjunkie
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby xcountryjunkie » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:00 pm

I voted for GULC (yes, I'm biased since I go there). To me, this seems like a clear Penn v. GULC choice. Visit both... see which feels right. You can't go wrong either way. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about GULC.

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incase2011
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby incase2011 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:19 pm

xcountryjunkie wrote:I voted for GULC (yes, I'm biased since I go there). To me, this seems like a clear Penn v. GULC choice. Visit both... see which feels right. You can't go wrong either way. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about GULC.


Ya, I'm confused as to why Georgetown gets a bad rap. I seemed to have missed this portion of the TLS forums.

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whitman
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby whitman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:49 am

incase2011 wrote:
xcountryjunkie wrote:I voted for GULC (yes, I'm biased since I go there). To me, this seems like a clear Penn v. GULC choice. Visit both... see which feels right. You can't go wrong either way. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about GULC.


Ya, I'm confused as to why Georgetown gets a bad rap. I seemed to have missed this portion of the TLS forums.


Really? There's a lot of hate for Georgetown on here, though it usually disappears as soon as non-T14 schools are being considered. I'm making a similar decision (though no money at GULC or Texas) and am probably going to choose between Penn at sticker and Vandy with 50, unless I can get significant money out of Georgetown, Northwestern, or Texas, which isn't likely.

cornellbeez
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby cornellbeez » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:12 pm

incase2011 wrote:
xcountryjunkie wrote:I voted for GULC (yes, I'm biased since I go there). To me, this seems like a clear Penn v. GULC choice. Visit both... see which feels right. You can't go wrong either way. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about GULC.


Ya, I'm confused as to why Georgetown gets a bad rap. I seemed to have missed this portion of the TLS forums.


Super large class size. Terrible biglaw prospects, at least relative to other T-14s. GULC posters on here claimed that only 20-25% got biglaw for the Class of 2011 (last year's OCI).

Tarheel10
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Re: Vandy ($50k), Penn, GULC ($30k), NWestern, UT ($50k)

Postby Tarheel10 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:41 pm

Also, I forgot to say that Georgetown's Curriculum B is a HUGE draw for me. Is that silly?




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