Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

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

Take the money and run?

Texas (cost: $10k/yr)
38
50%
Vanderbilt (cost: $20k/yr)
15
20%
Re-apply for 2012 admission and try to break T14
23
30%
 
Total votes: 76

charliebrownwn
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Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby charliebrownwn » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:04 pm

So my cycle wrapped up last week and I didn't make it in to either of my top choices (WL at Michigan, ding at Boalt after committee review). Right now I am leaning towards waiting it out and re-applying next year at essentially the same schools, because I failed to apply early and I felt my PS could be substantially improved. Berkeley is my #1 and I would ED there if it was an option. However, I have scholarship money on the table at other schools, so I need some help looking over my options.

UT with $$$. I get the feeling that I will love Austin, but after graduation i doubt I would be satisfied living and working anywhere else in texas. And the UT degree doesn't travel well (definitely rules out west coast). But Austin does look REALLY nice, and I could always try to find a permanent job in Austin. Definitely going to visit.

Vandy with slightly less $$. Basically ruled out b/c Vandy seems to be a peer with UT and I like the intangibles of UT more, but it's an option. Let me know if I'm wrong here. Also concerned about fratty culture.

Re-apply in the fall. Continue working at my small firm legal assistant job, get one more year of work experience, write a better PS using that work experience, and try for Boalt/Stanford/Michigan/possibly Virginia on the first day of the cycle. I wrote mostly about undergrad stuff in my original PS, and I have actual legal experience now that I could use that will definitely be more compelling. The job is reasonably interesting, I would most likely get a raise if I stayed for another year and while it would be boring, I could stand it if it paid off.


Background
Non-URM
GPA: 3.7
LSAT: 172
No overwhelming softs; worked part-time during all undergrad.
Graduated from undergrad in May and have been working as legal assistant for the past 8 months.
Priorities: looking to do PI or govt work, quality of life & weather at school is important, have substantial $$ assistance from parents so paying sticker is certainly an option, not interested in biglaw, would like to work on west coast, and would like somewhere that gives a shot at clerkships.

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RockyIII
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby RockyIII » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:38 pm

charliebrownwn wrote:would like to work on west coast


I'm sure it's possible to get to west coast with Texas or Vandy, but wouldn't you have better chances by going to a school on the west coast? If not Stanford / Boalt, then maybe even USC or UCLA? I vote reapply.

ATR
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby ATR » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:41 pm

Did you apply to UCLA? If not, why not?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby JamMasterJ » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:43 pm

I voted for Texas (bird in the hand and all that jazz). But with your numbers you can definitely get Michigan or possibly Boalt if you apply in September

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Leira7905
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Leira7905 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:46 pm

Texas with $$$ is a great option to have, but if you don't mind waiting a year, then why not try again?? It certainly won't hurt...

duckmoney
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby duckmoney » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:50 pm

You underperformed your numbers. If you wait until next cycle you should be a lock if you ED at CCN.

If you really want to go now, I'd say UT will treat you well and it's quite affordable.

total_loss
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby total_loss » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:54 pm

Ultimately, reapply, though I'm curious as to why you'd rule out Vanderbilt and entertain Texas. Money doesn't seem to be an issue, and you seem interested in working in a specific type of city. Vanderbilt and Texas are peer schools located in very similar cities, but Vandy places a lot of its graduates in Nashville whereas Texas places more graduates in Houston and Dallas than Austin.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:03 pm

Is T14 at full cost more important than UT/Vandy with money? Did you apply to UCLA and USC? When did you apply?

If limiting debt is important, you might have a more difficult decision in passing on UT and Vandy. There's a chance you won't have money (or as much money) from either place next year when you reapply. I got offered money from both schools coming off both WL's after a retake in June, decided to reapply with the new LSAT score, and was then WL'd at Vandy and offered no money from UT initially (they eventually matched an offer from UVA).

If cracking the T14 at full cost is more important, then I think waiting a year is an easier call. You should be able to get MVP, and if not either Duke or NU. You really have a shot a CCN too. You can't just apply to Stanford/Boalt/Michigan/UVA and expect to land one of those schools though. There's a good chance you could get shut out of all 4, and then have no safety net in UT/Vandy with money if they don't offer anything.

I know it's harder to ask this when a score is in the 170's, but what was your PT average and how long did you study? You think you could improve your score by 3+ points? Reapplying with a new personal statement, 1 more year of experience, and a bit earlier (unless you were just really late this cycle) will not be offering admissions people too much new info to convince them that you belong as an admit now.

Also- if going to UT is predicated on being fine with working in Austin after, realize that Austin is really hard to crack, even coming from UT. Everyone wants to work in Austin and it's not a huge market.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:06 pm

Wait for the new rankings to be releases in about 10 hours because you may have made it to the top 14.

P.S. Texas or wait a year & apply early--only you can answer that question, but you certainly have the numbers for top 10 law schools.

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mac35352
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby mac35352 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:15 pm

With those numbees, a better PS and applying early you have a shot at a t14.
I say reapply, get more work experience in the mean time.
Good Luck!

Tarheel10
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Tarheel10 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:24 pm

.

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drylo
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby drylo » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:35 pm

charliebrownwn wrote:Vandy with slightly less $$. Basically ruled out b/c Vandy seems to be a peer with UT and I like the intangibles of UT more, but it's an option. Let me know if I'm wrong here. Also concerned about fratty culture.


I'm not here to comment on what you should do, but I do want to ease your fears about the "fratty culture" at Vandy. IMO (I'm not fratty), that's a really bad reason to rule out Vandy. Sure, there are some "fratty" people here, if that's your thing (I mean that generally--obviously it is not this OP's thing). But in general, Vandy does not have a pervasive "fratty culture." I just asked a buddy what he thought, and his answer was: "Fratty? No--I'd say nerdy more than anything, basically just like any other top-20 school."

charliebrownwn
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby charliebrownwn » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:04 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Is T14 at full cost more important than UT/Vandy with money?

If the T14 was HYS/Boalt, then yes. Otherwise I would have to visit both and decide.

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Did you apply to UCLA and USC?

Didn't apply to either. I had serious reservations about LA, but I realize now that going to school there and living/working there are two entirely different things. If I do another round UCLA will definitely be included, and will get a hard look depending on the $$. USC maybe.

I should explain why I applied where I did. I am somewhat averse to overly competitive academic cultures, oppressively cold weather, and big cities (from first to least important). I also realize that I might as well say that I am averse to reading and libraries; this is law school after all, and all the good schools have some of those elements. But this did help me eliminate Northwestern, Chicago, and the NYC schools, and explains why I singled out the few I listed above. If there is a next time I will be more open and at least try for Cornell/Virginia/others.

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:what was your PT average and how long did you study? You think you could improve your score by 3+ points? Reapplying with a new personal statement, 1 more year of experience, and a bit earlier (unless you were just really late this cycle) will not be offering admissions people too much new info to convince them that you belong as an admit now.

I doubt I have anything to gain with another LSAT. My PT average was slightly better w/ a high of 178, but I think my GPA is going to be the limiting factor in terms of numbers. Would raising my average by two points make a significant difference?

Applications went out in early- to mid-december.

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Also- if going to UT is predicated on being fine with working in Austin after, realize that Austin is really hard to crack, even coming from UT. Everyone wants to work in Austin and it's not a huge market.

This was what worried me about UT. I would love the 3 years of law school and then hate working in DFW or Houston for the next 5-10. I could stand to go to UT and then work possibly in the southeast, but I will have to research how many of their grads end up outside of texas.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:41 pm

charliebrownwn wrote:I doubt I have anything to gain with another LSAT. My PT average was slightly better w/ a high of 178, but I think my GPA is going to be the limiting factor in terms of numbers. Would raising my average by two points make a significant difference?

Applications went out in early- to mid-december.


I brought up thinking about a retake for two reasons:
1st Reason) To help convince schools that you got rejected or waitlisted at this cycle to think of you as an admit now. Unless you just had an awful personal statement and plan on writing an amazing one, doing a slightly better job on your personal statement, + a slightly better resume, and + a slightly better submit date on your apps isn't that convincing. Who knows though, since maybe you can write a convincing Why Michigan and write a strong 4 page PS for Berkeley that will make them think of you differently.
Second Reason) Increase your shot at CCN, which just 2 points would make you a lot more competitive for all three. If you aren't really interested in these three schools though, that might make this reason pointless.


charliebrownwn wrote:If the T14 was HYS/Boalt, then yes. Otherwise I would have to visit both and decide.


HYS probably isn't happening. Boalt seems more likely than not to not happen. Did you tell Boalt they were your top choice school? That is something you could include in your personal statement if you did not last time that might make you stand out a little more.


charliebrownwn wrote:I should explain why I applied where I did. I am somewhat averse to overly competitive academic cultures, oppressively cold weather, and big cities (from first to least important).


UVA sounds like a good fit for you. Your best-bet decision (besides berkeley) seems to really need to be between UCLA and UVA (assuming you can get into both) when taking into your account your goal to return west. The problem with trying to secure a specific school out of MVP is that they are unpredictable because all three yield protect. Duke doesn't seem like a bad option for you either.

If you would be happy with going to either UVA or Michigan next year at full cost, I would wait a year. I think you should be able to get into one of the two, especially if you write strong "Why X" to both. You should be competitive for money too. If you whiff on both (and miss again on Boalt), you might have to settle for UCLA/UT/Vandy with less or no money though. You can try and counteract that though by applying to other schools for scholarship purposes to try and leverage money out of UT and Vandy if they get stingy after this year's snub.

If I were you (and you decide to reapply), I would apply to all of MVPBDNCG plus UCLA/UT/Vandy. If you don't mind the extra money, include Chicago and NYU.

As a UT student, I really enjoy Austin and UT. But my goal is to work in either Dallas/Houston/Austin. I wouldn't have chosen UT if I hadn't wanted to stay in Texas. [Edit: Last sentence might need to be qualified. I chose UT with $$$ over UVA with $$. If my choice had been non-T6 at full cost vs UT/Vandy with $$$ (and assuming I didn't want to stay in Texas except Austin), I might have chosen UT/Vandy, though I really don't know.]

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Dick Whitman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:49 pm

You're talking about giving up entering the workforce a year earlier (so the difference between your future 1st year associate salary and your current salary plus the extra money each year due to being a year ahead in the firm progression) for the very limited marginal benefit of a slightly better school. And you already have money at Texas and Vandy that you may not be able to replace elsewhere. Don't wait (and given your desire to work on the west coast and the better money at Texas, I would go there).

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:55 pm

Dick Whitman wrote:You're talking about giving up entering the workforce a year earlier (so the difference between your future 1st year associate salary and your current salary plus the extra money each year due to being a year ahead in the firm progression) for the very limited marginal benefit of a slightly better school. And you already have money at Texas and Vandy that you may not be able to replace elsewhere. Don't wait (and given your desire to work on the west coast and the better money at Texas, I would go there).


If you look at this in terms of just money and future income, then yes. If you consider there might be significant utility in having an extra year to have it relatively easy before law school and then a legal career that will most likely suck away at your free time hours, then the analysis might be a little different.

Snooker
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:45 pm

Texas entered the T14 this year, so go Texas!

FiveSermon
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:46 pm

Reapply...neither of these schools will give you a good shot at securing a good job on the West Coast.

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Pricer
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Pricer » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:09 pm

Snooker wrote:Texas entered the T14 this year, so go Texas!


Yeah, UT is T14 now.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Dick Whitman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:37 pm

Snooker wrote:Texas entered the T14 this year, so go Texas!


PRESCIENT

charliebrownwn
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby charliebrownwn » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:58 am

Texas moving into the T14 is nice, but it probably still leaves me with a T14 diploma working in dallas or houston after graduation. It depends on the visit at this point, but the rankings do make me more inclined to rule out vandy. I might still visit vandy though.

Side note: isn't it really T15 now? We need to do something or else we are going to end up with a Big Ten situation on our hands.

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Pricer
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Pricer » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:08 am

charliebrownwn wrote:Texas moving into the T14 is nice, but it probably still leaves me with a T14 diploma working in dallas or houston after graduation. It depends on the visit at this point, but the rankings do make me more inclined to rule out vandy. I might still visit vandy though.

Side note: isn't it really T15 now? We need to do something or else we are going to end up with a Big Ten situation on our hands.


In my opinion, this groups Georgetown in with UT, UCLA, and Vandy. I don't feel like this puts UT in a category with Georgetown and leaves Vandy and UCLA as peer schools in a lower category. TLS, at least, seems to hold them all on about the same level. I don't think this change in the rankings should make you turn away from Vandy, especially considering they did move up a spot, and, if you look at the raw scores, I think one point separates Vandy and UCLA from UT and GULC.

edit: To expand further on my point about the raw scores, only one point separates UT/GULC from UCLA/Vandy, but multiple points separate UT/GULC from Cornell and UCLA/Vandy from USC/WUSTL.

Emma1
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby Emma1 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:48 pm

A law school's reputation is much more than 1 year inclusion in the rankings. GULC has had a great reputation for a long time. Most attorneys dont even know the specific rankings of the schools, just general reputation. Georgetown's reputation hasn't changed because they included Texas in the 14th ranking. US News trend is to include many schools in the same ranking. Law schools are either very close to each other in the criteria that that is used or US News etc. has no backbone!
Last edited by Emma1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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alexb
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby alexb » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:51 pm

10k a year at UT seems like a pretty good deal to me. Take it, esp. if you don't mind staying in Texas.

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dresden doll
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Re: Texas, Vandy, or try again for T14?

Postby dresden doll » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:51 pm

Wait, you have 3.7/172? Have I missed any red flags? You could get Chicago or NYU ED with those numbers (potentially, you might get CN with those numbers RD, too).




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