Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

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

Which is the least terrible option?

#1. Columbia or NYU: $325,000
57
27%
#2. Duke: $225,000
50
23%
#4. UCLA: $160,000 - $195,000*
30
14%
#5. WUSTL: $150,000
7
3%
#6. UIUC: $145,000
6
3%
#7. Take a year off and reapply earlier to get better options.
42
20%
#8. Seriously, don't go to law school.
23
11%
 
Total votes: 215

adt231
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:58 pm

stratocophic wrote:Working to pay off your debt right now probably isn't a good idea since you won't make enough to dent it as quickly as you would with a legal job. Even a low paying PI job or gov't position would allow you to make use of the LRAP (but is your pre-existing 75k federal? That's worth considering) if you didn't make Biglaw.


My debt is currently about 20ish is federal. So there is still a decent 50k chunk I've got to get rid of no matter what. Would an LRAP program from a law school (like Columbia's) take care of my federal loans from UG too?

09042014
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:08 pm

The only two choices are Duke or UCLA. If UCLA is nearer to 160 then it's probably a good choice.

mst
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby mst » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:20 pm

Desert Fox wrote:The only two choices are Duke or UCLA. If UCLA is nearer to 160 then it's probably a good choice.


I don't know much about UCLA's LRAP, and I know Duke's isn't great compared to other T14's, but I would be careful to choose UCLA on cost alone. You have a substantial gap in biglaw placement between the two schools, and I would generally assume that Duke would have the better LRAP, but don't quote me on that... just look into it. Obviously, if you were some super-human guy impervious to the emotional effects or side-effects of 300k in non-dischargeable debt, you'd go to CLS or NYU as those are the best choices and offer the best opportunity for big law. But that's probably a bit too much debt to be healthy (as stated for many reasons above), and I think most people in this thread agree.

Duke still seems like the credited option here.

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buckilaw
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby buckilaw » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:24 pm

It looks like you encountered yield protect at MVP; if you took a year off and reapplied with tailored apps you might be able to get a full ride. You could also retake the LSAT for good measure. Also, have you considered retaking and gunning for HYS?

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:33 pm

mst wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:The only two choices are Duke or UCLA. If UCLA is nearer to 160 then it's probably a good choice.


I don't know much about UCLA's LRAP, and I know Duke's isn't great compared to other T14's, but I would be careful to choose UCLA on cost alone. You have a substantial gap in biglaw placement between the two schools, and I would generally assume that Duke would have the better LRAP, but don't quote me on that... just look into it. Obviously, if you were some super-human guy impervious to the emotional effects or side-effects of 300k in non-dischargeable debt, you'd go to CLS or NYU as those are the best choices and offer the best opportunity for big law. But that's probably a bit too much debt to be healthy (as stated for many reasons above), and I think most people in this thread agree.

Duke still seems like the credited option here.


The gap between UCLA and Duke isn't that huge.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:35 pm

buckilaw wrote:It looks like you encountered yield protect at MVP; if you took a year off and reapplied with tailored apps you might be able to get a full ride. You could also retake the LSAT for good measure. Also, have you considered retaking and gunning for HYS?


I guess I wasn't really considering it because I was worried that if I retook and did worse, my app might be worse off (even though I know most schools claim to not average).

Do you think I really have a shot at more money from the T14 than I've already got? I mean, I think you're right that if I applied earlier with tailored apps I'd get more options but do you think I'd get more options with $$ (assuming I don't do better on the LSAT)? Duke it basically already offering me a half-tuition scholarship and they only offer marginally better schollys (other than a few full-rides), usually max 30k per year while I got 24k per year.

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buckilaw
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby buckilaw » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:41 pm

I think if you could score a 173 or better and applied with tailored apps you could get a full ride from one of MVP.

NYU has a bunch of named scholarships, did you apply for any of those?

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:46 pm

buckilaw wrote:I think if you could score a 173 or better and applied with tailored apps you could get a full ride from one of MVP.

NYU has a bunch of named scholarships, did you apply for any of those?


Unfortunately I did not because my last LOR came in just past the beginning of the new year (the deadline for applying for the named schollys).

I'm not confident I could score a 173 or better (I have scored better than that on PTs but I have probably scored in the high 160s on PTs more often) so I'm not sure it'd be wise to take another year off just at the slight chance at this. But maybe I'm wrong because the payoff of getting a 173 or higher would be tremendous.

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buckilaw
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby buckilaw » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:52 pm

Well, you should know your potential for scoring well on the LSAT better than any of us. In lieu of retaking you could pursue an amazing soft, but I don't know how that would translate to scholarship money.

In all likelihood a 173 is overkill. Check out LSN and see what GPA/LSAT combos are getting full tuition in the T14.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby mst » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:15 pm

I'm gonna go on the opposite here and say don't retake or reapply just for the sake of retaking and reapplying. You don't seem super confident you can get a 173. And it's not easy to get back into the test taking mood, nor is it fun or worthwhile if the probability is low. Additionally, I don't see a 173 getting you a full ride necessarily from MVP. And if you dont retake and just reapply, even with tailored apps you'd probably max out at 10-15k a year from MVP with a 171/3.8 combo. Even with a 173 you'd only get 20k a year. A retake and a 173 might get you like 10 a year from NYU... but again, they'll average your score so you drop down to a 168 or whatever and youre screwed perhaps...

And DesertFox, I was under the impression biglaw at Duke right now is around 40% of the class, maybe higher up to 45/50. Beachbum might be able to offer his knowledge. UCLA on the other hand I thought was closer to 30% of the class right now. That difference seems substantial enough.

Thus I think the Duke is the right balance between risk/reward here. Even without the previous debt I'd probably lean towards Duke. And not retaking/reapplying. With the debt it just confirms the choice. So sunk cost be damned?

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beachbum
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby beachbum » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:03 pm

mst wrote:And DesertFox, I was under the impression biglaw at Duke right now is around 40% of the class, maybe higher up to 45/50. Beachbum might be able to offer his knowledge. UCLA on the other hand I thought was closer to 30% of the class right now. That difference seems substantial enough


Meh, don't count on me too much for insightful information: I'm still an 0L, so most of my knowledge is going to consist of what's currently available to the masses. But with that said, it would be a little disingenuous to compare Duke's placement power against UCLA's based on the most recent NLJ stats. Remember, Duke relies at least in part on southern markets (i.e. Charlotte, Atlanta), and when these markets started the no-offer parade... well, shit hit the fan. You can ask Vandy all about that, too.

A better comparison is made using historical trends (including clerkships), in which Duke appears to have a noticeable edge on UCLA. So I'll just go back to my original point: go with Duke unless your total debt from UCLA will end up on the lower end of that spectrum, in which case either could be a good choice.

Edit: Though I can't speak for UCLA, I can say that, based on the information I've seen and the people I've spoken with, Duke students are still more likely than not to end up doing what they want to do. I imagine the situation will continue to improve as the economy recovers and markets stabilize.

lgb104
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby lgb104 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:13 pm

Have you considered applying to the Northwestern JD/PhD program? It offers full tuition plus living stipend for students looking to become academics.
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/academics/jdphd/

cornellbeez
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby cornellbeez » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:21 pm

I guess Duke or UCLA, leaning towards Duke, but 225k is still a TON of money. That's actually a lot more than the average T-14 student has upon graduation. If I were you, I would try to keep your total debt under 180...which means retaking and reapplying.

Also I think full-rides from MVP are based on PI work, etc. (the Darrow, for example, is not really numbers-based), but if you retake you might be able to get a half ride.

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well-hello-there
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby well-hello-there » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:45 pm

Given my polarizing comments, I'm surprised that Columbia/NYU is still leading in the poll.

I still think you should pick Columbia but if you decided against it based purely on "softs", that's totally rational too. By "softs" I mean non-financial issues.

From a strictly financial perspective, however, I think Columbia has the greatest net present value.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby Younger Abstention » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:47 pm

I'd probably take the money at Duke. With debt over 300k, character and fitness issues on the bar could become an issue... (though i'm be nearly there myself, ugh)

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby well-hello-there » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:49 pm

Younger Abstention wrote:With debt over 300k, character and fitness issues on the bar could become an issue.

wait what?!

is that really something they take into account?! :shock:

if so, then that would change my stance.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby Zeus » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:57 pm

In my opinion, the difference in opportunities created by Duke and Columbia are negligible. The other schools wouldn't provide nearly as much opportunity--especially if you want to do "prestigious" legal work. That said, I'd go with Duke.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:08 pm

cornellbeez wrote:I guess Duke or UCLA, leaning towards Duke, but 225k is still a TON of money. That's actually a lot more than the average T-14 student has upon graduation. If I were you, I would try to keep your total debt under 180...which means retaking and reapplying.

Also I think full-rides from MVP are based on PI work, etc. (the Darrow, for example, is not really numbers-based), but if you retake you might be able to get a half ride.


Thanks for this. I am leaning towards Duke (unless UCLA can guarantee my scholarship for the entire 3 years -- in which case, it is then pretty close).

You are right that 225k is an INSANE amount of debt, but I'm guessing that 225k is probably pretty typical of T14 students (maybe not the average but it might be the median amount of debt for T14 grads). 225k is the sticker price for Duke (after taking into account total COA and interest on those loans while in law school).

Basically, Duke's half-tuition scholarship negates my UG debt and leaves me paying full price. This is not that uncommon (though it is something that I would have definitely avoided if possible). And the more I'm thinking about it, retaking is not a good option at all (too risky and I'm not yet qualified for work to make much headway on lowering my UG debt for many years) and its likely rewards are to end up back where I am now since even if taking a year off got me a half tuition scholarship at MVP, that reward is not much better (if at all better) than a half tuition scholarship at Duke (which I have right now).

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby beachbum » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:49 pm

well-hello-there wrote:
Younger Abstention wrote:With debt over 300k, character and fitness issues on the bar could become an issue.

wait what?!

is that really something they take into account?! :shock:

if so, then that would change my stance.


I could be wrong, but I think that was just a one-time thing (or, at least, an occasion so rare that it garnered a headline on ATL). There are lots of good reasons to limit your debt; C&F probably isn't one of them.

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DeeCee
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby DeeCee » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:10 am

adt231 wrote:
cornellbeez wrote:I guess Duke or UCLA, leaning towards Duke, but 225k is still a TON of money. That's actually a lot more than the average T-14 student has upon graduation. If I were you, I would try to keep your total debt under 180...which means retaking and reapplying.

Also I think full-rides from MVP are based on PI work, etc. (the Darrow, for example, is not really numbers-based), but if you retake you might be able to get a half ride.


Thanks for this. I am leaning towards Duke (unless UCLA can guarantee my scholarship for the entire 3 years -- in which case, it is then pretty close).

You are right that 225k is an INSANE amount of debt, but I'm guessing that 225k is probably pretty typical of T14 students (maybe not the average but it might be the median amount of debt for T14 grads). 225k is the sticker price for Duke (after taking into account total COA and interest on those loans while in law school).

Basically, Duke's half-tuition scholarship negates my UG debt and leaves me paying full price. This is not that uncommon (though it is something that I would have definitely avoided if possible). And the more I'm thinking about it, retaking is not a good option at all (too risky and I'm not yet qualified for work to make much headway on lowering my UG debt for many years) and its likely rewards are to end up back where I am now since even if taking a year off got me a half tuition scholarship at MVP, that reward is not much better (if at all better) than a half tuition scholarship at Duke (which I have right now).


I think you're right-- you already have a great LSAT. I think what's most important here is going into the debt calculator and seriously evaluating your debt, including the hotly contested 75k your already owe. Then you weigh this against what you want to do. Anything over 225k (Duke) is going to be crazy to repay. Personally, I am extremely debt averse and I don't think I'd rack up 225k in any instance. But I alot of people do it and are sucessful, although some are not. It just depends on the gamble you're willing to make. However, 325k is insane, no matter what the circumstances.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:15 am

beachbum wrote:I could be wrong, but I think that was just a one-time thing (or, at least, an occasion so rare that it garnered a headline on ATL). There are lots of good reasons to limit your debt; C&F probably isn't one of them.

Even when he tells the board that he doesn't plan on repaying his loans "because of opportunity costz, 'tards!"?

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NoleinNY
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:19 am

Two options:

1) Take UCLA for the right balance of prestige and cost.

or

2) Pass on school this round, try to pay off your current loans for the next year or two and re-apply early.

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby well-hello-there » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:22 am

sundance95 wrote:
beachbum wrote:I could be wrong, but I think that was just a one-time thing (or, at least, an occasion so rare that it garnered a headline on ATL). There are lots of good reasons to limit your debt; C&F probably isn't one of them.

Even when he tells the board that he doesn't plan on repaying his loans "because of opportunity costz, 'tards!"?

who's not going to repay their loans? somebody in this thread? or are you talking about the guy who was made infamous on ATL?

adt231
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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:53 pm

NoleinNY wrote:1) Take UCLA for the right balance of prestige and cost.


I think this is probably correct so long as UCLA guarantees me my scholarship (and a few other factors).

NoleinNY wrote:2) Pass on school this round, try to pay off your current loans for the next year or two and re-apply early


I know many people have been advocating for this, but I am really worried that this is not a wise decision for the following reasons:

(1) Doing so to improve the options I have before me is silly because there is really no reason to think that I will get better scholarship options than I already have in 1,2, or 3 years.

(2) I do not just have the option of landing a 60k+/yr job for the time being given my useless BA and MA. The jobs that it qualifies me for are very low paying jobs, definitely under 40k. This in all likelihood would not be a smart financial decision because max I could reduce my UG debt to after taking 2 more years off is 30k. Does it really make sense to go to, say Duke or UCLA for an extra 30k less in debt in 2 years? The opportunity cost obviously outweighs this. And if it were financially best for me to delay going to law school now, it would follow that it is probably financially intelligent to never go to law school. (i think this point has already been pointed out in this thread).

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Re: Which is the least terrible choice: T6, T14$, T16$$, T25$$$?

Postby adt231 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:34 pm

I've been doing some thinking and have, despite all my fears, concocted a sane argument in favor of attending Columbia despite the insane amount of debt it requires to take on.

The argument sketch is basicall this: either qualify for LRAP or land biglaw to get out of debt. I have to do this with pretty much whatever school I go to. Go to Columbia because it easily offers the best biglaw chances and because it has the best LRAP. (Obviously this argument could be made for NYU, but set them aside right now).

The argument presented more carefully:

Option 1: Do Well Enough for Biglaw or prestigious PI gig.
This will allow me to do one of the following: (a) do biglaw for long enough to get out of debt; (b) do biglaw for a few years and then lateral to something else that pays a decent amount in order to try to be debt free by 10-15 years out of school, or lateral to a job that qualifies for LRAP; or, (c) go right into a nice PI gig that I am passionate about and use LRAP to pay off my loans.

Pros:
Option 1 is easily more doable from Columbia than from any of my other options because (i) it has the best reputation for placing well in biglaw, and (ii) has an LRAP program that is unmatched (outside of YHS).

Cons:
(A) and (C) seem to allow me to be debt free in a maximum of ten years. Excellent results. (B) is a little more questionable. If I take on the absurd amount of debt only pay down, say, a third of it, then I HAVE to lateral to something that is substantial enough to be debt free in another 10 years or to something that qualifies for LRAP (yes, you can do this for Columbia's LRAP if you enter into before 7 years expires after you graduate) which could prove to be quite difficult

Option 2: Don't do well enough for biglaw or pretigious PI gig.
As a result, scramble to find something/anything that qualifies for LRAP.

This option is much more frightening because I know I won't be a hot commodity to many PI gigs that qualify for LRAP. But, I'm guessing that there is SOME job like that I could find in the middle of nowhere which qualifies (even if it is back in my hometown working as a public defender). My thinking is that I'm not in a good position if Option 2 happens no matter where I go to law school (which is actually much more likely if I don't go to Columbia) but Columbia may offer me the best exist options because of its LRAP. Also, if I don't qualify for LRAP at Columbia here, then I could just IBR it (the worst case scenario) and given the mountain of debt I'll have from each school, IBR will probably leave me paying about the same no matter where I went.

Thus, Columbia offers some added security that my other options lack despite the 300k in debt it requires I take on.

Tell me where I'm going wrong here. I'm just really scared that I sign up for a lot of debt at UCLA or Duke and have no exit plan (which Columbia seems to have).




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