Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

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travisalta
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Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby travisalta » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:52 pm

Hi all... anybody want to weigh in on my hypothetical dilemma?

Here are my stats: 166/3.7, extensive international and domestic volunteer experience, non-minority but fluent in Spanish, a graduate degree in teaching and five years of experience working in direct social services in NJ. I want to pursue an academic career in int'l human rights but would consider doing domestic PI work similar to what I was doing before (i.e. advocating for welfare recipients, etc.) I applied REALLY LATE to the following: Rutgers, Fordham, UPenn, NYU and Columbia. I've been rejected from NYU and Penn and, though I have not been notified, am considering myself rejected from Columbia. I was accepted to Rutgers and offered $18K a year (in state tuition) not including need-based stuff I may be qualified for.

My dilemma is this... what should I do if I am accepted to Fordham? Clearly, it is the better school and it has a better int'l human rights program but is it better to the tune of a $150K-ish difference in debt? Would it be possible for me to kick ass at Rutgers and apply for Columbia's LLM/Human Rights program or, by going to Rutgers, am I completely placing myself out of such opportunities? Rutgers seems to have no real international human rights program but there are several professors doing interesting work in the field. Also, would it be possible for me to be a "visiting student" at a school that offers more human rights options?

Should I consider a joint phD/JD with Rutgers Anthro? This is kind of random but I did my undergrad in Anthro and I think law schools are leaning more towards hiring phD/JDs for academic position. Plus, Rutgers Anthro department is quite good. Or is this just crazy...?

I had not considered the amount of debt I would be in because I assumed, given my career path, I will be depending on an LRAP. This freaked me out a little because, I am 28 and planning on having a family. If I am hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and depending on an LRAP I would have no option but to be working full time for the next million years. If I graduate with well under $50K of debt I might have more flexibility. (Of course, I realize to become an academic will require a butt load of work... but I'm just saying... if my career goals change when I have kids at least I would have the option of doing something part time and/or doing something else completely.)

Finally... re-taking the LSAT and trying again next year is certainly an option but I'm afraid I'm just going to make myself look weirder and weirder on paper. I quit my job in social services last April and, due to a move, have not worked in a relevant field since. If I don't go to law school in the fall I would obviously have to find a job. Even if I find a job that is relevant to what I want to do, I'm afraid I'm just making myself look even flakier than I already seem.

Thoughts? Feelings?

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:27 pm

Taking a year off will never look weird on paper. If you applied really late you should consider either retaking or just waiting and reapplying. Seems like with your stats you should be able to get money from T1's easily.

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Heartford
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby Heartford » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:38 pm

The answer to your question depends entirely upon what you want to do after law school. I know you said you were interested in international human rights. Who's hiring in that field? How competitive is the market? (I honestly don't know the answers to these questions because I'm not even sure it exists as a field of law...)

Fordham is a better school if you're shooting for biglaw/midlaw/anything in NYC. But if you just wanted to find a decent job in New Jersey, it would be pointless to blow all of that money on Fordham.

If you do some research on your intended career path and find that it's very competitive and mostly stocked with graduates of highly elite schools, the relative difference between Rutgers and Fordham will be basically meaningless anyway and you should retake.

The short version of what I just wrote: Fordham is ranked a lot higher than Rutgers, but that doesn't make it a "better" school. Every school is only as good as the career opportunities it might provide. You should be researching your intended career path, not USNWR.

MrAnon
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby MrAnon » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:45 pm

I'd be surprised if more than one or two people per year get a lawyer job in international human rights when they are done at Fordham. Ignore the number of people they send to summer internships at the Rwandan genocide court. A two month internship does not equate to a long term position.

JD2014
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby JD2014 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:55 am

People go to Fordham at sticker for a shot at NYC Biglaw, not generally for PI or academic jobs. If you want to do PI work in NJ, go to RU-N with the scholarship, and get an apartment in Kearny or Montclair to keep COL down. I don't know if you'll find anyone on this board (or possibly anywhere), that can tell you what a JD and a PhD in anthropology will do for you. I would definitely ask the Rutgers admissions department to put you in touch with professors of those departments to discuss it though.

travisalta
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby travisalta » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:38 am

Thanks for the input all.

As I mentioned, I am seeking a career in ACADEMIA. I think I may have put some people off with my broad "int'l human rights" shtick. I'll save you the boring details but I have a very focused area of interest. I'm not worried about "figuring out what I want to do". I know what I want to do- what I am trying to determine if going to Rutgers will limit my ability to do it!

That being said, your input was helpful. From what I can see most academics working in my field of interest have, at some point, attended an elite law school. I think I have to decide between trying to kick ass at Rutgers and eventually transfer (which I know is foolish to plan for) OR kick ass and try to attend a prestigious LLM program OR explore the phD/JD situation because, looking at faculty profiles in my area of interest, this seems to be quite common.

Thanks again for your time!

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Heartford
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby Heartford » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:50 am

travisalta wrote:Thanks for the input all.

As I mentioned, I am seeking a career in ACADEMIA. I think I may have put some people off with my broad "int'l human rights" shtick. I'll save you the boring details but I have a very focused area of interest. I'm not worried about "figuring out what I want to do". I know what I want to do- what I am trying to determine if going to Rutgers will limit my ability to do it!

That being said, your input was helpful. From what I can see most academics working in my field of interest have, at some point, attended an elite law school. I think I have to decide between trying to kick ass at Rutgers and eventually transfer (which I know is foolish to plan for) OR kick ass and try to attend a prestigious LLM program OR explore the phD/JD situation because, looking at faculty profiles in my area of interest, this seems to be quite common.

Thanks again for your time!


Sorry for skimming your first post. If you look around TLS you'll notice that the general consensus regarding academia is that if you aren't going to Yale or Harvard, you're basically wasting your time. This is obviously an exaggeration but as you noticed, universities tend to prefer to hire people with some ivy or other eliteness on their resume. So as you have already figured out, the difference between Rutgers and Fordham might be negligible in your situation, since neither will probably give you a great boost for an academic career.

IMO, your plan to "kick ass" at Rutgers is not a good one. Instead of waiting until the end of your first semester to possibly discover that you've ruined your chances of doing well, or waiting 3 years to see how your LLM choices pan out, why not just retake now? I know you'd rather remove your own teeth than repeat the entire application process, but believe me- it's way easier than your first semester of law school. Best of luck to you.

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Wholigan
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby Wholigan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:20 am

travisalta wrote:Thanks for the input all.

As I mentioned, I am seeking a career in ACADEMIA. I think I may have put some people off with my broad "int'l human rights" shtick. I'll save you the boring details but I have a very focused area of interest. I'm not worried about "figuring out what I want to do". I know what I want to do- what I am trying to determine if going to Rutgers will limit my ability to do it!

That being said, your input was helpful. From what I can see most academics working in my field of interest have, at some point, attended an elite law school. I think I have to decide between trying to kick ass at Rutgers and eventually transfer (which I know is foolish to plan for) OR kick ass and try to attend a prestigious LLM program OR explore the phD/JD situation because, looking at faculty profiles in my area of interest, this seems to be quite common.

Thanks again for your time!


The last post is TCR. It is not only TLS wisdom that you should be at an elite school to have a shot an academia, but any law professor or other academic will tell you the same thing. Do you have any other interests besides int'l human rights or academia? When you say you "know what you want to do" what exactly is it? You want to be a law professor? Academia is so competetitive that even attending Harvard with the lone goal of academia is probably like playing the lottery.

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Heartford
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby Heartford » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:21 pm

Wholigan wrote:
travisalta wrote:Thanks for the input all.

As I mentioned, I am seeking a career in ACADEMIA. I think I may have put some people off with my broad "int'l human rights" shtick. I'll save you the boring details but I have a very focused area of interest. I'm not worried about "figuring out what I want to do". I know what I want to do- what I am trying to determine if going to Rutgers will limit my ability to do it!

That being said, your input was helpful. From what I can see most academics working in my field of interest have, at some point, attended an elite law school. I think I have to decide between trying to kick ass at Rutgers and eventually transfer (which I know is foolish to plan for) OR kick ass and try to attend a prestigious LLM program OR explore the phD/JD situation because, looking at faculty profiles in my area of interest, this seems to be quite common.

Thanks again for your time!


The last post is TCR. It is not only TLS wisdom that you should be at an elite school to have a shot an academia, but any law professor or other academic will tell you the same thing. Do you have any other interests besides int'l human rights or academia? When you say you "know what you want to do" what exactly is it? You want to be a law professor? Academia is so competetitive that even attending Harvard with the lone goal of academia is probably like playing the lottery.


+1. Also, Universities don't hire anyone right out of school. Look through the profiles of law professors at your school. All of them have significant professional experience, incurred after receiving their law degree (usually from an elite institution). While I'm sure many of them entered school with the intent to one day become a professor, they all still had to do important work at firms/clerk for important courts/write important things first. So it's fine to say you're interested in academia, but you still have to aim for shorter-term professional goals, which puts you in pretty much the same position as everyone else.

FiveSermon
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:23 pm

Don't go to these schools if you want academia. Seriously don't.

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Borhas
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby Borhas » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:34 pm

travisalta wrote:Thanks for the input all.

As I mentioned, I am seeking a career in ACADEMIA. I think I may have put some people off with my broad "int'l human rights" shtick. I'll save you the boring details but I have a very focused area of interest. I'm not worried about "figuring out what I want to do". I know what I want to do- what I am trying to determine if going to Rutgers will limit my ability to do it!

That being said, your input was helpful. From what I can see most academics working in my field of interest have, at some point, attended an elite law school. I think I have to decide between trying to kick ass at Rutgers and eventually transfer (which I know is foolish to plan for) OR kick ass and try to attend a prestigious LLM program OR explore the phD/JD situation because, looking at faculty profiles in my area of interest, this seems to be quite common.

Thanks again for your time!


academia?

retake LSAT get into T-14 NYU or Columbia especially (I know it sucks to hear that)

but academia is more focused on name recognition than any other industry... my guess is you'd have a hard time out of Fordham, and an almost impossible path from Rutgers...

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enron123
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby enron123 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:33 pm

I also would like to pile on, if you want Academia your really looking at T14 and nowhere else. Pursuing a PHD in philosophy might make more sense.

If you don't want to practice law is their something really drawing you to academic study of law as it relates to human rights, or does it just sound cool?

travisalta
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Re: Rutgers Newark vs. Fordham

Postby travisalta » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:39 pm

Wow, you guys are killing me. Don't you know the appropriate answer was, "XYZ is true for 99.9% of people but we can tell YOU'RE special. Go ahead... YOU can make Rugers work."

::Sigh::

I'm not going to get into the specifics of my career goals... I've done enough research to know my field of interest, though small, is "legit" and requires a law degree. That being said, you've helped me get to the core of my real concern- can I work in academia with a Rutgers degree? And, even better, you answered my question!!

So plan B... 1) Study my hiney off for the LSAT and retake in June. (Which is actually almost FUN this time around. When I took it the first time I was working 40-60 hour weeks in a really high stress social work environment. My time is much less limited now and I am, overall, under much less stress.) 2) Save my seat at Rutgers just in case I bomb the LSAT. 3) I'm thinking if I can't reliably hit over a 170 I might just take the money at Rutgers.

Thanks again for your input!




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