USC or UCLA at equal cost?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:32 am

Hey all,
I know there is a persistent UCLA v. USC debate going on but I wanted some fresh opinions.

A few considerations:
- Not a CA resident right now but plan on staying there for a while. My SO currently lives in LA but may need to move out of CA in 5-6 years and I would like to move with him if he does.

- Hoping for LA biglaw.

- I have 80K of UG debt so being able to pay off 100s of thousands of $$ of debt is important.

I visited and liked USC more but I know UCLA is a great school as well and probably a better option incase I need to relocate within 0-2 years of graduating.

I guess I want to pick USC but I'm worried that it objectively isn't as good of an option as UCLA.. I know no one is safe but I am wondering if ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC.

Serious replies only please and thanks!

tourdeforcex
Posts: 428
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:19 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby tourdeforcex » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:33 am

tough choice. in my very limited knowledge of the schools, it does seem that "ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC" (this needs to be verified); however, i am a very strong believer in going where you feel more comfortable and where you like.

you are the one who needs to put in the work.

i agree that UCLA is a great school--but so is USC.

better option incase I need to relocate within 0-2 years of graduating


what i believe about this is: if you can get a good job at a reputable firm where you are learning, after a year (maybe) but definitely after 2-3 years, your degree is substantially less important

best wishes.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:37 pm

Thanks. Anyone else?

User avatar
99.9luft
Posts: 1244
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby 99.9luft » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:41 pm

JJDancer wrote:I am wondering if ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC.



Yes, I would say so. Know some graduates of both schools, and unhesitatingly recommend UCLA. The only reason to go to USC is if they gave you a full ride while UCLA gave you half.

User avatar
joemoviebuff
Posts: 788
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:51 am

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby joemoviebuff » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:43 pm

I'd take UCLA just because it's in Westwood.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:44 pm

99.9luft wrote:
JJDancer wrote:I am wondering if ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC.



Yes, I would say so. Know some graduates of both schools, and unhesitatingly recommend UCLA. The only reason to go to USC is if they gave you a full ride while UCLA gave you half.

What if UCLA gave a 45K scholly and USC gave 90K? (not full ride but still...) Would you still recommend UCLA as strongly? Thanks.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:45 pm

joemoviebuff wrote:I'd take UCLA just because it's in Westwood.

SO has to work 80-90 hours a week in downtown so I wouldn't be living in Westwood anyways (because then his commute would be even longer). But yes, westwood is nice :)

User avatar
99.9luft
Posts: 1244
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby 99.9luft » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:48 pm

joemoviebuff wrote:I'd take UCLA just because it's in Westwood.


also, to get away from immaturity, you can live in Brentwood, or better yet, in Santa Monica. Where are you going to live if you go to USC? At best - Silver Lake with dirty hipsters? ich don't think so.

User avatar
99.9luft
Posts: 1244
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby 99.9luft » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:56 pm

JJDancer wrote:
99.9luft wrote:
JJDancer wrote:I am wondering if ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC.



Yes, I would say so. Know some graduates of both schools, and unhesitatingly recommend UCLA. The only reason to go to USC is if they gave you a full ride while UCLA gave you half.

What if UCLA gave a 45K scholly and USC gave 90K? (not full ride but still...) Would you still recommend UCLA as strongly? Thanks.


hmm...this just got tougher. I just read that your SO may tie you to living in downtown - not fun commuting to Westwood from there every morning. If you want to practice in SoCal only - USC is the same or slightly better (depending on some firms' preference). However, say, you want to practice in SF or even out of state - UCLA has more prestige than USC.

I understand that 45k is a lot of money, and i'd personally would rather save/not be in as much debt. Other ppl don't mind debt because they won't be paying for all of the costs in loans. So yes, the SO/commute + saving 45k, I woud personally pick USC.

But then again, if you don't mind the extra money and can make the SO move with you to West LA - UCLA is a good choice.

I

krad
Posts: 1897
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:33 am

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby krad » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:03 pm

These two schools' total COA would be different with $45k and $90k, respectively.

What's the total COA of each with the scholly?

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:05 pm

99.9luft wrote: hmm...this just got tougher. I just read that your SO may tie you to living in downtown - not fun commuting to Westwood from there every morning. If you want to practice in SoCal only - USC is the same or slightly better (depending on some firms' preference). However, say, you want to practice in SF or even out of state - UCLA has more prestige than USC.

I understand that 45k is a lot of money, and i'd personally would rather save/not be in as much debt. Other ppl don't mind debt because they won't be paying for all of the costs in loans. So yes, the SO/commute + saving 45k, I woud personally pick USC.

But then again, if you don't mind the extra money and can make the SO move with you to West LA - UCLA is a good choice.


Thanks. I didn't mean I would be living downtown - if I chose UCLA, we would try to stay somewhere relatively in the middle so the commute wasn't the whole way for either of us. I think the biggest things I am comparing right now are a) $$ differences b) prestige differences in case I need to move East in 2015/16 and c) fit/which one I liked.

a) makes me lean towards USC, b makes me lean towards UCLA and c brings me back to USC but A) is complicated by my feeling that "ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC."

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:11 pm

krad wrote:These two schools' total COA would be different with $45k and $90k, respectively.

What's the total COA of each with the scholly?

K rad, I had this worked out at one point but don't have the info right now. I'll re-calculate and post/PM u when I have it again.

User avatar
Redsgomarchingon
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Redsgomarchingon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:12 pm

JJDancer wrote:Hey all,
I know there is a persistent UCLA v. USC debate going on but I wanted some fresh opinions.

A few considerations:
- Not a CA resident right now but plan on staying there for a while. My SO currently lives in LA but may need to move out of CA in 5-6 years and I would like to move with him if he does.

- Hoping for LA biglaw.

- I have 80K of UG debt so being able to pay off 100s of thousands of $$ of debt is important.

I visited and liked USC more but I know UCLA is a great school as well and probably a better option incase I need to relocate within 0-2 years of graduating.

I guess I want to pick USC but I'm worried that it objectively isn't as good of an option as UCLA.. I know no one is safe but I am wondering if ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC.

Serious replies only please and thanks!


I'm currently making this choice too, and was told by a 1L at one of the schools that three things should determine your choice: job prospects, cost, and where you'll be happiest.

UCLA has better job prospects, but only slightly. From all the statistics I've seen, UCLA may have around 6% better biglaw placement, and a few percentage points better in clerkships. But at either school, if you're top 40% of your class, you'll be in good shape. UCLA may pull more weight outside of LA, but USC alum are a lot more passionate about hiring legacies.

Since you're already significantly in debt, the cheaper option might be the best choice, since your amount of debt is actually calculable (unlike your placement in the class)

However, there is nothing quite like going where you're happy. Sometimes Bruins can't bring themselves to be Trojans, and sometimes USC people just prefer being at USC (for whatever reason). Only each individual can decide how much this is worth

Having just gone to a reception for GULC and hearing over and over again that all three (USC, UCLA, and GULC) are great schools with great career options, you should feel good about your choice wherever you go.

User avatar
99.9luft
Posts: 1244
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby 99.9luft » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:13 pm

JJDancer wrote:
99.9luft wrote: hmm...this just got tougher. I just read that your SO may tie you to living in downtown - not fun commuting to Westwood from there every morning. If you want to practice in SoCal only - USC is the same or slightly better (depending on some firms' preference). However, say, you want to practice in SF or even out of state - UCLA has more prestige than USC.

I understand that 45k is a lot of money, and i'd personally would rather save/not be in as much debt. Other ppl don't mind debt because they won't be paying for all of the costs in loans. So yes, the SO/commute + saving 45k, I woud personally pick USC.

But then again, if you don't mind the extra money and can make the SO move with you to West LA - UCLA is a good choice.


Thanks. I didn't mean I would be living downtown - if I chose UCLA, we would try to stay somewhere relatively in the middle so the commute wasn't the whole way for either of us. I think the biggest things I am comparing right now are a) $$ differences b) prestige differences in case I need to move East in 2015/16 and c) fit/which one I liked.

a) makes me lean towards USC, b makes me lean towards UCLA and c brings me back to USC but A) is complicated by my feeling that "ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC."


wait, i don't get (b). You wouldn't want to work for 2-3 years in LA before possibly moving to the East Coast? If you will be planning to work your first job out of LS not in CA - then go to UCLA. I assumed you wanted to work here for several years and then go somewhere else - in which case the school prestige doesn't matter at all - it will be based on your performance in your law firm (i assume you're doing BigLaw).

User avatar
TUP
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:00 am

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby TUP » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:15 pm

What's the basis for UCLA being safer at a given place in the class? Looking at nlj250 data from the past 4 years, they seem very similar.

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Arelikefoxes » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:22 pm

NLJ bounces around year to year (last year, USC placed higher, for example.)

If you were looking to leave CA, all else equal, I think UCLA makes more sense -- slightly less "regional" than USC's SoCal focus. That said, USC consistently places better in SoCal, and the Trojan Network really is compelling if you intend to stay local for a few years after graduation

Westwood > Downtown. BUT downtown is where more BigLaw/Courts are...although, admittedly, a lot of people who go to USC ended up living Westward anyways.

User avatar
northwood
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby northwood » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:25 pm

Go to whichever one is cheaper. If they are the same cost ( including cost of attendance and living expenses added to it) I would say go to UCLA- but if one is much more cheaper go with that one. Make sure to visit both and write out your pros and cons for each school and read them aloud to your so. You need to be fully comfortable at whichever school you end up going to. After you have been practicing for a few years- the only thing that will matter is your experiences from there. However, getting that first job is important- so you need to be able to figure out where you will be in 5 years. IF you will be in southern california- both schools are fine, but if you have to move east, i would say UCLA would travel easier. Again its hard to tell. BUt its a whole lot easier getting a job, and being able to move with the less debt you have so expenses will come into play.

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Arelikefoxes » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:29 pm

Also, the price difference between the two schools may be misleading. Though there is some difference now in tuition, projections for tuition increases in the UCs over the next 5 years are staggering (just look at Berk for a good example). Meanwhile, USC has a policy to not increase by more than 4% per year. While that "policy" is far from a commitment, I trust private school autonomy over the the UC's ability to balance their budget any day.

User avatar
Redsgomarchingon
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Redsgomarchingon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:33 pm

Arelikefoxes wrote:Also, the price difference between the two schools may be misleading. Though there is some difference now in tuition, projections for tuition increases in the UCs over the next 5 years are staggering (just look at Berk for a good example). Meanwhile, USC has a policy to not increase by more than 4% per year. While that "policy" is far from a commitment, I trust private school autonomy over the the UC's ability to balance their budget any day.


UCLA has a policy to remain competitive as well, and going above USC wouldn't make sense. Although the UC system is in crisis, UCLA law is independent from the UCs and is not going to feel much of an effect from the budget crisis

also, I don't think Berkeley is indicative of where UCLA is going. They are both independent schools (and independent of the UCs). Berkeley is significantly higher ranked (so can actually stay competitive with higher tuition)

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby JJDancer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:39 pm

99.9luft wrote:
JJDancer wrote:Thanks. I didn't mean I would be living downtown - if I chose UCLA, we would try to stay somewhere relatively in the middle so the commute wasn't the whole way for either of us. I think the biggest things I am comparing right now are a) $$ differences b) prestige differences in case I need to move East in 2015/16 and c) fit/which one I liked.

a) makes me lean towards USC, b makes me lean towards UCLA and c brings me back to USC but A) is complicated by my feeling that "ITE being top x% at UCLA is better (safer) than being top x% at USC."


wait, i don't get (b). You wouldn't want to work for 2-3 years in LA before possibly moving to the East Coast? If you will be planning to work your first job out of LS not in CA - then go to UCLA. I assumed you wanted to work here for several years and then go somewhere else - in which case the school prestige doesn't matter at all - it will be based on your performance in your law firm (i assume you're doing BigLaw).

To clarify: I don't want to move back East right away/ever. But that may change because there is at least a 30% chance that my SO would need to move between 2014-2016.

krad
Posts: 1897
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:33 am

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby krad » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:41 pm

JJDancer wrote:To clarify: I don't want to move back East right away/ever. But that may change because there is at least a 30% chance that my SO would need to move between 2014-2016.

Hmm... this sounds pretty up in the air. I don't think I'd base too large a part of your decision on this. Both are solid schools and if need be, you could do the legwork to try to get back east.

eta: While I agree with others that UCLA may have a bit more national reach, I don't think it's significant enough for such an iffy situation, or to warrant choosing one school over the other.

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Arelikefoxes » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:47 pm

Redsgomarchingon wrote:
UCLA has a policy to remain competitive as well,



+1, im sure.

Redsgomarchingon wrote:Although the UC system is in crisis, UCLA law is independent from the UCs and is not going to feel much of an effect from the budget crisis


Not so sure about this...when I was considering UCLA, they did not say they shared this belief. Their funding is certainly correlative (if not tied to) to the university itself. Furthermore, historically, law schools have been more willing to increase tuition than other instituions within universities. And by your logic re: Berk, wouldn't UCLA be "justified" in being more pricey than USC?

*edited to use real sentences...lol.

User avatar
Redsgomarchingon
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Redsgomarchingon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:06 pm

Arelikefoxes wrote:
Redsgomarchingon wrote:
UCLA has a policy to remain competitive as well,



+1, im sure.

Redsgomarchingon wrote:Although the UC system is in crisis, UCLA law is independent from the UCs and is not going to feel much of an effect from the budget crisis


Not so sure about this...when I was considering UCLA, they did not say they shared this belief. Their funding is certainly correlative (if not tied to) to the university itself. Furthermore, historically, law schools have been more willing to increase tuition than other instituions within universities. And by your logic re: Berk, wouldn't UCLA be "justified" in being more pricey than USC?

*edited to use real sentences...lol.


This question was asked several times during the admitted students day and they said the law school was self-sufficient. With the amount they're charging for tuition and the amount they get from alumni donations, I believe it.

I said Berk was ranked significantly higher and thus could justify it. I wouldn't characterize the ranking difference between USC and UCLA as significant. While I guess they could raise tuition above USC as the higher ranked school, they'd lose some market share for people who are set on LA and are debt averse. I'm not their business consultant, so I don't know if this would increase tuition revenue enough to justify that loss. However, at current estimates, UCLA is going to be 6K cheaper than USC for 2011-2012, and I don't expect UCLAs tuition to overtake USCs over the next 3 years (which is the relevant time period for this thread), although they might become equivalent.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18424
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby bk1 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:12 pm

Redsgomarchingon wrote:UCLA has better job prospects, but only slightly. From all the statistics I've seen, UCLA may have around 6% better biglaw placement, and a few percentage points better in clerkships.


lolwut

USC has been consistently edging out UCLA in NLJ250 placement by around 5%+ for 4 out of the last 5 years. They also trade back and forth between who has a clerkship edge. Someone tried to argue that UCLA has more PI/gov people and USC has more firm people, I guess I can buy that as the reason USC seems to have an edge with biglaw. But 5% really isn't that big a difference so I'd chalk it up to chance.

In reality, these schools are peers in the truest sense of the word. So go to whichever one is cheapest. If they cost about the same then go to the one that you prefer.

Final Caveat: I haven't looked at their LRAPs to see if one is better than the other so maybe one has the edge in that department.

User avatar
Redsgomarchingon
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: USC or UCLA at equal cost?

Postby Redsgomarchingon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:29 pm

bk1 wrote:
Redsgomarchingon wrote:UCLA has better job prospects, but only slightly. From all the statistics I've seen, UCLA may have around 6% better biglaw placement, and a few percentage points better in clerkships.


lolwut

USC has been consistently edging out UCLA in NLJ250 placement by around 5%+ for 4 out of the last 5 years. They also trade back and forth between who has a clerkship edge. Someone tried to argue that UCLA has more PI/gov people and USC has more firm people, I guess I can buy that as the reason USC seems to have an edge with biglaw. But 5% really isn't that big a difference so I'd chalk it up to chance.

In reality, these schools are peers in the truest sense of the word. So go to whichever one is cheapest. If they cost about the same then go to the one that you prefer.

Final Caveat: I haven't looked at their LRAPs to see if one is better than the other so maybe one has the edge in that department.


I based the 6% on the most recent data: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... hbxlogin=1

But yes, looking at past years, USC and UCLA have traded spots quite often and it's probably not reasonable to assume UCLA would place 6% higher in Biglaw for a second year in a row




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest