edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

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Zabini
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edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

Postby Zabini » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:42 pm

So I'm still waiting on 4 more schools, but two of them (Harvard and Columbia) are unlikely to accept me and the other two (UCLA and Georgetown) are unlikely to be better than my current #1 option, so unless I can bink a JR2 (or a JR1 for that matter) or a VCE somehow, my cycle is basically over.
edit: bumping this thread because I did bink that VCE. My mind is all but made up to go to Columbia (assuming I don't get H) but just wanted to see if anyone wanted to give a go at talking me out of it. I have precisely zero desire to work in NYC and very much do not want to get stuck there, but my understanding is that even at median, Columbia should have strong portability back West. Is this correct? Feel free to disregard all the mess below except the goals paragraph just above the cliffs


Like the title says, I've got a 90k offer from USC, but since I'm coming straight out of undergrad with no savings or familial support, I'll still have to take out ~120k in loans to go there. I'm looking for advice about whether I should take that offer or sit out this year and retake for an elite school.

My current stats are 3.41/170 URM. If my grades from this semester hold, my GPA will go up to 3.46 (if that makes a difference). As far as my prospects for a retake go, my study habits for the LSAT I took (October '10) were atrocious...I worked really hard for ~2 or 3 weeks when I first got my LSAT books 4 months before the test, then did basically nothing until about 2 weeks before the test, when I started cramming decently hard. That makes me think that my score has a lot of upward potential. Also, I'm in the final interview stages to become an LSAT tutor, which I feel like would certainly help with retaking the test. My target for a retake would be 175+...which I feel like I could certainly get, but I'd love comments about if I'm being overly optimistic about that.

Another advantage of reapplying would be I could get apps in earlier...partially due to being abroad during fall semester and partially due to my own procrastination, I didn't get my applications in this cycle until 1/30 or later. I definitely feel like my cycle has underperformed my numbers and I think this is probably the chief reason why.

On the other hand, I have a very significant SO to factor into this decision. We're both coming out of ugrad this year and she's reticent (to put it mildly) to wait another year for me to go to law school because she feels it will be damaging for her career if she takes a job now and quits after only a year to follow me to law school (she wants to work in nonprofit development). Has anyone had a SO situation like this? Does anyone know if she is/is not too concerned about the damage staying in her first job for just one year would do?

As far as my goals go, I don't have one career path in law that I'm married to, but I have a general idea of what I'd like. It seems likely to me that Biglaw will be the best way to clear my debt, which I suspect will be pretty substantial no matter what I do. I would love to do a good clerkship if possible, particularly with the 9th circuit COA if possible. I'm from CA and am nearly 100% set on practicing there, although I would prefer SF to LA if possible. Also, if I did go the Biglaw route, I'd have particular interest in firms that represent or fundraise for the Democratic Party as I have an eye on potentially going into elected politics one day...obviously this isn't and shouldn't be an overriding consideration though.

Bah, sorry for the novel.

Cliffs for people who would say tl;dr
-3.41/170 URM late applicant straight out of undergrad
-Only viable option is USC with 90k scholly (120k cost of attendance)
-edit: new viable option of Columbia, presumably at sticker
-Want to work in CA: SF preferred, LA ok
-Interested in clerking on a high level

Questions
-I figure the distinctly better situations I could have would be HYS, Columbia, Boalt, Michigan, full ride or close at UCLA, Rothman at USC. How likely is retake/reapply to put me in position for those options?
-If my SO did quit her first job after a year to follow me to law school, what sort of damage would that likely do to her career path?
Last edited by Zabini on Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Zabini
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby Zabini » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:25 pm

Just to forestall any questions in this vein, this is how my cycle has gone so far. Like I said in the OP, I think I've underperformed my numbers and my application date is probably to blame

Applied: 12
Accepted: USC (90k), Vandy (30k)
Rejected: Yale, Berkeley, Michigan
Waitlisted: Penn, UVA, Duke (priority)
Waiting: Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, UCLA

tittsburghfeelers
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby tittsburghfeelers » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:16 pm

Zabini wrote:Just to forestall any questions in this vein, this is how my cycle has gone so far. Like I said in the OP, I think I've underperformed my numbers and my application date is probably to blame

Applied: 12
Accepted: USC (90k), Vandy (30k)
Rejected: Yale, Berkeley, Michigan
Waitlisted: Penn, UVA, Duke (priority)
Waiting: Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, UCLA


Kind of off topic, but why didn't you apply to Stanford?

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tea_drinker
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby tea_drinker » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:26 pm

I feel like there is something in your application that turns off adcoms since your LSAT is amazing for an URM. I think it COULD be your GPA, but 3.4 for an URM is not bad either.

If you retake LSAT and get 175+, you will be above 75%tile at a bunch of schools that rejected or waitlisted you this cycle. And you will have better chance of being admitted at those schools with a 175.

From what you described as your career goals, I think you should go to a big name school. How long have you been with your SO? How hot is she? Do you think you can talk her into the idea of moving somewhere next year?

All in all, decide whether you want a shot at getting fabulous or a simple life with your SO. If I were you, I would choose a simple life, but I am a bit older. 8)

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Zabini
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby Zabini » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:38 pm

tittsburghfeelers wrote:Kind of off topic, but why didn't you apply to Stanford?


Mainly because I'm a dumbass. It was getting around deadline time and I realized I hadn't gotten the dean's cert done but didn't realize I could send in the rest of my app and just have the deans cert arrive later. Sigh.

QuailMan
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby QuailMan » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:58 pm

FWIW-My LSAT retake story

I got a 171 in September '09, had been PTing slightly above that and as high as 178, average was probably about 173/4, but I was happy enough with my score. Fast forward April '10, finished my thesis, didnt really have any other classes, decided to try to prep for the June Test. Worked much harder than I did before, was able to live at home and basically didnt have anything to do but study. Even took a video course online (had already done Powerscore before). Got my PTs back up to where they were in September. Ended up scoring 169. (btw, not a total tragedy, I don't think it changed my cycle.)


Just my story on trying to go from the low 70s to the mid/high 70s. With scores that high, there can be a lot of luck involved. Not to say that anyone who gets those scores just got lucky, but when your sights are that high, there’s just a lot more that can go wrong.

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Zabini
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Re: edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

Postby Zabini » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:28 am

Edited the OP but for anyone who's just clicking the "new post" button, here's the update: I just got into Columbia yesterday. I assume I'll be paying sticker there, but it still seems like a clear choice to just go there. So now I'm just looking for confirmation that Columbia will be quite portable back to the West Coast or cautionary tales about how I'm gonna be stuck in NYC with 220k in debt.

And a big thanks to everyone who PMed me. I'm sorry I haven't written back yet, its been a moderately crazy week, but please know that I appreciated your comments a ton.

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enron123
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby enron123 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:03 am

QuailMan wrote:FWIW-My LSAT retake story

I got a 171 in September '09, had Ended up scoring 169. (btw, not a total tragedy, I don't think it changed my cycle.)
.


Wow someone on TLS who a) doesn't think retake automatically means higher score and b) did it where amazing happens!

That being said depending on your job prospects and willingness to retake I might give it another go. 220k without financial support is a tough pill to swallow and if you got a 171+ and brushed up your application you could get a full ride at a T14 especially if you ED and get your apps in early, u got pretty decent results for how late you got your apps in tbh but obviously underperformed your numbers.

Sincerely,

Debt Averse

MaxWeber
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Re: USC $$$ vs retake/reapply (with SO complications)

Postby MaxWeber » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:06 pm

tea_drinker wrote:I feel like there is something in your application that turns off adcoms since your LSAT is amazing for an URM. I think it COULD be is your GPA


i hate to say it buddy, but the 3.45 at GW is where you underperformed, so I don't think your rejections (Boalt, Yale, Michigan) are too surprising. similarly, the WLs at Duke, Penn and UVA probably would have been admits had you applied to them earlier, so that's not an underperformance either. with that GPA, you are (unfortunately) almost certainly (95%+) out at HYS even with a 175+ retake. best you could hope for is CCN with some money.

in this context, your CLS nab yesterday was like the lakers stealing gasol in 08. you should take it at sticker unless you get gtown with a lot of money, or UCLA with full $$$. do not retake, pass go, or collect $200, etc. there are obv. great non-profit opps in NY, DC and LA for the SO.

most important thing: vow to work like hell in law school and at your first BigLaw job (i.e. harder than you did in UG), clear your loans, then move over to the USAO/DA and start getting involved in civic orgz.

also, i'm pretty sure you are who i think you are, and i am confident that you are fully capable of doing what i outlined in the above paragraph. #puckfeacebitch

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YankeesFan
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Re: edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

Postby YankeesFan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:13 pm

I know exactly who you are (I was in P&V with you freshmen year) and I cannot believe you only got a 3.46 at GW. Your average should have been around the other kid from our class who transfered to Columbia freshmen year.

Take Columbia and run with it. Good luck!

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Knock
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Re: edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

Postby Knock » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:13 pm

I'd take that Columbia offer.

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Zabini
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Re: edit: Columbia vs USC $$$ vs retake

Postby Zabini » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:00 pm

Yerks, there's no doubt my GPA represents a pretty severe underperformance...I f'ed myself over hard with Latin (which I just couldn't get) and a couple other GCR courses that I didn't care about. :-/

My strong inclination is to go to Columbia, good to hear that seems like the consensus.

edit: obviously the complaint that my cycle has underperformed my numbers no longer applies.




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