BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

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

Which school, all things considered?

Poll ended at Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:41 am

USC (no scholly, in CA)
12
29%
BU ($45k scholly, not CA)
30
71%
 
Total votes: 42

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pelkin000
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BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby pelkin000 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:41 am

I realize coming out of USC at sticker price puts me about $225k in the hole. However, the employment stats show that I have about a 35% chance of making over $140k starting. And, if extra cash monthly (after taxes) is used toward paying down loans, I can have that paid off in about 4.2 years. That doesn't even account for annual raises or bonuses.

Obviously, using those same points I could pay down BU at a much faster rate (about 3 years). The advantage to USC, however, is that I'd be in California where I likely want to practice. I think being in California is enough to offset the advantage of a scholarship, but I'd like to hear peoples thoughts.

Also, what is the chance of getting money of USC if I end up in the top 10-20% after the first year? Do people have any other ideas on how to lower that cost other than hoping USC gives me money at some point?

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JamMasterJ
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:03 pm

I think you are a bit deluded as to the speed with which you will pay off those loans. 225K is a lot of money, even if you make 160K per year, unless you plan on living with your parents or something. Most people on here will tell you not to pay sticker for a school outside the T14; some will say not to go sticker outside the T6, or even HYS. Its a big risk that you would be taking, especially over a scholarship at a similar, if not better school. If you are not in-state, I wouldn't even consider it, and if you are, its still a bit of a stretch.

As far as your question about getting scholarships after 1L, you'll probably need to be top 5-10% to have a chance at something like this. You will need to be accepted for transfer at a higher ranked school (like Berkeley) and use that acceptance by saying "I love school here, but I have a great opportunity there and its the same price. They will likely incentivize you to stay. You may also be eligible for a well-paying research assistant position if you're high up in the class. That being said, the consensus is that you should not go to school with the intention of transferring, and I think the same applies to this type of situation. If you're not comfortable paying sticker for three years, don't expect the situation to change. I think that the wise decision is to choose BU, but ultimately, you need to do what feels right because your the one paying 150-250K for it.

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Magnolia
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Magnolia » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:09 pm

No way in hell would I pay sticker for USC. And I agree with the previous poster that you shouldn't go expecting to get money for 2L and 3L. If you can't handle paying sticker all 3 years, then pick a different school.

All that being said, USC>>>>>>>BU for Cali placement.

michigan_man
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby michigan_man » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:09 pm

Ideally, you should take a year off, add two points to your LSAT and get a big scholarship to USC. If you don't have time to do that, then go to USC if you want to be in CA. $45k is not that much money when you consider the california job prospect differential between the schools.

2011Law
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby 2011Law » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:16 pm

michigan_man wrote:Ideally, you should take a year off, add two points to your LSAT and get a big scholarship to USC. If you don't have time to do that, then go to USC if you want to be in CA. $45k is not that much money when you consider the california job prospect differential between the schools.


yep

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buckilaw
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby buckilaw » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:22 pm

michigan_man wrote:Ideally, you should take a year off, add two points to your LSAT and get a big scholarship to USC.


+1. Although, if you already have substantial ties to the Cali market you want to work in I'd choose BU with 45k over USC at sticker.

emjay
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby emjay » Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:12 pm

If you have ties to Cali, I'd say go for BU because the scholly amount you posted is slightly deceiving. BU's CoA is around 175k @ sticker, your scholarship would bring that down to 130k, which, IMHO, is too good to turn down when compared to USC @ 225k. That's almost 100k less in loans, and that is huge.

You'd have to do some more digging, but BU supposedly has a strong alumni network in Cali, and it would be cheaper so I say BU wins here, especially if you have ties to CA and definitely if you're not 100% opposed to practicing in the northeast.

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pelkin000
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby pelkin000 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:30 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:I think you are a bit deluded as to the speed with which you will pay off those loans. 225K is a lot of money, even if you make 160K per year, unless you plan on living with your parents or something.


Here's the math I used to calc it out (the formula for determine # of years came from http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/loan-calculator.aspx)

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&key=0Ar1qxHvOCzthdDhxcGF0Sm15eUpSakJVaC0wVzd3cFE&hl=en&gid=0

Let me know if any of that is incorrect!

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:14 pm

Go to USC if you want Cali, go to BU if you want Boston.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:22 pm

For 3yrs at BU, I got almost 5k per month and for 4.2 years at USC I got 5.5K per month. Plus you have interest accruing while in school. I'd just be shocked if you could afford paying north of 60K per year in student loan payments, but if you want to do that, your math isn't too far off.

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bk1
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby bk1 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:29 pm

1. You have over a 50% chance of not making 6 figures out of either of these schools. Heck, I'd say you have roughly a 50% of making 60,000 or less.

2. No, they aren't going to up your scholarship if you do well. Also, this line of thinking is stupid considering you only have a 10-20% chance of being in the top 10-20%.

3. If you go to BU, you will in all likelihood not get an immediate job in CA.

In the end, BU is the better financial deal by far but you would have sacrifice pretty much all hope of CA.

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mottainai
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby mottainai » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:36 pm

buckilaw wrote:
michigan_man wrote:Ideally, you should take a year off, add two points to your LSAT and get a big scholarship to USC.


+1. Although, if you already have substantial ties to the Cali market you want to work in I'd choose BU with 45k over USC at sticker.


Unless I'm missing something, how would 2 points get him a huge scholly? USC is a California school and focuses on GPA.

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tea_drinker
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby tea_drinker » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:52 pm

Where are you now? Are you living in CA and hoping to remain in CA? Or are you just fond of the idea of living in CA? If the latter, I say go to BU. The state of CA is broken economically, taxes are high, and hippies are everywhere. In addition, USC sticker is a lot of debt.

Metaread
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Metaread » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:56 am

Neat work on the spreadsheets, but again be wary of the idea of placing in the top 10%, because many think they can work hard enough to get there, and many realize that they just can't make it. So I'm sure you've taken that risk concerning salaries into account, but just to remind you...=|

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pelkin000
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby pelkin000 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:30 am

All that being said, USC>>>>>>>BU for Cali placement.

Go to USC if you want Cali, go to BU if you want Boston.

Where are you now? Are you living in CA and hoping to remain in CA? Or are you just fond of the idea of living in CA? If the latter, I say go to BU. The state of CA is broken economically, taxes are high, and hippies are everywhere. In addition, USC sticker is a lot of debt.

So this is a pretty major point for me. I'm from California, family is in California, etc. I'm guessing I'll come back here to practice at SOME point in my life. I realize coming from BU would be tough, especially right in the beginning. Would it be wrong of me to think that after a few years of experience making the transition would be more feasible?

be wary of the idea of placing in the top 10%, because many think they can work hard enough to get there, and many realize that they just can't make it

Definitely. And i've pretty much gathered that getting a scholarship after the first year is out. Thanks for the info about that everyone.

You have over a 50% chance of not making 6 figures out of either of these schools. Heck, I'd say you have roughly a 50% of making 60,000 or less.

For real? $60k job out of USC? I suppose if I really suck it up and am ranked 249/250 or something... but the stats show top 35% making $140k+ and 40% of the class at an NLJ250 (data from stick posted at the top of this forum). I doubt the curve drops so sharply that even the 51st percentile is making less than $60k...


Considering those points, is there a case to be made for USC?

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Lawquacious
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:35 am

Slevin Kelevra 2011 wrote:Go to USC if you want Cali, go to BU if you want Boston.


Yeah, this is basically what I think: regionality is key.

But all other things equal I think BU is prob the better value.

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Blindmelon
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Blindmelon » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:20 am

If you have strong ties to CA its definitely possible to get there from BU, but obviously will be much easier from USC. Both seem to place the same, so if you're okay with NYC/Boston for a whole, then I'd go to BU. If you must have CA, then USC, although sticker is rough.

If you're IP, I would just go to BU - IP makes your outlook less regional.

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Magnolia
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Magnolia » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:42 am

pelkin000 wrote:So this is a pretty major point for me. I'm from California, family is in California, etc. I'm guessing I'll come back here to practice at SOME point in my life. I realize coming from BU would be tough, especially right in the beginning. Would it be wrong of me to think that after a few years of experience making the transition would be more feasible?

Your ability to lateral to CA will be highly dependent upon the state of the CA legal market at that time and where you are employed coming out of school. Since those factors are impossible to predict right now, no one can really tell you anything beyond that it may be possible. Assuming you are able to do it, a couple of factors to consider:

First, most biglaw associates lateral around years 3-5. Are you willing to stay in Boston/NYC for that long?

Second, you will be giving up your local network of attorneys and relationships with clients. You'll be starting that process all over again in a new place as a mid-level associate. In a couple of years, when you're a senior associate, you'll be expected to start bringing in business, just like everyone else, but you'll be several years behind. Not bringing in as much business as your fellow associates could affect your ability to make partner, if that's what your gunning for.

Third, you'll have to take the CA bar, which has a reputation for being particularly brutal. You may have to study while you're still working and you'll have been out of school/study mode for 3+ years. Do you have the discipline to do that?

Since the opportunity to lateral is by no means a guarantee, you need to decide how important being able to get a job in CA is to you. Consider which of these scenarios would make you the most miserable: paying back $200k+ in debt on a job that pays $60k or living in Boston for the rest of your life. Pick your school accordingly.
Last edited by Magnolia on Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

adt231
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby adt231 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:10 am

pelkin000 wrote:For real? $60k job out of USC? I suppose if I really suck it up and am ranked 249/250 or something... but the stats show top 35% making $140k+ and 40% of the class at an NLJ250 (data from stick posted at the top of this forum). I doubt the curve drops so sharply that even the 51st percentile is making less than $60k...


Yup, for real. Law Salaries are on a bimodal distribution. You're either starting at 135k-160k or are starting at 40-60k.

Also, you're 225k estimated cost for USC is incorrect. If you received no aid AND consider that your COA will go up at least 2k each year AND take into account that the interest rates on your loans will be mainly at 7.8% because they're Federal Grad PLUS loans (with the exception that 12k of your loans will be unsubsidized Stafford loans at 6.8% and 8.5k being subsidized stafford loans per year). This yields that you will owe just a tad over 240k upon graduation. If you immediately start the 5 year plan to pay them off, you're looking at $4,866.41 monthly payment. This is 58,393.68 per year. This is a difficult sum to muster up each year even on a biglaw salary. Plus, remember that the odds are against to even KEEP the biglaw job for 5 years if you are ever so luck to land one.

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bk1
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby bk1 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:16 pm

pelkin000 wrote:For real? $60k job out of USC? I suppose if I really suck it up and am ranked 249/250 or something... but the stats show top 35% making $140k+ and 40% of the class at an NLJ250 (data from stick posted at the top of this forum). I doubt the curve drops so sharply that even the 51st percentile is making less than $60k...


For real. Two things:

1. The NLJ250 data from that sticky is from 2009. Those kids did OCI in 2007 (before the crash). Things were looking much rosier back then. I would say that a reasonable current estimation would be 1/3 to 1/4 of USC kids are betting biglaw at the moment.

2. Starting legal salaries are bimodal so yes there is a drop off.

Take a look at this if you want a summary of my reasoning on this topic: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=153659

A small caveat is that yes, there are salaries that exist between the two modes of 100-160k and 30-60k but these jobs account for at best maybe 10-15% or so starting salaries and they are often just as tough to get as biglaw.

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pelkin000
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby pelkin000 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:42 am

Hey guys, thanks for all your good info. I mean, its not that I hadn't read some of the other posts talking about these similar issues, but its always appreciated to get direct advice for your own situation.

Speaking of situations, mine has changed slightly in that UC Davis has offered me a scholarship which brings its total cost to only about $20k more expensive than BU. In the big scheme of things this is not a huge amount, and I will end up staying in California this way.

However, I know that Davis job prospects aren't quite as solid as BU, and Sac doesn't really have the highest paying jobs. However, realistically, how much worse are the Davis job prospects than a BU or USC? Is it something where top 10% of davis students would get similar jobs to top 20% of BU? Or am I missing the picture all together here? Also, in terms of biglaw opportunities, again I know BU is going to do better than Davis, but does going to Davis totally handicap me in this area? Essentially, since I am seriously considering Davis now, I just want to know the opportunity cost (the benefits I am leaving on the table) of not attending BU.

Slevin Kelevra 2011
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Slevin Kelevra 2011 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:56 am

You want to work in Cali? Why did you even apply to BU? You should be going to UCLA or USC if you want to work in Cali. If you're worried about debt, go to one of the lower ranked cali schools. Do NOT go to BU if you want to work in California. You'll have a rediculously hard time getting back. I have friends who have tried it from similarly ranked east coast and midwest schools and they found it very difficult.

droges
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby droges » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:52 am

IMO, here are your chances of making over 145k:

1. USC: 50%
2. BU: 34%

These numbers are taken from 2009 employment statistics and factor in the self selection that occurs with regards to clerkship positions and continuing education. Furthermore, if you acocunt for those BU students making between 110k and 145k, that percentage jumps to 48%. Disclaimer: these are all based on employment statistics, which IMO have very suspect credibility.

But I would still choose BU over USC, or retake/ reapply earlier for money. 225k is just way too much. If you come out of BU with 120-130k that is managable.
Last edited by droges on Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

droges
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby droges » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:54 am

1. The NLJ250 data from that sticky is from 2009. Those kids did OCI in 2007 (before the crash). Things were looking much rosier back then. I would say that a reasonable current estimation would be 1/3 to 1/4 of USC kids are betting biglaw at the moment.


+100

Metaread
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Re: BU ($$) vs USC (sticker)

Postby Metaread » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:55 am

Agreed with droges. BU is simply better career wise for you than Davis unless you're absolutely certain that you want to be right there in Cali where Davis will place you. People from BU do travel to Cali, but don't count on it.




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