Another UF vs. FSU thread

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Maz
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Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Maz » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:21 am

I know there are tons of these threads, but I feel my situation warranted a new thread. Hopefully TLS can help me out.

I am trying to decide between going to law school at the University of Florida or Florida State University. I'm not sure if I plan on going the environmental law or international law route, but either way, I feel that FSU offers a great opportunity. I'm not saying that UF wouldn't, but the location of the law school in the capital definitely has it's advantages. FSU was my clear number one choice in the beginning of the application process. Going out of state didn't make sense financially, and for what I want to do, I felt like FSU was the better choice.

After visiting both schools (regular visit at FSU, ASD at UF) I ended up leaning towards UF because of their strong alumni base, strong reputation within the state, and just having a better overall experience being able to meet other admitted students. I ended up paying the deposit at UF and not FSU. Long story short, I've been having second thoughts, and have been in touch with FSU about being reconsidered for admission.

The whole atmosphere at FSU really appealed to me. I got a call from someone in the admissions office to let me know that I had been admitted. A professor stopped to talk to me in the hall while I was on my tour, and seemed very interested in my plans and offered to help with my decision any way he could. And I think the faculty at FSU is outstanding (ranked 23rd I believe by Brian Leiter), and very accessible from what I've heard. I've also heard the placement office is very helpful.

At UF, as I previously mentioned, I loved the focus on the alumni base (which wasn't a focus on my visit to FSU), which I feel could be important with the way the job market is. They also hype themselves up as far as their reputation and prestige, which in-state, they definitely have a big advantage. They also have a pretty good environmental law program too, and they have really cool study abroad programs. They definitely have the better library, but FSU has the better hours and you're not going to have undergrads in there all the time.

At the end of the day, I think there will be more opportunities for me in Tallahassee, and I think I would be happier there. It might be just that FSU was always the school I planned on going to. My sister-in-law went to medical school there, and I grew up a Florida State fan, so my heart is telling me if it's still an option I should go there. I did pay the deposit at UF though and part of me thinks that since I already made my decision, I should stick with it.

They're both good schools, so I think I'll be okay wherever I decide to go, but what do you all think? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Sorry about the long post!

Maz
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Maz » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:28 am

And both are at sticker price, so neither has an advantage there.

clone22
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby clone22 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:58 am

look at law school transparency. UF has better job prospects (marginally). At same price, u might as well do UF. FSU is rising in the rankings, but UF has been superior historically, so TCR is to do UF if price is the same.

good luck

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quixotical
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby quixotical » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:10 am

I'm confused about why you said going out of state doesn't make sense financially for "what you want to do," when what you want to do is international and environmental law, both highly competitive areas of law to break into. What were your numbers? Why weren't some higher-ranked schools w/ $$ a consideration if you wanted to stay in the south (Vandy, Emory)?

International law is a somewhat mythical beast, and I don't think you're likely to find it at FSU (or UF for that matter). I am from Florida and also applied to both schools as safeties, so I'm familiar with them and I can say that I don't think there is a huge difference in terms of quality-- frankly, they're both at the bottom of the first tier (upper 40s) though UF might have slightly more portability in the Southeast due to its prestige (though still marginal). If you're planning on living in Florida, then portability is less of an issue, though the UF name carries much more lay prestige since its UG is in the top 50 in the country, whereas FSU is outside of the top 100.

FSU is in the capital but Tallahassee is almost as bad as Gainesville in terms of culture, things to do, etc. They both function as "college towns" and you're going to be plagued with undergrads at both institutions. I don't know how big a factor FSU's proximity to the state courts and legislators would be, but since UF is traditionally the highest-ranking FL law school, I think they would probably break close to even in that regard.

I think leaning towards FSU because your sister-in-law went there and you are a fan of their sports teams are pretty weak reasons to choose FSU over UF when historically UF has the stronger law school and has better lay prestige in Florida and the southeast. Tallahassee and Gainesville aren't different enough to choose one school over the other in terms of location; you really need to look at specifics to make your decision, for example, what study abroad programs SPECIFICALLY would you want to participate in, not "UF has some pretty cool study abroad pics in its brochure, and maybe I'll do that!" Look at hard numbers if that's really something you want to do-- what percentage of law students study abroad? Do most get their first choice of country they study in? I think you need to look at the nitty gritty, including electives offered, first year class sizes, and maybe even bar passage rates to distinguish between the two.

I know choosing a law school is a big decision, but you come across as very wishy-washy in your post-- "I would be happier at FSU, my heart wants to go to FSU, but I put a deposit down at UF, I should stick with my decision to go to UF." If I were you I would go to UF because it has a better overall program, reputation, and job prospects (and Brian Leiter's rankings don't matter, FYI) but depending on your numbers I might recommend retaking and reapplying.

Maz
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Maz » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:24 am

Just to clarify a couple things, I meant that it didn't make sense financially to go out of state in general because of the money involved, not because of what I wanted to do. And I didn't intend the part about why my "heart" leans towards FSU to be legitimate reasons to go to the school, but I am much more familiar with Tallahassee. For personal reasons, I'd be happier there, but I honestly shouldn't have brought any of that up.

My main concern is that being in Gainesville instead of Tallahassee might put me at a disadvantage (as far as networking opportunities) given the type of law I'm interested in. So far the only people I've been able to talk to about it have all been biased so I was looking for input from unbiased sources. Thanks for your replies, I appreciate it!

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quixotical
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby quixotical » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:29 am

Maz wrote:Just to clarify a couple things, I meant that it didn't make sense financially to go out of state in general because of the money involved, not because of what I wanted to do. And I didn't intend the part about why my "heart" leans towards FSU to be legitimate reasons to go to the school, but I am much more familiar with Tallahassee. For personal reasons, I'd be happier there, but I honestly shouldn't have brought any of that up.

My main concern is that being in Gainesville instead of Tallahassee might put me at a disadvantage (as far as networking opportunities) given the type of law I'm interested in. So far the only people I've been able to talk to about it have all been biased so I was looking for input from unbiased sources. Thanks for your replies, I appreciate it!


When comparing two schools in the same state, with almost the same ranking, intangibles do become more important-- if you have solid reasons why you'd be happier in Tallahassee, then that is something you should take into account. Anything to mitigate the stress of 1L can help. If you have friends and family who live in Tallahassee, a support system in place in other words, then it might be worth it to sacrifice UF's historically better reputation for the comfort of the familiar. However, if you don't plan on living in Florida, this would be silly given UF's better placement/lay prestige in the southeast. What are your long-term goals?

Again, you said you're interested in environmental and international law, neither of which are likely at either school. What kind of networking are you imagining you would have in Tallahassee that you wouldn't have through the alumni network at UF? I guess I just don't understand where your concerns are coming from.

Why have you narrowed down your schools to UF and FSU for financial reasons? Are your LSAT/GPA not high enough to get $$ at a better-ranked school? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just trying to understand your decision.

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Bill Cosby
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Bill Cosby » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:41 am

clone22 wrote:look at law school transparency. UF has better job prospects (marginally). At same price, u might as well do UF. FSU is rising in the rankings, but UF has been superior historically, so TCR is to do UF if price is the same.

good luck


I don't think it's that clear cut. UF has been better in the past, but at this point the schools are pretty much interchangeable.



(Disclaimer: I'm an incoming 1L at FSU who chose it with scholarship over UF with no scholarship.)

minuit
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby minuit » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:59 am

you've already chosen UF, so stop worrying and just move on! not trying to be rude, but yeah. i don't think you can go wrong here!

drewford34
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby drewford34 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:00 am

And I didn't intend the part about why my "heart" leans towards FSU to be legitimate reasons to go to the school, but I am much more familiar with Tallahassee.


For what it's worth, I think that going somewhere that you feel drawn to for intangible yet strong feelings (AKA "heart") is an absolutely legitimate reason for choosing one school over another, especially when the 2 schools are so similar when it comes to all the numbers. You'll be spending 3 years there, and if it's somewhere that makes you feel at home and at peace that will greatly help facilitate your success.

Also, to be honest, lots of people have gone to those schools as well as higher ranked schools, and most of them have been able to do what they want to do. Prospective law students always put too much emphasis on rankings, but a degree alone from a higher ranking school is not going to get you a job. Whatever school you graduate from, getting the perfect-for-you job is still going to be the product of nothing more than your hard work and networking.

I think you've made the right choice in going to either of those schools for financial reasons. No need to take out a huge amount of debt for a few spots higher in the rankings. As far as deciding between them, my advice is not to agonize about it. Either is great, you'll love where you end up, and in a few months once classes start you'll barely remember that this decision weighed on you so heavily.

P.S. - I recently was in the same situation, and I went with my "heart," and I'm completely at peace now and yet very excited. Don't let the rankings snobs get to you. They're just insecure about their own ability to get a job after graduating without a degree that they think will do all that work for them.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby mrwarre85 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:08 am

Locations are big natural advantages for law schools. It is why Cornell would have to work extra hard to ward off the possibility that UCLA or Texas would pass them in the rankings. It might be the only reason GTown hasn't been passed...

FSU has a very important long-term advantage in FL being in the state-capitol. It wouldn't surprise me if FSU was the more prestigious school in 30 years.

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quixotical
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby quixotical » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:55 pm

drewford34 wrote:Also, to be honest, lots of people have gone to those schools as well as higher ranked schools, and most of them have been able to do what they want to do. Prospective law students always put too much emphasis on rankings, but a degree alone from a higher ranking school is not going to get you a job. Whatever school you graduate from, getting the perfect-for-you job is still going to be the product of nothing more than your hard work and networking.


This is absolutely false. There are people at top schools who have the advantage of more prestigious alumni networks with whom to network who don't get jobs. They are not unemployed because they don't work hard enough.

drewford34 wrote:I think you've made the right choice in going to either of those schools for financial reasons. No need to take out a huge amount of debt for a few spots higher in the rankings. As far as deciding between them, my advice is not to agonize about it. Either is great, you'll love where you end up, and in a few months once classes start you'll barely remember that this decision weighed on you so heavily.

P.S. - I recently was in the same situation, and I went with my "heart," and I'm completely at peace now and yet very excited. Don't let the rankings snobs get to you. They're just insecure about their own ability to get a job after graduating without a degree that they think will do all that work for them.


Wait, what? How can you tell OP that attending either FSU or UF is the best financial decision for them when you don't know their numbers? Like I said in my above posts, getting $$ at a significantly better-ranked school like Vanderbilt could be a much better decision than full-price at UF or FSU, even if it is in-state tuition.

No one attends a high-ranking school thinking that the degree is going to do ALL the work for them, but it is demonstrably true that the highest ranked schools (T14 and, to a lesser extent, T30) have significantly better employment prospects. Depending on the OP's numbers and geographic preferences, UF or FSU might indeed be an okay financial decision, but to make a blanket statement that anyone questioning these schools is insecure or a rankings whore is just ridiculous.
Last edited by quixotical on Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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quixotical
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby quixotical » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:56 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:Locations are big natural advantages for law schools. It is why Cornell would have to work extra hard to ward off the possibility that UCLA or Texas would pass them in the rankings. It might be the only reason GTown hasn't been passed...

FSU has a very important long-term advantage in FL being in the state-capitol. It wouldn't surprise me if FSU was the more prestigious school in 30 years.


It would surprise me.

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Bill Cosby
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Bill Cosby » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:41 pm

quixotical wrote:
drewford34 wrote:Also, to be honest, lots of people have gone to those schools as well as higher ranked schools, and most of them have been able to do what they want to do. Prospective law students always put too much emphasis on rankings, but a degree alone from a higher ranking school is not going to get you a job. Whatever school you graduate from, getting the perfect-for-you job is still going to be the product of nothing more than your hard work and networking.


This is absolutely false. There are people at top schools who have the advantage of more prestigious alumni networks with whom to network who don't get jobs. They are not unemployed because they don't work hard enough.


"Nothing more" was strong on his part, but in the case of peer schools like FSU and UF, yeah, it's going to come down to hustle.

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quixotical
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby quixotical » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:46 pm

Bill Cosby wrote:
quixotical wrote:
drewford34 wrote:Also, to be honest, lots of people have gone to those schools as well as higher ranked schools, and most of them have been able to do what they want to do. Prospective law students always put too much emphasis on rankings, but a degree alone from a higher ranking school is not going to get you a job. Whatever school you graduate from, getting the perfect-for-you job is still going to be the product of nothing more than your hard work and networking.


This is absolutely false. There are people at top schools who have the advantage of more prestigious alumni networks with whom to network who don't get jobs. They are not unemployed because they don't work hard enough.


"Nothing more" was strong on his part, but in the case of peer schools like FSU and UF, yeah, it's going to come down to hustle.


Right, but he wasn't talking about peer schools-- he said that it comes down to hustle no matter which school you graduate from ("Whatever school you graduate from, getting the perfect-for-you job is still going to be the product of nothing more than your hard work and networking"). He is trying to justify ignoring the rankings, but without knowing OP's numbers, we can't do that.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Arredondo » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:54 pm

I just graduated from FSU, so I'll give you my opinion.

I went to UF undergrad and wanted to go to UF for law school, but I did not get accepted. I was happy to get into FSU though, and loved my time there.

UF has a better reputation among lawyers in the state, but I think it's because they have a larger alumni base. Also, UF's 2L OCI is larger than FSU's, but UF has a larger student body so they should.

When it comes to quality of life during law school, FSU beats UF hands down. My friends who went to UF talked about how competitive it was. I experienced nothing like that at FSU. Further, FSU's Student Bar Association is very active and plans lots of socials for the students. For a lot of my friends, when 1L year was over it became a lot like undergrad for them (going out on weeknights, etc.).

Also, lots of FSU students work part-time after 1L year, whether it be at law firms in town, the legislature, or state agencies.

If you want to practice law in Florida, you can't go wrong with either school. I worked hard in school, had fun, met great people, and have a job waiting for me after I take the bar.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:22 am

Arredondo wrote:When it comes to quality of life during law school, FSU beats UF hands down. My friends who went to UF talked about how competitive it was.


Um, I've talked to people who say UF isn't any different in terms of competitiveness than any other school, so we can agree that is kind of a silly statement.

Also, even if it is true and UF is uber-competitive, we're gonna be lawyers. Shying away from competition? We aren't exactly sitting around singing kumbaya. If it's competitive, so be it. If you (as I assume you do) have high aspirations for life, you're gonna have to fight and claw for it. Might as well start by getting used to it while learning your craft. But like I said, people that I talk to that attend UF say the whole competitiveness thing is way overblown, so take it as you will.

I get the networking concerns, but I wouldn't worry too much. For all the advantages it would seem FSU gives by being in the city, UF grads get first dibs on jobs; look at the numbers. The same number of FSU and UF ones are getting jobs, but given the salary statistics it would certainly appear that UF grads get the better (not government?) ones. Argue about the integrity of the numbers, but provide something else while doing so.

The alumni base is much larger. That cannot be overstated. It has the reputation, although it varies just how much it matters. The salary numbers indicate that higher paying jobs go to UF grads. Given that you are paying sticker at both, I think it's an easy decision.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby Arredondo » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:01 am

FeelTheHeat wrote:Um, I've talked to people who say UF isn't any different in terms of competitiveness than any other school, so we can agree that is kind of a silly statement.


I was comparing UF and FSU, not UF to any other school. UF may be just as competitive as any other school, but it is more competitive than FSU. Of course there is no statistic to prove this (only anecdotal evidence), but from talking to numerous UF grads and telling them about my experience at FSU, they have all told me that they would have enjoyed that less-stressful atmosphere in law school.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:53 am

mrwarre85 wrote:FSU has a very important long-term advantage in FL being in the state-capitol. It wouldn't surprise me if FSU was the more prestigious school in 30 years.


I thought that Miami is the major market of FL; if so then being in the capitol has little bearing as a consideration.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby mrwarre85 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:30 am

YourCaptain wrote:
mrwarre85 wrote:FSU has a very important long-term advantage in FL being in the state-capitol. It wouldn't surprise me if FSU was the more prestigious school in 30 years.


I thought that Miami is the major market of FL; if so then being in the capitol has little bearing as a consideration.


This should be an LSAT question.

What type of LSAT question would it be?

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:34 am

FSU supporters always point to location, but UF, both undergrad and law school, have always been the premier institutions of the state while being in Gainesville. You can go down the list of prestigious schools in the middle of nowhere. Given the numbers available, UF grads still get the better jobs. I'm open to new information, but there needs to be something else besides "location!!!" and "it's been rising in the rankings!"

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby mrwarre85 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:43 am

FeelTheHeat wrote:'m open to new information, but there needs to be something else besides "location!!!" and "it's been rising in the rankings!"


Why?

It is rising in the ranking, and many students with options at both schools take FSU because of location. I'm an out of state applicant, and I didn't even apply to UF because of Gainesville. I applied to Maimi, Stetson, and FSU--What would my SO do in Gainesville? I'm not saying that Tallahassee is golden. It is however way more practical than Gainesville.

You might say that the location has always been there and it hasn't helped them in the past, but the truth is that FSU is a young law school and the location has been a major reason it has grown so quickly. Then account for the new reality in legal hiring where experiential learning is valued more, networking trumpeted everywhere, etc. The location will only serve FSU more in the future.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:46 am

So Yale, Michigan, Cornell, and other places in the middle of nowhere are going to end up falling in the rankings according to your logic, correct?

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby 98234872348 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:50 am

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Last edited by 98234872348 on Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

mrwarre85
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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby mrwarre85 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:38 pm

FeelTheHeat wrote:So Yale, Michigan, Cornell, and other places in the middle of nowhere are going to end up falling in the rankings according to your logic, correct?


No. You are assuming too much.

You are at least thinking in the right direction. Yes, Cornell and Michigan certainly have to overcome their location for a lot of candidates. Yale too, it is just that most people would go to #1 even if it was on the surface of the moon. Although all of those schools situations are complex, and have little to do withe UF/FSU debate here. For instance, Cornell can get you opportunities all over the country, maybe the world, and UF cannot. People apply to UF or FSU because they want to work in Florida, and in Florida Tallahassee >>> Gainesville for most applicants.

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Re: Another UF vs. FSU thread

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:53 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:
FeelTheHeat wrote:So Yale, Michigan, Cornell, and other places in the middle of nowhere are going to end up falling in the rankings according to your logic, correct?


No. You are assuming too much.

You are at least thinking in the right direction. Yes, Cornell and Michigan certainly have to overcome their location for a lot of candidates. Yale too, it is just that most people would go to #1 even if it was on the surface of the moon. Although all of those schools situations are complex, and have little to do withe UF/FSU debate here. For instance, Cornell can get you opportunities all over the country, maybe the world, and UF cannot. People apply to UF or FSU because they want to work in Florida, and in Florida Tallahassee >>> Gainesville for most applicants.


Ok, now continue going down the list. Where is William & Mary located? UGA? Washington and Lee? You are making Tally to be this throbbing, huge economy bursting with opportunities. I'm guessing FIU will be passing both UF and FSU due to it's location sometime in the future. Furthermore, you keep making FSU out to be new and it's not.. It's been around for half a century. Tally is an ok city, and FSU is a decent school with a good faculty and non-competitive atmosphere, whatever that means. If that interests you, then by all means go there. But those that choose FSU over UF when the prices are equal are few and far between, and in many cases you'll find students will have passed up considerable scholarships to the former to be a Gator.

Also, please respond to my other points. There is a larger, more rabid and successful alumni base who has a reputation for preferring their own. While the percentage of jobs are the same, the salary numbers indicate UF grads make a greater amount than FSU, both from USNews and LST. I still don't get the location talk given that Tally isn't Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, or even Jacksonville, but if that's what interests you than go with Christ, my man.




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