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Cornell or Re-take?

Cornell at near sticker
25
46%
Re-take and re-apply
29
54%
 
Total votes: 54

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Light
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Edit: In at UChicago

Postby Light » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:12 pm

Hey - I made a post awhile ago with my other options but in the interest of clearing things up without messy edits, I'll make a new topic.

My stats are 3.88 and 167 and I'm just coming from UG.

I got off the wait list at Cornell over a month or two ago but I have no housing there and it's a pain in the ass trying to scramble to get some. They never notified me that their on-campus housing was full until I called them to ask about my application..so I can hardly find a decent place to live since I spent a good 6 weeks waiting to hear back from housing. Now having to move literally a 1000 miles away to find a place is pretty stressful. Orientation is 7 days away.

But most importantly, am I getting a good deal in general when it comes to biglaw prospects? The fact that I'm paying near sticker price here is really stressful - I'm going to be in an ass-rape amount of debt. Sure, Cornell was #2 in NLJ250 firm placement in 2010 but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be next year or the year when I graduate. In fact, they were like 15 in 2009. It's also probably the case that schools like Yale/Harvard had more students self-select into academia/clerkships even though they had similar or better opportunities for biglaw.

I'd attend Cornell with substantial aid but it seems like the risk is so great if you aren't in the 40-50% that gets big law when you pay near sticker. So my thinking was, I should consider a year off and re-take the LSAT.

Since my GPA is pretty competitive, a higher LSAT could put me in the running at HYS or get me more money at a T-14. I trained seriously for about a month for the LSAT this time around - I was averaging about 160ish starting off and got to 167 at the end. It seems reasonable to think a few more months of harsh training could boost me to 170+. Then again, the October test is coming right up so that doesn't give me much time. I took the test last summer so I might be out of it.

Furthermore, I see on Harvard's website 72% of their entering class has at least 1 year out of UG while 50%ish have 2 years out of UG. Is it safe to say that HLS prefers people with experience outside UG? On one hand this is good because it suggests a year off may not be a waste of time but actually a significant enhancer to one's application. On the other hand it's problematic because I have nothing amazing planned to do. I have a unique art I perform that I might be on national television for - but it's not rigorous or anything so I don't know if it's worth anything. I've already had legal internships every summer of every UG year.

The cons of taking a year off: If I don't happen to get a higher score, I'd be screwed because I just wasted a year of my life and my opportunities didn't increase.

So now, the philosophical question of our generation: Wat do?
Last edited by Light on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FlanAl
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:21 pm

the key would be whether or not you can find something worth while to do in your year off. a year of say retail or waiting tables might leave you in a similar situation as far as yhs are concerned regardless of your numbers. but outside of yhs i don't really think schools care so it may be worth it to re-take to aim for t10 with scholly money etc.

dissonance1848
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby dissonance1848 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:35 pm

Retake man. You need to get into better schools, and with more money. We all do.

Real Madrid
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Real Madrid » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:27 pm

I really think an argument could be made for either option. On the one hand, Cornell is a good school, and there's always the chance that you might not improve your LSAT and get shut out next year. On the other hand, waiting out the economy an extra year and making sure you REALLY want to go to law school could be good.

Flip a coin.



Just kidding. I'd say take Cornell.

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buckythebadger
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby buckythebadger » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:53 am

Light wrote:Hey - I made a post awhile ago with my other options but in the interest of clearing things up without messy edits, I'll make a new topic.

My stats are 3.88 and 167 and I'm just coming from UG.

I got off the wait list at Cornell over a month or two ago but I have no housing there and it's a pain in the ass trying to scramble to get some. They never notified me that their on-campus housing was full until I called them to ask about my application..so I can hardly find a decent place to live since I spent a good 6 weeks waiting to hear back from housing. Now having to move literally a 1000 miles away to find a place is pretty stressful. Orientation is 7 days away.

But most importantly, am I getting a good deal in general when it comes to biglaw prospects? The fact that I'm paying near sticker price here is really stressful - I'm going to be in an ass-rape amount of debt. Sure, Cornell was #2 in NLJ250 firm placement in 2010 but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be next year or the year when I graduate. In fact, they were like 15 in 2009. It's also probably the case that schools like Yale/Harvard had more students self-select into academia/clerkships even though they had similar or better opportunities for biglaw.

I'd attend Cornell with substantial aid but it seems like the risk is so great if you aren't in the 40-50% that gets big law when you pay near sticker. So my thinking was, I should consider a year off and re-take the LSAT.

Since my GPA is pretty competitive, a higher LSAT could put me in the running at HYS or get me more money at a T-14. I trained seriously for about a month for the LSAT this time around - I was averaging about 160ish starting off and got to 167 at the end. It seems reasonable to think a few more months of harsh training could boost me to 170+. Then again, the October test is coming right up so that doesn't give me much time. I took the test last summer so I might be out of it.

Furthermore, I see on Harvard's website 72% of their entering class has at least 1 year out of UG while 50%ish have 2 years out of UG. Is it safe to say that HLS prefers people with experience outside UG? On one hand this is good because it suggests a year off may not be a waste of time but actually a significant enhancer to one's application. On the other hand it's problematic because I have nothing amazing planned to do. I have a unique art I perform that I might be on national television for - but it's not rigorous or anything so I don't know if it's worth anything. I've already had legal internships every summer of every UG year.

The cons of taking a year off: If I don't happen to get a higher score, I'd be screwed because I just wasted a year of my life and my opportunities didn't increase.

So now, the philosophical question of our generation: Wat do?


Just a 0L here, so take the advice any way you want to. It’s your life, and in the end you have to make the decision but I feel like you answered your own question in the post. You listed a few good reasons to wait a year. If you feel like you can substantially improve your LSAT, I would take that route. You’re looking at roughly 180k in debt after 3 years. If you don’t get biglaw, where does that leave you? Another option would be to see if you could defer your acceptance until next year and in the mean time re-take the LSAT and see if that opens up more doors. For me personally, it would take a very convincing argument for me to wait another year to attend law school. From all this LSAT prep to getting applications ready, I’m ready to get it started (and that’s not until next fall). I definitely wouldn’t make a decision tonight, sleep on it and see how you feel tomorrow.

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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby scammedhard » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:20 am

Believe you can improve LSAT + Something meaningful to do in the meantime = Retake/reapply.
The cons of taking a year off: If I don't happen to get a higher score, I'd be screwed because I just wasted a year of my life and my opportunities didn't increase.
Another reason to wait a year, even without retaking, is to give the economy more time to heal. By doing nothing, your opportunities post-law school could actually increase quite a lot.

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JCougar
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby JCougar » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:40 am

You probably have a better chance of improving your job prospects if you get into a better school, rather than trying to go to law school and work hard. Law exam grades are pretty random for most people, and don't come from hard work and understanding the law. You can't just outwork and outthink other people just because you want it more. Law exam grades are more about adapting to the law exam system of communication, i.e. superfluous information dumping and hyper-speed typing. It's hard to tell whether you have these character attributes before school starts.

Your best bet is to get as much of a sure thing as possible before you even start.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:56 am

Next cycle may be less competitive if there are fewer applicants---which is a reasonable expectation since fewer took the LSAT.

Is your main concern getting scholarship money or getting into a specific law school ?

uchi15hopeful
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby uchi15hopeful » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:02 pm

167 with a month of prep? I don't see why you couldn't spend 3-6 months making it your life, getting a 175+, and getting into a T6 or getting a ton of money for another T14.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:07 pm

OP wrote: "I trained seriously for about a month for the LSAT this time around...". This suggests that OP studied over longer than a month for the LSAT, although less intensely. Also hints that this might not have been OP's first attempt at the LSAT.

OP: Have you already taken a year off after undergraduate school ? Your prior posts show that the LSAT score of 167 is from the June, 2010 exam.

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Robespierre
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Robespierre » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:00 pm

No offense, but ...

-You're rebelling at the cost of law school, but you knew going in that (a) you didn't have the cash to cover it and (b) top schools aren't going to throw big scholarships at a 167.

-You're concerned about not getting Biglaw, but you've been admitted to the school that is currently #2 in the whole country for placing its grads in Biglaw.

-You're talking about taking a year off but it is already August and you have no job lined up.

Your thinking is unfocused. Either grab Cornell with the small scholly (which is what I would do), or retake in December/reapply and chase your HYS dream, or reapply and target lower-ranked schools that will give you $$$. But GET A PLAN.

Best of luck!

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Light
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Light » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:46 pm

Thanks for the advice so far, everyone.

CanadianWolf - No, I've only taken the LSAT one time and it was the summer after my junior year. I am currently in the summer after my senior year (just graduated). Let me elaborate on my LSAT studying: I took a Kaplan course the summer after my sophomore year but only took the required like 4 practice exams. I then didn't do anything until the next summer - where I read all the Powerscore books and took an exam about every other day for a month from early May to the June LSAT.

As for as my main concern goes - significant aid at a lower T14 or near sticker at H/Y/S/C would be less stressful for me.

Robespierre, my father is pressuring me to attend Cornell this year and insists that we can deal with the costs. I'm not intimately familiar with my family's finances so I didn't know for sure what we can cover or not - but in general I get the impression that he's more shortsighted/overly confident in my ability because he doesn't understand the partially arbitrary nature of law school grading like we do. He is retired and contributing our life savings to the tuition and if I end up jobless we'd probably have to sell our goddamn house to pay the debt or something - which he's more willing to do than me. You're right that I knew what the tuition was and my relative chances of merit aid but I guess the reality of it is sinking in now.

I am concerned about getting Biglaw and I know Cornell had a good year in 2010 but like I said, it won't necessarily have those numbers when I graduate (it was 14 in 2009). And even if it did, that still means 42% of people paid 200k and didn't get Biglaw. And it's rank there doesn't necessarily mean it gave the best opportunities since other schools people self-select into clerkships, etc.

I know I'm unfocused right now and I need a plan..I'm not going to have that many months till the next 2 LSATs even if I take a year off. Ugh.

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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby paulinaporizkova » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:48 pm

Robespierre wrote:
-You're concerned about not getting Biglaw, but you've been admitted to the school that is currently #2 in the whole country for placing its grads in Biglaw.



extrapolating statistic is extrapolating

CanadianWolf
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:54 pm

Cornell is a great law school, but some claim that the environment is highly stressful. If you want biglaw--especially in New York City, then Cornell is an outstanding option, in my opinion based on NLJ250 placement stats. If you feel that a highly stressful environment in a cold, rural setting is not something that you want to experience for three years, then reapply to NYU, Penn & Columbia after retaking the LSAT.

uchi15hopeful
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby uchi15hopeful » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:04 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP wrote: "I trained seriously for about a month for the LSAT this time around...". This suggests that OP studied over longer than a month for the LSAT, although less intensely. Also hints that this might not have been OP's first attempt at the LSAT.
OP: Have you already taken a year off after undergraduate school ? Your prior posts show that the LSAT score of 167 is from the June, 2010 exam.


This is why I'm not rocking the RC :-/

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Bobeo
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Bobeo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:53 pm

I would say go to Cornell. It sounds like you exceeded your PT average the last time with a decent amount of prep. Retaking is kind of a gamble of you are bot sure if you can increase your score, and even if you do your apps still won't go complete until mid December. Seems like a very large risk. If you score lower, combined with the late(ish) application and you could get shut put of the T14.

Tons of people would be thrilled to go to Cornell. I say go and work your ass off.

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JCougar
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby JCougar » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:48 pm

Bobeo wrote:I would say go to Cornell. It sounds like you exceeded your PT average the last time with a decent amount of prep. Retaking is kind of a gamble of you are bot sure if you can increase your score, and even if you do your apps still won't go complete until mid December. Seems like a very large risk. If you score lower, combined with the late(ish) application and you could get shut put of the T14.

Tons of people would be thrilled to go to Cornell. I say go and work your ass off.


No one cares if you retake and score lower. The only thing that matters is your highest score. The only school that still averages I think is Harvard.

There's no excuse not to take the LSAT all three times. Every time you fail to retake is a massively failed opportunity to improve your future.

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Bobeo
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Bobeo » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:42 pm

Scoring lower wouldn't necessarily hurt him, but applying in mid December might. And he only got in off the wait list- hardly an auto admit.

I was trying to make the point that if he doesn't increase his score, there is a risk that he doesn't even get Cornell the second time.

OP, Just out of curiosity what where you going to do before you were accepted to Cornell?

TheFactor
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby TheFactor » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:43 pm

Robespierre wrote:-You're concerned about not getting Biglaw, but you've been admitted to the school that is currently #2 in the whole country for placing its grads in Biglaw.

LOL

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Robespierre
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Robespierre » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:14 pm

Light wrote:Robespierre, my father is pressuring me to attend Cornell this year and insists that we can deal with the costs. I'm not intimately familiar with my family's finances so I didn't know for sure what we can cover or not - but in general I get the impression that he's more shortsighted/overly confident in my ability because he doesn't understand the partially arbitrary nature of law school grading like we do. He is retired and contributing our life savings to the tuition and if I end up jobless we'd probably have to sell our goddamn house to pay the debt or something - which he's more willing to do than me. You're right that I knew what the tuition was and my relative chances of merit aid but I guess the reality of it is sinking in now.

I am concerned about getting Biglaw and I know Cornell had a good year in 2010 but like I said, it won't necessarily have those numbers when I graduate (it was 14 in 2009). And even if it did, that still means 42% of people paid 200k and didn't get Biglaw. And it's rank there doesn't necessarily mean it gave the best opportunities since other schools people self-select into clerkships, etc.

I know I'm unfocused right now and I need a plan..I'm not going to have that many months till the next 2 LSATs even if I take a year off. Ugh.


Ouch, tough situation with your dad, I feel you. Let him help you out to some extent, but don't let him sink his whole life savings into your LS; that's just not fair to him. Take on the debt yourself; that way he'll keep most of his savings, and the house, assuming it's owned by him rather than you both in title and beneficially, won't be subject to execution if you can't pay your loan.

With the 21K scholly, the low COL in Ithaca, and a little help from your dad, looks like you can keep your debt down to about 150K. Admittedly, that's a scary amount. And that's the decision you have to get your arms around: Are you willing to take it on, or are you going to retake/reapply next year in hopes of HYS or a big scholly elsewhere?

My vote is still Cornell. Yes, the #2 ranking in the NLJ250 placement survey doesn't really mean it has the second-greatest Biglaw placing power in the country, but it DOES mean that 58% of its grads got Biglaw in the most recent year; that's just a fact. Those are good odds and worth taking on debt for. Especially when better options may or may not come around and it will cost you a year of your life to find out.

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JCougar
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby JCougar » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:29 pm

Robespierre wrote:Yes, the #2 ranking in the NLJ250 placement survey doesn't really mean it has the second-greatest Biglaw placing power in the country, but it DOES mean that 58% of its grads got Biglaw in the most recent year; that's just a fact.


There's a significant time lag and difference between the c/o 2010 statistics (where you get your 58% from) and what firms are placing at right now. C/o 2010 did OCI in 2008, before the stock market crash. It's not really the "most recent year"; it's the most recent year we have data for. Data which is largely irrelevant now. And we don't know how many of that number are associates who got permanently deferred or laid off.

Furthermore, the market did not hit bottom until c/o 2011. So that 58% statistic you're bandying about should be construed with many, many grains of salt.

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Light
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Light » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:07 pm

Some more updates here.

A couple points for Cornell: I may actually have a place to stay now. More importantly, I realized my family's finances are much better off than I thought. We probably won't have to sell our house if I'm jobless (worst case), my dad owns 3 properties high in demand from buyers and any one of which could be sold to cover the entire debt (or so he claims). So I'm not totally fucked if I don't get Biglaw.

A couple points for re-take: Jcougar brought up a good point that those 2010 hires were from 2008 OCI so they are even less relevant in this economy. And we don't know who got laid off. Another point for re-take: While it's true that I could score lower on the LSAT and thus risk wasting a year of my life, it's also a gamble whether or not I'll end up top 50% or so at Cornell. If I fail at the latter gamble, I'll not only lose a year of my life but also 150kish probably. I don't know if it's more probable to get a 170+ next time around or get in the top half or so of the class.

More LSAT details: I was averaging about 165/164 on my PTs prior to testing day. My PT high was only 166. I got two hours of sleep the night before but the adrenaline rush and extra pressure apparently allowed me to beat my high score. That is why I only took it once, I felt like I lucked out and didn't score lower than my average like many do. To get 170+ will take major PT work.

Some unresolved issues:
There seems to be some debate if a lower more recent score would hurt my chances at Cornell again. If so, this would be a strike against re-take. If not, then it would be neutral/support re-take since there's nothing to lose in my admission attractiveness with regards to LSAT.

Also, unresolved is what type of experience is preferred for those who take a year off. I called Harvard yesterday and they wouldn't admit experience is preferred in the first place. They also declined to say whether a complete year-off vacation would be unattractive. Their website says they encourage people to take time off after undergrad before applying though. They wouldn't give me any details about what constitutes good experience, etc.

Given how evenly matched the poll results and responses are, I feel like I'm authoring an LSAT writing prompt :lol:

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Robespierre
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby Robespierre » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:38 pm

JCougar wrote:It's not really the "most recent year"; it's the most recent year we have data for.


And thus the best information the OP can use for his decision.

crazyblink653
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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby crazyblink653 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:07 pm

My advice is to take a year off and re-apply. See if you can defer your acceptance to Cornell (though unlikely, since you were admitted off the wait list). Look into doing a year-long Americorps program. They have lot's of programs that will give you solid experience plus be a great soft that could really boost your application. The economy kind of sucks right now, so waiting another year (or even two) before going to law school could be a smart move financially.

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Re: Last minute decision: Cornell (7k/y) or Re-take?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:42 am

Robespierre wrote:
JCougar wrote:It's not really the "most recent year"; it's the most recent year we have data for.


And thus the best information the OP can use for his decision.

You've made a pretty significant assumption here. Let's see if you can spot it.




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