Attempting to minimize debt

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beezy08
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:58 pm

Attempting to minimize debt

Postby beezy08 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:05 pm

Although it is a little late in the game, I had a miniature debt-related freak out for the last few days so I am thinking about tweaking my application list in a way that I can still go to a great school but also not be drowning in debt until retirement...Maybe adding a few schools that allow for better chances at $$. I am 167/3.5 and currently have this list:

Texas
Alabama
Georgia
UF
UNC
SMU
William and Mary
Washington & Lee
Wake Forest
Emory

I am not particularly interested BigLaw, and I would be happy just about anywhere in the Southeast (Specifically any of the states in which the schools listed above are in), should I break into the T2 to try for some big scholarships (like, full ride big) or is this a bad idea job prospect wise? I know I have a shot at $$ for some schools already on my list, but it's hard to tell how much of a shot. I know I should have thought of this much earlier, but I have a little window of time to switch up applications. Any advice?

Law school is my passion, and I really want to make it happen, but too much debt just scares me...I have always been somewhat conservative with money and I get anxiety over the thought of going 100K+ deep in loans in this economy

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Wholigan
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Re: Attempting to minimize debt

Postby Wholigan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:15 pm

What do you want to do? You said that law school is your passion. Why is this exactly? Do you have a passion for a particular type of law-related job?

I'm asking because I think the answer depends on your career goals. If you want to be a public defender, for example, or do T&E work in a small town, you might be better off keeping your debt as low as possible and throwing some applications at T2s like UK, Richmond, GSU, etc. If you want to work in a city or at a mid-sized firm, you are probably better off at a T1, especially if the T2 is in the same market as the T1. If you are applying to UF, you might as well apply to FSU & Miami as well. There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus that one is better than the other two for Florida, so if one ends up significantly less costly you are probably better off at that school for FL.

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beezy08
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Re: Attempting to minimize debt

Postby beezy08 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Wholigan wrote:What do you want to do? You said that law school is your passion. Why is this exactly? Do you have a passion for a particular type of law-related job?

I'm asking because I think the answer depends on your career goals. If you want to be a public defender, for example, or do T&E work in a small town, you might be better off keeping your debt as low as possible and throwing some applications at T2s like UK, Richmond, GSU, etc. If you want to work in a city or at a mid-sized firm, you are probably better off at a T1, especially if the T2 is in the same market as the T1. If you are applying to UF, you might as well apply to FSU & Miami as well. There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus that one is better than the other two for Florida, so if one ends up significantly less costly you are probably better off at that school for FL.


I kind of have two paths I would like to take 1) Criminal defense and hopefully one day becoming a judge. I major in Criminology and I really enjoy studying criminal procedure and legal processes and am very intrigued by the role of judges 2) Innocence project or actual innocence related work and working as a staff attorney for one of these organizations. I currently assist with research in this area and it has really made me wanna go into it from the legal perspective ( For the record, I don't wanna go to Cardozo. Transplanting myself in NYC from North Florida seems disastrous)

I haven't a complete clear idea on which route I want to take. I am hoping law school and internships help me make a definitive choice. Essentially, many people are completed bored by studying the law, reading/briefing cases, analyzing arguments, drafting contracts, etc. and I am completely fascinated by it. Those 2 routes could completely change in law school and I could randomly decide I love contracts and want to go into that. I just want to make the right choice on schools so I can achieve my goals and not screw myself over with debt.

Edit: I should have specified that I am from Florida, but I don't particularly want to stay here. I will if it's the best option financially and job prospect wise. If I end up in another state at a 30-50 or a T2 regional school, will I be disadvantaged if I am not from that state?

tuckerp
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:47 pm

Re: Attempting to minimize debt

Postby tuckerp » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:34 pm

With those numbers and your instate status it seems likely that you'll have the option of going to UF at under $10k/year... w/ one of the lowest costs of living around you would end up w/ $55k in debt coming out and that's not a bad spot to be in at all for your stated goals. Plan on making $39k starting out... of course, if you land a higher paying gig that will just be a nice surprise. I don't believe that it would be worth paying anything extra to go to UGA, Bama, UNC, Wake or SMU so I would only attend those if they were able to put you at what your instate option would cost... which they may do. I just don't see any investment value added by those schools even though US News puts them 5-10 spots higher. If it were me, I'd choose any of your options that could match what your in state price tag would be OR I'd pay $20k extra for Emory and probably go up to $80k for Texas (debt scares me as I know a number of people from T-25s working for $45k right now and they're 2-5 years out).

As a side note... I didn't care for W&M after visiting... It's a great school and I know they give in state waivers for people with your numbers, but know that my opinion is biased. That said, if you don't mind living there, W&M would probably be a good investment w/ instate tuition or similar scholarship money.

Hope my opinion is in some way useful... good luck as you will certainly have options!




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