wake forest vs maryland vs george mason

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js12
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:55 pm

wake forest vs maryland vs george mason

Postby js12 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:08 pm

I'm really struggling with this decision. For me, per year the total cost of attendance including all expenses would be Wake Forest 46,000, Maryland 56,000, and George Mason 61,000. I don't know what type of law I want to go into yet and I don't have a particular preference for where I live afterwards. The 3 schools have similar ranks and a lot of pros and cons. I'm just wondering what people would choose if it were them, why they would choose them, and maybe any big pros and cons for any of the schools that I may not have thought of yet. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks so much.

Incubateus
Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:23 pm

Re: wake forest vs maryland vs george mason

Postby Incubateus » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:31 pm

I shuffled through those options. I'm probably going with George Mason (over Ohio State and Wisconsin and Pitt with $$$$). I just really felt a click when I went for their ASW. The professors are all giants in their field and they specialize in economics and antitrust (what I want to go into). I also weighed factors like money, weather, job prospects, class socialization, class size, ability to get onto law review, USNWR rank, stability, alumni support and many, many others. Weather and class socialization was huge for me because it will very much affect the mindset I have during law school which will, in turn, drastically affect my grades. I also went through my past grade distributions and analyzed what variables corresponded with my highest GPAs; that's how I chose class size variances. GMU also has a pure write on for law review -- not based on grades -- which is nice bc it can look quite prestigious even though you weren't in the top 10%. They all also had very similar job prospects. GMU has the externship ability which is a huge selling point for me. The general argument is that while the T14 schools dominate the market in the summer, the same jobs are still open during the Fall and Spring. Thus GMU lets students take those positions when they are open. A big thing about the faculty that my girlfriend pointed out when she came with me was that they all seemed very proud of their colleagues. They made you feel like you were at the epicenter of something big. The stability did concern me but that's a risk I'm willing to take. And although I've heard the environment isn't very "let's go hang out with everyone", it did feel very social and I've heard some from both sides (anecdotally).

For me, Maryland was simply in an area that I didn't want to live in for three years of my life (violence, culture, boredom, job prospects, etc.). Wake Forest was very much the same. It seemed very boring to me to live in such a small town. It also felt like Wake was at the beginning of the South -- a place where people move to slowly for me. I guess that's just my personality though.

Anyway, good luck in deciding.

EDIT: And about the money. I've spoken to a lot of lawyers and crunched the numbers with quite a few people. It seems like a boatload of money, but in the long run, it really isn't. Law isn't a windfall profit. It is a good career choice given that you truly want to utilize you JD (whether opening up opportunities or simply practicing). If it's what you want to do, and you really work hard while in school, it will be a solid investment (despite much of the sentiment that fills these forums).

js12
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:55 pm

Re: wake forest vs maryland vs george mason

Postby js12 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:40 pm

Thanks so much for your reply! It was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. If I have to be honest, I'm definitely leaning more towards George Mason or Wake Forest than Maryland as well. I'm just having a hard time weighing costs and benefits because I've never had to pay for anything this expensive before. Is a 50,000 total loan difference going to take me a lot longer to pay off? Also, reputation-wise, are the schools comparable? I'm obviously concerned about the money and my chances of getting a decent job after graduation.




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