Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

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Columbia or UCLA?

Columbia (COA: $220k)
24
71%
UCLA ($116k)
10
29%
 
Total votes: 34

houng89
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Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby houng89 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:24 pm

After assuming 4% increase in tuition/expenses each year I have estimated the COA for UCLA to be $215k and Columbia to be $250k. I used the COL expenses each provided, which may be overestimated, but I rather be overestimating in either case. I have received a $30,000 scholarship from Columbia and a $97,500 scholarship from UCLA (which they just increased today). This means my COA for each school will be $116,000 and $220,000 for UCLA and Columbia respectively. As a result, there is a roughly $100k difference between the two schools.

Background:

I am from SoCal and attended USC for undergrad. I am pretty familiar with the LA area and the reasons I can think of why going to UCLA would be in my interest is that: I want to work in CA after graduating, being in familiar environment would mean less adjustment time, way less exp, easier to be at the top of my class. Columbia on the other hand has that national prestige and Ivy league name. My career paths may differ depending on what school I attend, if I were to go to Columbia I would most likely end up in BigLaw b/c of the massive amount of debt. On the other hand, my ultimate goal is to obtain a clerkship on the federal level after graduation. Yet, I understand that this is a longshot from any school unless you attend the holy trinity H/Y/S. I have also thought about my transfer chances from UCLA vs Columbia into the holy trinity. And yes before all the critics hate on this, I know that I shouldn't be thinking about transferring from law school because that assumes a certain degree of confidence/pretentiousness on being at the top of my class. However, in terms of my goals, I think it prudent to take this into account as well. If this was the case, at least UCLA would offer me the least amount of debt in terms of transferring.

In any case, essentially the argument boils down to whether Columbia's name is worth the extra $100k or can I live with $116k debt/have the better chance of transferring into the holy trinity. Btw only 2 people transferred out of Columbia last year.

I would appreciate any help/thoughts/concerns as this is the last day for my decision. I know this is late, but UCLA only just increased their scholarship amount today by $30k. Thank you in advance, I accept all criticisms and internet angst.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue May 01, 2012 3:30 pm

Good jobs are hard to come by in California these days. If being in California is more important, take UCLA. If getting a good legal job is more important, choose Columbia.

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Nelson
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby Nelson » Tue May 01, 2012 3:31 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Good jobs are hard to come by in California these days. If being in California is more important, take UCLA. If getting a good legal job is more important, choose Columbia.

TITCR

CanadianWolf
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 01, 2012 3:33 pm

If you ever wanted to splurge on an investment during your lifetime, then this might be the time.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue May 01, 2012 3:33 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Good jobs are hard to come by in California these days. If being in California is more important, take UCLA. If getting a good legal job is more important, choose Columbia.

This is correct.

You also have more than double the chance of a federal clerkship coming from Columbia (4% UCLA, 10% Columbia).

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bk1
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby bk1 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:36 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Good jobs are hard to come by in California these days. If being in California is more important, take UCLA. If getting a good legal job is more important, choose Columbia.


This.

CanadianWolf wrote:If you ever wanted to splurge on an investment during your lifetime, then this might be the time.


lol at calling $100,000 a "splurge."

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bk1
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby bk1 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:38 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:You also have more than double the chance of a federal clerkship coming from Columbia (4% UCLA, 10% Columbia).


Irrelevant. There's a very high likelihood (probably 80%+) that he's not getting a clerkship from either school

Going from 1% to 2% is doubling one's odds but that doesn't mean the change is significant.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue May 01, 2012 3:39 pm

bk1 wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:You also have more than double the chance of a federal clerkship coming from Columbia (4% UCLA, 10% Columbia).


Irrelevant. There's a very high likelihood (probably 80%+) that he's not getting a clerkship from either school

Going from 1% to 2% is doubling one's odds but that doesn't mean the change is significant.


Well, I wouldn't say irrelevant. I would agree though that it should not be answering the 100k question. Still something to keep in mind.

SaintFond
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby SaintFond » Tue May 01, 2012 3:41 pm

tl;dr

Would not pass up Columbia for anything short of a full ride at UCLA. If you have to go into 6 figures of debt at UCLA, you may as well go into Columbia instead.

JasonR
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby JasonR » Tue May 01, 2012 4:14 pm

SaintFond wrote:tl;dr

Would not pass up Columbia for anything short of a full ride at UCLA. If you have to go into 6 figures of debt at UCLA, you may as well go into Columbia instead.


+1

houng89
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:06 am

Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby houng89 » Tue May 01, 2012 5:11 pm

SaintFond wrote:tl;dr

Would not pass up Columbia for anything short of a full ride at UCLA. If you have to go into 6 figures of debt at UCLA, you may as well go into Columbia instead.


i understand your argument, but i don't quite agree with its validity, are you saying that if columbia cost $999,999 and UCLA $100,000, i should take Columbia instead? i dont believe that $100k is anything to scoff at, especially when I've already stated I don't really intend to go into BigLaw. I don't know if you've ever taken on any significant levels of debt, but coming out of undergrad and only working for a year, 200k + of debt vs 100k + debt is a huge difference for me, considering my career aspirations. Coming from a finance background, I am utterly scared at any level of educational debt let alone $200k+.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue May 01, 2012 5:18 pm

houng89 wrote:
SaintFond wrote:tl;dr

Would not pass up Columbia for anything short of a full ride at UCLA. If you have to go into 6 figures of debt at UCLA, you may as well go into Columbia instead.


i understand your argument, but i don't quite agree with its validity, are you saying that if columbia cost $999,999 and UCLA $100,000, i should take Columbia instead? i dont believe that $100k is anything to scoff at, especially when I've already stated I don't really intend to go into BigLaw. I don't know if you've ever taken on any significant levels of debt, but coming out of undergrad and only working for a year, 200k + of debt vs 100k + debt is a huge difference for me, considering my career aspirations. Coming from a finance background, I am utterly scared at any level of educational debt let alone $200k+.

Well aside from clerking, what do you want to do?

houng89
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:06 am

Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby houng89 » Tue May 01, 2012 8:03 pm

I won't pretend to know I know exactly what I wanna do. My thinking behind pursuing a clerkship is that it is one of the most difficult jobs to obtain out of law school. If I fail at that then I will hopefully have the grades for BigLaw. I will also not pretend to know exactly what field of law I wish to pursue. I guess my thinking behind the debt is that I don't want such a massive amount of debt to be the determining factor behind what a plausible career path I may take after graduation.

However, I do appreciate everyone's input! I think conventional wisdom is that Columbia is worth it unless you have a full ride from UCLA.

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thelawyler
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Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby thelawyler » Tue May 01, 2012 10:48 pm

If you absolutely do not want Big Law, UCLA is worth thinking about.

I'd take Columbia though. But I want Big Law.

houng89
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:06 am

Re: Help me Choose! UCLA ($$$) vs Columbia ($)

Postby houng89 » Tue May 01, 2012 11:57 pm

Thanks TLS as always wise words have been shared, decision made- deposited at Columbia




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