Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Columbia or UCLA?

Columbia ($205,000)
37
49%
UCLA ($80,000)
38
51%
 
Total votes: 75

Mauls
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Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Mauls » Sun May 06, 2012 5:04 am

Hey all - really torn here...

It's between Columbia and UCLA for me. The costs after scholarships, etc is as follows:

Columbia Total Cost of Attendance: $205,000
UCLA Total Cost of Attendance: $80,000 (or less if I decide to live at home to keep costs down, which is very doable, especially for my first year)

I am from LA and want to practice there (biglaw-->in house) and am interested in sports/entertainment and corporate/transactional work. New York would be a great place for me to pursue these interests, but I cannot say for sure whether I'd be interested in working there. For LA firms, there is not much of a difference between UCLA and Columbia, but obviously the difference between the schools in New York would be huge.

The hard part is that I am financing this all with student loans and am pretty debt averse, as I would like the flexibility to transition from biglaw-->in house sooner rather than later. I still have some undergraduate debt (about $20k) and am very hesitant to strap myself down with another $200k+.

Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated.

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dingbat
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby dingbat » Sun May 06, 2012 7:48 am

Take the money
$200k+ is a fuckton of debt

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smokeylarue
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby smokeylarue » Sun May 06, 2012 8:04 am

Since you are debt averse, the amount of money in question is a big difference and worth considering UCLA seriously. That said, please realize you will most likely NOT land Big Law from UCLA, whereas at Columbia, you most likely WILL. To me, a 7 or 8 out of 10 chance of landing Big Law (which was Columbia's Fall 2011 OCI number) is worth sticker.

Note: for full disclosure, I am about to pay sticker at Columbia in the fall, so I am also trying to self-assure myself lol

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun May 06, 2012 8:11 am

OP, do you not have any inbetween choices?

Both options are great, but a T14 option with $120K debt or less would be outstanding.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 06, 2012 8:49 am

Have you included interest in your COA calculations ? If not, and you live at home for at least one year while at UCLA, the cost difference is likely to be more like $240,000 or more versus $70,000 or less.

If you borrow $70,000 per year for Columbia at 6.8%, you may owe about $240,000 after 3 years if my math is correct. UCLA could be done for well under $60,000 if you live at home for all three years.

Tuition & fees at Columbia Law School exceed $53,000 per year. Books & living expenses plus travel exceed $25,000. Assuming costs remain the same for all three years, borrowing $78,000 per year equals $234,000 before accrued interest is added. At 6.8%, your debt will exceed $267,000 after 3 years of law school if costs remain the same--which is unlikely.

OP: How did you arrive at only $205,000 for three years at Columbia Law School ?

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dingbat
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby dingbat » Sun May 06, 2012 9:18 am

smokeylarue wrote:Since you are debt averse, the amount of money in question is a big difference and worth considering UCLA seriously. That said, please realize you will most likely NOT land Big Law from UCLA, whereas at Columbia, you most likely WILL. To me, a 7 or 8 out of 10 chance of landing Big Law (which was Columbia's Fall 2011 OCI number) is worth sticker.

Note: for full disclosure, I am about to pay sticker at Columbia in the fall, so I am also trying to self-assure myself lol

Thing is, I don't think Columbia gives a better shot at LA biglaw than UCLA does.

If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any Biglaw then Columbia is probably worth the price difference
If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any LA legal job, then UCLA is the route to go

timbs4339
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby timbs4339 » Sun May 06, 2012 12:58 pm

dingbat wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:Since you are debt averse, the amount of money in question is a big difference and worth considering UCLA seriously. That said, please realize you will most likely NOT land Big Law from UCLA, whereas at Columbia, you most likely WILL. To me, a 7 or 8 out of 10 chance of landing Big Law (which was Columbia's Fall 2011 OCI number) is worth sticker.

Note: for full disclosure, I am about to pay sticker at Columbia in the fall, so I am also trying to self-assure myself lol

Thing is, I don't think Columbia gives a better shot at LA biglaw than UCLA does.

If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any Biglaw then Columbia is probably worth the price difference
If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any LA legal job, then UCLA is the route to go


But if OP doesn't hit top third or whatever he needs to be assured of a job in CA, he has a pretty good shot of landing NYC biglaw and might be able to lateral back to LA in a few years (although he will have to study and pass the CA bar which will be a logistical nightmare).

If OP is assuming median class rank, UCLA will not get him biglaw from there.

de5igual
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby de5igual » Sun May 06, 2012 1:11 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
dingbat wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:Since you are debt averse, the amount of money in question is a big difference and worth considering UCLA seriously. That said, please realize you will most likely NOT land Big Law from UCLA, whereas at Columbia, you most likely WILL. To me, a 7 or 8 out of 10 chance of landing Big Law (which was Columbia's Fall 2011 OCI number) is worth sticker.

Note: for full disclosure, I am about to pay sticker at Columbia in the fall, so I am also trying to self-assure myself lol

Thing is, I don't think Columbia gives a better shot at LA biglaw than UCLA does.

If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any Biglaw then Columbia is probably worth the price difference
If the preference is: LA Biglaw -> any LA legal job, then UCLA is the route to go


But if OP doesn't hit top third or whatever he needs to be assured of a job in CA, he has a pretty good shot of landing NYC biglaw and might be able to lateral back to LA in a few years (although he will have to study and pass the CA bar which will be a logistical nightmare).

If OP is assuming median class rank, UCLA will not get him biglaw from there.


it goes back to his/her preference:

LA Biglaw > any Biglaw = Columbia
LA Biglaw > any LA legal job = UCLA

You're right...Columbia will offer a much better shot at biglaw, but it will also require it to pay off over $200K. With UCLA, his/her chances of biglaw are diminished a bit, but at the same time, even if he/she does strike out, that amount of debt is manageable with any job.

Mauls
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Mauls » Sun May 06, 2012 1:13 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:OP, do you not have any inbetween choices?

Both options are great, but a T14 option with $120K debt or less would be outstanding.


Duke with a decent scholarship was an option, but I didn't particularly like the school when I visited nor do I see myself living in Durham.

Mauls
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Mauls » Sun May 06, 2012 1:16 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Have you included interest in your COA calculations ? If not, and you live at home for at least one year while at UCLA, the cost difference is likely to be more like $240,000 or more versus $70,000 or less.

If you borrow $70,000 per year for Columbia at 6.8%, you may owe about $240,000 after 3 years if my math is correct. UCLA could be done for well under $60,000 if you live at home for all three years.

Tuition & fees at Columbia Law School exceed $53,000 per year. Books & living expenses plus travel exceed $25,000. Assuming costs remain the same for all three years, borrowing $78,000 per year equals $234,000 before accrued interest is added. At 6.8%, your debt will exceed $267,000 after 3 years of law school if costs remain the same--which is unlikely.

OP: How did you arrive at only $205,000 for three years at Columbia Law School ?


I got $205,000 by multiplying their total tuition + fees + cost of living (about $80,000/yr) x 3 and then subtracting the grant they gave me. Interest not included, but maybe it should be.

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rayiner
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby rayiner » Sun May 06, 2012 1:25 pm

I'm not sure how UCLA is doing, but half of C/O 2011 at USC is unemployed or working at small firms. Go to Columbia.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun May 06, 2012 1:42 pm

rayiner wrote:I'm not sure how UCLA is doing, but half of C/O 2011 at USC is unemployed or working at small firms. Go to Columbia.


A lot of this.

OP, how much would the COA be at Duke? I realize that you don't want to be there, but if Duke is significantly cheaper than Columbia, I think you should really consider it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 06, 2012 6:03 pm

Near certain employment with big debt from Columbia versus manageable debt but may miss the biglaw boat from UCLA.

If you want biglaw, then Columbia is more likely to get you that goal. Many pursue biglaw because they need the big salary to pay down big debt.

If you borrow $67,000 per year to attend Columbia, then, assuming 6.8% interest, you'll owe about $230,000 after 3 years in law school plus $20,000 of undergraduate debt. Total = $250,000.

UCLA is within your control because you can live at home. UCLA will cost between $46,300 to $92,500 depending upon whether or not if you live at home for one or more years during law school. Add $20,000 of undergrad debt & your range becomes $66,300 to $112,500 total student loan debt (including interest) after finishing law school.

P.S. In my earlier posts, I was unaware of your grant from Columbia. No right or wrong answer/choice, in my opinion. Just be aware that if you go to Columbia, then you probably need biglaw to pay down your $250,000 of student loan debt whereas debt from UCLA is much more within your control & allows you more flexibility in your job search.

P.P.S. Also, it won't hurt to ask UCLA, Columbia and/or Duke for more scholarship money.

timbs4339
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby timbs4339 » Sun May 06, 2012 6:31 pm

Mauls wrote:I am from LA and want to practice there (biglaw-->in house) and am interested in sports/entertainment and corporate/transactional work.



Just saw this. If OP wants to pursue a career in sports/entertainment transactional work or really any transactional work, he will need biglaw as a prereq. Unless this is just the usual 0L aimlessness (if you asked me three years ago what law I wanted to practice I would have said constitutional law) Columbia is the right choice here.

heeloftar
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby heeloftar » Sun May 06, 2012 6:37 pm

Mauls wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:OP, do you not have any inbetween choices?

Both options are great, but a T14 option with $120K debt or less would be outstanding.


Duke with a decent scholarship was an option, but I didn't particularly like the school when I visited nor do I see myself living in Durham.


For my first post, I'll take that softball. Go to Duke, live in Chapel Hill.

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moneybagsphd
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby moneybagsphd » Tue May 08, 2012 11:35 pm

heeloftar wrote:
Mauls wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:OP, do you not have any inbetween choices?

Both options are great, but a T14 option with $120K debt or less would be outstanding.


Duke with a decent scholarship was an option, but I didn't particularly like the school when I visited nor do I see myself living in Durham.


For my first post, I'll take that softball. Go to Duke, live in Chapel Hill.

Not bad.

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thelawyler
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby thelawyler » Tue May 08, 2012 11:43 pm

Take the big Duke scholarship.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Columbia ($205,000) or UCLA ($80,000) ???

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed May 09, 2012 10:05 am

Duke or Columbia. OP said that he/she wants to work biglaw. Maximize your chance at biglaw. TLS wisdom is that if you're not top 33% at UCLA, your chances of biglaw drastically decrease.




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