The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

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zanzbar
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The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 6:20 pm

Right now I am sitting on 15,000 a year at SMU (good standing stip), and 2500 a year at Houston (I think its a 2.9 GPA stip) I sent the SMU offer to Houston yesterday so hopefully they will give me more and it makes this decision easier. The goal is still biglaw, but I don't mind legal work too much. COL is covered at either school due to generosity from parents, but if I go to Houston they want me to live at home with them and they agreed to let me use the money they set aside for COL expenses to pay towards tuition at Houston.

Houston:
1.Total debt I am looking at right is about 40k at most (if tuition doesn't spike too rapidly)
2.My dad works for a multinational company, and through various work project he has built up a good working relationship with the assistant in-house GC (one of his major roles is responsible for hiring attorneys who want out of biglaw), attorneys in the company's branch of business development, and other attorneys at firms in the area, so I don't really have "connections", but at least I would have some access to people who could potentially guide me in getting my resume out and in the right hands go secure employment. There is also a small chance he could secure me a paid 1L internship in the company's legal department (other engineers have successfully reserved internships for their kids throughout the company in various areas, but I am not sure if legal is one of them.)
3.Home cooked meals every night, no grocery shopping, no cleaning, and no laundry (I'm lazy when it comes to housework so this is a pro to me.)

SMU:
1. Total debt would be around 90k
2. I noticed that in better economic times SMU had a larger portion of their graduating class going into Biglaw than Houston, but of course I can't predict the future so I know shouldn't count on this.
3. Seems like they have a wider, more successful alumni network than Houston
4. It is not in the ghetto like Houston, and from what I have heard is a great atmosphere
5. I would get to keep my dignity and not have to move back home with the parents for 3+ years, but I essentially have to start from scratch like most people trying to get my resume out there.

Pretty much right now my heart is set on SMU its the best school I got into, and they even threw me a scholarship, but my brain tells me that the safest best right now would be Houston because if I screw up and don't do well then at least its not a crippling amount of debt, 40 grand is substantial, but its not 90, and I at least have some ties to build up connections in that area. Is there any way I can reasonably justify spending 50 grand more going to SMU?

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:24 pm

Are you factoring in cost of living since you won't live with your parents in Dallas? I think the decision comes down to where you want to work honestly. Since you have ties to Houston, that would push me towards UH.

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 6:28 pm

Mce252 wrote:Are you factoring in cost of living since you won't live with your parents in Dallas? I think the decision comes down to where you want to work honestly. Since you have ties to Houston, that would push me towards UH.
If I go to SMU they will pay the COL. On paper tuition is essentially the same now its only because if I go to UH I can live at home and use the money they would normally give me for COL as a payment towards tuition.

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:32 pm

My vote is UH.

mtyler19
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby mtyler19 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:34 pm

Mce252 wrote:My vote is UH.


+1

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noleknight16
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby noleknight16 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:44 pm

If the goal is in fact biglaw, you gotta go SMU

mtyler19
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby mtyler19 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:52 pm

noleknight16 wrote:If the goal is in fact biglaw, you gotta go SMU


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub ... d3c&gid=15

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 7:06 pm

mtyler19 wrote:
noleknight16 wrote:If the goal is in fact biglaw, you gotta go SMU


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub ... d3c&gid=15


So roughly SMU gives me a 2% better shot at Biglaw (loose definition of 101+ attorneys) in bad economic times.

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:12 pm

Ties and convenience are more important. If you have the work ethic to take advantage, having help with meals, laundry, etc. can be a HUGE advantage over other students who have to do all that stuff on the weekends. If you turn that advantage into top 10%, it's definitely worth it.

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 7:17 pm

Yeah I was just thinking 50k extra (probably closer to 65k after 3 years of interest) for an extra 2% chance at big law is pretty steep.

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:19 pm

zanzbar wrote:Yeah I was just thinking 50k extra (probably closer to 65k after 3 years of interest) for an extra 2% chance at big law is pretty steep.


I'm sure that number fluctuates every year and employment statistics are so shady that it's definitely not worth making it a factor.

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 7:26 pm

Yeah unfortunately with this being the first year that people adhered to the new employment reporting standards I can only look at the rankings provided by NJL 250 firms from previous years, and those just show that there is roughly a 5-10% difference in employment between the schools in that one category. I think it is at the point that if UH threw a couple more grand a year my way I would definitely have to pass on SMU. Getting that total debt number lower would make my decision so much easier. I have to make a decision by Tuesday so I thought I would ask to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything.

bartleby
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby bartleby » Wed May 09, 2012 7:37 pm

i'd go to SMU just to not live at home. i don't know how cool your parents are though

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 7:50 pm

bartleby wrote:i'd go to SMU just to not live at home. i don't know how cool your parents are though


There is also the increasing real possibility that I could be living in a 2 bedroom apartment with them during the entire 1st semester if they don't find a house they like soon, and instead opt to build one.

CanadianWolf
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 09, 2012 8:02 pm

Enjoy Dallas. You already know Houston. Both law schools can get you to the same place. Enjoy being in your twenties on a great campus in a dynamic city.

A 2 bedroom apt. with the parents could eventually cost you a place in their will. And that's not good.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Wed May 09, 2012 9:05 pm

You only live once. Do not live with your parents while in law school. /thread

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 9:46 pm

I honestly did not foresee this thread going in this direction, but I am thinking I should just pay the deposit Tuesday so I have a month to a month and a half to really think about everything, and give my parents more time to get all of their stuff together. There goes some of my graduation money :lol:

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 10:22 pm

Go to the school in the city where you want to work.

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Mce252
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby Mce252 » Wed May 09, 2012 10:24 pm

zanzbar wrote:
bartleby wrote:i'd go to SMU just to not live at home. i don't know how cool your parents are though


There is also the increasing real possibility that I could be living in a 2 bedroom apartment with them during the entire 1st semester if they don't find a house they like soon, and instead opt to build one.


Ha. Don't live with your parents in a 2 bedroom apt.

zanzbar
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby zanzbar » Wed May 09, 2012 10:45 pm

Mce252 wrote:Go to the school in the city where you want to work.

In all honesty this is a moot point for me unless being a diehard cowboys fan is a strong enough justification for choosing Dallas over Houston. I have lived in West Texas for the past 7 years (with the exception of a 5 month internship in Austin) so either is a tremendous upgrade.

So I guess the consensus is deciding if there is enough of an economic incentive for me to live with the parents for 3 years because they are essentially peers.

I know this should be a non factor and im perfectly fine in terms of graduating from either school but are the transferring prospects essentially the same as well?

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kalvano
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby kalvano » Wed May 09, 2012 11:00 pm

You have ties to Houston it seems, but none to Dallas. SMU would open up both cities to you. Also, parents will be a pain during law school. It's unavoidable.

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miy
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby miy » Thu May 10, 2012 1:36 pm

Im in roughly the same situation as you. In at Houston and in a Tulane (with $). If I went to UH, I’d probably live with my family for at least the 1L year. Can say no to a Memorial house and hot food five nights a week :D

My advice: If you don’t have your heart set on shooting for dallas biglaw, then why not go for Houston biglaw? UH seems to have a stranglehold on the city. If you can turn your dad’s connections and the advantage of living at home into top 15% grades, I think you’ve pretty much got it made. And if your parents start driving you crazy, move out after a year! They’ll understand.

That being said, I wouldn’t blame you for heading to Dallas and trying to do your own thing separately from your family. There’s nothing wrong with SMU, especially if they gave you some $.

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togepi
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby togepi » Thu May 10, 2012 1:53 pm

Both are fine schools. I'd take SMU to separate myself from my parents. The stress of law school might take a toll on your relationship and plus you might have odd study hours compared to them. Not sure about you, but there's a lot of "habits' that I've accrued over the years that my parents wouldn't be too fond of :)

sparty99
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby sparty99 » Thu May 10, 2012 2:17 pm

SMU...The thought of a grown man having to live with their parents is too depressing....

How you going to bring girls home? Just don't do it. Negotiate for more money at both schools and if you decide on Houston, set up a contract with your parents where you will subsidize living at an apartment. You don't want to live with your parents, bro. That is high-schoolish...

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togepi
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Re: The Final Round: SMU vs. Houston

Postby togepi » Thu May 10, 2012 2:37 pm

Maybe some law school girls will like a home cooked meal from time to time. It would be a good deterrent from bringing fat chicks home. You'll ask yourself at the bar whether or not the girl is presentable to mom and dad for breakfast.

On the other hand, if you get your own bachelor pad in Dallas, your apartment could be like a half off sale at Lane Bryant.

To each their own. I choose the one where dignity and self respect isn't required.




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