Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

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

Northwestern or USC?

Northwestern (sticker)
24
86%
USC ($20k a year)
4
14%
 
Total votes: 28

Aghastrophe
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Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby Aghastrophe » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:16 am

I had previously thought that I was firmly committed to Northwestern but one last email from USC has made me sit down and really reconsider. I'm tearing my hair out at this point because of all the variables that have to be considered and would appreciate any insight or advice.

Northwestern - I would be paying sticker price. I've tried to negotiate some sort of scholarship but since I got in off the waitlist the finaid office cannot offer anything (they also claim that I will not be able to renegotiate for anything after 1L). That means I am paying full price with loans, and I'm estimating the current CoA at around $200k by the time I graduate.

USC - Offered me a $20k/year scholarship considering I withdraw from all other schools that I have been admitted to. I currently live in SoCal so I would plan to commute and it would save me a pretty penny in terms of CoL in the area. Estimating the CoA here to be around $100k after 3 years.

Some other factors: I am not a US citizen/green card holder, so if I were to work in the US after graduating I would need an employer to sponsor me for either a visa or green card. According to what I have researched and heard, biglaw is pretty much the other place with the funds/willingness to do this. That limits my options after graduation, though I am not averse to a future in biglaw, what with the significant debt I will be incurring. I would appreciate any sort of input from anyone with knowledge regarding this type of situation.

I'm not really sure if I want to work in SoCal at this point, although if given the option I have nothing against it. Would USC be effectively limiting my options to staying in LA for employment after graduation? Would Northwestern also pigeonhole me in Chicago, or offer a competitive chance at working either in LA or any other market in the US besides from Chicago (namely SF or NY)?

Not sure if 6 spots is worth the extra $100k in debt. Does the jump from 18 to the near bottom of the T14 offer an extremely marked advantage in terms of job prospects? Like I said, a week ago I thought I was committed to Northwestern. Serious weighing of my options and realities after graduation have made this a difficult choice. I would love any insights!

EDIT: Also, I'm on the waitlist for UCLA, UVa, NYU, Michigan, and Georgetown. Does anyone who has attended USC know if accepting their seat requires me to withdraw from wait lists as well? Their admit package said they required withdrawal from admits but didn't include any language on wait list offers. Thanks!

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Bronck
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby Bronck » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:33 am

Aghastrophe wrote:I'm not really sure if I want to work in SoCal at this point, although if given the option I have nothing against it. Would USC be effectively limiting my options to staying in LA for employment after graduation? Would Northwestern also pigeonhole me in Chicago, or offer a competitive chance at working either in LA or any other market in the US besides from Chicago (namely SF or NY)?

Not sure if 6 spots is worth the extra $100k in debt. Does the jump from 18 to the near bottom of the T14 offer an extremely marked advantage in terms of job prospects? Like I said, a week ago I thought I was committed to Northwestern. Serious weighing of my options and realities after graduation have made this a difficult choice. I would love any insights!


1) Yes, USC would limit your options to LA
2) No, NU wouldn't pigeonhole you to Chicago. Because of your ties, you'd have a good shot at returning to LA if you wanted, as well as NY since it's the easiest market to break into.

There's a lot of data out there about employment stats, but USC took a huge hit to the bottom half of their class for c/o 2011. Something to the tune of 50% of the class being unemployed or underemployed. NU was at 25% and for that same class placed 61% into big firms or fed clerkships, as opposed to USC's 39%. So, yes there is a very big advantage here.

The debt at NU would pretty much constrain you to biglaw post graduation.

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rayiner
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Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby rayiner » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:55 am

The additional wrinkle is that searching for a job as someone who needs sponsorship is difficult. Even big firms have limited H1B slots, and ITE they are less able to make the argument that there are no qualified americans for the job. So expect to underperform at OCI.

On the other hand, the placement difference for NU is substantial, as noted above. More importantly, it gives you a better shot at NYC, which will be the most willing to sponsor.

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flem
Posts: 12949
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:44 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby flem » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:11 am

Aghastrophe wrote:Northwestern - I would be paying sticker price. I've tried to negotiate some sort of scholarship but since I got in off the waitlist the finaid office cannot offer anything (they also claim that I will not be able to renegotiate for anything after 1L). That means I am paying full price with loans, and I'm estimating the current CoA at around $200k by the time I graduate


You not paying living expenses or something? 200K is hopelessly optimistic if you're loan financing everything through US loans.

Also, Northwestern if you're willing to roll the dice.

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rickgrimes69
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:56 am

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby rickgrimes69 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:01 am

flem wrote:
Aghastrophe wrote:Northwestern - I would be paying sticker price. I've tried to negotiate some sort of scholarship but since I got in off the waitlist the finaid office cannot offer anything (they also claim that I will not be able to renegotiate for anything after 1L). That means I am paying full price with loans, and I'm estimating the current CoA at around $200k by the time I graduate


You not paying living expenses or something? 200K is hopelessly optimistic if you're loan financing everything through US loans.

Also, Northwestern if you're willing to roll the dice.


TCR. No way you'll only pay $200k if the whole thing is loan financed. You're looking at closer to 300 (LST says $285k). Regardless, you'll need biglaw to service your debt at either school, and NU gives you a much better chance of that.

Golden Bear 11
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:21 am

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby Golden Bear 11 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:46 pm

Using the calculator Georgetown provides, sticker at NU will be about $289,108 at repayment.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:52 pm

Do not take on over $275,000 in debt for any law school not named Harvard or Yale.

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thelawyler
Posts: 902
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby thelawyler » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:47 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Do not take on over $275,000 in debt for any law school not named Harvard or Yale.

Anti-Stanford troll.

splittinghairs
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:56 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby splittinghairs » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:54 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
flem wrote:
Aghastrophe wrote:Northwestern - I would be paying sticker price. I've tried to negotiate some sort of scholarship but since I got in off the waitlist the finaid office cannot offer anything (they also claim that I will not be able to renegotiate for anything after 1L). That means I am paying full price with loans, and I'm estimating the current CoA at around $200k by the time I graduate


You not paying living expenses or something? 200K is hopelessly optimistic if you're loan financing everything through US loans.

Also, Northwestern if you're willing to roll the dice.


TCR. No way you'll only pay $200k if the whole thing is loan financed. You're looking at closer to 300 (LST says $285k). Regardless, you'll need biglaw to service your debt at either school, and NU gives you a much better chance of that.



Wait a min, if you either strike out at OCI or cannot find sponsor cant you just leave the loans behind and hide in your native country?

If thats the case then you get a free shot at big law with basically no loss (besides the wasted 3 years of course)

2012JayDee
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby 2012JayDee » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:06 pm

Since USC is requiring you to withdraw what's the deadline they gave you.

You're on the WL for a number of other schools and those schools also provide a different set of options than you currently have. Although WLs are quite unpredictable your NU acceptance at least speaks to the fact that it's possible.

If you have time you need to wait it out and see what comes of some of your other offers.

I don't know if a quarter of a million dollars is a smart investment for someone that needs sponsorship. You are almost required to get a job at a big firm. You don't want to have to do that. (Of course I would also like to know what happens if you just spend up $280k in loans and go back to your country and don't come back). But I digress.

You're in Cal, you have ties, to Cal, you have scholarship money at USC. So it took a hit in the rankings. The fact is that the Cal market is soaked with people that graduated from the school and they don't care that the school took a hit in the rankings. They're still going to hire you--if anything they'll do it to show that the school is just as good as it's always been and that the school continues to put out the kinds of grads that get hired by firms. Firms don't really care about those rankings as much as you think they do. Most of the hiring partners have no idea that school A dropped 8 spots this year and 12 spots the last year--they're too busy lawyering. Those numbers are for prospective students to make bad decisions with. Firms have lots of reasons to not hire you, where your school placed on the magazine charts is not one of them.

Northwestern is a great school in an amazing city with fantastic post-grad options. But no way in the world is it worth $280k and by the time you pay the interest that's about 1/2 a million dollars. Seriously? That' can't sound logical.

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rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Northwestern (sticker) vs. USC ($$)

Postby rayiner » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:47 pm

2012JayDee wrote:Since USC is requiring you to withdraw what's the deadline they gave you.

You're on the WL for a number of other schools and those schools also provide a different set of options than you currently have. Although WLs are quite unpredictable your NU acceptance at least speaks to the fact that it's possible.

If you have time you need to wait it out and see what comes of some of your other offers.

I don't know if a quarter of a million dollars is a smart investment for someone that needs sponsorship. You are almost required to get a job at a big firm. You don't want to have to do that. (Of course I would also like to know what happens if you just spend up $280k in loans and go back to your country and don't come back). But I digress.

You're in Cal, you have ties, to Cal, you have scholarship money at USC. So it took a hit in the rankings. The fact is that the Cal market is soaked with people that graduated from the school and they don't care that the school took a hit in the rankings. They're still going to hire you--if anything they'll do it to show that the school is just as good as it's always been and that the school continues to put out the kinds of grads that get hired by firms. Firms don't really care about those rankings as much as you think they do. Most of the hiring partners have no idea that school A dropped 8 spots this year and 12 spots the last year--they're too busy lawyering. Those numbers are for prospective students to make bad decisions with. Firms have lots of reasons to not hire you, where your school placed on the magazine charts is not one of them.

Northwestern is a great school in an amazing city with fantastic post-grad options. But no way in the world is it worth $280k and by the time you pay the interest that's about 1/2 a million dollars. Seriously? That' can't sound logical.


Closer to 1/3 of a million than 1/2 of a million--$390k if you don't pay down faster than the 10-year plan.




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