UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

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JChamberlain
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UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby JChamberlain » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:02 am

Hi. So. I was all set to go to UVA and had put down first deposit. Received offer (off WL) from Berkeley on Monday. Second deposit due at UVA tomorrow. Major stress today.

On a gut level, I really like the idea of attending Berkeley, although I haven't visited and I'm in NC so can't right now. The intellectual climate, diversity of the student body, and atmosphere of the bay area all contrast favorably with my perceptions of Charlottesville and UVA. I'm also likely (I think) to get some kind of need-based aid out of Boalt, while UVA may or may not be able to match something after the deadline passes... which will be too late for my purposes.

So what are my career goals. Well, I don't have a clear idea of area of practice, or even necessarily geographic region; although at the moment my preference is towards the East Coast, since this is where my roots are, I'm sure that could change over three years, and does for many. I also don't think attending Berkeley would greatly damage my ability to locate in the east, although UVA is certainly better for this. As far as type of career , I am interested (prepare eye-rolls) in working in public interest or government; a federal position would be ideal, although I'm well aware of the obstacles. UC Berkeley, I should note, has the more generous LRAP, but both schools most recent JPI's displayed similar placement in PI and Govey.

Berkeley seems like a better choice for me personally (especially if it winds up being the cheaper school), but this is largely based on intangibles and intuition, rather than concrete differences in the schools (feel free to dispute). Its cons are the relative difficulty of relocating across the country, the scarcity, expense, and quality of it's housing (this seems like a big deal to me; I'm thirty and not psyched to live in a box) and the relative job placement prospects for east coast locations. By contrast, UVA would be easy to move to, I could get a nice, reasonably sized place, visit my friends and family easily, and it would be easier to land a job on this side of the country (which may ultimately be an irrelevant detail). It's a good problem to have, choosing between two excellent schools, but today it doesn't feel like it. Thanks for any feedback, advice, or questions.

heeloftar
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby heeloftar » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:05 am

JChamberlain wrote:Hi. So. I was all set to go to UVA and had put down first deposit. Received offer (off WL) from Berkeley on Monday. Second deposit due at UVA tomorrow. Major stress today.

On a gut level, I really like the idea of attending Berkeley, although I haven't visited and I'm in NC so can't right now. The intellectual climate, diversity of the student body, and atmosphere of the bay area all contrast favorably with my perceptions of Charlottesville and UVA. I'm also likely (I think) to get some kind of need-based aid out of Boalt, while UVA may or may not be able to match something after the deadline passes... which will be too late for my purposes.

So what are my career goals. Well, I don't have a clear idea of area of practice, or even necessarily geographic region; although at the moment my preference is towards the East Coast, since this is where my roots are, I'm sure that could change over three years, and does for many. I also don't think attending Berkeley would greatly damage my ability to locate in the east, although UVA is certainly better for this. As far as type of career , I am interested (prepare eye-rolls) in working in public interest or government; a federal position would be ideal, although I'm well aware of the obstacles. UC Berkeley, I should note, has the more generous LRAP, but both schools most recent JPI's displayed similar placement in PI and Govey.

Berkeley seems like a better choice for me personally (especially if it winds up being the cheaper school), but this is largely based on intangibles and intuition, rather than concrete differences in the schools (feel free to dispute). Its cons are the relative difficulty of relocating across the country, the scarcity, expense, and quality of it's housing (this seems like a big deal to me; I'm thirty and not psyched to live in a box) and the relative job placement prospects for east coast locations. By contrast, UVA would be easy to move to, I could get a nice, reasonably sized place, visit my friends and family easily, and it would be easier to land a job on this side of the country (which may ultimately be an irrelevant detail). It's a good problem to have, choosing between two excellent schools, but today it doesn't feel like it. Thanks for any feedback, advice, or questions.


Do you wear bowties or Toms?

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Doorkeeper
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:15 am

Can you second deposit at UVA tomorrow and then go out and visit Berkeley? I realize that's a lot of money to spend, but you're basing all of your pros for Berkeley on intangibles that you're not really sure exist. You should have some confirmation about them before you make a decision for the next three years...

dixon02
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby dixon02 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:28 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Can you second deposit at UVA tomorrow and then go out and visit Berkeley? I realize that's a lot of money to spend, but you're basing all of your pros for Berkeley on intangibles that you're not really sure exist. You should have some confirmation about them before you make a decision for the next three years...


Agreed. I chose UVA over Berkeley, but in full disclosure UVA gave me much more money. Still, as a pretty extreme liberal I definitely had preconceived notions about both schools until visiting both. The difference was simply nowhere near what I imagined. Frankly, I just wasn't that blown away by Berkeley. Everyone was perfectly nice, but I thought the students at UVA were much more laid back and welcoming. Charlottesville also turns out to be a pretty liberal town. I'm not going to pretend that the student body or faculty is philosophically aligned with Berkeley, but if you're a liberal you'll have no problem finding your place at UVA.

Why is it that Berkeley may give you need based money but UVA won't? For your career ambitions, UVA sounds like the better place to be. I was also scared off by California's budget and potentially massive tuition increases (the financial aid officer I met with during ASW even told me to expect significant increases while I was in school).

Tl;dr- visit both schools before making such a big decision based on where you think you'd fit in.

rad lulz
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:39 am

Do you already have a strong, established PI record/resume? If not, enjoy OCI. Also, at least in metro areas, USAO prefers biglawl types equal to or more than people who were, say, ADAs.

JChamberlain
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby JChamberlain » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:48 am

With the time constraints I face, visiting Berkeley would be next to unmanageable... even disregarding the deposit deadline, DoA at Berkeley wants to know by the next friday (with some optional grace), I would have to get time off work (more $$ lost, pissed off boss) and the flights are hellaciously expensive until July, when they are reasonable. It sounds like you guys think accepting an offer from a school sight-unseen is a pretty bad idea... but it's about a two thousand dollar proposal to deposit and get out there right now.

Doorkeeper wrote:Why is it that Berkeley may give you need based money but UVA won't?


UC Berkeley has separate pools of funds for merit scholarship and need-based aid. The former is exhausted while there is still funds to be had from the latter. UVA has one pool for both, and it's exhausted (pending decisions by those currently holding offers).

Dixon, are you entering this year? If money had not been on offer at UVA, would this have changed your decision? And what more can you tell me about this ballooning tuition in CA, which I should probably learn more about?

JChamberlain
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby JChamberlain » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:50 am

Rad luiz: Thank you for your trademark cynical reply. How is this relevant to my question? Thanks.

rad lulz
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:05 am

JChamberlain wrote:Rad luiz: Thank you for your trademark cynical reply. How is this relevant to my question? Thanks.

Rad Luiz = the Spanish Rad lulz?

It's relevant because if you're drawn to Boalt bc of a nebulous PI rep or better LRAP, don't be.

dixon02
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby dixon02 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:18 am

JChamberlain wrote:With the time constraints I face, visiting Berkeley would be next to unmanageable... even disregarding the deposit deadline, DoA at Berkeley wants to know by the next friday (with some optional grace), I would have to get time off work (more $$ lost, pissed off boss) and the flights are hellaciously expensive until July, when they are reasonable. It sounds like you guys think accepting an offer from a school sight-unseen is a pretty bad idea... but it's about a two thousand dollar proposal to deposit and get out there right now.

Doorkeeper wrote:Why is it that Berkeley may give you need based money but UVA won't?


UC Berkeley has separate pools of funds for merit scholarship and need-based aid. The former is exhausted while there is still funds to be had from the latter. UVA has one pool for both, and it's exhausted (pending decisions by those currently holding offers).

Dixon, are you entering this year? If money had not been on offer at UVA, would this have changed your decision? And what more can you tell me about this ballooning tuition in CA, which I should probably learn more about?


pm'd

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worldtraveler
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:20 am

I think your job prospects would be about the same from either place. Are you more of a city person or a college town person? Have any particular clinics, coursework, or professors at either school that really excite you?

Real Madrid
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby Real Madrid » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:03 pm

JChamberlain wrote:Hi. So. I was all set to go to UVA and had put down first deposit. Received offer (off WL) from Berkeley on Monday. Second deposit due at UVA tomorrow. Major stress today.

On a gut level, I really like the idea of attending Berkeley, although I haven't visited and I'm in NC so can't right now. The intellectual climate, diversity of the student body, and atmosphere of the bay area all contrast favorably with my perceptions of Charlottesville and UVA. I'm also likely (I think) to get some kind of need-based aid out of Boalt, while UVA may or may not be able to match something after the deadline passes... which will be too late for my purposes.

So what are my career goals. Well, I don't have a clear idea of area of practice, or even necessarily geographic region; although at the moment my preference is towards the East Coast, since this is where my roots are, I'm sure that could change over three years, and does for many. I also don't think attending Berkeley would greatly damage my ability to locate in the east, although UVA is certainly better for this. As far as type of career , I am interested (prepare eye-rolls) in working in public interest or government; a federal position would be ideal, although I'm well aware of the obstacles. UC Berkeley, I should note, has the more generous LRAP, but both schools most recent JPI's displayed similar placement in PI and Govey.

Berkeley seems like a better choice for me personally (especially if it winds up being the cheaper school), but this is largely based on intangibles and intuition, rather than concrete differences in the schools (feel free to dispute). Its cons are the relative difficulty of relocating across the country, the scarcity, expense, and quality of it's housing (this seems like a big deal to me; I'm thirty and not psyched to live in a box) and the relative job placement prospects for east coast locations. By contrast, UVA would be easy to move to, I could get a nice, reasonably sized place, visit my friends and family easily, and it would be easier to land a job on this side of the country (which may ultimately be an irrelevant detail). It's a good problem to have, choosing between two excellent schools, but today it doesn't feel like it. Thanks for any feedback, advice, or questions.


I'm definitely biased towards Berkeley, but let me point a couple of things out:

1) The two schools are not equal in PI. Just looking at the latest Law School Transparency numbers shows that Berkeley places almost 50% more than UVA - about 18% to about 12%. There is a serious focus at Berkeley about really being a "public" law school in every sense of the word, and just having gone to ASW I could see that idea was taken quite seriously there.

2) Some of your cons regarding Berkeley are definitely understandable, but I think there are surprisingly affordable, decent housing options in and around Berkeley if you're willing to do the legwork in looking for them. It's not as cheap as Charlottesville, but you have to ask yourself this: Do you want to live in one of the best college towns in the country or do you want to live (basically) in one of the best cities in the country?

3) I think Berkeley's ability to place you on the east coast is underrated. NYC basically requires no ties, and because most Cal students self-select into California, you actually have less competition for the east coast firms (I know you mentioned PI and government, but there's still a good chance you'll go through OCI).


It's certainly a tough decision, and there's a lot more to consider than what you or I have listed. Basically, do you want to make the "safe" choice or are you willing to take a chance?

rogermortimer
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Re: UVA (sticker) vs. Berkeley(some need-based$ likely,TBD)

Postby rogermortimer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:26 pm

I think those who are interested in public interest law right out of law school are not looking at he reality of what it takes to become an experienced and effective lawyer. There is of course nothing wrong about pursuing public interest law, and indeed it is often admirable.

But there are incredibly few jobs. The ones that exist are beyond belief competitive, especially if the non-transitory jobs are filtered out. And PI interest entities have thin budgets. Which is the point. They are not easy places in which which to be superbly trained as a young lawyer. It is not selling out to work at BigLaw, especially if one can find a practice group in which skills can be developed as a young lawyer. Going into public interest law with prior experience and the ability to be an effective and hands on independent lawyer behind you makes more sense than as a new attorney.

So I would take the number of public interest jobs at Boalt versus UVa with a grain of salt. Boalt is expensive. I would go to no law school where my debt is more than what I can expect to make in annual salary years 1-3 in my career. If that means going to a lower ranked school due to the tuition discounts made available, well, then, a tough decision has to be had. Many of the non top schools are simply not worth attending because job prospects are so poor. Tough decisions all around.




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