I echo the comments of this other poster. As a current NU student who transferred from a T2 regional school and is going back to that smaller city / region with a biglaw job at one of the best firms in the city, I would say that you should almost certainly go to a T14. T14s simply open up doors that otherwise are not possible (this is really unfair but true). With your ties to Indy, you should definitely stand a great chance of being able to make it back to Indy gainfully employed as a lawyer (esp if you mass mail the firms who don't do OCI at the T14, put your OCI bids in for all the Indy firms possible, start going to networking events in Indy during your 1L summer, and get a 1L summer job at a firm or govt agency in Indy).
Based on your background, I would think NU might be a great fit both because of its culture (NU has a lot of older students, students with families, practically-oriented classes that students with WE appreciate, etc) and its location (it is not too far from Indy).
Going to a T2 is just an uphill battle (in terms of grades, jobs, networking opportunities, etc...trust me, I speak from experience). And law school grades are kind of a crapshoot, especially for the 1st year curved classes. So it is infinitely better to not *have* to be at the tippety-top of the class to have options for jobs. Because everyone at the T2 school knows that they have to be at the top of the curve, everyone studies A LOT. T2 students are smart and motivated by their need to repay their debt (please understand that). Always needing to be at the top of the curve is really, really hard and draining (it will also cause you to spend a lot of time away from your family...again, this is based on experience).
So, here is an out-of-the-box idea to consider (just something for you and your family to think about). While it would obviously be better for your wife and kids to move with you to Chicago and if that is at all possible, they totally should! However, if that is not possible (i.e., your wife can't find a job, your kids refuse to leave their friends, you will not have the needed babysitters, etc), you could always live in Chicago during the week in a small studio and then go to Indy on the weekends (I know someone who did that in WA...commuted from Seattle to Eastern WA every / most weekends...which is a good 200+ miles). Chicago and Indy are really not that far apart and 1st year classes on Fridays are typically over pretty early (so you could totally drive back home on Friday and to Chicago on Monday).
Moreover, the first year is the only year you have to be on campus 5 days a week...the other 2 years (4 semesters) you can plan your schedule your way. This means that you could probably create a schedule where you would only have to be in Chicago 2-3 consecutive days a week in a row if you plan your classes right. I know someone who commuted in her 2nd and 3rd year from Madison, WI to NU, so people definitely plan their schedules strategically (sometimes for commuting purposes).
So, I recommend you seriously consider going to a T14 (esp NU, which might be a great fit for you!). Ping me via IM if you want to know more about anything I have talked about here. Best of luck to you! It sounds like you have great options...and congrats on the fantastic stats!
FattyMcFatFat wrote: LeninLunchbox wrote:
What schools would I have the best chance at receiving significant financial aid within the T14?
It seems to me you are an absolute posterchild for the Northwestern ED program. It's a full ride at a t14. With your numbers and especially your WE that NU values more than any other school, you have a VERY good shot at getting it. You'd be a 3.5 hour drive from family. With your ties, a t14 degree and your WE, you'd have a very very good shot at indy biglaw coming out, among the best. You'd have an even better chance at getting a decent paying job somewhere, probably in the IN/IL area. I don't go to NU, I didn't ED there, but I just feel like you are the exact person they had in mind for that program.
Obviously, the choice is yours, but I think going to IU-I would be a crime against reason if you got a significant scholly at NU Michigan or UChi. In 12 months where would like to be: A) busting your ass to make the top tenth or even twentieth of the class at IU-I and then MAYBE having a shot at indy biglaw and, outside of that, left with peanuts, or B) going into your first exams knowing that if you're in the top half you've got among the best shots at indy biglaw and if you strike out, still a decent shot at another good midwestern job?
I agree with most of this. I just think you're in the running for a full ride as high as Chicago. You are above both medians. I'm not sure I would ED Northwestern. It wouldn't be a horrible decision though.