Is USC ($75k) crazy?

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jimmy_dean
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Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby jimmy_dean » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:33 pm

Options:
Cornell (sticker, at least for now)
USC ($75k, no stips other than good standing)
BYU ($15k, basically free, top 1/3 stip, notoriously competitive school)

Goals: ~3-5 yrs biglaw, midlaw or industry after
geographic region isn't huge, but prefer not the east coast

cornell is basically out, $270k of debt is something i can't stomach. but even with $75k at usc, i'm anticipating around $180k debt-adjusted. job numbers at byu aren't great, but graduating debt free gives a lot of flexibility. they place very few in biglaw, but few pursue it. treating byu as a regional (i.e. ignoring its religious affiliation), what would you do?

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OutCold
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby OutCold » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:38 pm

Have you tried leveraging your USC offer at Cornell? If not, you should call Cornell financial aid ASAP. Cornell really only excels at placing in NYC biglaw, so that might not be your cup of tea. While it's a lot of money, I don't think USC at that price is "crazy."

Skump
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby Skump » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:45 pm

BYU ($15k, basically free, top 1/3 stip, notoriously competitive school)


This is right out, in my opinion. BYU has a 7.5% large firm placement according to law school transparency. Abysmal placement like that just isn't worth the opportunity cost.

That leaves USC.. and, unfortunately, taking on175k of debt for 30% shot at a job that could actually justify that much debt doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either.

Assuming Cornell is flat out, my advice would be to either 1) retake and reapply or 2) strongly reconsider law school altogether.

Master Tofu
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby Master Tofu » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:52 pm

jimmy_dean wrote:Options:
Cornell (sticker, at least for now)
USC ($75k, no stips other than good standing)
BYU ($15k, basically free, top 1/3 stip, notoriously competitive school)

Goals: ~3-5 yrs biglaw, midlaw or industry after
geographic region isn't huge, but prefer not the east coast

cornell is basically out, $270k of debt is something i can't stomach. but even with $75k at usc, i'm anticipating around $180k debt-adjusted. job numbers at byu aren't great, but graduating debt free gives a lot of flexibility. they place very few in biglaw, but few pursue it. treating byu as a regional (i.e. ignoring its religious affiliation), what would you do?


1. I value flexibility pretty highly. Any time you can go debt free, you have to look at it seriously. If you've had prior big firm experience and is absolutely committed to the big firm model, then err on USC. If you don't, I would weigh on the side of flexibility.
2. If you do well at BYU, it is not like big firms won't interview you. Similarly, you will need to do well to get interviews at USC anyways. I think the risk of under-performing exists in both schools albeit slightly magnified for BYU.

At the end, you're taking risks one way or the other. On one side, you risk committing to debt and finding out that you don't want to work in a big firm. On the other, you risk committing to flexibility and finding out that you just miss the threshold to work in a big firm.

I think the former is a worse position to be in. If you're debt-free, there are tons of other things you can still do. If you don't like the big firm, you've got no options but to stick around.

Go BYU if the culture at the school/Provo works for you.

jimmy_dean
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby jimmy_dean » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:57 pm

OutCold wrote:Have you tried leveraging your USC offer at Cornell? If not, you should call Cornell financial aid ASAP. Cornell really only excels at placing in NYC biglaw, so that might not be your cup of tea. While it's a lot of money, I don't think USC at that price is "crazy."


i'm still waiting for the initial finaid offer from cornell, which should come this week (fingers crossed). if it's zero or less than usc i will definitely try to leverage it.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:20 pm

Skump wrote:
BYU ($15k, basically free, top 1/3 stip, notoriously competitive school)


This is right out, in my opinion. BYU has a 7.5% large firm placement according to law school transparency. Abysmal placement like that just isn't worth the opportunity cost.

That leaves USC.. and, unfortunately, taking on175k of debt for 30% shot at a job that could actually justify that much debt doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either.

Assuming Cornell is flat out, my advice would be to either 1) retake and reapply or 2) strongly reconsider law school altogether.


why would OP reconsider law school at this juncture if he's decided he wants to be an attorney and got into great schools? point 2) is meaningless and condescending advice for anyone who decided they want to practice law. 1) depends entirely on whether OP has maxed out their LSAT potential, which everyone should consider before making a thread on this forum

given your geographic considerations OP, go to USC, they have a great alumni network on the west coast, and you said you don't even want to be in NYC anyway so that blocks big red's #1 advantage

NYstate
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby NYstate » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:25 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
Skump wrote:
BYU ($15k, basically free, top 1/3 stip, notoriously competitive school)


This is right out, in my opinion. BYU has a 7.5% large firm placement according to law school transparency. Abysmal placement like that just isn't worth the opportunity cost.

That leaves USC.. and, unfortunately, taking on175k of debt for 30% shot at a job that could actually justify that much debt doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either.

Assuming Cornell is flat out, my advice would be to either 1) retake and reapply or 2) strongly reconsider law school altogether.


why would OP reconsider law school at this juncture if he's decided he wants to be an attorney and got into great schools? point 2) is meaningless and condescending advice for anyone who decided they want to practice law. 1) depends entirely on whether OP has maxed out their LSAT potential, which everyone should consider before making a thread on this forum


You are forgetting that not going is a choice. Why are you trying to convince people it is a good idea to go when it objectively may not be? Most people that post here have no true sense of how much law costs and how tough the employment market is. They think that going to law school means a good job for life. We know that isn't true.

OP: those stips from BYU sound dangerous. Top third may not be something you can do; on the other hand, if you are not top third, maybe you should drop out? Your chances of biglaw are very small from these schools.


Also, can you add up what the total 3 year COA (including accrued interest) will be? I find that more helpful than just looking at scholarship amounts.

jimmy_dean
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby jimmy_dean » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:27 pm

total financed coa estimates:

byu: 0
cornell: $275,000
usc: $170,000

NYstate
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby NYstate » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:33 pm

jimmy_dean wrote:total financed coa estimates:

byu: 0
cornell: $275,000
usc: $170,000


Dude. Wow. This is tough. That zero looks tempting, but it isn't real because if you are below top third, you are at sticker at byu. And BYU won't get you biglaw anyway, though maybe it could in Denver or somewhere?

jimmy_dean
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Re: Is USC ($75k) crazy?

Postby jimmy_dean » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:41 pm

yeah, fairly shitty decision ahead. the one redeeming quality of the byu scholarship is that even at sticker it's ~$10k/year. i agree with the point that someone who isn't in the top third of their class at byu probably shouldn't be in law school and more than likely i won't have an issue with that, but those contingencies factor into my decision. i also agree fully with the two scenarios someone mentioned-the question is no debt+high risk of no/worse job vs. big debt and being tied to biglaw.




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