Chicago vs. NU -- New information

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

Where should I attend?

Chicago: COA approx $111
28
54%
NU: COA approx $65
24
46%
 
Total votes: 52

carbonara
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Chicago vs. NU -- New information

Postby carbonara » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:10 am

Edited: New information has arrived. Chicago upped its scholarship offer. I also gave a bit more detail in the DC section.

Hey all --

Trying to make a final decision between Chicago and NU (withdrawn everywhere else).

Between scholarships and some family resources, I am looking at the following COA:

NU: 65-75K
Chicago: 110-120K

I give the range to account for the fact that I may not be 100% accurate in my projections for three years. That also assumes a SA job after 2L year contributing $15k.

Upon graduating, I would be interested in practicing in DC. My long-term goal is federal government (GC office at an executive agency, DOJ), but I recognize those jobs are very difficult to get, particularly right out of school, so working in a firm with a good regulatory practice is my most likely goal. It seems like clerking helps in federal government hiring, and it would probably be an interesting job, so I would like to pursue that but it isn't 100% critical to me. I have several years work experience in federal policy in DC. My position is not a very senior one, but it is substantive (i.e. not answering phones/making copies).

Pros of Chicago: Better job placement stats, better clerkship stats, better LRAP.
Cons of Chicago: Significantly more expensive, location not as good, it seems like less focus on clinical work.

Pros of Northwestern: Much cheaper, more clinical/externship focus, everyone says I would have "more fun" there (whatever that means), better location.
Cons of Northwestern: Not as strong placement in government/clerkships, worse job #s generally.

When I pose this question to people currently in law school, I tend to get a different answer than when I ask graduates. Maybe that is the experience of actually paying off the debt.

For what it is worth, I have run the numbers and at these debt levels, I would have approximately a $831/month payment at NU and $1376/month at UC, assuming a 10 year repayment plan. If I go on IBR, I would still be able to completely pay down the NU debt, assuming roughly 3.5% income growth per year, but would have a significant amount remaining from the UC debt after 25 years, leading to the dreaded income tax bomb.

I would be interested in any thoughts you all have. Thanks! Poll is open for re-voting.
Last edited by carbonara on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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untar614
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:19 am

tough call. This past year Chicago had much better job #s than NW, but in prior years it has been very close, so I don't know what to make of that. If you are very set on big government jobs and willing to accept the possibility you wont get it and will have paid more, then chicago. No school outside of Y (and kinda S) has great clerkship numbers, but I'd guess most students good enough to get clerkships at one could could get them at the other. I did get the impression NW would be more enjoyable, but idk how much emphasis you wanna place on that. If you'd be cool with just working biglaw, save the money as the numbers are usually much closer than 2012's. But if you really want that gov job, chicago. If you miss on that but still land biglaw, its not so much debt that it would destroy you.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:22 am

Don't be afraid of DAT RIGOR at UofC. Anyway... 90k is a lot of clams. Are your goals biglaw? I say NU.

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Samara
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby Samara » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:26 am

NoodleyOne wrote:Don't be afraid of DAT RIGOR at UofC. Anyway... 90k is a lot of clams. Are your goals biglaw? I say NU.

Read the OP, dood.

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Samara
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby Samara » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:30 am

DC is a very competitive market. Do you have WE related to your employment goals? Or DC ties? Also, what do you mean by a federal govt job? Fed jobs cover every practice area.

Depending on the answers to the above questions, UChi is likely going to be a significant advantage for your goals. What is your preferred backup if you strike out with the DC market?

carbonara
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby carbonara » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:24 am

A secondary question -- for those voting Northwestern, do you think there is a number at which the COA differential is low enough that it tips the scales? If Chicago got to $120? $100? Thanks.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:35 am

Making the same choice for same COA. Most people I've talked to have told me to go to NU. Almost every single person though has also said the main placement difference between the two schools is DC and clerking, in favor of UChi. So if those are really your goals Id take UChi with a backup plan in mind.

IMO, for these tuition prices, it seems like there's a little higher of an upper bound to career prospects at UChi if you do well and a very protected lower bound at NU if you fuck up. All that being said we will likely end up in the middle and not a great shot at clerking, DC or fedgov, which makes NU a little better for your debt but UCHi won't totally fuck you in the end.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:41 am

Samara wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Don't be afraid of DAT RIGOR at UofC. Anyway... 90k is a lot of clams. Are your goals biglaw? I say NU.

Read the OP, dood.

Nah.

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Samara
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby Samara » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:58 am

Mal Reynolds wrote:Making the same choice for same COA. Most people I've talked to have told me to go to NU. Almost every single person though has also said the main placement difference between the two schools is DC and clerking, in favor of UChi. So if those are really your goals Id take UChi with a backup plan in mind.

IMO, for these tuition prices, it seems like there's a little higher of an upper bound to career prospects at UChi if you do well and a very protected lower bound at NU if you fuck up. All that being said we will likely end up in the middle and not a great shot at clerking, DC or fedgov, which makes NU a little better for your debt but UCHi won't totally fuck you in the end.

Pretty much this.

carbonara
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Chicago vs. NU -- New information

Postby carbonara » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:37 pm

Bumping for new info. Thanks.

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Kalinda
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- deadline coming

Postby Kalinda » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:Making the same choice for same COA. Most people I've talked to have told me to go to NU. Almost every single person though has also said the main placement difference between the two schools is DC and clerking, in favor of UChi. So if those are really your goals Id take UChi with a backup plan in mind.

IMO, for these tuition prices, it seems like there's a little higher of an upper bound to career prospects at UChi if you do well and a very protected lower bound at NU if you fuck up. All that being said we will likely end up in the middle and not a great shot at clerking, DC or fedgov, which makes NU a little better for your debt but UCHi won't totally fuck you in the end.



+1 I agree with most of this. OP if you'd like to share a little bit more of your background in a PM feel free to send me one my way. My SO made had a very similar position to yours and also had a "DC" background. He made his choices three years ago, but nonetheless would be more than happy to share his experiences if you'd like.

09042014
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Re: Chicago vs. NU -- New information

Postby 09042014 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:21 pm

I think 45K is about the break even point for NU vs. UChi when you aren't looking to work in Chicago. I don't think there is an objectively wrong choice here.

I think you can pick based on more subjective terms. One thing I think NU lets you do is work an entire semester at a job as an extern. So you can spend a semester in DC at an agency. U of C may have the same program, though. I'm sure both schools let you do externships part time.

One intangible for gov't hiring is that Northwestern has pretty crazy grade inflation post 1L. So you can boost your GPA for 3L Federal hiring.

I'm sure U of C has subjective stuff going for it too. Anyone want to add anything? Like I said, probably no wrong choice.




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