jbagelboy wrote:Some of this is pretty misinformed and problematic, except for the retake part. Most people whose parents will pay full tuition at a private college are affluent enough to lend some support in law school too. Similarly, those families who can't afford any support in law school likely couldn't pay $50K/year for undergrad, so your scenarios are erroneous. Broad strokes, that's not how personal family finance works. (There are circumstances, similar to my own, where family will support in undergrad but stop there, but this this support is rarely interchangeable with law school anyway since it imputes a standing on principle).
And there's no reason to disparage an elite/exclusive private college education. I wouldn't trade mine for anything. Moreover, less affluent families receive very generous financial aid at top private schools, making them MORE affordable than state colleges. Is it ludicrously expensive at first blush, yes, but those are unresolved market forces irrelevant to the point at issue here. Also, again, what is it with TLS and the total philistine fetishism against "Classics" and other humanities majors?
There's a more fundamental flaw in the private/public example here: state schools might be less rigorous on average than some private institutions, but they definitely don't hand out as many A's. It's a flawed assumption that you could more easily get a 4.0 at your state flagship than Brown, Pomona, Harvard, Northwestern, ect.
As for working between college and law school, while I support taking time off for personal growth, work experience, and all the other substantial value that time can have, it's ridiculous hard to save $30,000 on a post-BA salary unless you are in the rare circumstance of living at home and entering a prestigious profession or getting a CPA license. I was in consulting, and even there, saving $30K would have taken several years. My friends in IB would still struggle with that savings figure given high CoL where those jobs are, primarily NYC and SF.
And as for your example, none of the Columbia law grads graduating debt free followed the steps you laid out. I have many friends in that 25%; they are privileged students from very wealthy families who undoubtedly paid for their college education regardless of cost; they didn't save that money, and the vast majority of them aren't on a very significant scholarship anyway since only about 50 kids out of the 350 class will have a half tuition scholarship or more. Schools like Columbia and Harvard attract students from these similarly elite backgrounds.
Suggesting that the average middle class student could simply follow this advice and avoid substantial debt at a T6 is dangerous. Law school is still very, very expensive.
Bagelboy and I talked about this the other day. We disagree on this issue. I'm generally LJL about my state school degree while he takes an exalted view of his presTTTigious degree and how intellectually enriching it is or whatever. He's big on copping DAT WELL-ROUNDED LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION THO and I think the credited move is to go to the most clownshit UG you can find, cop that 3.9 simply for not being a mouthbreather, murdering the LSAT because it's secretly really easy, and then hoping the H-bomb can stomach the proleness of your degree.
I went to the cheapest school in the USNWR top 50 and sort of accidentally lucked in to a baller degree. Total COA: $50k w/o any scholarships, not flame. For non-law, I think ITE a decent public school > all except HYPSM. Especially true for law, except the strategic play is usually the shittiest school that they'll take. Having an HYP UG degree in law school is an enormous waste, given that the only degree that matters for legal hiring is one you could have copped from a sTTTate U while spending way less time in the library and way more time with 19 year-old SEC/B1G/PAC-10 girls.
Nonetheless, definitely worth noting that your public school probably has way stiffer GPA curves than private schools. Getting a 3.8 at Berkeley is harder than getting a 3.8 at Stanford. I'm only talking about going to a seriously mouthbreather school in the context of getting a sweet GPA. But still, the average demographic profile of a T14 student is an upper-middle-class person whose parents covered a $200k UG and just honestly can't do much more about a $300k sticker price. As we've covered, paying $200k for a BA that holds no weight in law school is LJL, but it will persist as long as the Boomer mentality of "go to the highest ranked school you get into and pay anything for it" persists. Rare is the young buck TLS poster who tells his parents to fuck off, picks a UG for relatively idiosyncratic reasons, then lucks into it being mad cheap so those same fucked-off parents have enough savings to cover his ass when he can't cop dat CCN scholly.
A few points to address...
KingofSplitters55 wrote:Maybe people should have asked their parents to withhold their aid till law school (while going to a cheap state school at full ride and getting near a 4.0 there)
This would only be TCR if you knew at 17 that you would be going to law school. That's true of very few people. Hell, I was one of the minority that it WAS true for, and I wasn't savvy enough to make this play. It worked out to be that way for me, but definitely not because of awesome planning on my part.
instead of having them giving out a $40k/yr subsidy for 4 years for one's BA in Classics...
Lazy repeating of trope that humanities degrees are SPS without considering the context. Getting a degree in history/english/philosophy is only a fuckwit move if you expect them to get you a job. For law-school bound students, the calculus runs exactly the other way: A humanities degree is 1) likely to land you with a better GPA than a STEM degree, improving your chances at any school, and 2) actually way better preparation for law school because you'll learn to make cogent arguments and write constructively, which is something you don't pick up balancing orgo equations.
...and maybe people shouldn't go K to JD but rather work a few years first and save up 30K or something...
Working to save money if you are absolutely sure you are going to law school is absolutely 100% an awful financial move. You're giving up years of six-figure salaries to work when your earning potential isn't maximized. As jbb covered, law school costs way more than $30k. If this is taking you years to save up, you're moving at a snails pace when TCR would be to get into biglaw ASAP. If you can save $30k in one year, you probably have alternative employment options that make law school way too low of a marginal benefit to justify the cost.
One could easily graduate from say Columbia Law debt-free (as 25% of their class does).
Of the people that graduate debt-free, the breakdown probably looks like this: 70% top 1-2% family income, 20% full ride 8% other fortuitous circumstances that make a lot of money available to students (this is the group I'm in), 2% DILIGENT SCRIMPERS who made $300k happen at 25 by the sheer power of their bootstraps.