Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

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

Chicago $$$ vs Michigan $$$ vs Berkeley?

Chicago
50
88%
Michigan
3
5%
Berkeley
4
7%
 
Total votes: 57

Confused 0L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Confused 0L » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi all. I'm really hoping you can help me make a decision. Here goes:

I want to do biglaw in NYC when I graduate. My family has offered to help me a bit, and Chicago and Michigan will leave me with debt of $60,000 plus interest, whereas Berkeley will leave me with about twice that amount. I was inclined to choose Chicago (for the obvious job placement/ranking reasons) until I took a closer look at their academic calendar and the quarter system.

I am a very slow reader (and have a diagnosed learning disability), and I am concerned that the Chicago schedule will make succeeding in law school substantially more difficult than at Berkeley/Michigan (and maybe even impossible). I'm not sure what my employment prospects will be if I wind up in the bottom of my class at Chicago.

It's not that I'm unwilling to work harder at Chicago if necessary, but I recognize that there's a possibility that even with that, I could end up at the bottom of my class because of the more condensed reading/finals period at Chicago (It's less than half as long as Berkely, for example).

I would prefer to be in a city so Michigan is definitely the least attractive to me on that front. Berkeley is appealing for a lot of reasons--great school overall, grading system, climate, and more manageable workload which could translate into better grades/class ranking. But I am also concerned about the debt that Berkeley brings and would prefer not to take as much from my family up front, if possible (they'll contribute approximately twice as much if I choose Berkeley over the other two).

The thought of taking on twice as much debt at Berkeley is sobering, to say the least, but the bottom line is being able to get the job I want. So is Chicago, which has the best job placement record of the three, worth the risk of being ranked at the lower end of the class? Or is it better to choose one of the other two, where, with a more manageable schedule, I might have a better shot at doing well? And, finally, is Berkeley worth the extra debt if it means doing better there than at Chicago?

Huey Freeman
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:01 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Huey Freeman » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:01 pm

Berekely sometimes does scholarship matching. Have you tried to use your Chicago and Michigan offers to leverage a scholarship at Berkeley? They should not be expecting you to attend at sticker.

User avatar
KD35
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:30 am

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby KD35 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:04 pm

Huey Freeman wrote:Berekely sometimes does scholarship matching. Have you tried to use your Chicago and Michigan offers to leverage a scholarship at Berkeley? They should not be expecting you to attend at sticker.


This. And if that doesn't work, it sounds like Chicago may be the best bet. I know there's a lot of issues with learning with the OP, but if you really think you want NYC, Chicago is the best bet by far.
But also check out LST and use that to help weigh the options as well.

User avatar
beepboopbeep
Posts: 1230
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:36 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby beepboopbeep » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:11 pm

Confused 0L wrote:Hi all. I'm really hoping you can help me make a decision. Here goes:

I want to do biglaw in NYC when I graduate. My family has offered to help me a bit, and Chicago and Michigan will leave me with debt of $60,000 plus interest, whereas Berkeley will leave me with about twice that amount. I was inclined to choose Chicago (for the obvious job placement/ranking reasons) until I took a closer look at their academic calendar and the quarter system.

I am a very slow reader (and have a diagnosed learning disability), and I am concerned that the Chicago schedule will make succeeding in law school substantially more difficult than at Berkeley/Michigan (and maybe even impossible). I'm not sure what my employment prospects will be if I wind up in the bottom of my class at Chicago.

It's not that I'm unwilling to work harder at Chicago if necessary, but I recognize that there's a possibility that even with that, I could end up at the bottom of my class because of the more condensed reading/finals period at Chicago (It's less than half as long as Berkely, for example).

I would prefer to be in a city so Michigan is definitely the least attractive to me on that front. Berkeley is appealing for a lot of reasons--great school overall, grading system, climate, and more manageable workload which could translate into better grades/class ranking. But I am also concerned about the debt that Berkeley brings and would prefer not to take as much from my family up front, if possible (they'll contribute approximately twice as much if I choose Berkeley over the other two).

The thought of taking on twice as much debt at Berkeley is sobering, to say the least, but the bottom line is being able to get the job I want. So is Chicago, which has the best job placement record of the three, worth the risk of being ranked at the lower end of the class? Or is it better to choose one of the other two, where, with a more manageable schedule, I might have a better shot at doing well? And, finally, is Berkeley worth the extra debt if it means doing better there than at Chicago?


I don't want to minimize your disability, but a lot of people freak out about the quarter system before getting here and realizing that in some ways it's more relaxed. Granted my only experience there is UG, so a current law student could speak to whether that holds true more than I. My understanding is that because the tests are set up 2/2/4 (two in fall, two in winter, four in spring), finals end up being less crazy fall/winter, and absolutely insane in Spring. But, you'll have 3-4 tests per semester pretty much anywhere else you go, as far as I can tell.

So if we put that aside - and only you can decide how seriously you think it would affect you, though I do think you're overestimating the crunched-ness of the quarter system - given your goals and scholarships, Chicago outpaces the rest by a mile.

Confused 0L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Confused 0L » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:44 pm

Thank you all for your responses.

Yes, I did try to negotiate with Berkeley but they were unable to offer me anything.

As far as freaking out about the quarter system, I’m the first to admit I’m guilty of that. However, despite the gradual ramp-up over the fall and winter quarters, what worries me is the spring quarter. Although you may not be taking more finals than you would be elsewhere, two of the four finals cover two quarters worth of material and there is still almost no reading period. Plus there is a major graded LRW paper that quarter. Clearly, I’d like to believe I could do well, but I have to recognize that my ability to do so may be limited under these circumstances.

So I'm left with the question: If I do poorly in my first year at Chicago, what are my chances of landing biglaw in NY? Would I be better served at Berkeley/MIchigan, where there are fewer classes per semester and longer reading/exam periods, and where I suspect I’d have a better shot at good grades? Or does Chicago’s superior placement trump everything?

User avatar
Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Bronte » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:45 pm

Since Berkeley won't match, it should be off the table, especially given that you want to work in New York. There's really no question there, and you have to put it out of your mind. Regarding Chicago versus Michigan, it seems like Chicago is the obvious choice, but this whole quarter system plus disability thing is kind of out of my depth.

What I'm about to tell you might be controversial, so brace yourself. But Michigan--and I assume Chicago unless someone wants to tell me different--offers extra time on exams to people with learning disabilities. A lot of extra time. This makes a huge difference from what I've observed.

User avatar
Doorkeeper
Posts: 4872
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:25 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Doorkeeper » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:28 pm

Chicago is the easy choice here. I'm sure that if you have a diagnosed disability, then then law school will make adjustments for you.
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9635
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:43 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:Chicago is the easy choice here. I'm surethat if you have a diagnosed disability, then then law school will make adjustments for you.


Not to mention, I mean, you did get in.. So.. You're clearly deemed competent enough

User avatar
JurorNumber8
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:49 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby JurorNumber8 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:58 pm

I would say Chicago. It offers you the best chance at NYC biglaw. It also is disability friendly in that 1) you will be able to take tests under different conditions-- I'd estimate that maybe 5 percent of the class claims disability, and 2) it gives you much more leeway if you end up below median. The top 80-percent or so have a puncher's chance at jobs. People below that also have a chance. I don't think this is the same at Michigan or Berk.

User avatar
Nelson
Posts: 2061
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Nelson » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:14 am

This is a weird trio of schools for someone who wants to work in NYC.

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby 20141023 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:55 am

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
beepboopbeep
Posts: 1230
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:36 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby beepboopbeep » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:46 am

Nelson wrote:This is a weird trio of schools for someone who wants to work in NYC.


I would guess reverse splitter.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9635
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:18 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:
Nelson wrote:This is a weird trio of schools for someone who wants to work in NYC.


I would guess reverse splitter.


Maybe, but even so, the kind of $$ at Chicago that would leave OP w/ $60K debt has to be 170+. I mean that's a full ride if you take out the parental help; I think Chicago gives $40K/year scholarships as their max non-named, so then parents are probably filling in ~$10-12K per year. Could be $30K/year with more like $25K parental help, or some iteration of this combination. OP's LSAT as a non-URM must be pretty high either way.

User avatar
2014
Posts: 5831
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby 2014 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:46 pm

If you want a job this isn't even a question. Less than 25% of UChi's class goes to NY so you aren't competing with your classmates for few spots. This should allow you to feel more comfortable at or below median. At that same grade level at Michigan, which is the most likely result, you are in for much more anxiety. Berkeley even if they match the scholarship is more expensive, will have less NY firms at OCI (though they might be receptive to mass mailing, I don't know for sure), and has worse BigLaw placement.

Spring quarter sucks pretty badly, but if your disorder is diagnosed you will probably get extra time or some other reasonable accommodation.

Confused 0L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Confused 0L » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:59 pm

Well, the almost universal opinion here is squarely in favor of Chicago, even if my grades wind up being lower than median (which, of course, I hope they aren’t—just trying to figure worst case scenario).

Thanks for the suggestions about accommodations. I am planning to look into that. I raised the disability question because I was concerned about the level of rigor that Chicago is reputed to have but, judging from what you all have said, it seems that I shouldn’t view this as more of a issue at Chicago than at any of the other schools.

Interesting theory that I’m a reverse splitter, but actually I fall into the splitter category (reluctant to post numbers here, but I may do it once I make a final decision). I seem to defy popular wisdom I’ve read on TLS re: schools that are splitter friendly, since I was waitlisted at both Columbia and NYU. And I honestly can’t quite figure out how I managed to get substantial scholarships, but I’m happy to have them in hand.

Nice to hear from some current UChi students with encouraging words on job placement and the quarter system.

User avatar
beepboopbeep
Posts: 1230
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:36 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:06 am

Confused 0L wrote:Well, the almost universal opinion here is squarely in favor of Chicago, even if my grades wind up being lower than median (which, of course, I hope they aren’t—just trying to figure worst case scenario).

Thanks for the suggestions about accommodations. I am planning to look into that. I raised the disability question because I was concerned about the level of rigor that Chicago is reputed to have but, judging from what you all have said, it seems that I shouldn’t view this as more of a issue at Chicago than at any of the other schools.

Interesting theory that I’m a reverse splitter, but actually I fall into the splitter category (reluctant to post numbers here, but I may do it once I make a final decision). I seem to defy popular wisdom I’ve read on TLS re: schools that are splitter friendly, since I was waitlisted at both Columbia and NYU. And I honestly can’t quite figure out how I managed to get substantial scholarships, but I’m happy to have them in hand.

Nice to hear from some current UChi students with encouraging words on job placement and the quarter system.


I'd be interested in seeing numbers if/when you're comfortable sharing them, just to satisfy curiosity. Are you riding out CLS/NYU waitlists? Seems unlikely the money would compare to your current offers.

(If so, we're kind of in opposite scenarios. I've got good CLS money that almost certainly won't be matched if I get in off of UofC's waitlist, but, who knows...)

Confused 0L
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Confused 0L » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:56 pm

Definitely riding out CLS and NYU waitlists, although from what I’ve heard about the CLS waitlist I’m not that optimistic, and I agree that money would be unlikely from either.

I’ll pm you my numbers. I just looked at your profile and saw that our numbers are pretty close, but we seem to have been accepted/waitlisted at opposite schools.

Aasterinian
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Chicago $$ vs Michigan $$ vs Berkeley

Postby Aasterinian » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:13 am

beepboopbeep wrote: (If so, we're kind of in opposite scenarios. I've got good CLS money that almost certainly won't be matched if I get in off of UofC's waitlist, but, who knows...)


On the bright side, UofC is one of the few schools that regularly throws money at people who get in off the waitlist. If you look at LSN, most WL/A's get 10-15k/year, a few get $30k/year and one person even reports $50k/year.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest