Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

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

What you think?

UCLA
23
32%
Columbia
48
68%
 
Total votes: 71

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StillIll
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Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby StillIll » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:51 pm

Hello everyone!

Obviously this is a decision to be made on my own, but at this point I am crowd-sourcing all and any different perspectives and viewpoints. I will say I feel semi up in the air, sometimes I lean one way, other times I lean another way, my parents (who will not be paying a dime but are still valuable input) are split down the middle, with my mom hedging towards Columbia and my dad leaning UCLA. Also, the decision is time sensitive... I don't have much long before I have to choose.

With that, here is the relevant information:

UCLA: Full tuition scholarship, so I would essentially just go in debt for living expenses, which I am estimating around $60,000
Columbia: I have a $35,000 grant from Columbia, so my estimating COA is around $210,000

My education will be entirely self financed. Whatever I don't recieve in grants I will be paying in loans.

I am from Boise, Idaho. I am most excited about moving to and getting my education in a large city, so LA and NYC both fit the bill. I am mostly ambivalent to where I want to work.. I just know I don't want it to be anywhere near where I am from. LOL.

I am one of those individuals without solid, defined career goals. I know that I enjoy studying the law, and I am eager to carve out a niche though I am unsure of where the niche will end up being. I would like to work for biglaw for at least a few years (for the invaluable experience) but I would not like to be married to it (unless of course I end up enjoying it).

I am not going to share my numbers aside from the fact that I am a splitter. Above 75th LSAT and below 25th GPA at both of these schools.

I've taken the LSAT once.

Finally I will say this: My heart want to go to Columbia. In the abstract, that's where I want to be. I busted my butt for the last few years to get in to the best school possible, I am eager for both the rigorous atmopshere and the prestige attatched to it. I know that the employment numbers from Columbia are at worst top three, and that almost everybody there gets a job. That said, I have absolutely no perspective of the astronomical amount of debt I would need to take on (and pay back) to attend. I do not know what it is like to have that over my head. I have a feeling it is not worth it comparibly.

Believe me, I know both sides to the coin. Graduating UCLA will I hit a glass celing in my career that I cannot get through because I don't have a degree from the right school? Or from Columbia will I find myself stuck in a biglaw job with terrible hours that I absolutely hate, but am forced to continue in to pay off my debt? Am I not thinking big picture... where the 160k ish difference would be negligible after 30 years of working? Or once I graduate from UCLA I can almost keep the money I earn right away. But will I get a job at all from UCLA? Will I be less motivated to be top of class because the education is free an I don't need to hustle for a job to pay off debt? All are thoughts in my head.

What do you all think? Thanks, and love, hugs and kisses.

kaiser
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby kaiser » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:56 pm

As good as Columbia is, it simply isn't worth that much more, especially if you are open to the idea of living and working in LA.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:58 pm

Forgive the tremendous ulterior motive I have as someone on the CLS Reserve who'd love to see an extra spot stay open, but UCLA is actually the right decision here.

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beepboopbeep
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:01 pm

I picked CLS with $85k, and even that will be too much debt for my liking. I'm glad I didn't have your decision to make.

That being said, it is crazy to turn down CLS for a non-t14, on paper.

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StillIll
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby StillIll » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:09 pm

Here's another (albeit related) question: would I be insane to choose Columbia?

tabula rasa
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby tabula rasa » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:14 pm

StillIll wrote:Here's another (albeit related) question: would I be insane to choose Columbia?

In a vacuum, no. Unless you are adamant about not working Biglaw for at least a few years, in which case you take the money at UCLA.

efin12
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby efin12 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:23 pm

StillIll wrote:Here's another (albeit related) question: would I be insane to choose Columbia?


I don't think you'd be crazy at all to choose Columbia. I was asking myself the same question when I had to choose between Columbia at what I believed was full price and UVA with a $75k scholarship. I'm sure TLS would have told me to pick UVA if I'd asked, and my parents were certainly telling me to pick UVA. I knew I wanted CLS, though, so I chose the one where I thought I'd be happiest. If deep down you want CLS, then go to CLS.

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sinfiery
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby sinfiery » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:31 pm

Both are defensible. For you, it depends if you are more debt averse (can change your entire life) or missing out on biglaw adverse (can change the entire course of your career)


Personally, I would pick CLS because I value succeeding in my goals as worth a lot more than the difference between a middle class lifestyle on PAYE vs a higher middle class lifestyle debt free.

I also have no kids atm and that would likely have a dramatic effect on my priorities but being dumb and young is our right as young twenty year old folk

/entitled

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:40 pm

I wouldn't go to UCLA without strong ties to CA. You'll probably strike out on big law from there pure probability speaking, might as well not have the lack of ties working against you as well.

If I really wanted big law and I were you I would choose Columbia.

dstars823
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby dstars823 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:43 pm

without real ties i think the general consensus is that a school like Columbia would give you a much better shot. if you dont make biglaw at UCLA does anyone know what the secondary option is.

At this point its 210k (~250k) when you come out due to the loans accruing with a good chance at 160K vs 60k (~75k) with a pretty small chance at biglaw

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:53 pm

StillIll wrote:Here's another (albeit related) question: would I be insane to choose Columbia?


not at all. I would go to Columbia here. I did, in fact. Congratulations on your acceptance & the scholarship -- I didn't know they did $35K exact, but oh well.

It's not that you will hit a "glass ceiling"; it's more that you risk not being employed after UCLA, whereas you have basically a guarantee you have a near guarantee from CLS, and unless you are in the bottom fifth of the class, that employment will be lucrative and it will set you up stronger for the rest of your career. Now if you were looking at Duke or Northwestern at $60K COA, then I would definitely take those options over CLS... but the opportunity gap b/t UCLA and Columbia Law is significant.

Hope to see you at CLS next year!

sts15
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby sts15 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:00 pm

I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:06 pm

sts15 wrote:You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:07 pm

sts15 wrote:I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.


Ugh

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Presidentjlh
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby Presidentjlh » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:10 pm

sts15 wrote:I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.


False.

No one cares about diversity of school. They care about where you finished in your class, and the prestige of the school you went to (only if it's T14) and your ties to the area.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:13 pm

Presidentjlh wrote:
sts15 wrote:I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.


False.

No one cares about diversity of school. They care about where you finished in your class, and the prestige of the school you went to (only if it's T14) and your ties to the area.


Eh...slightly more on point but still has some issues methinks

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Presidentjlh
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby Presidentjlh » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:14 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Presidentjlh wrote:
sts15 wrote:I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.


False.

No one cares about diversity of school. They care about where you finished in your class, and the prestige of the school you went to (only if it's T14) and your ties to the area.


Eh...slightly more on point but still has some issues methinks


Yeah, there's more to it, but that's the big stuff from what I've seen. You also need experience and other stuff.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:16 pm

Presidentjlh wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Presidentjlh wrote:
sts15 wrote:I think a top student from UCLA has just as good a chance or better than a middle of the road student from Columbia for the job you want. You might be better off looking at a job in NYC from UCLA because firms do like some diversity of schools.


False.

No one cares about diversity of school. They care about where you finished in your class, and the prestige of the school you went to (only if it's T14) and your ties to the area.


Eh...slightly more on point but still has some issues methinks


Yeah, there's more to it, but that's the big stuff from what I've seen. You also need experience and other stuff.


NyC firms will hire a bunch of SLS grads and call it "firm diversity" drawing from the best coast, but Stanford =\= UCLA

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Presidentjlh
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby Presidentjlh » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:18 pm

jbagelboy wrote:NyC firms will hire a bunch of SLS grads and call it "firm diversity" drawing from the best coast, but Stanford =\= UCLA


Haha, yep.

"We've got all kinds of law grads here! Stanford, U of Chicago, Columbia, Yale!"

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:20 pm

Would not at all surprise me if the top couple of kids at UCLA had an easier go of it than some rando Columbian at median.* You guys are missing the worst part of what he said though

*not racist

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:33 pm

BigZuck wrote:Would not at all surprise me if the top couple of kids at UCLA had an easier go of it than some rando Columbian at median.* You guys are missing the worst part of what he said though

*not racist


yo zuck. come on you can do better bro ;]

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twenty
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby twenty » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:35 pm

Personally, I would pick CLS because I value succeeding in my goals as worth a lot more than the difference between a middle class lifestyle on PAYE vs a higher middle class lifestyle debt free.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:39 pm

Diversity of schools is a real thing that exists in plenty of top firms.

That said, it doesn't help you more than just finishing in a good place in your class will.

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jselson
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby jselson » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:54 pm

Columbia will allow you to pay off your debt in five years if you wanted, while still living decently. And afterwards, you still have a great degree and a pretty high income. UCLA, you would have half the chance of getting biglaw, a non-negligible chance of not getting any sort of legal employment, and you don't have ties. I'd choose CLS.
Last edited by jselson on Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (small grant) vs UCLA (full ride)

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:55 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Would not at all surprise me if the top couple of kids at UCLA had an easier go of it than some rando Columbian at median.* You guys are missing the worst part of what he said though

*not racist


yo zuck. come on you can do better bro ;]


I know a kid who graduated toward the very tippy top of his class at one of the UCLA/USC/UT/Vandy subset of schools who got a job at a boutique firm in Orange County that pays over market rate. I highly doubt that opportunity would have been there if he was in the middle of the pack at Columbia.

But, again, there's a bigger issue with what that poster said.




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