Northwestern v. WUSTL

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Northwestern v. WUSTL

Northwestern (130k)
18
58%
WUSTL (essentially free)
13
42%
 
Total votes: 31

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simplycatalina
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Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby simplycatalina » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:06 am

Based on savings and COA, my debt would be:

WUSTL: $0
Northwestern: $130,000

-Financing through savings, help from parents, and loans for Northwestern.
-Took LSAT twice and I doubt taking it again would give me a better outcome than I have right now.
Last edited by simplycatalina on Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:00 am, edited 7 times in total.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:24 am

Responding to the qeustion of NU sticker vs WUSTL w/ 100k+:

bk1 wrote:I'm going to echo much of what romo has said. However, I turned down a 105k offer from WUSTL 2 years ago for NU at sticker. I will likely have around 250k debt once I start repayment. Current applicants can expect around 280k debt once they start repayment.

I honestly don't think either of these options are appealing. On one hand you have NU with a relatively high shot at biglaw (1/2-2/3 chance) but saddled with 280k debt. On the other you have WUSTL with a much smaller albeit still sizeable debtload of 90k but saddled with middling job prospects where the most likely outcome is working at a small firm and a much higher chance of unemployment/underemployment. The ideal option would be a T14 with 150k debt (or less). If that is something you can make possible by retaking the LSAT then you should do that. If you're a splitter with a low GPA who can't get much better than sticker at a T14 or a sizeable scholarship to a top regional school, then you're in much more of a bind.

What it came down to, for me as it did romo, was flexibility. But there are two types of flexibility. WUSTL gives you economic flexibility, the ability to take a low paying job and not be crushed by debt. NU gives you job flexibility and regional flexibility, the ability to choose from a wider range of legal jobs that are not really accessible to WUSTL students and be competitive in other markets (e.g. NY, SF, LA, etc) that WUSTL is not. I chose NU's geographic and job flexibility because I wanted to get a job in CA and I wanted to work in careers that are made accessible by the exit options of biglaw. WUSTL does not really give you flexibility in choosing a job because your job options are limited by the degree. However, NU creates a significant risk of being seriously crushed by debt. A risk that does not necessarily go away even if you get biglaw because most biglaw associates only last about 3 years. And of course even if you get biglaw you will be working thousands of hours and yet only able to take home 50k or so (after paying 60k+ in taxes and 50k-ish in loan repayments). So you will be working quite hard for what most people only have to work a 40 hour work week for.

Honestly, I think the correct answer is neither. I took NU at sticker because I wanted to give myself a shot at biglaw and I could not do anything to reduce the price of a T14 since I was a splitter. My prelaw job prospects were also pretty mediocre (I had a sub3 GPA in a liberal arts major from a state school). I might have eventually found something decent but a rationalized taking NU at sticker. Yes, rationalized because I don't think NU at sticker is all that rational a decision to make. Granted I don't really think WUSTL with a near full ride is all that rational for someone who doesn't necessarily want to work at a small firm and do the kind of work that small firms do either.


The real issue is how much savings are you using. If it's a lot then I don't think the calculus changes from above. Whether debt financing or cash financing it, I'm not sure T14s are worth 250k.

WanderingPondering
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby WanderingPondering » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:12 am

It comes down to your personal risk/reward analysis and what type of job and flexibility you want. If you are biglaw or bust, Northwestern wins by a mile. $150k is not an unreasonable amount to repay.

As is said above, if you want the ability to take a low paying job, having no debt and a T20 degree would be pretty nice. If you HAVE to be on the coasts (NYC, DC, LA, SF, Boston, etc) you need to pick Northwestern. If you are ok with midwestern markets (STL, KC, Chicago, etc) and know you will have a chance, albeit a smaller chance at the coasts, then WUSTL works.

You have to decide what's important to you. TLS can't do that for you.

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simplycatalina
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby simplycatalina » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:20 am

WanderingPondering wrote:It comes down to your personal risk/reward analysis and what type of job and flexibility you want. If you are biglaw or bust, Northwestern wins by a mile. $150k is not an unreasonable amount to repay.

As is said above, if you want the ability to take a low paying job, having no debt and a T20 degree would be pretty nice. If you HAVE to be on the coasts (NYC, DC, LA, SF, Boston, etc) you need to pick Northwestern. If you are ok with midwestern markets (STL, KC, Chicago, etc) and know you will have a chance, albeit a smaller chance at the coasts, then WUSTL works.

You have to decide what's important to you. TLS can't do that for you.


Thanks--yeah I definitely want to be on the coasts. Would be happiest with SF or LA but would take Chicago/NYC/DC as well. I can't imagine not living in a city.

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romothesavior
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby romothesavior » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:33 am

Total debt is importan, but how much cash are you actually paying for each?

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simplycatalina
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby simplycatalina » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:43 am

romothesavior wrote:Total debt is importan, but how much cash are you actually paying for each?


Sticker at NU and around $100k for WUSTL. I have savings from my grandpa that can only be used for education.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby DoveBodyWash » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:47 am

full disclosure: I was facing this same decision (with slightly different COA's) a few months ago and picked WUSTL

I think NU could work out, I'm just saying that this isn't "Guaranteed employment vs. Guaranteed unemployment" issue. You can get a high paying job from WUSTL in california/DC/NYC. And you can get completely screwed from NU. It's all about the odds. It comes down to how much are you willing to pay for those odds given the risks of things not working out. Personally I decided i'd rather get a free lottery ticket with a 23% chance than borrow 150k with 6-8% interest for a lottery ticket with a 50% chance.

Dolphine
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Dolphine » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:02 pm

Make a poll and go to WUSTL. 150k vs 0 is night and day.

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romothesavior
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby romothesavior » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:03 pm

cusenation wrote:full disclosure: I was facing this same decision (with slightly different COA's) a few months ago and picked WUSTL

I think NU could work out, I'm just saying that this isn't "Guaranteed employment vs. Guaranteed unemployment" issue. You can get a high paying job from WUSTL in california/DC/NYC. And you can get completely screwed from NU. It's all about the odds. It comes down to how much are you willing to pay for those odds given the risks of things not working out. Personally I decided i'd rather get a free lottery ticket with a 23% chance than borrow 150k with 6-8% interest for a lottery ticket with a 50% chance.

TBF, odds of a big firm job from NW are much higher than 50%. Though I think odds from Wash U are higher than 23% for the current classes (word is OCI was stronger for c/o '14), and I anticipate them being pretty good for your class as well. Its a tough choice. If this was 150 vs. 50, or even ~100 vs. 50, I'd say NW by a mile. But zero is pretty liberating, and you're getting a pretty good degree for zero debt.

Dolphine
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Dolphine » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:11 pm

But OP doesn't want big law she wants PI. (Based on my conversations from her) so big law %'s might be irrelevant.

Either way 0 debt is the way to go. TAKE THE MONEY. It will reduce your stress 1000 times.

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bananasplit19
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby bananasplit19 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:41 pm

Dolphine wrote:But OP doesn't want big law she wants PI. (Based on my conversations from her) so big law %'s might be irrelevant.

Either way 0 debt is the way to go. TAKE THE MONEY. It will reduce your stress 1000 times.

If OP indeed wants PI, then she should take a serious look at a NU LRAP and judge for herself. Here's the blurb from twentypercentmore's guide (definitely worth a look if you haven't yet):
Northwestern

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissi ... naid/lrap/

Uses IBR/PAYE? Yes
Maximum income level for zero participant contribution: $45,000
Job type: "Any graduate who starts work immediately after graduation or after a clerkship as an attorney or manager in any government or non-profit agency is eligible for LRAP."
Eligibility: Upon graduation. NO REENTRY.
Difficulty in obtaining qualifying employment from this school? Hard

Might chalk this one up as favoring WUSTL since with $0 debt, you won't fall into the "too poor to get a higher-paying job" scenario where you have to stay under $45k.

rad lulz
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby rad lulz » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:45 pm

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Samara
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Samara » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:50 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Dolphine wrote:But OP doesn't want big law she wants PI. (Based on my conversations from her) so big law %'s might be irrelevant.

I refuse to believe 0Ls want to do PI

Without a few yrs of nonprofit work to back that up

They're just gonna roll through the OCI breadline like everyone else

+1. Especially at NU.

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simplycatalina
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby simplycatalina » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:58 pm

Samara wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
Dolphine wrote:But OP doesn't want big law she wants PI. (Based on my conversations from her) so big law %'s might be irrelevant.

I refuse to believe 0Ls want to do PI

Without a few yrs of nonprofit work to back that up

They're just gonna roll through the OCI breadline like everyone else

+1. Especially at NU.


I'm not deadset on PI and understand I know nothing as a 0L. I want as much flexibility as I can get which is why I'm leaning towards NU.

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Samara
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Samara » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:04 pm

simplycatalina wrote:
Samara wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
Dolphine wrote:But OP doesn't want big law she wants PI. (Based on my conversations from her) so big law %'s might be irrelevant.

I refuse to believe 0Ls want to do PI

Without a few yrs of nonprofit work to back that up

They're just gonna roll through the OCI breadline like everyone else

+1. Especially at NU.


I'm not deadset on PI and understand I know nothing as a 0L. I want as much flexibility as I can get which is why I'm leaning towards NU.

I also wouldn't take out all that debt if I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

Dolphine
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Dolphine » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:14 pm

Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

rad lulz
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby rad lulz » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:20 pm

Samara wrote:
simplycatalina wrote:I'm not deadset on PI and understand I know nothing as a 0L. I want as much flexibility as I can get which is why I'm leaning towards NU.

I also wouldn't take out all that debt if I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

Oh lawdy, this

Especially singe big firm recruiting happens at the beginning of 2L year

You basically have to have decided by then whether you want to do big firm then attempt to exit to PI

Or if you want to spend 2 more yrs looking for a PI job

This is not a very flexible situation for you

(spoiler: 1L year is not gonna give your very much insight either)
Last edited by rad lulz on Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby DoveBodyWash » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:20 pm

simplycatalina wrote:I want as much flexibility as I can get which is why I'm leaning towards NU.

Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt.

Northwestern might open more doors...but if you borrow that much then there's really only one door that you can afford to take and that's BigLaw.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:27 pm

1. How much money do your parents have/how much do they make? How much are they contributing? How much money are you contributing? These are important questions. The fund from your grandfather is essentially a scholarship that applies to both schools.

2. If you want CA, heck if you want NYC/DC/Chicago, WUSTL is not going to make that easy.

3. I'd guess that NU is going to have an appreciable edge with PI employers, heck probably with all employers. LRAP/PSLF will cover your debt if you actually get PI work.

If your parents have a decent amount of money and your cash contributions are minimal then I'd lean towards NU. Your goals in both geography and job are not compatible with WUSTL. Is 150k a lot of money? Of course it is, but it is at least close to manageable. Is NU worth 150k more than WUSTL? I don't think it is in the abstract but this is not an abstract situation. Even for free it doesn't necessarily make a ton of sense to go to a school where you are unlikely to end up in the geographies you want or in the type of job you want.

Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

This is egregiously simplistic.

Samara wrote:I also wouldn't take out all that debt if I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

This isn't really fair. Most law students take out debt without knowing what they want to do. How many threads do we have asking about trans vs lit or about specific practice areas? I think it's enough if OP knows that he/she OP wants to be a lawyer and has at least some ideas of what he/she wants to do.

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Icculus
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby Icculus » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:39 pm

bk1 wrote:Responding to the qeustion of NU sticker vs WUSTL w/ 100k+:

bk1 wrote:I'm going to echo much of what romo has said. However, I turned down a 105k offer from WUSTL 2 years ago for NU at sticker. I will likely have around 250k debt once I start repayment. Current applicants can expect around 280k debt once they start repayment.

I honestly don't think either of these options are appealing. On one hand you have NU with a relatively high shot at biglaw (1/2-2/3 chance) but saddled with 280k debt. On the other you have WUSTL with a much smaller albeit still sizeable debtload of 90k but saddled with middling job prospects where the most likely outcome is working at a small firm and a much higher chance of unemployment/underemployment. The ideal option would be a T14 with 150k debt (or less). If that is something you can make possible by retaking the LSAT then you should do that. If you're a splitter with a low GPA who can't get much better than sticker at a T14 or a sizeable scholarship to a top regional school, then you're in much more of a bind.

What it came down to, for me as it did romo, was flexibility. But there are two types of flexibility. WUSTL gives you economic flexibility, the ability to take a low paying job and not be crushed by debt. NU gives you job flexibility and regional flexibility, the ability to choose from a wider range of legal jobs that are not really accessible to WUSTL students and be competitive in other markets (e.g. NY, SF, LA, etc) that WUSTL is not. I chose NU's geographic and job flexibility because I wanted to get a job in CA and I wanted to work in careers that are made accessible by the exit options of biglaw. WUSTL does not really give you flexibility in choosing a job because your job options are limited by the degree. However, NU creates a significant risk of being seriously crushed by debt. A risk that does not necessarily go away even if you get biglaw because most biglaw associates only last about 3 years. And of course even if you get biglaw you will be working thousands of hours and yet only able to take home 50k or so (after paying 60k+ in taxes and 50k-ish in loan repayments). So you will be working quite hard for what most people only have to work a 40 hour work week for.

Honestly, I think the correct answer is neither. I took NU at sticker because I wanted to give myself a shot at biglaw and I could not do anything to reduce the price of a T14 since I was a splitter. My prelaw job prospects were also pretty mediocre (I had a sub3 GPA in a liberal arts major from a state school). I might have eventually found something decent but a rationalized taking NU at sticker. Yes, rationalized because I don't think NU at sticker is all that rational a decision to make. Granted I don't really think WUSTL with a near full ride is all that rational for someone who doesn't necessarily want to work at a small firm and do the kind of work that small firms do either.


The real issue is how much savings are you using. If it's a lot then I don't think the calculus changes from above. Whether debt financing or cash financing it, I'm not sure T14s are worth 250k.


I was in essentially this same boat. I decided on NU because I wanted as high a chance of scoring BigLaw as possible and knew I did not want to stay in the midwest. That said, every time I think about my debt load I need a drink.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby DoveBodyWash » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:42 pm

bk1 wrote:
Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

This is egregiously simplistic.

I don't think it's any more simplistic than the assumption that going to a T14 all secures placement into high paying jobs or that paying off 100K+ in debt is straightforward or easy on a BigLaw salary.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:47 pm

cusenation wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

This is egregiously simplistic.

I don't think it's any more simplistic than the assumption that going to a T14 all secures placement into high paying jobs or that paying off 100K+ in debt is straightforward or easy on a BigLaw salary.

Thanks for pointing out another stupidly simplistic argument that people sometimes make. Is your point that people on both sides of the argument make unhelpful posts? No shit.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:56 pm

bk1 wrote:
cusenation wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

This is egregiously simplistic.

I don't think it's any more simplistic than the assumption that going to a T14 all secures placement into high paying jobs or that paying off 100K+ in debt is straightforward or easy on a BigLaw salary.

Thanks for pointing out another stupidly simplistic argument that people sometimes make. Is your point that people on both sides of the argument make unhelpful posts? No shit.


Chill, yo.

OP, I would go to Northwestern.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby DoveBodyWash » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:17 pm

bk1 wrote:
cusenation wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Dolphine wrote:Ya know what doesn't make you flexible? 150k debt. You are much much much more flexible when you aren't strapped by debt. WUSTL wins easily.

This is egregiously simplistic.

I don't think it's any more simplistic than the assumption that going to a T14 all secures placement into high paying jobs or that paying off 100K+ in debt is straightforward or easy on a BigLaw salary.

Thanks for pointing out another stupidly simplistic argument that people sometimes make. Is your point that people on both sides of the argument make unhelpful posts? No shit.

Most of the advice on TLS wouldn't exist if people didn't point things out that are "obvious" and would apparently warrant a "no shit" response from you. I only point it out for the sake of contributing to the discussion. The "T14 basically gives you such a good chance at high earnings that it's basically guaranteed" assumption is what underlies this entire discussion. No one is contesting that Northwestern offers a better chance at a more diverse array of career options, particularly ones with higher salaries. The issue is whether or not it's worth borrowing 150k with interest for a shot at getting a job that 1. OP isn't even sure she wants, 2. is known to be brutal, and, 3. by virtue of the industry, has been shown to be very unstable at times for junior associates, which is incidentally when OP will need it to be the most stable given her own debt repayment and the apparent necessity of work experience before lateral/exit options open up.

150k in loans is admittedly a bargain compared to the amounts that some people borrow for a T14 J.D., but it's still a heavy burden that will raise a lot of financial obstacles and cause a lot of stress. I'm only encouraging the OP look beyond 2L OCI and think about whether she's willing to bear the cost of the debt in the long-term.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern v. WUSTL

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:20 pm

cusenation wrote:Most of the advice on TLS wouldn't exist if people didn't point things out that are "obvious" and would apparently warrant a "No shit" response from you. I'm only point it up for the sake of contributing to the discussion. The "T14 basically gives you such a good chance at high earnings that it's basically guaranteed" assumption is what underlies this entire discussion. No one is contesting that Northwestern offers a better chance at a more diverse array of career options, particularly ones with higher salaries. The issue is whether or not it's worth borrowing 150k with interest for a shot at getting a job that 1. OP isn't even sure she wants, 2. is known to be brutal, and, 3. by virtue of the industry, has been shown to be very unstable at times for junior associates, which is incidentally when OP will need it to be the most stable given her own debt repayment and the apparent necessity of work experience before lateral/exit options open up.

150k in loans is admittedly a bargain compared to the amounts that some people borrow for a T14 J.D., but it's still a heavy burden that will raise a lot of financial obstacles and cause a lot of stress. I'm only encouraging the OP look beyond 2L OCI and think about whether she's willing to bear the cost of the debt in the long-term.

I agree with most of what you're saying. Which is why I said something similar in my first response to the thread. It's just facepalming when someone waltzes in and goes "WUSTL=flexibility, duh" after actual helpful advice is given.

To get this back on track: I think I saw OP ask me if I was happy with choosing NU (and maybe deleted it? or I imagined it? dunno). I am, but things have worked out for me. I know plenty of people who it has not worked out for that regret it. I know people who it has not worked out for that are still quite optimistic. The fact that it has worked for me so far I don't think speaks to whether or not someone should do it. Anecdotes just aren't enough to base a decision off of.




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