TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

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

So what should I do?

ED Round 2 Penn, and then ED to UVA/GULC if that doesn't work.
0
No votes
Sit this cycle out, ED to NYU next year.
2
10%
Wait until March, and then ED to GULC Part Time, do school while working.
6
29%
Take the military commission, get three years of the GI Bill, do law school three years from now.
9
43%
Retake, because I didn't actually read the post.
3
14%
Do something else (become a megaposter?)
1
5%
 
Total votes: 21

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twenty
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TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:51 am

Hay guys.

So I'm coming up on an insanely huge life decision that causes me to lose sleep at night. I stupidly through my cycle would be different from last year's, so I stupidly decided not to ED at NYU as was my original plan. For those who don't know, my numbers are 166/No GPA (like an international student), and am a URM. According to the Spivs, my GPA does not affect a school's medians, so the LSAT is all anyone cares about. However, my situation shows living evidence that apparently admissions people do care about where you went for undergrad. For the sake of reference, last cycle I kept track with someone who applied with slightly worse numbers than I did. He was accepted to H/S, and several schools with a full ride. I was rejected/waitlisted at every school I applied to, including my safeties UCI, Davis, and Hastings (I know, wtf.)

Retaking, as great as an idea as that is for literally everyone else on this board, is not going to help me. For those of you unfamiliar with URM cycles, my LSAT is equal to about a non-URM 172. My friend from the same undergrad (also no GPA) retook a 170, got a 173, and had the identical cycle to mine, except that he was pulled off the waitlist at GULC at the last possible second. MYLSN says he should have been a lock at Harvard by numbers alone.

My goal is government, I have zero interest in biglaw, except potentially as a means to get to government. My dream position would be JAG, which also does not care about your school's USNWR ranking. Penn, UVA, and GULC have three things in common -- I like them all equally, they all have very strong PI abilities, and they all have solid LRAPs. While I certainly missed the boat on EDing to NYU (was waitlisted last year), I still have the chance to ED to Penn.

First epic twist: Twentypercentmore has a kick-ass job already.

My job pays 60k a year, with automatic upward mobility to about 105k a year (I'll be here in four years). I work a 40-hour week, and three of those days I can spend working from home. I'd be super mad at myself if I went to law school full time, struck out, and ended up as a fire fighter depending on PAYE.

My job can easily be moved to Washington DC. Georgetown has a great PT program. If I did GULC PT ED, I would break even in terms of salary to debt, so think of this as basically a full ride to GULC PT with a stipend. If I decided to take out a ton of LS debt and go for PSLF + LRAP, I'd make about 200k over the four years I was in law school. If I got a better offer (i.e, government honors), I'd take it. If I struck out, I'd stay at my current job and rely on PSLF.

Second epic twist: TPM was offered a direct commission as an Army Officer.

Being that my dream goal is JAG, I would be able to directly commission into the Army currently, do three years of active duty, and qualify for 100% of the GI Bill. Alternatively, if I got the funded legal education program at the end of my third year, that would mean I'd have the GI Bill, and a free law degree. Furthermore, if I take this spot, my current awesome job will be held for five years, and when I return, I'll be promoted to where I'd be as if I'd been working there the whole time.

The downside to this plan is, supposing in an alternate universe I went to law school, got the JAG corps, and directly commissioned in as an O-2 advanced standing, commissioning now wastes about three years of my life that didn't need to be wasted. Sure, I'd have no debt, but at the point where I'm just as happy working for the JAG for ten years, my debt is non-existent anyway. Also, in all honesty, the Army is actually my least-wanted choice, and if I have a shot at Air Force/Coast Guard/Marines through OCS, or Airforce/Navy through direct commission, I'd rather be in those branches as a non-JAG, than in the Army as a JAG. But hey, one in the hand, two in the bush.

So TLS. The ultimate "choosing a law school" thread. Do I pay sticker at a top school and rely on LRAP, do I pay for my part-time tuition with working full time, or do I take the commission and come back in three years?

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:28 am

I thought you had said you were commissioning into the Reserves. Did they offer you an active duty spot?

I can only speak for the Army, really, although I assume that this is at least somewhat true for the other branches as well. If you envision yourself wanting a military career, as opposed to just doing JAG for a few years and then doing something else, commission now and try to get some operational time in. People without combat patches are few and far between in today's Army, and the lack of a patch on your right sleeve will be the first thing people will notice about you. That'll decrease over time as the Iraq/Afghanistan vets retire and ETS, but having some deployed time will mean some instant credibility you wouldn't otherwise have.

californiauser
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby californiauser » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:07 pm

It doesn't seem like you have a shot at the T14, regardless of an ED application.

If you don't want big law, not apply to lower ranked schools?

I say do 3 years in the Army. That seems like the most likely path to prosperity for you.
Last edited by californiauser on Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:08 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:I thought you had said you were commissioning into the Reserves. Did they offer you an active duty spot?


Without outing myself too much with specifics, yes.

I can only speak for the Army, really, although I assume that this is at least somewhat true for the other branches as well. If you envision yourself wanting a military career, as opposed to just doing JAG for a few years and then doing something else, commission now and try to get some operational time in. People without combat patches are few and far between in today's Army, and the lack of a patch on your right sleeve will be the first thing people will notice about you. That'll decrease over time as the Iraq/Afghanistan vets retire and ETS, but having some deployed time will mean some instant credibility you wouldn't otherwise have.


This is now the third time I've heard this, and it makes a lot of sense. Seems like we're kind of on our way out of Afghanistan, and my chance to get voluntary deployment time is seemingly decreasing.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:14 pm

Keep in mind, too, that the Post 9/11 is not all or nothing. It's not like you either get it at 36 months, or get nothing if you have less than 36 months. Even if you did a yearlong deployment as a reservist, you're probably looking at like 50-60% eligibility, which is still a good deal.

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steel_shot
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby steel_shot » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:49 pm

I'd say the military commission, it seems like the safest and best alternative in this situation. Good luck with whatever you choose though!

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twenty
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby twenty » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:04 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Keep in mind, too, that the Post 9/11 is not all or nothing. It's not like you either get it at 36 months, or get nothing if you have less than 36 months. Even if you did a yearlong deployment as a reservist, you're probably looking at like 50-60% eligibility, which is still a good deal.


It's definitely a good deal, but my situation is fairly binary in that I'd either be using PAYE/PSLF for ten years, or else I'd be going for free. If I were going to count on Post 9/11, I'd really want to have at least 90% of it taken care of, ideally 100%.

californiauser wrote:It doesn't seem like you have a shot at the T14, regardless of an ED application.


I thought about this, too, but I also feel like I miss 100% of the shots I don't take. Since UVA is renowned for only caring about numbers, and my lack of a GPA does put me at median, that could be a real reason I didn't get in last cycle, but might get in this cycle.

If you don't want big law, not apply to lower ranked schools?


Sticker at a lower-ranked school with no LRAP is going to suck significantly more than a school with a zero-contribution-up-to-75k LRAP.

I'm very much leaning towards the commission, which means I might ED to Penn/UVA/GULC/whatever just on the chance that I have that option, and then count on shipping out for BOLC this summer.

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Sinatra
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby Sinatra » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:18 pm

You are conversant with the subject and know what tcr is. Law school will still be here five years from now, if you'd even want it still.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby mr. wednesday » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:28 pm

The best thing you can do for your chances at JAG or even a general bigfed position is to take the commission and apply later with military service.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: TPM's life-adventures and decision-making thread! Halp.

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:40 pm

mr. wednesday wrote:The best thing you can do for your chances at JAG or even a general bigfed position is to take the commission and apply later with military service.


+1




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