University of Colorado or University of Denver?

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mb387
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University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:05 am

I have been living in Colorado for a little over a year now, and I have been admitted to both DU and CU. With scholarship money I have been offered, both schools would end up costing me about the same. I realize CU is higher ranked, and I thought I would automatically would want to go there if accepted... but after seeing the campuses and talking to the people... I am a little confused. People I have met here all tell me how amazing DU is, but then why is it ranked so low compared to CU? ... Any thoughts would be appreciated!! Please and thank you!!

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Bikeflip
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby Bikeflip » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:08 am

How much debt will you be taking on?

moralsentiments
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby moralsentiments » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:09 am

Would you be willing to elaborate more on how the two cost the same? Is it more an issue of COL, or Scholarship that is making it that way?

Thanks

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:24 am

I received a $27,000 annual scholarship from DU, and a full scholarship for first year then $10,000 for second and third year at CU. If I dont get more scholarships after my first year, I am looking at around a $40,000 debt .

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Bikeflip
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby Bikeflip » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:56 am

Do those debt numbers include cost of living? Or do they just factor in tuition?

And what are your goals coming out of law school?

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:53 am

I have just factored in tuition. I'm not quite sure what area of law I would like to study, but something on the corporate side or maybe immigration. I obviously dont want to struggle for employment after graduation, and DU focused on that much more than CU with their experiential learning.

BigZuck
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby BigZuck » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:06 am

Corporate law is big law, and neither school gives you a meaningful shot at that. There is a strong chance you will struggle to find employment from these schools.

Honestly, I wouldn't pay 100K for either, which is about what you'll pay when you factor in cost of living.

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:17 am

Thanks for your honesty. But I have no choice but to go to law school in Colorado right now, so I am looking for some advice on which one to pick.

BigZuck
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby BigZuck » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:23 pm

Of course you have a choice. You don't have to go.

I assume the University of Colorado is the state flagship? If I had to choose, that would be the one. But I personally would choose not to go. Just too expensive and doesn't align with your career aspirations.

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:30 pm

I am not sure what I want to do yet, that is just what I am thinking now. But I am open to other fields of law as I start taking classes. I started my undergraduate with biology and ended with economics because I realized biology was nothing like I thought it would be and a random economics class caught my attention. I am going to law school with an open mind. I just don't want to regret my school choice down the line.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:59 pm

"Experiential learning" really doesn't make a difference - it's a way for DU to distinguish itself from CU and the fact that CU is ranked higher. It's marketing (also not saying the higher ranking for CU makes much of a difference; that's marketing, too). I think the major "experiential" difference between DU and CU is that DU allows you to extern for a private firm, and CU does not (you can only get externship credit for a non-profit entity). Otherwise you can do absolutely everything at CU that you can do at DU, "experience" wise (clinics, internships, externships, practice courses) - neither will actually teach you to practice law any more or less than any other law school.

There is a certain degree of convenience to DU, in that it's in Denver where you probably want to be making connections, and so it's easy to get to internships etc.; a lot of CU students tend to stay in Boulder and not venture to Denver to make those connections, and then may struggle a little (a lot of people want to stay in Boulder but there aren't as many law jobs there as in Denver, obviously). But that's on the individual student, not on CU; CU is very supportive of people going down to Denver for work during the school year. And while DU touts its alumni network, there are plenty of CU alums in Denver, too.

DU is bigger, and DU has both a full-time and part-time program. CU is smaller, and is just full-time. Those things can affect the school culture, if that's important to you. And, of course, you'll either be in Denver or in Boulder, which are pretty different places (though you can easily live in Denver and commute to CU if you want to - lots of people do).

Historically, CU has had much stronger bar passage rates. I think DU has done a lot to address this in the last few years, and so the gap has been closing, but CU is still somewhat stronger.

Neither school places many students in biglaw, in part because there just isn't a lot of local biglaw. Lots of people end up in local mid-to-small firms, which can be a good outcome depending on what you want, but the market-paying national firm jobs will go to the very top students at both local schools, and T14 people returning home to Colorado.

CU has a higher ranking mostly because its LSAT/GPA numbers are higher than DU's, and possibly because it has a better "reputation" among whoever filled out the survey. But the USNWR rankings are dumb, and don't really measure anything that matters in attending a school. Besides, once you're in Colorado, everyone knows CU and DU; DU alums favor DU, CU alums favor CU, but they all work together anyway. Rankings don't matter. And neither degree will travel very far outside of Colorado anyway.

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:14 pm

Thank you. That really gives me a lot to think about. While visiting, DU was trying to prove how much better they are than CU while CU was not really trying to prove anything but showcase their reputation and history. I live about twenty minutes from both schools, but I know Denver will have much heavier traffic. I have also thought about the internships in Denver and I will have to travel to Denver regardless of what school I choose. My undergrad was in downtown Atlanta and I am kind of drawn to CU because of it's environment and it is so different than my undergrad. I have the open houses to go to and I am hoping that will make it a little easier to make the decision.

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Optimist Prime
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby Optimist Prime » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:48 pm

.
Last edited by Optimist Prime on Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby LET'S GET IT » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:01 pm

Ok I'll be that guy...

Colorado: gives you a 50/50 chance of being a lawyer at best: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=colorado

Denver: even worse than that: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=denver

Also they are both very regional. If you desperately want to be a lawyer, you should think about other schools.

Zuck is probably right, 100K probably is not worth it for either school. That being said, I know that's not what you were asking. I think it probably doesn't matter. if you are intent on choosing one of these and can't decide, try to negotiate up your scholarships and go to whichever one will be cheaper (in total COA). Not trying to be mean, but you need to hear this from someone. Good luck.

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:36 pm

I know I want to be in the field of law, I just don't know which specific area. But yea, thanks.

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Bikeflip
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby Bikeflip » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:32 pm

mb387 wrote:I know I want to be in the field of law, I just don't know which specific area. But yea, thanks.


That's the thing, though. You want to borrow $100,000 to do something you're not sure you want to do? After factoring in accrued interest during school, tuition increases and the like, you're probably coming out with $125,000 in debt. On the 10 year repayment plan, that's like $1,500 a month, or rent in the Highlands. If you don't get the job where you can afford to pay $1,500 back, that's setting yourself for disappointment. You have some time to determine you want to be a lawyer. Go be a paralegal at these Denver law offices. See if you like the work the lawyers do. Just note that most (if not all) of these are big law offices, and both CU and DU will place less than 10% of their combined total of 450 grads into big law.

mb387 wrote:My undergrad was in downtown Atlanta and I am kind of drawn to CU because of it's environment and it is so different than my undergrad. I have the open houses to go to and I am hoping that will make it a little easier to make the decision.


That's not a good reason to choose one school over the other, especially if you just rely on the open house events. More often than not, the admission offices try to get students who have good options lined up to attend the open house events. Why? Because they'll have good things to say about the school. At the open houses, seek out 3Ls. A lot of them. Find out who has what lined up. You might get a different picture of the school. Earlier you mentioned that CU and DU were also trying to sell you on each school by appealing to history, externships or whatever. That's great, but the major selling point ought to be turning you into a lawyer. For that, read up on the law school transparency links someone else provided you above.


Mouse, you're from Colorado?

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LeDique
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby LeDique » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:40 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote: I think the major "experiential" difference between DU and CU is that DU allows you to extern for a private firm, and CU does not (you can only get externship credit for a non-profit entity). Otherwise you can do absolutely everything at CU that you can do at DU, "experience" wise (clinics, internships, externships, practice courses) - neither will actually teach you to practice law any more or less than any other law school.


There is one other major difference beyond the one you mentioned: DU offers a semester in practice program. And I don't think they have a similar cap on "experiential" credits like CU does but I am not sure about that one.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:49 pm

LeDique wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote: I think the major "experiential" difference between DU and CU is that DU allows you to extern for a private firm, and CU does not (you can only get externship credit for a non-profit entity). Otherwise you can do absolutely everything at CU that you can do at DU, "experience" wise (clinics, internships, externships, practice courses) - neither will actually teach you to practice law any more or less than any other law school.


There is one other major difference beyond the one you mentioned: DU offers a semester in practice program. And I don't think they have a similar cap on "experiential" credits like CU does but I am not sure about that one.

Ah, missed that.

And Bike, I lived in Denver for a while. Wish I were back there!

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Bikeflip
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby Bikeflip » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:55 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:And Bike, I lived in Denver for a while. Wish I were back there!


Heh, that's the major draw of both CU and DU. Once you're here, you never want to leave. Thing is, the Colorado legal market can't support all the DU, CU, and out of state grads.

Serious question OP: If you really want to live in Colorado, which I get because I love this state so damn much, do you have to be a lawyer?

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LeDique
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby LeDique » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:05 pm

One other thought in terms of a tangible difference between the schools: CU's clerkship placement is substantially better. A few CU grads will get fed clerkships each year, whereas its rarer for DU. But we are talking the difference between like 4 people and 1 person which is probably negligible. That said, I think on the state level, CU's placement is tangibly better. Nony would know better than I about that though

mb387
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby mb387 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:47 am

LeDique and Mouse,

Thanks for all the feedback. I really appreciate it. That is some information to definitely think about.


Bike,

I will not be taking $100K loan for law school. The most I will take out is $40K, but I am planning on filling the gap with more scholarships. I have enough money saved to not worry about paying for my living expenses while in school. Just because I don't know exactly what field of law to study doesn't mean I shouldn't go to law school. Thanks for all the other feedback though.

I think I am leaning more towards CU at this point.

BigZuck
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:09 am

40K debt is better than 100K debt but if you're left with 40K debt and spending your savings to live on you're still spending way too much money for these schools, whether its debt financed or paid out of pocket. I would only pay 60K max for a school that gave me a 50/50 shot at becoming a lawyer (and, to be perfectly honest, I don't think I would ever go to a school with odds like that). It's still three years of your life you're talking about.

Given these schools' placement rates, there is a high likelihood that you will struggle to find work, even if you do eventually come up with something. And that something you find will probably pay 40-50K max. If you have been able to save up enough money to live off of for three whole years you already have a solid, decently paying job. I would think long and hard before giving up that job to go to school for three years just for the chance to get a different job that will probably pay about the same. This is especially if you don't have any clearly defined plans career plans, just the vague notion of "I want to be a lawyer."

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deadpanic
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby deadpanic » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:16 am

I agree with Zuck, but that being said, if you are dead set on going, I think CU at 40k debt is probably worth it. But, I would really consider dropping out if your rank is low after your first year.

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby LET'S GET IT » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:21 am

40K debt for CU sounds reasonable to me. I agree with you, it shouldn't be required to know exactly what you want to do in law to make the decision to go to law school, so long as you are sure you want to do something law related. You will need to figure it out pretty quickly though. I also agree with the notion that if you aren't performing well after the first year, you should seriously think about quitting. Good luck.

BigZuck
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Re: University of Colorado or University of Denver?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:24 am

deadpanic wrote:I agree with Zuck, but that being said, if you are dead set on going, I think CU at 40k debt is probably worth it. But, I would really consider dropping out if your rank is low after your first year.


Yeah, I think this makes sense.

I guess if I didn't read "I don't want to struggle to find employment" (of course no one wants to struggle but I guess that quote implied to me that the OP hasn't thought very hard about what a 50% employment score means and the hustle that it would take to find a job out of a school like that) and if the OP had clearly defined goals (e.g. had a strong PI background or something and wanted to work in that field, or had strong legal connections) then I would feel differently.

But going 40K in debt, spending savings to cover cost of living, giving up a decent job, and going to a school with relatively poor placement rates while having vaguely defined career goals makes me feel uneasy.




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