Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

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

Where should I go?

Duke ($138K)
Chicago ($198k)
Penn ($211k-in process of negotiating)
Total votes: 40


Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:50 pm

Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

Postby kathj06 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Hey guys,

Want to attend a small school, and have narrowed my options down to three. Strongly leaning Duke, but always appreciate the insight of the TLS community! And thanks to ls22 for the sweet COA calculator.

-The schools you are considering:
Chicago, Penn, Duke

-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each:
Chicago: 45K total. ~198K debt at repayment
Penn: 30K total. ~ 211k (NOTE: Have appealed to Penn, and they are taking my 45k offer from Chicago under consideration)
Duke: 81K total. ~138K debt upon repayment (Duke's initial scholly offer was 72k)

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings:
Savings, loans, parents will "help out" but the extent to which they will do so is unclear.

-Career goals/where I want to work:
Grew up in Atlanta and won't rule out returning there. But primary goal is D.C. I've been working for the federal government here for about 3.5 years, and it would be great to return here after law school in a position tied to national security. Also highly interested in judiciary-related PI opportunities (immigration, wrongful conviction etc--these interests stem from both my current job and coursework in undergrad). A lot of people I work with started out in Biglaw before coming to the fed. gov, which is a career path I am completely open to.

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers:

-How many times you have taken the LSAT:

Other notes: My family lives in Chapel Hill, a 15 minute drive from Duke, and it would be really nice from a stress-relief standpoint to be closer to home. Not to mention more free meals, and I could even move home 2L and/or 3L year if I really felt strapped for cash. Granted, I don't have a car, but could borrow one from the rents or just buy a cheapish used one. I prefer cities, but having lotsa family nearby would help make up for the lack of excitement in Durham. At Duke's ASW, I felt really comfortable and loved the friendly vibe of the place, and could really see myself being happy. I was very impressed by all of the faculty I interacted with. Clinical offerings (gitmo, wrongful conviction) seemed up my alley. Attended undergrad in NC as well. This was not the case at Chicago--obviously an amazing school I met plenty of friendly students there, but just not sure that the atmosphere is for me (and, sorry, the weather). Who knows, could end up loving it, but could also see myself being quite unhappy.

This is quite anecdotal, but I just got off the phone with a hiring partner at a very large firm who said that his firm might dip slightly deeper into a Chicago class, but it would be a very tiny difference, and certainly not worth paying 60k more for Chicago. My bosses at my current job agree. If Penn increases their offer, they might be in play. I know the employment stats are stronger at Penn than Duke, and strongest at Chicago. Also, it seems like Chicago and Penn have stronger LRAPs than Duke.

Sorry for the novel, and thanks in advance for your advice!

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Re: Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

Postby Synch » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:21 pm

At the current price, Duke.

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Re: Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:53 pm

If you go to Duke and live at home, as much as that might suck, it would be a great debt-to-opportunities ratio. I'm assuming that would cut your borrowing by at least ~$55k.

If you're going to spend $135k+ for Duke, I actually think Chicago could be worth that price gap for competitive biglaw (DC). But it's not a slam dunk one way or the other.


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Re: Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

Postby WheninLaw » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:33 pm

Chicago student, voted Duke. With a bit more aid from UoC, I'd change my vote.


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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:50 pm

Re: Chicago ($) v. Penn ($) v. Duke ($$)

Postby kathj06 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:38 pm

Thanks all! Duke deadline this week so I'll probably deposit there, and if I get a change of heart I can always deposit at Chicago 5 days later. Appreciate everyone's insight.

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