USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

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kbuckley177
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USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby kbuckley177 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:21 pm

I have received two equally generous scholarships from USC and Notre Dame and I am having a hard time deciding which is a better option, or if either of them are worth taking. I know that USC is a higher ranked school and has better BigLaw placement, but I am feeling drawn to ND as an option. The cost of living in South Bend is lower and so is tuition. However, USC is closer to home and I would be nearer to my family and the SoCal legal market (not to mention, it isn't freezing cold and covered in a blanket of snow 50% of the year). I want some outside opinions about which is a better option, I'm getting mixed feedback from friends/family/etc. Is there any potential for scholarship negotiation in my situation?

Some more info:
Tuition/Fees at ND: $51,892
Tuition/Fees at USC: $57,800
3.8 GPA/166 LSAT (only taken once, back in June 2014)
I'm from Southern California and wouldn't mind returning to work there after law school, but it's not necessarily a must.
My parents will be helping me with cost of living expenses, but not tuition. Tuition/fees/books/etc. will be debt financed most likely.
I am NOT opposed to retaking the LSAT and sitting out this cycle. If I need to, I will. But getting 40,000 per year from both schools is making taking a year off seem less appealing.

Thanks in advance! I really appreciate the feedback that this site provides.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:29 pm

If you want to work in Southern California USC with 120k is a decent option, but definitely study hard for a retake in June. If it goes well you can sit out a cycle and get great offers at schools with better placement, and if you don't improve you can roll with USC in the fall.

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pamphleteer
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby pamphleteer » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:33 pm

Most people will tell you to retake and that certainly seems like the right answer here. You have an excellent GPA and could be looking at serious $$$ from the T14 with just a few more points on the LSAT.

As for these two options, it depends on where you want to practice. If it's L.A., USC. If it's Chicago, ND. If it's anywhere else, ND is probably ever so slightly more portable but it ultimately doesn't matter because these are both regional schools. Knowing nothing about your goals I'd lean ND just because COA will probably be significantly lower but then again living in L.A. for three years >>>> living in South Bend, Indiana.

kbuckley177
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby kbuckley177 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:42 pm

pamphleteer wrote:Most people will tell you to retake and that certainly seems like the right answer here. You have an excellent GPA and could be looking at serious $$$ from the T14 with just a few more points on the LSAT.

As for these two options, it depends on where you want to practice. If it's L.A., USC. If it's Chicago, ND. If it's anywhere else, ND is probably ever so slightly more portable but it ultimately doesn't matter because these are both regional schools. Knowing nothing about your goals I'd lean ND just because COA will probably be significantly lower but then again living in L.A. for three years >>>> living in South Bend, Indiana.


To some extent, portability is a concern of mine. I don't want to limit my options any more than I have to. I know USC is better for the LA market, but what about outside of LA?

kbuckley177
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby kbuckley177 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:44 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:If you want to work in Southern California USC with 120k is a decent option, but definitely study hard for a retake in June. If it goes well you can sit out a cycle and get great offers at schools with better placement, and if you don't improve you can roll with USC in the fall.


I am very pleased that USC gave me 120k, I was expecting less. However, I am wondering if USC is worth paying 18k per year in tuition alone, plus the added expense of living in LA vs. the midwest.

Effingham
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Effingham » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:57 pm

I'd go USC here. Strong connections can only help if you end up near median at either.

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eriedoctrine
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby eriedoctrine » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:04 pm

USC. No contest.
ND should have given you a full ride, seeing how their median LSAT is only 163 compared to USC's 166.

Effingham
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Effingham » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:10 pm

eriedoctrine wrote:USC. No contest.
ND should have given you a full ride, seeing how their median LSAT is only 163 compared to USC's 166.


I really wouldn't emphasize this in making your decision OP. LST score reports will give you a much better picture.

kbuckley177
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby kbuckley177 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:19 pm

Effingham wrote:
eriedoctrine wrote:USC. No contest.
ND should have given you a full ride, seeing how their median LSAT is only 163 compared to USC's 166.


I really wouldn't emphasize this in making your decision OP. LST score reports will give you a much better picture.


According to LST, USC has better BigLaw placement (21% in firms with 500+ as opposed to 14% for ND), but also a higher underemployment score. So I'm not totally sure what to make of that.

Effingham
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Effingham » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:54 pm

I think a big part of that is that ND seems to place well in a significant number of smaller firms spread out across the country relative to the concentrated placement of USC in LA. Biglaw placement isn't necessarily 500+ firms.

I can't speak to the underemployment score, generally not a good sign, but who knows, maybe that'll be reduced for the next class.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:36 pm

south bend sucks a big one

Patent2014
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Patent2014 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:40 pm

Effingham wrote:I think a big part of that is that ND seems to place well in a significant number of smaller firms spread out across the country relative to the concentrated placement of USC in LA. Biglaw placement isn't necessarily 500+ firms.

I can't speak to the underemployment score, generally not a good sign, but who knows, maybe that'll be reduced for the next class.

True. If you look at biglaw with 150+ attorneys it's probably similar. Also, from what I recall ND is one of the top 10 schools for federal clerkships and its much more competitive to get one of those positions than a biglaw job in general. Once you add up biglaw + federal clerkship ND probably has the edge. A lot of ND grads also take midlaw because they're from secondary markets in the Midwest and across the country while many could get biglaw if they wanted. That's what I gather from at least.

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smile0751
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby smile0751 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:00 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:south bend sucks a big one


Okay, it's not THAT bad. But if you are coming from LA, there might be a bit of a culture shock. It's a medium-sized town, but you do have all the normal amenities (i.e. whole foods, chipotle, decent food, etc) within driving distance.

People who go to ND do seem to love it and the experience.

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romothesavior
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby romothesavior » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:12 pm

Between these, USC easily, but retake is TCR.

thebobs1987
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby thebobs1987 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:51 pm

kbuckley177 wrote:
pamphleteer wrote:Most people will tell you to retake and that certainly seems like the right answer here. You have an excellent GPA and could be looking at serious $$$ from the T14 with just a few more points on the LSAT.

As for these two options, it depends on where you want to practice. If it's L.A., USC. If it's Chicago, ND. If it's anywhere else, ND is probably ever so slightly more portable but it ultimately doesn't matter because these are both regional schools. Knowing nothing about your goals I'd lean ND just because COA will probably be significantly lower but then again living in L.A. for three years >>>> living in South Bend, Indiana.


To some extent, portability is a concern of mine. I don't want to limit my options any more than I have to. I know USC is better for the LA market, but what about outside of LA?


USC's main market is LA, ND's main market is Chicago. ND and USC have some portability outside those markets if you are at the the very top of your class and/or have strong ties. But if you care about portability, retake and go to a t14 with a scholarship.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: USC vs Notre Dame (both with 120k)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:42 am

For class of 2013 Notre Dame was at 33.7% for biglaw+fed clerk while USC was at 33.6%. So dead even. But since then USC's class size has dipped a little while Notre Dame's has increased.

With non-T14 schools your best bet is to go near where you have ties. It sounds like that's USC for you. If portability is important you need to retake for T-14, although even then you're not necessarily going to be able to end up just anywhere.




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