UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

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

Which school should I choose?

Poll ended at Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:30 am

Chicago
32
84%
UVA
6
16%
 
Total votes: 38

ladybug92
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UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby ladybug92 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:30 am

Right now I am choosing between two schools - UVA and UChicago. As the subject states, I am looking at sticker for both, and I was hoping to get some advice on which one I should choose.
- I have also been accepted to UCLA and USC ($90k/year) and wait listed at Northwestern and Berkeley. I am waiting to hear back from Duke, NYU and Columbia, but I am not expecting anything.

UVA COA: $281,511
UChicago COA: $299,839
I am not particularly debt averse and would not have a problem with needing to use a good chunk of my income to pay back my loans.

I will be financing my education entirely through loans. I received my fin aid package from UVA today and received no scholarships. I haven't received my package from UChicago, but I assume it will be all loans as well.

I am originally from LA but do not really want to stay here long term. I would prefer to practice on the East Coast but I would be fine with practicing in Chicago as well. As for my general career goals, I want biglaw and would be interested in any international opportunities as my career progresses (maybe 10 years down the line). I am not really concerned about the workload - I know it is a very stressful environment and people often quit biglaw after a few years but I know I will be able to handle it. I am not the type of person that minds committing myself to the job.

My numbers: 3.9X GPA, 163 LSAT. I have taken the LSAT three times, so a retake is not an option for me. I already took this year off to take the LSAT again and did not perform better. (Just an aside - I have a history of scoring poorly on standardized tests and wrote an addendum to that effect with copies of my previous standardized test scores attached.)

I know UChicago has better job prospects/placement stats. It also has the quarter system and a smaller class size (both of which I really like). I have not yet visited either school yet (I will be attending ASW at both), and I enjoy living in a big city but think Charlottesville sounds nice. I also like that UVA has study abroad opportunities and has an externship-for-credit program (which UChicago does not). So I am really torn.

The questions I have:
- Which of these schools do you think I should choose and why?
- Are the differences between them (in terms of job prospects/opportunities) really that great? I know neither school guarantees me a job but is UChicago safer?
- Do you think I would be able to leverage my UChicago acceptance for some scholarship money at UVA? I know it wouldn't be a lot because of my LSAT score, but I just want to know if it is possible, especially since I was seriously considering UVA before I received my financial aid package.
- What is the worst case scenario if I don't get biglaw? Would PI and LRAP be an option?
- Also, I'm just curious if paying sticker is common for some students at these highly ranked schools. I was reading the accepted students threads today and it seems as if a lot of people did not receive any scholarships, so I was just wondering how many others rely completely on loans as well.

I would appreciate any advice you guys have on my situation, especially if you are currently paying sticker at a T-14 and/or are attending either of these schools. Thank you!
Last edited by ladybug92 on Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby Mal Reynolds » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:33 am

Don't go. Find something better to do until you can retake the LSAT.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:45 am

Add "neither" to the poll
That will be the winner

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runinthefront
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby runinthefront » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:49 am

If I had to choose, I would go with Chicago simply because it gives you the bigger safety net. It'll take you to the East Coast and you will almost assuredly get biglaw if you want it; however, I think you'd be best served--even if you don't retake--sitting out and blanketing the entire T-14 + a few decent schools that kinda serve the Chicago market/East Coast. Hell, I have a friend who was offered a full ride at GWU with a 3.9/160 from a state school ( couldn't believe it either)...I would definitely take that over Chicago sticker.

I wouldn't go to either school at sticker and can't encourage anyone (in good faith) to pay $300,000 (which will be much, much more if you're paying it off over ten years) for a legal degree in this economy. This isn't because the likelihood of getting big law from either of these schools is bad--it's fantastic at Chicago and pretty dang good at UVA too; surviving biglaw without getting shitcanned or hating your life is the issue. You're going to gamble $300,000 (but really, much, much more) for a job that you may end up hating....only to work long hours for years and years just to break even--with the shadow of crippling debt hanging over you. I don't know if that's worth it.
Last edited by runinthefront on Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby DoveBodyWash » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:50 am

ladybug92 wrote:I would appreciate any advice you guys have on my situation, especially if you are currently paying sticker at a T-14 and/or are attending either of these schools. Thank you!

I go to Chicago, but i transferred from a full ride so i'm paying sticker for two years (but not all of this is loan financed)

ladybug92 wrote:- I have also been accepted to UCLA and USC ($90k/year) and wait listed at Northwestern and Berkeley. I am waiting to hear back from Duke, NYU and Columbia, but I am not expecting anything.

I still think it's too early to make a final decision. I would negotiate with all the schools you're eventually admitted to. Try using UCLA/USC scholarship to negotiate with UVA/UChicago and using UChicago to negotiate with UVA. You'll have a better idea of your likely final options by May. But you could also deposit at multiple schools and continue to negotiate into the summer.

ladybug92 wrote:My numbers: 3.9X GPA, 163 LSAT. I have taken the LSAT three times, so a retake is not an option for me. I already took this year off to take the LSAT again and did not perform better. (Just an aside - I have a history of scoring poorly on standardized tests and wrote an addendum to that effect with copies of my previous standardized test scores attached.)

Seems a shame to leave a 3.9X on the table...Personally i think it might be worth it to try the LSAT one more time even if it means getting a job or doing something else for a year. Plenty of people do that with less upside potential. I took a year off and it was a pretty good decision in retrospect.

ladybug92 wrote:I have not yet visited either school yet (I will be attending ASW at both), and I enjoy living in a big city but think Charlottesville sounds nice.

Dunno how Chicago stacks up against Charlottesville...but you'll almost certainly like UVA better than UChicago in terms of the immediate campus and surrounding area.

ladybug92 wrote:- Are the differences between them (in terms of job prospects/opportunities) really that great? I know neither school guarantees me a job but is UChicago safer?

Don't have much knowledge about UVA's job prospects other than that their OCI isn't full lottery, so you might want to ask some UVA students about that and how the mixed preselect/lottery system affects their prospects.

ladybug92 wrote:- What is the worst case scenario if I don't get biglaw? Would PI and LRAP be an option?

Not sure about UVA...but i don't know many people here who wanted BigLaw and didn't get it. I've heard of a few and I'm not sure what their plans are. I've heard through the grapevine that at least 2 students got jobs after OCI through mass mailing and stuff. You should compare the LRAP between Chicago and UVA (not sure if there's a meaningful difference though)

ladybug92 wrote:- Also, I'm just curious if paying sticker is common for some students at these highly ranked schools. I was reading the accepted students threads today and it seems as if a lot of people did not receive any scholarships, so I was just wondering how many others rely completely on loans as well.

Actually most of my non-transfer friends here (granted I'm not friends with the entire class or anything) are receiving some kind of scholarship. Don't have precise numbers but a lot of them were lured away from other schools. Split between kids that had HYS but got Ruby or comparative offer and those that got full rides (or close to) at DCNG et al but Chicago offered them enough to tilt the scales.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:08 am

Wut. How did you even get into these schools with a 163

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jbagelboy
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Chicago.

BigZuck
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:37 pm

Those debt loads made me sad

Retake or aim lower, IMO

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby zombie mcavoy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:27 pm

If you're gonna do it do Chicago. The safe move here is sitting out, building a different career, and reassessing down the line with a better LSAT.

But at the same time, it seems that paying close to sticker is pretty common at UC. The median grant is like less than 15K IIRC from the 509, and only like 70 some percent of students get any grant. That's hardly a drop in the bucket for the full COA. As I'd imagine your earning power is going to be greatly increased w/ a UC degree over what you're doing now, I am sympathetic to the idea that sitting out for two years to retake is not necessarily worth it. But if you've got any kind of legit career going right now, this change would be irresponsible.

This is still a huge risk and there's a great chance you'll regret it, though.

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goldenflash19
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:30 pm

Are you a URM? If so, even just a few more points puts you in major scholarship/HYS range.

I maxed out my takes too but listened to TLS and waited. I used noodleyone's guide and jumped 7 points. It was the best decision of my life. Taking time off is initially scary, but it was the best decision I ever made, and I honestly wish I had taken one more year off.

Don't take out this crazy debt when you can take time off, get WE, increase your score, and change your outcomes dramatically.

WheninLaw
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby WheninLaw » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:35 pm

No problem saying this as a current UoC student: Neither.

concernedparent
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby concernedparent » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:43 pm

This is insane. 300k COA financed entirely by loans?! My friend took out 270k for H, he's in biglaw now. Ask him how it feels to work 80 hours a week and spend 50% of his take-home on loans+housing for the next 10 years.

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cron1834
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby cron1834 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:56 pm

If you're IN at Chicago, you should get money from lower T14s. Did you apply to Cornell, Mich, etc? This is premature anyway until the other schools report back.

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jbagelboy
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:46 pm

concernedparent wrote:This is insane. 300k COA financed entirely by loans?! My friend took out 270k for H, he's in biglaw now. Ask him how it feels to work 80 hours a week and spend 50% of his take-home on loans+housing for the next 10 years.


Yea your friend fucked up.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:01 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
concernedparent wrote:This is insane. 300k COA financed entirely by loans?! My friend took out 270k for H, he's in biglaw now. Ask him how it feels to work 80 hours a week and spend 50% of his take-home on loans+housing for the next 10 years.


Yea your friend fucked up.


Sad thing is probably at least half the class does that

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby BruceWayne » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:13 pm

Are you interested in purchasing a home after graduating?

Are you interested in renting a nice apartment after graduating?

Are you interested in working something other than biglaw?

Are you interested in getting married?


If you answered yes to any of those questions then going to any school for sticker is not for you.

wons
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby wons » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:28 pm

Please don't do this. There is nothing that hurts your likelihood of success as a biglaw associate more than having that kind of debt hanging over your head. I'm a midlevel associate at a good firm, I know of what I speak.

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AT9
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby AT9 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:09 pm

That level of debt sounds terrifying no matter the school. Your numbers will get you a full ride at a number of tier 1 schools. If you're set on pursuing law and won't retake, I'd go to a regional tier 1 type school with $$$ in the geographic area you want (unless the lower T14 offers decent $).

As someone who regrets not retaking and aiming for a T14 school who is now at a tier 1 on a large scholarship, I would still rather be here looking at $40K-$50K in debt than looking at $300k+ from anywhere else. At least if you crash and burn 1L year, you can afford to cut your losses and try something else.

thatsnotmyname
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby thatsnotmyname » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:19 pm

wons wrote:Please don't do this. There is nothing that hurts your likelihood of success as a biglaw associate more than having that kind of debt hanging over your head. I'm a midlevel associate at a good firm, I know of what I speak.


I'm curious as to what makes you say this? Why would biglaw associates with large debt burdens be less successful than associates with less debt burden? I'm speaking of success purely in terms of success at work. I would think that the associates with and without debt would be equally judged on the quality of their work product and other factors.

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jbagelboy
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:14 pm

thatsnotmyname wrote:
wons wrote:Please don't do this. There is nothing that hurts your likelihood of success as a biglaw associate more than having that kind of debt hanging over your head. I'm a midlevel associate at a good firm, I know of what I speak.


I'm curious as to what makes you say this? Why would biglaw associates with large debt burdens be less successful than associates with less debt burden? I'm speaking of success purely in terms of success at work. I would think that the associates with and without debt would be equally judged on the quality of their work product and other factors.


if you've ever worked in any professional capacity whatsoever, you realize how closely happiness and human stamina correlates with performance and success.

wons
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Re: UVA vs. UChicago - both at sticker

Postby wons » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:11 am

thatsnotmyname wrote:
wons wrote:Please don't do this. There is nothing that hurts your likelihood of success as a biglaw associate more than having that kind of debt hanging over your head. I'm a midlevel associate at a good firm, I know of what I speak.


I'm curious as to what makes you say this? Why would biglaw associates with large debt burdens be less successful than associates with less debt burden? I'm speaking of success purely in terms of success at work. I would think that the associates with and without debt would be equally judged on the quality of their work product and other factors.


Picking the tomatoes in your backyard with the warm sun shining on your back is a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Picking the tomatoes in your master's farm with the hot sun scorching your skin is the cruel torture of slavery.

And if you don't think the difference shows in work product, just wait a few years and you'll change your mind.




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