How much debt is too much for UChicago?

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

Is UChicago worth $160K-$180K in debt?

Yes
31
72%
No
12
28%
 
Total votes: 43

Nomad17
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How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:42 pm

I don't think I want to do biglaw for long (as if that's a realistic option anyway), but I don't mind doing it and living cheap for a while to pay off debt. I have zero ties to Chicago, strong ties to Minneapolis/upper midwest (Big Ten undergrad), weak ties to Texas, and decent ties to a few places in the southeast. I would like to work in the midwest or Texas ideally. Interested in land use, real estate, and environmental law.

Also married, so my spouse can provide some income while in school and afterwards (though spouse doesn't have a high-paying career and nothing guaranteed in Chicago). Estimated COA is around $160K-$180K.

This is by far my top choice right now and I'm just curious to see if TLS says it's worth it. Thanks!

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ballcaps
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby ballcaps » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:49 pm

most, including myself, will ask for more info.

e.g. how are you paying for school? did you receive a scholarship? what are your other options?

in a vacuum, this is a tough question to answer.

Nomad17
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:59 pm

ballcaps wrote:most, including myself, will ask for more info.

e.g. how are you paying for school? did you receive a scholarship? what are your other options?

in a vacuum, this is a tough question to answer.


Fair enough. Being financed through a combination of loans, scholarships, (very small) savings, and conservatively estimated spousal income. The COA listed is estimated debt at graduation.

Other options I'm considering are:
UMN, Iowa, and UIUC for about $60-$70K COA
Texas for around $100K-$120K
Northwestern and Duke in the neighborhood of $140K

Not in at HYS, and not as interested in Columbia/NYU/Penn because cost would be same or more and I feel like Chicago might give me more geographic flexibility with the markets I'm interested in.

Edit: I should add that I'm pretty debt averse, but attending a school like UChicago has always been a sort of dream of mine. None of my family or friends has ever achieved anything close to attending an elite school and I think it would be cool to reach that level (feel free to criticize me as a prestige-whore, it's partially true).

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby zombie mcavoy » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:09 pm

I think that's a reasonable price to pay for UC. Knowing nothing else, and comparing it to your other options, I would go for it.

There's certainly risk involved, but I think this is a reasonable risk to take.

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ballcaps
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby ballcaps » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:12 pm

hmm.

if you want to work in texas, UT at 100k is a (very?) solid outcome.

minn and iowa at that cost are good choices, but only if you want to work in those states or adjoining states.

given your situation, the answer to your question entirely depends on you. personally, i would not attend uchi at 170k, but that's not to say it would be inappropriate for others to do so.

Nomo
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomo » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:14 pm

It would also be helpful if we had some idea of what you want to do. Law is a service profession: Whose interests do you want to serve? What practice areas are you interested? Do you want to work for the government, a law firm, or a non-profit? Do you think you are the kind of person who can bring in clients and develop your own business?

Also, if given a choice between biglaw in New York and a small firm paying 50k in a place you want to live, which would you pick?

I think Chicago at that price is defensible for someone who really wants to do Anti-trust or capital markets and is willing to put in a few years in NY if need be. But if you want to do family law and hope to start your own firm one day, then you definitely should not pick Chicago.

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bearsfan23
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby bearsfan23 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:17 pm

ballcaps wrote:hmm.

if you want to work in texas, UT at 100k is a (very?) solid outcome.

minn and iowa at that cost are good choices, but only if you want to work in those states or adjoining states.

given your situation, the answer to your question entirely depends on you. personally, i would not attend uchi at 170k, but that's not to say it would be inappropriate for others to do so.



Saying UT at $100k is a very solid outcome but Chicago at $170k is not is a fucking joke. I have no idea why people draw these arbitrarily small lines with regards to debt.

As a Chicago 2L, I can say if you want Texas BigLaw, it is very easy to get from here (its not guaranteed, but you have a great chance), even from the bottom of the class.

Considering the difference between getting BigLaw and striking out is usually worth almost $100k in the first year alone, please disregard everything ballcaps said in your decision-making process

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ballcaps
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby ballcaps » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:21 pm

bearsfan23 wrote:
ballcaps wrote:hmm.

if you want to work in texas, UT at 100k is a (very?) solid outcome.

minn and iowa at that cost are good choices, but only if you want to work in those states or adjoining states.

given your situation, the answer to your question entirely depends on you. personally, i would not attend uchi at 170k, but that's not to say it would be inappropriate for others to do so.



Saying UT at $100k is a very solid outcome but Chicago at $170k is not is a fucking joke. I have no idea why people draw these arbitrarily small lines with regards to debt.

As a Chicago 2L, I can say if you want Texas BigLaw, it is very easy to get from here (its not guaranteed, but you have a great chance), even from the bottom of the class.

Considering the difference between getting BigLaw and striking out is usually worth almost $100k in the first year alone, please disregard everything ballcaps said in your decision-making process


glad to see uchi students holding down their clearly well-deserved reputation!

also 170k is 70% more debt than 100k, just fyi.

Nomad17
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:24 pm

Could I bring in clients? I don't know.

But, I'm interested in real estate development and land use work. I've always been interested in those topics within and outside the legal profession.

I'd be ok working for a smaller/mid-sized firm that does a lot of that type of work, but I don't particularly want to end up working for some small firm doing family law and personal injury, etc. I should add that I have a few years of law firm experience (in an area unrelated to my interests).

Hope this helps.

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:28 pm

What are your numbers?

And the cost of attendance numbers you listed is how much debt you'll be in at graduation? So there's also money being spent out of pocket that isn't included in those numbers?

I guess gun to my head I go with UChicago

Bears- Are Chicago kids routinely getting Texas big law pretty much regardless of grades/ties? I've always heard it's easy to get from there, just wondering what your experience was during the most recent OCI. Was it mostly kids from Texas or was it also people with weak ties? If it's the latter, I think that tips the scales even more in Chicago's favor.

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2014
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby 2014 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:30 pm

If Chicago is not worth 160-180k god save 75% of my class.


It depends on what your foregone non-legal career would be, your personal value on being a lawyer, and your legal career goals, but sticker here is more than justifiable for many. For you specifically, 40-80k difference between here and UT is nothing to scoff at but the difference between praying for top 1/3 and competing against people with better ties than you and being safe to median and below here (plus having viable backup markets) is cost justified imo.

If you were thinking of staying in Chicago or MAYBE New York I might say save the 20-40k and do NU or Duke, but our Texas and Midwest secondary placement is better than either.


Zuck Idk the current 2Ls well, but we (3Ls) had a few non-ties non-LR people get Texas BL. I can think of maybe one person who wanted it and didn't get it and I think her issue was mostly bidding and not great grades.

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skers
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby skers » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:30 pm

Make sure you're being super conservative in your estimates (not taking into account SA income for example) and factoring in things like interest for loans. Real COA will almost certainly be higher than what you think it will be, since removing yourself from the workforce for three years is pretty fucking expensive.

As someone who's graduating big law secure from UofC w/ $140k in debt, I wish I'd followed some of the money, but there's a bias in assuming the same outcome w/o some of the downside. NW (especially if you can negotiate) is a really solid option since it gives you access to the same markets w/ lower COA.

And to Zuck, yeah, it seems like Texas from UofC is really easy to get.

Nomad17
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:35 pm

BigZuck wrote:What are your numbers?

And the cost of attendance numbers you listed is how much debt you'll be in at graduation? So there's also money being spent out of pocket that isn't included in those numbers?

I guess gun to my head I go with UChicago

Bears- Are Chicago kids routinely getting Texas big law pretty much regardless of grades/ties? I've always heard it's easy to get from there, just wondering what your experience was during the most recent OCI. Was it mostly kids from Texas or was it also people with weak ties? If it's the latter, I think that tips the scales even more in Chicago's favor.


Yes, COA numbers are total debt at graduation figures (again, estimated), including the minimal amount spent out of pocket + my spouse's estimated income...hope that makes sense.

Numbers are appx. 170/3.7x (sorry, don't want to give out exact numbers).

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:39 pm

I mean, there are worse things than 170K debt and 160K job in Dallas/Houston I guess (well, as long as you don't hate TX like a lot of people do). 170K just feels like an awful lot of debt just to pursue big law, the majority of the class at Chicago be damned.

With those numbers, I would ED NU and be done with it I think.

eta: and I'm thinking of not just the 170K debt but also assuming at least 30K out of pocket if I'm reading that right

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Iwanttolawschool
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Iwanttolawschool » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:42 pm

Voted Yes. 0L here, don't pretend to be an expert, but I feel like things change in 3 years and the outcomes from Chicago are much better than alternatives. Chicago owns the Midwest, reaches the Texas market, and does well in NYC. Personally, I feel like that "safety net" is worth the extra 60-80k in the long-term.
Again, I'm an 0L so take it with a grain of salt

Nomad17
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:46 pm

Thanks for all the input so far.

BigZuck wrote:I mean, there are worse things than 170K debt and 160K job in Dallas/Houston I guess (well, as long as you don't hate TX like a lot of people do). 170K just feels like an awful lot of debt just to pursue big law, the majority of the class at Chicago be damned.

With those numbers, I would ED NU and be done with it I think.

eta: and I'm thinking of not just the 170K debt but also assuming at least 30K out of pocket if I'm reading that right


Just as a reminder, I would like working in TX and would certainly target there, but it's not the only place I'm interested in. Minneapolis would be sweet, as would Chicago, and I'm open to NYC (though it would kind of suck to work biglaw hours and not enjoy the actual biglaw salary because of insane rent).

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UnicornHunter
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby UnicornHunter » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:48 pm

I don't think it's too much, but I also think that you might be able to swing an even better deal somewhere else. Chicago definitely does have a pipeline to Texas though.

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elterrible78
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby elterrible78 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:51 pm

2014 wrote:Zuck Idk the current 2Ls well, but we (3Ls) had a few non-ties non-LR people get Texas BL. I can think of maybe one person who wanted it and didn't get it and I think her issue was mostly bidding and not great grades.


I know of three 2Ls who did the same.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:52 pm

Try to negotiate and go to NW/Cornell for 100k if possible me

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:12 pm

Nomad17 wrote:Thanks for all the input so far.

BigZuck wrote:I mean, there are worse things than 170K debt and 160K job in Dallas/Houston I guess (well, as long as you don't hate TX like a lot of people do). 170K just feels like an awful lot of debt just to pursue big law, the majority of the class at Chicago be damned.

With those numbers, I would ED NU and be done with it I think.

eta: and I'm thinking of not just the 170K debt but also assuming at least 30K out of pocket if I'm reading that right


Just as a reminder, I would like working in TX and would certainly target there, but it's not the only place I'm interested in. Minneapolis would be sweet, as would Chicago, and I'm open to NYC (though it would kind of suck to work biglaw hours and not enjoy the actual biglaw salary because of insane rent).


Yeah, no, I got it. Midwest and Texas.

I mean, go for it. Chicago is a great school. Just because I think spending like 200K for that outcome isn't worth it doesn't mean much. Most people here would probably happily spend that kind of money for a Chicago degree. Before you do it though please do listen to what skers and the terrible one have to say about the school and the debt (don't listen to 2014 though, he's just an automated UChi shillbot)

Also keep in mind that if you got whatever Minneapolis calls big law there's a good chance you'll make less than 160K starting out and perhaps a lot less.

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby zombie mcavoy » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:16 pm

I would not advise UT here. UT is good to great if Texas (i.e. Houston or Dallas) is the place you want to be long-term. If you have a substantial interest in going back to the Midwest at some point, though, I would pretty strongly advise you to not come here.

Feel free to PM if you want to chat about it.
Last edited by zombie mcavoy on Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cannibal ox
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby cannibal ox » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:20 pm

I'll echo the above. I've got almost an identical background to you, and I'd go to UChicago over UT despite the cost.

Disclaimer: 1L at UT, haven't paid back a single dollar in loan money.

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jbagelboy
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:06 am

I think Chicago is worth $180k. It's worth as much as any other law degree from an objective standpoint for your goals. Congratulations on your achievements, I bet your family is very proud.

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2014
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby 2014 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:41 am

The shill criticism against me is usually valid, but it seems misguided here since I made the disclaimer that the debt one should take out is heavily dependent on opportunity cost, subjective desire to be a lawyer, and career goals once in the legal field.

To claim that U.Chi (or call it Penn or Columbia to mitigate my perceived bias) is not worth 180k or even sticker for someone who 1. Actually wants to be a lawyer, 2. Would otherwise be in a low paying job they didn't prefer and 3. wants either the big law --> standard exit option or LRAP eligible job is just poor advice.

To use myself as an example... I had a below median UGPA in a social science from a decent school and wanted to be a lawyer. Had I not gone to law school I would have likely moved back home or to the nearest big city to home and been a loan officer at a local bank or a property manager at a development company making 45k plus benefits. I wanted and will have a market paying firm job, am under no delusions that my odds of partnership are at or higher than average, and am perfectly content to exit to the average job that people at my future firm in my future practice group exit to. By virtue of going to law school and taking out (more than) 180k debt, my career earnings and probably satisfaction, even when considering what is likely to be 3-5 brutal years, are exponentially higher than they would have been. There is rarely a day I don't regret being a shit show in college because it certainly cost me more than 100 grand, but the decision to attend at the price I did was one I'd make over and over and one I can sleep well at night advocating others to make if they fall into the same categories I put myself.

That same story basically applies to a HUGE chunk of T13 matriculants and for those the debt sucks, there's no way around it, but that doesn't mean it is "too much". The people who should really be dissuaded are those taking out debt who don't actually want to be lawyers (and of course they will never admit it either here or to themselves), those who are giving up careers that are otherwise satisfying and sufficiently well paying, and those who should retake (perhaps OP).

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:24 am

2014 wrote:The shill criticism against me is usually valid, but it seems misguided here since I made the disclaimer that the debt one should take out is heavily dependent on opportunity cost, subjective desire to be a lawyer, and career goals once in the legal field.

To claim that U.Chi (or call it Penn or Columbia to mitigate my perceived bias) is not worth 180k or even sticker for someone who 1. Actually wants to be a lawyer, 2. Would otherwise be in a low paying job they didn't prefer and 3. wants either the big law --> standard exit option or LRAP eligible job is just poor advice.

To use myself as an example... I had a below median UGPA in a social science from a decent school and wanted to be a lawyer. Had I not gone to law school I would have likely moved back home or to the nearest big city to home and been a loan officer at a local bank or a property manager at a development company making 45k plus benefits. I wanted and will have a market paying firm job, am under no delusions that my odds of partnership are at or higher than average, and am perfectly content to exit to the average job that people at my future firm in my future practice group exit to. By virtue of going to law school and taking out (more than) 180k debt, my career earnings and probably satisfaction, even when considering what is likely to be 3-5 brutal years, are exponentially higher than they would have been. There is rarely a day I don't regret being a shit show in college because it certainly cost me more than 100 grand, but the decision to attend at the price I did was one I'd make over and over and one I can sleep well at night advocating others to make if they fall into the same categories I put myself.

That same story basically applies to a HUGE chunk of T13 matriculants and for those the debt sucks, there's no way around it, but that doesn't mean it is "too much". The people who should really be dissuaded are those taking out debt who don't actually want to be lawyers (and of course they will never admit it either here or to themselves), those who are giving up careers that are otherwise satisfying and sufficiently well paying, and those who should retake (perhaps OP).


Maybe I should have included a ;)?

I dunno man. Honestly, I didn't read your post, it was too long. I assume it was about why Chicago is worth 170K debt (plus paying more out of pocket). I don't really think it's worth it here because that would be to "just" get big law and NU (with an ED scholarship which I think the OP should have gone for) should do that trick quite nicely. Also, I'm not sure why the OP should even pursue big law. He said he'd do it to pay off debt. But that's kind of circular. Go into debt to pay off debt? He said he's interested in real estate law and some other types of law which aren't exclusive to big firms, or that one would neccessarily need a big firm background to get. Unless I'm misunderstanding the type of work he's interested in, it wouldn't surprise me if he could get that kind of job out of, say, UIUC. And he wouldn't have BIG DEBT hanging over him.




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