Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

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Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Columbia (sticker)
6
16%
UCLA ($$$)
28
76%
Other
3
8%
 
Total votes: 37

ub3r
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Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:24 pm

Finally, it's my chance to make one of these threads. It's really come down to these two schools.

Columbia: ~$310k debt-financed COA (paying sticker, or receiving a 10k-20k pittance if I'm lucky)
UCLA: ~$100k - $120k debt-financed COA (receiving 40k per year + resident tuition = I'm pretty much just paying to live there)

173 LSAT/3.6x GPA

I'm from northern California, and I feel like I have decent ties here. I want to end up in California, and I have a longtime girlfriend here. She is a teacher with California credentials, and although she is willing to move with me (god bless her), staying in this state makes her life much easier. I went to undergrad in Massachusetts, so I also have some ties (unemployed friends) over there.

On the whole, I'm not really gunning for Biglaw, and although the money is nice, I can't look myself in the mirror and say I'd be able to tolerate the lifestyle for very long. That said, I could pull 3-4 years of Biglaw if it meant lateraling into something great. Public policy is still an option (says every 0L), and I know Columbia at sticker would squash that. I'd ultimately like to work for the government.

My family can provide me with some money (maybe 50-100k?), but since they already financed my private undergrad I'd rather not dip into any more of their savings, even with loans.

REASONS FOR UCLA:
-Tuition is $5k a year, and I might be able to make that $0 after negotiation.
-I can foster LA/NorCal connections while still in school more readily than I can in NYC.
-I like living in California more than New England.
-Easier on relationship with girlfriend.

REASONS FOR COLUMBIA:
-Preftige
-Those beautiful employment numbers
-More portable than a UCLA degree (which might not matter if I'm sticking to CA)

This is pretty clear-cut, right? Unless Columbia offers me above 1/3 tuition (not gonna happen, I think), I don't think I can justify the cost. Especially since NYC Biglaw, despite the money and resume padding, doesn't really appeal to me.


Other info for the TLS strategists:
-NYU (sticker)
-UMich ($75k scholarship)
-Duke (financial aid pending)
-USC ($135k scholarship, which still makes it more expensive than UCLA)
-No Berkeley (sadness)
-Almost definitely no Stanford (pipe dream)

I would love to join BigFed, like the SEC or FCC, but I realize the odds so I didn't mention it. I'm assuming Columbia >>> UCLA for that.

PS: Thanks to everyone who's answered my questions on TLS. Despite the cynicism, this is a fun, helpful community.

03152016
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby 03152016 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:30 pm

cls fully debt-financed sticker is indefensible. did you only apply to cls, nyu, mich, duke, usc, berk, and ucla?
172-74/3.6x should get you some very good offers in the lower t14

kingpin101
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby kingpin101 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:33 pm

Remember to negotiate, especially between USC and UCLA. But there's no way CLS sticker is worth it.

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UCLAHopeful2015
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby UCLAHopeful2015 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:35 pm

kingpin101 wrote:Remember to negotiate, especially between USC and UCLA. But there's no way CLS sticker is worth it.



+1 I'd say its pretty safe to assume you could get that $$$ up from UCLA especially with your numbers

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LawsRUs
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby LawsRUs » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:36 pm

Hey. Yea, seems pretty clear cut.

Alan Grant
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Alan Grant » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:37 pm

Given what you have said, if I were you choosing between CLS at sticker and UCLA almost free, I would go for UCLA (though I do recommend trying to get that to a full ride). Having said that, I would also wait and see if you can get some good money out of Duke--it is a great school. You are at about their 25th for GPA but way over their 75th for LSAT, and in this cycle LSATS over 170 are very valuable. You could be looking at some good money from them.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Capitol_Idea » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:39 pm

Don't do CLS sticker. UCLA for virtually free is good - reapplying for t14 $$ could be OK but if 'prestige'/BigLaw doesn't matter to you I wouldn't bother giving yourself the stress of another cycle.

ub3r
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:46 pm

Brut wrote:cls fully debt-financed sticker is indefensible. did you only apply to cls, nyu, mich, duke, usc, berk, and ucla?
172-74/3.6x should get you some very good offers in the lower t14

Didn't apply to UChicago, UPenn, Northwestern. Got into Cornell and Georgetown too, but no offers yet. Rejected from Harvard, pending at UVA (where I don't want to go).

And when I say 3.6x I really mean <3.64. Was going for anonymity but I see how a 3.69 might change things.

kingpin101 wrote:Remember to negotiate, especially between USC and UCLA. But there's no way CLS sticker is worth it.

I already got USC to up their offer to what I posted, and I do intend to go back to UCLA. The extra 15k would be fantastic but I'm already really happy with my UCLA offer.

Alan Grant wrote:Having said that, I would also wait and see if you can get some good money out of Duke--it is a great school. You are at about their 25th for GPA but way over their 75th for LSAT, and in this cycle LSATS over 170 are very valuable. You could be looking at some good money from them.

I've thought about this. But to be honest, I really don't want to live at Duke and I can't imagine dragging my girlfriend out there. I wish I could tell you that we can suck it up and be apart for three years, but we already did that in undergrad and I really would rather not. Plus, how much more value does Duke bring to the table over UCLA if I'm targeting California? I also see how this might look like "guy picks worse school because love interest", but it's more than that. I have my own geographical preferences too. :)

edit: If Duke offered me a ton of money, I would definitely consider it very seriously. I suppose this thread is a little premature. Sorry.


For the most part I'm hearing "you'd be crazy to do sticker at CLS", which is sort of what I was hoping to hear.

redsoxfan1989
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby redsoxfan1989 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:45 pm

It's worth sending your UCLA offer to Cornell to negotiate if you are OK with NYC big law, with California big law as a possibility but not a certainty.

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Eladriel
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:25 pm

Brut wrote:cls fully debt-financed sticker is indefensible.


I know this is the party line. For the sake of us poor, stupid 0Ls can you/other TLS veterans provide the argument, not just the conclusion re: T6 sticker debt in-defensibility?

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Capitol_Idea » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:30 pm

Eladriel wrote:
Brut wrote:cls fully debt-financed sticker is indefensible.


I know this is the party line. For the sake of us poor, stupid 0Ls can you/other TLS veterans provide the argument, not just the conclusion re: T6 sticker debt in-defensibility?


Pulled one of my explanations on this from another thread:

Stepping out onto a shit-strewn limb attempting to qualify the 'sticker is bad decision' theme:

Sticker anywhere is 'bad' because anywhere you go, you pretty much need BigLaw to make it pay. Which means:

A. You don't do BigLaw and spend a crazy amount of time poor paying back debts while you 'live your dream.' = SUCKS
B. you didn't want to do BigLaw but have to and for years to pay things back = SUCKS
C. you think you want BigLaw but will have your soul ground to paste and/or you wash out anyway = SUCKS
D. you actually enjoy BigLaw, manage to get a stable career out of it either by lateraling out somewhere later or getting a profitable career by somehow making it to partner = LESS SUCK

D is the dream but hard to control for. Hoping to make partner is like hoping to become a federal judge at this point - it's almost ludicrous to plan for unless you are so well-prestiged and connected already. So you essentially have to 'know' that you will A. perform well, B. make it into BigLaw, C. ENJOY BigLaw work, D. not wash out before you pay your debts, and E. have a stable post-Law job after BigLaw into which you can have a stable career. On top of all this, you have to 'know' this before you even step in the door to law school.

Paying sticker on a theoretical level is not suicide. It's crazy expensive but so is medical school. The real problem is the likelihood of a 'good' outcome relative to the cost you're putting in. There are people who can make it work, but it would be irresponsible to blindly endorse this tactic.

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Eladriel
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:34 pm

Hahaha. I was just on that same thread reading your post!

And there's no room for "But it's Columbia..."?

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:38 pm

Eladriel wrote:no room for "But it's Columbia..."?

Not sure if serious

Big Dog
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Big Dog » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:39 pm

Dean Schwartz hates to lose folks, so get some $$ from Dook and get back to him.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Capitol_Idea » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:40 pm

That was my thinking before some delightful flaming poop hurled my way invited me to re-evaluate.

If you go look at section D from the above and can really answer those in the affirmative and not just through blind hubris, then it might be OK. Common wisdom here is that no one, or practically no one, can be that lucky and prescient.

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Eladriel
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:48 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Eladriel wrote:no room for "But it's Columbia..."?

Not sure if serious


Can I plead being liquored up as an excuse?

Sorry to hijack the thread. OP and I are almost clones from stats to choices.

ub3r
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:12 pm

Eladriel wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Eladriel wrote:no room for "But it's Columbia..."?

Not sure if serious


Can I plead being liquored up as an excuse?

Sorry to hijack the thread. OP and I are almost clones from stats to choices.

No problem at all. I'm glad you're asking the questions because a) I won't take the heat and b) It's good to see someone else grappling with the same problem.

It's crazy how much of a "don't do sticker at the most expensive school in the country" thread this is. I see them all the time and it's so straightforward, but when it's my decision it's much less clear.

What I'm hearing is "UCLA, but squeeze that extra cash out of them with other offers to really seal the deal". Seems really reasonable to me.

ub3r
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:14 pm

Big Dog wrote:Dean Schwartz hates to lose folks, so get some $$ from Dook and get back to him.

By the way, since you seem to know a little, is Dean Schwartz as cool as he seems? I mean, I know I'm getting 0L treatment from him but he seems like a genuinely nice guy.

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Eladriel
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:17 pm

ub3r wrote:
Eladriel wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Eladriel wrote:no room for "But it's Columbia..."?

Not sure if serious


Can I plead being liquored up as an excuse?

Sorry to hijack the thread. OP and I are almost clones from stats to choices.

No problem at all. I'm glad you're asking the questions because a) I won't take the heat and b) It's good to see someone else grappling with the same problem.

It's crazy how much of a "don't do sticker at the most expensive school in the country" thread this is. I see them all the time and it's so straightforward, but when it's my decision it's much less clear.

What I'm hearing is "UCLA, but squeeze that extra cash out of them with other offers to really seal the deal". Seems really reasonable to me.


Given that I'm drunk and also fear the TLS wrath I'll choose to argue from authority and quote Professor Paul Campos:

"The fundamental problem with the economics of legal education in America today is that an investment in a law degree only makes sense under one of two scenarios: If the graduate gets a high-paying job with a big law firm, or if the graduate is attending law school at a very heavily discounted price." (Campos 67)

"So where does all this leave the recent or not so recent college graduate, who is looking for a way out of the highly educated underemployment that has overtaken an entire generation of young Americans? What, I have been asked many times in the last few years by people in this position, are we supposed to do? It's an excellent question, and a good answer to it would require knowing much more than I do about the particular life circumstances of those who ask it. So the only answer I can give is a cautionary one: if you're thinking about going to law school, do your best to make sure you're not making a difficult situation worse. If you find you can't get into any of the tiny and shrinking handful (and by handful I mean three to six) of law schools that remain reasonable choices for many people even when paying full tuition, and if you don't have the option of attending any of the other seven to ten truly national law schools at a significantly reduced price, or any of three dozen or so good regional schools for little or nothing more than the opportunity cost, then you should wait... Don't catch a falling knife." (Campos 97)

Campos, Paul F. Don't Go to Law School (unless): A Law Professor's Inside Guide to Maximizing Opportunity and Minimizing Risk. [Colorado]: Paul Campos, 2012.

Please don't hurt me.

ub3r
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby ub3r » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:22 pm

Yeah but you left out the other part of what he said, which was "or any of three dozen or so good regional schools for little or nothing more than the opportunity cost".

That's what UCLA would fall under, and it's definitely closer to the top of the "three dozen" regionals than the bottom.

Edit: Or are you simply showing that there is support for T3/T6 even at sticker? I wouldn't say that Columbia at sticker is wrong 100% of the time, but I don't think I fall into the minority for which it would work. Mostly because I'm not "biglaw NYC, please".

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:26 pm

That's from a couple years ago and TLS has become more debt averse since then. Used to be HYS sticker was fine but now the hivemind usually can't stomach that.

Also, sticker is even more now than 2 years ago and they keep jacking up the price

One of the very dumbest things about sticker at a school like Columbia is that if you can get in you usually can go to a school like Cornell with a solid discount and not give up a whole lot when it comes to job prospects.

Anyway Columbia isn't even all that prestigious, most people probably just vaguely know it's a good school. If you want real prestige then just go to Harvard.

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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:28 pm

An anecdote:

I was at a CLS ASW event where the new Dean (Schizer) was present.

When the eddies of the networking event brought her near to me I seized the opportunity to speak truth to power and gave her the TLS party line that I'm now questioning (most expensive law school in the country in one of the most expensive cities in the world, what would she do as a new dean to address debt as a high barrier to those of her students wanting to enter the profession). Her answer was generous but still what you would expect out of a law school dean (I think of them as walking, breathing brochures for their institutions).

After making allowances for scholarships (need-based and merit-based financial aid) and for those who want to go into PI (LRAP, etc.) she said that choosing CLS is a "value-proposition." Columbia is one of the best schools for "lucrative job placement." She justified the high cost of attendance because "that's what it costs to run a premier law school."

ub3r wrote: Edit: Or are you simply showing that there is support for T3/T6 even at sticker? I wouldn't say that Columbia at sticker is wrong 100% of the time, but I don't think I fall into the minority for which it would work. Mostly because I'm not "biglaw NYC, please".


Yeah, this is what I meant by hijacking your thread. I'm not arguing against heavily discounted UCLA. I'm testing the waters for CLS at sticker price and biglaw or bust.
Last edited by Eladriel on Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:28 pm

BigZuck wrote:Anyway Columbia isn't even all that prestigious, most people probably just vaguely know it's a good school. If you want real prestige then just go to Harvard.


zing!

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Eladriel
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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby Eladriel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:30 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Anyway Columbia isn't even all that prestigious, most people probably just vaguely know it's a good school. If you want real prestige then just go to Harvard.


zing!


I was hoping jbagelboy would make an appearance on this thread.

Some of us can't get into Harvard. Respect for those who can though.

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Re: Columbia (sticker) vs UCLA ($$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:33 pm

Eladriel wrote:An anecdote:

I was at a CLS ASW event where the new Dean (Schizer) was present.

When the eddies of the networking event brought her near to me I seized the opportunity to speak truth to power and gave her the TLS party line that I'm now questioning (most expensive law school in the country in one of the most expensive cities in the world, what would she do as a new dean to address debt as a high barrier to those of her students wanting to enter the profession). Her answer was generous but still what you would expect out of a law school dean (I think of them as walking, breathing brochures for their institutions).

After making allowances for scholarships (need-based and merit-based financial aid) and for those who want to go into PI (LRAP, etc.) she said that choosing CLS is a "value-proposition." Columbia is one of the best schools for "lucrative job placement." She justified the high cost of attendance because "that's what it costs to run a premier law school."


Schizer is the old outgoing dean. You mean Gillian Lester.

Columbia is one of, if not the, best school for lucrative job placement. And it's still a positive EV proposition to borrow with interest to attend if your alternatives are all neutral (no substantial opportunity cost). The last line is why I have such a problem with administration. It just doesn't fucking cost that much. It really doesn't: that's a bullshit line that they (all law administrators) use to maintain a collective farce. Don't pay sticker to go to law school, period.




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