Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

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Broncos847
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Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Broncos847 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:11 pm

-Cornell with 45k scholarship vs. WUSTL with full ride
-Cornell COA $225k. Will be financing primarily through loans, but also have a good amount of savings, some parental contributions, health insurance (thanks Obama) etc. expecting total loans at time of repayment to be around 200k. (Less if all goes to plan and I receive a SA gig.)
- WashU: Probably no parental help if I take this route, I would expect total loans at time of repayment to be around 60k
- I'm from the east coast. The plan is to work BigLaw in NYC or Philadelphia (where I have significant ties).
-172 LSAT <3.5 GPA
-LSAT taken once

I love Cornell, and was pretty set on attending there before doing a little bit more math on exactly what 200k in loans looks like. I'm also pretty dead set on BigLaw, and have no ties to the Midwest. The offer from Cornell is reconsidered from 30k and I have no other leverage to use.

Also in at Vandy with 60k (not considering)
Waitlisted at Penn, UVA, Duke, Michigan, Columbia
Waiting to hear from NYU, Northwestern

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ILoveYou
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby ILoveYou » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:30 pm

Obligatory "retake/reapply."

But if you don't/can't do that, and you know you want NYC biglaw, I think it has to be Cornell. WUSTL doesn't give you a great shot at biglaw, especially on the East Coast, so if NYC or Philly biglaw is your goal I wouldn't choose that school. Not saying it isn't doable, but biglaw at all from WUSTL is an uphill battle, and being pickier about markets certainly won't make it easier. Cornell, on the other hand, has much better NYC biglaw placement, but I still wouldn't advise it at $200K COA.


I know NU still has a lot of $$ to send out, so if you get a good offer there, I would strongly consider it. Seems like they're being a little stingy with splitters this cycle, though, but you never know.

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Dog
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:38 pm

Cornell is much, much better for your goals but that's a lot of money to pay. I'd probably take Cornell as of right now. Hopefully you get some more offers and can up that $ figure a bit.

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Winston1984
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Winston1984 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:40 pm

Obligatory "retake/reapply."


Why? His LSAT isn't the problem, it's his gpa.

OP, I know you want NYC/Philly biglaw, and obviously Cornell is great for your goals. That's just too much for Cornell IMO. Honestly, I would probably roll with WUSTL here. Tough call.

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Dog
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:51 pm

WUSTL does have close to 30% Biglaw but only has around half of the BL/FC rate of Cornell. Cornell places very well in the Northeast, especially NYC. WUSTL places ~10% in NY vs. over 50% for Cornell.

Cornell might be a lot of money (maybe too much), but I think it's worth quite a bit more than WUSTL to the OP.

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Broncos847
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Broncos847 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:07 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. Yeah, this is shaping up to be a really tough decision. On one hand, choosing WUSTL gives me a relatively small chance at my goals and a huge chance I end up in a city I don't want to live in making 60k/yr with a still significant amount of debt. On the other hand, even if everything goes to plan at Cornell I will be paying off debt for god knows how long, and I do want to have kids one day. Tricky decision.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby ILoveYou » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:10 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
Obligatory "retake/reapply."


Why? His LSAT isn't the problem, it's his gpa.

OP, I know you want NYC/Philly biglaw, and obviously Cornell is great for your goals. That's just too much for Cornell IMO. Honestly, I would probably roll with WUSTL here. Tough call.



Right, but he can't do anything about his GPA. I'm thinking a higher LSAT is really all he can do to try to cut that $200k price tag down. That and more offers = more opportunity to negotiate. Not a splitter, though, so I guess that could be way off base.

Either way, I agree with Dog. If you're aiming for NYC biglaw, Cornell is worth way more than WUSTL. I wouldn't pay $200k for any school personally, but out of the two options here, I just don't see how WUSTL makes more sense.

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Dog
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:28 pm

It is definitely a tough call. I wonder what the NYC biglaw cutoff is for a typical WUSTL student, that would influence my decision. Maybe someone from there can weigh in on this.

It might be something weird where if you finish top/bottom 25% you're better off at WUSTL (imagine 200k debt and bottom quarter of the class), and if you finish middle 50% you're better off at Cornell (you could get your goal but wouldn't have at WUSTL). That's assuming similar performance at both, which isn't the safest assumption but yeah.

Jay2716
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Jay2716 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:17 pm

Dog wrote:It is definitely a tough call. I wonder what the NYC biglaw cutoff is for a typical WUSTL student, that would influence my decision. Maybe someone from there can weigh in on this.

It might be something weird where if you finish top/bottom 25% you're better off at WUSTL (imagine 200k debt and bottom quarter of the class), and if you finish middle 50% you're better off at Cornell (you could get your goal but wouldn't have at WUSTL). That's assuming similar performance at both, which isn't the safest assumption but yeah.


Since their LSAT medians are one point apart, I think assuming similar performance is far safer than assuming different performance.

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Dog
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:24 pm

The quality of the students is definitely similar. Still, other factors could lead to different performance.

For example, maybe OP would realize he needed higher grades at WUSTL for his goals, and that incentive would lead to him putting in more work and doing better there.

But yeah, I agree with you.

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Broncos847
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Broncos847 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:28 pm

I've read TCR is assuming median so that is what i'm doing. If any WUSTL students or grads are reading this, what is a likely outcome for a median student without any ties to St. Louis?

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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Yeezus » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:31 pm

Cornell. I'm in a somewhat similar position, and I just turned down a full ride from WUSTL today. Granted, my scholarship from Cornell was fairly big, but with your goals, I'd go with Cornell.

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lawdoggy
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby lawdoggy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:34 pm

WashU certainly seems like less of a gamble. 60k total debt vs. 210k+?

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Dog
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Dog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:35 pm

Is there a WUSTL thread in the ask a law student /graduate forum? I'd try there. If you assume your outcome is unpredictable your odds of being top/bottom quarter is as good as being middle 50th. Not sure why the assume median idea is so common. I think considering all possible ranks should be tcr.

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MagicMike80
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby MagicMike80 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:50 pm

I'm a WUStL --> HLS transfer. Median at WUStL does not get NYC biglaw. Top third has a chance, probably top 20% can reasonably rely on getting it. Likely outcome for a median student from WUStL will maybe be mid/small firm in your home market, or government, or the Vale.

Nomo
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Nomo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:59 pm

You are set on biglaw, but your only option that gives you a good shot at it comes with 225k in debt. The payments on that are just way too high. I don't think you should go to law school.

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TetrisBlock
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby TetrisBlock » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:12 pm

Cornell has a much better chance then WUSTL for biglaw, but it's still not a slamdunk. I could see Harvard/Columbia for 220k if you're willing to work long enough in biglaw to pay it off, but at Cornell you may not even have the option of working biglaw and paying it off. 220k of debt with a 60k income job. I would either take WUSTL, knowing that big law is unlikely but still possible, and graduate with pretty low debt, or I wouldn't go to law school.
I should add that I am going to WUSTL in the fall. But 60k in debt is manageable on a 60k income, and if you do happen to get biglaw you can be debt free very quickly.

CurvedSurface
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby CurvedSurface » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:12 pm

WUSTL person here. One advantage of WUSTL is that you'll be competing with fewer classmates to get into your preferred markets, especially Philadelphia, than at Cornell. Because you have significant ties in Philadelphia plus a pretty clear vision that you want to be there or NYC after law school, I would say WUSTL is the way to go. I think you'll just have to keep your eyes on the prize and keep up the networking hustle, even from a distance, from the get go. But I would also give that advice to just about most folks outside of the T6.

Cornell at $225K is a lot. JD with $60K from WUSTL is a good deal.

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Broncos847
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Broncos847 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:18 pm

Have an update, wondering if it changes the game. Had a sit down discussion with my parents today. My dad nearly had a heart attack when I told him Grad PLUS loans have interest rates around 8% and they are likely to rise. They agreed to cover whatever living expenses I can't come up with out of pocket for all three years. I plugged the new data in LST and my total debt at time of repayment will be 165k.

This assumes a 4% tuition hike each year, and doesn't include potential SA money which I would anticipate being around 10k. They wouldn't cover living expenses at WashU; I showed them the employment data and they think Cornell is TCR with a more manageable debt. Thoughts?

BigZuck
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby BigZuck » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:25 pm

I don't love 165K debt at Cornell but it's defensible. If you are dead set on big law in the northeast then take it IMO.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:30 pm

I would absolutely take on an extra $105k in debt to go to Cornell over WUSTL if my main goal was biglaw.

WheatThins
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby WheatThins » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:47 pm

Why will they cover living expenses in Ithaca but not in St. Louis?

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Broncos847
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby Broncos847 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:22 pm

WheatThins wrote:Why will they cover living expenses in Ithaca but not in St. Louis?


Not entirely sure what their reasoning is. I think they don't really want to contribute at all but they understand that attending Cornell would give me a much better chance at the career path I want, and they don't want me to be unable to attend due to financial restrictions. I think they are somewhat uncomfortable with helping me out too much because they've been pretty firm with giving money to my dead beat siblings.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby ILoveYou » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:27 pm

Given that update, take Cornell. While $165k is scary debt, for someone whose goal is east coast biglaw, Cornell is worth $105K more than WUSTL 11 times out of 10.

framboozer
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Re: Cornell ($) v. WUSTL ($$$$)

Postby framboozer » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:04 am

If your goal is BigLaw, are you willing to drop out if you get bad grades 1L year/strike out at OCI? In that case, you'd drop out before you accumulated most of that debt and if you did get BigLaw, you would also have your money from your 2L summer to put toward living expenses for 3L (and could also live at home for your 2L summer if you lived in Philly).

If all of this is true, I think that price at Cornell is defensible. Considering you have no ties to the Midwest and don't want to work there, WUSTL should be out of the question. With your stats, assuming GPA is not far below 3.5, I would contact the schools where you're on the waitlist and emphasize your continued interest. Your cycle is far from over.




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