UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

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

What do you think?

UCLA
0
No votes
Cornell
0
No votes
Northwestern
18
95%
WUSTL
1
5%
 
Total votes: 19

plaidisrad
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:56 pm

UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby plaidisrad » Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:15 pm

I'd really love some advice from the community on this one - any help is appreciated.

COA
I've used LST to calculate my estimated COA for the four schools in the poll; the figures below represent my debt load upon graduation:

UCLA: 106,352K
Cornell: 100K
Northwestern: 80K
WUSTL: 45K

STATS
My stats fall in the following range (I'd prefer not to list the exact numbers):

GPA: 3.90 - 3.96
LSAT: 168 - 170

GOALS
BigLaw is not a priority for me - I'm set on public interest, preferably a government agency, nonprofit, or boutique firm that deals with technology (privacy, cybersecurity, etc.). Got some related work experience, but not IP-level knowledge. No strong pull to St. Louis; have family in the Midwest, much closer to Chicago.

A little more about me:
I'm extremely debt-averse. The ~20K difference between Northwestern and Cornell matters a lot to me.
There's no particular market or geographic region that stands out as my ideal destination; I see myself on a coast, likely northeast, mid-Atlantic, or northwest, and I'd like to make sure those are options for me.

I'm really quite happy to have been offered great scholarships from Northwestern and Cornell, and it seems like a T14 at that debt load might be a no-brainer, but I can't ignore the extremely low cost of WUSTL - could the low cost offset its grim employment numbers?

Thanks again for the advice!
Last edited by plaidisrad on Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

hawnee86
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Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:04 am

Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby hawnee86 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:54 am

Seems like employment power + $ is the ultimate decider here, unless someoone has insight into a path to your interest that includes a bigger paycheck than normal PI work. If so, this might come down to the particular strength of each school in placing people in the niche you're interested in.

CanadianWolf
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:00 am

Northwestern appears to be the best option for you.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:02 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Northwestern appears to be the best option for you.

plaidisrad
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby plaidisrad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:05 pm

Thanks for the responses! Seems like the consensus so far is NU. I'd definitely be interested in hearing someone's reasoning - either someone with an opinion on my own decision or someone who's in a similar position.

BigZuck
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby BigZuck » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:28 pm

plaidisrad wrote:Thanks for the responses! Seems like the consensus so far is NU. I'd definitely be interested in hearing someone's reasoning - either someone with an opinion on my own decision or someone who's in a similar position.

Cuz NU is 35K better than WUSTL, basically the same school as Cornell but cheaper and closer to where you have ties, and UCLA makes no sense

I would definitely retake June and try to squeeze more money out of those bloodsuckers unless you're at a 150K scholarship already.

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby zombie mcavoy » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:42 pm

plaidisrad wrote:Thanks for the responses! Seems like the consensus so far is NU. I'd definitely be interested in hearing someone's reasoning - either someone with an opinion on my own decision or someone who's in a similar position.

Definitely go to Northwestern.

In general: for literally any circumstance that does not involve a STL native who wants to be in STL forever, Northwestern is worth an extra 30K relative to WUSTL.

Geographical preference: your lack of any real preference means you want geographic flexibility. Northwestern probably beats both WUSTL and Cornell here. Cornell will be respected anywhere, but its alumni base is extremely NYC-focused. NU can get you to NYC with relative easily; Cornell won't be get you to Chicago so easily, even with your ties. WUSTL does not place very well outside the midwest. Be wary of their dispersion numbers; a lot of that at a place like WUSTL is people hustling to get back to their home regions -- the school didn't actually do much of anything for their placement power (see e.g. Vandy).

Public interest: we don't believe you. You believe you, for now, but for every ten kids who say they want to do public interest (zombie mcavoy included), maybe one actually does it, at least right out of school. This is so for several reasons which I won't get into here, but plan on gunning for biglaw (again, even though you say you "it's not a priority," now), just because the odds overwhelming point to that being your eventual choice. Northwestern, or Cornell, kills WUSTL for firm placement. And 80K debt and a biglaw job is a fantastic place to be in, financially, as a fresh grad. Far, far better than a WUSTL grad with 40K debt and a small law job.

Public interest #2: I get the feeling you want to do really sexy public interest work. By that I mean like EFF, ACLU, EPIC, that type of thing. Sexy public interest work is actually quite prestige conscious. You'll have a hard time getting a foot in the door from Northwestern or Cornell, and I'd imagine even a harder time from WUSTL. Moreover, if I did peg your goals correctly, there are like ten people that do this work in the whole country; you're probably going to change your goals when you realize what kind of PI work is actually attainable (see public interest #1).

Debt averseness: 20-30K is not much of anything when we're talking about law schools (but see "in general" above). If you actually do PI, you're going to be poor no matter what and probably end up doing IBR/PSLF, in which case 20-30K is pretty much meaningless. If you don't end up doing PI, Northwestern is, BY FAR, worth an extra 30K for the difference in placement power.

In general, you're in a great position, either way. But you'd kind of be an idiot, with all due respect, to take WUSTL here (again, unless you are from STL and want to remain there). Good luck.

ETA: under absolutely no circumstances should you be considering UCLA here.

plaidisrad
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby plaidisrad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:11 pm

This is massively helpful :-) (no sarcasm)

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MarkfromWI
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby MarkfromWI » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:20 pm

NU, for all the reasons mcavoy stated.

BigZuck
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Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby BigZuck » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:29 pm

Agree with Zomb Mac, you'll probably be lining up at the big law drone factory doors just like all everyone else in law school.

One thing you might want to temper is the "wanting to keep all these doors open to me" thing or whatever. I know you got into some great schools and I know it sounds like law school should open up all these worlds of possibility (after all, these are great schools and they are prestigious and expensive!) but you'll almost certainly never get a job in, like, the pacific northwest unless you have preexisting ties. Even with preexisting ties, a school like Northwestern isn't always enough. By and large you should have the New York City big law drone thing open to you, and maybe where you are from, maybe the market the school is located in, but that's probably about it. Of course there are always exceptions but I wouldn't expect to get a sweet, decently paying job in Seattle or Boston doing whatever it is you envision doing just because you go to a top law school.

I'm not saying that to be a downer, I think that's just the reality

plaidisrad
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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: UCLA / Cornell / Northwestern / WUSTL

Postby plaidisrad » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:40 pm

BigZuck wrote:I'm not saying that to be a downer, I think that's just the reality


Fair enough - bummer realities are still realities, and where else to raise them, if not here?




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