Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

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JustMe83
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Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby JustMe83 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:45 pm

Finally got my Cornell offer yesterday so my options are pretty much all laid out at this point. Will be debt-financing, but have an odd situation where I have a UG loan of 20k and about 20k of savings, so I'll be using this loan indirectly to pay for COL my first year as it has an interest rate of 3%, may result in some modest savings but haven't factored it in. If anyone has a better financial strategy for this situation I'd be interested to hear it

My options:

UPenn - 105k Scholarship/ 145k total COA
Cornell - 150k Scholarship/ 108k total COA

I used a COA of about 10k lower for Penn since COL looks to be slightly cheaper and tuition is a couple grand less

Other options I'm not seriously considering at the moment:
Duke - 72k scholarship
UChicago - 45k scholarship
GULC - admitted, no scholarship info yet, unlikely I would attend given my current offers
WL'ed at UVA, UMich, haven't heard from NYU yet (so likely WL)

And waitlisted at Harvard, where I would almost definitely go if admitted, but I'm not holding my breath...

Goals

Biglaw/Clerk in NYC or Boston (from MA, went to undergrad there and have some ties, currently living/working in Boston), am also open to LRAP-eligible PI in environmental law but probably don't have a great resume for it (1 relevant internship in UG).

Numbers

170(1 take)/3.8-4.0. Softs are okay, nothing special - 1 year out of undergrad, some contract legal work at a law firm, and several decent internships in UG.

Basically I'm wondering if Penn is justifiable given the difference in COA and the fact that I will likely end up in NYC biglaw, which Cornell places into quite well. Penn does have appreciably better employment numbers, and I feel I would prefer living in Philly to Ithaca, so am currently leaning towards Penn - going to their preview day next week. As Boston is also a target market for me, could anyone speak to the mobility of a Cornell degree vs. a Penn degree? I feel like neither would have a huge advantage in Boston, with both giving me an okay shot, but I could be wrong. I will try to talk Penn up with Cornell's offer but I doubt I'd be able to get much more as my scholarship seems to be on the high-end of what they give out short of full-rides.

I'm very happy to have these 2 viable offers (many don't get even one...), but would really appreciate some advice on this situation. Thanks!

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rpupkin
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby rpupkin » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:52 pm

You're considering the right things.

Penn is probably worth a little more than Cornell in your circumstances. Is Penn worth 40K more? Maybe. This is one of those "go with your gut" decisions. There's no clear right answer.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:53 pm

Either is defensible at that price
But i really doubt COA is lower in Philadelphia than Ithaca

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BrazilBandit
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby BrazilBandit » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:54 pm

Tell Duke about Penn's offer, and then take Duke's offer back to Penn. I have no idea about portability to Boston specifically, but I'm not sure Penn is worth 37K over Cornell. Make sure you ask Cornell about a scholarship increase as well. Believe it or not, being notified of your scholarships does not mean they are set for the cycle. I have been looking at lower schools (Cornell, GULC, UT) but have had a good amount of success negotiating. It can't hurt.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Capitol_Idea » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:56 pm

Either is defensible given your goals.

I would add that if you consider Philly as an alternative market to NYC (and hey - they might make it to market level pay by the time you graduate!), then Penn would provide an advantage there.

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Lavitz
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Lavitz » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:00 pm

JustMe83 wrote:I used a COA of about 10k lower for Penn since COL looks to be slightly cheaper and tuition is a couple grand less

I'm not sure where you're getting that CoL is cheaper at Penn. http://www.lstscorereports.com/compare/penn/cornell/

JustMe83 wrote:As Boston is also a target market for me, could anyone speak to the mobility of a Cornell degree vs. a Penn degree? I feel like neither would have a huge advantage in Boston, with both giving me an okay shot, but I could be wrong.

I have no idea how it compares to Penn, but I know that Cornell's Boston placement is quite good for the few students who want it, and we have a separate jobs fair there.

You're going to Penn's preview day next week, but have you visited Ithaca yet?

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Clearly
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Clearly » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:02 pm

I'd go Penn no question personally

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ymmv
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby ymmv » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:04 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:Either is defensible at that price
But i really doubt COA is lower in Philadelphia than Ithaca


It is. Ithaca is outrageously overpriced. A seller's market with a captive audience. But higher rent aside, it's probably not $40k more expensive.

smiles123
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby smiles123 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:08 pm

This is just a matter of preference, both are good options and will get you NYC. If you value 3 years in Philly 40k more than 3 years in Ithaca, do Penn.

JustMe83
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby JustMe83 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:22 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm definitely going to visit Ithaca but not sure if I can make it to the Cornell ASW this week, I'm sure it's not as bad as people seem to think, and probably not even that much colder than Boston. I'll definitely ask Cornell about increasing their offer as well - do you think I could use the Penn offer for leverage even though its way lower? Or wait to see if Penn would up their offer? Hadn't even considered Philly biglaw, but if I like Philly I guess I could go for it.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:33 pm

This is tough. I'd say UPenn though. Penn has little to do with "philly biglaw" btw, the school is an NY/DC feeder

And why would you take H over Penn with that scholly? Idk

queerqueg
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby queerqueg » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:35 pm

JustMe83 wrote:Thanks for all the feedback. I'm definitely going to visit Ithaca but not sure if I can make it to the Cornell ASW this week, I'm sure it's not as bad as people seem to think, and probably not even that much colder than Boston. I'll definitely ask Cornell about increasing their offer as well - do you think I could use the Penn offer for leverage even though its way lower? Or wait to see if Penn would up their offer? Hadn't even considered Philly biglaw, but if I like Philly I guess I could go for it.


No harm in trying, right?

If it helps, I have worse stats than you and the same Cornell offer, so I think you'd be able to squeeze some more $ out of them

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BrazilBandit
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby BrazilBandit » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:40 pm

JustMe83 wrote:Thanks for all the feedback. I'm definitely going to visit Ithaca but not sure if I can make it to the Cornell ASW this week, I'm sure it's not as bad as people seem to think, and probably not even that much colder than Boston. I'll definitely ask Cornell about increasing their offer as well - do you think I could use the Penn offer for leverage even though its way lower? Or wait to see if Penn would up their offer? Hadn't even considered Philly biglaw, but if I like Philly I guess I could go for it.


Don't forget to play Duke and Penn against each other first, and then go to Cornell.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:51 pm

also for some reason cornells tuition is 5k higher

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:00 pm

ymmv wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:Either is defensible at that price
But i really doubt COA is lower in Philadelphia than Ithaca


It is. Ithaca is outrageously overpriced. A seller's market with a captive audience. But higher rent aside, it's probably not $40k more expensive.

It is if you live in Collegetown, but there are lots of lovely areas that are waaaaay less expensive. I lived off West Campus and paid about half of what people in Collegetown paid for a one bedroom, and it was an easy walk to the law school.

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WeeBey
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby WeeBey » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:20 pm

The 30-40k range is where I would have trouble deciding between Cornell and Penn. Less than 30k diff, I'd take Penn for the added security, but more than 40k, its deff not worth it. Keep in mind, however, that your 2L SA + Scholarship would pretty much cover your 3L COA. I think psychologically, that goes a long way and would give you more incentive to save.

For Boston, with ties, I doubt either school has an advantage and both place very well into NYC. Realistically, you'll end up at similar firms and make 160k from both schools.

It really comes down which school/city you prefer. If you would rather live in Philly (and be happier), take Penn.

Edit: But definitely negotiate, Cornell is very generous. Play all your offers against eachother.

And if you happen to be IP or a URM, then I'd definitely take Cornell. With those boosts the employment outcomes would be identical.

redsoxfan1989
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby redsoxfan1989 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:27 pm

JustMe83 wrote: probably not even that much colder than Boston.

Boston was colder and had more snow this winter than Ithaca fwiw

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runinthefront
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Re: Tough Decision - Cornell ($$$) vs. Penn ($$)

Postby runinthefront » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:07 pm

Disclaimer: I'm a 1L at Cornell who absolutely loves it.

This is all going to come down to your own personal preferences. I think I would take Penn in this scenario, only because the cost difference is not substantial (~35,000) and I'm okay with paying the premium here for a larger safety blanket. However, I would choose Cornell if the total cost of attendance for Penn exceeded $150,000 (my subjective debt ceiling in this case) and/or if the difference in cost between the two options exceeded $40,000. That $5,000 difference-maker is definitely idiosyncratic, so you'll have to figure out how much you're willing to pay for a bigger safety net, but I don't think Penn at equal costs is worth 40k extra (then again, I chose Cornell). 2014 employment data for Cornell is not out yet, but the difference in BL/FC rates between Cornell and Penn from 2010-2013 (and even 2013 by itself) isn't significant--I think Penn decisively edges Cornell in (good) PI placement though, simply based on pure conjecture.

You can't make a wrong decision here--congratulations. Good luck deciding. I think you're right in (kind of) taking all of the other options off the table.




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