Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

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Viking
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Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:22 pm

So I'm really torn between Alabama at sticker and SMU with 18k a year. I'm not sure of exactly what I want to do after law school, I'm flexible in this respect and also in where I live, I just want to give myself the best opportunity possible for the money I will spend. I will say that I have some ties in Alabama, but I also loved Dallas when I visited SMU. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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WhiskeyAndCupcakes
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:26 pm

Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sandwhich
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby sandwhich » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:26 pm

Do you have desire to practice in Dallas? That's pretty much the extent of SMU's reach. Can't speak to Alabama. I will say even 18k a year only puts SMU at the sticker cost of a similarly situated regional state school. (It's what, 54k?)

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:03 pm

Both really are too expensive to justify attending. The odds of that investment paying off is too remote I think. I also wouldn't attend SMU without a burning desire to practice law in Dallas long term and, ideally, prexisting ties to the area.

What are your numbers?

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:09 pm

My numbers are as follows, LSAT: 166, GPA: 2.51 according to LSAC, how my GPA dropped so low is a long story. I'm not picky about where I work, I've moved 33 times, I have few ties to any single place, but I do like Arizona and Texas. I also have some friends in Alabama and family spread through the southern United States. As for my goals after law school, I'm once again flexible. I do have a background in Geology and connections in the construction industry in Tennessee and also in the petroleum industry along the U.S. Gulf Coast. I could see myself working in criminal law or doing something related to oil and gas.

sandwhich
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby sandwhich » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:11 pm

Did you apply to Houston? 2/3 the price of SMU in a larger oil and gas market and you could probably get a scholly based on that LSAT alone

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:26 pm

You really do need to acquire more geographic and career focus. Going to law school just cuz isn't a good enough reason. It's 3 years of your life, crazy expensive, and can possibly leave you far worse off than before you started.

I get that being open sounds good but that's not really how this works, especially at schools that don't open tons of doors to begin with. Large swaths of the class at these schools are left with outcomes they don't want and I think right now you're shaping up to fall on the wrong side of that line. That's not to say these schools are bad (they aren't) but you shouldn't attend unless it can get you an attainable job that you want for an appropriate price and I don't think you're at that point yet.

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Winston1984
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:28 pm

How do you move 33 times?

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:13 pm

Winston1984 wrote:How do you move 33 times?


To fully explain my past would be another long, complicated answer. Let's just say that growing up in a construction family teaches you to be flexible.

BigZuck wrote:You really do need to acquire more geographic and career focus. Going to law school just cuz isn't a good enough reason. It's 3 years of your life, crazy expensive, and can possibly leave you far worse off than before you started.

I get that being open sounds good but that's not really how this works, especially at schools that don't open tons of doors to begin with. Large swaths of the class at these schools are left with outcomes they don't want and I think right now you're shaping up to fall on the wrong side of that line. That's not to say these schools are bad (they aren't) but you shouldn't attend unless it can get you an attainable job that you want for an appropriate price and I don't think you're at that point yet.


No offense, but you don't know me and I can't see how you can realistically make a judgement call about my ability to succeed in law school or the legal profession based on the limited information which has been provided in this thread. I've overcome some serious obstacles in my life, I'm not worried about where I'll end up, I just want to make the best possible choice given the options I have available to me. If I were going into a profession "just cuz" it would be something way sexier than law, I have legitimate reasons for pursuing this as a career, but again I don't feel like getting into all of that here. I also see no need to tie myself to any region at this point in my life. Now, there are certainly places where I don't want to end up (NYC, Chicago, D.C., California, ect.) but I haven't applied to schools in those areas and I could be happy in Texas, Arizona or almost anywhere in the deep south, which is where I have focused my energy. To limit myself to one geographic area, or one narrow type of legal practice would also serve to limit the opportunities available to someone with a 2.51. My GPA necessitates that I remain flexible in my search for a school, and I'm alright with that because it's how I've always lived my life.

BigZuck
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:28 pm

That's a lot of words to say very little. But I guess you're the only one who knows whether there is actual substance there or if they are, well, just words.

I wasn't trying to offend you (I mean, I could have picked at the GPA or something if I was just tying to be a jerk). The "criminal law or oil and gas" thing was what lead me to believe there wasn't really a plan here. Those things are very much opposites. Both are very broad of course but criminal law in particular is something you probably have to gun for from day one. All I was trying to say was when you go to a regional school I think you need to go into it with a plan (or course it can/might change but it should still be there) and that you shouldn't expect a lot of doors to open to you because the doors that open will be limited and there are only so many available spaces in each room before the door slams in your face.

With the geographic thing you're right that splitters need to be as open as they can and it sounds good but again, even if you don't care employers might, especially in parochial southern markets. It's not neccessarily insurmountable but you again you need to have a plan and be convincing in interviews. I was just saying that as a head's up from someone going through the job search in one of the markets you mentioned.

Ultimately I think the GPA might be insurmountable in terms of getting enough scholarship money to make attending law school justifiable but hopefully you can find something that will get you wherever it is that you want to go.

Good luck.

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Winston1984
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:29 pm

Both are pretty expensive (especially SMU). I think really you gotta ask if you want TX or AL. I definitely wouldn't attend SMU at that price, and probably not Bama either (but I would rather attend Bama because of the cost).

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:31 pm

BigZuck wrote:That's a lot of words to say very little. But I guess you're the only one who knows whether there is actual substance there or if they are, well, just words.

I wasn't trying to offend you (I mean, I could have picked at the GPA or something if I was just tying to be a jerk). The "criminal law or oil and gas" thing was what lead me to believe there wasn't really a plan here. Those things are very much opposites. Both are very broad of course but criminal law in particular is something you probably have to gun for from day one. All I was trying to say was when you go to a regional school I think you need to go into it with a plan (or course it can/might change but it should still be there) and that you shouldn't expect a lot of doors to open to you because the doors that open will be limited and there are only so many available spaces in each room before the door slams in your face.

With the geographic thing you're right that splitters need to be as open as they can and it sounds good but again, even if you don't care employers might, especially in parochial southern markets. It's not neccessarily insurmountable but you again you need to have a plan and be convincing in interviews. I was just saying that as a head's up from someone going through the job search in one of the markets you mentioned.

Ultimately I think the GPA might be insurmountable in terms of getting enough scholarship money to make attending law school justifiable but hopefully you can find something that will get you wherever it is that you want to go.

Good luck.


Good luck to you in your job search.

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Winston1984 wrote:Both are pretty expensive (especially SMU). I think really you gotta ask if you want TX or AL. I definitely wouldn't attend SMU at that price, and probably not Bama either (but I would rather attend Bama because of the cost).


In your opinion, what would be a good price for SMU?

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Winston1984
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:44 pm

Viking wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:Both are pretty expensive (especially SMU). I think really you gotta ask if you want TX or AL. I definitely wouldn't attend SMU at that price, and probably not Bama either (but I would rather attend Bama because of the cost).


In your opinion, what would be a good price for SMU?

For me personally, $75k or less (this is total debt financed cost). Couldn't do $100k. Could do $100k for UT. Some people might say less/more. That's going to come down to how debt averse you are.

Have you calculated your total debt financed cost at each school and looked at the monthly payments? That can be pretty eye opening. Might give you a better idea of what the figures actually mean.

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Winston1984
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:45 pm

I'll also provide the disclaimer that I am a 0L.

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:55 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
Viking wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:Both are pretty expensive (especially SMU). I think really you gotta ask if you want TX or AL. I definitely wouldn't attend SMU at that price, and probably not Bama either (but I would rather attend Bama because of the cost).


In your opinion, what would be a good price for SMU?

For me personally, $75k or less (this is total debt financed cost). Couldn't do $100k. Could do $100k for UT. Some people might say less/more. That's going to come down to how debt averse you are.

Have you calculated your total debt financed cost at each school and looked at the monthly payments? That can be pretty eye opening. Might give you a better idea of what the figures actually mean.


Yeah, I've looked at the figures and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's a little intimidating, but I'm determined to do this and I do have some money saved up to help lessen the blow. I'm also used to living a very spartan life so I'll be alright if the worst comes to pass. This is why I'm staying flexible though, I know that I'm already behind the eight-ball and therefore I need to put myself in the best possible position to succeed. Right now I'm talking to SMU about upping their offer, I'm not banking on it, but it's worth a try. If I could, I'd take a re-do on undergrad and graduate with a 3.8, which is my average over the last two years, but that's not possible.

Viking
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby Viking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:56 pm

Winston1984 wrote:I'll also provide the disclaimer that I am a 0L.


Regardless, I appreciate any advice I get on here, even if I disagree with it.

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p1921
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby p1921 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:06 am

Viking wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:
Viking wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:Both are pretty expensive (especially SMU). I think really you gotta ask if you want TX or AL. I definitely wouldn't attend SMU at that price, and probably not Bama either (but I would rather attend Bama because of the cost).


In your opinion, what would be a good price for SMU?

For me personally, $75k or less (this is total debt financed cost). Couldn't do $100k. Could do $100k for UT. Some people might say less/more. That's going to come down to how debt averse you are.

Have you calculated your total debt financed cost at each school and looked at the monthly payments? That can be pretty eye opening. Might give you a better idea of what the figures actually mean.


Yeah, I've looked at the figures and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's a little intimidating, but I'm determined to do this and I do have some money saved up to help lessen the blow. I'm also used to living a very spartan life so I'll be alright if the worst comes to pass. This is why I'm staying flexible though, I know that I'm already behind the eight-ball and therefore I need to put myself in the best possible position to succeed. Right now I'm talking to SMU about upping their offer, I'm not banking on it, but it's worth a try. If I could, I'd take a re-do on undergrad and graduate with a 3.8, which is my average over the last two years, but that's not possible.



SMU won't up their offer. Check the SMU applications thread - many of us tried and I think only one person had any luck, and the difference was negligible.

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BasilHallward
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby BasilHallward » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:27 am

Honestly, SMU at that price without strong DFW ties is untenable. SMU can be great a great pick under very tight parameters. I am not going because it is too expensive (I'm waitlisted at UT) and I am from DFW. Alabama is your best bet of the two. That GPA will be difficult to overcome with respect to applications and good money offers. SMU LOVES higher LSAT scores, so I think you should have received a little more. Hopefully they bump you up to 25k per year.

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kalvano
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Re: Alabama at sticker (In state) vs SMU with 18k a year?

Postby kalvano » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:44 pm

You're going to have trouble finding a job in D/FW without some form of ties, and having moved around so extensively will also create issues.




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