Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

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Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Poll ended at Thu May 21, 2015 4:20 am

Berkeley (full price, cost: $145k)
17
65%
Cornell (with scholarship, cost: $105k)
9
35%
 
Total votes: 26

SGVBruin14
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Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby SGVBruin14 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:20 am

So Berkeley is my top choice and I would easily attend if all things were equal but of course they are not.
My goal is CA big law, specifically in LA. I went to undergrad in LA and have family in the area so ties to the region should not be an issue.
The biggest draw for me to Berkeley is the location and its no grade system (full disclosure: I am a "reverse-splitter" - relatively low LSAT and high GPA). Due to my below median LSAT at both Cornell and Berkeley, I am afraid I might perform at or below median at either school but at Berkeley it seems like that will not matter due to their unique system. I know that Berkeley would be the best school to go to for my goal of CA big law, besides HSY, so would picking Cornell over Berkeley be crazy if Berkeley does not match the scholarship? I would hate to jeopardize my future employment prospects over $$ but that just seems like a lot of money to ignore so readily... However the difference between the two schools after application of the scholarship will only be $40,000 as I will be receiving the in-state rate at Berkeley.
I am applying for Berkeley to match the scholarship so hopefully that will make this decision a lot easier but in case my matching application gets denied next month, please help me make a decision. All thoughts are welcome. Thanks in advance! :D
Last edited by SGVBruin14 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:16 am

Berkeley has grades like everyone. They're just called HH/H/P instead of A/A-/B+. Berkeley at sticker is crazy, but a June LSAT retake could help you a lot.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Capitol_Idea » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:27 am

All together now: re-taaaaaaaaake!

Seriously, do Berkeley for CA law but not at full sticker. Don't waste a beautiful GPA.

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Winston1984
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Winston1984 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:55 am

Retake. But if you won't, Cornell. That's just waaaay too much debt for Berk.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:07 am

Between the two, since you want SoCal biglaw, UCal-Berkeley assuming that Berkeley matches Cornell's scholarship offer. (Doesn't Berkeley have a standing practice of matching other T-14 scholarship offers ?)

How many times did you take the LSAT ? What are the scores ? If you've taken the LSAT only once, have you considered retaking ?

P.S. Don't attend Berkeley at full price. If Cal refuses to match Cornell's offer, then retake the LSAT or get more money from Cornell.

SGVBruin14
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby SGVBruin14 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:48 pm

Tiago Splitter: True but only the top 30% get an H or HH so its easier to hide the median.
To those saying to retake - I would consider it but I have already taken it twice and scored basically the same after fully devoting myself to studying for a year so putting myself through that again is not an option for me personally.
I see that there is a majority opinion forming for Cornell if Berkeley remains at sticker. What if Berkeley meets me at about halfway, lets say $30,000? What would be the lowest scholarship to accept Berkeley when considering my career goals?
CanadianWolf: Berkeley sometimes matches but it is not guaranteed. You have to apply to their matching program and it is really competitive.

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Broncos847
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Broncos847 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:54 pm

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Last edited by Broncos847 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SGVBruin14
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (75k scholarship)?

Postby SGVBruin14 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:17 pm

Broncos847 wrote:Is your offer from Cornell only 75k? Tuition at Cornell is pushing 60k and will probably be 65 for your 3L year. If you're financing through loans a 75k scholarship at Cornell will still leave you in around 170-180k debt. I'm most likely taking on that amount of debt to attend because I'm a splitter and I can't fix my GPA. Don't take on massive debt when you can retake and have much better options.


Thank you for informing me about the cost at Cornell. I assumed it was closer to 50k. That does make me reevaluate the cost difference since I would be attending Berkeley at $48k a year as an in-state resident.
For the four years Berkeley's total would be about $144,500 and Cornell's $104,850 (with the scholarship). I should note that my family plans to help with the bulk of my living expenses.
Like I mentioned before, I do not believe my LSAT score can increase much more as I just am not a good standardized test taker (and I have an embarrassing SAT score to prove it). I have a close friend with a GPA above 4.0 and an LSAT in the 170s and they did not get into Berkeley this cycle (they did get into one T6 though). I don't think I can bank on using my last retake attempt available, do significantly better, and getting into both schools again. I am already humbled by my options.
Last edited by SGVBruin14 on Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby twenty » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:25 pm

Why do you not have large scholarships from UCLA/USC?

BigZuck
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:30 pm

Don't be HUMBLED by the PRIVILEGE to stuff that FAT CAT Dean Tom's FAT POCKETS even further.

Be patient. And do the mature thing. Retake June and see what happens. And definitely don't skip off to sticker at Berkeley. That'd be such a reverse splitter CA bro thing to do. You're better than that.

Also, your friend has some glaring things wrong with their application, or they are lying to you about their stats.

bingo90
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby bingo90 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:38 pm

Berkeley's tuition went up to 50K this year IIRC.

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L’Étranger
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby L’Étranger » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:40 pm

Would be surprised if B matches.

Based on all of the should I go to B vs. everywhere else threads on TLS this year, doesn't it seem like B is accepting way more folks than it did in the past?

SGVBruin14
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby SGVBruin14 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:51 pm

twenty wrote:Why do you not have large scholarships from UCLA/USC?


I was wait-listed at UCLA and my application is still pending at USC.

BigZuck wrote:Don't be HUMBLED by the PRIVILEGE to stuff that FAT CAT Dean Tom's FAT POCKETS even further.

Be patient. And do the mature thing. Retake June and see what happens. And definitely don't skip off to sticker at Berkeley. That'd be such a reverse splitter CA bro thing to do. You're better than that.

Also, your friend has some glaring things wrong with their application, or they are lying to you about their stats.


LOL. Well I'll entertain the thought of the June LSAT but I know I would not score higher than 2 or 3 points. It took me 6 months to see even a 4 point boost and after 3 more months it went up 3 more before stabilizing. Like I said, I only have one retake left. I've taken practically every practice LSAT test already available so I feel I have already done the mature thing. Unfortunately not everyone can get an amazing LSAT score. I do not think that 2 or 3 points is worth throwing away my acceptances or will result in a significantly higher scholarship if I am even accepted again next year.

bingo90 wrote:Berkeley's tuition went up to 50K this year IIRC.


If so, the difference will be closer to $45k though I was already rounding up the costs for Berkeley.

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Broncos847
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (75k scholarship)?

Postby Broncos847 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:52 pm

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Last edited by Broncos847 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:53 pm

Winston1984 wrote:Retake. But if you won't, Cornell. That's just waaaay too much debt for Berk.

This advice (and the poll results) are nuts. I get the argument that the OP is taking on too much debt from Berkeley. But he also would be taking on a ton of debt from Cornell. And Cornell is basically a regional school that doesn't place all that well in the OP's target market.

OP: If you're fine with NYC big law, then Cornell. But if your heart is set on California, it's Boalt or don't go.

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sesto elemento
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby sesto elemento » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:56 pm

BigZuck wrote:Don't be HUMBLED by the PRIVILEGE to stuff that FAT CAT Dean Tom's FAT POCKETS even further.

Be patient. And do the mature thing. Retake June and see what happens. And definitely don't skip off to sticker at Berkeley. That'd be such a reverse splitter CA bro thing to do. You're better than that.

Also, your friend has some glaring things wrong with their application, or they are lying to you about their stats.


BZ nailed it. Retake, don't attend Berkeley at sticker. The matching schooly program is more of a crapshoot than the admissions process.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:03 pm

You're in a tough spot. That's too much money for Boalt but you're going to have a huge drop off in placement ability at Cornell for the type of job you want. And by huge drop off I mean you may not be able to get a job in LA from Cornell at all while you almost certainly will at Boalt. Normally I'm pretty anti debt but that's the kind of difference that may make it worth it.

And contrary to what some are saying: that Berkeley grading system does matter and in exactly the way you described. If you end up pulling off what amounts to bottom 1/3rd grades with Boalt's system an employer won't readily be able to discern that from your transcript--you'll basically look just like a median student. On the other hand if they see a 2.9 GPA at Cornell a lot of firms will instantly toss your resume in the can. That could mean the difference between a job and no job--especially with you wanting to work in a market that Cornell does not have a lot of sway in.

The other thing is that's still a lot of money for Cornell--especially for someone who is trying to work in LA. You have to look at it like this: high debt at Cornell with an unclear and possibly poor shot at getting the job you want; vs. higher debt at Boalt with a dramatically (almost as high as you're going to get outside of going to Stanford etc,) higher chance of actually getting the job you want. Plus, I believe that Boalt may have a better LRAP than Cornell so that's something to consider.

But Good Lord I forgot Boalt is now at $50K+ a year. That is just insane. Do they offer any need based grants at all?

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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby Lavitz » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:28 pm

BruceWayne wrote:On the other hand if they see a 2.9 GPA at Cornell a lot of firms will instantly toss your resume in the can.

I mean, to be fair, bottom 1/3rd here is probably 3.2. 2.9 would have to be bottom 10%, if not bottom 5%.

With that said, I agree with the title of the thread that Berkeley is worth 40K more than Cornell for someone who wants to work in LA.

Sticker is probably a bad idea, but if parents are really covering all CoL and debt at repayment is really just 145K for Berkeley, that's not bad. But it looks like OP is just multiplying tuition by 3 and not factoring in interest on loans.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:32 pm

Lavitz wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:On the other hand if they see a 2.9 GPA at Cornell a lot of firms will instantly toss your resume in the can.

I mean, to be fair, bottom 1/3rd here is probably 3.2. 2.9 would have to be bottom 10%, if not bottom 5%.

With that said, I agree with the title of the thread that Berkeley is worth 40K more than Cornell for someone who wants to work in LA.

Sticker is probably a bad idea, but if parents are really covering all CoL and debt at repayment is really just 145K for Berkeley, that's not bad. But it looks like OP is just multiplying tuition by 3 and not factoring in interest on loans.


Yeah I'm not professing to know Cornell's curve; I'm just articulating that you don't have to worry about harsh (and frankly somewhat arbitrary on the firms part) GPA demarcations to the same extent when you have that sort of grading system. Add that to the rest of your (our ) points and it just seems like, even with the extra debt, Boalt is the better option.

I kind of want to hear from Boalt people though. As I always heard from the Boalt posters that getting LA Biglaw with ties from Boalt, even in the downturn, was pretty easy. If that's not true that may change the calculus a bit.

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Winston1984
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Winston1984 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:55 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:Retake. But if you won't, Cornell. That's just waaaay too much debt for Berk.

This advice (and the poll results) are nuts. I get the argument that the OP is taking on too much debt from Berkeley. But he also would be taking on a ton of debt from Cornell. And Cornell is basically a regional school that doesn't place all that well in the OP's target market.

OP: If you're fine with NYC big law, then Cornell. But if your heart is set on California, it's Boalt or don't go.

The OP edited the post. If it's truly $145k vs. $105k, then yes Berk is a no brainer. Before, it read, (unless I'm totally wrong). Sticker price (which I assumed meant COL too at Berk) and $75k off at Cornell. I think it's hard to advise someone go to $300k into debt for law school, and because he wants biglaw (and would likely get it) those loan payments will be insane. So of the two options, I said retake, but Cornell would be better than sticker at Berk.

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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby SGVBruin14 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:10 pm

Broncos847 wrote:Okay I'm a little confused. Even if your parents pay for all of your living expenses, three years of tuition at Cornell is going to set you back at least 185k. Subtract your 75k scholly and you are left with 110k, not 105. Add in loan fees and interest and your numbers don't add up. I'm not trying to be a dick, but you need to do the research and know much you will owe at time of repayment. There is no use in deluding yourself about your debt to make law school seem more attractive financially.

As far as the decision not to retake goes, I get it. The idea of putting off school for another year and drilling LSAT sections sounds like the worst thing in the world. Just be aware you are potentially leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table.


I threw this together pretty quickly and so there are some errors. I just found out about the cost of Cornell thanks to a previous poster. I had not seriously researched the cost until today. I only received the scholarship this week and was not seriously considering the school until then. I am not trying to make law school seem attractive financially, I don't see how I could even do that lol. But I will definitely do more research tonight.
I understand the retake argument but like I said, I only have one more retake and I am terrible at standardized tests.

rpupkin wrote:This advice (and the poll results) are nuts. I get the argument that the OP is taking on too much debt from Berkeley. But he also would be taking on a ton of debt from Cornell. And Cornell is basically a regional school that doesn't place all that well in the OP's target market.

OP: If you're fine with NYC big law, then Cornell. But if your heart is set on California, it's Boalt or don't go.


Yeah, I really do not want NYC at all...

Lavitz wrote:I agree with the title of the thread that Berkeley is worth 40K more than Cornell for someone who wants to work in LA.

Sticker is probably a bad idea, but if parents are really covering all CoL and debt at repayment is really just 145K for Berkeley, that's not bad. But it looks like OP is just multiplying tuition by 3 and not factoring in interest on loans.


Yes, I did not factor in interest rates yet. But parents are covering most of my CoL.

BruceWayne wrote:You're in a tough spot. That's too much money for Boalt but you're going to have a huge drop off in placement ability at Cornell for the type of job you want. And by huge drop off I mean you may not be able to get a job in LA from Cornell at all while you almost certainly will at Boalt. Normally I'm pretty anti debt but that's the kind of difference that may make it worth it.

And contrary to what some are saying: that Berkeley grading system does matter and in exactly the way you described. If you end up pulling off what amounts to bottom 1/3rd grades with Boalt's system an employer won't readily be able to discern that from your transcript--you'll basically look just like a median student. On the other hand if they see a 2.9 GPA at Cornell a lot of firms will instantly toss your resume in the can. That could mean the difference between a job and no job--especially with you wanting to work in a market that Cornell does not have a lot of sway in.

The other thing is that's still a lot of money for Cornell--especially for someone who is trying to work in LA. You have to look at it like this: high debt at Cornell with an unclear and possibly poor shot at getting the job you want; vs. higher debt at Boalt with a dramatically (almost as high as you're going to get outside of going to Stanford etc,) higher chance of actually getting the job you want. Plus, I believe that Boalt may have a better LRAP than Cornell so that's something to consider.

But Good Lord I forgot Boalt is now at $50K+ a year. That is just insane. Do they offer any need based grants at all?


This is exactly my sentiment as well. I feel that Berkeley would be the safer choice for my goals even with more debt. But I would love to hear from Berkeley alums as well.
They do offer need based grants but I do not currently qualify.

Winston1984 wrote:The OP edited the post. If it's truly $145k vs. $105k, then yes Berk is a no brainer. Before, it read, (unless I'm totally wrong). Sticker price (which I assumed meant COL too at Berk) and $75k off at Cornell. I think it's hard to advise someone go to $300k into debt for law school, and because he wants biglaw (and would likely get it) those loan payments will be insane. So of the two options, I said retake, but Cornell would be better than sticker at Berk.


Sorry about that Winston1984 - meant to re-post. I was under the assumption Cornell's tuition was much lower.

So it looks like Berkeley is pulling ahead of the poll and I tend to agree.

BigZuck
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:16 pm

SGVBruin14 wrote:So it looks like Berkeley is pulling ahead of the poll and I tend to agree.

Dean Tom- 1 billion
BigZuck- 0

:(

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rpupkin
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:20 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Winston1984 wrote:Retake. But if you won't, Cornell. That's just waaaay too much debt for Berk.

This advice (and the poll results) are nuts. I get the argument that the OP is taking on too much debt from Berkeley. But he also would be taking on a ton of debt from Cornell. And Cornell is basically a regional school that doesn't place all that well in the OP's target market.

OP: If you're fine with NYC big law, then Cornell. But if your heart is set on California, it's Boalt or don't go.

The OP edited the post. If it's truly $145k vs. $105k, then yes Berk is a no brainer. Before, it read, (unless I'm totally wrong). Sticker price (which I assumed meant COL too at Berk) and $75k off at Cornell. I think it's hard to advise someone go to $300k into debt for law school, and because he wants biglaw (and would likely get it) those loan payments will be insane. So of the two options, I said retake, but Cornell would be better than sticker at Berk.

Ah, fair enough. That explains the disconnect I saw between the OP (which had been edited) and the advice.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Berkeley (full price) or Cornell (half tuition scholarship)?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:37 pm

SGVBruin14 wrote:Tiago Splitter: True but only the top 30% get an H or HH so its easier to hide the median.

I believe it's top 40%, meaning not a lot of people end up with straight P's, meaning employers will consider the folks with straight P's to be bottom quarter or whatever that number is. Sure, someone who would normally get all B-'s and C's at Cornell looks much more competitive at Berkeley, but straight P's at Berkeley is still a scary spot to be in.

Remember the system cuts both ways: Take two Cornell students: One who gets half A-'s and half B's and a second who gets all B+'s. The first looks great in the Berkeley system with an even H/P split, the second looks as bad as anyone and is sitting there with straight P's. Yet they'd both be median at Cornell.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Berkeley worth 40k over Cornell?

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:41 pm

Retake seems like it would almost certainly be worth it in your case.




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