Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

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

Which school?

Poll ended at Mon May 04, 2015 12:00 pm

Columbia with $85,000 grant
13
76%
Duke with $90,000 scholarship
4
24%
 
Total votes: 17

everton125
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Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:53 pm

Hi all,

Assuming NYU does not increase their comparatively paltry offer of $37,500 over three years, I have narrowed my options down to Columbia, Duke, and, I guess, UVA. To preempt some questions – yes, I received slightly higher scholarship offers from Northwestern and Cornell, but not ones that I think were large enough to keep them on the table. Prior to withdrawing, however, I did successfully use them to get Duke to raise their offer by $15,000.

-Further background:

I have worked for the past two years as a paralegal at a V10 law firm, and I was able to pay off my undergrad debt and save around $20,000 thus far.
Note that I am currently in negotiations with NYU, Columbia, and Duke, so it is possible some of the numbers below change.

-The schools I am considering

• Columbia ($85,000 Grant)
• Duke ($90,000 Scholarship)
• UVA ($120,000 Scholarship as a member of the Class of 2019)
o I was actually waitlisted for the Class of 2018, but the Dean of Admissions called and offered me $120,000 if I defer for a year.
o Note that I really, really don’t want to defer for a year. I have worked for two years, and I am ready and excited to attend law school. I would also need to find another job for a year, and I have no idea what the job would be.
o I am not %100 sure this offer is still on the table

-Debt at Repayment (The below numbers assume that neither my parents nor I contribute any money whatsoever over the next three years, which will not be the case; likely, $45,000 or so can be subtracted from each amount)

• Columbia - $215,000
• Duke - $170,000
• UVA - $130,000

-Financing COA

I will have around $12,000 saved come this fall that I will contribute to my first semester expenses. I also estimate that I will receive between $15,000 and $30,000 over the next three years from family members, with them having the ability to contribute significantly more in a few years’ time, if circumstances require. The rest of my expenses will be financed by loans.

-Where I am from

From upstate New York, where I also went to undergrad. Have lived in NYC for the past two years.
Would ideally like to move out of New York City at some point, given that I am not a huge city lover and the cost of living is so high, but definitely willing to stay for the foreseeable future.
I would like to work in DC or Boston going forward, but don’t have any demonstrable ties to either at the moment. Would getting a 1L summer position in Boston or DC help me get a job in either city going forward?

-Career goals

• Preference for litigation over corporate/transactional
o Interest in international arbitrations and “international law” more generally, though not so much the human rights aspect. I realize that “international law” is a very broad term, but I do have experience seeing it applied in my job as a legal assistant in BigLaw, and I have found it to be the most interesting aspect of my work
• Likely want to work in BigLaw for a few years to learn the trade and pay off debt.
o I am incredibly familiar with what working in BigLaw is like (aside from my not having crippling debt or pressure from partners in my current job), and while I am not enamored with the life style it entails, I know there are real positives and that I can cope
• Afterwards, I would like to move in house or work for the government in some capacity
Unicorn Goals:
• I am, like many people, interested in clerking
o Would be very willing to go off the beaten path (i.e., outside NYC or DC) in order to do so
• I would like to work as counsel at the State Department or another government agency with an international law bend

-LSAT/GPA numbers

173/3.66

-LSAT Takes

Three times (C, 170, 173). I am eligible to take the LSAT again, as I first took it during my senior year of college, but my PT average was a 175, and I don’t see myself scoring much higher on the real thing as I get outrageously nervous.
Last edited by everton125 on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:59 pm

I would totally defer for a year and take the UVA offer. Duke isn't a bad choice here if you have to go this year, but my vote is for UVA.

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KMart
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby KMart » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:00 pm

UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.

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swampman
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby swampman » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:02 pm

Are you really willing to pay $40k to go to school this year rather than next year? You could take your 20k savings, go backpacking through Europe for the next year, and still come out 20k ahead by waiting.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:05 pm

swampman wrote:Are you really willing to pay $40k to go to school this year rather than next year? You could take your 20k savings, go backpacking through Europe for the next year, and still come out 20k ahead by waiting.


Totes agree with this - just go bum around, seriously - but opportunity cost of biglaw salary is something to think about. If you go this year go to Columbia. It's obv worth 5k more than Duke.
Last edited by FloridaCoastalorbust on Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:06 pm

swampman wrote:Are you really willing to pay $40k to go to school this year rather than next year? You could take your 20k savings, go backpacking through Europe for the next year, and still come out 20k ahead by waiting.


Didn't even think about this. What an awesome idea. OP, do this.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:06 pm

KMart wrote:UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.


I see your point, but deferring a year won't save me $40,000 straight up. First there is the opportunity cost lost from deferring from entering the work force full blown for a year. Over the long term, I am guessing the argument can be made that I would lose money assuming (quite randomly) a $120,000 a year salary for the rest of my working life (though I don't have the economics background to actually know this for a fact). Secondly, I would need to fully support myself during this time, as my parents are not in a position to assist, and I have no idea how I would actually go about doing so (I am not staying on as a paralegal for another year -- I have done my shift and am ready to take the next step). Saving $40,000 is pretty pointless if I don't find a job.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:08 pm

everton125 wrote:
KMart wrote:UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.


I see your point, but deferring a year won't save me $40,000 straight up. First there is the opportunity cost lost from deferring from entering the work force full blown for a year. Over the long term, I am guessing the argument can be made that I would lose money assuming (quite randomly) a $120,000 a year salary for the rest of my working life (though I don't have the economics background to actually know this for a fact). Secondly, I would need to fully support myself during this time, as my parents are not in a position to assist, and I have no idea how I would actually go about doing so (I am not staying on as a paralegal for another year -- I have done my shift and am ready to take the next step). Saving $40,000 is pretty pointless if I don't find a job.


Finding a job isn't that tough. Especially with a two year stint as a paralegal for a V10 on the resume. I'm guessing you'll be able to find something.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:08 pm

swampman wrote:Are you really willing to pay $40k to go to school this year rather than next year? You could take your 20k savings, go backpacking through Europe for the next year, and still come out 20k ahead by waiting.


A lot of that money has already been placed in my retirement account, so not sure how fungible it is, and I would not be able to get assistance from my parents. I am already planning on spending a month in South America this summer--I am not sure I want to backpack for a full year though.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:09 pm

OhBoyOhBortles wrote:
everton125 wrote:
KMart wrote:UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.


I see your point, but deferring a year won't save me $40,000 straight up. First there is the opportunity cost from deferring from entering the work force full blown for a year to take into consideration. Over the long term, I am guessing the argument can be made that I would lose money assuming (quite randomly) a $120,000 a year salary for the rest of my working life (though I don't have the economics background to actually know this for a fact). Secondly, I would need to fully support myself during this time, as my parents are not in a position to assist, and I have no idea how I would actually go about doing so (I am not staying on as a paralegal for another year -- I have done my shift and am ready to take the next step). Saving $40,000 is pretty pointless if I don't find a job.


Finding a job isn't that tough. Especially with a two year stint as a paralegal for a V10 on the resume. I'm guessing you'll be able to find something.

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DCfilterDC
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby DCfilterDC » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:10 pm

everton125 wrote:
KMart wrote:UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.


I see your point, but deferring a year won't save me $40,000 straight up. First there is the opportunity cost lost from deferring from entering the work force full blown for a year. Over the long term, I am guessing the argument can be made that I would lose money assuming (quite randomly) a $120,000 a year salary for the rest of my working life (though I don't have the economics background to actually know this for a fact). Secondly, I would need to fully support myself during this time, as my parents are not in a position to assist, and I have no idea how I would actually go about doing so (I am not staying on as a paralegal for another year -- I have done my shift and am ready to take the next step). Saving $40,000 is pretty pointless if I don't find a job.


It's not the first year big law salary you're losing out on, it's the last year of your working life (likely the year you'd be paid the most). So in your lifetime you could be giving up $400,000+ if you work one less year of your highest earning years.

But that's not a reason to make this decision.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:11 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:
swampman wrote:Are you really willing to pay $40k to go to school this year rather than next year? You could take your 20k savings, go backpacking through Europe for the next year, and still come out 20k ahead by waiting.


Totes agree with this - just go bum around, seriously - but opportunity cost of biglaw salary is something to think about. If you go this year go to Columbia. It's obv worth 5k more than Duke.


Going to Columbia likely costs about 35K more than Duke, not 5k. Have to take into account the massive differences in cost of living and increased interest payments.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:12 pm

DCfilterDC wrote:
everton125 wrote:
KMart wrote:UVA isn't too bad if the numbers don't change. I'd rock that.

Deferring, if possible, to save money would be a great choice if you're up for it.


I see your point, but deferring a year won't save me $40,000 straight up. First there is the opportunity cost lost from deferring from entering the work force full blown for a year. Over the long term, I am guessing the argument can be made that I would lose money assuming (quite randomly) a $120,000 a year salary for the rest of my working life (though I don't have the economics background to actually know this for a fact). Secondly, I would need to fully support myself during this time, as my parents are not in a position to assist, and I have no idea how I would actually go about doing so (I am not staying on as a paralegal for another year -- I have done my shift and am ready to take the next step). Saving $40,000 is pretty pointless if I don't find a job.


It's not the first year big law salary you're losing out on, it's the last year of your working life (likely the year you'd be paid the most). So in your lifetime you could be giving up $400,000+ if you work one less year of your highest earning years.

But that's not a reason to make this decision.


Why is that not a reason to consider when the CR so often is to consider just $40,000? Because of when during my life that money is being earned?

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swampman
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby swampman » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:17 pm

Because it's not as much as it seems discounted to present value, because you won't get as much enjoyment from it when you're old and already rich, and because you have a chance to take a year and do something fun that you will never get the chance to do again.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:17 pm

DCfilter makes a good point - I still think Columbia's worth the extra 35k. You're familiar with all the reasons I would provide. Honestly though I feel like your gut is telling you something. Just follow your gut here. I don't think there's a bad decision.

daleearnhardt123
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby daleearnhardt123 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:18 pm

If you could get duke to match your UVA offer (but for c/o 2018 obviously) I think that's a pretty good outcome. Hard to say Columbia is worth more than Duke or UVA if you want DC...

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:27 pm

daleearnhardt123 wrote:If you could get duke to match your UVA offer (but for c/o 2018 obviously) I think that's a pretty good outcome. Hard to say Columbia is worth more than Duke or UVA if you want DC...


I would think Duke's better placement in DC than Columbia comes down to two things: 1) self selection and 2) better average ties to DC for Duke students than Columbia students. As I don't have any discernible ties to DC presently, neither of these factors really apply to me unless Duke itself creates a "tie" to the DC market. Is there a reason to believe this is the case?

Edit: I suppose going to Columbia could also act as a negative, as employers might assume I want to stay in NYC.

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback.

RustyRyan
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby RustyRyan » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:43 pm

This is, like, the fourth major scholarship from UVA I've heard about for deferred people. Man did they screw their cycle up.

Anyway, at equal CoA obviously Columbia is better. At ~30k I am less sure. Columbia probably has better reach in Boston, although that market is very insular. DC is pretty grade-dependent, but there are lots of Duke grads in the area. I think that is mostly accountable through self-selection at Duke and Columbia towards/away from DC, though. Either way NYC big law is a distinct, probable outcome in the short-term.

I'd pick Duke because I am personally a bigger fan of Duke Law than I am of Columbia, but this might be a situation where you should go with your gut. Both options are good.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:50 pm

RustyRyan wrote:This is, like, the fourth major scholarship from UVA I've heard about for deferred people. Man did they screw their cycle up..


they did this last year two

and probably before that

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:45 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:
RustyRyan wrote:This is, like, the fourth major scholarship from UVA I've heard about for deferred people. Man did they screw their cycle up..


they did this last year two

and probably before that


Yeah, I think it has to be somewhat intentional at this point. I think it is a way of giving offers to individuals who might otherwise go to other highly regarded schools, in way that can only help improve yield rate (as they literally only make a formal offer if you say you will accept) and prevents the students from leveraging other scholarship offers against UVA.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:54 pm

RustyRyan wrote:This is, like, the fourth major scholarship from UVA I've heard about for deferred people. Man did they screw their cycle up.

Anyway, at equal CoA obviously Columbia is better. At ~30k I am less sure. Columbia probably has better reach in Boston, although that market is very insular. DC is pretty grade-dependent, but there are lots of Duke grads in the area. I think that is mostly accountable through self-selection at Duke and Columbia towards/away from DC, though. Either way NYC big law is a distinct, probable outcome in the short-term.

I'd pick Duke because I am personally a bigger fan of Duke Law than I am of Columbia, but this might be a situation where you should go with your gut. Both options are good.


Can you elaborate on why you are a bigger fan of Duke than Columbia?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:13 pm

Why did you rule out Northwestern with a $105,000 scholarship offer ? Did you try to get full tuition ($165,000) from NU ? With 2 years work experience & a 173/3.66, you should be able to get $165,000 from NU.

Did you ask Cornell to increase their $90,000 offer ?

P.S. Colgate undergrad ?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:21 pm

Did you visit Northwestern ? Living on the Northshore area of Chicago is, arguably, better than NYC.

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cron1834
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby cron1834 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:57 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:
RustyRyan wrote:This is, like, the fourth major scholarship from UVA I've heard about for deferred people. Man did they screw their cycle up..


they did this last year two

and probably before that

Yeah, I had a deferred UVA offer last year as well. Their shit is weird. They were super pleasant to deal with, but I was surprised.

everton125
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:19 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Did you visit Northwestern ? Living on the Northshore area of Chicago is, arguably, better than NYC.


To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Chicago, and I have no desire to live or practice there. I only ever applied to Northwestern, and Cornell for that matter, for the purpose of scholarship negotiations.




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