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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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:23 pm

CanadianWolf wrote: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 ?


Yes, I requested that Northwestern increase their offer and they did not budge. As I have no desire to practice in Chicago, and Duke and Columbia are more highly regarded schools with significantly better job placement statistics, I decided the extra 15K - 25K was worthwhile, thus allowing me to rule out Northwestern.

Cornell increased their offer to $120,000, but I have no desire to attend Cornell. I don't want to be in Central New York, and I don't want to be locked into NYC BigLaw. I tried to get Cornell to go up further, at which point I would have been forced to consider them, but they did not.

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

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:30 pm

Columbia. Congrats!

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

Postby Kittyesquire » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:45 pm

While the offer from UVA is enticing, given your situation (eagerness to start school) I would most definitely choose Columbia. Deferring a year at this point will make the end goal (a degree) feel unpleasantly far away. You have a solid offer from Columbia, which will most likely result in a salary that should outweigh the offer from UVA, in your first year of work.
Good luck to you.

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

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:55 pm

Kittyesquire wrote:While the offer from UVA is enticing, given your situation (eagerness to start school) I would most definitely choose Columbia. Deferring a year at this point will make the end goal (a degree) feel unpleasantly far away. You have a solid offer from Columbia, which will most likely result in a salary that should outweigh the offer from UVA, in your first year of work.
Good luck to you.


While I see your overall point, statistically speaking, is not the most likely outcome that both result in the exact same salary -- $160,000.

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

Postby NoLieAbility » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:14 pm

Your Duke CoA seems high to me. You're assuming roughly... $110k face value?

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

Postby Kittyesquire » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:21 pm

everton125 wrote:
Kittyesquire wrote:While the offer from UVA is enticing, given your situation (eagerness to start school) I would most definitely choose Columbia. Deferring a year at this point will make the end goal (a degree) feel unpleasantly far away. You have a solid offer from Columbia, which will most likely result in a salary that should outweigh the offer from UVA, in your first year of work.
Good luck to you.


While I see your overall point, statistically speaking, is not the most likely outcome that both result in the exact same salary -- $160,000.


I agree. If we are taking account of your debt at repayment (215k Columbia vs 130k UVA), a difference of 85k is the amount you would save in waiting a year. You'll surely make less than that as a paralegal in a year. Yet, if you bypass another year of work as a paralegal and go to Columbia, you'll graduate and surely make more than 85k in a year. Potentially making double, in which case it would make going to school this year rather than next, a better decision.

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

Postby WeeBey » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:40 pm

Isnt big law hiring really good right now? I'd be more worried about the economy taking a turn for the worse in the next few years. Although its only 1 years, that might be OP getting to OCI in a better economy, or being a little more senior when shit hits the fan.

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

Postby NoLieAbility » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:45 pm

Kittyesquire wrote:I agree. If we are taking account of your debt at repayment (215k Columbia vs 130k UVA), a difference of 85k is the amount you would save in waiting a year. You'll surely make less than that as a paralegal in a year. Yet, if you bypass another year of work as a paralegal and go to Columbia, you'll graduate and surely make more than 85k in a year. Potentially making double, in which case it would make going to school this year rather than next, a better decision.


Your advice is [not good], and you should feel [not good].

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

Postby everton125 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:49 pm

NoLieAbility wrote:Your Duke CoA seems high to me. You're assuming roughly... $110k face value?


I just used LawSchool22's calculator, which assumes a 2.50% percent cost of living increase and 4.00% tuition increase each year. With such increases, face value comes out to be $147,727 (assuming by face value you mean the debt at repayment - (loan fees + interest)).

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

Postby BiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:16 pm

That's a shitload of debt for Columbia.........you're likely going to hate your life with that kind of debt.

I vote defer and UVA.

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

Postby NoLieAbility » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:59 am

everton125 wrote:
NoLieAbility wrote:Your Duke CoA seems high to me. You're assuming roughly... $110k face value?


I just used LawSchool22's calculator, which assumes a 2.50% percent cost of living increase and 4.00% tuition increase each year. With such increases, face value comes out to be $147,727 (assuming by face value you mean the debt at repayment - (loan fees + interest)).


Right on all accounts. What are you assuming for CoL while you're in Durham?

I currently live in an economically similar city, and I am constantly amazed by how little I spend on... well... life.

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

Postby everton125 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:17 am

BiglawAssociate wrote:That's a shitload of debt for Columbia.........you're likely going to hate your life with that kind of debt.

I vote defer and UVA.


I estimate that my debt upon graduation would be much closer to $150,000 than the $215,000 I listed for Columbia, as I will be aiming to live as frivolously as possible, will be contributing $15,000 now and likely $10,000+ after my 2L Summer, will be receiving significant amount from my family, will be applying for outside scholarships (which I actually might be able to win as my dad being retired military seems to give me some real options), etc.

Obviously $150,000 is still a lot of debt, and a whole host of things could go wrong/not play out how I expect, which is why I am not entirely gun ho about Columbia.

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

Postby everton125 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:19 am

NoLieAbility wrote:
everton125 wrote:
NoLieAbility wrote:Your Duke CoA seems high to me. You're assuming roughly... $110k face value?


I just used LawSchool22's calculator, which assumes a 2.50% percent cost of living increase and 4.00% tuition increase each year. With such increases, face value comes out to be $147,727 (assuming by face value you mean the debt at repayment - (loan fees + interest)).


Right on all accounts. What are you assuming for CoL while you're in Durham?

I currently live in an economically similar city, and I am constantly amazed by how little I spend on... well... life.


I just went with Duke's estimate to play it safe, as I have no real way of knowing. My bet is I can keep it under whatever the school's estimate is, and I will do my best to do so.

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

Postby everton125 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:02 pm

Alright -- I have added a poll for Duke and Columbia. A lot of people seem to think I should take the UVA offer, which I might still do, but I would like to get a better sense of what people think the best option would be if I go this year.

Also, NYU is officially off the table -- they only increased their offer to $50,000.

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

Postby everton125 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:44 pm

Just gonna bump this one last time to get some final perspectives/a few more poll votes.

Thank you all for your thoughts!

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

Postby everton125 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:57 pm

Okay, I am really, really struggling with this decision. Any additional thoughts?

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

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:00 pm

Defer. Enjoy your next year. Then enjoy UVA.

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usn26
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby usn26 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:20 pm

OhBoyOhBortles wrote:Defer. Enjoy your next year. Then enjoy UVA.


It pains me to disagree, but from a financial standpoint I think Duke is the move. The extra year of earnings is, I think, more significant than the scholarship difference.

That said, if you genuinely prefer UVA, go there. Take the year, save some money, enjoy the reduced debt load. Also, can you negotiate with UVA (e.g. "The year of lost income is too significant, but at $135k I'm in because I love UVA so much.")?

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

Postby everton125 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:38 pm

usn26 wrote:
OhBoyOhBortles wrote:Defer. Enjoy your next year. Then enjoy UVA.


It pains me to disagree, but from a financial standpoint I think Duke is the move. The extra year of earnings is, I think, more significant than the scholarship difference.

That said, if you genuinely prefer UVA, go there. Take the year, save some money, enjoy the reduced debt load. Also, can you negotiate with UVA (e.g. "The year of lost income is too significant, but at $135k I'm in because I love UVA so much.")?


So I, in large part, wrote out the below to sort out my own thoughts, but in case anyone wants to follow along with me:

The problem with UVA, from my perspective, is that I don't want to defer for a full year. I would have to be making money during that time (I need to be fully supporting myself), so it is not like I can just be traveling for 8 months. Instead I will need to find a job -- most likely in New York City, where I live now, or my hometown. I suppose I could take out loans, but then what was the point in saving money in the first place.

Further, I actually really want to attend law school, which I am excited for after having worked for two years as a legal assistant and attending ASWs. I am already going to be 27 when I graduate from law school if I attend this year, and would prefer not to be any older. Personally, if I do BigLaw, I want to get in and get out before really starting a family, so my age does actually matter a bit to me.

Lastly, I am going to be traveling for a month in South America this summer regardless, so it is not like I won't be doing anything fun or exciting.

So really, it is down to Columbia and Duke, I think. In Duke's favor, Columbia will likely cost $30,000 more in the end (Duke has a lot of costs you might not normally consider that help balance out COA, like, e.g., a car, car insurance, flights to and from my hometown, moving expenses, etc.), I don't love NYC (though I am not sure I have really done it right), I like the idea of being on a full blown college campus again, and attending Duke will make it less likely I end up in NYC BigLaw. However, Columbia is more prestigious (and yes, that matters at least somewhat to me), has better job prospects, might make it easier to obtain some of my more lofty career goals, is closer to my family and friends, was more impressive when I visited, and will provide me with a wealth of externship and clinic opportunities that Duke can't compete with.

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

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:41 pm

Sounds like you want Columbia. That's entirely defensible. The poll supports you. I'd go for it.

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usn26
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Re: Duke v Columbia v (sort of) UVA

Postby usn26 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:50 pm

Yeah, the price difference is within the range where it's reasonable to just choose the one you'd prefer. If you'd be thinking "man, I wish I could have gone to Columbia" in Durham, just go to Columbia.

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

Postby Clearly » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:06 pm

everton125 wrote:I will have around $12,000 saved come this fall that I will contribute to my first semester expenses.


A lot of that money has already been placed in my retirement account, so not sure how fungible it is.
.

If its fungible enough to put towards your 1L, its fungible enough to sustain yourself during that same time period.

That said, there's no real clear winner here. Columbia is defensible, at least compared to your other options.

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

Postby arturobelano » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:58 pm

UVA because the future is completely unknown - a more honest appraisal of what you would be doing by picking Columbia out of these options is increasing your long-term financial risk. The assumption of debt is the obligation of a financial liability that you will HAVE to fulfill, regardless of any contingencies that come about in your life - including both positive (exciting poorly-paid opportunities outside your LRAP) and negative (poor health of a close family member, job loss.)

You have an acceptable option in UVA that does not require you to take on what I believe is an unmanageable debt load that could become personally catastrophic should you fail to remain in legal employment for the duration of your career/repayment period.

It's also worth noting that your stated goal - ending BIGLAW before starting a family - will actually be put off further by attending Columbia if your primary motivation for doing BIGLAW is to eliminate your debt before you start your family. A $215k debt at repayment will realistically take 5-7 years to repay in NYC biglaw, whereas a $130K debt would take 3-5. That difference alone ought to offset the year of deferral.

Debt's a big deal, dog. Don't sacrifice valuable flexibility and assume unnecessary risk just because you're feeling impatient about starting yr adult life.

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

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:10 pm

everton125 wrote:
usn26 wrote:
OhBoyOhBortles wrote:Defer. Enjoy your next year. Then enjoy UVA.


It pains me to disagree, but from a financial standpoint I think Duke is the move. The extra year of earnings is, I think, more significant than the scholarship difference.

That said, if you genuinely prefer UVA, go there. Take the year, save some money, enjoy the reduced debt load. Also, can you negotiate with UVA (e.g. "The year of lost income is too significant, but at $135k I'm in because I love UVA so much.")?


So I, in large part, wrote out the below to sort out my own thoughts, but in case anyone wants to follow along with me:

The problem with UVA, from my perspective, is that I don't want to defer for a full year. I would have to be making money during that time (I need to be fully supporting myself), so it is not like I can just be traveling for 8 months. Instead I will need to find a job -- most likely in New York City, where I live now, or my hometown. I suppose I could take out loans, but then what was the point in saving money in the first place.

Further, I actually really want to attend law school, which I am excited for after having worked for two years as a legal assistant and attending ASWs. I am already going to be 27 when I graduate from law school if I attend this year, and would prefer not to be any older. Personally, if I do BigLaw, I want to get in and get out before really starting a family, so my age does actually matter a bit to me.

Lastly, I am going to be traveling for a month in South America this summer regardless, so it is not like I won't be doing anything fun or exciting.

So really, it is down to Columbia and Duke, I think. In Duke's favor, Columbia will likely cost $30,000 more in the end (Duke has a lot of costs you might not normally consider that help balance out COA, like, e.g., a car, car insurance, flights to and from my hometown, moving expenses, etc.), I don't love NYC (though I am not sure I have really done it right), I like the idea of being on a full blown college campus again, and attending Duke will make it less likely I end up in NYC BigLaw. However, Columbia is more prestigious (and yes, that matters at least somewhat to me), has better job prospects, might make it easier to obtain some of my more lofty career goals, is closer to my family and friends, was more impressive when I visited, and will provide me with a wealth of externship and clinic opportunities that Duke can't compete with.


Your reasons for not going with UVA are not good. You can find a well-enough paying job in NYC for a year, and the difference between 27 and 28 is negligible. The psychic toll of your impatience will be significantly lighter and shorter in duration than the psychic toll of the kind of debt you are floating.

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

Postby everton125 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:30 pm

arturobelano wrote:UVA because the future is completely unknown - a more honest appraisal of what you would be doing by picking Columbia out of these options is increasing your long-term financial risk. The assumption of debt is the obligation of a financial liability that you will HAVE to fulfill, regardless of any contingencies that come about in your life - including both positive (exciting poorly-paid opportunities outside your LRAP) and negative (poor health of a close family member, job loss.)

You have an acceptable option in UVA that does not require you to take on what I believe is an unmanageable debt load that could become personally catastrophic should you fail to remain in legal employment for the duration of your career/repayment period.

It's also worth noting that your stated goal - ending BIGLAW before starting a family - will actually be put off further by attending Columbia if your primary motivation for doing BIGLAW is to eliminate your debt before you start your family. A $215k debt at repayment will realistically take 5-7 years to repay in NYC biglaw, whereas a $130K debt would take 3-5. That difference alone ought to offset the year of deferral.

Debt's a big deal, dog. Don't sacrifice valuable flexibility and assume unnecessary risk just because you're feeling impatient about starting yr adult life.


I appreciate the feedback, which was fairly persuasive. However, a couple of counterpoints:

1) I would not be 215K in debt upon graduation from Columbia -- the number will most definitely be less, and likely around 170K. Obviously, 170K is a fairly large amount of debt, but my understanding is that is should be manageable, particularly as I would have some familial assistance if need be and will be inheriting some assets in the coming years. Additionally, my goal would be not to work in NYC BigLaw, so there is the possibility that I would be able to pay down the loans quicker than if I was living in NYC, where cost of living is so astronomical.

2) I have already worked for two years, and I know what a working year is like. One year is not a small amount of time, particularly if it is time spent doing something you have zero desire to do. Wanting to move forward with your life and not wanting to waste a year is not necessarily a sign of impatience; it is a fairly resonable position to take. To treat a year so trivially, as people on TLS seem to do regularly, is counterproductive. There certainly may be times where it is best to "wait a year and retake" or "wait a year to attend," and it arguably is in my case, but that year spent unproductively can be a year lost in a lot of ways, and should be considered in kind. if I decide to defer, I know that I will be incredibly unhappy over the next year unless I am able to find a job that I feel is a productive use of my time. That is a bit of a gamble to take.

3) Columbia can be seen as a means of hedging my bets (and my risk), as I will have a decent chance at BigLaw even if I finish around the bottom 30% of my class, while that won't necessarily be the case at UVA. Further, if I do decide to go a different route career-wise, Columbia's LRAP program is far superior to UVA's. Attending UVA may save money at the start, but I would be fairly screwed either way if I don't find employment after the fact, or the LRAP fails to cover me.
Last edited by everton125 on Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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