Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

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

Which school makes the most sense?

Duke
13
68%
UCLA
3
16%
USC
3
16%
 
Total votes: 19

pololight
Posts: 3
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Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby pololight » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:22 pm

With deposit deadlines winding down, I figured I would turn to TLS for some insight.

The schools you are considering
- At this point I have it narrowed down to Duke, UCLA, and USC. I have no desire to go to school in the Northeast (although I wouldn't mind working in NY for a few years) and have withdrawn from most other places I've gotten in.

Scholarships
- Duke $105k
- UCLA $105k
- USC $160k


How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
- Combination of family and savings. Family will help me to avoid interest on loans, but they will expect me to pay the majority back after graduation. I'm not extremely debt averse, but it's definitely something I am considering while weighing these options.

Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
- From SoCal originally and want to work in LA, but not dead set. Open to DC or NY in the short term, but will probably want to make my way back to CA soon. Went to college in the south and enjoyed the change of pace, wouldn't mind going back for school.

Your general career goals
- Big Law short term, business long term (although I understand it isn't as easy as it sounds). Don't have an interest in PI.

Your LSAT/GPA numbers
- 169 (2nd take)
- 3.8x


How many times you have taken the LSAT
- Twice. Pretty tough studying while working 50+ hours a week. Not open to retaking at this point.


Some things I am considering
- USC's offer is compelling and their 2014 big law numbers didn't look too bad, but the law school building is nothing to write home about, journals and clinics are limited, the class size seems almost too small, and I realize I would be pretty much limited to only CA.

- I feel like I could get a little more $ out of UCLA and am attracted by their bigger size, nicer facilities, and wider range of resources, although I still feel like I would be limited to CA and am not sure if it would be worth the extra $ over USC. Additionally, their alumni network doesn't seem as strong.

- Right now I am leaning towards Duke. I like Durham and have heard positive things about the quality of life and overall experience there. The facilities are the nicest I've seen so far and the students and faculty I've interacted with just seem to be of a higher caliber. My main concern is whether these things and the better placement numbers are worth the extra $ if I'm ideally trying to go right back to CA after graduation. I worry about the alumni network in CA and keeping personal and professional ties with my classmates in the years beyond.


Much thanks in advance for any assistance and insight!

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transferror
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby transferror » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:45 pm

Also Dukes CoL should close the gap a little on USC. I'm not sure Duke is worth an extra 40-50k over USC for someone wanting to be in CA, but it's certainly defensible. If biglaw is more important than being in CA (and seems like it is based on your post), then I'd choose Duke.

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LawsRUs
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby LawsRUs » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:21 am

OP, did you say you are paying in-state tuition at UCLA?
If you give us COA, I think people can give you more accurate input.

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TFALAWL
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby TFALAWL » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:54 am

Duke is the easy answer over UCLA. I go to UVA, and outcompeted people from LA/SC w/ similar ranking (granted those w/ better grades did better).

For those who voted UCLA over SC, explain yourselves? it's the exact same thing

Duke vs. USC is tougher. This turns on how cost-averse/big law or bust you are. Only you can make that call.

pololight
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:15 pm

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby pololight » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:56 am

Best estimates for COA

UCLA - $100k
Duke - $126
USC - $80k

UCLA COA takes into account in-state tuition.

I'd say big law and CA are close to equal priorities. At this point I feel like the $ difference in COA isn't the deal breaker. It's more a factor of whether Duke's better reputation and job/clerkship numbers will outweigh USC/UCLA's CA network and if it doesn't make sense to go to the east coast if I ultimately want to come back west.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:55 am

I'd take Duke here. With some geographic flexibility you are very likely to land a good job from there, much more so than if you attend USC. USC doesn't make SoCal biglaw any more likely than Duke at any point on the class rank spectrum.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:01 am

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:58 am

Duke.

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usn26
Posts: 800
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby usn26 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:20 am

Duke, unless you can get more $$ from USCLA.

framboozer
Posts: 213
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:38 pm

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby framboozer » Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:28 am

At those costs, UCLA should be out of the question and you should be deciding between Duke and USC. The fact that you are not dead-set on CA only and might be interested in NYC and DC makes Duke the winner here in my eyes. Duke does very well at placing students in California, NYC, and DC. There are are a sizeable number of students going to California from Duke, but the class size is small and in general you won't feel like you're competing against a huge number of people. You will also need to be a much higher class rank at USC to get CA Biglaw.

It is also dirt cheap to live in Durham and really easy to save money here while still indulging yourself.

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cron1834
Posts: 1921
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby cron1834 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:35 am

Duke is worth that much. USC for 80 is reasonable, but I'd pay 45 extra for Duke here.

secadc11
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:13 pm

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby secadc11 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:37 am

Duke.

pololight
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:15 pm

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby pololight » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:26 pm

Update: UCLA raised my scholarship to $120k. The money is pretty much negligible at this point though... My main concern is staying connected personally and professionally with my classmates after graduation. While Duke places pretty well on the west coast, that includes a variety of states, sending only a few to LA specifically. Anyone have a similar experience or any insight into this?

hearsay77
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:17 pm

Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby hearsay77 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:31 pm

secadc11 wrote:Duke.

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usn26
Posts: 800
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby usn26 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:38 pm

With COL differences isn't Duke still the same price or cheaper even with the new scholarship?

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L’Étranger
Posts: 315
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:41 pm

Tough call if you're looking to get biglaw.

Am assuming not that many CA BL offices come to Duke's OCI, which means you'll need to mass mail to get stuff in CA, which means you'll need to be above median at Duke to get anyone's attention via mass mail.

At UCLA and USC you'll likely need to be above median or well above median to get biglaw in LA.

Nice thing about Duke is that it places pretty well in New York BL in case mass mail/OCI doesn't work for CA.

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WeeBey
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Re: Duke$$ vs. UCLA$$ vs. USC$$$

Postby WeeBey » Sat May 02, 2015 1:13 am

Duke.




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