Penn v.Villanova

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mikedw426
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Penn v.Villanova

Postby mikedw426 » Tue May 12, 2015 9:46 am

A few months ago I received a full tuition offer (just as many other students have) from Villanova. I have also paid my first seat deposit there. However, also a few months ago, I was wait listed at Penn. Last week I got a phone call from the Dean of Admissions at Penn offering me a spot in the class of 2018 under 2 conditions: 1. I have to pay full tuition (roughly $53,000/yr. + cost of living and fees; $75,000 plus/yr.) and 2. I have to commit wholeheartedly to Penn. She gave me time to make my decision but I am having a difficult time. In your opinion, should I choose Nova or Penn? In the long run, full tuition or an Ivy League degree? Keep in mind: I will likely be staying on the East coast, I plan on getting married upon law school graduation, and, rather bluntly, I would ideally like to have a career where I am well compensated and can easily support a family. Thanks!

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Tue May 12, 2015 9:48 am

In order to receive the best feedback in this forum, please provide as much of the following information in your original post as possible:

-The schools you are considering
-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each. COA = cost of tuition + fees + books + cost of living (COL) + accumulated interest - scholarships. Here is a helpful calculator.
-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
-Your general career goals
-Your LSAT/GPA numbers
-How many times you have taken the LSAT

Any other schools in consideration? Surely there is some middle ground here, correct?

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BasilHallward
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby BasilHallward » Tue May 12, 2015 9:49 am

In order to receive the best feedback in this forum, please provide as much of the following information in your original post as possible:

-The schools you are considering
-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each. COA = cost of tuition + fees + books + cost of living (COL) + accumulated interest - scholarships. Here is a helpful calculator.
-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings
-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)
-Your general career goals
-Your LSAT/GPA numbers
-How many times you have taken the LSAT

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usn26
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby usn26 » Tue May 12, 2015 9:49 am

What does "well-compensated" mean to you?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 12, 2015 9:54 am

My understanding is that Villanova places primarily in the Philadelphia region & that less than half the class obtains jobs by graduation. On the other hand, approximately $250,000 of student loan debt isn't very attractive either.
Seems like you're choosing between two unattractive mates just because you want to be married. Not a good plan, in my opinion.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue May 12, 2015 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby TasmanianToucan » Tue May 12, 2015 9:55 am

Given that there isn't all that much middle ground between the 30,000-50,000 PI range and the 160,000 biglaw pay, I'm assuming "well-compensated" may just mean biglaw?

But yeah, we're gonna need your GPA, scores, number of times you took the test, and whether there are any other schools in the mix.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Tue May 12, 2015 10:08 am

I know this is extremely tough to do but you have to turn down Penn at sticker. It is just way too expensive. Even if you get big law and make it 6-7 years (so 10 years from now) it is unlikely you will have paid off all the debt. A rough estimate is that 60-70% of Penn grads get big law and less than 10% of people in big law make it to year 6-7. The odds are very likely that you will find yourself 5-8 years from now with a yearly salary that is less (and potentially much less) than your outstanding student loan debt. What are your numbers and what other options do you have besides Villanova?

04172016
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby 04172016 » Tue May 12, 2015 10:53 am

Don't get married. It is because you not currently married that you able to have this opportunity.

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby TasmanianToucan » Tue May 12, 2015 11:02 am

jsmooke121 wrote:Don't get married. It is because you not currently married that you able to have this opportunity.

Huh? There may or may not be a number of reasons why OP shouldn't get married, none of which we are in a position to evaluate, but saying unconditionally that being married precludes you from going to law school is just dead wrong.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Tue May 12, 2015 11:07 am

TasmanianToucan wrote:
jsmooke121 wrote:Don't get married. It is because you not currently married that you able to have this opportunity.

Huh? There may or may not be a number of reasons why OP shouldn't get married, none of which we are in a position to evaluate, but saying unconditionally that being married precludes you from going to law school is just dead wrong.


+1 to TT. Jsmooke, OP didn't ask you for personal life advice. Try to be helpful or gtfo.

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usn26
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby usn26 » Tue May 12, 2015 11:20 am

TasmanianToucan wrote:Given that there isn't all that much middle ground between the 30,000-50,000 PI range and the 160,000 biglaw pay, I'm assuming "well-compensated" may just mean biglaw?


I'm not necessarily gonna assume that. I grew up broke, so I'd think 50k is fine and 100-110k in a senior position in 15-20y would be "well-compensated" (aka much more than my parents ever made), but everyone views it from their own perspective. The way he phrased it I think your interpretation is more likely, but I'd like to hear OP's thoughts.

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OutCold
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby OutCold » Tue May 12, 2015 11:36 am

I'm a Penn grad. Didn't go for full tuition, but had a large amount of undergrad debt that puts me in the same position as someone who paid full tuition and very little for undergrad. Look, the notion that having such a large amount of debt is unmanageable is not entirely true, but you have to understand the limitations that it puts on you. You will have to work in biglaw for at least four or five years and aggressively pay down your debt. You will also be living a more frugal lifestyle than your counterparts. You don't have the option of washing out of biglaw early if you hate it. The loans become much more manageable after the first two years when you account for salary and bonus increases, but then you have to fight the temptation to increase your QOL rather than pump the entirety of the increases into loans. What people do not make mention of is the fact that once you have paid down a large chunk of debt by year four or five, you will have options to refinance that loan if you want to leave biglaw. Say you start with $300k debt like I did--by year the end of year four, you are down to $150-175k depending on how aggressive you are paying down. At that point, you can refinance and also potentially extend the loan out to 15-20-25 years instead of the standard 10 year term. This dramatically shrinks your monthly required payment and will allow you to live on the lower salary you will take if you leave biglaw. 300k at 7% over ten years is a payment of around $3400 a month. $175k at the same rate and same ten years is about $2000 a month. At 20 years, that $175k at the same rate becomes a payment of about $1300 a month. You will be paying for a long time, but you can get your loans to place where they are not impeding your ability leave biglaw without defaulting or severely impairing your ability to live.

I'm not recommending paying full tuition at Penn, but it is perfectly doable if you understand the repercussions. You give up a lot of freedom. You will likely be paying loans for a LONG time. However, the myth that you need to stay 7-8 years in biglaw is incorrect.

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby TasmanianToucan » Tue May 12, 2015 11:52 am

usn26 wrote:I'm not necessarily gonna assume that. I grew up broke, so I'd think 50k is fine and 100-110k in a senior position in 15-20y would be "well-compensated" (aka much more than my parents ever made), but everyone views it from their own perspective. The way he phrased it I think your interpretation is more likely, but I'd like to hear OP's thoughts.

Granted. I just assumed given the amount of debt in discussion that OP is operating in a six figure world. But yeah, I suppose given LRAP, etc. well-compensated could mean a bunch of different things.

EDIT: Keyboard vomit.

mikedw426
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby mikedw426 » Tue May 12, 2015 4:45 pm

I see I haven't given enough detail: my girlfriend and I have been together for seven years so, of course, i plan on marrying her and starting a family as soon as it is practically possible i.e. when i graduate law school. I'm going to graduate from a small university in the northeast with a 3.91 GPA and I took the LSAT once and scored a 161. To be honest, considering how much people tend to emphasize super high LSAT scores, I never expected to have received the offers I did when considering my numbers, I especially never thought I would be able to still be considering going to Penn. I only mentioned Nova and Penn because those are essentially my final two; although I did receive 15,000/yr. from Temple (I do not like the area or a number of the faculty, nothing personal its just my impression), full tuition to PSU Dickinson (essentially a ghost town and it has a quickly faltering reputation) and 15,000/yr. to Fordham (not big on the Bronx, although i do not mind NYC as a whole). So why are my final two both Philly schools? First, I liked them both a lot and its essentially a coincidence that they are both in Philly. Second, my girlfriend will start a job at a private accounting firm in Philly this fall. I am not exactly sure what my other offers have to do with this discussion post, it seems rather irrelevant to me at this point, especially with deposit deadlines passing last month. My question was simply put should I accept full tuition and about 50,000 in living expenses to Villanova (whose mission I was able to resonate with and who has produced a number of successful alumni from what I can see) or do I take on 250,000 in loans and debt to go to Penn. Outcold came closest to answering my question, although I appreciate all of your responses. I would love to work in Big Law because of the experience and opportunities it offers. However, I would like to explore my opportunities elsewhere after a few years (say 3 to 5). Will a Penn Law degree take me places a degree from a school like Nova could never could? (emphasis on the "Will" part) Also, by "well compensated" I mean working in a position that pays north of 100,000 right out of school. I recognize Penn gives me the best opportunity to achieve that, but is the debt worth it when that is considered? Is it impossible to make that salary coming from Nova? I know I would have to work harder than ever at both schools in order to succeed and I am willing and able to do that. Let me know if you need more clarification. Thanks!

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Poldy
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby Poldy » Tue May 12, 2015 4:50 pm

Retake and go to Penn with a substantial scholarship. Don't pair a 3.91 with a 161. That's just throwing away money.

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Tue May 12, 2015 4:52 pm

mikedw426 wrote:I see I haven't given enough detail: my girlfriend and I have been together for seven years so, of course, i plan on marrying her and starting a family as soon as it is practically possible i.e. when i graduate law school. I'm going to graduate from a small university in the northeast with a 3.91 GPA and I took the LSAT once and scored a 161. To be honest, considering how much people tend to emphasize super high LSAT scores, I never expected to have received the offers I did when considering my numbers, I especially never thought I would be able to still be considering going to Penn. I only mentioned Nova and Penn because those are essentially my final two; although I did receive 15,000/yr. from Temple (I do not like the area or a number of the faculty, nothing personal its just my impression), full tuition to PSU Dickinson (essentially a ghost town and it has a quickly faltering reputation) and 15,000/yr. to Fordham (not big on the Bronx, although i do not mind NYC as a whole). So why are my final two both Philly schools? First, I liked them both a lot and its essentially a coincidence that they are both in Philly. Second, my girlfriend will start a job at a private accounting firm in Philly this fall. I am not exactly sure what my other offers have to do with this discussion post, it seems rather irrelevant to me at this point, especially with deposit deadlines passing last month. My question was simply put should I accept full tuition and about 50,000 in living expenses to Villanova (whose mission I was able to resonate with and who has produced a number of successful alumni from what I can see) or do I take on 250,000 in loans and debt to go to Penn. Outcold came closest to answering my question, although I appreciate all of your responses. I would love to work in Big Law because of the experience and opportunities it offers. However, I would like to explore my opportunities elsewhere after a few years (say 3 to 5). Will a Penn Law degree take me places a degree from a school like Nova could never could? (emphasis on the "Will" part) Also, by "well compensated" I mean working in a position that pays north of 100,000 right out of school. I recognize Penn gives me the best opportunity to achieve that, but is the debt worth it when that is considered? Is it impossible to make that salary coming from Nova? I know I would have to work harder than ever at both schools in order to succeed and I am willing and able to do that. Let me know if you need more clarification. Thanks!


It sounds like you should really consider retaking the lsat. Penn certainly can bring you opportunities you wouldn't have at Nova, but I don't think anyone would recommend paying sticker price to attend Penn. Fortunately for you, you have a stellar gpa that, if paired with a high 160s lsat, would fetch you great offers from Penn.

The salary you are looking for won't come from the offers you'll get after earning a Nova jd. If I were you, OP, I'd head over to the lsat prep forum and begin preparing for October!

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby TasmanianToucan » Tue May 12, 2015 5:19 pm

To answer your direct question, I'm not sure how you can expect anyone on here to be able to tell you with any certainty what "will" happen; no one has a crystal ball. You have access to the same statistics that we do. To summarize: 70% of the class of 2014 at Penn landed a biglaw job compared to 15% of Nova grads. See http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/penn/2014/ and http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/villanova/2014/.

Did you prepare thoroughly for your LSAT? If not, you probably should retake. If so, and you feel you reached your maximum potential (i.e. outscored your practice tests), I would reluctantly point you toward Penn.

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strugglebus
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby strugglebus » Tue May 12, 2015 7:18 pm

Retake; going to law school with a 3.91/161 would be wasting your GPA. Penn is prohibitively expensive at sticker and the odds of getting a job as a lawyer out of Villanova are way too low.

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DaRascal
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby DaRascal » Tue May 12, 2015 8:15 pm

Villanova. I'll put it this way- If someone gave me $1,000 to bet on you, I'd put it on your being Top 25% at Villanova based on your excellent GPA and solid LSAT score over your being able to go from a 161 to 169, because I think if you work as hard as possible at Nova, it'll be hard for your peers to outperform you whereas you might work extremely hard on the LSAT and end up with only a 166, short of what you need to get huge scholarship money to make up for the year you'll be taking off.

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stego
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby stego » Tue May 12, 2015 8:17 pm

RancidSumo wrote:Retake and go to Penn with a substantial scholarship. Don't pair a 3.91 with a 161. That's just throwing away money.


+1

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quiver
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby quiver » Tue May 12, 2015 8:48 pm

DaRascal wrote:Villanova. I'll put it this way- If someone gave me $1,000 to bet on you, I'd put it on your being Top 25% at Villanova based on your excellent GPA and solid LSAT score over your being able to go from a 161 to 169, because I think if you work as hard as possible at Nova, it'll be hard for your peers to outperform you whereas you might work extremely hard on the LSAT and end up with only a 166, short of what you need to get huge scholarship money to make up for the year you'll be taking off.
Wait what?

Hornet2011
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby Hornet2011 » Tue May 12, 2015 10:27 pm

I respectfully disagree with that idea that you should go to Villanova. I would recommend retaking this October. First of all, I am not going to say you shouldn't go if you truly believe the 161 was your "max" and you want to start this fall. However, I truly think you can score higher. For me, being out of school and then studying for the LSAT really changed my perspective and my ability to study. I got a 158 when I took it after what I thought was an "intensive" summer studying session. In retrospect, it wasn't half as of intensive as I thought it was when I had other school pressures and life decisions in the back of my mind. Now I am consistently scoring 170+. Now every situation is different (I mean I may end up bombing the LSAT), but I truly think you can score higher if you have the time to consistently focus on studying from now until the October test. One more year really isn't that much in grand scheme of things.

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jchiles
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby jchiles » Tue May 12, 2015 10:33 pm

Honestly don't know what you should do but getting into Penn with a 3.91 and 161 is pretty legit. Retaking and getting in with money would be better, but that assumes you will do significantly better and Penn will still be wanting applicants as badly as they seem to now, which may or may not be the case. Your chances of getting a "well compensated" job are so much better at Penn than at Nova, and even after the debt payments you have a better shot at a good outcome from Penn than Nova.

Also just get married if you want to get married, I definitely think its easier to do it in law school than it would be when you're working or studying for the bar.

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Clearly
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby Clearly » Tue May 12, 2015 10:42 pm

jchiles wrote:Honestly don't know what you should do but getting into Penn with a 3.91 and 161 is pretty legit. Retaking and getting in with money would be better, but that assumes you will do significantly better and Penn will still be wanting applicants as badly as they seem to now, which may or may not be the case. Your chances of getting a "well compensated" job are so much better at Penn than at Nova, and even after the debt payments you have a better shot at a good outcome from Penn than Nova.

Also just get married if you want to get married, I definitely think its easier to do it in law school than it would be when you're working or studying for the bar.

Except he doesn't want a well compensated position. He was very explicit in his goals, and the Penn / Villanova distinction isn't worth the money for that field.

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jchiles
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Re: Penn v.Villanova

Postby jchiles » Tue May 12, 2015 10:53 pm

Clearly wrote:Except he doesn't want a well compensated position. He was very explicit in his goals, and the Penn / Villanova distinction isn't worth the money for that field.


I thought OP wanted to possibly work big law and make over 100k, but maybe i misread.




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