UCLA or Vanderbilt?

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Acordeon
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UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Acordeon » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:42 pm

I'm torn between depositing at UCLA or Vanderbilt.

I guess I'd be considered a splitter at 3.1 and 169. I was offered 30K a year at Vandy and 20K a year at UCLA. I did ask for an increase in aid from UCLA but no go. I'm waitlisted at Cornell, Penn, Michigan, and Northwestern (thanks to my GPA!) so even if I do get off the waitlists I won't get merit-based financial aid.

My goal is to end up in NYC- probably public interest law of some sort (currently most interested in immigration). I used to teach in New York City. I'm also a few years out of college and have already worked and gotten my master's degree.

I'm worried about the higher cost of living close to UCLA, which would increase my debt if I go there, but I really like what I hear about their curriculum and job placement stats. Vanderbilt has a great reputation from what I've heard, and I have heard only positive things from friends who have attended law school there. Which school seems like the better option for a deposit, Vanderbilt or UCLA?

BigZuck
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:50 pm

I don't think I'd do either for PI in NYC

I'd look for a school that is in New York and that is significantly cheaper

californiauser
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby californiauser » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:05 pm

Are you planning to utilize a loan repayment program? 30k a year from either school will still leave you with 100k+ debt. If you are planning on using a LRAP, I'd hold out for a T14.

Acordeon
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Acordeon » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:15 pm

californiauser wrote:Are you planning to utilize a loan repayment program? 30k a year from either school will still leave you with 100k+ debt. If you are planning on using a LRAP, I'd hold out for a T14.


I'll be using a LRAP if I do go into public interest. I may also have some financial support from family during my time in law school (around $10,000/year). I'm just not sure what my chances are at a T14. I've written my LOCI so now it's just playing the waiting game.

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Otunga
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Otunga » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:17 pm

I think you're better off going to a much lower ranked school if you want PI. That way, you can go debt-free (tuition-wise). If you wanted biglaw, I suppose you'd have to settle for these schools, but it still wouldn't be justifiable (just slightly more so).

krads153
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby krads153 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:17 pm

CUNY is a reasonable choice for NYC PI...it's super low cost and it's known as the "PI school" in NYC. Nobody knows what it is outside of NYC though, so you should be sure that you want NYC PI.

Acordeon
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Acordeon » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:00 am

krads153 wrote:CUNY is a reasonable choice for NYC PI...it's super low cost and it's known as the "PI school" in NYC. Nobody knows what it is outside of NYC though, so you should be sure that you want NYC PI.


I'm not settled on PI. I would like to leave my options as open as possible.

lawalum
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby lawalum » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:57 am

I vote Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt does a pretty good job of placing in NY (although this tends to be roughly the top third of the class). There are a number of Vanderbilt law alumni in NY. The cost of living in Nashville will be lower.

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baal hadad
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby baal hadad » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:40 am

Vanderbilt bc it's cheaper

whysoseriousbiglaw
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:40 am

lawalum wrote:I vote Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt does a pretty good job of placing in NY (although this tends to be roughly the top third of the class). There are a number of Vanderbilt law alumni in NY. The cost of living in Nashville will be lower.

From what I've seen, you need to be higher than that to get NYC biglaw from Vanderbilt. Not that it's going to be much different out of UCLA.

I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

MBDTF711
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby MBDTF711 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:53 am

Both good options, try to leverage for more schollies at both schools by saying that you are thinking about going to the other. They want your LSAT score.

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cron1834
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby cron1834 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:13 pm

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

This seems right. OP, you're considering regional schools at great cost for NYC work, and you don't know what kind of work. This is a lil half-baked and a recipe for potential disaster. Please be careful here.

Acordeon
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Acordeon » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:53 pm

cron1834 wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

This seems right. OP, you're considering regional schools at great cost for NYC work, and you don't know what kind of work. This is a lil half-baked and a recipe for potential disaster. Please be careful here.


I wouldn't call my decision half-baked. I have worked for several years and already have a master's degree. I took the LSAT 4 years ago and have thought about this decision extremely carefully. My current goal was to do big law for 3-5 years, and then make a move into a career that I'm more personally passionate about. However, I don't think it's wise to go into law school saying "Big Law or Bust".

With my unfortunate undergrad GPA (although I had a 3.97 in grad school), my options are not the best. I would like to be in an environment where I can be challenged intellectually and continue with the academic success that I had after undergrad. I'm not considering going to a lower-ranked school because I will not have as many opportunities to be successful.

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cron1834
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby cron1834 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:02 pm

Acordeon wrote:
cron1834 wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

This seems right. OP, you're considering regional schools at great cost for NYC work, and you don't know what kind of work. This is a lil half-baked and a recipe for potential disaster. Please be careful here.


I wouldn't call my decision half-baked. I have worked for several years and already have a master's degree. I took the LSAT 4 years ago and have thought about this decision extremely carefully. My current goal was to do big law for 3-5 years, and then make a move into a career that I'm more personally passionate about. However, I don't think it's wise to go into law school saying "Big Law or Bust".

With my unfortunate undergrad GPA (although I had a 3.97 in grad school), my options are not the best. I would like to be in an environment where I can be challenged intellectually and continue with the academic success that I had after undergrad. I'm not considering going to a lower-ranked school because I will not have as many opportunities to be successful.

I didn't say going to law school is necessarily half-baked. Read carefully. However: 1) Going to a regional school with the goal of working in New York IS a bit half-baked. 2) Not knowing whether you want to do biglaw or PI by the time you're a grown-up, in conjunction with #1, is half-baked.

Sorry.

totesTheGoat
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:30 pm

Acordeon wrote: continue with the academic success that I had after undergrad.


Count on being median at whatever school you attend. Make all decisions based on that. You have much less control over your GPA in law school than you had in UG or in your masters program. If you end up coming out top 1/3 or 10%, great! You will have more opportunities than you expected. However, ask almost any law student and they'll know more than one classmate who planned on being top 1/4 or top 10%, and is sitting at or below median with 6 figures in debt and poor job prospects.

The question you should be asking yourself is whether it would be worth it to graduate from UCLA or Vandy at median. From what you've told us so far, I think Vandy is the better option, but you should spend some time making 100% sure you know what you're walking into.

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Toodle-loo
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Toodle-loo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:57 pm

cron1834 wrote:
Acordeon wrote:
cron1834 wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

This seems right. OP, you're considering regional schools at great cost for NYC work, and you don't know what kind of work. This is a lil half-baked and a recipe for potential disaster. Please be careful here.


I wouldn't call my decision half-baked. I have worked for several years and already have a master's degree. I took the LSAT 4 years ago and have thought about this decision extremely carefully. My current goal was to do big law for 3-5 years, and then make a move into a career that I'm more personally passionate about. However, I don't think it's wise to go into law school saying "Big Law or Bust".

With my unfortunate undergrad GPA (although I had a 3.97 in grad school), my options are not the best. I would like to be in an environment where I can be challenged intellectually and continue with the academic success that I had after undergrad. I'm not considering going to a lower-ranked school because I will not have as many opportunities to be successful.

I didn't say going to law school is necessarily half-baked. Read carefully. However: 1) Going to a regional school with the goal of working in New York IS a bit half-baked. 2) Not knowing whether you want to do biglaw or PI by the time you're a grown-up, in conjunction with #1, is half-baked.

Sorry.


I have to disagree here...keeping your options open isn't "half-baked", it's realistic. Being open to different experiences is a good thing. The attorneys I currently work for started their careers in medical malpractice, then one worked in a big firm, one went on to be a domestic violence PD, then they moved together in to wrongful termination and class action suits. They each now do a combination of FPD appointments, transactional work in the environmental sector, and and a few class action suits a year.

You don't have to pigeonhole yourself as far as I've seen. None of the alum of any of the T14 schools that I've been in contact with have told me they did ONE thing their entire careers- MOST have oscillated between firm/PI work in some way or another.

Tls2016
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Tls2016 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:07 pm

OP: would you be happy living somewhere other than NYC? These schools are regional and it may be easier for you to get a job in their location. But I think Tennessee is ties sensitive and I don't know if you have any.

Did you apply to any NYC schools?

Tls2016
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Tls2016 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:12 pm

lawalum wrote:I vote Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt does a pretty good job of placing in NY (although this tends to be roughly the top third of the class). There are a number of Vanderbilt law alumni in NY. The cost of living in Nashville will be lower.

For what it's worth law school transparency shows 7.7% of 2014 Vanderbilt grads end up in NYC. I think it is clear OP can't count on OCI for a job in NYC.

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cron1834
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby cron1834 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:46 pm

Toodle-loo wrote:
cron1834 wrote:
Acordeon wrote:
cron1834 wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I don't really like either of these options if you're taking out so much debt and don't even know what you want to do....

This seems right. OP, you're considering regional schools at great cost for NYC work, and you don't know what kind of work. This is a lil half-baked and a recipe for potential disaster. Please be careful here.


I wouldn't call my decision half-baked. I have worked for several years and already have a master's degree. I took the LSAT 4 years ago and have thought about this decision extremely carefully. My current goal was to do big law for 3-5 years, and then make a move into a career that I'm more personally passionate about. However, I don't think it's wise to go into law school saying "Big Law or Bust".

With my unfortunate undergrad GPA (although I had a 3.97 in grad school), my options are not the best. I would like to be in an environment where I can be challenged intellectually and continue with the academic success that I had after undergrad. I'm not considering going to a lower-ranked school because I will not have as many opportunities to be successful.

I didn't say going to law school is necessarily half-baked. Read carefully. However: 1) Going to a regional school with the goal of working in New York IS a bit half-baked. 2) Not knowing whether you want to do biglaw or PI by the time you're a grown-up, in conjunction with #1, is half-baked.

Sorry.


I have to disagree here...keeping your options open isn't "half-baked", it's realistic. Being open to different experiences is a good thing. The attorneys I currently work for started their careers in medical malpractice, then one worked in a big firm, one went on to be a domestic violence PD, then they moved together in to wrongful termination and class action suits. They each now do a combination of FPD appointments, transactional work in the environmental sector, and and a few class action suits a year.

You don't have to pigeonhole yourself as far as I've seen. None of the alum of any of the T14 schools that I've been in contact with have told me they did ONE thing their entire careers- MOST have oscillated between firm/PI work in some way or another.

Umm, you're not getting it. UCLA with a $20k/year scholarship is still like $185k in debt per the GULC calculator. $185k in debt at a REGIONAL SCHOOL that DOES NOT place into the region you want is silly under the best of circumstances, and it's downright half-baked when OP can't even clarify job goals. Vandy is moderately cheaper here, but the same problem applies.

Stop giving life-ruining advice just because you happen to know people who have good careers. I do, too.

foregetaboutdre
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby foregetaboutdre » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:02 pm

Did you apply to Georgetown? Seems like a good fit to me with their killer LRAP. Vandy = south, UCLA = Cali. Not sure why you're picking those schools to go to NYC tbh.

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Toodle-loo
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Toodle-loo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:04 pm

cron1834 wrote:Umm, you're not getting it. UCLA with a $20k/year scholarship is still like $185k in debt per the GULC calculator. $185k in debt at a REGIONAL SCHOOL that DOES NOT place into the region you want is silly under the best of circumstances, and it's downright half-baked when OP can't even clarify job goals. Vandy is moderately cheaper here, but the same problem applies.

Stop giving life-ruining advice just because you happen to know people who have good careers. I do, too.


Hi, I "get it" just fine. I'm not giving "life-ruining" advice just because you disagree with it. In fact, if you could read more carefully, you'd see that I didn't actually give advice at all - I didn't give a recommendation for a school.

I personally think it's just as "half-baked" to go to terribly ranked school such that you barely have the option of leaving the city or state. If you don't know of any Vandy grads that have wound up in NYC PI, you just don't know a lot of people and/or haven't made a good effort to connect yourself with alum. Is it likely? No, but a shit ton of that is self-selection. Again though, I'll reiterate, that in my post I did not advocate for a particular school.

I merely took issue with your advice that you have to "pick" biglaw or PI for the rest of your life before you even choose a fucking school.

OP clarified job goals just fine, sorry if you have trouble with comprehension.

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cron1834
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby cron1834 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:21 pm

Toodle-loo wrote:
cron1834 wrote:Umm, you're not getting it. UCLA with a $20k/year scholarship is still like $185k in debt per the GULC calculator. $185k in debt at a REGIONAL SCHOOL that DOES NOT place into the region you want is silly under the best of circumstances, and it's downright half-baked when OP can't even clarify job goals. Vandy is moderately cheaper here, but the same problem applies.

Stop giving life-ruining advice just because you happen to know people who have good careers. I do, too.


Hi, I "get it" just fine. I'm not giving "life-ruining" advice just because you disagree with it. In fact, if you could read more carefully, you'd see that I didn't actually give advice at all - I didn't give a recommendation for a school.

I personally think it's just as "half-baked" to go to terribly ranked school such that you barely have the option of leaving the city or state. If you don't know of any Vandy grads that have wound up in NYC PI, you just don't know a lot of people and/or haven't made a good effort to connect yourself with alum. Is it likely? No, but a shit ton of that is self-selection. Again though, I'll reiterate, that in my post I did not advocate for a particular school.

I merely took issue with your advice that you have to "pick" biglaw or PI for the rest of your life before you even choose a fucking school.

OP clarified job goals just fine, sorry if you have trouble with comprehension.

"Clarified job goals just fine." LOL, nice one.

If you're not discouraging someone from taking $185k in debt for a regional school with bizarre goals unrelated to the region, then you're doing a disservice. Your nitpicking is unbecoming when you miss the big picture.

Also, stop talking about these schools as if they're T14 job-factories. They're not. They're trap schools.

wolfie_m.
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby wolfie_m. » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:30 pm

.
Last edited by wolfie_m. on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Toodle-loo
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Toodle-loo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:34 pm

cron1834 wrote:"Clarified job goals just fine." LOL, nice one.

If you're not discouraging someone from taking $185k in debt for a regional school with bizarre goals unrelated to the region, then you're doing a disservice. Your nitpicking is unbecoming when you miss the big picture.

Also, stop talking about these schools as if they're T14 job-factories. They're not. They're trap schools.



My nitpicking the details is what makes me a fantastic senior case manager according to my supervising attorney, thank you, and I never said anything that a reasonable person would interpret as me thinking that T14s are "job-factories".

There's really no reason to be such an asshole. You should be able to say what you have to say reasonably and nicely.

Tls2016
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Re: UCLA or Vanderbilt?

Postby Tls2016 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:41 pm

wolfie_m. wrote:Vandy is a "trap school" now? Are you intentionally talking out of your ass?

Also, this . . .

Tls2016 wrote:OP: would you be happy living somewhere other than NYC? These schools are regional and it may be easier for you to get a job in their location. But I think Tennessee is ties sensitive and I don't know if you have any.

Did you apply to any NYC schools?


???

Look, Vandy is a good, but not great, school. It's not a T14. Historically, it places well in the Southeast, but people do just fine in NYC. Most Vandy people don't target NYC, though, so that's something to consider.

The other thing to consider is Vandy's placement power generally. Class of 2014 was 41% roughly BL + FC. Class of 2015 is probably similar, if not slightly higher (I'm thinking up to 45% once the numbers are released).

Class of 2016 was the first class with the new curve. That percentage will probably be more like 60% BL + FC when it comes out, based on SAs and such. I don't know what the Class of 2017 is looking.

Vandy does not place terribly well in Chicago, or on the West Coast. But people do just fine in NYC.


I was asking OP if he would be happy either place. Vanderbilt is a regional school and it will be easier for him to get a job in that region than in NYC. If he can't get NYC, would he be ok in Tennessee? Only OP can answer that question. If he isn't ok with staying in that region and must be in NYC, he should reconsider Vanderbilt

I don't think the median Vanderbilt grad is getting biglaw in NYC. And it isn't all because they would rather stay in the South. My firm wouldn't interview a median student at Vandy, maybe T 25% and law review at a stretch. And my firm is one of the V10 that isn't grade selective.




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