University of Alabama or UNC

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
atp123

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:59 pm

University of Alabama or UNC

Postby atp123 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:58 pm

I'm currently trying to choose between the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina. I'm still waiting to here back from a few more schools, but I don't think I will get comparable scholarship offers anywhere else I'm waiting to hear from. I have offers for 2/3 of tuition to both schools. I also have full tuition offers to George Mason and Wake Forest, but prefer Alabama and UNC to those schools. I would be in-state at UNC, and thus have slightly less debt after graduation. I have a 164/3.69. I'm interested in trying to get into big law, possibly in Atlanta, but know it won't be easy at either of these schools. Opinions?

User avatar
UVA2B

Gold
Posts: 3466
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby UVA2B » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:05 am

I hope you realize Biglaw is definitely a long shot at either, but assuming you're comfortable with not getting Biglaw...

UNC is the better option here, but I would do everything I can to negotiate UNC to increase the scholarship offer. I have no idea if WF will carry any weight in negotiations, but I'd at least give it a try. You're looking at not insignificant debt from either UNC or Alabama even with these discounts (assuming you're taking loans for living expenses).

Have you accurately calculated Cost of Attendance at both? And have you considered how you'd feel about missing out on Biglaw and going into far less lucrative employment? These are important questions which you'll need to consider precisely with your own circumstances.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:09 am

What is the cost of attendance at each school? What are your fallback options if biglaw doesn't happen? What markets are you willing to work in other than Atlanta? What ties do you have to Atlanta?

Your odds of biglaw are similar at both schools (around 25%). But neither of these schools place particularly well in Georgia as far as I can tell. Did you apply to UGA, Emory, or Georgia State?

Based on what you said thus far, UNC is likely the better option, but I wouldn't feel comfortable in your shoes that it will get you where you want to go.

User avatar
deadpanic

Silver
Posts: 1285
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby deadpanic » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:13 am

I get the hunch you are preferring Alabama over Wake Forest due to US News Rankings. If you want to work in Atlanta, none of your schools make sense. If you don't want to work in Alabama, the University of Alabama doesn't make sense. Don't pick Bama because they are T30 or whatever they may be at the moment (they game the rankings, by the way); you'll be real disappointed when it comes job time and you have to work in Montgomery personal injury law.

If you are okay with practicing in North Carolina, Wake Forest with just cost of living expenses is your best offer on the table. UNC in-state with 2/3rd tuition does not sound bad either. Calculate your total cost of attendance first, though.

Atlanta BigLaw has a really small amount of slots. T14, Vandy & Emory folks get dinged there on a regular basis. North Carolina dude with Alabama law degree with no ties to Atlanta is not a great plan. (Sure it is POSSIBLE that you graduate at the very top of your class and get an offer, but it is extremely unlikely).

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:23 am

deadpanic wrote:I get the hunch you are preferring Alabama over Wake Forest due to US News Rankings. If you want to work in Atlanta, none of your schools make sense. If you don't want to work in Alabama, the University of Alabama doesn't make sense. Don't pick Bama because they are T30 or whatever they may be at the moment (they game the rankings, by the way); you'll be real disappointed when it comes job time and you have to work in Montgomery personal injury law.

If you are okay with practicing in North Carolina, Wake Forest with just cost of living expenses is your best offer on the table. UNC in-state with 2/3rd tuition does not sound bad either. Calculate your total cost of attendance first, though.

Atlanta BigLaw has a really small amount of slots. T14, Vandy & Emory folks get dinged there on a regular basis. North Carolina dude with Alabama law degree with no ties to Atlanta is not a great plan. (Sure it is POSSIBLE that you graduate at the very top of your class and get an offer, but it is extremely unlikely).


This is good advice, OP.

But I recommend having a fallback plan that isn't biglaw. If you're not comfortable with that fallback plan, retake the LSAT, so you can go to a better school.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5062
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:16 am

Yeah, I'm also confused about why your goal city is Atlanta, while none of your school choices are even in Georgia.

atp123

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby atp123 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:03 pm

I'm actually in at UGA with a 1/2 tuition with the in-state equalizer, but didn't feel like that was a great option with more money elsewhere. Overall costs at Alabama would be slightly greater, but I stayed in my home city for undergrad due to a scholarship and was liking the opportunity for a big move. Like I said, I know big law isn't really a great option from either school. I'm still waiting to hear back from Emory and Vanderbilt, and a few T-14 schools I don't really expect to get into with my scores. Atlanta is just somewhere I've been looking into moving, not really a set in stone plan. Just wanted opinions on my current options, since it's hard to know realistic views based on the information put out by the law schools. I'll definitely be going to school next year, and don't plan to retake the LSAT. Thanks everyone!

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 5062
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:17 pm

atp123 wrote:I'm actually in at UGA with a 1/2 tuition with the in-state equalizer, but didn't feel like that was a great option with more money elsewhere. Overall costs at Alabama would be slightly greater, but I stayed in my home city for undergrad due to a scholarship and was liking the opportunity for a big move. Like I said, I know big law isn't really a great option from either school. I'm still waiting to hear back from Emory and Vanderbilt, and a few T-14 schools I don't really expect to get into with my scores. Atlanta is just somewhere I've been looking into moving, not really a set in stone plan. Just wanted opinions on my current options, since it's hard to know realistic views based on the information put out by the law schools. I'll definitely be going to school next year, and don't plan to retake the LSAT. Thanks everyone!


Look, if you want biglaw, you should sit out a cycle and retake. I know that isn't your plan, but it's by far the best option for you, given your stated goals.

But I'm just bemused by your line of thinking. If you want to work in Atlanta, the only reason to go out of state would be to get a T14 school (specifically Duke) or somewhere like Vanderbilt. Alabama, regardless of price, will not be helpful for Atlanta job placement, regardless of whether you're in the running for a biglaw job.

Anyway, you know what you should do. It's just a matter of whether you can break out of the rut you've gotten your mind in with your scheduling.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:10 pm

atp123 wrote:I'm actually in at UGA with a 1/2 tuition with the in-state equalizer, but didn't feel like that was a great option with more money elsewhere. Overall costs at Alabama would be slightly greater, but I stayed in my home city for undergrad due to a scholarship and was liking the opportunity for a big move. Like I said, I know big law isn't really a great option from either school. I'm still waiting to hear back from Emory and Vanderbilt, and a few T-14 schools I don't really expect to get into with my scores. Atlanta is just somewhere I've been looking into moving, not really a set in stone plan. Just wanted opinions on my current options, since it's hard to know realistic views based on the information put out by the law schools. I'll definitely be going to school next year, and don't plan to retake the LSAT. Thanks everyone!


UGA at a cheaper (or equal) cost is easily better than Alabama if you're targeting Atlanta. But I'd still recommend taking the full ride to Wake Forest if you're intent on going to law school.

You don't seem to have a much of a plan. Going to Alabama because it's an opportunity for a big move isn't a good idea unless you are willing to live and practice in Alabama.

User avatar
Ferrisjso

Gold
Posts: 2149
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:40 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby Ferrisjso » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:50 pm

atp123 wrote:I'm currently trying to choose between the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina. I'm still waiting to here back from a few more schools, but I don't think I will get comparable scholarship offers anywhere else I'm waiting to hear from. I have offers for 2/3 of tuition to both schools. I also have full tuition offers to George Mason and Wake Forest, but prefer Alabama and UNC to those schools. I would be in-state at UNC, and thus have slightly less debt after graduation. I have a 164/3.69. I'm interested in trying to get into big law, possibly in Atlanta, but know it won't be easy at either of these schools. Opinions?


You're in a great position you should be really proud of your great stats! However like the rest of the people here, I don't understand why you'd apply to schools in Georgia if your target practice area was Atlanta? You don't have a good chance at BL but you've got a chance(probably not Atlanta though,again why didn't you apply to Emory if you wanted Atlanta?) If you really like Alabama and want to live there go to Alabama but if you either are leaning towards staying home or are torn between the two states, I'd go to UNC and take advantage of the in state tuition+scholly that's a pretty good deal. Again congratulations!

User avatar
UVA2B

Gold
Posts: 3466
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby UVA2B » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:56 pm

Ferrisjso wrote:
atp123 wrote:I'm currently trying to choose between the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina. I'm still waiting to here back from a few more schools, but I don't think I will get comparable scholarship offers anywhere else I'm waiting to hear from. I have offers for 2/3 of tuition to both schools. I also have full tuition offers to George Mason and Wake Forest, but prefer Alabama and UNC to those schools. I would be in-state at UNC, and thus have slightly less debt after graduation. I have a 164/3.69. I'm interested in trying to get into big law, possibly in Atlanta, but know it won't be easy at either of these schools. Opinions?


You're in a great position you should be really proud of your great stats! However like the rest of the people here, I don't understand why you'd apply to schools in Georgia if your target practice area was Atlanta? You don't have a good chance at BL but you've got a chance(probably not Atlanta though,again why didn't you apply to Emory if you wanted Atlanta?) If you really like Alabama and want to live there go to Alabama but if you either are leaning towards staying home or are torn between the two states, I'd go to UNC and take advantage of the in state tuition+scholly that's a pretty good deal. Again congratulations!


:shock:

You're bordering on rational, not sure what to do about it. Full rational would get rid of the inane bit about Alabama, but still, this is amazing progress.

RTR87

New
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:14 pm

Re: University of Alabama or UNC

Postby RTR87 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:42 am

Current 3L at Alabama, so I thought I would offer my perspective based upon what I’ve observed over the past 3 years. (apologies for the lengthy post)

The first thing to keep in mind is that Alabama has relatively small classes (for example, there are 130 in my class). Only those in the top 25% have a realistic shot to get BigLaw interviews (so, roughly 30 students). At least half of these will be locals who want nothing more than to stay in Alabama. They will go to the big firms in Birmingham (e.g., Bradley, Burr, Balch, Maynard Cooper, Baker Donelson).

So realistically, there will only be about 15 students with GPAs high enough to contend for BigLaw positions AND who want to go out of state. A handful of these will inevitably opt to do something besides BigLaw (fed. government, smaller firms, in-house, etc.) This leaves about a dozen heading for big firms outside Alabama. Typically, a couple will go to each of the bigger cities in the Southeast (Nashville, Houston, Charlotte, and even Atlanta). The remaining few will leave the region entirely.

To be honest, the few people I’ve met the past 3 years who wanted to work in GA and also had the class rank required to make it happen (which admittedly has been a small number) were able to find jobs. In my class, I can honestly only think of one person who had both the grades and desire to do BigLaw in ATL (this person was successful by the way). Hell, even the two kids I know who wanted to work in NYC both got offers from V15 firms (one is currently an associate and the other is going this summer). So to say that Alabama “doesn’t place well in x state” kind of misses the mark. The majority of people who choose a school like Alabama do so because they want to practice in that particular place.

The far bigger issue for you is that there is 75% chance that you won’t be ranked in the top 25%, so it’s more likely than not that you won’t even get interview opportunities. For the resume collections and OCIs conducted by career services, most BigLaw firms have a cutoff between top 25% and top 10% (for the most selective firms). If, by chance, you are one of the fortunate ones with grades that put them in contention, then Atlanta is certainly not out of the question. But ultimately, there’s no way to know how you’ll do in law school, so you’re taking a pretty substantial risk.

The other thing to consider is that you will have to do most the legwork if you want to interview with out-of-state firms. For example, couple of the big Atlanta firms collect resumes from Alabama, but many do not. The onus will be on you to get in touch with these firms and try to hustle interviews (this is true for many other markets as well). For that reason alone, I would seriously consider Emory or UGA if you are dead set on Atlanta because at those schools, the interviewers will come to you for OCIs, making your life easier.

One last word of advice: if you're serious about Alabama, negotiate for a better scholarship. I was initially admitted with a 50% tuition scholarship with similar stats (my LSAT was a bit better, but my GPA was worse). Like you, I had a couple full tuition offers from schools that I wasn’t interested in, but I was able to use those offers to negotiate for more money.

I visited the school (which they paid for) and did my best to make a good impression. The next week I emailed the admissions office and told them I had received full tuition scholarships from other schools. I said that I could definitely see myself at Alabama but that I would be financing my legal education myself, and I was apprehensive about the additional cost. Almost immediately they increased my scholarship to 90% tuition. This meant that I would be paying $6k for my first year. After year one, you can apply for reclassification as an in-state student, which drops tuition to about $22k. All in all, I’ve paid roughly $10k for my degree (excluding cost of living, which is minimal in Tuscaloosa). This is honestly the most I would recommend that anyone pay.

If you need any additional info, don't hesitate to shoot me a PM. I'm happy to offer my perspective.



Return to “Choosing a Law School?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ponderingmeerkat and 11 guests