Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
Kyni
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:02 pm

Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Kyni » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:21 pm

Part of this is a crisis of confidence (two rejects today!), but I have competing priorities and would appreciate constructive opinions.

Stats: 3.4X, Mid-160s.

I've been admitted to four schools, all with some level of scholarship. I calculated COAs for three years for my particulars (medical), and these are potential debt financing numbers. Retake isn't a feasible option right now.

USC, $250k
Emory, $165k
Alabama, $100k (only scholarship with GPA stipulations = STRESS)
W&L, $115k

I've lived and worked in towns similar to Tuscaloosa and Lexington before, and I'm not a huge fan. I'm more concerned, however, with factoring in the opportunity/financial costs of attending a smaller school farther away from employment/employers. I don't have a strong desire to end up in a particular city or in a particular line of work, but I'll probably focus on business/contracting law. I'm one of those people who thinks there's way too much trouble to get into in way too little time, so I'm fascinated with most law subjects and most cities.

Right now I'm just hoping for a eureka moment that makes the choice easier. (When common sense rules, I strike USC off the list. Other times, I remember how much I love LA and wouldn't mind working in CA for forever.)

So... Money is important, but am I right to feel like the opportunity costs are a factor? (Non-law professionals keep telling me to focus on the lowest-cost option.)

Thank you!
Last edited by Kyni on Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tinyvessels
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:05 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby tinyvessels » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:31 pm

Wait...you think that much debt for USC is a reasonable debt load? USC?

Don't do it lol....especially if you don't NEED to work in LA.

So Alabama looks like the cheapest option...but what are the stipulations? Did you look at the scholarship retention rates? Make sure you do to see the odds of it being taken away.

Edit: Just re-read my comment, and sorry if it comes off aggressive. It's just that I'm from LA, and the amount of people I have seen take out hundreds of thousands in loans for USC, for both undergrad or law school, for the supposed 'amazing connections and USC network' and not get even half the returns they expected is...substantial. Like, unemployed and/or working in a field that has nothing to do with what they originally anticipated.

Kyni
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:02 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Kyni » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:26 pm

tinyvessels:

Lol, no. Fortunately, common sense does stay in charge a lot. I just haven't taken USC off my list completely. (Debating sending a negotiation letter, but I don't feel like it would help.) I appreciate your candor!

EDIT: Oh, I just got the "reasonable amount of debt." No, when I referred to "reasonable debt financing," I meant "reasonable for my situation, with the additional costs that I know I'll have on top of usual costs." Oops.

LST and 509s both say that about 30% lose their scholarships. The stipulation in my letter (2.33) seems reasonable and achievable to me, but obviously it's not. Plus, everyone keeps telling me that studying in law school is just not going to be like previous experiences. I intend to take that seriously but want to be realistic, and a school where 30% of scholarships go away just seems like it could be stress on top of stress and makes Alabama less attractive. I can pro/con any of those schools, so my brain is a hamster wheel lately.

User avatar
runinthefront
Posts: 1267
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:18 am

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby runinthefront » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:28 pm

You should throw late applications to UGA/UF, if you're comfortable with being in Georgia/Florida/the South generally. Which particular cities do you have ties to? None of these currents options is ideal, or even reasonable, in my opinion. Maybe Emory.

Lawschool305
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:34 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Lawschool305 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:36 pm

You could also try to see if you can negotiate the stipulation off of the Alabama Scholarship. It doesn't hurt to ask

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 13890
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Rigo » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:53 pm

Negotiate to get W&L to beat Bama's offer.

tncats
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby tncats » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:54 pm

I'm pretty certain that Alabama's GPA stipulation just means you can't be on academic probation. Obviously no stipulation is better, but just staying in good standing is not unreasonable. Especially when compared to the overall cost of attendance of other schools. (0L, grain of salt, etc.)

I would do more reflection on where you want to live long term though.

cavalier1138
Posts: 2260
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:00 am

Retaking is always a feasible option (literally, always). You should not be going to any of these schools with 6 figures of debt, because you won't be able to pay that debt off with your likely job outcomes from these options. You also need to put much more thought into where you want to work after school. All of these schools will place you regionally, but there's a big difference between being stuck in LA vs. being stuck in Alabama.

But just to reiterate: retaking is always a feasible option, even if you don't feel like admitting it at the moment.

Kyni
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:02 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Kyni » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:30 am

The reason that I said I had medial concerns is because I did bump the COAs up a bit as a reality check for myself. But, yeah, six-figure debt isn't attractive, and I hope to be able to offset any little bit I can with outside scholarships and work, but... doesn't everyone?

Yes, retake is always an option, and it's one I've considered the more I look at numbers. It's just not an attractive option when you're 40 and your employment contract ends at the end of 2017. Plus, the last time I took the test I wasn't able to study as much and only raised my score a smidge.

I honestly don't have much of a preference on where I live long-term as long as it's warmer. I don't have major ties to any particular area, and aside from not feeling comfortable in small towns, I'm adaptable. Like, I like/want trees around, but I don't care if they're palm or oak.

Thank you all for your responses! It looks like everyone is pretty much in agreement on everything I'm thinking, which unfortunately for me is everything suggested: USC is too expensive, apply to UGA, try negotiating, retake...

I'm trying to visit the schools over the next few weeks anyway. Alabama has the earliest deposit, which is before two of the ASWs.

User avatar
trebekismyhero
Posts: 605
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:56 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Retaking is always a feasible option (literally, always). You should not be going to any of these schools with 6 figures of debt, because you won't be able to pay that debt off with your likely job outcomes from these options. You also need to put much more thought into where you want to work after school. All of these schools will place you regionally, but there's a big difference between being stuck in LA vs. being stuck in Alabama.

But just to reiterate: retaking is always a feasible option, even if you don't feel like admitting it at the moment.


Yeah, right now Alabama is the only one that financially is close to making sense, but if you don't want to be in Alabama, definitely don't go.

I would rather be in LA too. If you want to be in LA, apply for a job there, study for the LSAT and go to USC on a bigger scholarship in 2018 or 2019. Don't rush into a bad career/financial decision.

Edit: Just saw your last post. If you weren't able to study much last time, definitely should retake. Also, if you're about to be 40, it is even more important to minimize your debt because you'll be coming up on retirement a lot sooner than a 23 year old
Last edited by trebekismyhero on Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 13890
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Rigo » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:00 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Retaking is always a feasible option (literally, always). You should not be going to any of these schools with 6 figures of debt, because you won't be able to pay that debt off with your likely job outcomes from these options. You also need to put much more thought into where you want to work after school. All of these schools will place you regionally, but there's a big difference between being stuck in LA vs. being stuck in Alabama.

But just to reiterate: retaking is always a feasible option, even if you don't feel like admitting it at the moment.


Yeah, right now Alabama is the only one that financially is close to making sense, but if you don't want to be in Alabama, definitely don't go.

W&L isn't an awful choice here. I bet you could get them to match Alabama or beat them after negotiation.

paisa_sandia
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:21 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby paisa_sandia » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:16 pm

I'm fairly confident (from personal experience) that you could negotiate for more money from Bama. That's a great offer considering how relatively inexpensive the school is, but I would try to roll the dice for more. Contrary to popular belief, Alabama's employment statistics and anecdotal evidence suggests it places quite well outside of Alabama and the South generally for those who are interested. Most of their placement is self-selection, because at least half of the people go to the school have every intention of staying in-state. I'd give it a go, but outside of that I'd think you could also increase your offer from W&L (although maybe less so now after that huge jump in the USNWR rankings).

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 13890
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby Rigo » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:29 pm

paisa_sandia wrote: but I would try to roll the dice for more.

To be clear, there is absolutely no downside to negotiating so you're not really rolling the dice. The worst they can say is no.

paisa_sandia
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:21 pm

Re: Opinions about choosing between $ or area?

Postby paisa_sandia » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:21 pm

Rigo wrote:
paisa_sandia wrote: but I would try to roll the dice for more.

To be clear, there is absolutely no downside to negotiating so you're not really rolling the dice. The worst they can say is no.


+1




Return to “Choosing a Law School”