USC v. UT v. Retake

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Where should I go?

To a testing center to retake
Total votes: 10


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USC v. UT v. Retake

Postby durango » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:27 pm

Please don't quote. Sorry it's long and rambling.

USC or UT both at $90k COA for southwest government prosecutor?
Or retake?

I've narrowed it down to:
University of Southern California COA $90k
University or Texas at Austin COA $90k
T13 & UCLA are too expensive (or will be too expensive if I snag them) so crossing them off.

These COA's are not counting either summer expenses or summer employment.
My parents are open to helping me out but I don't want to rely on that and max they'd only be able to chip in maybe $5k a year so the COA's won't be too much lower.

Numbers: 167/3.9

Goals: DA/AG/AUSA in the Southwest (states with state flagships I don't feel comfortable attending). However, if it was a question of practicing in California or Texas, I would choose California. I'm finding it difficult to pass up UT since it's in the general southwest region I want to work and it's outcomes seem to be slightly better than USC. I like having the option of biglaw at both if I do really well, but I am moreso looking to do criminal law and enter a career in public service.
$90k debt scares me but my scholarships are at the upper end of what the schools are giving and I don't know how much more I can get. I am going to do some last minute negotiations with both schools (I've already been denied a raise once by USC) to see if I can get anything more. Even just another $10k would probably break the tie in my mind.

Now I am willing to retake, especially with my GPA. However, I don't have biglaw or bust goals so I'm wondering what my ideal application strategy and outcome really is if I did better. This seems like the best I'm going to get out of these two schools so I would need to envision a much better ideal scenario. Is a full ride at UVA or something really preferable if I have modest goals and want the southwest? Obviously I'd love a CCN full-ride but that would take a lot of improvement which I'm not sure I could do (I took the LSAT a few years ago so I'd have to start from scratch and I didn't fall way short of my PT average either). If I managed to snag HYS, my expected parental contribution would be cut in half for my first year and cut by 75% or 100% for 2L and 3L. I have a very low income too so I don't think HYS would end up being sticker for me. But the debt would be way more than $90k. I would ride the stronger LRAP's at the T6, even if just for COL loans.

Sidenote: the earliest I'd be able to retake is December 2017 due to prior commitments this summer that aren't conducive at all to studying. That either means applying later in the cycle January 2018 next year or waiting a full two cycles until 2019 to apply early.
No good alternative career prospects for me and I actually want to be a lawyer so I will be matriculating to law school at some point.

I'm just confused what to do.
Any insight into DA/AG/AUSA hiring in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and California would be great too!


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Re: USC v. UT v. Retake

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:39 pm

$90k at UT is a far better choice than $90k at USC, imo. If you don't have academia/unicorn PI/SCOTUS dreams, then I think UT at $90k is a fine outcome. Even if PSLF were to get axed or severely reduced, you'd probably be able to pay off your debt on a government salary, so I don't think there is too much risk involved here. If you decide you want BL and get it from Texas, then you'll be in a great situation. Overall, I think UT is a relatively low risk outcome. A CCN name scholarship or UVA with a Dillard would definitely be preferable, but your current situation isn't bad at all. I think going now or waiting to retake are both defensible options. That probably doesn't help much, but I hope it reassures you that there isn't any objectively wrong decision given your relatively modest goals.

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Re: USC v. UT v. Retake

Postby slurp » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:48 pm

As someone from one of the southwestern states you mentioned, if researched this quite a bit and am only fairly sure of the following:

go to USC if:

Any SoCal law > Socal biglaw > any Southwestern job

UT if:

Any TX law > TX biglaw > Any Southwest job

I think UT may have a slight, albeit fairly insignificant, advantage in the southwest, and ties will likely play more of a factor than anything else. Both are about the same wrt percentage of class getting A3/biglaw

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