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Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:46 pm
by carsondalywashere
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Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:59 pm
by trebekismyhero
Tough call. If you can get an additional $10k a year from NU, I would do that.

Maybe retake the LSAT in June for an additional point or two, might be able to get more money from NU that way as well.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:44 pm
by Rigo
Where is the money coming from? Savings? Rich parents?

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:05 pm
by carsondalywashere
trebekismyhero wrote:Tough call. If you can get an additional $10k a year from NU, I would do that.

Maybe retake the LSAT in June for an additional point or two, might be able to get more money from NU that way as well.

PMed

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:07 pm
by carsondalywashere
Rigo wrote:Where is the money coming from? Savings? Rich parents?

Both (possibly grandparents as well). Financing NU is up in the air though, as my parents aren't thrilled with that price point and believe WashU will afford me the same opportunities.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:39 pm
by onionz
carsondalywashere wrote:
Rigo wrote:Where is the money coming from? Savings? Rich parents?

Both (possibly grandparents as well). Financing NU is up in the air though, as my parents aren't thrilled with that price point and believe WashU will afford me the same opportunities.


I mean, NU sends 2.5X as many students on a percentage to Biglaw, which is the default for people w/o specific goals. (25% versus 62% according to law school transparency). It's overall "employment score" is way higher. $95k of debt w/ no job to me is way worse than $200k with a job.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:38 am
by carsondalywashere
onionz wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:
Rigo wrote:Where is the money coming from? Savings? Rich parents?

Both (possibly grandparents as well). Financing NU is up in the air though, as my parents aren't thrilled with that price point and believe WashU will afford me the same opportunities.


I mean, NU sends 2.5X as many students on a percentage to Biglaw, which is the default for people w/o specific goals. (25% versus 62% according to law school transparency). It's overall "employment score" is way higher. $95k of debt w/ no job to me is way worse than $200k with a job.

I wouldn't have any debt if I went to WashU.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:56 am
by acr
carsondalywashere wrote:Northwestern COA - 215k (negotiating for a bigger scholarship, but as of right now will be at least 65k in loans, if not substantially more)
WashU COA - 95k (no loans)

Is Northwestern worth the extra cost?

I don't have super specific goals....big law litigation, in-house corporate counsel, or mid-law/boutique law firm are all welcome options. My worst fears are being unemployed at graduation or settling for a small firm/finding out I hate big law but can't leave because of debt.

I'm from Saint Louis and welcome the possibility of going back and practicing there, but it's far from my dream city. I'm pretty flexible in where I work and practice (mostly opposed to LA because of traffic and NYC because of the big law culture there, otherwise I'm game to live and work pretty much anywhere).

LSAT is 169 and GPA is barely above median at WashU, between median and 25th percent tile at Northwestern. Also have some fairly unimpressive work experience.

Edit - I was waitlisted at the majority of schools I applied to.

I am waiting on money from Georgetown, but it'd have to be pretty close to WashU for me to pull the trigger to attend there.


WUSTL 2L.

I think WUSTL is a nice middle road for your goals here.

You stated in your original post that you're fearful of (1) unemployment; (2) working for a small firm; and (3) being golden-handcuffed to big law.

Going to WUSTL eliminates the golden handcuffs because you won't have debt. If you happen to get big law, which is a possible from WUSTL but uncertain, then everything you make will be gravy. If you truly despise big law then you can do your two years and get out.

WUSTL also provides you with a good chance of avoiding unemployment and "small-firm employment" (the horror!) due to the fact you're from STL. People with demonstrable ties to St. Louis, like you, have a tremendous leg-up over the coasties that come here. People with ties to the area seem to do really well with the big firms here: Armstrong Teasdale, Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Greensfelder, etc.

Given your ties, and given that you network in St. Louis during 1L and take the job search seriously, I think that WUSTL makes sense.

Having said that, if Northwestern will put you only 65K in debt, then I think NU is worth it. 65K really isn't a lot to pay off on a big law salary. And are you factoring in 2L, and potentially 1L, summer earnings? If you land a summer associate position you could make $30,000 per summer and apply a portion of those earnings to your loans/tuition. Even if you don't apply any summer associate money toward loans, you can still pay off $65K in a year or two working big law and be out.

I think WUSTL is a fine choice and would set you up nicely with no debt, but it is hard for me to recommend WUSTL over NU (and its far-superior placement) when the price difference is a mere $65K. NU also gives you greater portability to land in your "dream city." You can get any city (DC, NYC, LA, KC, Minny, Dallas, San Fran, etc.) from WUSTL but it requires elite 1L grades.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:37 pm
by carsondalywashere
acr wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Northwestern COA - 215k (negotiating for a bigger scholarship, but as of right now will be at least 65k in loans, if not substantially more)
WashU COA - 95k (no loans)

Is Northwestern worth the extra cost?

I don't have super specific goals....big law litigation, in-house corporate counsel, or mid-law/boutique law firm are all welcome options. My worst fears are being unemployed at graduation or settling for a small firm/finding out I hate big law but can't leave because of debt.

I'm from Saint Louis and welcome the possibility of going back and practicing there, but it's far from my dream city. I'm pretty flexible in where I work and practice (mostly opposed to LA because of traffic and NYC because of the big law culture there, otherwise I'm game to live and work pretty much anywhere).

LSAT is 169 and GPA is barely above median at WashU, between median and 25th percent tile at Northwestern. Also have some fairly unimpressive work experience.

Edit - I was waitlisted at the majority of schools I applied to.

I am waiting on money from Georgetown, but it'd have to be pretty close to WashU for me to pull the trigger to attend there.


WUSTL 2L.

I think WUSTL is a nice middle road for your goals here.

You stated in your original post that you're fearful of (1) unemployment; (2) working for a small firm; and (3) being golden-handcuffed to big law.

Going to WUSTL eliminates the golden handcuffs because you won't have debt. If you happen to get big law, which is a possible from WUSTL but uncertain, then everything you make will be gravy. If you truly despise big law then you can do your two years and get out.

WUSTL also provides you with a good chance of avoiding unemployment and "small-firm employment" (the horror!) due to the fact you're from STL. People with demonstrable ties to St. Louis, like you, have a tremendous leg-up over the coasties that come here. People with ties to the area seem to do really well with the big firms here: Armstrong Teasdale, Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Greensfelder, etc.

Given your ties, and given that you network in St. Louis during 1L and take the job search seriously, I think that WUSTL makes sense.

Having said that, if Northwestern will put you only 65K in debt, then I think NU is worth it. 65K really isn't a lot to pay off on a big law salary. And are you factoring in 2L, and potentially 1L, summer earnings? If you land a summer associate position you could make $30,000 per summer and apply a portion of those earnings to your loans/tuition. Even if you don't apply any summer associate money toward loans, you can still pay off $65K in a year or two working big law and be out.

I think WUSTL is a fine choice and would set you up nicely with no debt, but it is hard for me to recommend WUSTL over NU (and its far-superior placement) when the price difference is a mere $65K. NU also gives you greater portability to land in your "dream city." You can get any city (DC, NYC, LA, KC, Minny, Dallas, San Fran, etc.) from WUSTL but it requires elite 1L grades.

First, thanks for the response! It sounds like I can't really make a bad choice in this case.

The reason I am (mostly) opposed to working in a small firm is that I don't want to spend three years in school only to come out and work a job where I am either making the same amount (or less) than I am earning now. I am not saying I want to be an attorney purely for money, but it would be a waste of time and money not to see some financial gain.

Also, I did not account for summer associate salaries. And I've heard STL firms do hire 1L associates, so I'm wondering if I went to Northwestern it would be easier to snag one of those?

In addition, I am a pretty stressful person by nature, so I wonder if the fact that NU doesn't rank and its bigger big law cushion would alleviate some of that pressure?

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:24 pm
by acr
carsondalywashere wrote:
acr wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Northwestern COA - 215k (negotiating for a bigger scholarship, but as of right now will be at least 65k in loans, if not substantially more)
WashU COA - 95k (no loans)

Is Northwestern worth the extra cost?

I don't have super specific goals....big law litigation, in-house corporate counsel, or mid-law/boutique law firm are all welcome options. My worst fears are being unemployed at graduation or settling for a small firm/finding out I hate big law but can't leave because of debt.

I'm from Saint Louis and welcome the possibility of going back and practicing there, but it's far from my dream city. I'm pretty flexible in where I work and practice (mostly opposed to LA because of traffic and NYC because of the big law culture there, otherwise I'm game to live and work pretty much anywhere).

LSAT is 169 and GPA is barely above median at WashU, between median and 25th percent tile at Northwestern. Also have some fairly unimpressive work experience.

Edit - I was waitlisted at the majority of schools I applied to.

I am waiting on money from Georgetown, but it'd have to be pretty close to WashU for me to pull the trigger to attend there.


WUSTL 2L.

I think WUSTL is a nice middle road for your goals here.

You stated in your original post that you're fearful of (1) unemployment; (2) working for a small firm; and (3) being golden-handcuffed to big law.

Going to WUSTL eliminates the golden handcuffs because you won't have debt. If you happen to get big law, which is a possible from WUSTL but uncertain, then everything you make will be gravy. If you truly despise big law then you can do your two years and get out.

WUSTL also provides you with a good chance of avoiding unemployment and "small-firm employment" (the horror!) due to the fact you're from STL. People with demonstrable ties to St. Louis, like you, have a tremendous leg-up over the coasties that come here. People with ties to the area seem to do really well with the big firms here: Armstrong Teasdale, Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Greensfelder, etc.

Given your ties, and given that you network in St. Louis during 1L and take the job search seriously, I think that WUSTL makes sense.

Having said that, if Northwestern will put you only 65K in debt, then I think NU is worth it. 65K really isn't a lot to pay off on a big law salary. And are you factoring in 2L, and potentially 1L, summer earnings? If you land a summer associate position you could make $30,000 per summer and apply a portion of those earnings to your loans/tuition. Even if you don't apply any summer associate money toward loans, you can still pay off $65K in a year or two working big law and be out.

I think WUSTL is a fine choice and would set you up nicely with no debt, but it is hard for me to recommend WUSTL over NU (and its far-superior placement) when the price difference is a mere $65K. NU also gives you greater portability to land in your "dream city." You can get any city (DC, NYC, LA, KC, Minny, Dallas, San Fran, etc.) from WUSTL but it requires elite 1L grades.

First, thanks for the response! It sounds like I can't really make a bad choice in this case.

The reason I am (mostly) opposed to working in a small firm is that I don't want to spend three years in school only to come out and work a job where I am either making the same amount (or less) than I am earning now. I am not saying I want to be an attorney purely for money, but it would be a waste of time and money not to see some financial gain.

Also, I did not account for summer associate salaries. And I've heard STL firms do hire 1L associates, so I'm wondering if I went to Northwestern it would be easier to snag one of those?

In addition, I am a pretty stressful person by nature, so I wonder if the fact that NU doesn't rank and its bigger big law cushion would alleviate some of that pressure?


NU would alleviate pressure in the sense that your grades can fall deeper into the class (e.g. median) and you'll still have opportunities. There's less pressure to get top-tier grades. On the other hand, NU might increase your stress because you'll have the debt hanging over your head. Even though grades are a bigger factor at WUSTL, you might feel less pressure because you'd have nothing to lose money wise. Some people feel less pressure under those circumstances. It just depends.

And I'm not sure whether NU would make getting a 1L SA at an STL firm easier. 1L SA's are difficult to get in general and you shouldn't bet the farm on getting one. NU is the superior school, but I'm not sure if it's superior to WUSTL in the STL market. The thing you have to remember about STL firms is that they are super insecure about ties. In order to land any SA at an STL firm from NU I think you would need to make a convincing case that you're serious about coming back and staying in STL permanently. The fact that you're from here would definitely help. The worst thing you could do is give off the energy that STL is some sort of "safe landing spot" for you. Firms here will pick up on that and it'll do you in.

Beyond that getting a 1L SA comes down to a lot of things. It requires excellent 1L Fall performance because those are the only grades the firms will see prior to a hiring decision. Ties and connections help, being a URM helps, having prior work experience helps...sometimes it's just luck or being the right fit, who knows.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:20 pm
by jjcorvino
It seems like your goal is biglaw, as you do not want to make less than you were making before going to school. Big/midlaw seems like the only two options that start out at a high salary. If that is the case, I would choose NU. WashU is great (I applied and have a family friend that went), but if you are set on making good money then NU is the way to go.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:14 pm
by carsondalywashere
acr wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:
acr wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Northwestern COA - 215k (negotiating for a bigger scholarship, but as of right now will be at least 65k in loans, if not substantially more)
WashU COA - 95k (no loans)

Is Northwestern worth the extra cost?

I don't have super specific goals....big law litigation, in-house corporate counsel, or mid-law/boutique law firm are all welcome options. My worst fears are being unemployed at graduation or settling for a small firm/finding out I hate big law but can't leave because of debt.

I'm from Saint Louis and welcome the possibility of going back and practicing there, but it's far from my dream city. I'm pretty flexible in where I work and practice (mostly opposed to LA because of traffic and NYC because of the big law culture there, otherwise I'm game to live and work pretty much anywhere).

LSAT is 169 and GPA is barely above median at WashU, between median and 25th percent tile at Northwestern. Also have some fairly unimpressive work experience.

Edit - I was waitlisted at the majority of schools I applied to.

I am waiting on money from Georgetown, but it'd have to be pretty close to WashU for me to pull the trigger to attend there.


WUSTL 2L.

I think WUSTL is a nice middle road for your goals here.

You stated in your original post that you're fearful of (1) unemployment; (2) working for a small firm; and (3) being golden-handcuffed to big law.

Going to WUSTL eliminates the golden handcuffs because you won't have debt. If you happen to get big law, which is a possible from WUSTL but uncertain, then everything you make will be gravy. If you truly despise big law then you can do your two years and get out.

WUSTL also provides you with a good chance of avoiding unemployment and "small-firm employment" (the horror!) due to the fact you're from STL. People with demonstrable ties to St. Louis, like you, have a tremendous leg-up over the coasties that come here. People with ties to the area seem to do really well with the big firms here: Armstrong Teasdale, Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Greensfelder, etc.

Given your ties, and given that you network in St. Louis during 1L and take the job search seriously, I think that WUSTL makes sense.

Having said that, if Northwestern will put you only 65K in debt, then I think NU is worth it. 65K really isn't a lot to pay off on a big law salary. And are you factoring in 2L, and potentially 1L, summer earnings? If you land a summer associate position you could make $30,000 per summer and apply a portion of those earnings to your loans/tuition. Even if you don't apply any summer associate money toward loans, you can still pay off $65K in a year or two working big law and be out.

I think WUSTL is a fine choice and would set you up nicely with no debt, but it is hard for me to recommend WUSTL over NU (and its far-superior placement) when the price difference is a mere $65K. NU also gives you greater portability to land in your "dream city." You can get any city (DC, NYC, LA, KC, Minny, Dallas, San Fran, etc.) from WUSTL but it requires elite 1L grades.

First, thanks for the response! It sounds like I can't really make a bad choice in this case.

The reason I am (mostly) opposed to working in a small firm is that I don't want to spend three years in school only to come out and work a job where I am either making the same amount (or less) than I am earning now. I am not saying I want to be an attorney purely for money, but it would be a waste of time and money not to see some financial gain.

Also, I did not account for summer associate salaries. And I've heard STL firms do hire 1L associates, so I'm wondering if I went to Northwestern it would be easier to snag one of those?

In addition, I am a pretty stressful person by nature, so I wonder if the fact that NU doesn't rank and its bigger big law cushion would alleviate some of that pressure?


NU would alleviate pressure in the sense that your grades can fall deeper into the class (e.g. median) and you'll still have opportunities. There's less pressure to get top-tier grades. On the other hand, NU might increase your stress because you'll have the debt hanging over your head. Even though grades are a bigger factor at WUSTL, you might feel less pressure because you'd have nothing to lose money wise. Some people feel less pressure under those circumstances. It just depends.

And I'm not sure whether NU would make getting a 1L SA at an STL firm easier. 1L SA's are difficult to get in general and you shouldn't bet the farm on getting one. NU is the superior school, but I'm not sure if it's superior to WUSTL in the STL market. The thing you have to remember about STL firms is that they are super insecure about ties. In order to land any SA at an STL firm from NU I think you would need to make a convincing case that you're serious about coming back and staying in STL permanently. The fact that you're from here would definitely help. The worst thing you could do is give off the energy that STL is some sort of "safe landing spot" for you. Firms here will pick up on that and it'll do you in.

Beyond that getting a 1L SA comes down to a lot of things. It requires excellent 1L Fall performance because those are the only grades the firms will see prior to a hiring decision. Ties and connections help, being a URM helps, having prior work experience helps...sometimes it's just luck or being the right fit, who knows.

Awesome, thanks again for more great info!

It seems like I need to determine whether living with the possibility of working as an attorney at a small firm without any debt versus having some debt but a likely big law gig is better for me.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:16 pm
by carsondalywashere
jjcorvino wrote:It seems like your goal is biglaw, as you do not want to make less than you were making before going to school. Big/midlaw seems like the only two options that start out at a high salary. If that is the case, I would choose NU. WashU is great (I applied and have a family friend that went), but if you are set on making good money then NU is the way to go.

I'm leaning towards this direction, and will be attending ASW this weekend; hopefully that will clear some things up.

However, if I commit to NU, I am not 100% certain that my parents will give any financial support. I imagine they will, but if they don't, I will be looking at six figures of loans. I've showed them the stats, and explained how law school grading works, etc. They still think there isn't any reason I shouldn't expect to be top 20% at WashU, nor understand my interest in not working at a small firm.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:24 pm
by TatteredDignity
carsondalywashere wrote:They still think there isn't any reason I shouldn't expect to be top 20% at WashU, nor understand my interest in not working at a small firm.


Sometimes an illustration can help. Hand them a six-sided die and ask them to bet $100k on predicting the roll.

Me and one of my WUSTL classmates both had LSAT scores well above the school's 75th percentile. Our 1L performances were night and day.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:34 pm
by carsondalywashere
TatteredDignity wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:They still think there isn't any reason I shouldn't expect to be top 20% at WashU, nor understand my interest in not working at a small firm.


Sometimes an illustration can help. Hand them a six-sided die and ask them to bet $100k on predicting the roll.

Me and one of my WUSTL classmates both had LSAT scores well above the school's 75th percentile. Our 1L performances were night and day.

Noted haha. I was just thinking how this process is going to force me to improve my persuasion skills.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:04 am
by PeanutsNJam
I think NU is worth 100k more than WUSTL over 3 years to be honest, but there are rumors (that I as a wustl 2L am unfamiliar with) that Wustl's BL+FC skyrocketed, so if that's true, that changes things... idk when the LST numbers come out for C/O 2016.

The fact of the matter is NU medians can get biglaw with little trouble, but WUSTL medians have to claw for it.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:28 pm
by carsondalywashere
PeanutsNJam wrote:I think NU is worth 100k more than WUSTL over 3 years to be honest, but there are rumors (that I as a wustl 2L am unfamiliar with) that Wustl's BL+FC skyrocketed, so if that's true, that changes things... idk when the LST numbers come out for C/O 2016.

The fact of the matter is NU medians can get biglaw with little trouble, but WUSTL medians have to claw for it.

If NU admissions officers are reading this, a little more money would go a long way ;)

I wonder if those stats are indicative of an upswing in the market of if WashU is pounding the pavement hard

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:55 pm
by carsondalywashere
Bump for the evening crowd

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:08 pm
by UVA2B
Without an NU bump in scholarship, WUSTL is the better option. I'd agree that NU is worth objectively more than WUSTL, but not that much. I'd personally be willing to pull the trigger on NU for $150k-$175k debt at graduation (I think), but I'd still be seriously thinking about WUSTL for less debt. Debt is a scary, scary mother when it becomes real and $2000/month is coming out of your post-tax paycheck for a decade.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:51 pm
by carsondalywashere
UVA2B wrote:Without an NU bump in scholarship, WUSTL is the better option. I'd agree that NU is worth objectively more than WUSTL, but not that much. I'd personally be willing to pull the trigger on NU for $150k-$175k debt at graduation (I think), but I'd still be seriously thinking about WUSTL for less debt. Debt is a scary, scary mother when it becomes real and $2000/month is coming out of your post-tax paycheck for a decade.

I am very debt-adverse, but after visiting NU this weekend, I feel like I'm going to regret not going there (especially if I do not get my desired job outcome from WashU). With that said, I don't think I can count on getting more money; apparently the average debt level for NU students is 150k

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:04 pm
by carsondalywashere
Gtown just gave me a $20,000 a year scholarship. I'm sure rent would eat the additional 5k they gave me though

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:10 pm
by Rigo
carsondalywashere wrote:Georgetown - can't find their COA numbers, but they gave me a $20,000 a year scholarship

https://www.law.georgetown.edu/admissio ... -16-17.pdf

So COA without interest will be just under $200k.
I'd take Northwestern over that for biglaw anyday.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:22 pm
by carsondalywashere
Rigo wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Georgetown - can't find their COA numbers, but they gave me a $20,000 a year scholarship

https://www.law.georgetown.edu/admissio ... -16-17.pdf

So COA without interest will be just under $200k.
I'd take Northwestern over that for biglaw anyday.

Same.

I need to determine if I can live with debt or not. Or retake.

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:32 pm
by carsondalywashere
So WashU does have a 45% big law, fed clerk number. Does this make spending the money on NU unjustified?

Re: Northwestern vs. WashU; huge disparity in price

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:10 am
by TatteredDignity
carsondalywashere wrote:So WashU does have a 45% big law, fed clerk number. Does this make spending the money on NU unjustified?


Where are you getting that number? Seems pretty rosy.