UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

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

Which door should I choose?

Door 1: Vanderbilt
6
12%
Door 2: UCLA
41
80%
Door 3: Retake/Don't go to law school
4
8%
Door 4: Mid West school is best
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 51

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Gitaroo_Dude

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UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:21 pm

Hey all,

Finished up the last of my school visits and am ready to make a final decision. I have a pretty good idea of which school I'll choose, but still wanted to get TLS' feedback on my options and to see what your thoughts are.

Some background before I list my schools and COA. My numbers are 168/3.4, used up all three retakes. I've been working since 2011, and have amassed a decent savings war chest during that time. My plan is to set aside $10k-$15k as a "rainy day fund" of sorts, then use the rest of my savings on tuition and COL. I will therefore be posting each school's "COA" as the total amount of loans I'll have to repay upon graduation. I'm open to being persuaded on a different use of my savings though; I just figure depleting them to avoid extra loans/interest as a 1L and 2L would be best in the long run.

Schools I'm considering and the loans I'll have to repay:

UCLA: $108,592 (they're also offering a $4k cash grant for summer work too, so it'll actually be a little less than $108k)
Vandy: $109,257

Also, while I'm not considering these as strongly, I can also choose from the following:

Notre Dame: $83,468
WashU: $46,542


Goals: To work and live in CA after graduation. For personal reasons (my GF is staying here, plus all of my family and many close friends are too) I feel like staying in CA makes the most sense for me. I have a particular preference for the Bay Area, but am aware it's a tough market to get without Berk/Stanford. I'd be willing to do SoCal too for a while and trying to work my way into the Bay Area over time. I grew up in the South Bay, so most of my ties are Bay Area related, though I did my undergrad in SoCal, in case any of this matters.

Job goals are still unrefined, but the dream would go like this: some combo of clerkship + biglaw for two or three years, then going into government work in criminal law. Federal would be ideal but I'd be incredibly happy to do state or local work too. I plan to explore both prosecution and defense roles through summer work and externships while at school and to ultimately figure out which side is best for me.

Personal considerations: I would be incredibly thrilled to attend either Vandy or UCLA. I visited both and love each school. I like the idea of leaving CA for three years and living in Nashville/the South for a bit then return to CA, but am aware it'd be a huge risk. The fact that Vandy would make returning to CA much more difficult than just attending UCLA is the crux of my choice. It would also force me into a stressful long-distance relationship that would cause issues.

Concerns: I would basically need to do a few years of biglaw to comfortably handle the debt load I'm taking on, but it's not a guarantee from either of my top two choices. I'd be okay with non-big law work, but the debt load would be tough to handle with CA CoL taken into account. I'm comfortable with the gamble right now, but am willing to listen to all y'alls thoughts on this.
Last edited by Gitaroo_Dude on Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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guynourmin

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby guynourmin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:31 pm

UCLA seems like a no brainer here. Could you expand on why you're considering Vandy? I get that Vanderbilt is a great school, Nashville is awesome, etc, but what else?

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dietcoke1

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby dietcoke1 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:32 pm

UCLA

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Dr. Nefario

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Dr. Nefario » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:34 pm

Vandy should be completely out of the question. UCLA is easily the better option of the two.


ETA: WashU would be intriguing with their employment numbers and being half the price of UCLA, but UCLA probably gives you the best chance at staying in CA long term

Pure Applesauce

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Pure Applesauce » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:38 pm

If you want Calif. go to UCLA

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BoyJord

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby BoyJord » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:38 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:Hey all,

Goals: To work and live in CA after graduation. For personal reasons (my GF is staying here, plus all of my family and many close friends are too) I feel like staying in CA makes the most sense for me.

Concerns: I would basically need to do a few years of biglaw to comfortably handle the debt load I'm taking on, but it's not a guarantee from either of my top two choices.


Vandy might put you in a situation where not only is there a problem getting back to CA but a problem getting out of the South. Seems like UCLA is the easy choice. Visit Nashville for a weekend if you get tired of LA.

Edit: would love to see a poll. I feel like it is 100% in favor of UCLA but the visual would be nice to affirm that

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:47 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:UCLA: $108,592 (they're also offering a $4k cash grant for summer work too, so it'll actually be a little less than $108k)
Vandy: $109,257
...
Goals: To work and live in CA after graduation.

UCLA

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Po$eidon

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Po$eidon » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:00 pm

The only way choosing between these options is hard is if you have absolutely no preference in your destination (I'd still choose UCLA). You want CA. UCLA

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Pure Applesauce » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:03 pm

BoyJord wrote:
Vandy might put you in a situation where not only is there a problem getting back to CA but a problem getting out of the South.


This is definitely an overstatement, but still if you want California UCLA

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:06 pm

Pure Applesauce wrote:
BoyJord wrote:Vandy might put you in a situation where not only is there a problem getting back to CA but a problem getting out of the South.

This is definitely an overstatement, but still if you want California UCLA

NYC is pretty doable, or at least a plurality of people end up there (likely in BigLaw).

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:18 pm

So judging by everyone's responses, the cost of UCLA is justifiable?

guybourdin wrote:UCLA seems like a no brainer here. Could you expand on why you're considering Vandy? I get that Vanderbilt is a great school, Nashville is awesome, etc, but what else?


Mostly just affinity. I really saw myself thriving in that environment. But UCLA always made the most sense; I think I just had to reconcile my heart with my head. But still wanted to pose the question to TLS and make sure I wasn't just infatuated with one of the other.

Dr. Nefario wrote:ETA: WashU would be intriguing with their employment numbers and being half the price of UCLA, but UCLA probably gives you the best chance at staying in CA long term


Yeah, I think I'm underselling WashU in the OP. I loved my visit there and the price is really attractive. I actually missed the deposit deadline over the weekend though, so it's kinda out by default now. Wanted to list it just in case I could still deposit with them though. Just unsure if the cheaper price is worth making CA more difficult to land.

BoyJord wrote:Edit: would love to see a poll. I feel like it is 100% in favor of UCLA but the visual would be nice to affirm that


Poll added. I feel like a tech wizard figuring out how to add one. 8)

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BoyJord

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby BoyJord » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:25 pm

Rigo wrote:
Pure Applesauce wrote:
BoyJord wrote:Vandy might put you in a situation where not only is there a problem getting back to CA but a problem getting out of the South.

This is definitely an overstatement, but still if you want California UCLA

NYC is pretty doable, or at least a plurality of people end up there (likely in BigLaw).


Fair enough. I got carried away but NYC is the opposite of SoCal so the outcome still does not match OP's goal. Go to UCLA and ignore my prejudices towards Vandy

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:27 pm

I'd try to squeeze a bit more money out of UCLA using Vandy's new awesome employment numbers. See how ole Dean Schwartz takes that.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:35 pm

Rigo wrote:I'd try to squeeze a bit more money out of UCLA using Vandy's new awesome employment numbers. See how ole Dean Schwartz takes that.


I just went to see what Vandy's employment #s were and OMG.

That shouldn't change my decision though, right? But seriously, holy smokes. UCLA gave us their new employment #s over the weekend and they're solid (40% biglaw like last year) but not in that ballpark.

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:37 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
Rigo wrote:I'd try to squeeze a bit more money out of UCLA using Vandy's new awesome employment numbers. See how ole Dean Schwartz takes that.

I just went to see what Vandy's employment #s were and OMG.
That shouldn't change my decision though, right? But seriously, holy smokes. UCLA gave us their new employment #s over the weekend and they're solid (40% biglaw like last year) but not in that ballpark.

I'd still do UCLA because you have very strong geographic preferences.

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:39 pm

But like squeeze UCLA for more money. Give it a try. With deposit deadlines coming up they might be sweating.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:43 pm

Rigo wrote:But like squeeze UCLA for more money. Give it a try. With deposit deadlines coming up they might be sweating.


Yeah, was gonna try anyway but I think those employment #s really give me the kind of new leverage I was looking for.

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:54 pm

Am I reading this wrong? The difference is $1,000 and you want to be in California? Why would you move to Tennessee away from family, friends, SO and future job market?

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Yea All Right

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Yea All Right » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:36 pm

UCLA, easily

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Itiswritten » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:39 pm

The 4k cash grant only applies if you work a full-time public interest position during your 1L summer. So, that won't actually lower your loans, considering that you'll almost certainly need that 4k for living expenses.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:53 pm

Itiswritten wrote:The 4k cash grant only applies if you work a full-time public interest position during your 1L summer. So, that won't actually lower your loans, considering that you'll almost certainly need that 4k for living expenses.


Yeah, I should have specified. I was planning on doing a prosecutor/PD job that summer (unless I'm some kind of super star that lands a 1L SA gig), and was told by Dean Schwartz and Dean Beth Mueller that those jobs will qualify for the cash grant. I had originally set aside some of my savings to pay for 1L summer CoL, but with the grant I can put that money aside and use it for 2L tuition. So it'll knock off a little bit more of the debt as far as I can tell.

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Itiswritten » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:01 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:The 4k cash grant only applies if you work a full-time public interest position during your 1L summer. So, that won't actually lower your loans, considering that you'll almost certainly need that 4k for living expenses.


Yeah, I should have specified. I was planning on doing a prosecutor/PD job that summer (unless I'm some kind of super star that lands a 1L SA gig), and was told by Dean Schwartz and Dean Beth Mueller that those jobs will qualify for the cash grant. I had originally set aside some of my savings to pay for 1L summer CoL, but with the grant I can put that money aside and use it for 2L tuition. So it'll knock off a little bit more of the debt as far as I can tell.


Yes, you're absolutely right- those are both eligible, as well as any other public interest position (i.e. working for a govt agency). Also, don't rule out judicial externships as a 1L (since it sounds like you're looking to do biglaw/private sector, that is eligible for the 4k, looks good on resume and can help alot w/connections from what I've heard).

I'm a 1L here and the deadline for that 4k stipend just passed.
Anyway, don't mean to derail your post. Congrats thus far- Vandy is great too, but hope you end up at UCLA (I love it here so far). Feel free to reach out if you have any Q's for a UCLA 1L that can help w/ your decision.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:11 pm

Itiswritten wrote:
Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:The 4k cash grant only applies if you work a full-time public interest position during your 1L summer. So, that won't actually lower your loans, considering that you'll almost certainly need that 4k for living expenses.


Yeah, I should have specified. I was planning on doing a prosecutor/PD job that summer (unless I'm some kind of super star that lands a 1L SA gig), and was told by Dean Schwartz and Dean Beth Mueller that those jobs will qualify for the cash grant. I had originally set aside some of my savings to pay for 1L summer CoL, but with the grant I can put that money aside and use it for 2L tuition. So it'll knock off a little bit more of the debt as far as I can tell.


Yes, you're absolutely right- those are both eligible, as well as any other public interest position (i.e. working for a govt agency). Also, don't rule out judicial externships as a 1L (since it sounds like you're looking to do biglaw/private sector, that is eligible for the 4k, looks good on resume and can help alot w/connections from what I've heard).

I'm a 1L here and the deadline for that 4k stipend just passed.
Anyway, don't mean to derail your post. Congrats thus far- Vandy is great too, but hope you end up at UCLA (I love it here so far). Feel free to reach out if you have any Q's for a UCLA 1L that can help w/ your decision.


Yeah, a judicial externship is actually what I really want to do, but I was told yesterday I'd only qualify for a $2k grant for a judicial summer position. Which is still awesome, and I'm planning to still pursue one. I just figured, for personal CoL reasons, I might be more likely to end up in PI work that summer depending on how my living options play out. Both are totally open though.

And pretty sure I'll see you in Westwood next year; I loved the school and the TLS consensus is overwhelmingly in favor of LA. I was actually wondering yesterday if you were one of the 1Ls present during the BBQ/panels, haha.

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Itiswritten » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:21 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:
Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
Itiswritten wrote:The 4k cash grant only applies if you work a full-time public interest position during your 1L summer. So, that won't actually lower your loans, considering that you'll almost certainly need that 4k for living expenses.


Yeah, I should have specified. I was planning on doing a prosecutor/PD job that summer (unless I'm some kind of super star that lands a 1L SA gig), and was told by Dean Schwartz and Dean Beth Mueller that those jobs will qualify for the cash grant. I had originally set aside some of my savings to pay for 1L summer CoL, but with the grant I can put that money aside and use it for 2L tuition. So it'll knock off a little bit more of the debt as far as I can tell.


Yes, you're absolutely right- those are both eligible, as well as any other public interest position (i.e. working for a govt agency). Also, don't rule out judicial externships as a 1L (since it sounds like you're looking to do biglaw/private sector, that is eligible for the 4k, looks good on resume and can help alot w/connections from what I've heard).

I'm a 1L here and the deadline for that 4k stipend just passed.
Anyway, don't mean to derail your post. Congrats thus far- Vandy is great too, but hope you end up at UCLA (I love it here so far). Feel free to reach out if you have any Q's for a UCLA 1L that can help w/ your decision.


Yeah, a judicial externship is actually what I really want to do, but I was told yesterday I'd only qualify for a $2k grant for a judicial summer position. Which is still awesome, and I'm planning to still pursue one. I just figured, for personal CoL reasons, I might be more likely to end up in PI work that summer depending on how my living options play out. Both are totally open though.

And pretty sure I'll see you in Westwood next year; I loved the school and the TLS consensus is overwhelmingly in favor of LA. I was actually wondering yesterday if you were one of the 1Ls present during the BBQ/panels, haha.


Ah, right. I'm not too sure about the externship funding!
Haha I wasn't on the panel yesterday! But glad to hear you like it, and best of luck with finalizing the process. Hope to see you soon.

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Gitaroo_Dude

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Re: UCLA vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:44 pm

So I went ahead and e-mailed Dean Schwartz on Monday, asking for a $5k increase with the promise of full matriculation, and just got it granted. Super happy with my outcome; part of me thinks I might have been able to get more, but I was comfortable with an additional $5k so it seemed fair.

Thanks everyone for making an easy choice seem so obvious in retrospect. Really glad I can bring an end to my cycle.



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