UT ($$) v. Columbia ($)

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gizmo1024

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UT ($$) v. Columbia ($)

Postby gizmo1024 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:09 pm

-Texan
-I'm not sure where I want to practice, but I don't want to be tied down to a specific region. That being said, I wouldn't be mad if I ended up in TX.
-Interested in big law, but want to explore other options in law school.
-Visited CLS, and I'm positive I would be happy there. Loved the school, students, and professors.
-Went to TX for undergrad. Would definitely be happy staying in Austin as well.

UT COA: 95k
Columbia COA: 240k

*EDIT: Received my aid package from Columbia (60K).
Last edited by gizmo1024 on Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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UVA2B

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby UVA2B » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:44 pm

Ok, you seem noncommittal to pretty much anything that will help you make this decision. Are you a KJD by any chance? I don't mean that to be disparaging, but I get the "world is my oyster" vibe from your generally vague ambitions and preferences. You don't have to have hard and fast goals going into law school, but no one can really give you any guidance when you aren't definitively committing to anything. And realize that if you're interested in Biglaw now, it's pretty unlikely your goals will demonstrably change during 1L when you have the opportunity to better refine your goals. So, more than likely, you're interested in Biglaw and nothing else for the sake of making this decision. Further, I appreciate wanting geographic flexibility, but the reality is most schools offer geographic flexibility in that first job, and beyond that it's entirely up to what you make of your career. Most will find themselves tied to the region where they begin practice. Some will break out to other regions, but that will have little to do with what school you attend. So just keep that in mind.

Absent amplifying information, Columbia is too expensive, even with a $60k scholarship (also, keep in mind interest, fees, etc. which will make $220k more like $240k at repayment). UT is right around the limit I'd put on the price (with similar interest, fees, etc. reservations), but it's a much better option than CLS (full disclosure: fully debt averse here, so that should color my advice). If you'd be happy starting and more than likely keeping your career in Texas, UT is a good option. I'd be queasy about that debt, but I'm not you. If you're comfortable with it, go for it. But don't take out $200k+ debt at Columbia because you want flexibility geographically. It's not worth that kind of debt.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:54 pm

Is there no mid to lower T13 middle ground?

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby gizmo1024 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:00 pm

UVA2B wrote: Are you a KJD by any chance?


I'm not a KJD. I really appreciate the advice. I'm leaning towards UT, but I just wanted to make sure I'm not crazy for turning down CLS.

I would only have COL expenses and 35k tuition to pay at UT. What part of that makes COA "right around the limit" for debt?

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby gizmo1024 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:01 pm

Rigo wrote:Is there no mid to lower T13 middle ground?


No. Waitlisted everywhere in T13 except Columbia & Cornell. Already withdrew from Cornell.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby TAD » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:03 pm

Just to add to UVA2B's advice, COA will also be more than 280k. It's 94k, according to Columbia, just for next year, and tuition goes up by about 4% each year, on average, so you're probably looking at closer to 290-295ish

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby UVA2B » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:14 pm

gizmo1024 wrote:
UVA2B wrote: Are you a KJD by any chance?


I'm not a KJD. I really appreciate the advice. I'm leaning towards UT, but I just wanted to make sure I'm not crazy for turning down CLS.

I would only have COL expenses and 35k tuition to pay at UT. What part of that makes COA "right around the limit" for debt?


I meant that was my limit, not that it was some hard, fast limit for everyone. If you have $35k/yr, with interest, fees, and tuition increases, you're looking at $110k in tuition-related expenses, and even assuming some costs being defrayed by SAs, you're looking at realistically $150k or so at graduation, and that's about the most I could imagine spending on a degree like UT. I'm not in your personal situation, but paying ~$2k/month for 10 years for a ~50% chance at a job that will pay off that debt is just decidedly risky.

ETA: Did you mean $35k total for tuition, or per year? Realized that you probably meant $35k total, in which case your number would be accurate. And at that point, UT is the clear winner.
Last edited by UVA2B on Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby Rigo » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:22 pm

gizmo1024 wrote:
Rigo wrote:Is there no mid to lower T13 middle ground?

No. Waitlisted everywhere in T13 except Columbia & Cornell. Already withdrew from Cornell.

That's odd.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:02 pm

If you get $60k from Columbia, I'd go there. If it's a lot less, and you don't mind staying in Texas, UT. I don't agree that CLS is never an okay option with $60k scholarship; that basically rules out the top schools for most students.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby BigZuck » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:09 pm

I'll say it: CLS is never an OK option with a 60K scholarship. If that means the top schools (however that is being defined here) should be ruled out for most students I'm 100% fine with that. There's always other options, screw the top schools if they insist on making it prohibitively expensive to attend.

OP- That's probably more than I would be willing to spend at UT but it's at least defensible. Columbia is not here IMO.

Something is very weird about your cycle given your options.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby UVA2B » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:16 pm

jbagelboy wrote:If you get $60k from Columbia, I'd go there. If it's a lot less, and you don't mind staying in Texas, UT. I don't agree that CLS is never an okay option with $60k scholarship; that basically rules out the top schools for most students.


When is taking out $240k debt an okay option in your opinion? Would Penn be worth $240k compared to WUSTL for $100k? What about Cornell for $240k vs. Fordham for $100k? I don't mean these questions to be snarky; I just mean that we're likely talking about differing levels of debt tolerance for a given outcome/professional freedom.

Removing the name of the school, we're talking about risk and benefit analysis here. If you're more debt averse (which I am admittedly, so I'm conceding that), it'll be pretty rare that you take the higher cost option if it gives a relatively marginal (still pronounced, don't get me wrong that CLS is the better employment outcome by a long shot here) increased likelihood of an outcome at 2.5x the cost.

This is probably an agree to disagree thing here, but a Texan comfortable with Texas outcomes at UT for $110k is an objectively better option than CLS for $240k or more. If they wanted to go to NY/LA/Phoenix/anywhere outside Texas, the calculus obviously changes, but that's not at issue yet.

In summation: it's not as simple as CLS at $60k is the clear-cut winner. In fact, nothing the OP has offered even remotely suggests CLS is the better option.

Edit: substantially scooped by conductor Zuck

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:31 pm

UVA2B wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:If you get $60k from Columbia, I'd go there. If it's a lot less, and you don't mind staying in Texas, UT. I don't agree that CLS is never an okay option with $60k scholarship; that basically rules out the top schools for most students.


When is taking out $240k debt an okay option in your opinion? Would Penn be worth $240k compared to WUSTL for $100k? What about Cornell for $240k vs. Fordham for $100k? I don't mean these questions to be snarky; I just mean that we're likely talking about differing levels of debt tolerance for a given outcome/professional freedom.

Removing the name of the school, we're talking about risk and benefit analysis here. If you're more debt averse (which I am admittedly, so I'm conceding that), it'll be pretty rare that you take the higher cost option if it gives a relatively marginal (still pronounced, don't get me wrong that CLS is the better employment outcome by a long shot here) increased likelihood of an outcome at 2.5x the cost.

This is probably an agree to disagree thing here, but a Texan comfortable with Texas outcomes at UT for $110k is an objectively better option than CLS for $240k or more. If they wanted to go to NY/LA/Phoenix/anywhere outside Texas, the calculus obviously changes, but that's not at issue yet.

In summation: it's not as simple as CLS at $60k is the clear-cut winner. In fact, nothing the OP has offered even remotely suggests CLS is the better option.

Edit: substantially scooped by conductor Zuck


Yea, so, I think what I was saying was that to categorically exclude CLS at $60k as never viable is not realistic. Not that CLS at $60k necessarily beats the UT offer. That depends on goals. From what the OP has stated, Columbia offers some significant advantages. It would provide vastly more job flexibility. If the OP wants to stay in Texas, that's one thing. This OP says "I wouldn't be mad if I ended up in TX." That's sort of another. I would probably go to CLS here but that's just me.

UT is a great school--especially for a Texas-focused individual--but its not offering close to the same outcomes or experience as CLS. If we're talking about standard gainful employment prospects, it's not a narrow gap. I think CLS with a decent scholarship at UT at $100k+ COA is a toss-up.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby UVA2B » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:43 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:If you get $60k from Columbia, I'd go there. If it's a lot less, and you don't mind staying in Texas, UT. I don't agree that CLS is never an okay option with $60k scholarship; that basically rules out the top schools for most students.


When is taking out $240k debt an okay option in your opinion? Would Penn be worth $240k compared to WUSTL for $100k? What about Cornell for $240k vs. Fordham for $100k? I don't mean these questions to be snarky; I just mean that we're likely talking about differing levels of debt tolerance for a given outcome/professional freedom.

Removing the name of the school, we're talking about risk and benefit analysis here. If you're more debt averse (which I am admittedly, so I'm conceding that), it'll be pretty rare that you take the higher cost option if it gives a relatively marginal (still pronounced, don't get me wrong that CLS is the better employment outcome by a long shot here) increased likelihood of an outcome at 2.5x the cost.

This is probably an agree to disagree thing here, but a Texan comfortable with Texas outcomes at UT for $110k is an objectively better option than CLS for $240k or more. If they wanted to go to NY/LA/Phoenix/anywhere outside Texas, the calculus obviously changes, but that's not at issue yet.

In summation: it's not as simple as CLS at $60k is the clear-cut winner. In fact, nothing the OP has offered even remotely suggests CLS is the better option.

Edit: substantially scooped by conductor Zuck


Yea, so, I think what I was saying was that to categorically exclude CLS at $60k as never viable is not realistic. Not that CLS at $60k necessarily beats the UT offer. That depends on goals. From what the OP has stated, Columbia offers some significant advantages. It would provide vastly more job flexibility. If the OP wants to stay in Texas, that's one thing. This OP says "I wouldn't be mad if I ended up in TX." That's sort of another. I would probably go to CLS here but that's just me.

UT is a great school--especially for a Texas-focused individual--but its not offering close to the same outcomes or experience as CLS. If we're talking about standard gainful employment prospects, it's not a narrow gap. I think CLS with a decent scholarship at UT at $100k+ COA is a toss-up.


Agree with everything you just said minus CLS being worth the extra debt for a TX resident who is unsure of their goals, but that's the agree to disagree part. If I was a tried and true Longhorn, with amorphous dreams of living in CA or wherever else, I'd pick the strongest true regional in the country because it's the financially prudent choice and I have the statistically best chance of ending up in a desirable outcome without investing extra money for an outcome I don't necessarily want. (there is a huge chasm going on here where we are extrapolating if/where the OP wants to end up if not TX, which is a pretty big problem for our central disagreement).

Anyway, I don't contest that CLS can make sense for certain applicants, but I think it's probably much more confined than you imagine as a CLS grad (and I think this is also true among lower T13 grads like UVA or Penn, FWIW).

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:12 am

Bags: I'm just curious- what greater "experience" would CLS provide than UT? I understand that on average the job outcomes are better (I think that's indisputable) but you also said experience and I wondered what you meant by that.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby Traynor Brah » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:52 am

So 35K total tuition plus COL in Austin vs. ~330K for Columbia (LST's projection w/o a scholarship), with no options in-between? That doesn't really add up, assuming you are not a URM/are not getting other scholarships to UT (like Hazelwood or something).

In any event, I think that'd be a reasonable amount of debt for someone (especially a Texan) to take on for UT. If you end up not getting biglaw, you'll get a job and survive; if you get biglaw, that debt figure is going to be significantly lower at the onset, and you'll kill it in no time.

Columbia all but guarantees biglaw, but sticker also all but guarantees you have to hang on to a job in biglaw (most likely in NYC) for half a decade to essentially get your head above water. I'd view that as an extremely high-risk move, even if we assume you get/keep a biglaw job and that we don't have another major recession: it's not exactly a desirable lifestyle, and most people don't/can't put up it with it for that long.

If you don't have specific career goals nor specific geographical aspirations, which kind of seems to be the case, I would have a very hard time saying an extra 200K is worth the geographic and long-term career flexibility Columbia may provide (understanding, again, that it makes your career options inflexible in that you must work in biglaw for an extended period). Texas is a risk with respect to flexibility: you have a fighting chance to land a biglaw job essentially anywhere if you're around top 20 percent, but it's going to be a struggle to break out of Texas if not. However, I'd wager being a UT law alum is more important in mid and late career phases if working in Texas over Columbia, and if you have no real geographic aspirations, I'm going to assume inertia/family brings you back to Texas long-term.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby enoca » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:42 am

Rigo wrote:
gizmo1024 wrote:
Rigo wrote:Is there no mid to lower T13 middle ground?

No. Waitlisted everywhere in T13 except Columbia & Cornell. Already withdrew from Cornell.

That's odd.


As a splitter who applied late, this matches my cycle pretty closely. For the t-13: in at Columbia almost immediately, and then a slow trickle of WLs and a Berkeley denial. (didn't apply to Cornell)

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby gizmo1024 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:19 am

Traynor Brah wrote:So 35K total tuition plus COL in Austin vs. ~330K for Columbia (LST's projection w/o a scholarship), with no options in-between? That doesn't really add up, assuming you are not a URM/are not getting other scholarships to UT (like Hazelwood or something).


You nailed it. I'm a URM and would get Hazelwood at UT.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:47 am

BigZuck wrote:Bags: I'm just curious- what greater "experience" would CLS provide than UT? I understand that on average the job outcomes are better (I think that's indisputable) but you also said experience and I wondered what you meant by that.


Yeah. So there are really two facets of experience that we're talking about here. One is absolutely a value judgment and fairly relative. Living in Manhattan is very different from living in Austin. The cost of living differences signify substantially different quality of life indicators; part of what makes Columbia more expensive is its location, but location of course comes at a cost. Of course, this doesn't mean it's normatively superior; that's really a question of personal preference. But it's going to be a very different experience.

Second, there are some experiential elements to law school that I do think are qualitatively different. For example, Columbia has the lowest student-faculty ratio of any school that reports such figures (https://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/1/asc/SFRatio). Compare to Texas at ~10 students/faculty (second page). Among those faculty, Texas is going to have some all-stars in their fields and many accomplished professors; Columbia is going to have the most eminent "scholars" in their respective subjects (which can be good and bad from an instructional quality perspective). Columbia offers an inevitably wider array of clinical offerings, externships, law journals, student organizations, study abroad programs, research centers, firm events and sponsorships, and all the other bells and whistles (this is not to suggest UT does not have tons of clinics, journals, research opportunities for students, ect., it's just a degree difference). Every week, or several times a week, the law school or university will attract a speaker, either from abroad or domestic, of world-class renown; this will happen at UT law as well, but not to the same degree. To be clear: taken separately, these inputs are insignificant. Even taken together, they pale in comparison to the placement value. They are not worth expending hundreds of thousands, or even many tens of thousands, of dollars for the professional degree. But it's a different experience and a different value proposition.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:48 am

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Bags: I'm just curious- what greater "experience" would CLS provide than UT? I understand that on average the job outcomes are better (I think that's indisputable) but you also said experience and I wondered what you meant by that.


Yeah. So there are really two facets of experience that we're talking about here. One is absolutely a value judgment and fairly relative. Living in Manhattan is very different from living in Austin. The cost of living differences signify substantially different quality of life indicators; part of what makes Columbia more expensive is its location, but location of course comes at a cost. Of course, this doesn't mean it's normatively superior; that's really a question of personal preference. But it's going to be a very different experience.

Second, there are some experiential elements to law school that I do think are qualitatively different. For example, Columbia has the lowest student-faculty ratio of any school that reports such figures (https://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/1/asc/SFRatio). Compare to Texas at ~10 students/faculty (second page). Among those faculty, Texas is going to have some all-stars in their fields and many accomplished professors; Columbia is going to have the most eminent "scholars" in their respective subjects (which can be good and bad from an instructional quality perspective). Columbia offers an inevitably wider array of clinical offerings, externships, law journals, student organizations, study abroad programs, research centers, firm events and sponsorships, and all the other bells and whistles (this is not to suggest UT does not have tons of clinics, journals, research opportunities for students, ect., it's just a degree difference). Every week, or several times a week, the law school or university will attract a speaker, either from abroad or domestic, of world-class renown; this will happen at UT law as well, but not to the same degree. To be clear: taken separately, these inputs are insignificant. Even taken together, they pale in comparison to the placement value. They are not worth expending hundreds of thousands, or even many tens of thousands, of dollars for the professional degree. But it's a different experience and a different value proposition.

COUNTERPOINT: Breakfast tacos

Check and mate

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby badlefthook » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:39 am

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Bags: I'm just curious- what greater "experience" would CLS provide than UT? I understand that on average the job outcomes are better (I think that's indisputable) but you also said experience and I wondered what you meant by that.


Yeah. So there are really two facets of experience that we're talking about here. One is absolutely a value judgment and fairly relative. Living in Manhattan is very different from living in Austin. The cost of living differences signify substantially different quality of life indicators; part of what makes Columbia more expensive is its location, but location of course comes at a cost. Of course, this doesn't mean it's normatively superior; that's really a question of personal preference. But it's going to be a very different experience.

Second, there are some experiential elements to law school that I do think are qualitatively different. For example, Columbia has the lowest student-faculty ratio of any school that reports such figures (https://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/1/asc/SFRatio). Compare to Texas at ~10 students/faculty (second page). Among those faculty, Texas is going to have some all-stars in their fields and many accomplished professors; Columbia is going to have the most eminent "scholars" in their respective subjects (which can be good and bad from an instructional quality perspective). Columbia offers an inevitably wider array of clinical offerings, externships, law journals, student organizations, study abroad programs, research centers, firm events and sponsorships, and all the other bells and whistles (this is not to suggest UT does not have tons of clinics, journals, research opportunities for students, ect., it's just a degree difference). Every week, or several times a week, the law school or university will attract a speaker, either from abroad or domestic, of world-class renown; this will happen at UT law as well, but not to the same degree. To be clear: taken separately, these inputs are insignificant. Even taken together, they pale in comparison to the placement value. They are not worth expending hundreds of thousands, or even many tens of thousands, of dollars for the professional degree. But it's a different experience and a different value proposition.


This is incredibly helpful thank you

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby texcellence » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:36 pm

BigZuck wrote:COUNTERPOINT: Breakfast tacos

Check and mate


Austin has garbage breakfast tacos tho

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:45 pm

texcellence wrote:
BigZuck wrote:COUNTERPOINT: Breakfast tacos

Check and mate


Austin has garbage breakfast tacos tho

MODS

Ok whatever San Antonio is so great blah blah. SPARE US. If you want to go to St. Mary's then be our guest but we're talking Austin vs NYC here.

But serious: I know Bags tried to sufficiently qualify his statements to head me off at the pass but I'll say it anyway- that stuff is subjective and/or it doesn't matter. Supreme Court justices come to Texas. As often as Columbia? Probably not. Does it matter? No. There's clinics, you can study abroad in Australia if you want, your professor probably went to Yale and wrote the casebook, etc. None of it really matters in the end anyway. Go out there and live the life you want. And ideally if you're going to choose a law school go to one that will get you the job you want at an appropriate cost.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby texcellence » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:19 pm

BigZuck wrote:
texcellence wrote:
BigZuck wrote:COUNTERPOINT: Breakfast tacos

Check and mate


Austin has garbage breakfast tacos tho

MODS

Ok whatever San Antonio is so great blah blah. SPARE US. If you want to go to St. Mary's then be our guest but we're talking Austin vs NYC here.

But serious: I know Bags tried to sufficiently qualify his statements to head me off at the pass but I'll say it anyway- that stuff is subjective and/or it doesn't matter. Supreme Court justices come to Texas. As often as Columbia? Probably not. Does it matter? No. There's clinics, you can study abroad in Australia if you want, your professor probably went to Yale and wrote the casebook, etc. None of it really matters in the end anyway. Go out there and live the life you want. And ideally if you're going to choose a law school go to one that will get you the job you want at an appropriate cost.


just jonesing, Zuck. the NYC alternative would be to fill up a suitcase HEB tortillas and make 'em yourself. :D Anyway, actual point taken. Gizmo, you seem noncommittal about your post-grad interests, so in your case I'd choose Texas. I know some Texas Law folks who landed at awesome firms in DC (don't personally know any in NYC/CA/other, smaller markets but I'm sure they're there) so it's not impossible to leave the state if you decide that's what you want later. Farnsworth seems pretty connected to alumni all over the place, so you can use that to your advantage. CLS is simply not worth sticker, but if you do receive some aid from CLS and still can't pull the trigger on a decision, i would take my eventual CLS financial aid package and ask Farnsworth directly if there's anything he can do to make it easier to choose Texas.

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:22 pm

texcellence wrote:
BigZuck wrote:COUNTERPOINT: Breakfast tacos

Check and mate


Austin has garbage breakfast tacos tho


wtf have you not had Veracruz migas tacos?

You are probably eating the packaged Tacodeli that is in every gas station in town.

For real though I am a little confused as to how OP's COA at UT is 115k (presumbably in state too?) and he still gets into Columbia with $60k off? Then he doesn't get in anywhere else in T14?

In my personal experience going to UT: I didn't come close to an acceptance at Columbia and I had a "slightly" worse *out of state* scholarship offer. I feel like a Columbia acceptance should basically guarantee a sub 100k tuition at UT at the least.

Just seems like an odd situation to me, or maybe OP applied super late in the cycle?

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Re: UT ($$) v. Columbia

Postby texcellence » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:37 pm

favabeansoup wrote:You are probably eating the packaged Tacodeli that is in every gas station in town.



literally the meanest thing anyone's ever said to me T_T

as a south tex-mexican, it's all about the tortilla, and ATX's, generally speaking, are subpar. never tried Veracruz though, that must have opened after I moved away. looks legit.



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