Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

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Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Vanderbilt
16
41%
WUSTL
23
59%
 
Total votes: 39

agmooty
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:56 am

Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:24 pm

I have just been admitted into Vanderbilt off of the waitlist and I have till Wednesday to decide whether I want to attend and I could really use some advice on this decision. Here's the breakdown:

Vanderbilt has offered me only $15,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $118,000 (I'm fortunate enough to have my family pay for living expenses, books, gas, etc.). Wash U, on the other hand, has offered me $35,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $58,000. I tried negotiating with Vanderbilt, but they turned me down and maintained their offer. My question: is Vanderbilt worth the extra $60,000 and would I be making a mistake turning Wash U down?

For extra insight, here's a little bit about me: I hope to go into corporate law or securities law (although I know things could change in law school) and my ideal future would be to have a good job and to live in a large city. My fear is to work in a small firm in a small town. I am not crazy about the midwest, I would rather end up living in the south (Texas native) or the northeast. I know my chances of living in the those areas would increase if I take Vandy's offer, but I'm also aware that only about 29% of WUSTL's students end up staying in Missouri (a decent percentage go to New York and Texas, which is where I would like to end up). The employment statistics of WUSTL and Vanderbilt are similar, although I am not sure if WUSTL will be able to maintain the employment boost they had this year, whereas Vanderbilt has had consistently strong employment stats and their fed clerk rate is more than double that of WUSTL's. I do not plan to retake or sit out a year and I am still waiting on a decision from UT .

I am not debt averse, and I know that if I choose Vandy, I will have to spend at least 3-5 years (depending on the job) living frugally (e.g. cheap car, cheap apartment, not get married [or at least not have kids], etc.) and I am willing to do that. I don't know very many people who have attended law school or who currently attend law school and my family only looks at cost so they all say WUSTL, so I thought I would turn here for some advice. Should I play it safe and attend WUSTL or should I take that leap and take Vandy's offer?

Thank you all so much for the advice!

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Jon_Snow
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Jon_Snow » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:01 pm

agmooty wrote:I have just been admitted into Vanderbilt off of the waitlist and I have till Wednesday to decide whether I want to attend and I could really use some advice on this decision. Here's the breakdown:

Vanderbilt has offered me only $15,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $118,000 (I'm fortunate enough to have my family pay for living expenses, books, gas, etc.). Wash U, on the other hand, has offered me $35,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $58,000. I tried negotiating with Vanderbilt, but they turned me down and maintained their offer. My question: is Vanderbilt worth the extra $60,000 and would I be making a mistake turning Wash U down?

For extra insight, here's a little bit about me: I hope to go into corporate law or securities law (although I know things could change in law school) and my ideal future would be to have a good job and to live in a large city. My fear is to work in a small firm in a small town. I am not crazy about the midwest, I would rather end up living in the south (Texas native) or the northeast. I know my chances of living in the those areas would increase if I take Vandy's offer, but I'm also aware that only about 29% of WUSTL's students end up staying in Missouri (a decent percentage go to New York and Texas, which is where I would like to end up). The employment statistics of WUSTL and Vanderbilt are similar, although I am not sure if WUSTL will be able to maintain the employment boost they had this year, whereas Vanderbilt has had consistently strong employment stats and their fed clerk rate is more than double that of WUSTL's. I do not plan to retake or sit out a year and I am still waiting on a decision from UT .

I am not debt averse, and I know that if I choose Vandy, I will have to spend at least 3-5 years (depending on the job) living frugally (e.g. cheap car, cheap apartment, not get married [or at least not have kids], etc.) and I am willing to do that. I don't know very many people who have attended law school or who currently attend law school and my family only looks at cost so they all say WUSTL, so I thought I would turn here for some advice. Should I play it safe and attend WUSTL or should I take that leap and take Vandy's offer?

Thank you all so much for the advice!


honestly, if you want to do corporate stuff, and you are choosing between Vandy & Wustl, and have not yet hear back yet from UT. And because it sounds like you are not confident about UT...you should really just retake/reapply next year.

For corporate & securities law, where you went to school & whether your killed it 1L is going to be the difference of whether or not your resume gets looked at. If you ever decide to do something else aka go in house or lateral somewhere - people will always be looking at your first firm. That's just how the legal field is...it gets smaller and smaller as soon as you graduate. People go into non-law straight out, or switch to non-law after a few years, or move smaller firms, practicing niche areas or move to smaller markets.

Look up the top firms in random cities, and look up their associates int the area you want to practice. Tried to find WUSTL/Vandy/UT kids. CHeck out their academic credentials. Its a lot of hard work and luck that goes into just being able to collect signatures for the first 2 years. Why not front load some of that hard work and improve your application and go to a better school?

If you really want to go to UT...
1. Send UT both of your letters and kindly tell them you are waiting for their response which you would promptly accept.
2. Call UT a half day later and tell them you'd like to follow up about your email. Let them know your situation.
3. Do you know anybody who went to UT? Beg them to call UT and ask if there is anything you can do to increase your chances.


Otherwise...I transferred out of wustl. My friends from 1L say the faculty is legit.

futago
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby futago » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:43 pm

agmooty wrote:I have just been admitted into Vanderbilt off of the waitlist and I have till Wednesday to decide whether I want to attend and I could really use some advice on this decision. Here's the breakdown:

Vanderbilt has offered me only $15,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $118,000 (I'm fortunate enough to have my family pay for living expenses, books, gas, etc.). Wash U, on the other hand, has offered me $35,000 a year, which brings my debt to about $58,000. I tried negotiating with Vanderbilt, but they turned me down and maintained their offer. My question: is Vanderbilt worth the extra $60,000 and would I be making a mistake turning Wash U down?

For extra insight, here's a little bit about me: I hope to go into corporate law or securities law (although I know things could change in law school) and my ideal future would be to have a good job and to live in a large city. My fear is to work in a small firm in a small town. I am not crazy about the midwest, I would rather end up living in the south (Texas native) or the northeast. I know my chances of living in the those areas would increase if I take Vandy's offer, but I'm also aware that only about 29% of WUSTL's students end up staying in Missouri (a decent percentage go to New York and Texas, which is where I would like to end up). The employment statistics of WUSTL and Vanderbilt are similar, although I am not sure if WUSTL will be able to maintain the employment boost they had this year, whereas Vanderbilt has had consistently strong employment stats and their fed clerk rate is more than double that of WUSTL's. I do not plan to retake or sit out a year and I am still waiting on a decision from UT .

I am not debt averse, and I know that if I choose Vandy, I will have to spend at least 3-5 years (depending on the job) living frugally (e.g. cheap car, cheap apartment, not get married [or at least not have kids], etc.) and I am willing to do that. I don't know very many people who have attended law school or who currently attend law school and my family only looks at cost so they all say WUSTL, so I thought I would turn here for some advice. Should I play it safe and attend WUSTL or should I take that leap and take Vandy's offer?

Thank you all so much for the advice!


Have you tried negotiating with WashU using the Vanderbilt acceptance/scholarship? It's definitely worth a shot if you haven't.

I'm not sure how Vandy stacks up to WashU in the NE or TX, but I know Vandy will take you a lot further in the non-TX South.

For what it's worth I chose a full ride at WashU over 25k a year from Vandy and don't regret it, but I prefer the Midwest over the South and will be staying in the Midwest. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
Last edited by futago on Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

personofinterest
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby personofinterest » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:00 pm

Something to note: Vandy does have significantly better employment stats. Biglaw+FedClerk comparison: 57% v. 45%. 12% is significant. It's about the difference between Vandy and the lower T13.

Since you are from the south and wish to stay there, it might be worth it to go to Vandy. You have a lower chance of striking out there, and if you do strike out, a Vandy degree will be better for backup options. It's kind of a tossup, but I'd lean toward Vanderbilt. Also, make sure you ask Vandy for more money. Never hurts to ask politely.

Vandy: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/vanderbilt/
WashU: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/washu/

cavalier1138
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:36 am

I think it's a toss-up, but I also think you're making a bad decision by forcing yourself into the arbitrary deadline of going to school this cycle or not at all. You want Texas biglaw. Both of these schools can get you there with ties, but it's not a sure-thing outcome from either one.

For your goals, UT is the obvious choice. I don't see why you'd sell yourself short and go elsewhere when the means of getting to UT are completely within your control.

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stego
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby stego » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:48 am

OP, what's your LSAT and GPA? It's weird to me that you still haven't heard from Texas yet in July.

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existentialcrisis
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby existentialcrisis » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:47 am

cavalier1138 wrote:I think it's a toss-up, but I also think you're making a bad decision by forcing yourself into the arbitrary deadline of going to school this cycle or not at all.


I wouldn't go to to WUSTL (and probably not Vandy) with your goals. Yes, their 2016 BL+FC was a solid 45%, but that seems to be an outlier. I wouldn't pay that much for Vanderbilt.

If you're biglaw or bust you should retake for T14, assuming you aren't a massive splitter.

agmooty
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:56 am

Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:52 pm

Thanks so much for the advice guys! I'm still trying to make a decision, but I'm starting to narrow it down. To be honest, I would rather attend Vanderbilt for several of the reasons listed here by other (better employment and fed clerk stats, better placement in the areas I would like to live in, better location, etc.) the only thing stopping me is the debt.
stego wrote:OP, what's your LSAT and GPA? It's weird to me that you still haven't heard from Texas yet in July.

GPA is 3.7 and LSAT is a 162 (after 2 attempts; my first attempt was a 155 and most of my practice tests were around 158 after studying for over 6 months, so I honestly considered myself lucky with this score). Vanderbilt and UT were considered my reach schools and UT even rejected me at first, but then I asked them for a reconsideration and they placed me on their waitlist, but I'm going with the assumption that they will say no...again.

agmooty
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:58 pm

personofinterest wrote:Something to note: Vandy does have significantly better employment stats. Biglaw+FedClerk comparison: 57% v. 45%. 12% is significant. It's about the difference between Vandy and the lower T13.

Since you are from the south and wish to stay there, it might be worth it to go to Vandy. You have a lower chance of striking out there, and if you do strike out, a Vandy degree will be better for backup options. It's kind of a tossup, but I'd lean toward Vanderbilt. Also, make sure you ask Vandy for more money. Never hurts to ask politely.

Vandy: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/vanderbilt/
WashU: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/washu/


Thanks so much for this! I'm leaning toward Vandy because everything in me is telling me to go there (like you mentioned, better stats, better name, better placement in the areas I want to live), the only thing stopping me from pulling the trigger and letting go of Wash U is the cost. I'm worried that I'd be making a huge mistake in rejecting Wash U's offer.

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Slippin' Jimmy
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:26 pm

agmooty wrote:Thanks so much for the advice guys! I'm still trying to make a decision, but I'm starting to narrow it down. To be honest, I would rather attend Vanderbilt for several of the reasons listed here by other (better employment and fed clerk stats, better placement in the areas I would like to live in, better location, etc.) the only thing stopping me is the debt.
stego wrote:OP, what's your LSAT and GPA? It's weird to me that you still haven't heard from Texas yet in July.

GPA is 3.7 and LSAT is a 162 (after 2 attempts; my first attempt was a 155 and most of my practice tests were around 158 after studying for over 6 months, so I honestly considered myself lucky with this score). Vanderbilt and UT were considered my reach schools and UT even rejected me at first, but then I asked them for a reconsideration and they placed me on their waitlist, but I'm going with the assumption that they will say no...again.

On the one hand these are extremely good outcomes for those stats, but on the other UT/T13 is a real possibility with a retake. Only reason I'd be hesitant to automatically say retake is that if you don't increase your score significantly you might be looking at a worse cycle next year. I'd still lean towards a retake but that is still something to consider.

agmooty
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:06 pm

Hey everyone!

I have two days left to decide on either school, and any last minute opinions would be really useful. I keep going back and forth between both schools, Vanderbilt is riskier, but I'll have a better chance at a landing a great job and practicing in the areas I would like to live in, but I fear I will end up being crippled by the triple digit debt; on the other hand Wash U is safer and I feel that coming out of law school with a little over $50,000 in debt would grant me much more freedom and security in case things don't go well, but I'm worried I'll be stuck practicing in some small Midwestern town (I wouldn't like staying permanently in St. Louis and I know Chicago is extremely competitive). So I keep going back and forth between both schools. If you have any thoughts at all on the matter, feel free to share!

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Jmart082
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Jmart082 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:57 pm

agmooty wrote:Hey everyone!

I have two days left to decide on either school, and any last minute opinions would be really useful. I keep going back and forth between both schools, Vanderbilt is riskier, but I'll have a better chance at a landing a great job and practicing in the areas I would like to live in, but I fear I will end up being crippled by the triple digit debt; on the other hand Wash U is safer and I feel that coming out of law school with a little over $50,000 in debt would grant me much more freedom and security in case things don't go well, but I'm worried I'll be stuck practicing in some small Midwestern town (I wouldn't like staying permanently in St. Louis and I know Chicago is extremely competitive). So I keep going back and forth between both schools. If you have any thoughts at all on the matter, feel free to share!

If you're biglaw or bust, neither is a safe option. I'd retake/reapply at a T-14. That said, of the two, WUSTL is the better offer. Vandy is not worth triple digit debt.

cavalier1138
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:15 pm

agmooty wrote:Hey everyone!

I have two days left to decide on either school, and any last minute opinions would be really useful. I keep going back and forth between both schools, Vanderbilt is riskier, but I'll have a better chance at a landing a great job and practicing in the areas I would like to live in, but I fear I will end up being crippled by the triple digit debt; on the other hand Wash U is safer and I feel that coming out of law school with a little over $50,000 in debt would grant me much more freedom and security in case things don't go well, but I'm worried I'll be stuck practicing in some small Midwestern town (I wouldn't like staying permanently in St. Louis and I know Chicago is extremely competitive). So I keep going back and forth between both schools. If you have any thoughts at all on the matter, feel free to share!


You've gotten about a dozen thoughts on the matter, but you clearly have a narrow range of thoughts you want to hear...

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Jmart082
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Jmart082 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:21 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
agmooty wrote:Hey everyone!

I have two days left to decide on either school, and any last minute opinions would be really useful. I keep going back and forth between both schools, Vanderbilt is riskier, but I'll have a better chance at a landing a great job and practicing in the areas I would like to live in, but I fear I will end up being crippled by the triple digit debt; on the other hand Wash U is safer and I feel that coming out of law school with a little over $50,000 in debt would grant me much more freedom and security in case things don't go well, but I'm worried I'll be stuck practicing in some small Midwestern town (I wouldn't like staying permanently in St. Louis and I know Chicago is extremely competitive). So I keep going back and forth between both schools. If you have any thoughts at all on the matter, feel free to share!


You've gotten about a dozen thoughts on the matter, but you clearly have a narrow range of thoughts you want to hear...

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UVA2B
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby UVA2B » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:30 pm

If I'm missing anything, please let me know. You want to either be in TX or the NE (probably important if this means NYC or Boston, etc.), want to do corporate work, and are picking between two schools that at best have mediocre placement in those markets. Your numbers could improve in a way to make UT+T14 with decent money an option. And you're rationalizing Vanderbilt at $150k vs. WUSTL at $50k.

Do I have that right?

These aren't great options for your goals, especially since you're opposed to the types of jobs these schools can hypothetically place you in. WUSTL is the marginally better option simply because you're in less debt while having a non-negligible chance of achieving your goals, but that doesn't make them good options.

Picking a law school is so much more nuanced than the dichotomous choice between one or the other. Your goals should ideally rule your decision, and once you've figured out your goals with some specificity, you should determine what schools can place you into those goals. If you wanted Boston Biglaw, you should go to BC for $90k vs. WUSTL for $50k. And if you wanted TX Corporate work, you should go to UT or a T14 with TX ties for as cheap as possible.

I'm sorry you don't have better options for your goals, but this is really a matter of goal and option alignment. But you should seriously reconsider what is best for your future, because going to Vandy and missing out on your goals is a very real possibility. You should do your best to recognize that you should assume the median outcome, which at WUSTL means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that interests you, and at Vandy means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that may or may not interest you. You can't really control the decision beyond that.

The weight of what I'm saying should resonate with you and why it's not just gloom and doom, but if you want to dismiss it as such, please let me know because I worry you don't fully understand legal hiring generally, and especially when you're talking about specific markets. And that needs to be understood in the forced curve of law school.

Your options aren't the best, but they could get better if you want them to improve.

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Jmart082
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Jmart082 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:45 pm

UVA2B wrote:If I'm missing anything, please let me know. You want to either be in TX or the NE (probably important if this means NYC or Boston, etc.), want to do corporate work, and are picking between two schools that at best have mediocre placement in those markets. Your numbers could improve in a way to make UT+T14 with decent money an option. And you're rationalizing Vanderbilt at $150k vs. WUSTL at $50k.

Do I have that right?

These aren't great options for your goals, especially since you're opposed to the types of jobs these schools can hypothetically place you in. WUSTL is the marginally better option simply because you're in less debt while having a non-negligible chance of achieving your goals, but that doesn't make them good options.

Picking a law school is so much more nuanced than the dichotomous choice between one or the other. Your goals should ideally rule your decision, and once you've figured out your goals with some specificity, you should determine what schools can place you into those goals. If you wanted Boston Biglaw, you should go to BC for $90k vs. WUSTL for $50k. And if you wanted TX Corporate work, you should go to UT or a T14 with TX ties for as cheap as possible.

I'm sorry you don't have better options for your goals, but this is really a matter of goal and option alignment. But you should seriously reconsider what is best for your future, because going to Vandy and missing out on your goals is a very real possibility. You should do your best to recognize that you should assume the median outcome, which at WUSTL means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that interests you, and at Vandy means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that may or may not interest you. You can't really control the decision beyond that.

The weight of what I'm saying should resonate with you and why it's not just gloom and doom, but if you want to dismiss it as such, please let me know because I worry you don't fully understand legal hiring generally, and especially when you're talking about specific markets. And that needs to be understood in the forced curve of law school.

Your options aren't the best, but they could get better if you want them to improve.

This is excellent advice. I think that you might have placed too much stock in how these schools are ranked (which doesn't matter for anything that isn't T-14) as opposed to what your preferred outcomes are. If you wanted a placement in NYC or Boston, a strong regional school like BC/BU/possibly even Fordham, with little to no debt would have been preferable to either WUSTL or Vandy at this price tag. As for TX, if that's what you're aiming for, then reapply to UT. I suspect that you might be competitive with an early application and/or fresh retake. If you want to ignore that, you'd be assuming a tremendous amount of risk at schools (at least in the case of WUSTL, speaking from experience) with people who are otherwise qualified for a T-14, but are splitters, or on full scholarships (imagine the curve). The choice is yours.

agmooty
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:40 am

Jmart082 wrote:
UVA2B wrote:If I'm missing anything, please let me know. You want to either be in TX or the NE (probably important if this means NYC or Boston, etc.), want to do corporate work, and are picking between two schools that at best have mediocre placement in those markets. Your numbers could improve in a way to make UT+T14 with decent money an option. And you're rationalizing Vanderbilt at $150k vs. WUSTL at $50k.

Do I have that right?

These aren't great options for your goals, especially since you're opposed to the types of jobs these schools can hypothetically place you in. WUSTL is the marginally better option simply because you're in less debt while having a non-negligible chance of achieving your goals, but that doesn't make them good options.

Picking a law school is so much more nuanced than the dichotomous choice between one or the other. Your goals should ideally rule your decision, and once you've figured out your goals with some specificity, you should determine what schools can place you into those goals. If you wanted Boston Biglaw, you should go to BC for $90k vs. WUSTL for $50k. And if you wanted TX Corporate work, you should go to UT or a T14 with TX ties for as cheap as possible.

I'm sorry you don't have better options for your goals, but this is really a matter of goal and option alignment. But you should seriously reconsider what is best for your future, because going to Vandy and missing out on your goals is a very real possibility. You should do your best to recognize that you should assume the median outcome, which at WUSTL means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that interests you, and at Vandy means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that may or may not interest you. You can't really control the decision beyond that.

The weight of what I'm saying should resonate with you and why it's not just gloom and doom, but if you want to dismiss it as such, please let me know because I worry you don't fully understand legal hiring generally, and especially when you're talking about specific markets. And that needs to be understood in the forced curve of law school.

Your options aren't the best, but they could get better if you want them to improve.

This is excellent advice. I think that you might have placed too much stock in how these schools are ranked (which doesn't matter for anything that isn't T-14) as opposed to what your preferred outcomes are. If you wanted a placement in NYC or Boston, a strong regional school like BC/BU/possibly even Fordham, with little to no debt would have been preferable to either WUSTL or Vandy at this price tag. As for TX, if that's what you're aiming for, then reapply to UT. I suspect that you might be competitive with an early application and/or fresh retake. If you want to ignore that, you'd be assuming a tremendous amount of risk at schools (at least in the case of WUSTL, speaking from experience) with people who are otherwise qualified for a T-14, but are splitters, or on full scholarships (imagine the curve). The choice is yours.


Thank you guys so much for this detailed advice.You had everything correct except for the fact that at Vanderbilt I would be paying about $114,000 in total and Wash U was $58,000 in total (although I did email admissions and they are considering granting me additional merit aid funds). I know the general advice is to retake, but like I mentioned in my former post, after about 8 months of studying, my LSAT score on my practice tests pretty much peaked at a 158, the fact that I got a 162 on my last LSAT was very surprising to me. I'm worried that if I sit out and retake, my LSAT score might decrease or I might not get offers that were as good as the ones I received.
I know these schools don't guarantee that I'll land a job at the places I want to end up at (I'm still waiting for UT to make a decision, and, being a Texas native, I would accept their offer at sticker), but so long as I land a good job with a good salary that would allow the debt to be manageable, I'd be satisfied. What attracted me to Vanderbilt over Wash U was the fact that they had a higher big law and fed clerk rate (about 12% higher, and this is assuming Wash U maintains the employment boost they had this year) and the fact that it tends to place better in the locations that I would like to work in. I know there's no guarantee, but considering its stats, Vanderbilt seems to give me a decent shot at what I want to achieve, I'm just not sure if this increased chance is worth about $60,000 more than Wash U. Again, thank you guys so much for the advice, it's been a tremendous help so far!

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Jmart082
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Jmart082 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:57 am

agmooty wrote:
Jmart082 wrote:
UVA2B wrote:If I'm missing anything, please let me know. You want to either be in TX or the NE (probably important if this means NYC or Boston, etc.), want to do corporate work, and are picking between two schools that at best have mediocre placement in those markets. Your numbers could improve in a way to make UT+T14 with decent money an option. And you're rationalizing Vanderbilt at $150k vs. WUSTL at $50k.

Do I have that right?

These aren't great options for your goals, especially since you're opposed to the types of jobs these schools can hypothetically place you in. WUSTL is the marginally better option simply because you're in less debt while having a non-negligible chance of achieving your goals, but that doesn't make them good options.

Picking a law school is so much more nuanced than the dichotomous choice between one or the other. Your goals should ideally rule your decision, and once you've figured out your goals with some specificity, you should determine what schools can place you into those goals. If you wanted Boston Biglaw, you should go to BC for $90k vs. WUSTL for $50k. And if you wanted TX Corporate work, you should go to UT or a T14 with TX ties for as cheap as possible.

I'm sorry you don't have better options for your goals, but this is really a matter of goal and option alignment. But you should seriously reconsider what is best for your future, because going to Vandy and missing out on your goals is a very real possibility. You should do your best to recognize that you should assume the median outcome, which at WUSTL means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that interests you, and at Vandy means possibly getting Biglaw in a place that may or may not interest you. You can't really control the decision beyond that.

The weight of what I'm saying should resonate with you and why it's not just gloom and doom, but if you want to dismiss it as such, please let me know because I worry you don't fully understand legal hiring generally, and especially when you're talking about specific markets. And that needs to be understood in the forced curve of law school.

Your options aren't the best, but they could get better if you want them to improve.

This is excellent advice. I think that you might have placed too much stock in how these schools are ranked (which doesn't matter for anything that isn't T-14) as opposed to what your preferred outcomes are. If you wanted a placement in NYC or Boston, a strong regional school like BC/BU/possibly even Fordham, with little to no debt would have been preferable to either WUSTL or Vandy at this price tag. As for TX, if that's what you're aiming for, then reapply to UT. I suspect that you might be competitive with an early application and/or fresh retake. If you want to ignore that, you'd be assuming a tremendous amount of risk at schools (at least in the case of WUSTL, speaking from experience) with people who are otherwise qualified for a T-14, but are splitters, or on full scholarships (imagine the curve). The choice is yours.


Thank you guys so much for this detailed advice.You had everything correct except for the fact that at Vanderbilt I would be paying about $114,000 in total and Wash U was $58,000 in total (although I did email admissions and they are considering granting me additional merit aid funds). I know the general advice is to retake, but like I mentioned in my former post, after about 8 months of studying, my LSAT score on my practice tests pretty much peaked at a 158, the fact that I got a 162 on my last LSAT was very surprising to me. I'm worried that if I sit out and retake, my LSAT score might decrease or I might not get offers that were as good as the ones I received.
I know these schools don't guarantee that I'll land a job at the places I want to end up at (I'm still waiting for UT to make a decision, and, being a Texas native, I would accept their offer at sticker), but so long as I land a good job with a good salary that would allow the debt to be manageable, I'd be satisfied. What attracted me to Vanderbilt over Wash U was the fact that they had a higher big law and fed clerk rate (about 12% higher, and this is assuming Wash U maintains the employment boost they had this year) and the fact that it tends to place better in the locations that I would like to work in. I know there's no guarantee, but considering its stats, Vanderbilt seems to give me a decent shot at what I want to achieve, I'm just not sure if this increased chance is worth about $60,000 more than Wash U. Again, thank you guys so much for the advice, it's been a tremendous help so far!

If you factor in the interest over time, it's actually A LOT more than $60,000. I think that the difference between these two schools is negligible at best, and if you're going to go ahead and make a complete gamble, I'd suggest the cheapest possible one. That's my two cents.

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby lurker816 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:53 am

Soon-to-be Vandy 2L here; I actually think it may be worth the extra debt for Texas (especially if you're willing to pay sticker for UT). Nashville's legal market is tiny and impossible to get; a lot of the events on campus are sponsored by Houston and Dallas firms, and those firms came to campus to recruit/throw us events throughout the semester. People with imperfect grades got them for 1L summer. I'm not really a Vandy booster for other markets and regret going there wanting NY, but it might be worth it over WashU for TX.

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby agmooty » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:05 pm

lurker816 wrote:Soon-to-be Vandy 2L here; I actually think it may be worth the extra debt for Texas (especially if you're willing to pay sticker for UT). Nashville's legal market is tiny and impossible to get; a lot of the events on campus are sponsored by Houston and Dallas firms, and those firms came to campus to recruit/throw us events throughout the semester. People with imperfect grades got them for 1L summer. I'm not really a Vandy booster for other markets and regret going there wanting NY, but it might be worth it over WashU for TX.

Thank you so much for this information, it really eases my mind a bit to hear that. If you don't mind me asking, how's your experience been at Vanderbilt? For example, are you happy with the education and with the opportunities you've received? Thanks

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby Paul Campos » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:43 pm

If you're paying tuition with federal loans you are significantly underestimating your debt. Vandy is charging 54.5K in tuition this year, and if you assume it will go up 3.5% in your second and third year, you'll have about $143K in debt when you graduate, because of interest and fees. So the difference between that and your debt from WUSTL is probably more like $75K (you'll have around $67K in debt from WUSTL)

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:59 pm

personofinterest wrote:Something to note: Vandy does have significantly better employment stats. Biglaw+FedClerk comparison: 57% v. 45%. 12% is significant. It's about the difference between Vandy and the lower T13.

Since you are from the south and wish to stay there, it might be worth it to go to Vandy. You have a lower chance of striking out there, and if you do strike out, a Vandy degree will be better for backup options. It's kind of a tossup, but I'd lean toward Vanderbilt. Also, make sure you ask Vandy for more money. Never hurts to ask politely.

Vandy: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/vanderbilt/
WashU: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/washu/


$75,000 (based on Paul Campos's numbers) for a 12% greater chance?

personofinterest
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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby personofinterest » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:33 am

lavarman84 wrote:
personofinterest wrote:Something to note: Vandy does have significantly better employment stats. Biglaw+FedClerk comparison: 57% v. 45%. 12% is significant. It's about the difference between Vandy and the lower T13.

Since you are from the south and wish to stay there, it might be worth it to go to Vandy. You have a lower chance of striking out there, and if you do strike out, a Vandy degree will be better for backup options. It's kind of a tossup, but I'd lean toward Vanderbilt. Also, make sure you ask Vandy for more money. Never hurts to ask politely.

Vandy: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/vanderbilt/
WashU: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/washu/


$75,000 (based on Paul Campos's numbers) for a 12% greater chance?


Poster also said region is important. They don't like the Midwest and like the south/northeast. 3 years of living in a place you like more is worth something itself. Also, it could be easier to find backup options in a desirable location if biglaw doesn't workout. From what other posters have said, it may be easier to get biglaw in TX from vandy than wash u.

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:16 pm

personofinterest wrote:Poster also said region is important. They don't like the Midwest and like the south/northeast. 3 years of living in a place you like more is worth something itself. Also, it could be easier to find backup options in a desirable location if biglaw doesn't workout. From what other posters have said, it may be easier to get biglaw in TX from vandy than wash u.


School location is not worth $75,000 in this case. The potential difference in regional job opportunities might be. But it would be beyond ridiculous to pay $75,000 for the chance to spend three years studying in Nashville instead of studying in St. Louis.

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Re: Vandy $ vs. WUSTL $$$

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:34 pm

personofinterest wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:
personofinterest wrote:Something to note: Vandy does have significantly better employment stats. Biglaw+FedClerk comparison: 57% v. 45%. 12% is significant. It's about the difference between Vandy and the lower T13.

Since you are from the south and wish to stay there, it might be worth it to go to Vandy. You have a lower chance of striking out there, and if you do strike out, a Vandy degree will be better for backup options. It's kind of a tossup, but I'd lean toward Vanderbilt. Also, make sure you ask Vandy for more money. Never hurts to ask politely.

Vandy: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/vanderbilt/
WashU: https://www.lstreports.com/schools/washu/


$75,000 (based on Paul Campos's numbers) for a 12% greater chance?


Poster also said region is important. They don't like the Midwest and like the south/northeast. 3 years of living in a place you like more is worth something itself. Also, it could be easier to find backup options in a desirable location if biglaw doesn't workout. From what other posters have said, it may be easier to get biglaw in TX from vandy than wash u.


I'm just not seeing the upside here for that chunk of change.




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