CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

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ba-en-oh
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CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby ba-en-oh » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:38 pm

Hey folks,

I'm turning to TLS in sheer desperation as I try to sort through how I feel about an unexpected plot twist in my law school application saga. I've already paid my seat deposit at U Chicago and have been gearing up to start there in September. I got $30K in scholarship there, which is pretty minimal -- all things considered, I'm looking at around $240,000 in loans over three years. When I initially made my decision to enroll at U Chicago, I rationalized that the prestige of the school would make up for this barf-inducing debt. Plus, I'm committed to doing PI, so I figured U Chicago's LRAP would ensure that I wouldn't have to pay most of those loans out-of-pocket.

The more I understand about the LRAP program, though, the more I feel that no matter how generous it is, there are still many risks and uncertainties considering the sheer amount of money I'm going to be owing. (What happens if I get a job that pays $81,000 and is thus not at all covered by the LRAP? What if the U.S. government changes its PSLF policy? What if I end up wanting a job that isn't technically in the legal field? Etc.) I volunteered for two years after graduating college, so I have zero savings, although I paid off my undergrad loans already using AmeriCorps award money. I'm planning on living simply no matter how much debt I have, but still, it's hard to conceptualize what $240K actually means.

Just as I was having a stress meltdown about these finances today, I got an email from Wash U (to which I had applied earlier and apparently forgotten to decline my acceptance) saying that my scholarship had been increased to full tuition plus a stipend (Dean's Fellowship + Webster Scholar) due to a 2-point increase in my LSAT, which I retook in June for pretty much no reason other than that I'd signed up for it before I knew where I was depositing. So now I'm very conflicted. I know that these two schools aren't really comparable in many ways -- of course Chicago has better job placement and geographic reach and name recognition. The thing is, I'm not shooting for Biglaw. What I really want to study is indigenous/tribal law and children's rights. I can see myself working for a nonprofit, and maybe eventually doing policy advocacy in Indian Child Welfare. I don't really have any idea where I want to end up, but I love the West and would like to be near reservation communities.

I know I could find things to like about living in both Chicago and St. Louis. My main question has to do with how to evaluate the weight of opportunity vs. cost in this particular scenario. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

teleste
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby teleste » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:25 pm

WUSTL x1000

Why in the world would you take on a *quarter of a million dollars* of non-dischargeable debt to get EXACTLY the same degree...especially when you don't even want Biglaw?!!

Don't let the prestige-whoring get to your head. You owe it to your future self.

Good luck with the decision!

Samarcan
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Samarcan » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:54 pm

Definitely WUSTL, especially given your career goals!

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Kummel
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Kummel » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:42 pm

There MIGHT be a reason to not choose WUSTL with your goals if you were deciding between WUSTL and a school thats LRAP is non-PSLF related. But UChicago is a school with LRAP that's IBR/PSLF, so there's really zero reason to not take the WUSTL w/stipend for your career goals

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Lavitz
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Lavitz » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:03 am

Definitely WUSTL. I'm skeptical that Chicago would give you any measurable advantage for practicing tribal law or children's rights for a nonprofit. Certainly not worth over $200,000 in debt even with the possibility that most of it gets forgiven in the distant future.

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slurp
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby slurp » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:18 pm

Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

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proteinshake
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby proteinshake » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:46 pm

slurp wrote:Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

click their profile. they had better options but I'm guessing it's too late for that?

edit: better than Chicago*
Last edited by proteinshake on Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lavitz
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Lavitz » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:37 pm

slurp wrote:Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

Honestly don't see how, say, Cornell with $90,000 would be better than WUSTL with $180,000 for OP's goals.

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slurp
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby slurp » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Lavitz wrote:
slurp wrote:Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

Honestly don't see how, say, Cornell with $90,000 would be better than WUSTL with $180,000 for OP's goals.

You're probably right, although I personally like her GULC 120k offer for the, perhaps, added flexibility in case OP's goals change while in law school.

ModernRomanLaw
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby ModernRomanLaw » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:33 pm

I'll see you at WashU I guess

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Lavitz
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Lavitz » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:08 pm

slurp wrote:
Lavitz wrote:
slurp wrote:Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

Honestly don't see how, say, Cornell with $90,000 would be better than WUSTL with $180,000 for OP's goals.

You're probably right, although I personally like her GULC 120k offer for the, perhaps, added flexibility in case OP's goals change while in law school.

I'd probably still pick WUSTL. Not sure GULC would be that much better even for biglaw. It's got like 6% more biglaw+fedclerks. Anyway, it's July, so these are the options and I don't think we need to go searching for others. Especially when a full ride + stipend at WUSTL is already a perfectly good fit for OP's goals and doesn't scream "reapply."

mcmand
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby mcmand » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:30 pm

TAKE THE FREE MONEY. Don't even hesitate. Screw Chicago.

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chargers21
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby chargers21 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:08 am

.
Last edited by chargers21 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lavitz
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Lavitz » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:52 am

chargers21 wrote:
Lavitz wrote:
slurp wrote:Do you not have any other options? Based on these acceptances, it seems that you should have something in the middle like low t14 with $$

Honestly don't see how, say, Cornell with $90,000 would be better than WUSTL with $180,000 for OP's goals.

OP likely would have gotten around 120k from Cornell with a little work. Not sure how much school choice matters for PI stuff, so I won't comment on whether the difference is worth it at that point. Weird that it appears she didn't apply there, she had their bread and butter numbers

Sure, it's an unusual decision, and OP probably should have applied to Cornell. But even if OP could have gotten a marginally better offer for her goals if she had done something differently, I don't see the point of this speculation unless someone is going to advise OP to reapply for these hypothetically better offers. Given the circumstances, I think the best option is to go to WUSTL with the full ride + stipend instead of reapplying for a chance of something better. Others can disagree, but I haven't seen it yet.

Phil Brooks
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby Phil Brooks » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:33 am

WUSTL. We need to pound it home to schools like Chicago and its ilk that students are price conscious and will not just unblinkingly pay staggering amounts of tuition. If those schools want good students they will have to lower their tuition, either across the board or in the form of individual scholarships.

Do what is in your interest and in the interest of future students. Take the money.

gregfootball2001
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby gregfootball2001 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:43 am

Samarcan wrote:Definitely WUSTL

Lavitz wrote:Definitely WUSTL.

Definitely WUSTL.

ba-en-oh
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Re: CRISIS: U Chicago at Pretty Much Sticker (Already Enrolled!) vs. WUSTL Full Ride

Postby ba-en-oh » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:35 pm

Thank you all for your perspective! I do realize that I could have probably "played the game" a little more strategically, but at this rate I'm not going to reapply. I went to undergrad at Georgetown, and while I was definitely considering their offer, in the end I just didn't quite feel like being in DC for the next three years.

I'm leaning very strongly towards WUSTL -- going to call U Chicago today and try to negotiate, but I doubt they'll budge much. I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to St. Louis this weekend and loved it. I could really see myself there. I appreciate the input, folks!




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