American University or nowhere?

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mzing12
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American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:33 pm

Yes, people bad mouth this school from dawn to dusk, but is it worth attending? Here's the scenario: I got into no other school than this one. WL at GW's full time program, so maybe I'll luck out there. Still waiting to hear back from Cardozo.

My decision now I guess is: American or ... no law school at all. Worth it?

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suite1718
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby suite1718 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:38 pm

Probably depends on what you hope to do. I would imagine their Int Law program is worth the price, if you are sure that's where you want to go. They have excellent opportunities at American in that field.

Beyond that I'm not sure.

philo-sophia
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:39 pm

i think it depends on what you want and whether or not you think you can bump up your LSAT for next cycle. If you think you can increase your LSAT, i'd do it and wait a year. As for American, i have a friend there who did well enough to be offered law review. They decided not to do law review and is thinking it may be a reason they're not able to land BigLaw. They have a friend who is on law review and who got a nice BigLaw offer. So it seems like if you want to do BigLaw, or anything prestigious, like clerkships etc, American is a gamble. If you have to pay full price, or even close (on top of living expenses in DC) i'd think long and hard.

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Oklahoma Mike
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby Oklahoma Mike » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:39 pm

What are your career goals?
I think taking on that much debt at American can certainly be risky- but I also don't think it's a horrible option. I'd go to American if those were my options.

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MTal
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby MTal » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:40 pm

There are a lot of schools with better employment prospects that are lower ranked than American. Did you apply to those? Based on everything I've seen and heard, I would not recommend American. If it's not too late, apply to some lower ranked schools, or wait until next cycle.

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:44 pm

Really? I want to work in government, public interest, etc., either in DC or NYC. No other cities or areas are options for me, and I'm not really open to living outside a city. The only thing that seems interesting to me about that school is their international whatever resources since I can speak other Euro languages and I spend time abroad, but I'm not sure what the real life job prospects are for that kind-of leaning.

I have approximately no interest in working in a firm, though. I'm going on 26, so I really don't want to start law school later than this... it's either this cycle, or no cycle. The debt at American seems astronomical, though, but if LSATs are any indication of class rank, I'll be in their top 10%. My uncle is a lawyer for the state department over at the consulate in London, so it's not like I lack for connections in the international/government law field.

But seriously, why is their tuition so high, and their financial support so low? It's a hard decision.

philo-sophia
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:53 pm

I'm going on 26, so I really don't want to start law school later than this... it's either this cycle, or no cycle.


I think this is a little extreme. I'm going on 28 and if my LSAT could go up another 5 points i'd definitely wait one more cycle. What's one year in the grand scheme of things. Let's say you take a year, boost your LSAT by three points and in the meantime you work for a non-profit in the public service sector where the experience will serve you well after law school. Next year, you apply with a better LSAT, a stronger resume, plenty of fodder for your personal statement and some connections waiting for you when you get out.

In four years when you're graduating from GW and starting a job you consider rewarding do you really think you'll wish you had gone to American to graduate one year earlier? What about ten years from now, when your career has been substantially more rewarding and successful than might have been the case coming from American? I'm just trying to provide a healthy dose of perspective which i think can be easy to lose in this process.

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Kompressor
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby Kompressor » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:55 pm

mzing12 wrote:But seriously, why is their tuition so high, and their financial support so low? It's a hard decision.


Because the school's president needs to pay for family vacations and personal chefs.

Honestly, I have no idea. Their undergrad is the same way.

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:02 pm

I think this is a little extreme. I'm going on 28 and if my LSAT could go up another 5 points i'd definitely wait one more cycle. What's one year in the grand scheme of things. Let's say you take a year, boost your LSAT by three points and in the meantime you work for a non-profit in the public service sector where the experience will serve you well after law school. Next year, you apply with a better LSAT, a stronger resume, plenty of fodder for your personal statement and some connections waiting for you when you get out.

In four years when you're graduating from GW and starting a job you consider rewarding do you really think you'll wish you had gone to American to graduate one year earlier? What about ten years from now, when your career has been substantially more rewarding and successful than might have been the case coming from American? I'm just trying to provide a healthy dose of perspective which i think can be easy to lose in this process.


Even if my LSAT goes up, I'll still be a splitter (GPA - 3.25). I've worked for non-profits and done pro-bono work for years now (it was a part of my personal statement), and my main career was the managing writer for Japan's second largest corporation. There's not much I can do except get my LSAT up 3 points to a ... 167, and even then it might be the same cycle as this one... WLs at the T20s I applied to are just as possible. Unfortunately too is that my job field ceases to exist during recessions, so it'll probably be a long while before I can even hope to get comparable writing work again... it's the kind-of field that belongs to the 20th century, unfortunately.

It's a dilly of a pickle. How's the transfer potential at American?

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Kompressor
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby Kompressor » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:05 pm

mzing12 wrote:
I think this is a little extreme. I'm going on 28 and if my LSAT could go up another 5 points i'd definitely wait one more cycle. What's one year in the grand scheme of things. Let's say you take a year, boost your LSAT by three points and in the meantime you work for a non-profit in the public service sector where the experience will serve you well after law school. Next year, you apply with a better LSAT, a stronger resume, plenty of fodder for your personal statement and some connections waiting for you when you get out.

In four years when you're graduating from GW and starting a job you consider rewarding do you really think you'll wish you had gone to American to graduate one year earlier? What about ten years from now, when your career has been substantially more rewarding and successful than might have been the case coming from American? I'm just trying to provide a healthy dose of perspective which i think can be easy to lose in this process.


Even if my LSAT goes up, I'll still be a splitter (GPA - 3.25). I've worked for non-profits and done pro-bono work for years now (it was a part of my personal statement), and my main career was the managing writer for Japan's second largest corporation. There's not much I can do except get my LSAT up 3 points to a ... 167, and even then it might be the same cycle as this one... WLs at the T20s I applied to are just as possible.

It's a dilly of a pickle. How's the transfer potential at American?


A 167 probably gets you into Mason and/or W+M + W+L which will offer you much better potential for Washington. If you moved to Virginia now with the idea of getting into one of them then your tuition would be dirt-cheap.

As for the transfer status from American, I have no idea.

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MissVirginia
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby MissVirginia » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:07 pm

Go to American!

For the life of me I don't understand why anyone bothers applying to a school they would not go to. Did you get some new information after applying?

And if it's the only place you got into, I think it's mighty dangerous to think (given the few pts any retester is likely to come up on a 2nd LSAT) you'd get in anywhere else.

Maybe you can transfer out, or maybe you'll find out that in fact American is a fine school and you'll stick out the last 2 years gladly. Either way, get packing and stop kidding yourself. You're one of the lucky ones who got into a Top Tier school.

Stop stressing and celebrate. You're headed to WCL this fall and you know it- congrats!

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:10 pm

Isn't George Mason some backwater type school, regardless of their current rank? I grew up in and around New York City, so I don't really think I'd be too comfortable going to school in the rural south.

philo-sophia
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:10 pm

3.3/167 got me Emory and WUSTL w/ $75K. And my softs sound like they're not as good as yours.

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:13 pm

Hmmm, really? I think I'll apply to a few more schools that've extended their deadlines. I only applied to a few schools in New York and DC, mostly waitlists.

American's programs seem pretty interesting to me, it's their tuition that's the ole fork in the eye.

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nativedelta
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby nativedelta » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:14 pm

Do you want to be a lawyer? If yes, I'd go ahead and take American. I'm a little hesitant to recommend someone waiting another year (especially when they've gotten into a T1 school) because with the economy in the toilet, I have a feeling the competition for spots in the 2009 cycle is going to be even worse.

No $$$ = everyone deciding it's a great time to go back to school.

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nativedelta
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby nativedelta » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:17 pm

mzing12--Despite GMU's location south of the Mason Dixon line, it is not in any way rural. Northern Virginia is pretty metropolitan, not to mention a whole 3 miles from DC. It isn't New York, but then again, how many cities would measure up to that standard?

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:19 pm

But I've heard they're like, super conservative though. I'm a small, pale, waify dude in skinny clothing with near-pinko beliefs and a bad Northern accent. I just imagined culture shock looking through those schools.

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nativedelta
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby nativedelta » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:21 pm

I wouldn't call it overly conservative. NoVa (as you'll hear Northern Virginia called) is in many ways the Democratic stronghold of the state. NoVa really is a different sort of place than the rest of Virginia. Arlington is one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the country and full of affluent liberals and democrats. You'll find a circle to fall into.

No one will be sitting on the front porch, smoking a corn-cob pipe while wishing for the good ole days when women stayed barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. :lol:

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:23 pm

Well, I meant the school's culture rather than the area. Does George Mason place better in federal government than American? Of course who knows, GW could feel generous and take me off their waitlist.

erp
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby erp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:24 pm

mzing12 wrote:Isn't George Mason some backwater type school, regardless of their current rank? I grew up in and around New York City, so I don't really think I'd be too comfortable going to school in the rural south.


Haha. It's funny what folks think about GMU without having visited it. It's in northern Virginia, right across the river from DC. All-in-all very urban. I live with someone who is attending there now and has a summer internship with AmLaw 100 firm in NYC this summer. You are correct, however, in your assessment about its conservative academic culture. Also, DC offices of AmLaw 100 firms recruit heavily at American. If DC is where you want to be, you will have plenty of opportunities with an American degree at firms, gov't, nonprofit...

In any event, good luck!

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nativedelta
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby nativedelta » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:31 pm

I find the school's culture is pretty consistent with the area's. As far as placing, I have yet to hear of a George Mason grad having a hard time placing in the DC area. I would guess that extends to the federal government, but I'm not really interested in that track, so I don't have a great answer for you there.

Ultimately, if I were choosing between GMU and American, I'd probably go with GMU. Prestige is higher; IP program is well respected if you're interested in that track; tuition is cheaper (even for out of state?); and GMU seems to be gunning for a higher ranking, so they may move up while you're there. American is almost a T2 school (ranked 47th last time I looked). It just seems like an exorbitant amount of money to pay for a lower-ranked school.

Also from a convenience perspective, American's law campus is not easily accessible by car or metro, while GMU's law campus is across the street from the metro station in a nice part of Arlington. :D

Sorry, but I'm an Arlington, VA fan. I live not far from the law school and just adore the area.

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MissVirginia
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby MissVirginia » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:36 pm

Mason's faculty is more conservative than that of the other DC-area law schools, but it's plopped in the middle of NoVa, which is one of the only real blue spots in this red state (the other being Charlottesville). There are plenty of pinkos and small, pale, waify dudes around, both on and off campus.

mzing12
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby mzing12 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:40 pm

haha, all right. I just remember one time applying for a job at Dow Jones (they do the WSJ ... basically the conservative foil of the NY Times for range and national influence). The hiring manager looked at my resume, saw I did some kind-of Model UN thing, and then harangued me about those "thieves and murderers in the UN" and sent me away.

So, I definitely don't want a culture clash in law school. My LSAT is like ... in their 90th%, so it probably shouldn't be too hard to be at the top 10% in the class, if I do end up going.

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BondGirl
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby BondGirl » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:55 pm

For those people who "try again next year," do you have to ask professors for recommendations again, or does LSDAS keep them on file and let you use the same ones again? Sorry for hijacking the thread, and thanks for your replies!

bauerahl
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Re: American University or nowhere?

Postby bauerahl » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:57 pm

mzing12 wrote: So, I definitely don't want a culture clash in law school. My LSAT is like ... in their 90th%, so it probably shouldn't be too hard to be at the top 10% in the class, if I do end up going.


The correlation between LSAT score and how well you do 1L year isn't as large as you might think. It is sill the best indicator of 1L performance but a ton of other factos heavily contribute. That is to say that although you may be in the top 10% of the class according to LSAT, that doesn't give much credence to your being in the top 10% of the class.

Transferring out of American is like transferring out of any bottom tier 1/upper tier 2. You essentially need to be top 10% to transfer to a T14 (though there are some notable exceptions) and the general rule is to never attend a school with the idea that you'll transfer after the first year.

I don't think American is as bad as many think it is. It has a decent reputation and although DC biglaw may be difficult, it's not impossible and midlaw is still an attractive option for many American grads. Keep your head up.




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