Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

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denise137

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Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:38 pm

Hi all,

Basics first: 161 LSAT, 3.8 GPA, URM-AA woman

So far I've only been accepted to Georgetown, but I have also applied at GWU, UConn (I'm from CT), Berkeley, and Howard.

My question is, at what price point does it not make sense to go to Georgetown? My scores suggest I'm more likely to get full rides from Howard and UConn, and with the option of living at home should I go back to CT, I could potentially go to school for next to nothing but at a TT (TTT?) school. I don't want to pay sticker for Georgetown, but I've been told that it's worth it to go to a T14 no matter the costs. After graduating, I want to get into public interest/constitutional law if money is not a barrier. What do you think? Is Georgetown my best option regardless of merit aid?

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby BrainsyK » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:46 pm

A middle ground between a T14 and a TT makes sense here.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:55 pm

BrainsyK wrote:A middle ground between a T14 and a TT makes sense here.


I should specify that I prefer to practice in the DMV (and frankly live there unless I go to Berkeley or back home). Otherwise, I would apply to Emory and Vanderbilt. That being said, should I be more flexible and apply elsewhere or just wait and see what Georgetown offers? I don't want to wait too late into the admissions cycle to find that Georgetown is giving me nothing.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby albanach » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:30 pm

The correct response is to retake, wait a cycle, and get the best of both worlds. You're only a few points away from serious money in the T-14 that will give you must greater flexibility.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby hoos89 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:21 am

Retake.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:07 pm

albanach wrote:The correct response is to retake, wait a cycle, and get the best of both worlds. You're only a few points away from serious money in the T-14 that will give you must greater flexibility.


hoos89 wrote:Retake.


If I retake and don't get a higher score I will have wasted a year (on top of this year I've already taken off) ~and~ missed out on the higher salary whatever law degree I get would ensure. I'm not retaking. Plus, I'm not confident I will score significantly higher than (if not the same as) before, making it not worth my time or money at this point. So, with retaking off the table, what would you suggest? I'm prepared to apply to other T20 and TT schools if that makes sense, and because I have a lot of fee waivers, but I do want to be strategic since I'll be doing most schools' optional and scholarship essays.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby BrainsyK » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:50 pm

I'd imagine you'd get 100k+ at least one T14. There's no way to tell which one. W/no retake on the table, I would maybe consider taking a six-figure scholarship at one of the non-metro based T14s (Duke, Cornell, UVA, Mich) if you can get or negotiate your way into one of those.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:15 pm

denise137 wrote:
albanach wrote:The correct response is to retake, wait a cycle, and get the best of both worlds. You're only a few points away from serious money in the T-14 that will give you must greater flexibility.


hoos89 wrote:Retake.


If I retake and don't get a higher score I will have wasted a year (on top of this year I've already taken off) ~and~ missed out on the higher salary whatever law degree I get would ensure. I'm not retaking. Plus, I'm not confident I will score significantly higher than (if not the same as) before, making it not worth my time or money at this point. So, with retaking off the table, what would you suggest? I'm prepared to apply to other T20 and TT schools if that makes sense, and because I have a lot of fee waivers, but I do want to be strategic since I'll be doing most schools' optional and scholarship essays.


Respectfully, this is a really bad line of thinking. You’re accepting something you actually have control over without much thought (the not retaking mindset), while also not appreciating how much value there is in scoring better, without any penalty if you score the same/worse.

Don’t impart some lost wages calculus in deciding to invest this much money in an education, because it’s usually not a fair calculation.

Investing six figures into an education is never a wasted year when you wait a year, despite some impetus to go now. Saving $100k+ on tuition is always the right call, and you have significant gains to make on the LSAT. Someone with a 2.6/178 doesn’t have much growth in scholarship opportunities. But you do. Don’t take that for granted.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Npret » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:18 pm

Why are you assuming you will have a biglaw job and salary when you haven’t even gone to a single class? Don’t assume a salary from an imaginary job. Make the fiscally responsible decision now.

I doubt you’ll listen because few people ever do. But at least understand that you are going into law because of a salary for a job you have a decent chance of not getting? What will you do then?

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:04 pm

UVA2B wrote: Respectfully, this is a really bad line of thinking. You’re accepting something you actually have control over without much thought (the not retaking mindset), while also not appreciating how much value there is in scoring better, without any penalty if you score the same/worse.

Don’t impart some lost wages calculus in deciding to invest this much money in an education, because it’s usually not a fair calculation.

Investing six figures into an education is never a wasted year when you wait a year, despite some impetus to go now. Saving $100k+ on tuition is always the right call, and you have significant gains to make on the LSAT. Someone with a 2.6/178 doesn’t have much growth in scholarship opportunities. But you do. Don’t take that for granted.


I'm not retaking the LSAT. I don't want to be rude, but I've already said that. There isn't an argument you can make that will make me change my mind or take another year off, and continued pressure (because that's what this amounts to when one after one I'm being told to do something that I've said is off the table for me) is kind of rude.That being said, the original question was if attending a T14 regardless of cost was better than TT. Now the question includes if T14 is better than T20 regardless of cost.

Npret wrote:Why are you assuming you will have a biglaw job and salary when you haven’t even gone to a single class? Don’t assume a salary from an imaginary job. Make the fiscally responsible decision now.

I doubt you’ll listen because few people ever do. But at least understand that you are going into law because of a salary for a job you have a decent chance of not getting? What will you do then?


I have listened to the advice I've been given thus far, I'm just not following it in this instance. Nor did I ever assume a specific salary-- I'm just certain whatever degree I get will allow me to make more than I'm making now. I think that's a fair assumption, and not nearly the reason I'm going into law in the first place. And if I go to law school and can't find a job after (which, yea, is a real possibility but obviously not the attitude to go into anything with), I'll return to working in public policy/comms. So, any advice/suggestions regarding my original question?

TLDR: Not trying to be rude, but I'm not retaking so stop suggesting it. Any answers/suggestions regarding my original question are still super welcome :)

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Npret » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:15 pm

denise137 wrote:
UVA2B wrote: Respectfully, this is a really bad line of thinking. You’re accepting something you actually have control over without much thought (the not retaking mindset), while also not appreciating how much value there is in scoring better, without any penalty if you score the same/worse.

Don’t impart some lost wages calculus in deciding to invest this much money in an education, because it’s usually not a fair calculation.

Investing six figures into an education is never a wasted year when you wait a year, despite some impetus to go now. Saving $100k+ on tuition is always the right call, and you have significant gains to make on the LSAT. Someone with a 2.6/178 doesn’t have much growth in scholarship opportunities. But you do. Don’t take that for granted.


I'm not retaking the LSAT. I don't want to be rude, but I've already said that. There isn't an argument you can make that will make me change my mind or take another year off, and continued pressure (because that's what this amounts to when one after one I'm being told to do something that I've said is off the table for me) is kind of rude.That being said, the original question was if attending a T14 regardless of cost was better than TT. Now the question includes if T14 is better than T20 regardless of cost.

Npret wrote:Why are you assuming you will have a biglaw job and salary when you haven’t even gone to a single class? Don’t assume a salary from an imaginary job. Make the fiscally responsible decision now.

I doubt you’ll listen because few people ever do. But at least understand that you are going into law because of a salary for a job you have a decent chance of not getting? What will you do then?


I have listened to the advice I've been given thus far, I'm just not following it in this instance. Nor did I ever assume a specific salary-- I'm just certain whatever degree I get will allow me to make more than I'm making now. I think that's a fair assumption, and not nearly the reason I'm going into law in the first place. And if I go to law school and can't find a job after (which, yea, is a real possibility but obviously not the attitude to go into anything with), I'll return to working in public policy/comms. So, any advice/suggestions regarding my original question?

TLDR: Not trying to be rude, but I'm not retaking so stop suggesting it. Any answers/suggestions regarding my original question are still super welcome :)


I assume you know about the stark bimodal salaries of law, etc. So i won’t waste my time with that. There is no guarantee you will even have a job either, much less one making a certain amount or more than you make now.

My answer to your original question is no, don’t go to Georgetown at any cost. Check their employment figure.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:19 pm

Obviously you should retake. You came to this forum to seek advice, and it seems the consensus is universal. Frankly, your attitude on this front is typical of a naive 0L weighing these options; however, that does not necessarily excuse your deciding not to retake because you are getting such consistent and strong advice from people with much more experience (which, again, is what you came here for...even if the advice is not one of the A/B options you provided).

But let’s say hypothetically that a psychic told you that you will live a life of misery if you take a year and retake, and that in this hypothetical you have some sort of 100% certainty that the psychic is correct (and for the sake of this hypothetical, you’re also not completely batshit crazy). (The outlandishness of this hypo should serve, further, to illustrate how dumb it is to refuse to take a year and retake.)

Anyway, in this hypo, if I were you I would pick 3 places up could see yourself living and I would apply to the best (not the second best, with the exception of usc/UCLA and bc/Bu—you could apply to those two pairs) “regional powerhouse” in the area. A regional powerhouse is a term for a school that dominates in the region, and is not completely overshadowed by another school. An example would be BC with something like top third placing in biglaw; see also vandy, wash u, UT, etc.) With your numbers, optimized with these schools’ chances of placing you in a good outcome (together with AA status), you should end up with relatively decent biglaw chances at relatively less of a financial risk through merit aid.

Good luck.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby hoos89 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:36 pm

denise137 wrote:I have listened to the advice I've been given thus far, I'm just not following it in this instance. Nor did I ever assume a specific salary-- I'm just certain whatever degree I get will allow me to make more than I'm making now. I think that's a fair assumption, and not nearly the reason I'm going into law in the first place. And if I go to law school and can't find a job after (which, yea, is a real possibility but obviously not the attitude to go into anything with), I'll return to working in public policy/comms. So, any advice/suggestions regarding my original question?

TLDR: Not trying to be rude, but I'm not retaking so stop suggesting it. Any answers/suggestions regarding my original question are still super welcome :)


You know a lot of people even from good schools do not make six figures right? After four-figure monthly debt service payments you very well could be making less than you would be making 3 years from now without going to law school, and falling back to policy/comms with 3 years of lost salary/career advancement and 6 figures of debt is not exactly a great plan B. We're also way overdue for an economic recession so you do risk dumping a ton of money and time into tuition and coming out on the other end in an economy without a ton of jobs available.

In any case...I suggest you apply beyond the schools listed. It's far from too late to do so. You should ask for fee waivers and apply to every school in the top 14 (plus schools like Vandy and WUSTL). GULC is a bit of a trap school...it's ridiculously expensive and doesn't have nearly the employment numbers of schools in the T13, but it's also quite stingy with scholarships. Same can be said of GWU. Even if you're dead set on DC (I would also advise against this), any scholarships from other schools may give you leverage to negotiate for a better scholarship. I also suggest you at a minimum take the January LSAT as you might be able to leverage that result for a higher scholarship without taking a year off (and if not, you'll at least have a better idea whether taking a year off might actually be worth it).

To answer your question: I'd expect total COL for someone with your stats at GULC to be ~$200k. We're not trying to be rude, it's just that it would be reckless of us not to advise you that a few more points on the LSAT could save you $100k and/or get you into a school with materially better employment prospects than GULC, especially because you frankly seem a bit overly optimistic about employment outcomes.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Lolstudent » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:59 pm

Retake.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:10 pm

hoos89 wrote: In any case...I suggest you apply beyond the schools listed. It's far from too late to do so. You should ask for fee waivers and apply to every school in the top 14 (plus schools like Vandy and WUSTL). GULC is a bit of a trap school...it's ridiculously expensive and doesn't have nearly the employment numbers of schools in the T13, but it's also quite stingy with scholarships. Same can be said of GWU. Even if you're dead set on DC (I would also advise against this), any scholarships from other schools may give you leverage to negotiate for a better scholarship. I also suggest you at a minimum take the January LSAT as you might be able to leverage that result for a higher scholarship without taking a year off (and if not, you'll at least have a better idea whether taking a year off might actually be worth it).

To answer your question: I'd expect total COL for someone with your stats at GULC to be ~$200k. We're not trying to be rude, it's just that it would be reckless of us not to advise you that a few more points on the LSAT could save you $100k and/or get you into a school with materially better employment prospects than GULC, especially because you frankly seem a bit overly optimistic about employment outcomes.


Got it. I sent applications to Cornell and Vanderbilt, and am finishing some optional essays for NYU. I'm waiting to see about more fee waivers.

objctnyrhnr wrote:Anyway, in this hypo, if I were you I would pick 3 places up could see yourself living and I would apply to the best (not the second best, with the exception of usc/UCLA and bc/Bu—you could apply to those two pairs) “regional powerhouse” in the area. A regional powerhouse is a term for a school that dominates in the region, and is not completely overshadowed by another school. An example would be BC with something like top third placing in biglaw; see also vandy, wash u, UT, etc.) With your numbers, optimized with these schools’ chances of placing you in a good outcome (together with AA status), you should end up with relatively decent biglaw chances at relatively less of a financial risk through merit aid.


I think UConn is considered a regional powerhouse not just in New England, but also CT with it being the second best school in the state. They offered me a full ride. Is there any way that can be leveraged with Georgetown, or any other higher ranked school I've applied to, or is the gap in ranking/location too wide? Also, is it possible to ask for more than a full ride (i.e. stipend) or is that going overboard?

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby nixy » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:16 pm

Not sure if this is what you meant, but UConn is a regional powerhouse *only* in CT, to the extent that Yale doesn't count because it's not really tied to a regional market. I would not call UConn a regional powerhouse in New England at all. (I don't mean to knock it, there are just a lot of law schools in New England.)

I would also be REALLY surprised if Georgetown or T20 schools would be much influenced by a UConn full ride, although it never hurts to try. You can also inquire about whether a stipend is a possibility, but it's also unlikely, in that most schools don't do stipends on top of full rides.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:40 pm

nixy wrote:I would also be REALLY surprised if Georgetown or T20 schools would be much influenced by a UConn full ride...


This.

And to be even more blunt, UConn is not a regional powerhouse, period. 33% of their graduates aren't working as full-time lawyers 9 months post-graduation (always check the LST). You cannot compare outcomes from any of the other schools you mentioned to UConn.

You should cross your fingers on scholarships, but your best bet here is going to be a retake. Yes, even if you really, really don't want to. Future You is going to be super-pissed at Present You if you rush this process and screw yourself out of getting into a good school with a good scholarship.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:10 pm

cavalier1138 wrote: You should cross your fingers on scholarships, but your best bet here is going to be a retake.


Why wouldn't my best bet be UConn? I guess this brings me back to my original question, which no one has really answered. If the goal is to be a practicing lawyer, at what point does it make sense to attend a T14 regardless of COA? If at no point does it make sense to attend a T14 regardless of COA, then at what point is a T14 with, idk, $100-200k in loans better than a lower ranked school with a significant scholarship (besides UConn, I'm thinking at least Howard and GW will accept me with some merit award)?

And I have used LST. UConn does have 33% of grads not working full-time as lawyers after 9 months post-grad, but Georgetown has 23% and Yale has 25%.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Wubbles » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:18 pm

Georgetown has some students who choose not to practice law and Yale has quite a few students who choose not to practice law, largely because they're doing other things they intentionally filter into.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby nixy » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:22 am

So it probably doesn't make sense to attend a T14 regardless of COA, assuming you don't have family paying for it (a surprising number of people do), because for most people there will be some better compromise between cost/goals.

For example, if you want to be a public defender/local prosecutor/legal aid attorney in Connecticut, know what salaries are likely to result and are good with those salaries, and have a clear sense of what you need to do in law school for that outcome, UConn for free is probably fine. When you say you want to do public interest/constitutional law, and that you want to be in DMV, that sounds more unicorn-y and the kind of work that you might need a T14 pedigree for - but you will also probably not make a lot of money and so need to go to a school with a good LRAP (i.e. not Georgetown, from what I here) or be willing to commit to that path and make PSLF work for you (if it doesn't get abolished). Or you go to UT or Vanderbilt with money and adjust your goals somewhat.

The thing is that it's a hugely individual decision. Some people are more comfortable with debt than others, and some people are more willing than others to mortgage their future finances to go to a better school that gives a better chance at getting the job they want. Some people have bigger safety nets than others. Some are more comfortable with debt than others. The problem is that even $100-200k in debt (not sticker cost at a lot of T14s) feels entirely unreal/academic when you're applying to law school, and much more daunting and horrifying once you have to start paying off the loans, and there are lots of people here who have gone through this and wish they didn't have the debt they now have.

I will say that (respectfully) public interest/constitutional law sounds super vague, and that most people who enter law school thinking they'll do public interest don't actually do it. So choices also depend on what experience you actually have already and how specific your career path is and how committed you are to it, to get a more realistic sense of where you should go.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Mullens » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:02 am

When you say you want to public interest/constitutional law, what do you actually envision yourself doing? If you just want to be a public defender in CT then UCONN for free isn’t a bad option.

If you want to do impact litigation for a national organization you should retake.

Absolutely don’t go to Georgetown at sticker.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby Npret » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:50 am

T14 schools only look to peer schools or above as competitive for scholarships. Almost all of their students could get into UConn if they wanted.

If you are using LST to justify why UConn is as good as Yale, I think you are beyond help or advice. UConn is not considered a powerhouse anywhere, Connecticut is a tiny state, and can’t offer that many options.

You are going to do what you want, and refuse to study hard for a retake and do the one and only thing that can get you into T14 schools at a reasonable cost.

You are fairly typical of 0Ls who have no clue what law is like, but think they do, based on common knowledge or bad advice from family or pre law advisers.This forum is here to help them. But we can only give out best advice.

Go to UConn for free, at least then you will only have wasted your time if it doesn’t work out and won’t have debt.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:11 am

Npret wrote:T14 schools only look to peer schools or above as competitive for scholarships. Almost all of their students could get into UConn if they wanted.

If you are using LST to justify why UConn is as good as Yale, I think you are beyond help or advice. UConn is not considered a powerhouse anywhere, Connecticut is a tiny state, and can’t offer that many options.

You are going to do what you want, and refuse to study hard for a retake and do the one and only thing that can get you into T14 schools at a reasonable cost.

You are fairly typical of 0Ls who have no clue what law is like, but think they do, based on common knowledge or bad advice from family or pre law advisers.This forum is here to help them. But we can only give out best advice.

Go to UConn for free, at least then you will only have wasted your time if it doesn’t work out and won’t have debt.


I-- I'm not about to go back and forth with you, especially when the goalposts keep moving. Please stop commenting on this thread if I'm "beyond help." You're rude and negative.

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby denise137 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:15 am

Wubbles wrote:Georgetown has some students who choose not to practice law and Yale has quite a few students who choose not to practice law, largely because they're doing other things they intentionally filter into.


Not saying this can't be true, but where does it say that on LST? It only specifies legal jobs, full-time, and long-term employment. Couldn't the same be said for other grads choosing not to practice law, rather than not being able to?

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Re: Attend a T14 regardless of COA?

Postby nixy » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:29 am

denise137 wrote:
Wubbles wrote:Georgetown has some students who choose not to practice law and Yale has quite a few students who choose not to practice law, largely because they're doing other things they intentionally filter into.


Not saying this can't be true, but where does it say that on LST? It only specifies legal jobs, full-time, and long-term employment. Couldn't the same be said for other grads choosing not to practice law, rather than not being able to?

It could, but there is anecdotal evidence from Georgetown based on its location and the nature of its student body, and especially Yale because it's Yale, that just doesn't exist for, say, UConn. It's like how Northwestern admits a lot of non-traditional students with previous work experience, often in high-powered-ish jobs - more of them make non-traditional/JD-preferred uses of the JD rather than going into traditional law practice. People argue a great deal about how much of a thing this self-selection actually is and how to interpret those numbers - many on this site discount Georgetown a lot because you can't prove those numbers reflect self-selection versus inability to get other, legal jobs. (Yale is pretty universally agreed to be outside this kind of discussion because a Yale degree opens doors that other law school degrees don't. Even if it didn't, they have the best LRAP around so you likely don't need to go into law if you don't want to.)



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