Where should my fiance and I go to school?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)

Which school(s) should we choose?

CLS/NYU
20
61%
Penn
2
6%
Duke
11
33%
 
Total votes: 33

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bananapudding88
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Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:56 am

Hey there,

I posted the message below in the "Choosing a Law School" forum, but I would be really interested in knowing what my fellow URMs would do if they found themselves in my situation.

aiaea wrote:Guys,

I really need some advice because the decision-making process is legit causing me to lose sleep :(

Here's the situation: I'm getting married this summer and my fiance (who also applied to law school) and I don't want to spend the next three years apart. So far we've matched up at Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, and Michigan. We've withdrawn from Northwestern and Michigan because of low scholly amounts and neither one us feels prepared to commit our lives to Ithaca for the next few years so withdrew there too. We're left with following:

I'm in at Penn with a 60K scholly. My fiance got waitlisted last week. As you can imagine this news was heartbreaking.

We're both in at Duke with $67.5K each.

I'm in at Columbia and he's in at NYU. Schollies pending but I'm personally not holding my breath that CLS will come through (though I hope NYU does for him).

Now, before you guys yell "take Duke's money and run!" (as you're won't to do), please consider the following:

My fiance lives right outside Philly right now. Though it would be hard to figure out logistically, I COULD go to Penn; he could sit out the cycle and apply ED next year. Of course then there's the big "what if he still doesn't get Penn" thing. The director and the dean of admissions both knew we'd applied together, I wrote a personal plea to the director, fiance wrote a LOCI-- they still decided to waitlist him this year. So what if they still feel only lukewarm about him next year too? Or the pool of applicants is even stronger?

We both went to a very highly-ranked Ivy for UG and, douchey as it may sound to you, neither one of us wants to dip too far down the rankings for law school, especially me. This is why I'm frankly not as enthused about Duke. You don't have to understand it, but as an African-American woman I've always felt my resume/credentials had to be extra flawless and exceptional in order to compensate for my demographic (fyi fiance is a non-URM). Obvi my stats weren't great enough to get me into HLS (SLS pending and made no sense whatsoever for me to apply to YLS). However, among the schools I've gotten into, CLS is def the most prestigious and who's name could most likely carry me the farthest. This is particularly important to me as I really want to work abroad for part of my career. I aspire to study international human rights law and would love a career in the UN. Columbia's name is quite well known internationally and the opportunity to be in close proximity to the UN in NY is amazing (since my dad works for the UN and could help me land cool externships).

At the same time, the idea of, between the two us, going half a mil in debt scares the crap out of me. I def plan on applying to a bunch of external scholarships throughout this coming summer and 1L to help ease the burden, but it's still really scary. My husband wants to do BigLaw as a career (he's really into it; another reason he's leaning towards NYU), and even though I could see myself doing that for 3 or 4 years, I can't imagine having that sort of job for much longer than that. I could if I had to, but I wouldn't be very happy with it.

I/we just really don't know what to do! Any advice would be muchos appreciated.

(Please don't quote)


Edited to add poll.

pastapplicant
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby pastapplicant » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:25 am

I understand your desire for prestige because it is actually really important especially for the legal field and I may be in a better position to understand because my SO and I went through a similar situation. I think the first thing you have to do is be more realistic career wise. Your odds of being an international human rights lawyer are slim not because of your qualifications, but because there is rarely any such position available. I think being practical here is the key even more so for you because of your situation.

With that being said, I think the most important thing you two need to focus on is your financial situation if you are committed to getting married. Even one person in a marriage taking out near sticker in loans for law school is a huge burden. I can't even imagine two people in a marriage doing so even if both managed to get "lucky" and hit big law. I think both of you going at sticker is a recipe for disaster further down the line because it will lock both of you into biglaw for more than 3-4 years which will definitely hurt you relationship even if you are married, and even then, if one of you gets stealthed or the economy tanks both of you will be devastated financially.

I know you don't want to hear it, but if you want to be together physically you really need to take Duke's money. I doubt that your SO is going to get into Penn next year if he applies with the same stats, and both of you going to NYU and CLS sounds like your stretching it unless you or him gets significant aid. Lastly, if you went to a highly ranked UG, I really can't see how going to Duke will hurt you prestige-wise. Duke has a fabulous reputation everywhere, and I think you would be looking at this prestige thing too narrowly even as a AA woman if you think the Duke name is not prestigious enough. If you still think it is not good enough, all I can say is that marriage involves sacrifices and I think this is one you will need to make without holding it against your fiance for the good of your relationship. Half a million in debt should do more than scare you. It should make you pee your pants.

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bananapudding88
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:36 am

pastapplicant wrote:I understand your desire for prestige because it is actually really important especially for the legal field and I may be in a better position to understand because my SO and I went through a similar situation. I think the first thing you have to do is be more realistic career wise. Your odds of being an international human rights lawyer are slim not because of your qualifications, but because there is rarely any such position available. I think being practical here is the key even more so for you because of your situation.

With that being said, I think the most important thing you two need to focus on is your financial situation if you are committed to getting married. Even one person in a marriage taking out near sticker in loans for law school is a huge burden. I can't even imagine two people in a marriage doing so even if both managed to get "lucky" and hit big law. I think both of you going at sticker is a recipe for disaster further down the line because it will lock both of you into biglaw for more than 3-4 years which will definitely hurt you relationship even if you are married, and even then, if one of you gets stealthed or the economy tanks both of you will be devastated financially.

I know you don't want to hear it, but if you want to be together physically you really need to take Duke's money. I doubt that your SO is going to get into Penn next year if he applies with the same stats, and both of you going to NYU and CLS sounds like your stretching it unless you or him gets significant aid. Lastly, if you went to a highly ranked UG, I really can't see how going to Duke will hurt you prestige-wise. Duke has a fabulous reputation everywhere, and I think you would be looking at this prestige thing too narrowly even as a AA woman if you think the Duke name is not prestigious enough. If you still think it is not good enough, all I can say is that marriage involves sacrifices and I think this is one you will need to make without holding it against your fiance for the good of your relationship. Half a million in debt should do more than scare you. It should make you pee your pants.


This is really good advice as hard as it is to hear it :( So really, it's between Duke and NYC schools. I agree that half a mil in debt is a lot, but what if I got an external scholly? There's a Soros one I'm applying to that is worth 90K (and I'm applying to like 6 different ones, hoping even one works out :D).
Last edited by bananapudding88 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

talesofyore
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby talesofyore » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:49 am

I don't know your profile so maybe you have what it takes to get the Soros. But I've cut and pasted what I said in another thread:

I'm pretty certain that someone who lived through a civil war in Africa and then rafted across the ocean to America with only the clothes on his back and a song in his heart and then immediately founded a home for tortured youth upon arriving in the states is gonna get it.


Check out the profiles of these people:
http://www.pdsoros.org/current_fellows/
Last edited by talesofyore on Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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bananapudding88
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:53 am

talesofyore wrote:I don't know your profile so maybe you have what it takes to get the Soros. But I've cut and pasted what I said in another thread:

I'm pretty certain that someone who lived through a civil war in Africa and then rafted across the ocean to America with only the clothes on his back and a song in his heart and then immediately founded a home for tortured youth upon arriving in the states is gonna get it.


Check out the profiles of these people:
http://www.pdsoros.org/current_fellows/


I'm not saying it's happening for sure, all I'm saying is that I do think I have a reasonably good chance. Anyone looking at my numbers would have thought I'd never have a shot at t6 and some t14s in general, but I think I have softs that really make me stand out and make it possible for me to win even a scholarship like this. Or at least another one like it.

talesofyore
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby talesofyore » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:55 am

aiaea wrote:
talesofyore wrote:I don't know your profile so maybe you have what it takes to get the Soros. But I've cut and pasted what I said in another thread:

I'm pretty certain that someone who lived through a civil war in Africa and then rafted across the ocean to America with only the clothes on his back and a song in his heart and then immediately founded a home for tortured youth upon arriving in the states is gonna get it.


Check out the profiles of these people:
http://www.pdsoros.org/current_fellows/


I'm not saying it's happening for sure, all I'm saying is that I do think I have a reasonably good chance. Anyone looking at my numbers would have thought I'd never have a shot at t6 and some t14s in general, but I think I have softs that really make me stand out and make it possible for me to win even a scholarship like this. Or at least another one like it.



Well then awesome:) I hope you get it.

In my opinion, NYU and Columbia puts both of you in line to do what you love most. If you go to Duke and things don't pan out as planned you'll always wonder "what if?" You'll be splitting COL expenses in NYC, so hopefully it won't be as scary as it would be for someone going it alone. I feel like the $67,000 from Duke isn't enough to justify forgoing the schools that put you on such a direct path to your goals. You're still going to be stuck with debt that would be equally as difficult to pay off as that which you'd incur in NY if you don't land a solid career.

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dawyzest1
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby dawyzest1 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:56 am

I will say first and foremost that I am an optimist, which I know is not typical in this neck of the woods.

You definitely have a tough choice. I think the mention that getting international/human rights work will be tough is fair, but I would not let that be a driving consideration. It's your life and if that's your aspiration, then you should go after it full bore. But, you're going to need to hustle from day one.

That being said, since you want to be in NYC after you graduate, I can't advise you to take Duke. Yes, Duke can and does place into New York, but I can't imagine it does well enough compared to your other options to make that the best play even with the very nice discount. Also, since you're striving for a difficult to crack field, simply being in New York and having an opportunity to network and make connections is invaluable and obviously something you cannot do from Durham.

I know the debt is immense, but at least if you're together in NYC you will have some marginal savings from sharing a household that will limit some of your COL borrowing.

I also agree that anyone's odds getting any kind of external scholarship to help with law school are so remote that I wouldn't include it in my analysis at all. I can only imagine how truly exceptional you'd have to be to get one of those. Definitely still pursue them, just don't count on them, would be my advice.

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bananapudding88
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:59 am

talesofyore wrote:In my opinion, NYU and Columbia puts both of you in line to do what you love most. If you go to Duke and things don't pan out as planned you'll always wonder "what if?" You'll be splitting COL expenses in NYC, so hopefully it won't be as scary as it would be for someone going it alone. I feel like the $67,000 from Duke isn't enough to justify forgoing the schools that put you on such a direct path to your goals. You're still going to be stuck with debt that would be equally as difficult to pay off as that which you'd incur in NY if you don't land a solid career.


This. Because the the fact of the matter is we would still need to take out a significant amount in loans to pay off Duke, and it'll be more challenging getting to where we want to be from there than from NYU/CLS.

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bananapudding88
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:07 am

Thanks, dawyzest1. I agree cracking an int'l job would be hard no matter where I went, but I think the odds would be in my favor if I were in NY. My father is quite high up on the United Nations professional ladder, and I have significant experience working on human rights issues both abroad and domestically. Frankly, I think the strength of my resume (and my compelling PS) are *THE* reasons I got into the schools that I did, with the scholly offers that I've received.

I also agree that I shouldn't take winning an external scholly for granted. Chances are very slim for that. I'll give it a try, and hopefully I land one, but you're right--I shouldn't let it factor into my calculus too much.

But long-term career-wise, I just really think CLS would be a better move. It would put me in a better position to get a BigLaw job for a couple years, lower my debt a bit, and then hopefully move on to what I love, confidently. Also, I think my fiance would have a better shot at BigLaw jobs from NYU than from Duke too, but I agree the differences between attending the two arent as compelling for him.

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dawyzest1
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby dawyzest1 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:25 am

aiaea wrote:Thanks, dawyzest1. I agree cracking an int'l job would be hard no matter where I went, but I think the odds would be in my favor if I were in NY. My father is quite high up on the United Nations professional ladder, and I have significant experience working on human rights issues both abroad and domestically. Frankly, I think the strength of my resume (and my compelling PS) are *THE* reasons I got into the schools that I did, with the scholly offers that I've received.

I also agree that I shouldn't take winning an external scholly for granted. Chances are very slim for that. I'll give it a try, and hopefully I land one, but you're right--I shouldn't let it factor into my calculus too much.

But long-term career-wise, I just really think CLS would be a better move. It would put me in a better position to get a BigLaw job for a couple years, lower my debt a bit, and then hopefully move on to what I love, confidently. Also, I think my fiance would have a better shot at BigLaw jobs from NYU than from Duke too, but I agree the differences between attending the two arent as compelling for him.


I REALLY love Duke and barring a H miracle that's where I am going to be. But because of my context (I'm in the south and plan to work here after LS) Duke makes a ton of sense for me. If I were aiming for NYC BigLaw I'd take CLS or NYU over Duke without a second thought whether I was URM or not.

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:13 pm

1. To gun for international / UN job out of law school is a pipe dream. It will be extremely difficult out of HYS less out of the other T14.

2. What are your individual stats? I didn't read that anywhere. If you are AA female you should be getting way more money than that.
This scenario sounds asinine. What was your LSAT score? You have two individuals that are applying to law school together. What is your priority? To be together or the ranking of the school??

How bout you BOTH sit out a cycle, study like cavemen for the LSAT at night or BOTH take a prep class and kill the LSAT. THEN apply to law school.

Don't make a half a million dollar mistake. Do you want to be a lawyer or do some international peace UN gig? Does your S/O want to be a lawyer or will you guys be a couple traveling the world feeding the hunger? Save your money and join a NGO if you want the latter.

*edit* Just seen your LSN profile. Raise your LSAT a few points and you will be a lock for Harvard. But the credited response is to retake for more scholarship money.

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bananapudding88
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby bananapudding88 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:48 pm

J-e-L-L-o wrote:1. To gun for international / UN job out of law school is a pipe dream. It will be extremely difficult out of HYS less out of the other T14.


I don't plan on gunning for a UN job straight out of law school. The plan is to make the most of my 1L summer to further pad up my resume (my current resume is almost entirely made up of work experiences with major int'l organizations INCLUDING the UN.. current job included), and I would also try to do an externship at the UN in NY during 2 or 3L. I would like to do BigLaw for ~4 years or so, lower my debt a bit and then go back to human rights work.

J-e-L-L-o wrote:2. What is your priority? To be together or the ranking of the school??


#1 priority is to be together. After that, it is to attend the best ranked schools we get into/the ones that will help us most in the long-term. My husband to be wants BigLaw/in house as a permanent career.

J-e-L-L-o wrote:*edit* Just seen your LSN profile. Raise your LSAT a few points and you will be a lock for Harvard. But the credited response is to retake for more scholarship money.

Sadly, no can do. Already took the damn thing 3 times.

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Where should my fiance and I go to school?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:10 pm

Since you already have connections, I would say Duke. Half a mill is a tough pill to swallow and that interest train don't stop.

NYC is Duke's biggest market. And getting big law will not be hard if you are above median. Both of you should just gun for NYC firms while you search out the firms that best support your goals.

It's adult time. You have to align your priorities. I behoove you to make a spreadsheet of the total cost of attendance of your choices, including interest, and a 10 year repayment plan.

I understand your preference to prestige, but you will have to weigh the cost of your decision.




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