More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
El Principe
Posts: 551
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:10 am

More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

Postby El Principe » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:23 am

I've asked for advice here before as well as lurked in threads with people with similar GPA's (3.6-3.7) as mine + a good LSAT, and I commonly see people recommend blanketing T14 and even send apps to HYS. Of course, this range is hypothetical because I haven't taken the LSAT's yet, and this all requires that I don't bomb the LSAT (not really worried about that anyways; great at tests & I'm studying like hell for it) but my primary concern is scholarship money and financial aid; not so much T14 prestige.

I grew up in Texas, and I have no intention of practicing anywhere else, and the Big 3 in Texas (UT, SMU, & UH) are more than adept at placing graduates in jobs, provided they perform well in their class. I'm hoping that with a lower rank, I'd possibly have more leverage for a larger scholarship award seeing as inadequate financial aid would just give me every reason to go to a higher ranked school.

My question is, is this a naive opinion to have? Do URM's who barely skin they way into T14 have to cover a significant portion of their costs of education, or would I be looking at similar awards? The way I see it, I'd jump at a full scholarship at Houston as opposed to half tuition at a school ranked much higher. I already have UG debt, so I'd rather not be in a hole when I get out.

Of course, I'm not going to bank on this and I'll apply at several T14 schools, but if I have the URM admissions and awards figured out somewhat accurately, I'll take whoever gives the most money in Tier 1.

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dawyzest1
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Re: More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

Postby dawyzest1 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:34 am

Relying on rankings can be a very dangerous thing. They cannot possibly take into account the many different parameters any one potential student brings to the decision. In your case, you definitely want to practice in Texas, so I strongly recommend studying your butt off on the LSAT, applying to UT and hopefully profiting from the full scholarship they are going to give you.

In the T7-14 range, only UVA and Duke do well enough in Texas to justify those schools and neither one with less than full $ would trump UT in my book. Applying widely is a good idea simply because you can use scholarship offers from schools as negotiating leverage to get higher offers at your choice schools. But in terms of where you should actually plan to attend, I am thinking HYS (yes, depending on your LSAT this could happen), Chicago, UVA, Duke, and UT.

I am just not sure about UH and Baylor, though I know Baylor is intensely unpopular on TLS. Either one for free could be an acceptable outcome if UT and the T14 don't pan out. But not unless they are free, or darn near close to it.

edit: changed UT to UH in last paragraph :oops:

El Principe
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Re: More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

Postby El Principe » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:25 pm

dawyzest1 wrote:Relying on rankings can be a very dangerous thing. They cannot possibly take into account the many different parameters any one potential student brings to the decision. In your case, you definitely want to practice in Texas, so I strongly recommend studying your butt off on the LSAT, applying to UT and hopefully profiting from the full scholarship they are going to give you.

In the T7-14 range, only UVA and Duke do well enough in Texas to justify those schools and neither one with less than full $ would trump UT in my book. Applying widely is a good idea simply because you can use scholarship offers from schools as negotiating leverage to get higher offers at your choice schools. But in terms of where you should actually plan to attend, I am thinking HYS (yes, depending on your LSAT this could happen), Chicago, UVA, Duke, and UT.

I am just not sure about UH and Baylor, though I know Baylor is intensely unpopular on TLS. Either one for free could be an acceptable outcome if UT and the T14 don't pan out. But not unless they are free, or darn near close to it.

edit: changed UT to UH in last paragraph :oops:


Yeah, I was looking at Duke and UVA, especially UVA as high rank alternatives to UT. UVA has a lot of guys in Big Law firms in Texas. Almost as many as UT, if not more, in some.

UH actually isn't bad, they've leapt into T1 and they do a pretty decent job of putting T10-15% into good law firm jobs... SMU still has the edge, but Houston isn't bad. Baylor.... yeah, they're ehh.. That's why I didn't list them. I know a FEW people that have done something with a Baylor law degree, but I also know someone who graduated in the top 1/3 of the class and couldn't even find a job for a year.

But yeah, I do appreciate the advice. I'm kinda banking on a full scholarship from UT, because if I get that, I'll take it in the blink of an eye, so I have to bring my A-game on the LSAT. I'm not overly concerned or paranoid because I'm a really good test taker, so I just have to study the right way and make the grade I need to get.

Thanks for the advice.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

Postby somewhatwayward » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:46 am

Aim for the high-ranked school with $$$$, especially if you have undergrad debt. Don't settle on your LSAT score until you've got the score you need to get significant money from UT or UVA. I don't know off the top of my head but I'd imagine that'd be in the low 160s for UT and maybe 165 for UVA (assuming AA male)? Check LSN.

If you want big law, which it sounds like you do, UT is a little risky. There is about a 65% chance you won't get it. If you get nearly a full ride and miss big law, will you be okay with a small firm job, PI job, and a 25% chance of no job? You would probably be fine financially (although how much is your undergrad debt since you will have undergrad debt + $60,000 or so after a full ride at UT?). Likewise, UH is okay with a full ride but of course you will be looking at less high-quality jobs coming out of there....you really can't bank on being one of the 15-20% to get big law, and you're looking at a 40% chance of unemployment. If you've got UT with a full-ride, there's almost no circumstances under which you would choose a UH, though, full-ride or not.

If TX big law is your goal, UT is probably the bare minimum school you should consider and is still fairly risky. Actually Vandy with a large scholarship would probably also be okay. If you want to up your chances of big law, you need to look at the T14. I know your (wise) concern is not increasing your undergrad debt, but that is not a roadblock to the T14: you simply need to get the LSAT score that will shake the T14 $ tree, which is not that high.

El Principe
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Re: More Concerned About Money than School Rank?

Postby El Principe » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:22 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:Aim for the high-ranked school with $$$$, especially if you have undergrad debt. Don't settle on your LSAT score until you've got the score you need to get significant money from UT or UVA. I don't know off the top of my head but I'd imagine that'd be in the low 160s for UT and maybe 165 for UVA (assuming AA male)? Check LSN.

If you want big law, which it sounds like you do, UT is a little risky. There is about a 65% chance you won't get it. If you get nearly a full ride and miss big law, will you be okay with a small firm job, PI job, and a 25% chance of no job? You would probably be fine financially (although how much is your undergrad debt since you will have undergrad debt + $60,000 or so after a full ride at UT?). Likewise, UH is okay with a full ride but of course you will be looking at less high-quality jobs coming out of there....you really can't bank on being one of the 15-20% to get big law, and you're looking at a 40% chance of unemployment. If you've got UT with a full-ride, there's almost no circumstances under which you would choose a UH, though, full-ride or not.

If TX big law is your goal, UT is probably the bare minimum school you should consider and is still fairly risky. Actually Vandy with a large scholarship would probably also be okay. If you want to up your chances of big law, you need to look at the T14. I know your (wise) concern is not increasing your undergrad debt, but that is not a roadblock to the T14: you simply need to get the LSAT score that will shake the T14 $ tree, which is not that high.


Right, I would never consider anything less than UT if I got a full scholarship from UT or higher. I'm testing 170+ so far, and though that's not exactly indicative of the final score because anything can happen, I'm confident in my test taking and always do well on standardized tests. No test anxiety whatsoever.

But I'll apply to those higher ranked schools and see if I can get some good awards. I guess if I can get a good award at UT, then I can also get close to the same at some of those T14 institutions.

I listed those lower ranked schools because I thought they'd be a better chance of getting a scholarship before I joined this website and realized that URM's get a boost. I didn't have the slightest clue that there was any difference, so I paid less attention to those highly ranked schools, save UT, because my GPA was either median or below median at most.

But thanks for the advice. I'll aim higher next year and hopefully I can get a lot of options with a ~170.




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