Sticker Success Stories

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
JustWannaGraduate
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Sticker Success Stories

Postby JustWannaGraduate » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:52 pm

I know this is crazy to every single person in this forum, but I'm debating taking UVA/Penn/Duke even if I get $0 in scholarships (as opposed to significant $ at BU, ND, or WUSTL). Can anyone here vouch for success in paying sticker at T14 and paying off debt in 4-6 years? Or planning to do that?

I know that I'm dumb, so no need to discourage me from this. I get it. Just wanna hear any success stories
Last edited by JustWannaGraduate on Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:55 pm

I went to Penn at sticker. When I started, I wasn't sure I'd be able to crack the $200K debt barrier. But by the time I graduated, I had $230K of debt. I did it!

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runinthefront
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby runinthefront » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:55 pm

JustWannaGraduate wrote:I know this is crazy to every single person in this forum, but I'm debating taking UVA/Penn/Duke even if I get $0 in scholarships (as opposed to full rides at BU, ND, or WUSTL). Can anyone here vouch for success in paying sticker at T14 and paying off debt in 4-6 years? Or planning to do that?

I know that I'm dumb, so no need to discourage me from this. I get it. Just wanna hear any success stories

I don't think you will find (m)any stories. But good luck to you if you choose to go down that path! You seem to know the risks.

JustWannaGraduate
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby JustWannaGraduate » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:01 pm

runinthefront wrote:
JustWannaGraduate wrote:I know this is crazy to every single person in this forum, but I'm debating taking UVA/Penn/Duke even if I get $0 in scholarships (as opposed to full rides at BU, ND, or WUSTL). Can anyone here vouch for success in paying sticker at T14 and paying off debt in 4-6 years? Or planning to do that?

I know that I'm dumb, so no need to discourage me from this. I get it. Just wanna hear any success stories

I don't think you will find (m)any stories. But good luck to you if you choose to go down that path! You seem to know the risks.


Thanks. I acknowledge that I wouldn't necessarily get the median salary if I did go to a place like UVA, but with the median salary, even with high (ish) interest rates, it's possible to pay off in 4 years (and I get that four years of BigLaw may suck). Just wondering if the math is too idealistic compared to real life.

YBF-W
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby YBF-W » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:10 pm

JustWannaGraduate wrote:
runinthefront wrote:
JustWannaGraduate wrote:I know this is crazy to every single person in this forum, but I'm debating taking UVA/Penn/Duke even if I get $0 in scholarships (as opposed to full rides at BU, ND, or WUSTL). Can anyone here vouch for success in paying sticker at T14 and paying off debt in 4-6 years? Or planning to do that?

I know that I'm dumb, so no need to discourage me from this. I get it. Just wanna hear any success stories

I don't think you will find (m)any stories. But good luck to you if you choose to go down that path! You seem to know the risks.


Thanks. I acknowledge that I wouldn't necessarily get the median salary if I did go to a place like UVA, but with the median salary, even with high (ish) interest rates, it's possible to pay off in 4 years (and I get that four years of BigLaw may suck). Just wondering if the math is too idealistic compared to real life.


Opinions will always vary. You need to put the numbers together and determine for yourself what you're willing/able to do.

Here's something:

http://www.biglawinvestor.com/budget-ca ... associate/

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:12 pm

There's a loan thread in the legal employment forum that provides some info about this (it's in legal employment so people can post anonymously and 0Ls can't post questions there, but you may find it useful to see people track their debt and payments). There's also a lounge thread called something like "USS I just looked at my loans" which talks about this too.

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zot1
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby zot1 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:28 pm

rpupkin wrote:I went to Penn at sticker. When I started, I wasn't sure I'd be able to crack the $200K debt barrier. But by the time I graduated, I had $230K of debt. I did it!


:lol:

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bk1
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:29 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:There's a loan thread in the legal employment forum that provides some info about this (it's in legal employment so people can post anonymously and 0Ls can't post questions there, but you may find it useful to see people track their debt and payments). There's also a lounge thread called something like "USS I just looked at my loans" which talks about this too.

For OP, these are those threads:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=220025
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=183509

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:55 pm

What do you consider a success story? Lots of people pay sticker at those schools and work biglaw jobs with lots of debt hanging over their heads. I don't know if that qualifies.

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Dcc617
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Dcc617 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:57 pm

What do you want to do with your life?

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:11 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:What do you consider a success story?

I think OP wants to hear from people who paid sticker, took on massive debt, and then paid off that debt after 4 to 6 years while working in big law. Of course those people exist. It requires paying $60K - $80K year in after-tax income toward debt service.

The typical law grad who gets hired in big law lasts 4 or 5 years. In short, if OP had a typical big law career, he or she would spend that entire career paying roughly 50% of after-tax income to pay off debts. Take a first-year associate without debt in NYC big law. After base and bonus, their after-tax income will be about $115K, all of which they can spend on rent, food, fun, investments, whatever. OP's after-tax income will also be $115K, but roughly $70K of that will go to debt service, leaving about $45K for rent, food, fun, and investments (lol). It seems like a shitty way to exist, but it can be done if one is willing to accept a relatively low QOL.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:17 pm

I'll probably pay off 265k (which is less than sticker now which has got to be like 350k right?) within 5 years. But my spouse makes high 5 figs and I live in the suburbs for cheaper rent and taxes.

The bigger question is why would you want to. Work like a field slave for 5 years to end back at zero.

Shit dood go start a company in Silicon Valley while the vc money is still flowing

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capnobvious123
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby capnobvious123 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:56 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:What do you consider a success story?

I think OP wants to hear from people who paid sticker, took on massive debt, and then paid off that debt after 4 to 6 years while working in big law. Of course those people exist. It requires paying $60K - $80K year in after-tax income toward debt service.

The typical law grad who gets hired in big law lasts 4 or 5 years. In short, if OP had a typical big law career, he or she would spend that entire career paying roughly 50% of after-tax income to pay off debts. Take a first-year associate without debt in NYC big law. After base and bonus, their after-tax income will be about $115K, all of which they can spend on rent, food, fun, investments, whatever. OP's after-tax income will also be $115K, but roughly $70K of that will go to debt service, leaving about $45K for rent, food, fun, and investments (lol). It seems like a shitty way to exist, but it can be done if one is willing to accept a relatively low QOL.


Bumping this thread because very interesting topic.

Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Education is an investment, yeah? Why not accept that the next 4-6 years of your life is going to suck, in order to have better career prospects?

Do people agree with rpupkin's perception of the numbers?

EDIT: Honestly OP, I got WL to Duke and dinged at Penn, and if I had gotten in to either at sticker I'd probably be going. If people agree that the above numbers breakdown is a fair way to look at it and I were you, I'd totally take Penn/Duke/UVA at sticker.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:00 pm

capnobvious123 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:What do you consider a success story?

I think OP wants to hear from people who paid sticker, took on massive debt, and then paid off that debt after 4 to 6 years while working in big law. Of course those people exist. It requires paying $60K - $80K year in after-tax income toward debt service.

The typical law grad who gets hired in big law lasts 4 or 5 years. In short, if OP had a typical big law career, he or she would spend that entire career paying roughly 50% of after-tax income to pay off debts. Take a first-year associate without debt in NYC big law. After base and bonus, their after-tax income will be about $115K, all of which they can spend on rent, food, fun, investments, whatever. OP's after-tax income will also be $115K, but roughly $70K of that will go to debt service, leaving about $45K for rent, food, fun, and investments (lol). It seems like a shitty way to exist, but it can be done if one is willing to accept a relatively low QOL.


Bumping this thread because very interesting topic.

Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Education is an investment, yeah? Why not accept that the next 4-6 years of your life is going to suck, in order to have better career prospects?

Do people agree with rpupkin's perception of the numbers?

A couple things:

1) The places that pay 115k after tax are generally very expensive places to live.

2) There's a good chance you'll make less after you leave biglaw.

There's definitely an investment aspect to all of this but I think OP is looking to hear people say it's straightforward and won't require much sacrifice. And it is, if you do PAYE and forget about the debt. Talk to me in 18 years.

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:00 pm

capnobvious123 wrote:Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Perhaps. But generally those people are neither (a) living in a city with an extraordinarily high cost of living, nor (b) working long, tedious hours.

The first couple years of big law are quite rough. One of the only things that makes it tolerable is getting paid a bunch of money. But if you can't enjoy that money because you're giving most of it to lenders, then.....yikes.

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capnobvious123
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby capnobvious123 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:06 pm

rpupkin wrote:
capnobvious123 wrote:Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Perhaps. But generally those people are neither (a) living in a city with an extraordinarily high cost of living, nor (b) working long, tedious hours.

The first couple years of big law are quite rough. One of the only things that makes it tolerable is getting paid a bunch of money. But if you can't enjoy that money because you're giving most of it to lenders, then.....yikes.


Yeah, that's very fair, I suppose I had failed to consider the increased cost of living in places that pay more. Sucks.

I don't know about OP, but a "success story" to me could very easily be one where someone says "Yeah, the 5 years I spent in biglaw were absolute hell, the worst years of my life, cried into my pillow more often than not. But I'd do it again because I made it through and I'm better off for having done it and not settled for less." Whether or not those people exist... I guess is the question.

My alumni interviewer for a T14 school told me he worked full time during law school in order to eat, and that it was absolute hell and he hated every minute of it, but it worked out well for him. It was nice to hear things like that can be done, even if they suck.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:08 pm

capnobvious123 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
capnobvious123 wrote:Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Perhaps. But generally those people are neither (a) living in a city with an extraordinarily high cost of living, nor (b) working long, tedious hours.

The first couple years of big law are quite rough. One of the only things that makes it tolerable is getting paid a bunch of money. But if you can't enjoy that money because you're giving most of it to lenders, then.....yikes.


Yeah, that's very fair, I suppose I had failed to consider the increased cost of living in places that pay more. Sucks.

I don't know about OP, but a "success story" to me could very easily be one where someone says "Yeah, the 5 years I spent in biglaw were absolute hell, the worst years of my life, cried into my pillow more often than not. But I'd do it again because I made it through and I'm better off for having done it and not settled for less." Whether or not those people exist... I guess is the question.

My alumni interviewer for a T14 school told me he worked full time during law school in order to eat, and that it was absolute hell and he hated every minute of it, but it worked out well for him. It was nice to hear things like that can be done, even if they suck.

I honestly don't mind it that much but I got lucky in a lot of ways and will be paying a healthy chunk of my income to loans for a very long time. And even if it's ok now there's a sense that the next step includes either a big pay cut or equally bad QOL and in some cases both. Which I guess is my way of saying you're right we may need to hear from people who are at least several years out, and none of them paid anywhere near current sticker prices.

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:11 pm

capnobvious123 wrote:I don't know about OP, but a "success story" to me could very easily be one where someone says "Yeah, the 5 years I spent in biglaw were absolute hell, the worst years of my life, cried into my pillow more often than not. But I'd do it again because I made it through and I'm better off for having done it and not settled for less." Whether or not those people exist... I guess is the question.

Oh, those people definitely exist. I assure you that there are a couple of folks graduating from Penn right now with $200 - $300K of debt who are headed to a big law firm in NYC and who will end up having just the right level of mental illness to thrive and make partner. Those folks will do great, financially speaking. But the chances that OP will be one of those people are rather low.

JustWannaGraduate
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby JustWannaGraduate » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:13 pm

rpupkin wrote:
capnobvious123 wrote:Also I think the above is interesting. 45k for QOL sure sounds not ideal in comparison to having 180k to play with, but lots of people are plenty happy living on 45k. If it's feasible to do the above, it doesn't seem like it's that bad, but maybe I'm being as idealistic as OP.

Perhaps. But generally those people are neither (a) living in a city with an extraordinarily high cost of living, nor (b) working long, tedious hours.

The first couple years of big law are quite rough. One of the only things that makes it tolerable is getting paid a bunch of money. But if you can't enjoy that money because you're giving most of it to lenders, then.....yikes.


Really my main reason for this post was because all that I've seen says take the money wherever you go. And that's great. But I just wanted to know if it's realistic at all. My goals are a federal clerkship --> big law --> government law of some sort.

I'm willing to live on the 45 k per year if I know it means I'll be debt free in 4-6 years. I'm planning on having kids in my 30's (I'm K-JD AND luckily have 0 undergrad debt due to a scholarship) and was mostly wondering how feasible it would be to have no debt when I want that.

I accept the fact I'll have to slog away in big law for a bunch of years after a year or two of clerking if I go down that route. My SO is gonna work on the hill, and we're planning on working pretty much all the time in our 20s. The biggest reason for me to take a place like UVA would be clerkship placements and to work biglaw in D.C. and then government law. I know that I could still get clerkship placements from ND or BU or WUSTL, but the chances are much lower and entering the D.C. market from those schools would be tough.

cavalier1138
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:17 pm

If only there were something you could do that would allow you to attend a school like UVA without having to pay sticker...

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:21 pm

JustWannaGraduate wrote:I accept the fact I'll have to slog away in big law for a bunch of years after a year or two of clerking if I go down that route. My SO is gonna work on the hill, and we're planning on working pretty much all the time in our 20s.

At the risk of sounding patronizing, I think it's impossible for a person such as yourself to understand what it means to work "pretty much all the time." You have no reference point--the big-law environment isn't analogous to anything you've encountered before. A significant percentage of young associates end up seriously depressed, with poor physical health and failed personal relationships.

Some people survive fine. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, a small minority excel and enjoy it. But there's a decent chance that you'll be one of those who hates it. And if you take on a massive debt, you'll have no way out. It's just a huge, huge life risk.
Last edited by rpupkin on Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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runinthefront
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby runinthefront » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:22 pm

Just retake the LSAT. The inconvenience of postponing law school by a year is likely better than taking on $300k of debt.

JustWannaGraduate
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby JustWannaGraduate » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:32 pm

Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money? I guess that makes sense, but I've gotta think it's not as bad as people say. Maybe I'm a naive know-nothing undergrad though

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rpupkin
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:36 pm

JustWannaGraduate wrote:Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money?

Generally yes.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:41 pm

JustWannaGraduate wrote:Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money? I guess that makes sense, but I've gotta think it's not as bad as people say. Maybe I'm a naive know-nothing undergrad though

There really aren't that many options, and most of the others require you to go pretty deep into law school, if not well after graduation, before you have something lined up. With biglaw you're set 12 months after you sat for your first class.

Whenever you think "it can't be that bad" keep in mind that people routinely walk away from 250-350k comp and take positions often paying half or a third of that just to get away.




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