Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

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james999
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Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby james999 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:10 pm

Help! I just finished my freshman year at an "elite" undergrad, rank 10+, where I made tons of friends, had great classroom experiences, etc., etc. I really enjoyed my time there and think there is no better undergrad institution for me. But now that I'm considering law school I'm faced with the prospect of having to take out $200k in loans after graduation because my parents won't support me past undergrad (which is reasonable). However, if I were to transfer to my state university I would save $60-70k over 3 years, which my parents would give me, and which would essentially cover my first year of law school.

My state school is not bad at all, ranked in the top 100, but below 50. I know ranking of undergrad institution has little effect on employment and even less effect on law school admissions. I also know, however, that I would not enjoy the same types of experiences as at my current university, and that to me this would be a great personal loss.

So what should I do? I'm 18 years old and have never had to worry about money before. What does $70k mean? What does $200k mean? How big is the difference? How do people usually finance this sum? Also, what kind of merit scholarships are available and for what kind of stats are they awarded at each school that offers them? Just curious to see how many spots on the law school rankings one has to move down to get an approximately $70k scholarship. Maybe that'll give me some perspective.

Thanks, everyone.

09042014
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:13 pm

james999 wrote:Help! I just finished my freshman year at an "elite" undergrad, rank 10+, where I made tons of friends, had great classroom experiences, etc., etc. I really enjoyed my time there and think there is no better undergrad institution for me. But now that I'm considering law school I'm faced with the prospect of having to take out $200k in loans after graduation because my parents won't support me past undergrad (which is reasonable). However, if I were to transfer to my state university I would save $60-70k over 3 years, which my parents would give me, and which would essentially cover my first year of law school.

My state school is not bad at all, ranked in the top 100, but below 50. I know ranking of undergrad institution has little effect on employment and even less effect on law school admissions. I also know, however, that I would not enjoy the same types of experiences as at my current university, and that to me this would be a great personal loss.

So what should I do? I'm 18 years old and have never had to worry about money before. What does $70k mean? What does $200k mean? How big is the difference? How do people usually finance this sum? Also, what kind of merit scholarships are available and for what kind of stats are they awarded at each school that offers them? Just curious to see how many spots on the law school rankings one has to move down to get an approximately $70k scholarship. Maybe that'll give me some perspective.

Thanks, everyone.


If you are absolutely sure you are doing law school, and absolutely sure your parents will give you that money, yes.

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Grizz
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby Grizz » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:17 pm

james999 wrote:Just curious to see how many spots on the law school rankings one has to move down to get an approximately $70k scholarship. Maybe that'll give me some perspective.


If you are 110% sure about law school, transferring wouldn't be a bad idea.

In terms of money, lot of top schools give out merit scholarships. It all depends on your LSAT and GPA. My 3.7x and 97th%tile LSAT got me over $70,000 at two T17s and a T25. Its in my profile actually.

ltrutledge
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby ltrutledge » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:18 pm

I've worked for my mom (who is a headhunter/recruiter) for several years and if there's one thing I've learned it's that employers do not give a flying... anything... about where you went to undergrad. Everyone takes pretty much the same classes. Undergrad is just a box you have to check off on the way to being an adult and getting a job. It's necessary, but not sufficient, if you will. :D I decided to take the money and run for undergrad and went to the #50 school (which is private and usually $50k/year) on an almost entirely full scholarship. I'll have less than $10k in loans for undergrad. I'm just saying... what if for some reason your parents can't pay for law school? Can you really handle $200k in loans for undergrad + loans for law school? If yes, then stay. But if not, I'm all about fiscal responsibility. :D

09042014
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:22 pm

ltrutledge wrote:I've worked for my mom (who is a headhunter/recruiter) for several years and if there's one thing I've learned it's that employers do not give a flying... anything... about where you went to undergrad. Everyone takes pretty much the same classes. Undergrad is just a box you have to check off on the way to being an adult and getting a job. It's necessary, but not sufficient, if you will. :D I decided to take the money and run for undergrad and went to the #50 school (which is private and usually $50k/year) on an almost entirely full scholarship. I'll have less than $10k in loans for undergrad. I'm just saying... what if for some reason your parents can't pay for law school? Can you really handle $200k in loans for undergrad + loans for law school? If yes, then stay. But if not, I'm all about fiscal responsibility. :D


That vastly depends on what job you are looking at, and in what field you are talking about. Something like consulting and investment banking is really only open to elite schools.

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momo_08
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby momo_08 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:23 pm

I would say transfer if

A) you are sure your parents will give you the money
B) you think your gpa might be even higher coming out of your state school ( coupled with a good LSAT score that would get you $$$ for law school)

If you're not sure that your parents would give you money and you don't want to risk losing what you've got now then you can just work hard for a great GPA for the next three years at your current undergrad, get a killer LSAT score and you'd still get money from law schools.

james999
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby james999 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:41 pm

I'm 100% sure my parents would give me the money. I'm 75% sure about law school. Otherwise, I'm looking at graduate school, for which I would (probably) benefit from staying at my current school. Don't think I will pursue any other path that really values undergrad prestige, like banking or consulting.

Hmm, is there a rule of thumb for what will get you a scholarship, and how far down from your top choice you will have to move? Or is it unpredictable?

BenJ
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby BenJ » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:51 pm

Law school scholarships are based on snagging students from higher-ranked schools. Every law school save Harvard, Yale and Stanford offers scholarships, sometimes big ones, but to get one you have to be at the top end of students admitted to said school.

james999
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby james999 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:06 pm

I'm guessing then that they're given pretty infrequently? So do most law school students just take on $200k in debt, and manage?

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NayBoer
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby NayBoer » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:15 pm

Don't transfer if HYPS. Go into a better industry if MIT or CalTech. But I'm assuming top ten means Penn, Columbia, Chicago, Duke, etc.

My advice is that you're 18, so assume you'll change your mind several times. Just keep your GPA as high as possible.

BenJ
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby BenJ » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:04 pm

james999 wrote:I'm guessing then that they're given pretty infrequently? So do most law school students just take on $200k in debt, and manage?


They're not infrequent, but a lot of people turn down scholarships for better schools. Unlike UG, it's often worth it to pay sticker price at a better school due to better employment opportunities.

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:55 am

I think the real ? here is what is your major. IMHO, no liberal arts degree is worth even 50k in debt. The real problem the uncertainty. You might want to go to ls, you might change your mind and go get a graduate degree. If you do end up deciding to go to ls, you might get a scholarship at you school you like, you might not. The economy is also a factor. Basically, are the opportunities your current school provides (internships, networking) worth sacrificing for a school that might not provide those things as well?

One other thing to keep in mind is GPA. LS admissions are pretty much gpa and lsat score. If you have a bad gpa and a ton of debt, you're going to be in a tough situation (unless you're an engineering student).

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ellewoods110
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby ellewoods110 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:21 am

I say stay at your current undergrad. You can never undervalue being happy, and if you are happy at your current UG, you should stay there, especially if it is a spectacular school. You will do better where you are happy. Most law students finance their schooling with all debt, and most do fine. Stay where you are happy and get a good GPA, oh and study hard for the lsat.

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captainculpepper
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby captainculpepper » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:11 pm

ellewoods110 wrote:I say stay at your current undergrad. You can never undervalue being happy, and if you are happy at your current UG, you should stay there, especially if it is a spectacular school. You will do better where you are happy. Most law students finance their schooling with all debt, and most do fine. Stay where you are happy and get a good GPA, oh and study hard for the lsat.

+1

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romothesavior
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby romothesavior » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:13 pm

If you are happy at your current undergrad, stay.
If you have made good connections at your undergrad, stay.

If you are unhapppy, transfer.
If you don't care one way or the other and you just want to save money, transfer.
Basically, if the only reason you want to stay at your undergrad is the prestige factor, TRANSFER. The small bump you'll for LS admission get is not worth tens of thousands of dollars.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:22 pm

The advice offered is limited by the information shared by you. Much of what you have posted in this thread is not quite accurate.
Assuming that your current undergraduate school is currently ranked in the top 9 by USNews (10+), then the job opportunities can be substantially better just as graduating from a Top 14 law school offers better career options for graduating law students.
It would be helpful to know whether you are at a Top 9 LAC or at a Top 9 National University, your major area of study & the specific state university that you are considering. My guess is that you are at a Top 9 liberal arts college such as Middlebury, Bowdoin, Carleton, Davidson, Williams, Amherst or Wellesley. To some, this is a very different situation than for one attending a Top 9 National University such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, CalTech, Penn, Columbia or Chicago. My advice will differ depending upon your undergraduate major, type of undergraduate school (LAC or Nat'l Univ.), and your particular state school option.
Are you a Middlebury College or Carleton College student ?
Since you are presently "offline", I can suggest staying at your current undergraduate school if it is a Top 9 National University.

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blurbz
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby blurbz » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:45 pm

Am I reading this wrong? It sounds like you won't have any undergrad debt if you stay since your parents won't support you "past undergrad," which implies they are supporting you IN undergrad. Is this correct?

If I'm right, stay at your current school since you're happy there and worry about law school when you have to worry about law school!

james999
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby james999 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:45 pm

Hi all. I'm actually an economics major at Amherst. My grades are very good, not worried about that. However, as an econ major I'm leaning towards the poli sci end, so probably not as employable as others in my majors who lean towards math. It's regrettable, but I'm not smart enough to do econ+math and maintain the GPA needed for a top law school.

In my OP, I figured #1 liberal arts college would warrant a #10+ overall when speaking generally. Am I wrong here, as Canadianwolf seems to imply? Also, how did you guess I was an LAC student? Are career prospects so much better at, say, UChicago that students there never face this kind of dilemma?

The state school in question is University of Delaware. I would graduate Amherst with zero debt, but I could graduate from Delaware with $70k in the bank. As I said in my OP, if I stay, I would definitely not be doing so for prestige (what prestige?), except where it counts, I hear, for graduate schools, should I want to go into academia. I would be staying primarily because I really like it here.

I hope this clarifies. Thanks for all the comments!

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A'nold
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby A'nold » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:55 pm

blurbz wrote:Am I reading this wrong? It sounds like you won't have any undergrad debt if you stay since your parents won't support you "past undergrad," which implies they are supporting you IN undergrad. Is this correct?

If I'm right, stay at your current school since you're happy there and worry about law school when you have to worry about law school!

+ a billion. DO NOT TRANSFER. Geesh, this shouldn't even be a thought right now. Free UG at a top university? Uh, almost nobody gets that. You will be in an already better situation than most when it comes time to apply to law school, something you honestly don't even know you will do.

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nixxers
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby nixxers » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:02 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The advice offered is limited by the information shared by you. Much of what you have posted in this thread is not quite accurate.
Assuming that your current undergraduate school is currently ranked in the top 9 by USNews (10+), then the job opportunities can be substantially better just as graduating from a Top 14 law school offers better career options for graduating law students.
It would be helpful to know whether you are at a Top 9 LAC or at a Top 9 National University, your major area of study & the specific state university that you are considering. My guess is that you are at a Top 9 liberal arts college such as Middlebury, Bowdoin, Carleton, Davidson, Williams, Amherst or Wellesley. To some, this is a very different situation than for one attending a Top 9 National University such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, CalTech, Penn, Columbia or Chicago. My advice will differ depending upon your undergraduate major, type of undergraduate school (LAC or Nat'l Univ.), and your particular state school option.
Are you a Middlebury College or Carleton College student ?
Since you are presently "offline", I can suggest staying at your current undergraduate school if it is a Top 9 National University.


Egregious anti-Swarthmore trolling ;)


OP, I'm a little biased towards lacs, but I say stay at Amherst where you're happy. I don't think you'll get an admissions boost from being a student there (at most a very tiny one - check my stats) but you'll get a good education and have a great time. If you keep your grades up and do well on the LSAT you will have merit scholarships available to you, and depending on your parents' finances you might qualify for need-based aid. And if not, you'll be like most law students... Also, anecdotally, everyone I know who went to Delaware was miserable :P. Besides, you might end up not wanting to go to law school anyway. Too many unknowns here for me - how you'll like Delaware and how you'll do there, whether you'll end up wanting to go to law school, etc. Stay at Amherst and do well. Also, fwiw if you're worried about employment, I just graduated from a small lac and all my friends have jobs or are going to grad school. Good luck!

thatsnotmyname
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby thatsnotmyname » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:07 pm

Since you are not 100% sure on law school, I would say you should stay at Amherst. You seem really happy there and you will still be graduating with no debt. Next year, you may decide that you don't want to go to law school and then wish that you had the small, intimate LAC feel so you could easily get research opportunities and develop good relationships with your professors to get good recommendations.

I say stay at Amherst and just keep your GPA high in case you do choose go to law school. You will be graduating from college with no debt so you will still be in a very good position.

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ggocat
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby ggocat » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:57 pm

A'nold wrote:
blurbz wrote:Am I reading this wrong? It sounds like you won't have any undergrad debt if you stay since your parents won't support you "past undergrad," which implies they are supporting you IN undergrad. Is this correct?

If I'm right, stay at your current school since you're happy there and worry about law school when you have to worry about law school!

+ a billion. DO NOT TRANSFER. Geesh, this shouldn't even be a thought right now. Free UG at a top university? Uh, almost nobody gets that. You will be in an already better situation than most when it comes time to apply to law school, something you honestly don't even know you will do.

His/her parents are going to give him $60K-$70K if he/she transfers to a public school:
james999 wrote:However, if I were to transfer to my state university I would save $60-70k over 3 years, which my parents would give me, and which would essentially cover my first year of law school.

So he/she could graduate law school with no or much less debt.

I would recommend tttransfering to the state school so he/she could start law school (or life, assuming you get to keep the money if you don't go to law school) with $60K-$70K in the bank.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:08 pm

Nvm - didn't read the thread properly, assumed you were at a top nat'l university, not a top lac. My experience is no longer relevant, but fwiw, I still wouldn't transfer.

upwardtrend
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby upwardtrend » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:24 am

Yes money is important, but I would encourage you not to transfer because...

In my opinion, the undergrad experience is one of the most important parts of a persons life. You will never get these four years back, and whether the law school you go to is more prestigious or not, I doubt you will have the same connection to it that you have to your undergrad. I know everyone on this forum is super career-oriented but you need to take advantage of the undergraduate experience. You said you were extremely happy and had gained a great group of friends, etc. Transferring will make the adjustment process a bit harder than it was for you at the beginning of your freshman year as everyone has already migrated into their social circles for the most part. Also, you are going to a very good undergraduate institution- the opportunities available to you there will give you much more than a prestigious degree so take advantage of them while still allowing for PLENTY of time to have fun. The grades and preparation for the future are important, but the experiences are worth far more.

Keep in mind that there is also chance you may decide you do not go to law school. If so, the fact that you go to a top10 school will probably help a little with job prospects and look sweet on your resume. Just my two cents.

james999
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Re: Should I transfer undergrad to save money?

Postby james999 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:18 pm

Any other opinions? Right now I'm leaning towards staying.

Seems like, either $200k or $130k in loans, I'll have committed myself to a good decade of drudgery post-law school. It would suck if I found out later I don't like that kind of work. But I would have to go that route even if I transferred, so the undergrad decision makes little difference in the big scheme. In no situation available to me would I be without heavy constraints after graduating law school. Transferring undergrad might allow me some freedom 8 years after graduation, as opposed to 10 years, but I would have a family and other obligations by then anyway. I think the key, since I will graduate undergrad with no debt, is to take time off and do everything I want to do before going to law school.

Is this sound reasoning?




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