EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

What school should I pick?

Poll ended at Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:44 pm

Vandy (sticker)
31
26%
Alabama (guaranteed full ride + book scholarship)
87
74%
 
Total votes: 118

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hwstewart
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EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:44 pm

PLEASE HELP!!! I got offered admission from Vandy today with no financial aid. I'm currently enrolled to start at Alabama with a full ride (no grade requirement), including books. This is a question of cost versus opportunity. >$200 of debt vs. better rankings + salary/job opportunities. Do you think this is worth it?! We have already moved to Tuscaloosa, have a house, set up shop, order books, ad nauseum, so this will be really disruptive. BUT IS IT WORTH IT?!

Pleeeeease help TLS! Sound advice is in desperate need here!!!!

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hwstewart
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:44 pm

btw I have to make up my mind by Friday!

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merichard87
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby merichard87 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:45 pm

Do you have a problem with working in Alabama?

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Kchuck
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby Kchuck » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:46 pm

--ImageRemoved--

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hwstewart
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:47 pm

I'm not opposed to working in bham, I've grown to like the city quite a bit. But I would like the idea of having options ...

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TonyDigital
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby TonyDigital » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:47 pm

I'm not sure what you should do but if I were in your shoes, I'd stick with Bama and that Full Ride! Good luck on your decision...

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merichard87
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby merichard87 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:49 pm

Personally I would probably stick with Alabama and re-evaluate after my first year to see if transferring could be an option. You're in a great situation right now though. Don't stress.

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jks289
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby jks289 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:49 pm

Yeesh, that sounds incredibly stressful. I think Vandy is worth it in the long run. The sticker versus full ride is easy based on the vastly different opportunities, unless you know you will practice in Alabama. What sorts of transaction costs are you looking at for the move? You say you have a house but does that just mean a rental contract?

ETA: You said "we" have moved. Who does that include? Spouse, kids? Does this affect their jobs, schools, etc. Basically if this is only disruptive in the immediate sense (moving, housing, etc) then I think go to Vandy, but if it has a wider affect ) spouses' job, schools, family, etc then you may need to reevaluate.
Last edited by jks289 on Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Knock
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby Knock » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:50 pm

I would go with Alabama full ride if you're interested in practicing law in Alabama. If you want to practice out of region, Vandy probably has more portability.

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ArthurEdens
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby ArthurEdens » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:52 pm

merichard87 wrote:Personally I would probably stick with Alabama and re-evaluate after my first year to see if transferring could be an option. You're in a great situation right now though. Don't stress.


This.

$200,000 in loans would cost you $2300/month for 10 years! That is ridiculous.

Assuming CoL loans at UA, you'd be looking at ~$600/month for 10 years. Much more manageable.

Personally, I'd graduate from UA, get a nice job in Birmingham, and live like a king.

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hwstewart
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:53 pm

Do you think that graduating middle of the pack at Vandy would still provide better opportunities than being in the top third of Bama? Trying to figure out what opportunities would exist under all scenarios here.

Heeeeeeeelp!

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legalease9
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby legalease9 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:02 pm

ArthurEdens wrote:

$200,000 in loans would cost you $2300/month for 10 years! That is ridiculous.

Assuming CoL loans at UA, you'd be looking at ~$600/month for 10 years. Much more manageable.

Personally, I'd graduate from UA, get a nice job in Birmingham, and live like a king.



Yep. Go Alabama. This one isn't even close. The obscene debt you would be racking up at sticker with Vandy simply isn't worth the difference between the schools' job prospects. If it were Columbia or something (or even Duke/UVA) the conversation would be more debatable. But there is no way you can give up a free ride like that in this case, given that you are comfortable working in Alabama.

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hwstewart
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:06 pm

legalease9 wrote:
ArthurEdens wrote:

$200,000 in loans would cost you $2300/month for 10 years! That is ridiculous.

Assuming CoL loans at UA, you'd be looking at ~$600/month for 10 years. Much more manageable.

Personally, I'd graduate from UA, get a nice job in Birmingham, and live like a king.



Yep. Go Alabama. This one isn't even close. The obscene debt you would be racking up at sticker with Vandy simply isn't worth the difference between the schools' job prospects. If it were Columbia or something (or even Duke/UVA) the conversation would be more debatable. But there is no way you can give up a free ride like that in this case, given that you are comfortable working in Alabama.



I am comfortable with working in one Alabama market (Birmingham), but that doesn't necessarily say that I would prefer it. I'm also very interested in Atlanta and other southern markets. That a game changer?

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sundevil77
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby sundevil77 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:06 pm

hwstewart wrote:Do you think that graduating middle of the pack at Vandy would still provide better opportunities than being in the top third of Bama? Trying to figure out what opportunities would exist under all scenarios here.

Heeeeeeeelp!


ITE, based on the #s at Vandy, graduating at the middle of the pack puts you in a precarious position for the Biglaw job you're going to need to pay off that debt. Given that you've already moved, I would probably go to Alabama for the year and then reassess the situation at the end of 1L.

CanadianWolf
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Regardless of where you want to work, Alabama is the better choice for well over 200,000 reasons. A law degree from the Univ. of Alabama does not restrict you to working in Alabama, but to a large extent being a member of only the Alabama State Bar does.
If you attend Alabama but want to work elsewhere, then be prepared to work hard to obtain internships in your desired geographic area. Or consider working for the federal government which will allow you to live in various locations throughout the country.
To some extent, how well you do in law school at Alabama will determine the extent of portability of your degree beyond the state borders. Taking the bar exam in the state where you want to practice will also enhance portability.
As a poster above suggested, try your first year at Alabama & see how things work out.
There are circumstances under which I would recommend Vanderbilt over a full tuition, fees & books scholarship at Alabama, but they don't come into play under the particulars of your situation as shared in this thread.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sundevil77
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby sundevil77 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:08 pm

Also, I'm pretty sure that many people voting for Vandy are people that couldn't stand the thought of working in Birmingham, fyi.

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sundevil77
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby sundevil77 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:09 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Regardless of where you want to work, Alabama is the better choice for well over 200,000 reasons. A law degree from the Univ. of Alabama does not restrict you to working in Alabama, but to a large extent being a member of only the Alabama State Bar does.
If you attend Alabama but want to work elsewhere, then be prepared to work hard to obtain internships in your desired geographic area. Or consider working for the federal government which will allow you to live in various locations throughout the country.
To some extent, how well you do in law school at Alabama will determine the extent of portability of your degree beyond the state borders. Taking the bar exam in the state where you want to practice will also enhance portability.
As a poster above suggested, try your first year at Alabama & see how things work out.


+1. Going to UA doesn't absolutely mean you have to work in-state.

theantiscalia
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby theantiscalia » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:11 pm

I would pick Alabama every time in this situation. That is simply too much debt for Vanderbilt; you can get a great legal education (and a great job) from Alabama.

Think of it this way: for the difference in loans, you could LITERALLY buy a house in Alabama.

Granted, if you go to Vanderbilt, you MIGHT get a better job when you graduate. I won't deny that you're likely to have greater options and higher INITIAL earning potential out of Vanderbilt. But in the long-term, it will most likely be up to you and your abilities how much you make. Further, you mentioned that you like options; to be candid, $200,000 certainly limits your options.

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legalease9
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby legalease9 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:12 pm

hwstewart wrote:Do you think that graduating middle of the pack at Vandy would still provide better opportunities than being in the top third of Bama? Trying to figure out what opportunities would exist under all scenarios here.

Heeeeeeeelp!


Don't assume that you will necessarily do better at Alabama than Vandy.

However, in terms of opportunities, bear in mind how debt effects opportunities. If you graduate from Vandy at sticker you are more or less obligated to go Big law (which you may or may not get). If you don't get Big law, you're screwed (Vandy's public service Loan Repayment program is ok but not spectacular. On the other hand, if you graduate from Alabama, you will have a lot more freedom to do whatever you want. It will be hard to get a job outside of Alabama and maybe the deep south (if you do well), but you can get just about any type of job you can find that satisfies you, without worrying about having to pay back an extra 140 or so k in high interest debt.

Minnesota3L
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby Minnesota3L » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:14 pm

Absolutely go with the free ride.
Last edited by Minnesota3L on Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hwstewart
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:14 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Regardless of where you want to work, Alabama is the better choice for well over 200,000 reasons. A law degree from the Univ. of Alabama does not restrict you to working in Alabama, but to a large extent being a member of only the Alabama State Bar does.
If you attend Alabama but want to work elsewhere, then be prepared to work hard to obtain internships in your desired geographic area. Or consider working for the federal government which will allow you to live in various locations throughout the country.
To some extent, how well you do in law school at Alabama will determine the extent of portability of your degree beyond the state borders. Taking the bar exam in the state where you want to practice will also enhance portability.
As a poster above suggested, try your first year at Alabama & see how things work out.
There are circumstances under which I would recommend Vanderbilt over a full tuition, fees & books scholarship at Alabama, but they don't come into play under the particulars of your situation as shared in this thread.


Could you briefly highlight what situations that might be? I was hurried to get the request for help out so I abbreviated my situation a bit. You could PM me if you prefer, I'm just in serious serious need of some advice here. Thx

Thanks EVERYBODY for the great input!

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legalease9
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby legalease9 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:15 pm

sundevil77 wrote:Also, I'm pretty sure that many people voting for Vandy are people that couldn't stand the thought of working in Birmingham, fyi.

theantiscalia
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby theantiscalia » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:16 pm

legalease9 wrote:
hwstewart wrote:Do you think that graduating middle of the pack at Vandy would still provide better opportunities than being in the top third of Bama? Trying to figure out what opportunities would exist under all scenarios here.

Heeeeeeeelp!


Don't assume that you will necessarily do better at Alabama than Vandy.

However, in terms of opportunities, bear in mind how debt effects opportunities. If you graduate from Vandy at sticker you are more or less obligated to go Big law (which you may or may not get). If you don't get Big law, you're screwed (Vandy's public service Loan Repayment program is ok but not spectacular. On the other hand, if you graduate from Alabama, you will have a lot more freedom to do whatever you want. It will be hard to get a job outside of Alabama and maybe the deep south (if you do well), but you can get just about any type of job you can find that satisfies you, without worrying about having to pay back an extra 140 or so k in high interest debt.


Agreed.

Personally, in three years, I'd much rather be saying that I wish I went to a better-ranked school than saying I wish I didn't have $200,000 in debt. Hell, for the price difference, you can go to a VERY highly ranked LLM program at sticker if you really want all that prestige.

CanadianWolf
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:18 pm

Following up on advice offered above by theantiscalia: And if that home you purchase in Alabama with the saved $200,000 happens to be a mobile home, then you have portability.
There might be situations in academia, LSAT prep companies or certain law firms that will insist on graduating from a top 20 law school. Worth $200,000 plus interest ? Maybe, depending upon your goals & circumstances. Or if your spouse was in medical school at Vanderbilt (happens more often than one might think at first thought) or had a successful business in Nashville.
P.S. Curious as to your LSAT score because I know of one other non-URM offered the same deal with a 164.
P.S. Your only other reasonable option is to request a full tuition scholarship from Vanderbilt if your numbers are high enough (probably 169 or above LSAT). Vanderbilt may offer something or Vandy may tell you that all merit money is gone in which case you should achieve at least partial closure regarding this matter.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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billyez
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Re: EMERGENCY ADVICE: Vandy (sticker) vs. Alabama (Full Ride)

Postby billyez » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:25 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Regardless of where you want to work, Alabama is the better choice for well over 200,000 reasons.




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