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

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:39 pm

bump

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

Postby electricfeel » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:39 pm

hwstewart wrote:bump


I think you have your answer.

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

Postby hwstewart » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:56 pm

jks289 wrote: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.


My wife and dogs will be coming with me, should we move, but she doesn't have a job yet in town. You seem to be one of the few in the definitely Vandy camp. Care to elaborate a little more in a PM or on this thread? Trying to take in all viewpoints

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

Postby sundevil77 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:00 pm

jks289 wrote:Yeesh, that sounds incredibly stressful. I think Vandy is has a very slight chance of being 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?


ftfy

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

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:30 pm

Minnesota3L wrote:Absolutely go with the free ride. Vandy is a gamble ITE...Vandy students are the ones who started the "law school transparency project" because their school gives out unrealistic stats about salaries and employment. Risking all that debt on the off-chance you get biglaw is simply not worth it, that's a horrible idea. In retrospect, I would have killed for a free ride and a book stipend.


I am one of the founders of Law School Transparency and can assure you that we did not start this project because Vanderbilt provides "unrealistic stats about salaries and employment." In fact, one of the reasons we have any traction at all is because Vanderbilt provides realistic stats about salaries and employment. Vanderbilt is to be commended for being at the forefront of the transparency movement.

From an LST post (LinkRemoved):
On March 14th, 2008, at Admitted Students Day, Vanderbilt’s admissions office released an uncertified (LinkRemoved) list of where, and with whom, 196 of the 223 graduates were employed. Shortly after, one of the admitted students compiled this information in a spreadsheet. Both of these documents are attached to this post.

To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive employment list publicly released. It’s LST’s hope that this was the first step in a new direction.


The original list (LinkRemoved) was Law School Transparency's jumping off point. While this list would not qualify for the LST Standard, it is something that caused a healthy number of my classmates (me included) to decide to attend VULS. LST's founders started this project before Lehman collapsed and before the economy showed any signs of tanking. We started this project because the short term and long term value of a law degree is difficult, if not impossible, to figure out from available information. Our targets are the U.S. News and ABA (Standard 509) employment reporting standards. For short term value, with long term implications, these are the culprit and have been for longer than any of us have been engaged with the idea of attending law school.

To emphasize, we are not two disgruntled law students pissed off that our school gave us a raw deal. Not even close. We both recognized a problem with legal education and seek to fix this problem.

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

Postby Grizz » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:51 pm

Minnesota3L wrote:Absolutely go with the free ride. Vandy is a gamble ITE...Vandy students are the ones who started the "law school transparency project" because their school gives out unrealistic stats about salaries and employment. Risking all that debt on the off-chance you get biglaw is simply not worth it, that's a horrible idea. In retrospect, I would have killed for a free ride and a book stipend.


Patently untrue. Vandy is one of the most, if not the most transparent. After I was admitted, Vanderbilt provided me with a list of where the '09 grads got jobs. I think the same list is on LST.

edit: oops, JNSL beat me to it.

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

Postby Bumi » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:56 pm

My vote:
ROLL TIDE

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

Postby Iconoclast » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:27 pm

*sings*
Sweet home Alabama!
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I'm comin' home to you!

Lynyrd says take the full ride.

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

Postby Grizz » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:31 pm

Bias: I am going to Vanderbilt.

However, you should go to Alabama. You would go to school almost debt free, versus going in for $200k; Vanderbilt I don't think is worth sticker. For this reason alone I'd do it. If something goes wrong, you'll be okay. At Vanderbilt, there is less margin for error. Or just mediocrity.

Caveats:

1. You have to be okay with working in Alabama. Unless you have ties to some other secondary market, don't expect to range far from Alabama. Even if you have good grades. On the plus side, if you wanted to get a tie to a secondary market, you could afford to move to somewhere else for 1L summer since your debt will be so low.
2. Which brings me to my next point. Don't think that just because you got into Vanderbilt you will slay the competition at Bama.

Summary: Alabama is not as portable. But Vanderbilt isn't worth the debt. Don't gable; play it safe.

theantiscalia wrote:Hell, for the price difference, you can go to a VERY highly ranked LLM program at sticker if you really want all that prestige.


Rule of thumb: don't get an LLM unless it's for tax and from NYU, FL, or GULC.

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

Postby sumus romani » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:36 pm

Kchuck wrote:--ImageRemoved--



At first I was like wtf? And then I recognized it as houndstooth (sp?). It makes me :lol: . Well played and roll tide.

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

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:22 pm

rad law wrote:
Minnesota3L wrote:Absolutely go with the free ride. Vandy is a gamble ITE...Vandy students are the ones who started the "law school transparency project" because their school gives out unrealistic stats about salaries and employment. Risking all that debt on the off-chance you get biglaw is simply not worth it, that's a horrible idea. In retrospect, I would have killed for a free ride and a book stipend.


Patently untrue. Vandy is one of the most, if not the most transparent. After I was admitted, Vanderbilt provided me with a list of where the '09 grads got jobs. I think the same list is on LST.

edit: oops, JNSL beat me to it.


Just to clarify, although I am sure it is true they provided the list to you after you were admitted, the '09 job list is also available to any prospective student. It is available in the Career Services brochure, which the school provides at open houses, at the school, and by mail upon request. I do not know if it is available online, but I will encourage them to post it if it is not.

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

Postby shortporch » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:44 am

CanadianWolf wrote:There might be situations in academia . . . that will insist on graduating from a top 20 law school.


No.

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

Postby Total Litigator » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:18 am

Alabama, absolutely. If we were talking about a Tier 2, it'd be different. And I think people exxagerate when they say that you have to be okay with working only in Alabama. If you do well at Alabama I would say you would have a decent amount of options, as they are the 5 or 6th best law school in the entire South (it was ranked 38th this year, but 30th last year by US News, and the South is not well represented in the T50).

Also, if you wanted, to you are probably in a very good position to possibly transfer to Vanderbuilt if you are in the top 1/3 of your class. All you need to do is emphasize that you had too little time to switch your committments when they first admitted you, as you had already set up shop in Alabama even though you really wanted to go to Vandy. Should you transfer, you will have saved 40K from what you would have paid if you went to Vandy 1L year.
Also, I will be in 200K debt when I graduate. I would have little problem moving from from a T20 to a T50 for 1L year in return for a full ride, 200K is not fun.

If this was Alabama v. Duke it would be a closer arg...

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

Postby Grizz » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:36 am

Total Litigator wrote:Alabama, absolutely. If we were talking about a Tier 2, it'd be different. And I think people exxagerate when they say that you have to be okay with working only in Alabama. If you do well at Alabama I would say you would have a decent amount of options, as they are the 5 or 6th best law school in the entire South (it was ranked 38th this year, but 30th last year by US News, and the South is not well represented in the T50).


lulz @ talking about rankings and tiers

Bama is another strong southern state school in addition to UGA, UF, UNC, etc. Secondary markets, especially southern ones, are insular and provincial (in general). Secondary markets love to see connections, which OP may or may not have. Prospects for leaving increase the better grades you get. But if Alabama is anything like UGA and UF (and it probably is), most students won't get the opportunity and/or grades. Hence, be cool with working in Bama.

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

Postby bleu » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:58 am

tulane

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

Postby sdv » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:59 am

Bias: going to Vandy, sister-in-law just graduated from Bama.

I don't have an enormous amount to say about Vandy versus Bama - it's a national university versus a regional one, so it really depends if portability is worth it to you. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Are you from Alabama? The reason Alabama is where it is in the rankings is because it throws a ton of money at out of state students with high LSATs to boost its stats. The trouble is, ITE in particular those students have had a lot of trouble getting jobs in the state (and in the South in general) because they're not from there and many are strange/have poor social skills. This has apparently been going on for awhile, enough so that some B'ham firms have begun interviewing Cumberland grads over Alabama grads. On the other hand, if you are from the south, you'll have the freedom to interview at the majority of firms, since you won't be automatically dinged at the "we don't hire yankees" firms (and yes, there are a handful of those that still exist).

2. Everyone says this, and many in this thread, but it's impossible to predict where you'll finish in either class. My sister-in-law got in to Bama off the waitlist a couple weeks before orientation, and finished in the top 25% of her class. Her friends run the gamut of job placement success (graduated in May), some securing nice gigs both in and outside of Alabama, many doing various clerkships, and many with no work at all.

3. Just so you're informed, she always said the class was made up of 90% people from Alabama who would never dream of leaving the state for any reason, and 10% out of state people with huge scholarships, many of whom ended up having trouble getting work at graduation. She loved it there, though.

With that said, as long as you don't have a desire to move north or need extensive flexibility for family or personal reasons, Bama sounds like the better option. Whoever said you should ask Vandy for a full ride was out of their mind; I suppose it can't hurt, but there are hundreds of people dying for that spot and would gladly pay sticker to get it, so I wouldn't hold out hope that they'll throw money at you.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:32 am

Definitely ask Vanderbilt for scholarship money. Approximately 70% of Vanderbilt Law students receive grants averaging above $15,000 a year. There may be students willing to pay full tuition at Vanderbilt, but few do (including, ironically, the above poster who claims that he was awarded over $80,000 from Vanderbilt law) & probably very few with LSAT scores above the top 25% of Vanderbilt's class. Anyone suggesting that you not ask Vanderbilt for scholarship money when you have top 2% LSAT scores & a full ride plus at Alabama is giving you foolish advice. Vanderbilt is desparately seeking to get national attention & wants to move up in USNews rankings both for undergraduate school & law school. Only an absolute fool would pay full tuition at Vanderbilt when having a full tuition scholarship in hand from a top 40 law school.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:50 am, edited 3 times in total.

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

Postby Grizz » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:35 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Definitely ask Vanderbilt for scholarship money. Approximately 70% of Vanderbilt Law students receive grants averaging above $15,000 a year. There may be students willing to pay full tuition at Vanderbilt, but few do & probably very few with LSAT scores above in the top 25% of Vanderbilt's class. Anyone suggesting that you not ask Vanderbilt for scholarship money when you have top 2% LSAT scores & a full ride plus at Alabama is giving you foolish advice. Vanderbilt is desparately seeking to get national attention & wants to move up in USNews rankings both for undergraduate school & law school.


He should ask, but don't count on enough for it to be a real deal breaker. Wait list students pay close to full tuition to subsidize the scholarship people.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:37 am

I understand that, but the OP needs closure & this is a step within his ability that should quell his current anxiety. Again, only an absolute fool would pay full tuition for Vanderbilt Law School when having a full tuition plus scholarship in hand from a top 40 law school.
I am surprised at the poor reading comprehension skills of some as I clearly indicated that it was likely that Vanderbilt would reply with no money, but that this would offer the OP some sense of closure.
And I can assure you that the post above trivializing Alabama's law school & law students is an oversimplified gross exaggeration based on second hand accounts from one student.

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

Postby sdv » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:54 am

CanadianWolf wrote:I understand that, but the OP needs closure & this is a step within his ability that should quell his current anxiety. Again, only an absolute fool would pay full tuition for Vanderbilt Law School when having a full tuition plus scholarship in hand from a top 40 law school.
I am surprised at the poor reading comprehension skills of some as I clearly indicated that it was likely that Vanderbilt would reply with no money, but that this would offer the OP some sense of closure.
And I can assure you that the post above trivializing Alabama's law school & law students is an oversimplified gross exaggeration based on second hand accounts from one student.


The word "likely" never appeared in that post - my criticism isn't of the notion of asking them for money - I agree that's a good way to get closure, but rather the impression that you gave that throwing money at the OP was just as likely as saying no, which it isn't.

As for the Alabama stuff, I think it was pretty clear that I was presenting a 2nd hand anecdote, to be made of what you will. It's pretty amusing to lambaste someone for "oversimplified gross exaggerations" in the same post that you declare that anyone who went to Vandy at sticker over a full ride from the randomly distinguished "top 40" would be a fool.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:57 am

I think that I specified "an absolute fool". Would you be attending Vanderbilt Law without your $81,000 in grants ? I doubt it.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby hwstewart » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:57 am

Thanks again to everyone for the thoughtful advice. A couple of responses.

I am from Alabama and have significant connections to the state (and surrounding ones ) so don't feel as if I will have a problem being perceived as a carpet-bagger (jk).

I assuredly want to work in the southeast, (if not ATL, then bham) so I don't really have a problem with a regional focus, seeing as I have regional priorities in terms of where I want to be.

Vandy made it very clear that financial aid was not available and was not negotiable, so sticker is the final offer.


In light of all this it is pretty clear to me that Alabama is the best option. While Vandy has a leg up in many areas and is immediately an exciting offer, the benefits could not possibly justify the cost. I was pumped to attend Alabama and still am. Now I'm just ready to get started.

Roll Tide!

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

Postby Rik Smits » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:16 am

I'm an undergrad at Vandy and absolutely hate Alabama with a passion, but I would still pick Alabama, given your circumstances. Like others have said, you can transfer next year if you find Alabama to be a poor fit, but I doubt you will. I also think the portability aspect of an Alabama degree is being underrated. It's a fine institution, and whenever I look through the attorneys list of Nashville firms, there are always lawyers from Alabama, Kentucky, etc. You aren't limited to Birmingham if you graduate from Alabama - there are other options out there.

EDIT - didn't see you made your choice. Congrats!

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

Postby sdv » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:00 pm

being from Alabama and wanting to stay in the south, you are definitely in a great position to benefit from the best that Alabama has to offer. Sounds like you're making a good decision.

CanadianWolf wrote:I think that I specified "an absolute fool". Would you be attending Vanderbilt Law without your $81,000 in grants ? I doubt it.

Eh, it's hard to say. I need to be able to move pretty much anywhere after graduation, so it was T17 or bust for me. I played the entire cycle out with the goal of getting the best offer from Vandy since that was where I wanted to go.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:02 pm

Once again you miss the point. It was a rhetorical question.




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