GWU vs WUSTL

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bitter_melon

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GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:28 pm

Hello,

To make a long story short, these two schools have emerged as my top two. GWU has offered me $30k/yr, WUSTL has offered me $35k/yr. WUSTL is ranked slightly higher, is cheaper, and has a lower cost of living. I have a good deal of money saved up from three years out of undergrad (graduated debt free) working good jobs, spending very little, and living at home, so I'd be able to graduate WUSTL nearly debt free. GWU is more expensive, they're offering me less, and the cost of living is higher, so I would need to take on more debt. That's obviously a big consideration.

At the same time though, my dream has always been to work in Washington and to interface with the US ForPo and NatSec community. If money wasn't an issue, GWU would be an easy choice. I also have some level of work experience in this field, so it isn't like a wild dream that I'll never be able to reach. Right now I'm strongly considering pulling the trigger on GW.

I've also noticed that the median private sector GWU graduate has a starting salary of $160k/yr, while at WUSTL that's $120k/yr. I'm assuming that that's largely due to the location of graduates.

So to put it simply, WashU is probably a better financial decision, but GWU may offer more in the longer term. At the same time, GWU offers classes and careers that are closer to both what I do now, and to what I love and want to do in the future.

Am I being unrealistic when I say that GW is a better option, even if I'd be paying more?

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floatie

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby floatie » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:42 pm

It's difficult to give you good advice without knowing your stats and how much you'd be taking out in loans. Beyond a certain point, I would say that GW isn't worth it. WUSTL is better in nearly every single way, with the exception of possibly cracking DC - but even then, GWU students have to compete with Georgetown (and more specifically, Georgetown's insane class size). What did you get from Georgetown (I'm assuming you applied)

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:44 pm

I actually didn't apply to Georgetown. I was stupid, not reading law school forums, and didn't think I had a shot. I psyched myself out, unfortunately.

Edit: And with some limited help from my family + what I have saved, I can budget roughly $30k/yr in tuition/expenses out of pocket.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby floatie » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:36 pm

Well, the deadline isn't until 3/1, I think. This goes against common advice on here, but I'd still shoot them an app as a Hail Mary. Your scholarship amounts suggest that your numbers aren't half bad.

So your total COA for GWU (ballparking it here) would be about $50-60k in loans. I live in DC and make ends meet on about $1600/month for all expenses, but I do so by living in a MD suburb (on the metro line) with roommates. If you want to live in DC proper, especially the part of DC where GW is located, you should fully expect to be paying $1300+ for rent alone. All that being said, I don't think that's a terrible amount of debt for GW (it depends on how debt averse you are, I suppose), although I'm not sure if it's worth it over WUSTL, which would 1) be more or less free for you and 2) is just a better school overall.

You can look at WUSTL's LST reports to see what their placemenet is like in DC, or ask admissions or the career office.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:56 pm

Thanks. I consider $50-60k in loans to be acceptable, although not ideal. It's a really tough choice. I'm going to visit both in the coming weeks and it seems likely that I'll make my decision. I actually have a fee waiver from GULC, might as well shoot in an application, even though I still suspect that I'll be rejected and would have regardless of when I'd applied (168/3.2).

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby waldorf » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:13 pm

bitter_melon wrote:Thanks. I consider $50-60k in loans to be acceptable, although not ideal. It's a really tough choice. I'm going to visit both in the coming weeks and it seems likely that I'll make my decision. I actually have a fee waiver from GULC, might as well shoot in an application, even though I still suspect that I'll be rejected and would have regardless of when I'd applied (168/3.2).


You need to negotiate with WUSTL. I got more per year than you with a significantly worse LSAT. You should be able to negotiate up to a full ride from them with that LSAT.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:26 pm

You think so? Can I leverage my offer from GWU, which is lower ranked, in a different region, and less money?

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:37 pm

bitter_melon wrote:I actually didn't apply to Georgetown. I was stupid, not reading law school forums, and didn't think I had a shot. I psyched myself out, unfortunately.

Edit: And with some limited help from my family + what I have saved, I can budget roughly $30k/yr in tuition/expenses out of pocket.


Is there a reason you can't apply next cycle and go for Georgetown?

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:39 pm

I may not have made the smartest decisions in every way thus far, but I'm not willing to wait another year on the off chance that I would get into a better school that I don't think I would have gotten into anyway.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby floatie » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:44 pm

bitter_melon wrote:You think so? Can I leverage my offer from GWU, which is lower ranked, in a different region, and less money?


I would definitely say negotiate, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. WUSTL has raised the bar in the last year or so for who gets full rides, and a 168 is kind of on the border.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:59 pm

bitter_melon wrote:I may not have made the smartest decisions in every way thus far, but I'm not willing to wait another year on the off chance that I would get into a better school that I don't think I would have gotten into anyway.


So your "dream" (that's what you called it) isn't worth a year to you?

I get that there are no guarantees, but neither of these schools give you a particularly good shot at what are some extremely competitive government jobs, and you haven't articulated any alternate goals. In general, I'd just say go where you're spending less money, but you're shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to your career aspirations.

Don't assume that just because you haven't made the "smartest decisions" so far that you have to compound that by continuing to make bad decisions. There is no rush to get to law school.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:09 pm

I'm not interested in waiting another year. I am happy with GWU vs WUSTL. My dilemma is choosing between them.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby acr » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:23 pm

I am a WUSTL student, and I rarely lobby for the school, but I think that it's the right choice here. DC is a tough market to crack, even for GWU and GULC students. I don't think that GWU is worth the extra money here. Also, you should look into Wash U's Congressional and Administrative DC clinic. Again, I rarely recommend WUSTL to people, but the DC clinic is fantastic if you're interested in DC. Just something to look into. If you spend your 1L summer in DC and participate in the clinic, then I think that WUSTL is a viable option for you.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby AJordan » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:29 pm

Just anecdotally from a 0L but I've come across more than a few folks saying/posting that GW private sector salary results are skewed by patent law eligible individuals who seem to do very well out of GW. That may be of some interest to you depending on your eligibility there.
Last edited by AJordan on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:23 pm

AJordan wrote:Just anecdotally from a 0L but I've come across more than a few folks saying/posting that GW private sector salary results are skewed by patent law eligible individuals who seem to do very well out of GW. That may be of some interest to you depending on your eligibility there.


How would that make sense? $160k is the median, not the mean. And the bottom 25th percentile is still $135k. It seems to me like the general trend is that if you do well and get a private sector job, you will still be making above the median $120k salary WUSTL private sector graduates.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:54 pm

bitter_melon wrote:
AJordan wrote:Just anecdotally from a 0L but I've come across more than a few folks saying/posting that GW private sector salary results are skewed by patent law eligible individuals who seem to do very well out of GW. That may be of some interest to you depending on your eligibility there.


How would that make sense? $160k is the median, not the mean. And the bottom 25th percentile is still $135k. It seems to me like the general trend is that if you do well and get a private sector job, you will still be making above the median $120k salary WUSTL private sector graduates.


I'd be a little skeptical of GW's salary data, since they stopped reporting it in 2012. And that doesn't appear to be an accident, because that's when their employment score on LST dropped precipitously, along with their national ranking. If you look at the ABA report from 2015 and compare it to 2012, it does not paint a pretty picture.

I also think you're reading the salary data incorrectly. Even when GW grads were getting biglaw jobs at a higher rate, only around half the class was going into the private sector, so the median of $160k reflected that about 25% of the total class were getting $160k. I don't think those 25% were the bottom of their class, either. AJordan's point was that the 25th percentile mark is much higher than you'd expect due to the patent law people raising the salary level. Patent law jobs generally have a higher salary than other non-biglaw firm jobs, so if there are enough patent lawyers in that data, it wouldn't accurately reflect your expected salary upon graduation.

It seems like you're treating biglaw as a sort of "backup" plan in case you don't get your goal career (which is a rough career to get from anywhere), and it simply isn't a given at either school. WashU will at least set you up for a better chance at that kind of work.

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studyingeveryday

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby studyingeveryday » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:12 pm

Research whether you can spend a semester or a summer externing at DC from WUSTL! I think (but am not positive) there may be a program like that out there.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby AJordan » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:13 am

Previous poster pretty much nailed it. If you are patent bar eligible you may be at an even greater advantage than the numbers indicate vis-à-vis genpop since, anecdotally, patent bar eligible seem to do well out of GW. On the flip side, if you're not eligible to take it, you may find those numbers do not accurately reflect your biglaw possibilities out of GW because a certain percentage of those private sector jobs are only going to PL eligible candidates.
Last edited by AJordan on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:23 am

Thanks everyone,

I am definitely going to visit both schools, as a well as a couple of others that I got into, but this thread definitely bumped WUSTL up in my eyes.

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bitter_melon

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby bitter_melon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:41 am

studyingeveryday wrote:Research whether you can spend a semester or a summer externing at DC from WUSTL! I think (but am not positive) there may be a program like that out there.


There is, they were pushing that hard in my interview when I was explaining my background and goals.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby pipipipi » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:35 pm

I am not making a choice between GUW and WUSTL, but I sincerely wish there were more responses on other schools like ones I am reading on GW!

How about Michigan, Duke, UCLA numbers?

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:56 pm

pipipipi wrote:I am not making a choice between GUW and WUSTL, but I sincerely wish there were more responses on other schools like ones I am reading on GW!

How about Michigan, Duke, UCLA numbers?


Seriously?

There are a few million threads discussing T14 employment stats relative to scholarships, and there are at least two threads currently on the front page of the "Choosing a Law School" forum that are specifically addressing California jobs from non-California T14 schools vs. schools like UCLA.

Alternatively, you could make your own thread on that forum with all the relevant information beyond naming three schools.

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Re: GWU vs WUSTL

Postby pipipipi » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:37 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
There are a few million threads discussing T14 employment stats relative to scholarships, and there are at least two threads currently on the front page of the "Choosing a Law School" forum that are specifically addressing California jobs from non-California T14 schools vs. schools like UCLA.

Alternatively, you could make your own thread on that forum with all the relevant information beyond naming three schools.


Fair enough. Thank you.



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