Reapply next cycle, but only for financial reasons?

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LongDraggingFootstep

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Reapply next cycle, but only for financial reasons?

Postby LongDraggingFootstep » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:21 am

I am currently applying to schools for the Fall 2018 semester, and it's been going pretty well. I've been accepted at 5 schools, all top 30 including 2 T14s. Still waiting to hear from 4 more T14 schools and have been waitlisted at another...not super optimistic about my odds at this point, but happy with my options. I have >75% tuition offers at the two lowest ranked schools I've been accepted too (both with regional advantages b/c of proximity to friends & family). I received my first T14 financial info this week, and received ~40% tuition scholarship.

My goal is to be a public interest lawyer, specifically working on housing issues. I know everyone says this and then changes to biglaw or whatever, but I'm certain. I've had 3 years working out of school at a nonprofit, I understand the lifestyle has its limits, I enjoy the work, etc. More to the point, I know I definitely don't want the biglaw lifestyle. As I've gotten farther along in this process, I've been looking even closer at costs, loans, LRAPs, etc, and I can't help but wonder if I would be better served spending another year working, purely to have more savings ahead of time. I am aiming right now to have ~$10k saved by this fall. I think I could get to $40K+ by next fall. I'd be much more comfortable knowing I had some cushion to fall back on in case of a long employment stretch, failing to finish school, etc, and just to take fewer loans out for non-tuition expenses.

Basically, I'm terrified at the idea of taking >$150k out in loans and then hoping to make it through 10 years with an LRAP. Also worried about the future of relying of PSLF being altered. The lower ranked schools with better aid packages would probably be about $50k-$80k in total, and it freaks me out to think about taking on that much debt without the job prospects and LRAP help a T14 school would provide. (And I know, I know, I've wasted a few hundred bucks on apps by now, and should've thought of this before, etc. I sort of just told myself I could do the LRAP thing and be fine and didn't run numbers as thoroughly as I should have)

So I'm wondering if there are downsides to re-applying that I don't know about. Will schools feel like I wasted their time this cycle and be less likely to admit me? Will they be stingy with their aid? I'm 26, already a little older than most 1Ls: Does that hurt me, either for admissions or job prospects down the line? Am I just dumb and need to be negotiating more? (I am planning to do so but want to wait to hear back from more schools). Should I try to get in now to be sure I get grandfathered into PSLF? I have thought about deferring enrollment, but everyone seems to require special circumstances for that; is that accurate, or could I get a year to wait? Any advice would be helpful.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Reapply next cycle, but only for financial reasons?

Postby totesTheGoat » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:25 pm

Basically, I'm terrified at the idea of taking >$150k out in loans and then hoping to make it through 10 years with an LRAP.


You should be... It's insane to enslave yourself to your student loans for a decade, even if you get forgiveness of some of the loans at the end. Especially since you're not shooting for a job that could pay that money back in 2 or 3 years. I've never heard a single person regret waiting another year or two for law school, especially if it put them in a better financial position. I've heard plenty who regretted taking out 150k in loans to pay for school, including myself.

Frankly, if a law school is going to hold your decision to put your financial stability first against you, they don't deserve your business, T14 or no. In reality, I don't think anybody is going to hold the decision against you.

Another angle to try with some of these schools is to talk to the admissions folks and explain your situation. If you tell them that your goal is public interest work and that you're not interested in spending 10 years paying off 6 figures in debt, and that you're seriously considering sitting out this cycle to get in a better financial situation, money may start appearing. Just like any other form of negotiation, you need to walk in knowing that if they don't meet your expectations, you're actually going to follow through and sit out the cycle.

LongDraggingFootstep

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Re: Reapply next cycle, but only for financial reasons?

Postby LongDraggingFootstep » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks! I appreciate the advice. I hadn't thought of using the decision to use my option to stay in my job as leverage for more aid, that's smart. Also good to know my head's in the right place re: massive, massive debt.

Yulifus

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Re: Reapply next cycle, but only for financial reasons?

Postby Yulifus » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:31 pm

If you're looking to work in public interest at a lower paying job, you should probably re-apply to a lower ranking school. Tier 2 should be more than sufficient. You don't need to go to t14 unless you want to work for biglaw.



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