VinceIrons wrote:So here's my deal, and I would really appreciate some objective advice as I just (probably foolishly) talked to the academic office about transferring, and the response was less than encouraging.
I currently have a 3.75GPA at a mid-80 ranked school (Hofstra, if that matters), which should put me near the top of the class. Can't say for sure though, since rankings haven't been released and I'm not sure where I could find info on comparing rankings to GPA. Anyway, I am a southern boy at heart (grew up in Kentucky, went to Vanderbilt for undergrad), and I'm realizing that I absolutely cannot picture myself working in New York. Though I don't doubt that I'd be able to get a decent job in NY graduating near the top of my class, I really don't want to live the rest of my life (or at least the foreseeable future) up here, and I highly doubt a JD from Hofstra will get me a job in the south.
Right now, my number one choice would be to transfer to Vanderbilt as I loved my time in undergrad there, Nashville is fantastic, and my girlfriend's brother goes there and loves it. Of course, if I can make it into something like NYU, Columbia, or Cornell (I'm assuming HYS is out of reach), I could put up with two more years of NY if it meant I'd have decent prospects of a job further south.
So my main question is, what are my prospects at getting in to a lower t20 like Vandy, Emory, WashU, what are my prospects for higher ranked southern schools like UVA / Duke, and what's the consensus on the DC schools and why the hype? And of course, is it worth it? I've read through Arrow's post a few times, as well as this thread, and most people seem to be saying t14 or bust. But is it worth transferring to a t20 (or even t25, gasp!) if it's in the region I actually plan to live/work in?
Thanks in advance for any replies / advice.
Oh also, should I be talking to professors and not the actual academic administration? I have a few professors I know will give me excellent recs, I just worry about any ill will they might bear if I tell them this early in the semester that I'm considering transferring.
Hey friend, you should transfer. Congrats on the grades as well. You have the right grades and a strong reason for transferring to Vanderbilt, so why not? I do not think it is T14 or bust, and the line between Top 14 and Top 20 is not huge, especially if you do not care so much about moving around nationally. If you want to practice in Tennessee, then you should really consider going there over Georgetown or something (which is fine as well).
If your grades were anything like my school, you are definitely in the top 10%, which makes you well qualified for T14's. This means you should also have no problem getting into the lower 20-25th ranked schools. If you keep the same grades you have now, transferring to these schools should be no problem.
If you are in the top 5%, then NYU/Columbia is within reach. Our top 5% cutoff was around 3.6-3.7, so if Hofstra is anything like ours, your ranking should be up there as well. Either way, I would consider an early application to Georgetown.
On a side note, I also did not find the administration to be of much help. Then again, in retrospect, they handled "administrative" stuff and were not familiar with transferring. When I went there, they also had a shocked look on their face as if I was suddenly put on high alert.
Professors are much more helpful, as they also went to law school. I did not talk to my professors until second semester grades came out, mostly because I was a bit afraid (or paranoid I admit) that it could have affected my grades. I also did not want to waste the professor's time if my grades that came out turned out to be terrible and then I could not transfer or something. Some students talked to professors during the semester, which seemed to work fine, especially if it was a professor from last semester. I think whether you go see them is a matter of personal comfort (for example, I was scared out of my mind), and it also really depends on what kind of a professor it was and what his/her opinions are on transferring. Of course, if you do an early application, you have to start talking now.
It is totally worth it, but I am totally biased.