Curious about transferring

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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Mce252
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:43 pm

Curious about transferring

Postby Mce252 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:38 pm

I'm considering transferring at the end of this year, but I am in a tricky situation. I'm at a T4 right now and I'm somewhat confident that I'm going to place high in my class. However, even if I end up in the position to look at highly ranked schools in different parts of the country (I'm in Houston), my wife works full-time and funds our cost of living. I'm extremely risk averse and will not take on student loan debt unless I'm certain the return is there. (Part of the reason I'm at a T4).

If I was single and didn't have ties that I'd have to uproot, I would jump on a plane to a school in a different area in no time, if accepted. Not only would I have to uproot, but also would likely take on a significantly larger percentage of debt because my wife probably wouldn't find a job immediately upon moving to the new area to cover living expenses, and I might not have scholarship money at the new school.

So my options would be to transfer to the University of Houston, which is a good T2 school and extremely strong value in the Houston market, in which I want to work. However, based on my midterm grades, there is a chance that I could have grades good enough to shoot a couple appliocations to T14 schools. My dream school is Cornell, for various reasons. So if anyone is actually reading this, I would love advice. Please do consider my situation and the amount of debt I would have to take on at a school in a different area to cover both me, my wife and education. Whereas if I stayed in Houston and transferred to U of H, she could keep her job, I would be in a better school and still be in the market I want. But the thought of having the opportunity at a T14 school makes me anxious and uncertain. What would you do in my situation if you got into a T14 school and U of H at the end of this year?

concurrent fork
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:40 am

Re: Curious about transferring

Postby concurrent fork » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:16 pm

A few things:
1. You're almost certainly going to pay full freight at the new school. Since your wife works full time, it's unlikely that you're eligible for need-based aid (transfers don't get merit scholarships).
2. Transferring T4 --> T14 requires you to be at least top 5% of your class, and higher to have a realistic chance, so I wouldn't get ahead of yourself. Do you know what your rank is at mid-term?
3. Are you aiming for biglaw? If you want to work in Houston, transferring to Cornell might not make sense (nor be worth the additional debt). The brand-name power of many T14s has been greatly diminished ITE. You could be more attractive to a Houston firm as a top 1% local student than a median Cornell student -- someone more familiar with the TX market may be able to comment.

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Mce252
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Re: Curious about transferring

Postby Mce252 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:31 pm

Yeah, that's what my gut is telling me as well. University of Houston seems like the more practical option -- financially and for my ultimate career. We didn't get ranked at midterms but our professors laid out a chart of grade distribution during class. I was consistently within the top five. I know that doesn't make any difference when it comes to finals but it gets me thinking and if I'm going to go for anything I need to work on application stuff over winter break so I can focus on law review submissions during the summer.

concurrent fork
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:40 am

Re: Curious about transferring

Postby concurrent fork » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:28 pm

Don't get me wrong -- you should still apply broadly to maximize your options. However, I think your intuition is right that in your situation it's probably better to stay in your home market and minimize debt than uproot your family for a lower T14.

RodneyBoonfield
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: Curious about transferring

Postby RodneyBoonfield » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:09 pm

If Cornell is part of the discussion, why isn't UT?

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Mce252
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:43 pm

Re: Curious about transferring

Postby Mce252 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:23 pm

It would be if I decided it was worth shooting apps to the T14. But the move wouldn't be that much less dramatic for us because my wife would still have to find another job on short notice and move to a new city with no financial support. Moving to Austin would be better for staying close to my target market, but the other effects would be similar. Anyway, so i just phrased it as Cornell because if I had a choice of lower T14, that's where I'd choose. I have family that went to school there so it's just one of those places that I'd like to attend if it was possible.

RodneyBoonfield
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: Curious about transferring

Postby RodneyBoonfield » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:39 pm

As a transfer myself, I see things from a whole new light. If your target market is Texas, UT would be the best thing you could possibly do. Although Cornell has great national reach, its simply easier and more practical to find work/make connections if you remain in Texas. Because you will likely be interviewing with Texas firms before your 2L fall finals are over, making the trip is obviously much easier if you're still in Texas. Additionally, Cornell will not likely give you access to summer job openings via their simplicity site, which would make life even more difficult for you. If you have the connections already in Texas, though, and Cornell is really what you want, its not a bad alternative. That being said, I think its essential to consider instate tuition at Texas + easy access to target market vs. Full tuition at Cornell with minimal access to target market.




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