Transfer question-- NYC

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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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Transfer question-- NYC

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:10 pm

I am currently a student at a T2 school in the New York City area. For what it's worth, I like my school, my classmates, and my professors, and feel I've developed surprisingly good ties and connections given that I know my own strengths and weaknesses, and networking doesn't generally fall on the "strengths" list. I am on law review, have been accepted to a relatively competitive clinic for next year, and have club leadership positions that are closely tied to my professional interests and personal identity. My cumulative GPA for 1L year was comfortably above the cutoff for top 10%. At this point, I've just been accepted to NYU and have until Monday 8/5 to either accept and put down a deposit, or decline. Still waiting on a decision from Columbia. I've been trying to use my acceptance to NYU as leverage to increase my merit scholarship at my current school. I already have all but around $11k per year of tuition covered by merit aid, but given my financial situation and career goals this additional funding does make a difference to me. However, I don't feel that negotiations are necessarily going well, though I haven't received a definite no as yet.

My question is, given this situation, do I stay where I am comfortable and doing well (taking on additional student loan debt of about $11k in tuition costs plus around $18k for cost of living per year), or take the risk of attending NYU with no knowledge of how well I will or will not do, at sticker price?

I'd love to leave academia and federal clerkships open to myself as options to the extent possible, but I get the sense that my chances at NYU, especially as a transfer who might or might not write on to a decent journal, would not be that great anyway. Meanwhile, there are a (very) few professors out there who graduated from my current institution, and a handful of students who end up in federal clerkships per year (+/- 1% of last year's class.) Given all this, I don't feel that I am shutting doors to myself if I stay, or necessarily opening doors in any guaranteed way by leaving, just skewing the probabilities in a certain direction. If those long-shot goals are unattainable, I'd like to do something public interest focused-- don't want to get too specific with my goals for fear of identifying myself, however, I will say that my areas of interest are probably overall better suited to certain private nonprofits than to, say, government work.

Thoughts, anyone?
Also, does the analysis change at all if I am accepted to Columbia?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated at this point as I have basically come to an impasse with myself over this decision.

jlb24
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:06 pm

Re: Transfer question-- NYC

Postby jlb24 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:06 am

.
Last edited by jlb24 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

blsingindisguise
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Transfer question-- NYC

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:15 am

I was in almost exactly your situation and did not transfer (I actually had a free ride so the economics were even more in favor of staying). I'm not going to say I regret or don't regret it -- there were particular things about my situation and personal life at the time that made it better for me to stay put and to not have debt, and I also knew I didn't want biglaw. But everyone I knew who transferred to a T6 school did very well -- clerkships, V20 firms, etc.

So I guess here is what you have to ask yourself: what is more important to you, prestigious opportunities in your career, or the freedom of not having as much debt (and you're still going to have mid-five-figure debt if you stay)? It's really not as simple as the above poster made it sound, and I don't think s/he knows what s/he is talking about. Being "happy where you are" isn't really a major consideration -- you're talking about the next two years versus choices that will shape your whole career. If you want the best shot at top federal clerkships, biglaw, etc. then transfer. Academia may be a longshot, but it is basically a NO shot from a T2. NYU will give you the chance to have a better legal career overall, even if you don't do as well relative to your class as you did at your T2.

Again, there isn't a "right" choice here but there are wrong reasons. Fearing you won't stand out at NYU, or feeling complacent where you are are really bad reasons not to transfer.

blsingindisguise
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Transfer question-- NYC

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:17 am

And by the way, if you want public interest, I know NYU at least used to have a great remittance or repayment program for people who do public interest. I don't know the status now, but you should look into it.

shock259
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Transfer question-- NYC

Postby shock259 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:58 am

Fantastic posts above. First post is crap.

I was in a similar position and transferred from a midwestern T1 to a NYU/CLS.

Academia is basically not possible from your T2. It's hard from NYU, but it's hard from most places that aren't Yale.

Transferring and leaving your friends and community behind sucks. It really sucks. I wish I could tell you that your new friends at your new school will be just as great as your old friends. But it may not be true. It can be harder to integrate yourself as a transfer. That said, it will almost certainly be tolerable. There will be other transfers, and you can still see your T2 friends (you're staying in the same city at least).

These are long term decisions with serious ramifications for your future. Two years of fun pales in comparison to decades in a career that better fits your goals (IE academia).

The debt is a personal question. It really depends on how comfortable you are at taking on the additional debt.

Don't worry about standing out at your new law school. You don't need to stand out nearly as much to get a biglaw job/academia/clerkship at NYU. And grade-wise, you probably will anyway. Most transfers end up near the top of their class (although most end up a bit lower than they were 1L).

Good luck.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Transfer question-- NYC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:08 pm

OP here. Thank you both for taking the time to respond. Shock, what is your source when you say that transfer students generally excel?




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