transfer or drop out - t14

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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transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:25 am

Hi guys. I'm currently a 1L at a lower t14. I did pretty well this semester - estimate top 10-15 percent, but unsure as my school has not released the cut offs yet. I also am lucky enough to have a 1L big law fellowship at a firm I worked with prior to law school through a diversity program for 0Ls. And I have a scholarship for $75,000 and am financing the rest through loans.

That being said I pretty much hate my law school. During my fall semester I became increasingly miserable due to significant personal/health issues. I also gained 20+ pounds from stress. My school is 8 hours away from my family/closest friends/SO which probably contributed to this. I do like the subject matter, but hate the competitive/intense nature of exams/classes and feel pretty isolated at school (even though I joined clubs, affinity groups, went to bar review etc)

Basically, I'm wondering if I should attempt to transfer closer to home i.e. to Columbia/NYU/Penn/Yale/any top schools close to NYC. I searched for transfers within the t14 and couldn't find many. I'm wondering if this is possible given my GPA, and if it would make sense to do so. I would also be willing to transfer to Fordham or lower ranked schools, but my friend said that would be a bad move.

My other option would be to drop out or withdraw before next semester and tell my firm I will not be working there. I am not sure if this makes sense because I have "done everything right" according to some people I've spoken to, who suggest just riding it out until Big Law. However, I'm not sure I can take another semester, let alone another year (due to my health/mental health stuff) away from my family/SO/support system.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long winded post.

Graybrow
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Graybrow » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi guys. I'm currently a 1L at a lower t14. I did pretty well this semester - estimate top 10-15 percent, but unsure as my school has not released the cut offs yet. I also am lucky enough to have a 1L big law fellowship at a firm I worked with prior to law school through a diversity program for 0Ls. And I have a scholarship for $75,000 and am financing the rest through loans.

That being said I pretty much hate my law school. During my fall semester I became increasingly miserable due to significant personal/health issues. I also gained 20+ pounds from stress. My school is 8 hours away from my family/closest friends/SO which probably contributed to this. I do like the subject matter, but hate the competitive/intense nature of exams/classes and feel pretty isolated at school (even though I joined clubs, affinity groups, went to bar review etc)

Basically, I'm wondering if I should attempt to transfer closer to home i.e. to Columbia/NYU/Penn/Yale/any top schools close to NYC. I searched for transfers within the t14 and couldn't find many. I'm wondering if this is possible given my GPA, and if it would make sense to do so. I would also be willing to transfer to Fordham or lower ranked schools, but my friend said that would be a bad move.

My other option would be to drop out or withdraw before next semester and tell my firm I will not be working there. I am not sure if this makes sense because I have "done everything right" according to some people I've spoken to, who suggest just riding it out until Big Law. However, I'm not sure I can take another semester, let alone another year (due to my health/mental health stuff) away from my family/SO/support system.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long winded post.


You should be able to transfer to Columbia or NYU if you maintain those grades (URM really helps too), and I would absolutely stick it out. Seek help. You'd absolutely regret dropping out.

You got this man. 1L is hellish, but you're already halfway done.

lavarman84
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:11 am

If you finish well (i.e., stay the course), you'll be able to transfer to one of the schools you named. Issue is that you'll lose your scholarship.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:32 am

Graybrow wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi guys. I'm currently a 1L at a lower t14. I did pretty well this semester - estimate top 10-15 percent, but unsure as my school has not released the cut offs yet. I also am lucky enough to have a 1L big law fellowship at a firm I worked with prior to law school through a diversity program for 0Ls. And I have a scholarship for $75,000 and am financing the rest through loans.

That being said I pretty much hate my law school. During my fall semester I became increasingly miserable due to significant personal/health issues. I also gained 20+ pounds from stress. My school is 8 hours away from my family/closest friends/SO which probably contributed to this. I do like the subject matter, but hate the competitive/intense nature of exams/classes and feel pretty isolated at school (even though I joined clubs, affinity groups, went to bar review etc)

Basically, I'm wondering if I should attempt to transfer closer to home i.e. to Columbia/NYU/Penn/Yale/any top schools close to NYC. I searched for transfers within the t14 and couldn't find many. I'm wondering if this is possible given my GPA, and if it would make sense to do so. I would also be willing to transfer to Fordham or lower ranked schools, but my friend said that would be a bad move.

My other option would be to drop out or withdraw before next semester and tell my firm I will not be working there. I am not sure if this makes sense because I have "done everything right" according to some people I've spoken to, who suggest just riding it out until Big Law. However, I'm not sure I can take another semester, let alone another year (due to my health/mental health stuff) away from my family/SO/support system.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long winded post.


You should be able to transfer to Columbia or NYU if you maintain those grades (URM really helps too), and I would absolutely stick it out. Seek help. You'd absolutely regret dropping out.

You got this man. 1L is hellish, but you're already halfway done.


Yea - I guess I'm not sure if it's me hating law school which will translate into me hating being a lawyer, or me hating THIS law school which will be resolved if I move back home. Thanks for the advice too. I'm going to look into therapy for next semester if I do stay in school and trying to cope with the stress of exams better.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:33 am

lavarman84 wrote:If you finish well (i.e., stay the course), you'll be able to transfer to one of the schools you named. Issue is that you'll lose your scholarship.


Is there any other downside to transferring besides the $$? I was hoping to transfer to a school with need based aid but the only one close to home is Y which is super black box/impossible to predict. I spoke to a 2L who transferred there and they said they were top 10 percent but not rejected.
I think that being at home would outweigh the negative. at least I'm hoping.

lavarman84
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:If you finish well (i.e., stay the course), you'll be able to transfer to one of the schools you named. Issue is that you'll lose your scholarship.


Is there any other downside to transferring besides the $$? I was hoping to transfer to a school with need based aid but the only one close to home is Y which is super black box/impossible to predict. I spoke to a 2L who transferred there and they said they were top 10 percent but not rejected.
I think that being at home would outweigh the negative. at least I'm hoping.


The other downside would be losing your grades.

NoDayButToday
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby NoDayButToday » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:If you finish well (i.e., stay the course), you'll be able to transfer to one of the schools you named. Issue is that you'll lose your scholarship.


Is there any other downside to transferring besides the $$? I was hoping to transfer to a school with need based aid but the only one close to home is Y which is super black box/impossible to predict. I spoke to a 2L who transferred there and they said they were top 10 percent but not rejected.
I think that being at home would outweigh the negative. at least I'm hoping.


I was a transfer from T1 to NYU and was surprised to find there were LOTS of transfers from the lower T14 (and even "peer"/T6 schools) both my year and in the transfer classes above and below mine. Primarily GULC, but I also knew a Berkeley and a Chicago. Most of the transfers I knew were from NYC or at least the region and many of them cited wanting to be closer to home or family as a reason for making what was basically a lateral move. Look at the ABA 509 disclosures for the schools you're interested in--especially for Yale, I think you'll see that many, if not most, transfers there are T14 moving up.

I don't think the downsides for you transferring are any different than for anyone else in your position at a good law school--loss of scholarship, likely loss of 1L clerkship recs, having to start over socially (with a group that's tougher to break into because the 1L cliques have solidified), loss of class rank (although most transfers I knew continued to perform close to where they had been 1L--FWIW my 1L GPA and my NYU final GPA were .002 off lol). Other downsides I experienced was not having a thorough 1L type orientation where someone went over all the resources available at the school. Had to take more initiative. Also not having good clinic opportunities until 3L, though I was able to get into my first choice 3L and overall I never felt any opportunities like that were foreclosed to me just because I was a transfer. At NYU we did have a transfer law review competition, and they took 5 (out of probably 25-30 competitors) my year.

I think you have a great shot for NYU and Columbia with those grades. URM could put you over for Yale, though I did always notice my transfer class was very white and I suspected wealthy/not diverse, so I'm not sure if URM or other diversity factors much impact transfer admissions. Could be self-selecting in terms of who feels they have the financial means to apply with no scholarship possibilities on the table.
Last edited by NoDayButToday on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Br3v
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Br3v » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:11 am

Where did you go to school? Maybe an alum can help you out with some tips.

As others have said, 1L is very different than the rest of law school. You have done well and I'd recommend trying to stick it out, but only you really know if you'll be happy in the long run.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Nebby » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:21 am

You have a shot at NYU/CLS, and the cost will be an additional 100k in debt. No one here but you can decide whether the cost is worth the benefit.

Have you tried addressing the mental health issues? Exercise? Eating better? Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist? Sleeping more? Spending less time on campus?

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby blair.waldorf » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:26 pm

Nebby wrote:
Have you tried addressing the mental health issues? Exercise? Eating better? Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist? Sleeping more? Spending less time on campus?


Literally all of this. My problems were more anxiety/stress related than depression, but being away from my SO and family made finals really tough when I just needed someone around. From mid-October on, I was a literal ball of stress and anxiety and had multiple breakdowns where I was just a sobbing, stressed out mess.

What helped me: I spent literally zero time on campus besides going to class, which really helped me avoid the uber-competitive environment that severely contributed to my stress.

Sleep more! I also noticed that when I was on less than 5 hours of sleep, or was going night after night with only 5-6 hours (just my personal sleep requirements, yours may differ), I was significantly more anxious, stressed, etc. That extra hour of studying isn't worth the anxiety/stress and if you're really struggling mentally, you're probably not retaining the information anyway. Eating better also helped - I ate more veggies, greens, etc. and took vitamins - I strongly believe that when you're eating well instead of carb-loading constantly, eating greasy food, etc. it does wonders for your mental health.

I also have a fantastic psychiatrist who was able to prescribe anxiety medication when I was unable to sleep, constantly stressed/anxious, etc. It was absolutely worth the cost and I found it very helpful.

Exercise is also really helpful for me - going on a 30 minute run with my dog even just helps clear my head. Just take a 30-60 minute break from school and get some of your energy out and endorphins pumping.

mcmand
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby mcmand » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:10 pm

Please don't make any dramatic decisions yet. You need to get a counselor/therapist/psychiatrist to work through your anxiety and stress. I promise it will help. Getting on an SSRI in spring of 1L year saved me from the pit of misery I had been in. Any kind of treatment (talk therapy, CBT, or meds) will help, I promise.

Once your mental health is addressed, you'll have a clearer mind and be better able to figure out next steps.

Also, dropping out isn't wise at this point. Your 1L summer may be great and show you that law is a good fit. Law school isn't really like practicing. You may like practice far more. I was one of those people. Hated a lot of law school, loved working.

Use the remainder of your break to get some help. We're here for you if you need to talk!
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby floatie » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:42 pm

I totally feel you on how miserable 1L can be. Here's what helped me:
1. Limit how much time I spent on campus, especially as I got closer to finals. I noticed that my study groups were turning into passive-aggressive comparisons trying to subtly one-up each other on what we were doing to prepare and all.

2. I made a strong effort to get to know people outside of law school. I went to networking events at other schools, and a number of my classmates got involved in intramural sports with students from other schools. I'm going to a T25 in a larger city so I also started going to Toastmasters sessions to practice public speaking and also to get to know other people. It was really nice to get away from law students for a while.

3. Develop a hobby, especially one that you can do on your own. That way, you can at least keep yourself occupied if you can't (or don't want to) hang out with others.

I say all this because you might face a similar situation if you transfer - people will already have formed friend groups and it can get lonely sometimes (I transferred in undergrad and it took me almost a whole school year to develop a good group of friends). I also second the other posters who recommended counseling/therapy/getting on an SSRI - it was an absolute lifesaver for me, especially since law school can often exacerbate underlying anxiety/depression.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby PorscheFanatic » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:46 pm

I wouldn't drop out simply because a summer in Biglaw will mean $$$ that you can use to pay off your likely minimal student loans from 1 year of law school, and then if you really hate it after the summer, then re-visit the dropout possibility.

FWIW, I went to Penn and did not find the environment competitive whatsoever. They overuse the term "collegial" in marketing brochures, but I actually found that to be fairly accurate. Some of our "gunners" were some of the nicest people in our class, and the only way I really knew how well people were doing in classes was based on employment outcomes (who's going to wachtell, cravath, etc.). No one broadcasted grades and you're strongly encouraged not to talk about grades at all in order to maintain the lack of competitive environment.

I did pretty poorly 1L first semester, but a guy I was familiar with but not close with that had done really well first semester let me prep with him for 2nd semester exams. Just one story, but I think that tends to be the culture.

cavalier1138
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:53 pm

I second the therapy recommendations. Your school likely has free therapy, and it is likely underutilized by the student body.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:42 pm

blair.waldorf wrote:
Nebby wrote:
Have you tried addressing the mental health issues? Exercise? Eating better? Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist? Sleeping more? Spending less time on campus?


Literally all of this. My problems were more anxiety/stress related than depression, but being away from my SO and family made finals really tough when I just needed someone around. From mid-October on, I was a literal ball of stress and anxiety and had multiple breakdowns where I was just a sobbing, stressed out mess.

What helped me: I spent literally zero time on campus besides going to class, which really helped me avoid the uber-competitive environment that severely contributed to my stress.

Sleep more! I also noticed that when I was on less than 5 hours of sleep, or was going night after night with only 5-6 hours (just my personal sleep requirements, yours may differ), I was significantly more anxious, stressed, etc. That extra hour of studying isn't worth the anxiety/stress and if you're really struggling mentally, you're probably not retaining the information anyway. Eating better also helped - I ate more veggies, greens, etc. and took vitamins - I strongly believe that when you're eating well instead of carb-loading constantly, eating greasy food, etc. it does wonders for your mental health.

I also have a fantastic psychiatrist who was able to prescribe anxiety medication when I was unable to sleep, constantly stressed/anxious, etc. It was absolutely worth the cost and I found it very helpful.

Exercise is also really helpful for me - going on a 30 minute run with my dog even just helps clear my head. Just take a 30-60 minute break from school and get some of your energy out and endorphins pumping.


Yeah I think the biggest thing was stopping my typical exercise routine (HIIT 3-4 times a week) and sleeping way less. I had issues balancing my studying/reading/outlining with my work outs so I pretty much put them on hold which was terrible. And thank everyone for the recs. I was planning on reaching out to my campus mental health services, but kind of just got in this abysmal depression post-finals and convinced myself it would be better to drop out.

Re: 100,000 the only other thing is that I could live with my SO through the year, saving about 15-20k a year in living expenses that I pay now.

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:44 pm

PorscheFanatic wrote:I wouldn't drop out simply because a summer in Biglaw will mean $$$ that you can use to pay off your likely minimal student loans from 1 year of law school, and then if you really hate it after the summer, then re-visit the dropout possibility.

FWIW, I went to Penn and did not find the environment competitive whatsoever. They overuse the term "collegial" in marketing brochures, but I actually found that to be fairly accurate. Some of our "gunners" were some of the nicest people in our class, and the only way I really knew how well people were doing in classes was based on employment outcomes (who's going to wachtell, cravath, etc.). No one broadcasted grades and you're strongly encouraged not to talk about grades at all in order to maintain the lack of competitive environment.

I did pretty poorly 1L first semester, but a guy I was familiar with but not close with that had done really well first semester let me prep with him for 2nd semester exams. Just one story, but I think that tends to be the culture.


I was actually thinking about applying to Penn as a transfer b/c its a 2.5 hour drive from my home and much closer to where I could at least see my fam and SO over the weekends. That's good to know too. I am not sure why I found my section hyper competitive. I did go to a pretty relaxed state school, so it's possible I am just not used to people gunning. I've noticed a lot of people ask about grades here too, like straight up which was surprising

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:46 pm

floatie wrote:I totally feel you on how miserable 1L can be. Here's what helped me:
1. Limit how much time I spent on campus, especially as I got closer to finals. I noticed that my study groups were turning into passive-aggressive comparisons trying to subtly one-up each other on what we were doing to prepare and all.

2. I made a strong effort to get to know people outside of law school. I went to networking events at other schools, and a number of my classmates got involved in intramural sports with students from other schools. I'm going to a T25 in a larger city so I also started going to Toastmasters sessions to practice public speaking and also to get to know other people. It was really nice to get away from law students for a while.

3. Develop a hobby, especially one that you can do on your own. That way, you can at least keep yourself occupied if you can't (or don't want to) hang out with others.

I say all this because you might face a similar situation if you transfer - people will already have formed friend groups and it can get lonely sometimes (I transferred in undergrad and it took me almost a whole school year to develop a good group of friends). I also second the other posters who recommended counseling/therapy/getting on an SSRI - it was an absolute lifesaver for me, especially since law school can often exacerbate underlying anxiety/depression.


Thanks for this. Mentioned above, but I had wanted to use my school services for therapy and had reached out to the Dean at one point, but post-finals pretty much became too depressed to care/just wanted to drop out. I think the only upside to transferring would be my friend group/SO and established networks in NYC, but that might be a missed opportunity to branch out and make good friendships..

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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:48 pm

NoDayButToday wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:If you finish well (i.e., stay the course), you'll be able to transfer to one of the schools you named. Issue is that you'll lose your scholarship.


Is there any other downside to transferring besides the $$? I was hoping to transfer to a school with need based aid but the only one close to home is Y which is super black box/impossible to predict. I spoke to a 2L who transferred there and they said they were top 10 percent but not rejected.
I think that being at home would outweigh the negative. at least I'm hoping.


I was a transfer from T1 to NYU and was surprised to find there were LOTS of transfers from the lower T14 (and even "peer"/T6 schools) both my year and in the transfer classes above and below mine. Primarily GULC, but I also knew a Berkeley and a Chicago. Most of the transfers I knew were from NYC or at least the region and many of them cited wanting to be closer to home or family as a reason for making what was basically a lateral move. Look at the ABA 509 disclosures for the schools you're interested in--especially for Yale, I think you'll see that many, if not most, transfers there are T14 moving up.

I don't think the downsides for you transferring are any different than for anyone else in your position at a good law school--loss of scholarship, likely loss of 1L clerkship recs, having to start over socially (with a group that's tougher to break into because the 1L cliques have solidified), loss of class rank (although most transfers I knew continued to perform close to where they had been 1L--FWIW my 1L GPA and my NYU final GPA were .002 off lol). Other downsides I experienced was not having a thorough 1L type orientation where someone went over all the resources available at the school. Had to take more initiative. Also not having good clinic opportunities until 3L, though I was able to get into my first choice 3L and overall I never felt any opportunities like that were foreclosed to me just because I was a transfer. At NYU we did have a transfer law review competition, and they took 5 (out of probably 25-30 competitors) my year.

I think you have a great shot for NYU and Columbia with those grades. URM could put you over for Yale, though I did always notice my transfer class was very white and I suspected wealthy/not diverse, so I'm not sure if URM or other diversity factors much impact transfer admissions. Could be self-selecting in terms of who feels they have the financial means to apply with no scholarship possibilities on the table.


This was really great, thanks. I've hard that URM doesn't really count for transfer apps, but that a 1L big law job might.
And I thought the social group might be less important to me because of my center of friends in NYC, but I guess that that might also be isolating even if I transfer to NYU/CLS.

NoDayButToday
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Re: transfer or drop out - t14

Postby NoDayButToday » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:11 am

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