B,B-,B- at Penn

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Imessedup
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B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby Imessedup » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:15 am

Hey TLS,

I need some advice on what to do. As my name implies, I messed up my first semester at Penn. I don't know what to do and am doubting whether or not I want to be a lawyer at the moment. I realize most people would say walk away now, but I do have a significant scholarship. Should I wait until OCI or just cut my losses now?

TYIA

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OutCold
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby OutCold » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:14 pm

I would wait until you get your next set of grades and go through OCI, especially if you have a significant scholarship. Employers go very deep into class. The two B-s put you near the bottom of the barrel, and if things don't change, OCI will not go well. You really need to determine what went wrong and try to correct it before spring exams. That being said, if you want to be a lawyer, you'll be able to find something from the bottom of the class at Penn--just know that it will likely be a small firm or local government gig. Whether you choose to continue if that is the case will entirely depend on your scholarship situation and the options available to you.

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:21 pm

Did you mess up or did you do poorly?

Meaning, do you you feel you put in the perquisite time to do well and still suck, or did you just try and skate by and fail?

Imessedup
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby Imessedup » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:55 pm

I didnt try to skate by, but I didnt put in everything I had. I thought I was well-prepared for the test, but thinking back, should have done more timed tests. I know I can prepare and practice more, but I went into the exams confident with what I knew. I guess what I am saying is that I'm not sure how much more I can personally improve.

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bearsfan23
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby bearsfan23 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:18 am

Drop out. Below median means 0% chance at OCI, unemployment, and crushing debt.

Seriously though, what is with all the should I drop out posts? You're not going to get any worthwhile advice on here, it really depends on what you value, what type of job you'd want/settle for, what your other options are, and if you really think you can do better. You're the only person who can answer those questions.

If I were in your position, I wouldn't drop out unless I got straight C's or something. The idea that people at Penn don't get jobs at OCI from the bottom 3rd of the class is A. Wrong, B. Proved wronged by every available statistic.

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OutCold
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby OutCold » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:57 am

bearsfan23 wrote:Drop out. Below median means 0% chance at OCI, unemployment, and crushing debt.

Seriously though, what is with all the should I drop out posts? You're not going to get any worthwhile advice on here, it really depends on what you value, what type of job you'd want/settle for, what your other options are, and if you really think you can do better. You're the only person who can answer those questions.

If I were in your position, I wouldn't drop out unless I got straight C's or something. The idea that people at Penn don't get jobs at OCI from the bottom 3rd of the class is A. Wrong, B. Proved wronged by every available statistic.

I go to Penn. Many people in the bottom third do not get jobs through OCI. As I said in my first post, most of them find jobs as lawyers, but it will not be at a big firm. We place around 60% in biglaw (ie. got their jobs through OCI) and another 10% or so in clerkships. That still leaves 30% of the class that is either looking for PI by choice (which tends to be a rather small, but growing, group here at Penn) or missed the biglaw boat and is now looking at midsize and small firms or state and local government positions. Almost everyone that graduates from Penn is employed as a lawyer, so the questions become whether those people can support their debtload with those lower salaries and whether they would be happy with such a position. By all means, if the answer is yes to both of those questions, sticking around is the right answer. If the answer is no to either, one should probably drop out.

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Wholigan
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby Wholigan » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:42 am

That still leaves 30% of the class that is either looking for PI by choice (which tends to be a rather small, but growing, group here at Penn) or missed the biglaw boat and is now looking at midsize and small firms or state and local government positions.


For whatever the distinction is worth, there are other outcomes not connected with missing the biglaw boat, that, combined with the PI focused, probably make up an additional 10-15% of the class in addition to the 70% who either get biglaw or Art III clerkships. That includes other clerkships that are equally desirable (Chancery/SSC), I-Banks, and advanced degree seekers. In the bottom third, it will definitely take smart OCI bidding, good interview skills, and other ways of impressing if you want biglaw, but as pointed out, people do get jobs at OCI.

merica!
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby merica! » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:56 pm

Imessedup wrote:Hey TLS,

I need some advice on what to do. As my name implies, I messed up my first semester at Penn. I don't know what to do and am doubting whether or not I want to be a lawyer at the moment. I realize most people would say walk away now, but I do have a significant scholarship. Should I wait until OCI or just cut my losses now?

TYIA


I feel your pain dude. I had very similar experience last year as 1l at Penn so maybe it will help.

First semester I got B,B,B-. I had some pretty terrible professors, at least i though so, and blamed them, although I was very depressed after. However spring semester I liked my professors and courses much better and got A,A-,B+,B+.

I did not get a job through OCI even with my grade improvement, you likely wont either. If you are biglaw or no law then drop out. I needed (and still need biglaw) for my debts, but I wanted to be a lawyer not necessarily biglaw. My biggest regret at this point is not taking a substantial scholarship at a T2O. But its too late and I cant change that now. I want to be a lawyer and my only way o achieving it at this point is to stay on a goddamn penn paying tuition that I have no way of paying back.

If you decide you do want to be a lawyer and stay on at Penn, let me warn you then next two and a half years will be very difficult. Your douche classmates will have zero sensitivity towards your plight or worse they will show fake compassion. They will be taking it easy while you bust your ass. Also they will look-down on you for not having a job. I know everyone will say - "that cant be true", but trust me I live through it every day.

CP&P is a joke, I have gave up on them completely. Penn is a good enough job placement without them doing anything for you. I have begged them to help me out to make a call for me or something like that but it rarely happens. Deans don't care and don't have time. Dean clinton will sit and listen to you and tell you don't worry, but there is nothing he can do. Financial office will treat you like shit they don't care wether you have anyway of paying back your loans.

With all that in mind, if you still decide to stay on, I give you two crucial pieces of advice that will help you survive and stay sane. Find a friend, someone you can tolerate, that is in the same boat as you and become very close to him or her. They will be the only people that can understand what your going through. You can sound ideas off each other, brainstorm and study together, and most importantly make fun and curse out everyone else at school. This will be the most helpful and supportive thing you have. Besides that do not hang out in school, go to class do your work and get the hell out. Make friends not in the law school, hang with your family, hell get a Netflix subscription and binge watch, but don't hang out with people from school it will make it much worse.

With that I wish you the best of luck, know people before you have done it and survived. Penn is not a good place for our situation but were stuck so make the best out of it.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby JWalker » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:11 pm

merica! wrote:
Imessedup wrote:Hey TLS,

I need some advice on what to do. As my name implies, I messed up my first semester at Penn. I don't know what to do and am doubting whether or not I want to be a lawyer at the moment. I realize most people would say walk away now, but I do have a significant scholarship. Should I wait until OCI or just cut my losses now?

TYIA


I feel your pain dude. I had very similar experience last year as 1l at Penn so maybe it will help.

First semester I got B,B,B-. I had some pretty terrible professors, at least i though so, and blamed them, although I was very depressed after. However spring semester I liked my professors and courses much better and got A,A-,B+,B+.

I did not get a job through OCI even with my grade improvement, you likely wont either. If you are biglaw or no law then drop out. I needed (and still need biglaw) for my debts, but I wanted to be a lawyer not necessarily biglaw. My biggest regret at this point is not taking a substantial scholarship at a T2O. But its too late and I cant change that now. I want to be a lawyer and my only way o achieving it at this point is to stay on a goddamn penn paying tuition that I have no way of paying back.

If you decide you do want to be a lawyer and stay on at Penn, let me warn you then next two and a half years will be very difficult. Your douche classmates will have zero sensitivity towards your plight or worse they will show fake compassion. They will be taking it easy while you bust your ass. Also they will look-down on you for not having a job. I know everyone will say - "that cant be true", but trust me I live through it every day.

CP&P is a joke, I have gave up on them completely. Penn is a good enough job placement without them doing anything for you. I have begged them to help me out to make a call for me or something like that but it rarely happens. Deans don't care and don't have time. Dean clinton will sit and listen to you and tell you don't worry, but there is nothing he can do. Financial office will treat you like shit they don't care wether you have anyway of paying back your loans.

With all that in mind, if you still decide to stay on, I give you two crucial pieces of advice that will help you survive and stay sane. Find a friend, someone you can tolerate, that is in the same boat as you and become very close to him or her. They will be the only people that can understand what your going through. You can sound ideas off each other, brainstorm and study together, and most importantly make fun and curse out everyone else at school. This will be the most helpful and supportive thing you have. Besides that do not hang out in school, go to class do your work and get the hell out. Make friends not in the law school, hang with your family, hell get a Netflix subscription and binge watch, but don't hang out with people from school it will make it much worse.

With that I wish you the best of luck, know people before you have done it and survived. Penn is not a good place for our situation but were stuck so make the best out of it.


NYU 2L here who struck out and I think the bolded is really good advice. I also walked into interviews with a couple of B-s on my transcript and quite a few of my interviewers seemed to treat it as the scarlet letter. I know people who got great jobs even with a B- so it's of course possible, but just keep in mind, OP, that it will be undeniably much tougher trying to land biglaw with those two grades.

I don't have any debt and I'm not a biglaw or bust person so I've actually been enjoying 2L, but I have friends who desperately, really desperately wanted biglaw and still struck out. It's pretty obvious that they're taking it much harder and if you're one of those people, while I'd recommend you stick around and improve your grades (trust me, I know from experience that you can't do any worse lol), do take some time to ask yourself if getting biglaw is what you really want/need.

billium
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby billium » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:08 am

2L at NYU checking in with a B-. I ended up getting an offer but it wasnt a forgone conclusion. This far into the semester I would say stick it out and look for an RA job this summer. I say RA because maybe you can get lucky befriend a professor who may put in a call for you come OCI. In terms of advice I would say you have 4 months to A. try to improve you grades and B. (and I would say at this point more important) start networking. Now I dont know if going to firm events helps (i doubt it does) but start talking to everyone you know and make a list of lawyers they know at firms and email those lawyer pre oci just to chat. They will be great help and possibly can be your tipping point ( i insist they were for me).

Also come 1st semester 2l be prepared to drop out. I did not, and refused to, pay for my that semester till i got the offer under the theory that they wont drop my classes and i will drop out if i dont get an offer.

All is not lost but itll be tought- good luck

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bearsfan23
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:47 am

billium wrote:2L at NYU checking in with a B-. I ended up getting an offer but it wasnt a forgone conclusion. This far into the semester I would say stick it out and look for an RA job this summer. I say RA because maybe you can get lucky befriend a professor who may put in a call for you come OCI. In terms of advice I would say you have 4 months to A. try to improve you grades and B. (and I would say at this point more important) start networking. Now I dont know if going to firm events helps (i doubt it does) but start talking to everyone you know and make a list of lawyers they know at firms and email those lawyer pre oci just to chat. They will be great help and possibly can be your tipping point ( i insist they were for me).

Also come 1st semester 2l be prepared to drop out. I did not, and refused to, pay for my that semester till i got the offer under the theory that they wont drop my classes and i will drop out if i dont get an offer.

All is not lost but itll be tought- good luck


This is just terrible advice. Drop out after 3 semesters of law school? Really? Exactly what type of job is even possible with that, good luck explaining a 2 year gap on a resume, I'm sure employers will be dying to hire someone like that.

Am I the only person who posts here who has actually worked before law school? Guess what - its not just drop out of law school then go into some other easy career field with guaranteed 100k income. For 99% of people, Graduating with a law degree from Penn is a far better decision than dropping out after 1.5 years. Grades are not everything and BigLaw is not everything. But keeping giving terrible advice dude, after all you are a law student.

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wiz
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby wiz » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:22 am

bearsfan23 wrote:
billium wrote:2L at NYU checking in with a B-. I ended up getting an offer but it wasnt a forgone conclusion. This far into the semester I would say stick it out and look for an RA job this summer. I say RA because maybe you can get lucky befriend a professor who may put in a call for you come OCI. In terms of advice I would say you have 4 months to A. try to improve you grades and B. (and I would say at this point more important) start networking. Now I dont know if going to firm events helps (i doubt it does) but start talking to everyone you know and make a list of lawyers they know at firms and email those lawyer pre oci just to chat. They will be great help and possibly can be your tipping point ( i insist they were for me).

Also come 1st semester 2l be prepared to drop out. I did not, and refused to, pay for my that semester till i got the offer under the theory that they wont drop my classes and i will drop out if i dont get an offer.

All is not lost but itll be tought- good luck


This is just terrible advice. Drop out after 3 semesters of law school? Really? Exactly what type of job is even possible with that, good luck explaining a 2 year gap on a resume, I'm sure employers will be dying to hire someone like that.

Am I the only person who posts here who has actually worked before law school? Guess what - its not just drop out of law school then go into some other easy career field with guaranteed 100k income. For 99% of people, Graduating with a law degree from Penn is a far better decision than dropping out after 1.5 years. Grades are not everything and BigLaw is not everything. But keeping giving terrible advice dude, after all you are a law student.


The poster's advice was to drop out after 1.0 years of law school if OP struck out at OCI. And btw, it's not terrible advice. I'm not sure where you got the easy career field with guaranteed 100k income part from, but the point is that going deeper into debt for a job that will not allow you to pay off 200k+ in student loans is not a smart decision (granted, I do not know OP's financial situation).

For 99% of people, dropping out after a year is a far better decision than graduating at or near the bottom of the class with a law degree from Penn and unserviceable debt.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby PennLaw16 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:34 am

I never understand the advice to drop out from T14s. In some cases, mostly where the person doesn't actually want to be a lawyer, I suppose it makes some sense. But in the vast majority of cases, you're better off with the debt and the degree.

Let's break it down mathematically. I assume most people aren't taking full sticker + living expenses out in debt. So let's say you're eating $40k in debt per year. After the first year, your sunk cost is already $40k, so that doesn't factor in. Stay on through graduation and the cost is another $80 in debt.

$80 in debt on a 30-year repayment plan comes out to $530 per month. $530 per month is roughly $6,500 per year. So let's be real. Is that T14 degree going to boost your average annual salary by $7g or more over the duration of your career? Easy answer for the vast majority of people is yes. If you happen to be some kind of studly engineer or have an open door at an investment banking firm, this does not apply to you.

Tl;dr, you might think starting $120k behind the eight-ball with a $60k per year job sucks, but it's all relative. If you're starting at 60 in a horrible law job, odds are you're starting at or below 50 without a law degree, and you've still got $40k on your shoulders. Just stay $10g ahead of where you'd be without the degree, and law school was a good investment. Or better yet, find some LRAP work.

I think a lot of people realize that scrapping out massive loans on a low salary sucks. That's true. Making under 100k annually basically means you're poor. Making that with 6-digit loans means you're super poor. But you're going to be poor either way. Be less poor with a marketable degree.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:41 pm

PennLaw16 wrote:I never understand the advice to drop out from T14s. In some cases, mostly where the person doesn't actually want to be a lawyer, I suppose it makes some sense. But in the vast majority of cases, you're better off with the debt and the degree.

Let's break it down mathematically. I assume most people aren't taking full sticker + living expenses out in debt. So let's say you're eating $40k in debt per year. After the first year, your sunk cost is already $40k, so that doesn't factor in. Stay on through graduation and the cost is another $80 in debt.

$80 in debt on a 30-year repayment plan comes out to $530 per month. $530 per month is roughly $6,500 per year. So let's be real. Is that T14 degree going to boost your average annual salary by $7g or more over the duration of your career? Easy answer for the vast majority of people is yes. If you happen to be some kind of studly engineer or have an open door at an investment banking firm, this does not apply to you.

Tl;dr, you might think starting $120k behind the eight-ball with a $60k per year job sucks, but it's all relative. If you're starting at 60 in a horrible law job, odds are you're starting at or below 50 without a law degree, and you've still got $40k on your shoulders. Just stay $10g ahead of where you'd be without the degree, and law school was a good investment. Or better yet, find some LRAP work.

I think a lot of people realize that scrapping out massive loans on a low salary sucks. That's true. Making under 100k annually basically means you're poor. Making that with 6-digit loans means you're super poor. But you're going to be poor either way. Be less poor with a marketable degree.

If you want to assume the typical student has a 1/2 to 3/4 scholarship, then sure that changes the calculus. But for the large portion of students who will be looking at an additional 150k+ in debt if they stick around things are different.

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OutCold
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby OutCold » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:17 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
PennLaw16 wrote:I never understand the advice to drop out from T14s. In some cases, mostly where the person doesn't actually want to be a lawyer, I suppose it makes some sense. But in the vast majority of cases, you're better off with the debt and the degree.

Let's break it down mathematically. I assume most people aren't taking full sticker + living expenses out in debt. So let's say you're eating $40k in debt per year. After the first year, your sunk cost is already $40k, so that doesn't factor in. Stay on through graduation and the cost is another $80 in debt.

$80 in debt on a 30-year repayment plan comes out to $530 per month. $530 per month is roughly $6,500 per year. So let's be real. Is that T14 degree going to boost your average annual salary by $7g or more over the duration of your career? Easy answer for the vast majority of people is yes. If you happen to be some kind of studly engineer or have an open door at an investment banking firm, this does not apply to you.

Tl;dr, you might think starting $120k behind the eight-ball with a $60k per year job sucks, but it's all relative. If you're starting at 60 in a horrible law job, odds are you're starting at or below 50 without a law degree, and you've still got $40k on your shoulders. Just stay $10g ahead of where you'd be without the degree, and law school was a good investment. Or better yet, find some LRAP work.

I think a lot of people realize that scrapping out massive loans on a low salary sucks. That's true. Making under 100k annually basically means you're poor. Making that with 6-digit loans means you're super poor. But you're going to be poor either way. Be less poor with a marketable degree.

If you want to assume the typical student has a 1/2 to 3/4 scholarship, then sure that changes the calculus. But for the large portion of students who will be looking at an additional 150k+ in debt if they stick around things are different.


That calculus also assumes no undergraduate debt that would be accruing interest for the three years.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby 20141023 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:10 pm

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mx23250
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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby mx23250 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:18 pm

Isn't the whole reason everyone on here says you should only go to a top school (like Penn) is that you can finish in the bottom 30% and still feel confident you'll get a good paying attorney job?

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:25 pm

mx23250 wrote:Isn't the whole reason everyone on here says you should only go to a top school (like Penn) is that you can finish in the bottom 30% and still feel confident you'll get a good paying attorney job?

Salaries don't stop being bimodal just because you're at Penn. The nice thing about this process is that you have a really good idea of where you're going to end up after just one year. If you are taking on a lot of debt and would only be happy landing biglaw, cutting your losses if OCI doesn't work out makes plenty of sense.

That said, plenty of people in the bottom 30% at Penn will do well at OCI and people shouldn't drop out before that process is concluded unless they know that being a lawyer just isn't for them.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby PennLaw16 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:45 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:If you want to assume the typical student has a 1/2 to 3/4 scholarship, then sure that changes the calculus. But for the large portion of students who will be looking at an additional 150k+ in debt if they stick around things are different.


Yeah, if we're talking about a full $150k addition in debt, you may as well drop out.

But I would think an extremely small minority is actually taking out a full $75k in loans each year. Even if the full CoA is ~75 (which seems a bit high), I would think most T14 students have some combination of scholarship money, financial aid money, family money, GI money, savings, or a job that helps eat away at that number.

For the sake of argument, though, let's bump the annual loan to 60k -- so that you're taking out an extra $120k to graduate. 30-year repayment plan means you're paying $790 a month, or roughly $9500 per year.

So $10k above non-law salary is still keeping your investment above water, and that seems like a fairly safe bet to me.

It really comes down to your exit options. If you can drop out of law school and get a good gig that'll crack 6-figures in the foreseeable future, you might be just as well off (and without the risk of a 6-figure debt). But if dropping out means being a bartender, a teacher, or something else that's going to pay ~50k a year with crappy advancement potential, you're significantly better off staying in law school.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby OutCold » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:55 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:I thought that undergrad subsidized loans didn't accrue interest as long as you are in "school", whether it is undergrad or grad school...

Sure, the subsidized loans. Only a very small percentage of mine were subsidized, however. I would imagine that I'm not the only one.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby 20141023 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:04 pm

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby merica! » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:50 pm

PennLaw16 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:If you want to assume the typical student has a 1/2 to 3/4 scholarship, then sure that changes the calculus. But for the large portion of students who will be looking at an additional 150k+ in debt if they stick around things are different.


Yeah, if we're talking about a full $150k addition in debt, you may as well drop out.

But I would think an extremely small minority is actually taking out a full $75k in loans each year. Even if the full CoA is ~75 (which seems a bit high), I would think most T14 students have some combination of scholarship money, financial aid money, family money, GI money, savings, or a job that helps eat away at that number.

For the sake of argument, though, let's bump the annual loan to 60k -- so that you're taking out an extra $120k to graduate. 30-year repayment plan means you're paying $790 a month, or roughly $9500 per year.

So $10k above non-law salary is still keeping your investment above water, and that seems like a fairly safe bet to me.

It really comes down to your exit options. If you can drop out of law school and get a good gig that'll crack 6-figures in the foreseeable future, you might be just as well off (and without the risk of a 6-figure debt). But if dropping out means being a bartender, a teacher, or something else that's going to pay ~50k a year with crappy advancement potential, you're significantly better off staying in law school.


Really only a small minority is taking out full loans?!

Wow that's a pretentious thing to say. I would say a large amount of the students are taking out full or very close to full. Anyway I have experience in the OP's position. Similar grades and I improved greatly second semester. If you want the hard truth PM me, or read my post above. If you want to listen to the other advice above then go ahead and fool yourself.

P.S. I love when people say "figure out what happaned first semester", Nothing happaned - you worked your tail off and didn't get the grades. Thing that really helped me was taking subjects and professors I likes.

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby jumpin munkey » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:57 pm

Yeah I think the idea that "only a small minority are taking out full loans" is pretty weird. My guess would be that the clear majority of students here are taking out loans for sticker or for at least $60k a year (and having their folks pay the rent and stuff).

Anyway OP, I'm sorry about that. I know it is probably beyond annoying to hear the grades speeches from professors; "Now you know what to fix!" -- as if there isn't a bottom 20% of the class in the second semester. That said, I think it would be a rare person who should drop out of Penn before OCI (especially on any sort of scholarship). You'd have to have some mix of horrible grades, hatred for school, and boring profile/resume. Not to say anything will be easy for you (see the Penn OCI thread) but Penn ain't Michigan. Part of the reason you're here is for that cushion.

ETA: I actually don't know if the TLS line for people with these grades at Michigan/UVA paying sticker is to drop out before OCI. But either way...

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Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby 20141023 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:10 pm

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nothingtosee
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: B,B-,B- at Penn

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:16 pm

(Bit off topic but...)
About 50% of penn pays sticker: https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/2644-aba-required
Impossible to know how much is daddy vs loans tho
NYU is 60% sticker
Chi is ~40%




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