Undergraduate Advice

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
lol_school
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:08 pm

Undergraduate Advice

Postby lol_school » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:57 am

Hello posters,

I am a senior in high school (short time reader, first time poster) and I would really love to hear some advice from people with perspective and insight--neither of my parents went to college, so they have no idea about this process.
I have wanted to go into law or careers requiring a law degree since I was 7. I have interned at a large law firm in my city and I still love the idea and practice of law.
My parents can pay for either 2 years of HYP/tuition-equivalent or all 3 years of law school (non-negotiable). I can't really get into why.

The nexus question I have is:
Should I go to the top-ranked colleges I have gotten into (UChicago, Georgetown-Walsh School of Foreign Service; still waiting on H, Y, D, and Amherst), or should I go to undergrad with a scholarship (full-ride plus @ Wake Forest, half @ Univ of Southern California, full-ride plus @ University of Kentucky (resident), waiting on scholarship offer from UNC)?
I am aiming for T14 law schools.

Secondary question:
Should I try going immediately to law school or go for a post-grad fellowship/scholarship then law school?

Thank you so much, I would really appreciate any help you guys could give me!

lawgeekgrl
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:18 am

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby lawgeekgrl » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:03 pm

lol_school wrote:Hello posters,

I am a senior in high school (short time reader, first time poster) and I would really love to hear some advice from people with perspective and insight--neither of my parents went to college, so they have no idea about this process.
I have wanted to go into law or careers requiring a law degree since I was 7. I have interned at a large law firm in my city and I still love the idea and practice of law.
My parents can pay for either 2 years of HYP/tuition-equivalent or all 3 years of law school (non-negotiable). I can't really get into why.

The nexus question I have is:
Should I go to the top-ranked colleges I have gotten into (UChicago, Georgetown-Walsh School of Foreign Service; still waiting on H, Y, D, and Amherst), or should I go to undergrad with a scholarship (full-ride plus @ Wake Forest, half @ Univ of Southern California, full-ride plus @ University of Kentucky (resident), waiting on scholarship offer from UNC)?
I am aiming for T14 law schools.

Secondary question:
Should I try going immediately to law school or go for a post-grad fellowship/scholarship then law school?

Thank you so much, I would really appreciate any help you guys could give me!


Some people might differ on this regard, but I truly believe your undergraduate institution matters very little if you're planning to pursue a post-graduate degree. I still regret, to this day (I'm a college senior), not having gone to a lesser prestigious school that had offered me a Regent scholarship (full ride). I TRULY wished I would have had someone telling me what I'm telling you. My parents also didn't go to college, and my counselors were all for me attending the highest ranked institution.

You should ask yourself what place you'd like to practice law already. The reason? Say for example you go to UNC for undergrad. By the time you are applying for law school, you will be considered a NC resident, which will give you a leg up in UNC admissions and it will also make your tuition cost be reduced.

Now, I know you mentioned your parents might pay for it, and that you want T14 schools. In that regard, you want to go to a school in which you will be able to excel academically, and you will NEED to take a good LSAT course. To do this, you really don't want to be the kind of student who works ~30 hrs/wk (like me). Or who needs surgery during LSAT season because of financial stress, lack of sleep, and family drama (also like me). The funny thing is that for T14 schools (not all of them), if you have a great GPA and LSAT, you will get in, and they will offer you money to go. Essentially this is a system that rewards those who come from more affluent families. But, there's always the stipulations that come with the scholarships, which some (not all) people lose at some point, and that's when your parents money may come in to question. And since you get scholarships for tuition, not living expenses, that's also when your parents money can be useful.

Because of the nature of the loans, I think in my humble opinion it is better to take some loans during undergrad than taking any for law school (the interest rate are different). So basically this will take a lot of planning, but given the fact that you are already asking about this, sounds like you're in the right track. Too bad that I couldn't afford a computer until I was 20. But hey, I still get to go to the school I want to go to, even if it will put me in financial uncertainty.

I wish you luck and I hope this helps.

P.S. If this were my particular situation, knowing what I know now, I would either pick USC or UNC (based on their offer though). USC is professionally-oriented, meaning that they are gearing you towards a professional career. Also, if you do the right things, you could become a CA resident (pay less) soon enough. Also, since it sounds like you might be going to law school right after college, and law schools are looking for maturity in candidates, it'd be good that you go away from your family to show that you have done so. I strongly believe that this not always leads to maturity, but I guess having to confront the world when a parent isn't right next to you to help you will make you a different person. In my situation it was having to come up with rent when knowing you couldn't turn to your family for it. It makes you age internally like crazy. Works like a charm.

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moneybagsphd
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:07 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby moneybagsphd » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:27 pm

TLS consensus: UG prestige is not nearly as important as GPA, so you should go to the school and pick the major that allow you to achieve the highest possible GPA. Some people think that law schools show a slight preference for HYP, but I don't think that's necessarily the case-- e.g. an engineering degree from MIT, CalTech, Berkeley, or Stanford is more prestigious than an Ivy engineering degree by a long shot.
My advice: Don't look 4 years into the future when choosing your UG institution. A lot can change in that time. Go to the school that leaves you with the most options.

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cinephile
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby cinephile » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:29 pm

moneybagsphd wrote:
My advice: Don't look 4 years into the future when choosing your UG institution. A lot can change in that time. Go to the school that leaves you with the most options.


Exactly what I was going to say. Go to the more prestigious schools now. You'll have more entry level options when you exit. Besides, if you do really well as far as GPA/LSAT goes, you can get a decent scholarship to law school and won't have to rely on your parent's help.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:50 pm

If your only concern at this point is getting into a good law school, then you should go to the cheapest undergraduate school you can. For law school admissions, it really doesn't matter where you went, with some exceptions. It only matters what your grades were. From a pure cost-benefit perspective, you're way better off going to Kentucky for free and having your parents pay for law school, than going to Princeton and borrowing a ton of money later on.

That said, I think you're getting way ahead of yourself. I have sometimes thought that I'd have been better off going to a state school for free rather than a private college, and it's true in a financial sense, but the fact is that your college years shape who you are, what you care about, and what you want to do with your life. That's hard to put a price tag on. You don't know that you will want to go to law school in a few years. You could have an incredible linguistics professor and get inspired to pursue a PhD or something. So I would consider broadening your perspective a little bit.

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cylon_clone
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:21 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby cylon_clone » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:59 pm

A bit confused, but I'm assuming you meant 2 yrs of UG or 3 years of LS?

If you want to go to a t14 law school, you can still achieve it by going to school at one of the universities you've received a full or partial scholarships from. Law school acceptances ultimately come down to GPA, LSAT and a well-rounded resume - something you can achieve by going to just about any credible university or college.

It's a better deal (for you) to have the 'rents pay for LS, especially if you can go to UG for nearly free if you so choose. Getting full scholarships from top law schools are a lot harder than undergrad, and unlike undergrad, it's essential to go to a top law school if you want a nice range of career prospects.

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Chucky21
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:36 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby Chucky21 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:49 pm

If you are truly set on going to law school, I would go to cheapest most respectable school you can, which is where you most likely have been given scholarships. The prestige of your law school is far more important, and if you can minimize debt now then have your parents pay for ls you are golden. Even if you live at home during undergrad you can save a lot in the cost of living area. Sure, maybe this will mean your social life takes a hit, but most likely your gpa will be much higher, and you will have more time to study for the lsat w/out getting distracted. An earlier poster mentioned moving away from family to be more mature and have a well rounded resume. Well to be honest you can still have a well rounded resume with jobs during summers etc. But your gpa and lsat is far more important than living away, seriously. If you have a leg up on the system by minimizing the stress in your life now when it comes to loans and stuff, then do so. It's better to have a 3.9 staying close to home rather than moving away to go to a bigger name undergrad and getting a 3.3, and rationalizing to yourself that you are more 'mature.' Good grades, good LSAT, work experience, good personal statement. This is what you need.

lol_school
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:08 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby lol_school » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:38 pm

Update: I have been notified that I have received a full-ride scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill.

cylon_clone wrote:A bit confused, but I'm assuming you meant 2 yrs of UG or 3 years of LS?


Yes.

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chem
Posts: 867
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:14 pm

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby chem » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:42 pm

lol_school wrote:Update: I have been notified that I have received a full-ride scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill.

cylon_clone wrote:A bit confused, but I'm assuming you meant 2 yrs of UG or 3 years of LS?


Yes.


I took the money for my undergrad (full ride + stipend) and never looked back. Have job offers, no debt, money saved up from interning over the summer. UG debt limits your options if you change your mind.

lawgeekgrl
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:18 am

Re: Undergraduate Advice

Postby lawgeekgrl » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:51 pm

lol_school wrote:Update: I have been notified that I have received a full-ride scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill.

cylon_clone wrote:A bit confused, but I'm assuming you meant 2 yrs of UG or 3 years of LS?


Yes.


UNC all the way. Great institution. UNC Law also loves their undergraduates.

Cheers to you!




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