sanpiero wrote:Denny & HD - I'm considering Stetson and just wanted to get a better idea of why exactly you chose to take the money at Stetson over other, higher-ranked schools. HD, I know your situation is very unique, but I'd appreciate anything you can offer on the topic. Also, is anyone aware of what salary prospects are for the class of 2009 or Stetson Law grads in general? I've heard Stetson places very well in the Tampa area; how do grads fair in Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and Tallahasse? Are Stetson grads viewed considerably different than FSU and UF grads, across FLA?
When I first entertained the thought of applying to law school, I did not even consider a move. This left Stetson as the only option. After some research, I determined that I had a very good chance of landing a scholarship there. After further research, I determined that I had a very good chance of landing a full scholarship elsewhere. This was based on last cycle numbers over at LSN, and we all know that scholarship money has dried up this cycle. I wanted to give myself options, and I didn't want to be left thinking, "What if I had applied to...?" As I had a fee waiver, I figured that I would apply to any school that I would consider attending over Stetson. The Ivys because they are the Ivys. Boston schools because I spent two summers there and loved the area. Michigan schools because I was born there and have family there as well. LA because I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer at the outset of this process. Washington, D.C. because that is where the center of the governmental legal world is in this country. Florida schools because it would be less of a life-altering change to still attend within state, and I thought I had a decent chance at a scholly at Miami and UF, plus UF has nice in-state tuition.
I really, REALLY considered BU, UF, GW and USC. BU ended up being a no-go because their student budget did not allow for a car, and I am in year 2 of a 5 year car loan. The winters also seemed daunting. UF became a no-go after I decided that I did not want to move to a place I would not stay in after school. GW and USC ended up running out of funds, and I could not bear the thought of $150K+ loans upon graduation, given the economic climate and knowing how badly I despise being in debt even to the degree that I am now from having lived nearly 30 years on this planet.
When Stetson came through with an additional stipend on top of the scholarship, my decision was 99% made. The visit during their Scholar Retreat for scholarship students essentially sealed the deal. The faculty members were impressive, and the atmosphere just felt right. I met at least a half dozen other students who will be attending Stetson on scholarship as well and it really felt like a great group of nice people. Comfort level is something that I have come to realize is far more important than I once thought. I plan on remembering this when job search time comes around.
Ultimately, I realized that my goals and dreams are unique to me, and I had gotten caught up in the rankings and biglaw hoopla. Not to get obtuse, but I think the key to life is in crystallizing what it is that you are trying to accomplish, and then evaluating each potential option in reference to your stated goals. Your goals are likely not my goals. My goals are certainly not the same as the majority posting here and I nearly forgot that and started living someone else's dream.
Sorry for the long post, but I feel that people sometimes lose out when responses aren't thorough.
Best of luck and PM me anytime if you have any other questions!