PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

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2733amh

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PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby 2733amh » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:32 pm

Rather unique situation and looking for advice! I applied primarily to T10 Sociology PhD programs this cycle and then threw in a few law school apps due to the change in LSAT requirements. I am interested in prisoner advocacy, mass incarceration reform, child advocacy, and juvenile justice reform - looking to do PI work. I would love the added benefits of being able to practice in my career so the law school route has become increasingly appealing. I was accepted ED to a T15 law school that I thought I had no realistic shot at due to poor test scores (GPA is over 3.9 and softs are actually incredibly strong). I've gotten no word on merit money yet from them, but I've also been accepted to several T5 PhD programs that are offering full funding + stipend. So I am wondering if the top PhD acceptances can be used as leverage in getting merit money from the law school I have been accepted at and how I would best go about this? I can't really pay sticker for law school because my career goals will leave me in debt forever and walking away from top PhD degrees at no cost will be hard to swallow. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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blackmamba8

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby blackmamba8 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:51 pm

The school doesn't really have any incentive to give you a merit scholarship since you were accepted ED. There's no harm in trying to use your PhD acceptance as leverage, but I'm not sure that it'll help you much. Honestly I would just do the PhD program if I were you. Law school isn't going anywhere, and if you still want to go later on you'll be a stronger applicant with a PhD.

2733amh

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby 2733amh » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:20 pm

blackmamba8 wrote:The school doesn't really have any incentive to give you a merit scholarship since you were accepted ED. There's no harm in trying to use your PhD acceptance as leverage, but I'm not sure that it'll help you much. Honestly I would just do the PhD program if I were you. Law school isn't going anywhere, and if you still want to go later on you'll be a stronger applicant with a PhD.


Do ED applicants typically receive nothing in terms of merit aid? I also have some funding from a prestigious national undergrad scholarship that I won - can that help in getting merit money? I only threw in the ED app because I really believed I had no shot at acceptance...regretting it a little bit now - the school is ideal in terms of my goals and location for career networking but I definitely cannot afford to pay sticker

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poptart123

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby poptart123 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:29 pm

2733amh wrote:I am interested in prisoner advocacy, mass incarceration reform, child advocacy, and juvenile justice reform - looking to do PI work.


Your decision should probably be based on whether you would like to do this work in a legal capacity or in another capacity. Also, I think I've read on here a few times that law programs don't really negotiate with PhD acceptances. Personally, a full funded PhD plus stipend sounds much better than hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt--especially from a good PhD program.

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:33 pm

In addition to the low likelihood of you getting any money from an ED acceptance, acceptance into a doctoral program is not leverage in law school negotiations. It would be like trying to leverage a car dealer with a really great deal on a boat.

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blackmamba8

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby blackmamba8 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:52 pm

2733amh wrote:
blackmamba8 wrote:The school doesn't really have any incentive to give you a merit scholarship since you were accepted ED. There's no harm in trying to use your PhD acceptance as leverage, but I'm not sure that it'll help you much. Honestly I would just do the PhD program if I were you. Law school isn't going anywhere, and if you still want to go later on you'll be a stronger applicant with a PhD.


Do ED applicants typically receive nothing in terms of merit aid? I also have some funding from a prestigious national undergrad scholarship that I won - can that help in getting merit money? I only threw in the ED app because I really believed I had no shot at acceptance...regretting it a little bit now - the school is ideal in terms of my goals and location for career networking but I definitely cannot afford to pay sticker

Yes, unfortunately. Northwestern has the big ED scholarship, and I think there might be a few others that give very small scholarships to ED applicants, but other than that you're usually stuck paying sticker.

I don't know about the national undergrad scholarship, someone else on here might be familiar with that.

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby chrysippusofsoli » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:26 pm

2733amh wrote:Rather unique situation and looking for advice! I applied primarily to T10 Sociology PhD programs this cycle and then threw in a few law school apps due to the change in LSAT requirements. I am interested in prisoner advocacy, mass incarceration reform, child advocacy, and juvenile justice reform - looking to do PI work. I would love the added benefits of being able to practice in my career so the law school route has become increasingly appealing. I was accepted ED to a T15 law school that I thought I had no realistic shot at due to poor test scores (GPA is over 3.9 and softs are actually incredibly strong). I've gotten no word on merit money yet from them, but I've also been accepted to several T5 PhD programs that are offering full funding + stipend. So I am wondering if the top PhD acceptances can be used as leverage in getting merit money from the law school I have been accepted at and how I would best go about this? I can't really pay sticker for law school because my career goals will leave me in debt forever and walking away from top PhD degrees at no cost will be hard to swallow. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


Like others in this thread, I'm skeptical that you can get law schools to up their merit aid with offers from PhD programs at the same school. However, I think it might be worth talking to the PhD program you have been admitted to and asking if you can count certain law classes towards your coursework requirements, and/or use your PhD tuition waiver towards some law school classes. This is often done in joint JD-PhD programs, but even if your school does not have such a program, you could trying initiating this yourself.

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby 2733amh » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:05 pm

Thank you everyone for the insight. Definitely wishing that I hadn't made the ED choice now. Love the school + perfect for my goals but I just can't afford to pay sticker and carry $300,000 in loans. Does anyone know if the big national scholarship I won will have any pull for $$?

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby runinthefront » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:26 pm

2733amh wrote:Thank you everyone for the insight. Definitely wishing that I hadn't made the ED choice now. Love the school + perfect for my goals but I just can't afford to pay sticker and carry $300,000 in loans. Does anyone know if the big national scholarship I won will have any pull for $$?

not enough to make it worth it to attend. But that's not the end of the world for you, as you've been accepted into some great PhD programs!
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Bush v. Gorgeous

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby Bush v. Gorgeous » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:32 pm

As someone with a PhD who is now going back (several years later) to law school, I echo the previous response that your path should be determined about how you want to work in your area of choice. An academic career vs. a legal career are very, very different in so many ways. I personally am a terrible fit for academia (hindsight = 20/20) but love working in a firm environment. I realize you aren't interested in firm work, but still - I think your options are in no way interchangeable. I'd think about which specific job is the right fit and go the route that takes you there. And if you decide you want law, you may want to apply to more schools or reapply next cycle with an LSAT score and gun for aid.

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby 2733amh » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:07 pm

Bush v. Gorgeous wrote:As someone with a PhD who is now going back (several years later) to law school, I echo the previous response that your path should be determined about how you want to work in your area of choice. An academic career vs. a legal career are very, very different in so many ways. I personally am a terrible fit for academia (hindsight = 20/20) but love working in a firm environment. I realize you aren't interested in firm work, but still - I think your options are in no way interchangeable. I'd think about which specific job is the right fit and go the route that takes you there. And if you decide you want law, you may want to apply to more schools or reapply next cycle with an LSAT score and gun for aid.


I am fairly certain after working as a researcher at a top Ivy League school for a year that academia is not the route I want to ultimately take, which is why I jumped on the law apps when I could. Taking the LSAT is not a realistic option for me so I am stuck only with where I can use my GRE score. I’m excited about the law route, just weary of the financial outlook associated with it

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OakBrook2021

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby OakBrook2021 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:22 pm

Does the school you got accepted to not have LRAP?

2733amh

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby 2733amh » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:48 pm

OakBrook2021 wrote:Does the school you got accepted to not have LRAP?


They do so that’s an option. I also have a family member willing to pay my tuition up front and then I would pay them back after I graduate with no interest. I don’t know a ton about LRAP but would it be better to do a program like that or go the no interest from my family route?

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Bashar al-Assad%

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby Bashar al-Assad% » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:48 pm

This is one hell of a situation. I'd say start the fancy PhD program, finish the masters portion (if not do the whole thing), then leave and go to HLS with some scholarship money. Have your family member do the rest, and there's always LRAP as a backup unless your salary is too high. Damn.

Why isn't it feasible to take the LSAT in the future? Just thinking about other T10 where you'd be a lock with GPA + softs.

edited to add: 0L here, first post, former lurker, doesn't know anything, just full disclosure

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OakBrook2021

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby OakBrook2021 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:30 am

2733amh wrote:
OakBrook2021 wrote:Does the school you got accepted to not have LRAP?


They do so that’s an option. I also have a family member willing to pay my tuition up front and then I would pay them back after I graduate with no interest. I don’t know a ton about LRAP but would it be better to do a program like that or go the no interest from my family route?


Well if you're working in the fields you're interested in, you won't be making a lot so the school should help pay for some (if not all) your loans; I suggest you do research on the LRAP of where you got accepted. On top of that, PSLF is a thing (for now at least?). You should take these both into account (but not for granted) when deciding what to do.

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:48 pm

How many years until you earn the PhD ?

Why not tailor your PhD research toward your desired area of interest & do consulting work as well as academic work ?

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Re: PhD Acceptance for Merit $ Leverage??

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:02 pm

My initial impression was that your law school acceptance was to Texas, but now think that it may be UCal-Berkeley.

The top 5 sociology PhD programs are Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Michigan & Stanford. If you have acceptances at Berkeley, then do the PhD & integrate law school courses into that degree. Same for Michigan.

Otherwise take the PhD money, do research in your area of interest & get published. Then do consulting work with think tanks or government agencies. I doubt that the practice of law will enable you to effect change in your targeted area; in fact, a lot of attorneys working as public defenders experience tremendous stress & frustration about how ineffective they are in their chosen field.

You have an interesting choice between becoming a frustrated alcoholic lawyer with substantial student loan debt or enjoying a prestigious fully funded PhD experience that requires you to get published & therefore have an impact in your chosen area of specialization.



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