LawsRUs wrote:I'm failing at this negotiating. Maybe someone can advise.
I have almost an identical offer from top two choice schools that I'm considering. I showed both of them the two offers with how much I would love to go to their school if they would give me a little bit of more money to help me decide. I got shot down at both schools.
I have a couple of full rides (+RA positions) at some regional schools (family in these regions). Should I show my top two choice schools these full rides although I would prefer not to go there? I'm hesitant to show these offers because I'm afraid I may look as though I don't have my mind made up.
You need to create a differential to give yourself some leverage. Is the COL at both of your two top choices the same? If not, then emphasize how much more it will cost to attend that school when requesting an increase to cover the differential.
Similarly, when using lower ranked full ride offers for leverage with higher ranked schools, emphasize that you're nervous about the debt, and it's very tempting to avoid it altogether. Also relevant: Ask to speak to recent grads of the lower ranked schools who got full rides. See if you can get a feel for outcomes of students who went to that school under similar conditions, and then use that pool to emphasize to the higher ranked school that your odds seem pretty good.
For reference, the state school I was considering only gave out full rides to 5 people in the most recently graduated class. 1 was working at a small firm, three were at large firms that paid market, and the other one landed a federal clerkship. When I used this offer for leverage, I emphasized to my current school that my odds of a great outcome at the state school appeared to be 80%.
Get creative. What you're trying to do is convince them that you're truly on the fence and leaning towards a competitor. The objective reality is less important that you making a compelling argument that you believe
another option makes more sense for you.