Re: free Cardozo: if it's a guaranteed full ride, it may come down to what you want to do with your JD. Cardozo is improving, but it's still not known for giving people great odds at big firms. ITE, no school outside the T10 is, but in a somewhat recovered economy (hopefully what the class of '13 will be facing) your chances of landing a firm job or prestigious government/big name PI employment/clerkships will be better out of Fordham than out of Cardozo.
However, I have to tell you that UVA is extremely credited. That school has enough trolls on TLS, so I don't need to be pressed into service, but I will take a minute to tell you about all the kind, selfless, wonderful people I adore who go to UVA. I don't know if they are a representative sample, but if I ever have any trouble, or need advice, consolation, or help, a UVA student will come find me and help me. I could go on for pages about how sweet, friendly, and helpful their students are, but actions speak louder than words, so I'll fess up and say I'm going down to visit at the end of the month.
thanks, OS!!! that seems like very sound advice. i would go to UVA in a heartbeat if not for the marital/financial concerns. everyone on TLS who goes there does seem very cool. i think the school would be a great fit for me, and a nice change of scenery (been in nyc/LI all my life. not that there's anywhere better than nyc!). i really appreciate the insight and will keep you all updated on my decision!
edit: the cardozo scholly IS guaranteed for all 3 years. hence the tough decision! and i'm 99% sure i want NYC biglaw.
Good luck, hannah! I understand your dilemma, and I do think you should ask Fordham for more money, though the school's endowment honestly is modest (Cardozo has 3x as much) and Fordham does try to give people as much help as it can.
If you want NYC biglaw, I have to tell you that UVA >>> Fordham >>>>>>>> Cardozo. The Virginians know this, and I had to tell them in no uncertain terms that they are not to entrap me in any way, because I love my school, and I absolutely know what some of them will want me to do. It's not like with the Columbians... I really never see them. I can't just pop down there for a party every so often then return here, to my books and my life at Lincoln Center.
FWIW I don't think Cardozo is a bad school, but I do think it's a much better idea for a public interest student. If you want biglaw, I truly urge you to go with the best school you can get. Fordham is the best non T14 for NYC placement, and I have seen people happily turn down Cornell, GULC, and UCLA for Fordham, but I would have serious misgivings about advising someone to turn down UVA without at least visiting. You could call it a personal gut feeling. In any case, I hope Fordham gives you money, and I hope you also hear from NYU!