Tough choice - North & South

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Tough choice - North & South

Post by pazmusik » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:47 pm

Hey all,

Firstly, here are my stats:
1. Non-traditional student, 44-year old male.
2. Lives in south. Family is in south.
3. aggregate undergrad GPA 3.0 but it's from 20 years ago, in a music major.
4. 160 LSAT.

Current acceptances (w/scholarships if offered): Mercer ($45k), UNH Franklin Pierce (29k), UMKC (52k), Penn State.
Waitlisted: Tulane

My dilemma: Right now I'm between Mercer and Penn State. I'm not doing law school for a high-salary gig, and I don't need a high salary. Will probably gravitate towards public interest, civil law or nonprofit, as these areas interest me. Also, although social life is not my priority given the work required, I'm still interested in meeting people. I'm from a very close family and it would be nice to be in proximity to them.

Mercer pros: merit scholarship provides for a tuition balance that I can handle, and probably finish law school with zero debt. College is four hour drive from family. Strong legal writing program. Potential to work in Atlanta, where I went to high school and still have friends & connections.

Mercer cons: low-ranked school, though not sure that matters given my interests. Macon is sort of a pit (though only an hour from Atlanta.) Smaller student body.

Penn State pros: higher ranked. Huge alumni network may give me more options to seek employment elsewhere instead of being constrained to PA. Large student body.

Penn State cons: no scholarship, so high cost. Higher cost to move, too. Far from family.

Tulane is the wild card and complicates matters. It hits the berries in the sense that it's ranked comparable with Penn State, PLUS it's only three hours from family. But I have no guarantee, and I feel like I can't wait much longer to pull the trigger on one of the other choices. Tulane sent an email essentially saying that they expect to take somewhere between 5 and 20 students from the waitlist, but of course no telling who and no telling when. Just sometime before July.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Tough choice - North & South

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:05 pm

Where do you want to end up after graduation? If it's in Georgia, then Mercer is the clear choice here since it's free. Just be aware that you'll need to hustle, because the job market is going to be much worse than it was last time Mercer posted their stats. You should expect that at least a third of the class (if not half) will not be able to get hired as attorneys within 9 months of graduation.

If you want to end up in PA, then you need to retake and reapply to get the cost of attendance at Penn State down to a manageable level. And no, the alumni network will not help you outside PA.

If you want to end up elsewhere, then you may still want to retake the LSAT, but you'll at least need to reapply next cycle to target schools in the right region.


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Re: Tough choice - North & South

Post by decimalsanddollars » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:08 pm

First off, I'd say that you could significantly improve your chances/outcomes if you retook the LSAT and reapplied next cycle. Even a few extra points could put you in range of, say, UGA/Georgia State, which each place much better in Atlanta than the schools you're considering. It'd also be in-state tuition, which would make those degrees cheaper than Penn State.

Penn State is higher-ranked than Mercer, but they're both regional schools, and Penn State isn't nearly portable enough to justify paying sticker, relocating, etc. I think it's a bad deal unless you actually want to practice in Pennsylvania or maybe surrounding states. I recommend retaking LSAT and reapplying, but if you must go this year, I'd go to Mercer.


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Re: Tough choice - North & South

Post by crazywafflez » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:35 am

Fully echo the advice being given here. Especially consider retaking and reapplying- 2 more points and you will be in at Georgia State with money/cheaper options. Tulane and Penn State are not worth the cost- especially for what you want to do. If you must go, and I would really wait because your options will be better coming from Georgia State, and much better from UGA, go to Mercer.


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Re: Tough choice - North & South

Post by beinghuman » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:11 pm

I agree with the advice you received above but will add one more thought.
My concern is that you would be 47 when you graduate and it is something to consider whether you want to hustle for a legal job at that age.
Not saying that age should stop you from going to law school--I have met great law school students who were in their 40s--but I believe that safer choices would make more sense for someone who's older simply because one's energy level for hustling is lower than a 24 year old and one would have fewer active years left to repay loans and make money. This is assuming money is a factor for you.


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Re: Tough choice - North & South

Post by pazmusik » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:24 am

Thanks for the input, guys.

I know what to do now.


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