Northwestern vs. UCLA

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Re: Northwestern vs. UCLA

Post by fearandtremblingg » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:11 pm

So, this is assuming that you absolutely have to pay your family and friends back for the loans you take, neither COA makes a ton of sense, honestly.

Unless you royally screw up, getting generic NYC or Chicago biglaw from Northwestern is really doable. But even with biglaw, 300k is an insane amount of money to borrow. The lack of interest would be huge, but you're also then forgoing any ability to use LRAP or PSLF, so you'll pretty much have to stay in biglaw for years, which isn't always guaranteed.

230k at UCLA is arguably an even worse decision. You'll have to be somewhere near the top 1/3 at UCLA to have a shot at biglaw. It's not guaranteed and if you strike out, you can't even take a government job and rely on loan forgiveness. To put things in perspective, I had a full ride at UCLA and I still thought it wasn't worth the risk because I couldn't guarantee I'd be top 1/3.

Did you apply to any lower ranked schools? If you got into NW and UCLA, I would imagine some lower schools would give you some more compelling scholarships. I don't think anyone should go to loyola, for example, but I'd rather go to loyola for free and gun for top 10% than UCLA for over 200k.

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Re: Northwestern vs. UCLA

Post by Sackboy » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:58 am

I'm a big proponent of Northwestern, and I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole at 294K. UCLA is also indefensible at 230K. It sounds like you want a fair bit of flexibility to do what you want (you mentioned in-house, PI, and overseas work), and the biggest barrier to flexibility is a massive debt load, which both schools will saddle you with. I also don't think you can rely on staying around biglaw long enough to pay off 230-300K the same way that you could if you had 100K. By the time you realistically paid off your debt, you'd be a 4th-6th year, and a lot of folks are fired or counseled out well before then. If you just had 100K in debt, you would just have to limp through your second year.

Retake the LSAT and reapply.

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