UNC or my other options...too much debt?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
Post Reply
basketweaver

New
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:57 pm

UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by basketweaver » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:40 pm

3rd cycle. Absolutely not reapplying. I’ll either attend next year or go on with my life doing something else. COA includes absolutely all living expenses, fees, etc (I may be overestimating costs a bit, esp for UNC/Wake).

16mid 3.5x.

My current options are
UNC: coa 115k
Villanova: coa 100k
Wake: coa 100k
Temple: coa 100k
Fordham: coa 230k

Cardozo gave me a laughable scholly, currently on hold at W&L and NYU.

Goals: ultimately would like to work in DC or NYC. I have undergrad/4 years of work ties to DC. I’d like to work for a large firm and eventually the govt if possible. Also open to a clerkship if I can swing it. Totally fine with working in NC or Philly at a smaller firm for a few years if I need to.

Is UNC for 115k worth it? It’s where I am leaning heaviest atm. I’d love to attend Fordham but I’m nervous the price is not worth it when compared to UNC. I’m also open to Wake - it’s 15k cheaper but has on avg an 8% less BL/FC rate over the last 3 years and UNC seems to be doing well again after a few years of a slump.

Any advice at all? Is UNC for 115k worth it?

JamezPhoenix

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:03 am

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by JamezPhoenix » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:58 am

How badly do you want to be a lawyer? How much are you willing to sacrifice, stress, and scrape for?
If you want to do your own research run a quick google search for "best law schools for biglaw". My info is from lawschooli.com and is two years old but here's the percent of students who landed a biglaw or fed clerk job.

NYU: 73%
Fordham: 44%
UNC: 32%
Temple: 20%
W&L: 19%
Villanova: 18%
Wake: 16%

Personally, I would probably choose UNC, but Fordham does offer you a better chance at your goals. Just remember when looking at all these numbers that absolutely nothing is guaranteed. If you are willing to succeed you have to be willing to fail, just make sure you are comfortable what life would look like at any of the schools you have chosen if you do fail to make it into biglaw/fed.

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 7566
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:59 am

basketweaver wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:40 pm
I’ll either attend next year or go on with my life doing something else.
Do something else.

These schools aren't going to give you a reasonable shot at the career path you described. And if you're more interested in doing something else than in having the kind of legal career that is actually likely from these schools, then do something else.

CanadianWolf

Diamond
Posts: 10889
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:31 am

Whether or not UNC law will help you achieve your employment/career objectives can best be determined by contacting the career services office and obtaining a list of actual placements for the most recent graduating classes. If midlaw & small firms are not attractive options to you, then you may need to do something else.

crazywafflez

Bronze
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by crazywafflez » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:48 am

These schools don't line up with your goals. There's a real shot of getting a decent regional firm gig from UNC/Wake/Temple/Villanova as well as doing PD/ADA type work. None of these schools though are sending people to DC in any sizeable number at all (I'd guess maybe 1-2 students from each class make it there- DC is ultra competitive). The likely outcome from these schools are ADA/PD/ smaller to midsized firms all making 40-70k.
If you are cool with having your career in Philly or NC doing state work, or doing work with a small firm, I think that any of the above 4 are fine outcomes- however, I think going 100k+ into debt for them is a bit dicey.
I think with your goals you should forgo law school. I hate to say it, but I just don't think they align well and I'd get a masters instead or something and try to position yourself to work for a thinktank or govt on the hill.
Best of luck.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


basketweaver

New
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:57 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by basketweaver » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:54 am

N/a

basketweaver

New
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:57 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by basketweaver » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:00 pm

crazywafflez wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:48 am
These schools don't line up with your goals. There's a real shot of getting a decent regional firm gig from UNC/Wake/Temple/Villanova as well as doing PD/ADA type work. None of these schools though are sending people to DC in any sizeable number at all (I'd guess maybe 1-2 students from each class make it there- DC is ultra competitive). The likely outcome from these schools are ADA/PD/ smaller to midsized firms all making 40-70k.
If you are cool with having your career in Philly or NC doing state work, or doing work with a small firm, I think that any of the above 4 are fine outcomes- however, I think going 100k+ into debt for them is a bit dicey.
I think with your goals you should forgo law school. I hate to say it, but I just don't think they align well and I'd get a masters instead or something and try to position yourself to work for a thinktank or govt on the hill.
Best of luck.
Thank you and everyone who responded for the advice!

According to LST, UNC regularly sends about 15-20% to DC/NYC (combined). This is the only reason I thought maybe I could swing it. I’m also very comfortable with the fact I may be making 80k in Charlotte out of law school. Their median private sector salary is 120k but I’m sure that will decrease with the current economy.

I’m mostly concerned is if I can realistically pay off 115k debt from UNC? I probably should have phrased my post better as that is my biggest concern.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 3103
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by nixy » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:15 pm

There are loan repayment calculators online, you can take a look at those and see how they play with different possible incomes.

Keep in mind that when the stat is DC/NY combined, NYC is going to be much easier to get than DC, which is a really selective market.

crazywafflez

Bronze
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by crazywafflez » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:53 pm

Even if they are sending 10-20% of the class to DC/NYC (I'm sure some years it is more one vs the other, but I'll just say that something akin to 9% of the class goes DC and 9% goes NYC for the sake of brevity)- biglaw is grade sensitive, especially from a regional T1 in the southeast and specially in DC. Look, we aren't saying DC is off the table from UNC (maybe it is from Wake, but I think most employers view these as roughly comparable schools), it is just a really unlikely outcome. You've gotta at least make the top 20% of the class (no small feat- it isn't as if the UNC folks are slackers and way dumber than folks at Vandy or something). You should really bet on being median at whatever school you go to. And for that, median students at UNC don't usually end up in Charlotte regional law making 120k (maybe they do, but I'd bet you really need to be closer to top 40% or higher); and they certainly aren't placing in biglaw in DC, and it will be hard to transfer to DC (again, not impossible, but don't bet on these outcomes when your investment is so high).
I went to a peer school of UNC (another T1 regional in the Southeast)- I had the option of sticker to a T20 but chose to instead attend my T1 on a hefty scholly thinking I'd be top of the class- I ended up median. I have a decent gig back in my hometown, but a lot of folks struck out in my position. Most of my friends in the top20% on LR aren't leaving the southeast, and if they are, they are headed to NYC.
Have you tried negotiating scholarships with some of these schools? I imagine that Nova or Temple would be willing to play ball, maybe even Fordham would.
The only one that gets you a decent chance at NYC biglaw is Fordham, but you are still rolling the dice, and with that high of a cost, you need biglaw or you're in trouble.
I'm not a do or die T14 or bust guy. In fact, I'm a big proponent of T1s and T2s that place well in their respective state/region if their costs and goals align with the outcomes. I just don't think they really do in your case.
Again, if you were cool living in Philly for your life and making a decent wage at an okay firm, Temple at like 75k total COA is a fine outcome.
But you are really moving for DC (the hardest market to crack) and NYC (this can be done but again need the grades).
I'm not sure what I'd choose in your scenario tbh. But I'd seriously consider a different path- if you have to go you'll have to decide if the gamble on fordham is worth it or if you feel comfortable working in Wilmington (a wonderful place) making 65k coming out from UNC. Obviously, these are just examples, and none of us know what exactly will happen.

ALCA1920

New
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:42 pm

Re: UNC or my other options...too much debt?

Post by ALCA1920 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:41 pm

OP, is a retake/reapply really out of the question? I can tell you from experience that just one or two more points on the LSAT can be the difference between paying 50% and paying no tuition at all. If you take in april/june and get lucky on two more questions, you can use that to bargain. Food for thought. The admissions process really is a shitty numbers game, but that's how it is.

While not life-ruining, your minimum 100k coa at any one of these schools is nothing to sneeze at. Nixy says that there are loan repayment calculators online (I like AccessLex's law school loan calculator), which you should definitely use. Find out if you'd be comfortable paying that amount post-law school.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Post Reply

Return to “Choosing a Law School”