Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

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axiomaticapiary

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Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by axiomaticapiary » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:31 am

Hello TLS, I'm hoping you can help me make this huge life choice. Here are my offers. The debt calculations are from the AccessLex student loan calculator.

NYU: 90k scholarship (240k debt)
Columbia: no scholarship so sticker (350k debt)
Georgetown: 150k scholarship (150k debt)
UF: full ride + 6k stipend (< 50k debt)

First, I am hoping that these debt numbers are a little inflated. They assume that I spend the estimated amount on living expenses per year, which I'm hoping to minimize (any tips on this are helpful, planning on living with roommates at least), and making no income (I am hoping to continue working a little bit at my current part-time online job during school, although maybe this is unrealistic). Any information anyone can give about minimizing expenses/making income in school would be helpful, especially in the DC and NYC areas.

Goals: I think I will prefer litigation to transactional. I am open to biglaw and think I might like to try it for the challenge, training, and prestige, but I have been sufficiently scared by all the posts on here about how awful it is. I like what I've learned about litigation boutiques and, without having gone to school yet, have a vague interest in soft IP. I could imagine myself working for the federal government or a nonprofit. I even think someday I might want to hang a shingle and try to build a practice, even if that meant the notorious "shitlaw" (divorce/DUI/PI).

In this moment, I'm leaning towards Georgetown. I suspect many would recommend NYU, but looking down the barrel of $250,000 in debt, it's hard to make myself pull that trigger. Part of me even thinks my smartest move might be to go to UF, which is rising fast in the rankings and is a great flagship state school. I just imagine myself stuck in biglaw for three, four, five years to pay all that back and hating it (I have had periods of depression in the past which I am not eager to repeat).

Is taking this $150k offer to Georgetown a terrible idea? What I understand it to mean is a coin flip chance at biglaw and, if not that, a great shot at a good-paying federalgov job with LRAP protection. What I understand NYU to mean is essentially guaranteed biglaw and a shot at more prestigious biglaw firms than Georgetown offers. If I am willing to compromise on that (I'm not necessarily in this to gun for Wachtell or something), and would be okay with a lower-ranked firm, aren't I someone who would be wise to save the money? I'm open to being convinced otherwise on this and am still pondering.

I am most interested in the DC, south Florida, and NYC markets (roughly in that order -- maybe DC and FL tied with NYC second). Info about getting back to my home state of south FL would also be helpful.

CanadianWolf

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by CanadianWolf » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:39 am

In my view, the most important sentence in the original post is the last sentence:

"Info about getting back to my home state of south Fl would also be helpful."

If this is your goal, then why take on massive student loan debt which would almost necessitate working in New York City biglaw when you can go to the University of Florida for free ?

Columbia with $350,000 of student loan debt and NYU with projected student loan debt of $240,000 are not realistic options.

axiomaticapiary

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by axiomaticapiary » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:59 am

Thank you, I see your point. I would ideally like to try living in a big city (I have been in small FL towns for years now) for a while, which is why NYU and Gtown are the main two options I'm considering.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:51 am

axiomaticapiary wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:59 am
Thank you, I see your point. I would ideally like to try living in a big city (I have been in small FL towns for years now) for a while, which is why NYU and Gtown are the main two options I'm considering.
Going to law school in NY/DC isn't "living in a big city." It's going to school in a big city. If you want to spread your wings and try out living in a new environment, the time to do that is between undergrad and law school.

That said, I do think the debt numbers are inflated, especially if you work biglaw for a summer and put that money towards living expenses/tuition. The real answer here depends on your goals, which are pretty diffuse. If you want to work in DC--or want to work in biglaw/fedgov--more than you want to return to Florida, then there's a strong argument for NYU/Georgetown. And although I see an argument for NYU over Georgetown, I really see a stronger argument for the schools in between that likely gave more generous scholarships than NYU and would offer better outcomes than Georgetown (e.g. UVA, Northwestern, Michigan, etc.). You did apply to more than just these four schools, right?

But if you really just want to work in Florida--regardless of what kind of job you have--and are thinking of this as an opportunity to spend a little time out of state before coming back, then go do something else for a few years, and come back to UF. There's no point in spending six figures on the experience of living outside Florida if you ultimately just want to come back.

crazywafflez

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by crazywafflez » Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:23 am

I think a lot of this will just depend on your goals. If you are biglaw or bust, you've gotta take Gtown or NYU. If you want to be in FL over the others, and you don't mind a variety of options, UF is the right take.
Personally, I think I'd nix NYU and C, I think it is just too much debt, and you'll need to be in biglaw for a long time. Gtown is still really expensive too though and I see arguments for taking NYU over it (btw- def do not do C; NYU is a much better deal for those debt levels). I do think Gtown has a bit better than a 50% chance at biglaw though- even if it isn't like Duke or Cornell.
I can see Gtown, NYU, and UF being realistic options. Personally, as someone paying back their debt now (I took out about 55k; owed 10k a year in tuition basically and then used 25k of loans on living expenses and some savings- it still is shitty, but it is what it is)- I would take Gtown or UF. But I'd personally feel more comfortable coming from Mich or Cornell or Duke with 180k debt than 150k debt at Gtown- if you have anything like that, I would really try and negotiate.

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Rule23andMe

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by Rule23andMe » Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:24 am

Feel like UVA or Duke could best check all of the boxes here. Solid pipeline to BL & fedgov, access to DC & NYC, Southern enough to take you back to FL (considering your roots there), & ideally less costly than NYU but much safer than GULC/UF.

Perhaps OP didn't get in at either of those or didn't get competitive offers, but it may be worth considering delaying a year and trying again if not, since they seem pretty ideal.

axiomaticapiary

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by axiomaticapiary » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:33 am

I do want to work biglaw in a big city or federalgov more than I want to live in Florida. I guess I was thinking about leaving open the option to return to the Miami biglaw market after graduation from NYU or Georgetown. Also I agree with crazywafflez that Columbia really doesn't make sense.

Thanks for the replies and insight. Let's say I could get Michigan or UVA at equal debt from this Georgetown offer. What would I be sacrificing by taking Georgetown instead, or phrased another way what risks would I be taking on?

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cavalier1138

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:44 am

axiomaticapiary wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:33 am
Let's say I could get Michigan or UVA at equal debt from this Georgetown offer. What would I be sacrificing by taking Georgetown instead, or phrased another way what risks would I be taking on?
You'd be sacrificing a much easier path to biglaw and your other career goals for... the chance to live nearer to your career goals during school? DC biglaw and government hire from all the T13; there's no benefit to attending Georgetown at equal price (or even at a moderately lower price). In a vacuum, NYU is absolutely worth $90k than Georgetown, but the reason posters have brought up other schools is that there isn't as much of a gap in biglaw hiring between UVA (for example) and NYU as there is between Georgetown and UVA. So if you can go to UVA for cheaper than NYU, you should take UVA over Georgetown for your goals.

Bobby_Axelrod

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by Bobby_Axelrod » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:55 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:44 am
axiomaticapiary wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:33 am
Let's say I could get Michigan or UVA at equal debt from this Georgetown offer. What would I be sacrificing by taking Georgetown instead, or phrased another way what risks would I be taking on?
You'd be sacrificing a much easier path to biglaw and your other career goals for... the chance to live nearer to your career goals during school? DC biglaw and government hire from all the T13; there's no benefit to attending Georgetown at equal price (or even at a moderately lower price). In a vacuum, NYU is absolutely worth $90k than Georgetown, but the reason posters have brought up other schools is that there isn't as much of a gap in biglaw hiring between UVA (for example) and NYU as there is between Georgetown and UVA. So if you can go to UVA for cheaper than NYU, you should take UVA over Georgetown for your goals.
This is true to an extent, but consider the fact that a lot of people at Georgetown (especially a large percentage of their large part-time program) specifically choose to go into public service, which is why Georgetown's pub service numbers are higher than schools like Northwestern, UVA, Duke, Cornell.

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dudeknows

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by dudeknows » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:02 am

If your goal isn't decisively biglaw, go to UF. All the other school will put you under too much debt to do anything else. I think folks underestimate how much have $100K+ debt does to your financial freedom--especially if you're goal is to ever be financially independent. This forum is overwhelmingly skewed towards biglaw. If you think, even a little, that you will have trouble working over 55 hours per week (which is light), don't pigeon hole yourself.

Also, if you want to be back in S. Fl., UF is #1. If you graduate in the top 20%, you'll be in the running for pretty much any opportunity. FYI-- I work biglaw in Miami and went to UF.

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Re: Help me choose (NYU/Columbia/Georgetown/UF)

Post by omar.comin » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:44 pm

None of these is appealing. Try to get a better offer from UVA or Mich if that’s on the table. If you forced me to choose, I’d take NYU.

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