BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

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asl12345

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BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by asl12345 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:12 pm

Goal: Corporate big law right after graduation, then moving on to in-house / BL / consulting in South Korea.
I've lived in Boston ever since middle school until UG.
I want to work in BL for 5 ish years after graduating but I want to do so in Boston and not NYC just because it's so expensive.

If I go to BU, I'll live with my parents, which means 0 debt, very tempting, but little freedom. On the other hand, the thought of 100k debt scares me but I really want to go to Cornell (it's 120k scholarship).
I'll try negotiating with Cornell with BU full and some GULC aid (unknown yet) but I'm not counting on it.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by crazywafflez » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:13 pm

This is really a toss up for what you are comfortable with. You'll get biglaw from Cornell, and I'd bet you could place into Boston if you really try and you're from the area. But you might not get Boston, it is a chance, and you'll be in over 100k debt. BU is a good school, and you don't have to pay living expenses which is awesome, and you'll for sure get Boston- but you may strike out on biglaw. You'll have to weigh what is important to you.
Your South Korea consulting thing is what kinda has me through a loop. If you're targeting Seoul for later, you may want to snag an Ivy pedigree (maybe you've got something akin from your undergrad) - a lot of places internationally really look for shinny degrees and Cornell makes the cut. If this is your true goal and not just a fancy you'll change your mind on, you should take Cornell. If not, I think BU or Cornell are both defensible options and I'd go to whatever one you like best. Usually I'm really debt averse, however, I'd probs pick Cornell, but BU for totally free is an insanely good option, especially since you want to be in Boston!
So in sum, I have no good answer for you and think either choice is defensible.
Best of luck.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by Wild Card » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:40 pm

Cornell is a good school, and there is a big SK community there, which you may like.

Reputation-wise, and with respect to career prospects, they are on a different level.

And if you want to work in SK, Cornell will surely help you.

You could pay off $110K after 2+ years of biglaw. $200k+ is a different story.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by Dcc617 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:41 pm

Would you prefer a biglaw job with $100K in debt or no biglaw job with no debt?

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by CalF123 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:11 pm

For Boston biglaw, BU is an excellent option. The situation may have been different if NYC was your goal, but you will have absolutely no difficulty in placing in Boston biglaw from BU.

Boston biglaw is absolutely packed with BU and BC grads.

Tbh I strongly suspect you have more chance of placing in Boston from BU than Cornell.

With BU, you’re looking at better biglaw placement, no debt and no CoL. I wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by omar.comin » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:24 pm

This is easy. Go to Cornell. You want corporate biglaw. That's practically guaranteed at Cornell. $110K debt is not bad at all. (Source: am a debt-free biglaw midlevel who paid off a similar amount in about three years.)

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:31 pm

Cornell.

This is not even a close decision in light of your desire for biglaw.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by Dcc617 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:48 pm

Biglaw does suck though, and it would suck to have to stay at a job you may very well hate just to end up in the same financial position you could have been at if you had taken the money.

I believe that BU grads are heavily represented in Boston biglaw, but keep in mind that the Boston legal market is not big and only like 40% of people get biglaw. That’s great, but definitely not safe biglaw if you’re median or below.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by CalF123 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:19 am

Imo, Cornell would potentially come out on top in this situation if the OP wanted NYC biglaw.

But they actively want to be in Boston- biglaw in Boston is very possible from top 45% or so at BU. I suspect it may well be possible from median or slightly below over the next few years due to the hiring boom expected in Boston.

Boston biglaw and slightly below big law firms are packed full of BU grads.

Given that bottom 40% at Cornell will likely not get biglaw, I certainly wouldn’t be getting into unnecessary debt to attend there over BU.

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Dcc617

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by Dcc617 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:49 am

About 70% of the class at Cornell gets biglaw or fed clerkship. That doesn’t mean that you have to be top 70% to get those results. You’re safe for biglaw unless you’re bottom 10-20%, but even then it’s very doable.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:41 am

CalF123 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:19 am
Imo, Cornell would potentially come out on top in this situation if the OP wanted NYC biglaw.
Why do you think the OP can't get back to Boston from Cornell? They clearly have ties.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by CalF123 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:26 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:41 am
CalF123 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:19 am
Imo, Cornell would potentially come out on top in this situation if the OP wanted NYC biglaw.
Why do you think the OP can't get back to Boston from Cornell? They clearly have ties.
I’m not saying the OP couldn’t get back to Boston from Cornell.

What I’m saying is that in the Boston market, a Cornell degree does not carry a huge advantage over a BU one. Firms in Boston are absolutely full of BU grads and are very used to hiring them.

Now the calculation may well be different if the OP wanted somewhere like NYC- as BU has limited national portability.

But given that they want to stay in Boston, it is not worth them spending $100k+ to attend Cornell rather than BU imo.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by omar.comin » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:37 am

There is an objective correct answer here and it’s Cornell. Whether you go through with it or not is your choice. But this should be a very easy decision.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:08 am

CalF123 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:26 am
cavalier1138 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:41 am
CalF123 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:19 am
Imo, Cornell would potentially come out on top in this situation if the OP wanted NYC biglaw.
Why do you think the OP can't get back to Boston from Cornell? They clearly have ties.
I’m not saying the OP couldn’t get back to Boston from Cornell.

What I’m saying is that in the Boston market, a Cornell degree does not carry a huge advantage over a BU one. Firms in Boston are absolutely full of BU grads and are very used to hiring them.

Now the calculation may well be different if the OP wanted somewhere like NYC- as BU has limited national portability.

But given that they want to stay in Boston, it is not worth them spending $100k+ to attend Cornell rather than BU imo.
Right. But you seem to assuming that biglaw is just as easy to grab from BU as it is from Cornell, which is objectively not true. Even with your (I think overly optimistic) assessment of the OP's chances from BU, they'd need to be in the top 45% of their class to snag a biglaw offer. Cornell is easily worth $100k for the peace of mind that comes with being able to get biglaw from median or even below-median, especially since the OP's ties to Boston remove any regional advantage BU might otherwise have.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by becodalapa » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:09 am

CalF123 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:11 pm
Boston biglaw is absolutely packed with BU and BC grads.

Tbh I strongly suspect you have more chance of placing in Boston from BU than Cornell.
The first sentence is true. The second one is not. You can get Boston BL from Cornell with much lower grades than you can from BU.

OP, I faced almost this exact choice and chose Cornell with the same career goal as you. I'm 100% certain I made the right call.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by CPA-->JD » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:18 pm

(Probability of missing BL at BU - Probability of missing BL at Cornell) X (BL $$$$ - non BL $$) > 110K

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by asl12345 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:38 pm

[/quote]
OP, I faced almost this exact choice and chose Cornell with the same career goal as you. I'm 100% certain I made the right call.
[/quote]

Everyone, thank you SO much for all your comments. I guess I'm risk-averse, in a sense that I'm 50% debt-averse and 50% career-risk-averse.
BECODALAPA, since you seem to be attending Cornell right now, can I ask you a few questions? Is your goal still the same right now, and if so, what year are you and how close are you from achieving it? Do you think that higher probability of achieving my career goals alone is worth the extra money? If not, what else among the Cornell experiences do you think makes the debt worth it?

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by asl12345 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:12 pm

becodalapa wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:09 am
CalF123 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:11 pm
Boston biglaw is absolutely packed with BU and BC grads.

Tbh I strongly suspect you have more chance of placing in Boston from BU than Cornell.
The first sentence is true. The second one is not. You can get Boston BL from Cornell with much lower grades than you can from BU.

OP, I faced almost this exact choice and chose Cornell with the same career goal as you. I'm 100% certain I made the right call.
Everyone, thank you SO much for all your comments. I guess I'm risk-averse, in a sense that I'm 50% debt-averse and 50% career-risk-averse.
BECODALAPA, since you seem to be attending Cornell right now, can I ask you a few questions? Is your goal still the same right now, and if so, what year are you and how close are you from achieving it? Do you think that higher probability of achieving my career goals alone is worth the extra money? If not, what else among the Cornell experiences do you think makes the debt worth it?

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by becodalapa » Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:19 pm

asl12345 wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:12 pm
Everyone, thank you SO much for all your comments. I guess I'm risk-averse, in a sense that I'm 50% debt-averse and 50% career-risk-averse.
BECODALAPA, since you seem to be attending Cornell right now, can I ask you a few questions? Is your goal still the same right now, and if so, what year are you and how close are you from achieving it? Do you think that higher probability of achieving my career goals alone is worth the extra money? If not, what else among the Cornell experiences do you think makes the debt worth it?
My goal was always to get a market-paying BL gig. I did that.

I think the higher probability is worth it because you really don't know how you're going to do in law school. Sure, you might do well enough at BU to get the same job, but you might not. The downside protection Cornell and other similarly ranked schools offer was worth it to me, but it might not be for you.

For the record, I really liked BU when I visited, and came very, very close to attending. I ended up choosing Cornell for basically one reason: everyone at BU seemed to mention how competitive and stressful it was. Even at admitted students day when you think the school is trying to put on a good show, I heard a ton of stories about the stress around grades. Cornell never felt that way. I always wanted to do well, but I never felt like I was competing against my fellow classmates for a job. Maybe things are different at BU now, but I don't think I would have had the same experience there as I did at Cornell.

Anyway, I loved Cornell and had a great time there. It was 100% worth it both personally and professionally.

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Re: BU $0 debt vs. Cornell $110k debt [NEVER BEEN THIS SPLIT MY ENTIRE LIFE]

Post by objctnyrhnr » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:26 am

becodalapa wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:19 pm
asl12345 wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:12 pm
Everyone, thank you SO much for all your comments. I guess I'm risk-averse, in a sense that I'm 50% debt-averse and 50% career-risk-averse.
BECODALAPA, since you seem to be attending Cornell right now, can I ask you a few questions? Is your goal still the same right now, and if so, what year are you and how close are you from achieving it? Do you think that higher probability of achieving my career goals alone is worth the extra money? If not, what else among the Cornell experiences do you think makes the debt worth it?
My goal was always to get a market-paying BL gig. I did that.

I think the higher probability is worth it because you really don't know how you're going to do in law school. Sure, you might do well enough at BU to get the same job, but you might not. The downside protection Cornell and other similarly ranked schools offer was worth it to me, but it might not be for you.

For the record, I really liked BU when I visited, and came very, very close to attending. I ended up choosing Cornell for basically one reason: everyone at BU seemed to mention how competitive and stressful it was. Even at admitted students day when you think the school is trying to put on a good show, I heard a ton of stories about the stress around grades. Cornell never felt that way. I always wanted to do well, but I never felt like I was competing against my fellow classmates for a job. Maybe things are different at BU now, but I don't think I would have had the same experience there as I did at Cornell.

Anyway, I loved Cornell and had a great time there. It was 100% worth it both personally and professionally.
Anecdotally, this feels like it sums up the Bu/Gw/Fordham/wash u/usc/bc/UT experience in a nutshell.

To students @ the above non-exhaustive list (of which I was one), the message is this:

your school is good but not THAT good. Your biglaw chances are fine/solid but also not THAT good. Biglaw is neither a quasi pipe dream nor a virtually certain bet.

Now fight to the death because only half (or fewer) of the people who want this thing will get it.



OP, knowing what I know now (and as somebody currently in biglaw), I would seriously lean towards Cornell but either option is strong because the downside of missing biglaw with 0 debt isn’t that bad.

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