Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride) Forum

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jb11111

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Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by jb11111 » Tue Apr 05, 2022 1:20 pm

Northwestern offered me $20k/year, which would put me in debt around $200k most likely.

A few other schools, ranked around 50 and below, offered me full rides (so I would have maybe $30k for living costs).

I want to work in government, starting as a prosecutor, so I won't be making a lot. I could stay for 10 years to get that debt waived, but that is a long time, and things don't always work out how you want them to. I don't care about the place I live too much at first, just anywhere around the NE.

What would you do?

nixy

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by nixy » Tue Apr 05, 2022 1:31 pm

I think that’s probably a lot of debt for a prosecutor, but you’re going to have to give more details about the other schools, and particularly where they are vs. where you want to practice. “Ranked around 50 and below” isn’t enough information to go on.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by jb11111 » Wed Apr 06, 2022 1:31 am

The other best school I can get into with nearly a full ride is Temple Law.

The area doesn't matter greatly for when I start out, as I have moved around a lot my entire life. But I would like to be in the NE somewhere, because I prefer the cold.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 06, 2022 4:08 pm

Since your career goal is to be a prosecutor, take the lowest cost route to earning your law degree.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by talons2250 » Wed Apr 06, 2022 4:53 pm

Go to Northwestern. Your ambitions about being a prosecutor could change. In any event, Northwestern has LRAP and there's always the federal PSLF if you stay in a non-profit/government job for 10 years. Alternatively, how averse are you to working in biglaw for a few years after graduation? That is very doable from Northwestern, and not really from Temple (unless you want to work in Philadelphia, in which case you might be able to swing it). Biglaw would allow you to pay off loans and could facilitate a jump to the USAO. Many (most?) federal prosecutors started their careers in biglaw firms.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 06, 2022 7:14 pm

talons2250 wrote:
Wed Apr 06, 2022 4:53 pm
Go to Northwestern. Your ambitions about being a prosecutor could change. In any event, Northwestern has LRAP and there's always the federal PSLF if you stay in a non-profit/government job for 10 years. Alternatively, how averse are you to working in biglaw for a few years after graduation? That is very doable from Northwestern, and not really from Temple (unless you want to work in Philadelphia, in which case you might be able to swing it). Biglaw would allow you to pay off loans and could facilitate a jump to the USAO. Many (most?) federal prosecutors started their careers in biglaw firms.
OP has concerns about remaining in a position for 10 years according to the post which started this thread.

OP, unless you want biglaw immediately after law school, do not take on $200,000 of student loan debt.

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Vin

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by Vin » Sun Apr 17, 2022 9:54 am

I am a Northwestern alumni and I actually would strongly advise you not to go to Northwestern. I have found it very difficult to find work and advance my career after Northwestern and I have had serious difficulties trying to pay off my student loans.

Happy to provide more detail if you would like. But overall going to Northwestern was a terrible life decision for me and I would urge others not to make the same mistake I did!

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cavalier1138

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Apr 17, 2022 10:37 am

Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 9:54 am
I am a Northwestern alumni and I actually would strongly advise you not to go to Northwestern. I have found it very difficult to find work and advance my career after Northwestern and I have had serious difficulties trying to pay off my student loans.

Happy to provide more detail if you would like. But overall going to Northwestern was a terrible life decision for me and I would urge others not to make the same mistake I did!
I agree that OP should not take on this much debt for Northwestern, but if you struggled to get a job from any T13, it wasn't because the school failed you.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by Rule23andMe » Sun Apr 17, 2022 10:37 am

Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 9:54 am
I am a Northwestern alumni and I actually would strongly advise you not to go to Northwestern. I have found it very difficult to find work and advance my career after Northwestern and I have had serious difficulties trying to pay off my student loans.

Happy to provide more detail if you would like. But overall going to Northwestern was a terrible life decision for me and I would urge others not to make the same mistake I did!
Sorry to hear about the difficulties, but to OP, this will be a possibility from any school in the country. The considerations should thus be about the likelihoods of schools getting your to your desired outcome/avoiding bad outcomes + how much you're willing to pay to increase/decrease those likelihoods, and NU certainly has a much lower risk of bad outcomes than Temple. Doesn't mean it'd be worth the cost for your goals, but the above n=1 sample shouldn't drive your decision.
Anyway, I'd first look more closely at NU's LRAP which surely gives more flexibility than PSLF + still lets you benefit even if not staying in a qualifying job for 10 years (as do most). May be worth it to make sure you can get your goal job + have more options in case you change your mind or can't get exactly what you want right out of school. I'd vote NU but not sure there's an easy answer here with the info available.

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Vin

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by Vin » Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:23 pm

I would also add a few additional thoughts for your consideration. First, I am not sure what statistics are being referred to in this thread, but even if there are some statistics that indicate Northwestern may give you favorable career prospects, I can tell you from my experience as a Northwestern alumni that there is certainly not a guarantee that you will have a good career. Even if you go to Northwestern and work hard afterwards you may still struggle in your career. With Northwestern student loans that means your life may be severely negatively impacted.

Second, I applaud you for knowing that you want to work in government! That is a very noble career choice! I would advise you to exercise your own judgment if/ when someone tells you to consider other career paths. In the next few years you may be tempted by jobs that seem to offer more lucrative or glamorous careers. Stick to your guns! You know who you are and what you want to do better than anyone else in the world!

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:34 am

Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:23 pm
I would also add a few additional thoughts for your consideration. First, I am not sure what statistics are being referred to in this thread, but even if there are some statistics that indicate Northwestern may give you favorable career prospects, I can tell you from my experience as a Northwestern alumni that there is certainly not a guarantee that you will have a good career. Even if you go to Northwestern and work hard afterwards you may still struggle in your career. With Northwestern student loans that means your life may be severely negatively impacted.

Second, I applaud you for knowing that you want to work in government! That is a very noble career choice! I would advise you to exercise your own judgment if/ when someone tells you to consider other career paths. In the next few years you may be tempted by jobs that seem to offer more lucrative or glamorous careers. Stick to your guns! You know who you are and what you want to do better than anyone else in the world!
Ok, since the more tactful approach didn't work:

Stop trying to scare 0Ls by using your own failure as a measuring stick for a school. If you couldn't land a decent job from Northwestern, that was probably mostly on you. There is no school in the country that can offer you a 100% guarantee of biglaw, but in the T13, it's available to almost everyone who wants it.

Since you're the one pushing the narrative that Northwestern is somehow responsible for you not getting hired, where did you place in your class during OCI, and what jobs did you target?

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by jb11111 » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:37 pm

I decided on a free tuition school for my first year to save costs and figure out what I want. I plan to work hard the first semester, writing a comment/note and see if I can transfer somewhere with a better deal. If not, going to school with minimal debt is ok for me.

Thank you for the responses.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:59 pm

jb11111 wrote:
Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:37 pm
I decided on a free tuition school for my first year to save costs and figure out what I want. I plan to work hard the first semester, writing a comment/note and see if I can transfer somewhere with a better deal. If not, going to school with minimal debt is ok for me.

Thank you for the responses.
I think you're making the right choice, but please be aware that this isn't a viable plan. Transfers generally don't get scholarships at all. So don't go anywhere you wouldn't be happy graduating from.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 19, 2022 7:05 pm

jb11111 wrote:
Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:37 pm
I decided on a free tuition school for my first year to save costs and figure out what I want. I plan to work hard the first semester, writing a comment/note and see if I can transfer somewhere with a better deal. If not, going to school with minimal debt is ok for me.

Thank you for the responses.
It would be unusual for a first semester or first year law student to write a comment/note unless well qualified by experience prior to entering law school.

Why do you want to become a prosecutor ?

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by Ohiobumpkin » Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:53 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:34 am
Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:23 pm
I would also add a few additional thoughts for your consideration. First, I am not sure what statistics are being referred to in this thread, but even if there are some statistics that indicate Northwestern may give you favorable career prospects, I can tell you from my experience as a Northwestern alumni that there is certainly not a guarantee that you will have a good career. Even if you go to Northwestern and work hard afterwards you may still struggle in your career. With Northwestern student loans that means your life may be severely negatively impacted.

Second, I applaud you for knowing that you want to work in government! That is a very noble career choice! I would advise you to exercise your own judgment if/ when someone tells you to consider other career paths. In the next few years you may be tempted by jobs that seem to offer more lucrative or glamorous careers. Stick to your guns! You know who you are and what you want to do better than anyone else in the world!
Ok, since the more tactful approach didn't work:

Stop trying to scare 0Ls by using your own failure as a measuring stick for a school. If you couldn't land a decent job from Northwestern, that was probably mostly on you. There is no school in the country that can offer you a 100% guarantee of biglaw, but in the T13, it's available to almost everyone who wants it.

Since you're the one pushing the narrative that Northwestern is somehow responsible for you not getting hired, where did you place in your class during OCI, and what jobs did you target?
Super mature moderator over here. Personal attacks are not helpful or persuasive. What exactly is wrong about his advice? NU places usually 60-70% of grads into BL+Fed Clerkship (looking at the last three years). That still leaves approximately 30-40% of any given class as not achieving an outcome that usually leads to high income positions early on in their career (which is critical for paying off your debt before interest increases your debt even further). It is not unreasonable to say that taking on a large amount of debt to go to NU is not a good choice. Think you need to chill and let people say their piece, especially when the opinions being offered are not totally baseless or completely unreasonable.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by nixy » Fri Apr 22, 2022 7:31 am

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:53 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:34 am
Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:23 pm
I would also add a few additional thoughts for your consideration. First, I am not sure what statistics are being referred to in this thread, but even if there are some statistics that indicate Northwestern may give you favorable career prospects, I can tell you from my experience as a Northwestern alumni that there is certainly not a guarantee that you will have a good career. Even if you go to Northwestern and work hard afterwards you may still struggle in your career. With Northwestern student loans that means your life may be severely negatively impacted.

Second, I applaud you for knowing that you want to work in government! That is a very noble career choice! I would advise you to exercise your own judgment if/ when someone tells you to consider other career paths. In the next few years you may be tempted by jobs that seem to offer more lucrative or glamorous careers. Stick to your guns! You know who you are and what you want to do better than anyone else in the world!
Ok, since the more tactful approach didn't work:

Stop trying to scare 0Ls by using your own failure as a measuring stick for a school. If you couldn't land a decent job from Northwestern, that was probably mostly on you. There is no school in the country that can offer you a 100% guarantee of biglaw, but in the T13, it's available to almost everyone who wants it.

Since you're the one pushing the narrative that Northwestern is somehow responsible for you not getting hired, where did you place in your class during OCI, and what jobs did you target?
Super mature moderator over here. Personal attacks are not helpful or persuasive. What exactly is wrong about his advice? NU places usually 60-70% of grads into BL+Fed Clerkship (looking at the last three years). That still leaves approximately 30-40% of any given class as not achieving an outcome that usually leads to high income positions early on in their career (which is critical for paying off your debt before interest increases your debt even further). It is not unreasonable to say that taking on a large amount of debt to go to NU is not a good choice. Think you need to chill and let people say their piece, especially when the opinions being offered are not totally baseless or completely unreasonable.
But isn’t NU known for people who don’t go into law jobs after graduation? Their JD-advantage numbers are relatively high, and I don’t think you can generalize about what those financial outcomes are. Then there are the people who go into public service who presumably never intended to pay down their debt through salary. And you don’t know the distribution of scholarships throughout the class. You can’t say (to the extent you meant to imply this) because 30-40% don’t end up in biglaw/FC, those people are all struggling to service their debt.

In any case, I think everyone can agree that taking out sticker to go to a T14 on the assumption that you’ll get a biglaw job to pay off the debt, and then not getting a biglaw job, is an uncomfortable place to be. I think some of the objection to the criticism of NU is based on the implication that NU is somehow uniquely worse in this respect than other schools - especially with struggling to find work at all.

(All that said, yeah, it’s probably good that the OP didn’t take out that debt - not because it was for NU, but because it’s a ton of debt. The transfer plan isn’t great, though I hope it works out for them.)

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:38 am

We don't even need to speculate about Northwestern's JD-advantage outcomes. Most of them are JD-MBAs who definitely do okay, financially, coming out of Kellogg. Remove those people from the numerator/denominator and Northwestern's BL+FC percentage is about as good could possibly be—i.e., approaching Chicago/Columbia's which is probably the event horizon for this statistic.

I'm no advocate of sticker debt, to be clear, because I think that getting biglaw with $300k+ of debt is a mediocre outcome, but I do think it's reasonable to assume biglaw from a school like this. There's a tail risk of doing all the right things and not getting a firm job, but at a T13 that risk is small enough to put in the "what if I get hit by a bus" category of things you just gotta try and avoid.

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Re: Northwestern (debt) vs. others (full ride)

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri Apr 22, 2022 12:19 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:53 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:34 am
Vin wrote:
Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:23 pm
I would also add a few additional thoughts for your consideration. First, I am not sure what statistics are being referred to in this thread, but even if there are some statistics that indicate Northwestern may give you favorable career prospects, I can tell you from my experience as a Northwestern alumni that there is certainly not a guarantee that you will have a good career. Even if you go to Northwestern and work hard afterwards you may still struggle in your career. With Northwestern student loans that means your life may be severely negatively impacted.

Second, I applaud you for knowing that you want to work in government! That is a very noble career choice! I would advise you to exercise your own judgment if/ when someone tells you to consider other career paths. In the next few years you may be tempted by jobs that seem to offer more lucrative or glamorous careers. Stick to your guns! You know who you are and what you want to do better than anyone else in the world!
Ok, since the more tactful approach didn't work:

Stop trying to scare 0Ls by using your own failure as a measuring stick for a school. If you couldn't land a decent job from Northwestern, that was probably mostly on you. There is no school in the country that can offer you a 100% guarantee of biglaw, but in the T13, it's available to almost everyone who wants it.

Since you're the one pushing the narrative that Northwestern is somehow responsible for you not getting hired, where did you place in your class during OCI, and what jobs did you target?
Super mature moderator over here. Personal attacks are not helpful or persuasive. What exactly is wrong about his advice? NU places usually 60-70% of grads into BL+Fed Clerkship (looking at the last three years). That still leaves approximately 30-40% of any given class as not achieving an outcome that usually leads to high income positions early on in their career (which is critical for paying off your debt before interest increases your debt even further). It is not unreasonable to say that taking on a large amount of debt to go to NU is not a good choice. Think you need to chill and let people say their piece, especially when the opinions being offered are not totally baseless or completely unreasonable.
It's the inverse of "I went to a T4 a d got biglaw, so you can too!" So I have no problem pushing back, especially when a poster's entire history is a Yelp review of Northwestern.

Everyone's welcome to offer their opinions. The opinion that NU is somehow uniquely "life-ruining" or poses a significant risk of not setting its graduates up with decent jobs is absolutely ridiculous. And being a moderator doesn't preclude me from pointing out that it's ridiculous.

Also, literally none of what I previously posted was a personal attack on the poster.

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