Scope of Applications

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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Scope of Applications

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2019 10:29 am

Hi all; long time lurker first time poster. Got a fairly unique situation here.

Not really a chances question but I suppose it partly is. Currently finalizing all of my transfer applications and am unclear on how far into the T14 it would be worth applying. Second semester grades are trickling in but could be anywhere from top 1% if things go moderately well to top ~5% if things go moderately poorly. Was well within top 5% after first semester. At a Midwestern T1, KJD. Other info: shit GPA (upward trend, at least) from a very good undergrad, mid 160s LSAT. Currently taking on around $25k a year in debt once cost of living is factored in. Assume money is only kind of a factor; family could help if it came to that (though would prefer it not).

I am applying H, Y, CCN. California is generally out of the picture for me. Beyond these schools I am trying to decide where to apply. I am thinking MVPN, Duke, and maybe (?!) Vandy (ties to the area) (wisdom on this forum seems to indicate Duke and UVA are problematic at best for out of state applicants). No Cornell either probably because of the whole OCI thing. No Georgetown, feel like taking on the debt would not be worth it for a likely govt. job. So I essentially would be big law or nothing. I am transferring more for the long run benefits (general prestige, clerkship, etc. etc.). Yes I have already thought about what I'd be giving up at my old school so spare me.

I am really looking for generalized advice. Outside of the first group of schools mentioned, where would it be worth actually going? Allow me to also note I am applying broadly because at a certain point I would probably use the acceptance to bargain for more money with my current school. Essentially, how far out of the T6 should I apply in order to have an acceptance that would be able to carry some weight in re-negotiating aid; how far out of the T6 would it be worth it (long term) to actually transfer; and last but not least, chance me for CCN :roll: (realize HY probably not happening).

Thank you very much


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Re: Scope of Applications

Post by janereacher » Fri May 10, 2019 6:04 pm

First, congrats on your first semester grades!

Regarding your chance me question: While you are correct about Yale, I don't think I'd say Harvard is "not happening." Top 5% at at T1 is right where need to be minimally and you might end up ranking higher. I think you have a great shot at CCN as well. I have similar stats to you (except I know all of my 1L grades) - Top 2.5% at a T1 school. Mixed UG GPA - very strong finish but a few black marks early on. Low 160s LSAT. I used the spreadsheet from one of the pinned threads to figure out the odds of not getting into one of YSHCCN - they are pretty low - 6%. Obviously, it was a quick and dirty calculation since I don't know actual probabilities for someone in our situation at each school but I think it's likely a good estimate.

So what if you end up being one of the 6%? Where is it worth going? I don't think there is a big enough distinction between MVP and the lower-ranked T14 schools to make a decision on that basis. That is to say, I don't think it's a slam dunk that someone should pick Penn or Michigan over Northwestern or Georgetown. I am applying to Georgetown. I think it gets a bad rap re: Big Law because of self-selection out of Big Law at the school and because of the class size. I have a 1L SA and I did a lot of interviewing - there are Georgetown degrees in V10 associate offices and I talked to some who were transfers into GULC. Also, consider that Georgetown gives need-based aid. I'm not sure how fast their aid offers come relative to when you'd be negotiating with your school but that could figure into the negotiation picture.

I've decided against applying to UVA or Duke precisely because the odds are probably worse than than those for getting into CCN (and maybe even H). If not for the strong preference for in-state students and super small transfer class, I'd likely apply to UVA and put them on my list right below CCN but that's because of things I personally value, not necessarily because I think they should always be chosen over lower ranked schools. Outside of YSHCCN, I'd probably pick either a public university (M or V with a preference for V because of East Coast ties and likely wanting to practice in D.C.) or Georgetown (need-based aid). Someone else might go with Northwestern because they want to practice in Chicago.

In terms of what schools help the most re: re-negotiating aid, I think that really depends on your school. Some don't re-negotiate at all for prospective transfers. Most schools don't give money to transfers so that's not usually in the picture for negotiating. It probably comes down to what your school values/needs (bar passage rates, employment stats, etc.) and how THEY view the T14 and the sub-rankings.


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Re: Scope of Applications

Post by wishywashy » Wed May 15, 2019 12:11 pm

It is hard to predict what school will take you. I would hit every t14 if I had the cash for apps. If not hit something like Harvard, Chicago Columbia, NYU, Duke, Northwestern, Michigan. Cornell is worth an app too if you are willing to hustle a bit - places really well in NYC and the law school is great (but my bias is showing).

You may be surprised how you react when you get an acceptance. The worst feeling in the world is applying to 3 or 4 in the t14 and getting no admits and then regretting not having applied to 7 or 8. You can't go back.

Spend the bucks and apply broadly. This way you at least have some choices and some backups. You can't control how strong the transfer cycle will be, so don't chance it.


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Re: Scope of Applications

Post by Goldie » Wed May 15, 2019 2:28 pm

A few years ago, I was #1 in my Midwestern T1 class at the end of 1L. Also had a mid-160s LSAT. Had a good undergrad GPA from a bad undergrad. And I had a ~60% scholarship at my 1L school. I applied to Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Michigan, and Penn. But by the time I was looking at acceptances, I had decided that it was worth it to transfer only to one of the top three (and maybe Chicago). I didn't think it was worth losing all the benefits of being #1 in my class at a T1 to go to Michigan or Penn, where I had no guarantees of doing well.

In the end, I transferred to one of the top three, and I am very glad I did, in retrospect. And I think I basically stand by my cost/benefit calculation at the time. The exact details may be a little different for you, depending on where you fall in your projected 1L outcomes. But you don't know how well you'll do at the new school, and it may not be worth transferring to some of the lower T14 schools (or even some of the higher T14 schools) if you happen to end up at, say, median in one of those schools. Sure, you have the prestige of the school name, and you will forever. But BigLaw or clerkships or government gigs may not actually be more likely for you at median from one of those schools than they would have been if you had stayed. (I think transfers sometimes underestimate the likelihood that their outcomes will be worse than if they stay.) Of course, if you end up doing very well at the new school, then your outcomes will be far better. But you just can't know that in advance.

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