Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

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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Anonymous User
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Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:52 pm

Hey all,

I'm currently at UCI Law with a 3.79 gpa and no housing costs since I live at home. I was accepted by Berkeley but I am anticipating not receiving any aid from them. I am debating whether or not I should accept Berkeleys offer to increase my chances big law prospects or if I should be more debt-averse and stay at UCI.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Libya

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to UCB at sticker?

Post by Libya » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:22 pm

Does UCB = Berkeley? What are your goals? Where are you in the class rank at UCI? Have you tried asking for more $$$? What is the total difference in COA?

jordansadlier

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to UCB at sticker?

Post by jordansadlier » Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:14 pm

Yes, I mean Berkeley, sorry should have been more clear. I am interested in corporate transactional work and don’t have a strong preference between SoCal and NorCal. UCI doesn’t rank but I am within the top 20% forsure. I asked UCI for more money but they declined to increase my scholarship. The total difference in COA would be a little over $100k but it’s difficult to tell at this point since I can live it home as long as we are remote.

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to UCB at sticker?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:22 pm

I would transfer given your options/lack of scholarship increase at UCI, especially if you can keep living at home for now

lawdog97

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by lawdog97 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:53 pm

First, Berkeley and UCI are both in the top 50 law schools. Congratulations for getting accepted to them!

If you get big law in LA, SD, or SF, will you be able to afford the COL in those cities with the $100,000 student debt? How long are you willing to finance the payments? Not trying to be negative, but trying to help you think through your decisions.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:13 pm

Thank you! If I do get into biglaw, I should be able to manage the extra debt although it will definitely take longer to pay off or require a larger monthly payment. I have it calculated out on spreadsheets and it is doable. It just comes down to whether or not the extra debt is worth it to me. I really appreciate you bringing that up!

AdieuCali

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by AdieuCali » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:22 pm

Agree with DnD - I would transfer in this situation. It's doubtful Berk will be back in class at all during the 20-21 school year, so you the savings on Bay Area rent are going to be significant.

Biglaw hiring is likely going to be at '08-'12 levels for the foreseeable future. T1 schools did great during the '15-'20 boom, often placing over half their classes in biglaw or fed clerkships. The effects of contracting BL hiring will impact lower ranked schools before the T13. You can see that played out here: https://www.lstreports.com/compare/berkeley/irvine/usc/

It's not fair to compare Berk and UCI's "Great Recession" BL+FC rates, because UCI was so new at the time. But USC is probably a good comparator:
Berk BL+FC: 53% in 2011; 60% in 2012
USC BL+FC: 38% in 2011; 37% in 2012

You have a much better shot at BL from Berk than UCI. And as predicted, Dean Chem's departure destroyed UCI's fed clerk rates. That will make OCI all the more cutthroat at UCI where the top 25% of the class are no longer competitive for federal clerkships.

Also, not sure how much of a factor this will be, but transfers are normally at a disadvantage at their new school's OCI. Firms view transfers as students of their old school because they don't know where to place them on the curve. With OCI pushed back to January, you'll have a full semester of Berkeley grades on your transcript.

Finally, if you strike out in B/L at Berk's OCI and end up in public interest, Berkeley's LRAP is more generous than UCI's. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/wp-content ... ndbook.pdf

Anonymous User
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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:06 pm

Those are all great points, really appreciate the advice! I am definitely leaning towards transferring at this point.

deanrobbins1

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by deanrobbins1 » Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:06 am

CLS alum; graduated a while ago, but recently lateraled from Atlantic Coast firm to a West Coast firm.

personally, if I were in your shoes, I would transfer based on the information you've given. if the economy doesn't snap back quickly and hiring recedes by the time of your OCI, it's reasonable to expect there will be some 'flight to quality' in terms of which schools firms draw their more limited classes from.

I went through OCI during a rather good (non-recession) year so basically everyone had great options, but there was a belief among the 350-some 1L CLS admits (whose first year grades were curved to ~3.28) that transfers got a psychological boost from interviewers with 'selective' firms, who seemed to place more weight on their numerical 3.7 and 3.8 gpas than their source of origin, whether Fordham/Cardozo/Brooklyn etc. now, that's not the most testable of claims and could just be sour grape grumbling from median kids who weren't thrilled at having 40-some transfers thrown into the pot at all. but my point is that I do think that phenomenon may benefit you, particularly doing OCI at a school like Berkeley that's known for its highly opaque grading system, where interviewers have said they have a hard time deciding just where the 'mushy middle' kids fit in terms of their target cutoffs. in your case when it comes time to make a callback/offer decision firm decision makers will know that picking you means adding BOTH a T14 skin to their class/callback roster AND a candidate who already achieved a high GPA at a 'pretty good' law school--top 25 or top 30 or w/e, I've done OCI for my firms but only at east coast schools so it's not like I know UCI's precise ranking. But in any case, I think that the above would put you in a very good position for upcoming OCI versus that amorphous band of top 35%-65% Berkeley students; it wouldn't surprise me at all if you were treated more-or-less on par with top 15%-20% Berkeley students, which is probably a pretty good place to be even if OCI is rough this year.

conversely, were I in your shoes, chances interviewing as an 'unranked but at least top 20%' student at UCI (competing in a potentially down economy against USC/UCLAs students plus SLS/Berkeley kids) would feel uncomfortably black-box-like to me personally. my $.02

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Anon-non-anon

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by Anon-non-anon » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:11 am

Agree with above post. Transfer. You can stay at home a bit longer. OCI will take into account a semester of Berkeley grades, so (I'm guessing) your transfer status won't count against you as much as in normal OCI.

BEng,MBA,FRM,JD(?)

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Re: Stay at UCI with 25K scholarship or transfer to Berkeley at sticker?

Post by BEng,MBA,FRM,JD(?) » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:00 pm

A few points - 1. Transfer students at Berkeley have generally had great biglaw options because they had top grades on their transcript for 1L year. 2. This year would be different because you would have one semester of Berkeley grades on your transcript come OCI. And that may actually play against you if you are not in the top whatever it takes to get a great biglaw gig from Berkeley. If let's say you end up at median at Berkeley, it would be potentially worse than being in the top 10-15% at UCI. 3. A ton of UCI 1Ls are transferring and every year there are very few people transferring into UCI. So, you may move into the top 10% at UCI once people transfer out. That said, you obviously need to maintain those grades in fall 2020 semester. Can you do that? Depends on your self-confidence more than the others because you have already done it 1L year and you know how to excel here. 4. I think you are better than top 20% at UCI with that GPA. I know someone with a 3.8 a couple years ago graduated magna cum Claude (i think top 12%). 5. I am making the same decision from UCI (only, I have a full ride here) with similar goals so feel free to hit me up and we can talk! I have done a ton of research. Good luck!

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