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Messages - TimothySeiler

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Good Morning All,

I realized I never closed this thread, and I wanted to express appreciation for everyone's reasoned thoughts.

I have decided that I will be going to FSU. Now I just have to bide my time till August... So close and yet so far away...

The wife is set on staying in her home town for her support network. I cannot change that. I am not expecting to commute either. I don't have direct experience, but I expect law school to eat away at me (especially since I am a perfectionist and will be looking to be the top in my class, on the trial team, etc.). I hope to travel home on the weekends, or maybe twice a month if I need to do additional school work.

That's why distance factors so heavily in the conversation, and why I dismissed the idea of William and Mary even though they are offering me $10k a year and the GI Bill would pay for all tuition. I have no love of Tampa, but it seems hard to turn down the money offered by Stetson even if UF is going to make getting a job easier later. The problem is that the two considerations are so different that it is hard to compare them.


Yes, I will be using the GI Bill, but I will still have personal expenses and a family. So the money issue is about maximizing payouts from scholarships.


If I am looking to get into advocacy in either family or criminal law, you would recommend Stetson under reason 2 if I follow correctly.

I have been trying to figure out why Stetson is ranked so lowly. The US News and World Report explanation of scoring is a cobbling of numerous items that do not seem to relate to the quality of education directly. Is there a reason that you view them in lower regard?


I appreciate your response, and being as close to home as possible is definitely a strong consideration.

Just to clarify though, I do not plan to stay in the house with my wife. Even with Stetson (the closest) being three hours away, there is no way that I could commute there. My wife wants to stay where she is so that she has support while I go through the stresses of law school. I would be looking to commute only on the weekends two or three times a month.

I could still do this at UF, being four hours away, but they would be more expensive since there is no scholarship.

I was hoping to hear from some lawyers or other interested parties in Florida weigh in on whether the UF was worth the drawbacks. Or if I am stupidly underestimating a great opportunity at Stetson. I feel like it is the latter, but there are three good options overall.

When I applied to all three, I expected to only be accepted by one. Lucky me. I guess this is a good problem to have.

Choosing the Right Law School / UF, FSU, or Stetson with qualifications
« on: January 11, 2017, 09:00:10 AM »
A little background. I am an active duty Marine and will be leaving service in April. My wife and children already moved back to our home town of Vero Beach to establish our homestead while I am going to school. She has a good job as a teacher there and has a support network of family and friends to help her while I spend my time studying. I plan to stay in Florida after graduation and practice in family or criminal law, maybe as a general practice attorney.

Now, I am trying to decide between University of Florida, Florida State, and Stetson based on three criteria: quality, location, and price.

Stetson 3 hours from my house, in Tampa which is a major market
University of Florida 4 hours from my house, close to Orlando and Jacksonville
Florida State 6 hours from my house, in Tallahassee which is a major market

University of Florida Ranked 48th overall, has a concentration available in family and criminal law, no area specific accolades in areas of my interest
Florida State Ranked 50th overall, has no concentrations of interest, no area specific accolades in areas of my interest
Stetson Ranked 103rd overall, BUT has a concentration in advocacy, also ranked 1st in advocacy and 3rd in legal writing

I have the Post 9-11 GI Bill which will pay for full tuition at any public school, $1,000 per year for books, and a monthly housing stipend based on location.
Florida State All cost will be covered, and they are offering a $15,500 per year scholarship with no strings attached. The housing allowance in Tallahassee is $1,218 for 2017, which will total approximately $10,962 over a 9 month year.
Added together with the book stipend, I will make approximately $27,462 per year, and have to pay for housing, food, and other personal expenses.
Stetson Most costs will be covered by the GI Bill, and they are offering a $38,000 per year scholarship to make up the difference. There is a rider that I must maintain a 2.25 GPA, but that seems easily achieved. Their scholarship is fenced to tuition, but they will use excess to pay for housing in university owned property meaning I should have little to no out of pocket cost for housing. The housing allowance in Gulfport is $1,791 for 2017, which will total approximately $16,119 over a nine month year.
Added together with the book stipend, I will make approximately $17,119 per year, but I will not have to pay for housing and the cost of transportation to see my kids will be significantly less.
University of Florida All cost will be covered by the GI Bill, but they are not offering a scholarship of any kind. The housing allowance in Gainesville is $1,377 for 2017, which will total approximately $12,393 over a 9 month year.
Added together with the book stipend, I will make approximately $13,393 per year, I will have to pay for all housing, food, and other expenses, and the school rates those costs at $17,990 per year. I could make this work, but it would be hard. I might even be stuck pulling out a small loan.

In review
Stetson L = 1, Q = 2?, P = close 2
UF L = 2, Q = 1, P = distant 3
FSU L = distant 3, Q = 2?, P = 1

On balance, this all leaves me leaning pretty strongly toward Stetson, but that 103 number is really getting to me. Is UF that much better that I should give up $17,119 a year plus room? Is FSU good enough that I should ignore their lack of concentrations and the distance from my family?

Your reasoned thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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