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Messages - Betsy 1

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Very interesting....

Betsy,  what factors do you think would have changed your mind if they had been different?  More scholarship money at another school?  Something more intangible?  Any advice you can give to someone who's getting ready to go through that process?

Andrew, I'm a bit confused about the logical jump from going to only CA schools to Boston.  What made you consider Boston so heavily and so suddenly?  As above, any advice you can give to someone starting the application process?

To both of you, how important do you think your personal statements were to your successes?

If Duke had offered me more money, or Virginia let me in from the start and offered $$, it would have been harder.  I love North Carolina, and Virginia is a top school, laid back, and VERY strong in my region.  I would have been even more tempted by Columbia than I was by NYU.  If any of the T14 had offered me the same scholly as Vandy (if the cost of living/tuition was reasonable), I probably wouldn't have been able to resist; although I like being near my family, it was far from my top consideration.  To be honest, there's probably more that would have changed my mind, but now I'm so set on Vandy, I can't see the other side.  Although I can say that it was all about my ideal debt:employment prospects ratio.

I think my personal statement was pretty good, if I do say so myself :) ; I worked on it for a while and got several personalized comments on it.  I wrote about the cultural attitude in Moldova, its contagious nature, and how I had to get over myself and my version of the attitude and make the best of what I had.  It had a little self-deprecation to it, but overall, it was positive.  It would not have made a good impression if I hadn't given myself time to take a week or two of break between revisions; the original version was not very impressive.

Where are you thinking about applying?

I'm jumping up, mostly because I'm still on a "decision high" - it took me about 14.7 billion years to make it.  I finally decided several days ago.

I'll start by saying I'm a financially conservative person (you know the story, lots of us have it: working class parents, no "backup" funds).  I ruled out Duke and Cornell because they offered $$ that was essentially equal (bc of the actual amount of tuition) to what Michigan offered me, and I felt that Michigan was a better school for the debt.  I got in NYU off the waitlist, no $$.  And I had a strong scholarship at Vandy, and the full scholarship at WUSTL.  I was living abroad, so I put down a deposit at Mich, Vandy, and WUSTL so I could visit when I got home and make the final decision.  NYU only gave me a few days to decide, and while I was tempted by the nice LRAP and excellent international PI/PS connections, I'm not sure what I want to do (most students change their minds) and didn't want to be stuck with biglaw or a PI job I didn't want.  So I withdrew there.  Although it would have been nice to say I went to NYU.

I withdrew WUSTL after visiting the schools; it was a nice school, and I liked StL, but it wasn't for me, and the employment strengths there didn't match up with my preferred regions (southeast, DC), at least not to the degree that Vandy does.  So then I was pretty sure I wanted to go to Michigan.  But the debt I calculated, should I not qualify for the federal or institutional LRAP ($1200/month), became more and more intimidating, until I realized that I simply wouldn't be able to stop panicking and being distracted by money at Michigan.  Vandy is strong in my region, close to family, and significantly cheaper (I will most likely only take out the staffords).

A lot of posters here might disagree with my decision, but I finally had to accept that I am not all law school applicants, and this was the right decision for me.

The End.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: How about serving for two years?
« on: June 14, 2008, 09:00:03 PM »
... in the Peace Corps, duh.

Do you think that applying for the Peace Corps after undergrad, using the two years to study for the LSATs and for law school in general, would help my chances at all?  The way I look at it, it's a great way to save myself the pressure of having applications, tests, etc. due my senior year (this year) and I have "Peace Corps Volunteer" on my resume.

Any thoughts?  Do law schools value this kind of service?  Am I mistaken in thinking that waiting for two years after undergrad is a good idea?   ???

I did it, and did the 2 years thing, but everyone else is right about the commitment.  Making time for studying for the LSAT, getting application materials in on time, and actually taking the LSAT abroad (chances are not good that you'll have a testing site anywhere nearby) is DIFFICULT.  Most posts will not give you the time for this; I planned to apply to law schools a year later, but my somewhat weak program meant I had less work hours every week than the average volunteer.  Time management was difficult nonetheless, as I went through unpredictable periods of inactivity and activity in waves; you work when people pop up to ask for your help or suddenly decide they like the project idea you suggested 2 months ago, and saying no because you're working on your applications isn't really morally right or approved-of by PC.  Also, you'll need someone in the states willing to seriously work and help you apply.

And finally, it will be very difficult and miserable for you to stick out your 2 years of service if you are doing it solely as a resume-builder.  I know you say that this isn't why you're thinking of doing it, but reread your post above and think about your real reasons.  If you're sure, then apply, for god's sake don't mention any ulterior motives at your interview, and pray you get a post like mine with locally available (though less-than-reliable) internet cafes.  Peace Corps is great, but it's not for everyone.  People who want to help others can do just as much good (possibly more) by volunteering at home or with Americorps.

OK, tirade done.  Good luck, whatever your decision!

Sorry, I forgot to reply to Lawyer999's earlier post - didn't see it.

Taking 2 years out of my life to join the peace corps or a similar organization just to increase my chances of law school admission seems a bit excessive.   If the law school doesn't want me for who I am, then perhaps it's not a school that I should be considering in the first place.  Sorry, it just really feels  to do something like that just for law school purposes.

Yeah, I'll be checking the VA residency requirements as soon as I can - I think I can put together a pretty strong case for it, as the town that I live in is bisected by the VA/WV state line.  I was strongly considering moving across the state line anyway.

just want to be a voice of support on this :).  I just got home from peace corps, and if you do it for any other reason than wanting to in and of itself, it will be virtually impossible to stick it out (unless you're a lucky one with a stable setup).  And you can't save money, you'll only spend any savings you have on traveling.  Doing it to get into law school would be...IMO, a terrible idea.  As the book says, do what you are!

Thanks everyone, you've helped me to get some perspective.  I have an appointment to go visit Michigan this Friday, and I'm hoping to fall in love with it, as so many people seem to do.  I do feel really, REALLY lucky to have been accepted there and given financial aid; my numbers didn't really deserve it.  I've asked NYU for an extension on the decision until next Monday, so hopefully they'll grant it, and give me a chance to make a more informed decision.  Please feel free to continue offering your opinions; it helps to get me out of my own repetitive mental circle of deliberation...

So I'm looking for opinions...

I am interested in international public service jobs...but I haven't started school yet so who knows if I might change my mind.  Is NYU (no $) worth going to over Michigan (21k/yr)?  These aren't the only options left, but the other two are choices I'll do if I decide I would rather graduate with very little debt, so if I choose better job placement, it will be between these two.  Michigan I'll likely graduate with somewhere around 100k in debt, NYU with 165k.  NYU does guaruntee summer public interest/service internship funding, while at Michigan it seems you have to compete for it.  I'm also under the impression that other than Harvard, NYU is the #1 school for international public service jobs, and I think that their LRAP is better than the federal one, and would benefit me more if I decide to go public service route.  However, if I decide to go private practice, I have no interest in BIGLaw hours, so I would likely be at a lower-paying firm...and paying of 165k on an 80k salary does not sound appetizing.  And if I end up getting married sometime in the next 13 years, sucking up that much money from my spouse doesn't sound that nice either.  But NYU has so many amazing programs for my interests...

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Please help!

What about part-time legal employment during the school year for 2Ls and 3Ls with no real ties to STL; I'd like to work to keep down living expense loans, and I feel like it should be possible, as it's a decent-sized market, but...


I have three deposits!  But a different reason - I couldn't visit any schools, but I'm coming home to the US in about a week to visit all three schools and make a final decision before June 1.  I did write them all to ask permission before I put down multiple deposits, though.

I would vote Tulane, but it sounds like you really don't wanna go there.  I vote BU!

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Dog vs. Cat
« on: May 04, 2008, 09:34:00 AM »
C'mon, I think the answer is pretty clear to a bunch of people on a law school forum.  Cats don't have to go outside!

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Virginia -or- W&M w/ $$?
« on: April 25, 2008, 05:08:47 AM »
Congrats on your decision!

I'm sure you'll enjoy the lower-debt freedom.

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