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Messages - Miami88
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« on: February 15, 2014, 12:19:56 PM »
Just my thoughts and some real considerations...
1) Did you apply to any other schools? You may be able to use scholarships and admission offers from other places to leverage some money from Cornell.
2) Have you applied for need based financial aid from Cornell?
3) Continue to apply to more outside scholarships.
4) Look up more scholarships for your 1L, 2L, and 3L years. The majority of these are writing competitions, but something is something.
5) Look up if there are any work-study programs and/or part-time work potential for law students - even if just for your 2nd and 3rd year.
6) Summer work! There are plenty of opportunities to save up money during summers.
7) Make sure you look up loan repayment programs that Cornell offers. This may require a call to someone over at Cornell directly. They should help you view a realistic 10 year financial scenario out of law school. It may not be nearly as bad as you anticipate. If you end up averaging 100k/year in your first 10 years of work (a very real likelihood), 100k is just 10% of your income in that time period. You will have to live well within your means, but some debt can be good.
If you make sure all aspects of your financial standing are thoroughly exploited, I'm sure you could keep your debt well under 100k.
« on: February 15, 2014, 11:44:06 AM »
Of course - thats what we are here for!
Also note that your Undergraduate GPA may not be the GPA that schools base their decision on. LSAC (the organization between you and law schools) have their own way of scoring and scaling. Law school predictor also has a GPA calculator that will predict this LSAC UGPA.
I think the big takeaway for law school is that you don't have to go to a top ranking school to have a great career. Just make sure that your debt is kept as low as possible.
Finally, all of this info is great - but I think everyone on this forum would highly recommend you focusing 100% of your efforts right now on prepping for the LSAT. Don't worry about anything else - just focus on getting as strong of a score on that test. There are plenty of great prep tips here on this forum.
« on: February 15, 2014, 12:31:30 AM »
1) Can you get into a top 25 with a 3.1 GPA: Yes.
2) Does rank matter: Sort of yes, sort of no.
1) Admissions are based on several factors. The two biggest factors are the "hard" factors, your Undergraduate GPA and LSAT Score. Depending on the school, you can expect for at least 2/3 of the decision to be based on those hard factors (if not far more). If your hard factors place you as a borderline candidate, "soft" factors will end up determining the admissions decision. Soft factors include everything else other than your gpa and lsat. This includes your personal statement, application, letters of recommendation, other essays, class rank, major, resume, work experience, graduate school, extra curricular activities, etc. Perhaps the biggest soft factor is if you are an under represented minority (URM). If you are, this can end up giving you a huge leniency/boost in your LSAT score.
So in your situation with a 3.1 GPA... if you are not a URM, you will most likely need a LSAT at least in the 170+ range to have strong shot for a top 25. Note that this represents the 98th percentile. You may be able to squeeze in to a lower top 25 school with a bit of a lower lsat... maybe. Now, if you are a true URM, so long as you are in the mid 160s, you should stand a good shot at some top 25.
Here are a few great resources to gauge the likelihood of your acceptance:
2) Does ranking really matter?
So US News Ranking is based on several different factors. Some of these factors include subjective measures. For instance, US News will send out polls to attorneys asking them to state what they feel the strongest schools are (ie reputation). Other factors are much more measurable, like employment statistics, bar passage rates, salary expectations, etc. There are then the factors that seem a bit pompous, like how "selective" is the school (the % of people that apply that get accepted), the % of people that get accepted that matriculate, etc.
All in all, ranking is a helpful, general guideline for researching schools - but you shouldn't blindly (nor significantly) base your law school decision on ranking. For instance, regional pull is a huge factor. A school located in the mid west that is ranked somewhere in the 30s is probably going to do very little for a lawyer that wants to work in south florida... In this situation, a law school in south florida, even if ranked in the 100+, may be a smarter move if you wanted to work in south florida.
Now, the one sector of law that your entrance into would heavily be influenced by your school's rank is BigLaw. Big Law are the - wait for it - big law firms. These generally are the jobs that pay the big bucks (starting salaries deep in the 100k with %8+ increases each year). The higher your schools rank, the stronger of a shot you have at landing a job there. You can still get into a BigLaw firm by going to a lower ranked school, however, you will have to finish higher in your class rank. For example, if you went to UMiami (ranked 76th I believe), you basically need to been in the top 1% of the class just to have the glimmer of a shot - and even then you will be limited to BigLaw firms in Miami. Now, if you went to Yale (ranked 1st), so long as you graduate, you can have any job you want, anywhere you want it.
Generally speaking, the elite schools are generally thought to be the Top 14 schools with maybe the addition of Vanderbilt. These schools are nationally thought of (not just regionally) as go-to schools. If there was a more specific breakdown, it would probably be... The top 3, top 6/7, top 10, top 14 (with maybe vanderbilt included), top 30, top 50, top 100, and the rest.
A great resource for deciding on a particular school is:
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
« on: February 14, 2014, 11:49:40 PM »
I'm glad you feel you made a strong and well informed decision! I'm even more glad that we were able to help in some small way.
I never really got into Top Law School forums - it seems cluttered and filled with angry, bitter people - haha!
Congrats and good luck!
« on: February 14, 2014, 11:32:34 AM »
From my experience down here in Miami (speaking with managing partners at big law firms, smaller law firms, businesses, and even ancillary legal organizations)....
1) The top top top top top kids from UM (think valedictorian) will have a (slight) shot at big law. Big law is not going to happen for any fiu kid (unless they already had the connections to begin with, i.e. their parents are hiring partners of the firm).
2) Generally speaking, UM has a slight edge in terms of reputation - however, almost every hiring lawyer has said that they are extremely impressed with FIU's program (even UM alum attorneys are saying this!). My bet is that within 10 years, FIU's program will at least be neck and neck in ranking with UM if not better.
3) From my impression, it seems that the only people who are really saying UM 100% are recent UM grads (within the past 10 years). The older folks down here (the ones actually hiring) are much more positive either way - and if anything are telling kids to strongly consider FIU given the cost.
If the costs are about the same (also factor in their loan repayment programs), I'd certainly go UM. If you are more than likely going to be the top of the class, I'd go UM (which, if you were a strong contender for the top of the class, you would have a serious scholarship and the prior consideration would take hold). In almost every other case, though, UM's slight ranking advantage does not make up for the cost difference. At some point, a law degree is a law degree is a law degree. If the employment stats were gravely different, then ok - but they aren't.
In sum, then...
Job Prospects: Both UM and FIU are about the same for the majority of students with maybe a slight edge given to UM
Bar Passage Rate: FIU's 90% beats UM's 80%
Employment Stats: FIU's 57% is statistically the same as UM's 59%
Reputation: UM nominally beats FIU, however, tides may be turning...
Location: Subjective... UM is in a posh neighborhood and the students tend to be from white middle and upper-class families. FIU is far from anything and the students tend to be from hispanic middle/low-middle class families. But both are in the greater Miami area! <3 Miami
Campus: I must admit, UM's general campus is far prettier, however, UM's law school is both old looking and feeling. FIU has an okay general campus, however, the law facilities are amazing (and new).
Cost of Attendance: FIU's 120k beats UM's 210k. This disparity is worse given you have scholarships from FIU and not from UM. So its more like FIU 70k and UM 210k...
So the big question... Is UM's nominal boost in reputation and lesser bar passage rate worth over $140,000 of extra debt?
« on: February 11, 2014, 10:56:27 PM »
Ah ... well if working in the state capital is an option, I'd strongly consider FSU - again, so long as the cost difference is negligible. Like, if FIU is going to save you 100k, that is a significant difference. If the cost is similar and you don't care where you start off, then FSU is the obvious go to. Note, however, that it may be harder to move down to Miami the older you get.
« on: February 11, 2014, 04:45:11 PM »
Overall, the difference is not significant enough to blindly say one is far better than the other. If you want to live/work in Miami, FIU will offer you the advantage of networking in Miami while FSU may offset that with reputation. I'd say go to the one that is cheaper. If both costs are similar, go with your gut.
« on: February 11, 2014, 03:14:18 PM »
The best medium for this information is actually lawschoolnumbers.com
Congrats to you and your daughter!
« on: February 03, 2014, 12:18:26 PM »
1) Any one of these would be amazing.
2) Everything equal... If you absolutely KNOW you want to live/work in California, and in the Bay area in specific, go to stanford. If its New York, then Columbia. If you aren't committed to anywhere but want the most universal pull, Harvard.
3) That is, of course, assuming all is equal... all may not be equal. Check out the course offerings, professor backgrounds, and relative rankings as related to public interest. Also look up law firms/organizations that specialize in public interest - where did those lawyers go to school? Where are those organizations located?
4) The largest factor that may sway a decision is $$. You may have to double check, but I'm almost certain Stanford and Harvard do not negotiate scholarships (neither does Yale). This is simply because they do not offer merit scholarship, but rather need-based scholarships. These scholarships are based on how your specific level of need matches up to the rest of the class, and then divided amongst the funds. Now, if there is a very significant discrepancy (ie. Harvard offers you 75k while Stanford doesnt offer you anything), then you may want to contact the respective fin. aid offices. Other than that, it is what it is. You may be able to negotiate more with Columbia though.
4) Another factor is loan-repayment and, more importantly, loan-forgivenness programs. Harvard has an amazing loan-forgiveness program. So long as you are working in a legal position, they will help you out significantly. Stanford has a similar program, however, is limited to positions related to public interest (yay!). These are all great safety nets. I'm not sure if Columbia has a similar program. Note that these programs are significant as they are essentially guaranteed "scholarships" in the future and should factor into your calculations side by side Columbia's scholarship offer.
5) My speculation is that Harvard may offer the strongest outcomes for you, followed by Stanford, and then Columbia. At this point, however, you just have to wait and see where the $$ falls.
Good luck and congratulations!
« on: January 31, 2014, 10:18:50 AM »
I would. Just be succinct and factual. Highlight specific strengths, upward grade trend, etc.
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