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Author Topic: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!  (Read 3697 times)

TimBeConfused

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Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« on: February 22, 2008, 03:41:19 AM »
Hey everyone.  I am new to this board but I am of the opinion that you can never have too few opinions so I was hoping some of you might be willing to lend some perspective on the PA schools I am considering.

Having recently visited Penn State, Villanova and Temple I am left with the feeling that I can't really make a very poor decision with respect to my legal education (I'm sure someone will tell me how wrong I am about that).

My feeling at this point is that I'd like to steer clear of firm jobs and look towards a gov't job of some sort at the federal, state or local level although I would like to leave the door open to law firm possibilities when making my choice.

Penn State offered me $20,000 a year and only $5,000 is conditioned on being in the top 50% the rest is without condition.  I've read a few posts where people mentioned that Penn State is throwing money at people, obviously I could be an obvious manifestation of that however at $20,000 a year am I getting a good value based on future job prospects?

Villanova seemed like an good school, the class I sat in on was very good the professor was nice enough to talk to me after class.  I know it is pricier and it may well be out of consideration depending on how much need based aid they think I am worth.  Is it worth inquiring about a scholarship this late or anything?  Like Penn State they are constructing a new law building, their current one was decent but felt like a high school somewhat.  The area around Villanova is the big draw in that it is much safer than my next choice!

Temple seems to be everyones favorite as far as having the best T2 reputation in Philly.  They seemed to have a very solid school, the professor I met was very down to earth which was a pleasant surprise.  However from a safety perspective while I was visiting there was a shooting in the subway station just a few blocks away from campus!  Plus I will admit to being somewhat of a city-phobe I am unsure of attending a school in such a dangerous area of the city even with the in-state tuition discount!( Some members family would surely have a heart attack if I decided to go to Temple)
Edit:
I qualify for in-state tuition at Temple

Finally, I have a tempting offer from Widener a T4 in Harrisburg.  They offered me full tuition plus 5k/yr for living expenses.  The idea of being paid to go to a school is quite alluring.  In addition Widener seems to have a decent local reputation despite its T4 status.  Obviously the job prospects would not be as good, nor would the prestige be as high but I feel as though there would be jobs in gov't available to Widener-Harrisburg students.

I appreciate any light anyone can shed on the great many issues/schools I discussed!  Thank you for any input!
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? ~ Thomas Jefferson

TimBeConfused

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 03:48:26 AM »
I intended to post this in the "Where should I go next fall?" forum figuring that would be more appropriate.  I apologize for the double post.  Still, any thoughts that you may have would be appreciated on either thread.  Thanks!
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? ~ Thomas Jefferson

todesgebruell

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 09:45:27 AM »
I had nearly the same scholarship offer from Widener (DE) and withdrew once I got into Temple.  Personally, I didn't think the free tuition offset the idea of attending a fourth tier. 

I'd go to Penn State or Temple unless Villanova came up with some money.

mpk1516

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 09:52:27 AM »
You seem like you have a pretty good grasp of where these schools stand. I'll add my two cents since I have spent time looking at these schools and live in Philly.

Penn State seems to be the top choice if you would like to spend time in PA State Governement in Harrisburg. They place a lot of lawyers in both public and private practice in Harrisburg. In addition to having the other campus in Carlisle which is very close, PSU has made amazing academic strides with the law school since they acquired it.

Villanova, I ultimately chose not to apply to for a combination of reasons that you mentioned. Temple seems to have the better reputation and placement in Philly firms and government and does it at half the cost (assuming in-state tuition). The location is much better than Temple, but that seems to be the only advantage, unless you are offered money.

Temple is the best choice for job prospects around Philly. Former mayors, councilmen and plently of firm partners all came out of Temple. They have a great network in the area and you have the option of working in Philly area local government or firm work. The cost is also great for in-state tuition. The campus is definitely a downside, but I had a friend who just graduated and said that he never felt unsafe while he was there. That is in large part due to the fact that most students live in Center City or Manayunk and take the train to campus, which drops you off on campus. I would not recommend ever leaving there campus though, especially at night. He did say that he never asked his girlfriend to come meet him for dinner at Temple because he didn't want her in the area at night.

I don't know much about Widener, especially in Harrisburg, but if PSU offered you that kind of money, I would think that it should far outweigh anything that Widener offers you, including the 5k stipend, just on job prospects and alumni network alone, especially in PA with the undergrad network that PSU has. Also, Widener (outside of Top 10%) would close a lot of law firm doors based simply on their ranking.

Hope some of that helps, but personally, I would focus on PSU if you want to do state government/firms work in Harrisburg or Temple if you want to do local gov/firm work in Philly.

TimBeConfused

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 10:24:37 AM »
I would take advantage of in-state tuition at Temple.  I also believe I will be eligible for need-based aid however I have not received my financial packages yet so that is part of the frustrating part. 

I feel like the way Penn State is investing in Dickinson they might be on the same level as Temple and Villanova in just a few more years(Atleast in USNews).  What is everyone's thought on that?  I am trying to create some sort of ranking in my head so I at least know where I'd probably want to go under the perfect situation. 

I have heard a couple of people I know mention that they never felt unsafe on the Temple campus, still the neighborhood simply gives me pause and I'd likely have to fight the objection of some family members by choosing them. 

What is Villanova and Temple ended up being the same cost?  Am I still shortchanging myself and if so by how much do you think?  Is it worth living and going to school in a safer environment?  I liked both schools when I visited so I suppose cost will end up helping decide on these schools.

Finally, since I am not sure exactly where I would want to practice is there any real market for Dickinson grads in Philly?  I may want to be closer to Philly at the end of the day which is why I am asking but might also prefer Penn State on a combination of cost and job opportunities. 
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? ~ Thomas Jefferson

mpk1516

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 10:52:03 AM »
I was fairly young, but I recall hearing that Dickinson was on the verge of losing it's ABA accredation back in the 90's before PSU bought it. If that's true, the fact that they have gotten that school into T1 is pretty amazing and with the addition of the new building and major resources, I would expect them to continue rising. Maybe not with Temple or Villanova in the next few years, but definitely at improving, regardless of USNews ranking.

I ride the train through Temple's campus twice everyday so I completely understand the "looks" factor, particularly if you compare the new football practice facilities that are immaculate, but right across the street from an abandoned and collapsed RV and a partially collapsed house. That being said, Temple is working hard to infuse the surrounding neighborhoods, but it's a slow process.

If cost were the same, I would say Temple and Villanova are fairly equal in terms of job prospects. Attending either school would open roughly the same doors and the only major difference would be alumni network (which is a minor difference in that case) and personal preference on campus/school/etc.

h2xblive

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Re: Penn State/Villanova/Temple/ Widener ??????? HELP!
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 04:41:57 PM »
Ask Villanova for some money, and there's a decent chance they'll give you some.

If you love the courtroom, go to Temple.  I hear their moot court programs are top notch.