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Author Topic: Indiana vs. Wash U  (Read 1174 times)

taterstol

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Indiana vs. Wash U
« on: April 10, 2004, 03:38:14 AM »
Hmm so here's the deal. I am in at Wash U with $8k/year. I'm not positive that it's my first choice b/c I'm still waiting to hear from a few other places, but of the places I've heard from, it definitely is.

I'm also in at Indiana-Bloomington with a lot of money. I sent them an email to decline their offer of admission, and I get an email back from the director of admissions. The state will pay my tuition (because of something with my dad's military service), and I think IU might cover all my living expenses, which would make law school zero cost.

Would I be absolutely ridiculously stupid to pass that up, or just kinda stupid? Of the places I'm still waiting on, the only one I really care about is Michigan. If I get in I'm going... don't really care how much $ someone throws at me. But assuming I don't... do I go for the money or the higher ranked school?

little_old_lady

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2004, 01:26:03 PM »
The usual answer to the "do I go to higher ranked school or the lower ranked school with $$" question is go to the higher ranked school.  However, that's not always the right decision based on what you want to do.  If you want public interest then debt is a huge concern.  However, even if you want to work for a smaller firm, a better school will give you more prospects.  Certainly if you want BIGLAW then choose the higher ranked school. 

You say WashU is your top choice.  Why?  Is it just the ranking or are there other things you really like about WashU? 

Where do you want to work after graduation?  IMHO IU-B won't give you that much of an advantage in Indiana over WashU although you'll have better luck networking in Indianapolis coming from IU-B than WashU but it won't be that hard to network coming from WashU.  If you want to work in Chicago then WashU is probably better.  If you want to work outside the mid-west than WashU is definitely better. 

I'd compare the opportunities for 'padding' your resume at the two schools, e.g. how many students get on a journal and is it likely their notes get published, etc.  What about clinics? 

Also you want to consider long term ranking.  Being a state school, IU-B is probably going to stay about the same in terms of ranking whereas WashU is probably going to always be a top 25 school from now on.  WashU is a recent top 25 school so they don't quite have the national top 25 reputation of comparitively ranked schools like BC and BU but in the future WashU will probably be seen as in that category.  So long term will it help you to be the graduate of a school everyone sees as being top 20-25 caliber? 

blizzard of ozz

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2004, 05:41:49 PM »
Hmm so here's the deal. I am in at Wash U with $8k/year. I'm not positive that it's my first choice b/c I'm still waiting to hear from a few other places, but of the places I've heard from, it definitely is.

I'm also in at Indiana-Bloomington with a lot of money. I sent them an email to decline their offer of admission, and I get an email back from the director of admissions. The state will pay my tuition (because of something with my dad's military service), and I think IU might cover all my living expenses, which would make law school zero cost.

Would I be absolutely ridiculously stupid to pass that up, or just kinda stupid? Of the places I'm still waiting on, the only one I really care about is Michigan. If I get in I'm going... don't really care how much $ someone throws at me. But assuming I don't... do I go for the money or the higher ranked school?

Personally I'd take the money. I was deciding between 'Dozo, SJU and Brooklyn, none of which were my first choice (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th), which I was rejected from. None of these schools are going to give me any hope of ever entering academia or getting great clerkships, but SJU gave me the most money, so they won. I don't really know how WUSL places in both those fields (clerkships, academia) vs. IU-B (from what I know I don't think it's that different between the schools) but if that's an issue for you I'd look into that. I'm sure both of them place a great deal better than SJU, though.

IMHO, WUSL isn't that much of a better school than IU-B. If your going into public interest, or looking to practice in Indiana, definitely take the money. Otherwise it's a tougher choice. If you don't get into your first choice, Mich, I'd say IU-B with a ton of money is a pretty good bet. I can't blame you for wanting to go to Mich  either, if I got into GW, my top choice (I didn't, I was WL'd), I'd be there in a heartbeat, despite being offered a ton of money elsewhere.

taterstol

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2004, 06:53:45 PM »
Wash U's my top choice because:
a) i'm still waiting to hear from my "real" top choice, Michigan, and I don't like to just assume that they'll take me :-p
b) i go to wash u undergrad, so the transition would be really easy. i know st. louis. i know where to find nice apartments. it's cheap to live here. i know lots of people here already.
c) st. louis isn't a HUGE city, but it beats bloomington hands down...

i'm still waiting to hear from--but expecting to be accepted to--other comparable schools like GW and Illinois, but I think i still prefer Wash U over them (for purely personal reasons). Also, I'm on the preferred wait list at Georgetown, and I hear that that means I have a good chance of being admitted. But again, I'm trying to plan as if I won't be.

Another thing I'm considering is my placement in the class... I'm much more comfortable being able to jockey for a high class rank at Indiana than I am at some of these other schools.

Public interest is something I would want to enter into later in my career i think. For now I am focusing on private firms. Actually, before that I want to get a clerkship, which makes me nervous because I know it's MUCH harder to secure clerkships from outside the top 10. I don't want to practice in Indiana--I want to practice on the east coast or in large midwestern cities (like Chicago or St. Louis). I'm sure that top of the class IU grads can compete just fine in the midwest, but I'm not so sure about east coast.

I'm paying for law school. It would be awesome to graduate with zero debt. In my mind it's worth the debt for Michigan or Georgetown, if either of those pan out. But I'm having a hard time figuring out if it's worth it for these other schools.

blizzard of ozz

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2004, 07:32:16 PM »
I'd definitely look into clerkship stats if you're interested in that. Call up IU-B and WUSL career services and ask where, how many, and what rank the clerks were. LS's don't seem to do a very good job of publishing them so that's why I'd say call them.

I can definitely understand the tough decision you have, since I'm paying for LS myself too, and don't have any money to speak of, so I was more than slightly restricted in terms of my choices.

little_old_lady

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2004, 07:34:02 PM »
WashU would be better for the east coast than IU-B because of its strong undergrad and the fact that lots of people from the tri-state area go to WashU.  I'd think that you'd have a better chance of getting a federal clerkship coming from WashU than IU-B simply because it's ranked higher.  Also all of WashU's new faculty members had really prestigious clerkships (some on the Supreme Court) which could give you better recommendations. 

I'm a 3L at WashU and I think the school is really committed to being well ranked. They have a ton of money and the new faculty members have sterling credentials (god only knows if they're good teachers - but nobody really cares about that). 

As I wrote elsewhere it's hard to predict how you'll do in law school.  Logically it seems that you'd have a higher class rank at IU-B but that's not certain.  Grades come down to one test.  Also success in law school isn't just about intelligence or hard work.  Everyone is smart and works hard. 

little_old_lady

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2004, 10:58:41 PM »
Career services is a touchy subject for most law schools.  Honestly the career services office gets the lower student satisfaction than any other department in the law school.  However, my experience has been positive.  I think that a lot of students have an unrealistic expectation of what career services can do for them.  Frankly they can't do much.  They cannot find you a job, end of discussion.  I think that people who have a hard time finding a job (and I'm in that category, btw) tend to have a negative view of the career services office (it's the same way at every school). 

As I wrote, my experience has been positive.  They're friendly and helpful (for the most part).  I think they try their best to find you something but there's only so much they can do. 

little_old_lady

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Re: Indiana vs. Wash U
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2004, 11:21:43 AM »
Yes the school's facilities are "awesome." 

Most of my classmates have jobs lined up.  I don't have a job because I want to leave St. Louis.  I wouldn't say that 'most' graduates end up in St. Louis but it's the primary market for WashU. But I know of people who get jobs all over the country from here. 

It's hard to say what the 'typical' job for a WashU grad is.  There are certainly opportunities to end up at a 'white shoe' firm making $125K a year in Chicago, DC or NYC if you have excellent grades.  There are some 'premiere' firms here in St. Louis that hire a few WashU grads at graduation too, e.g. Bryan Cave.  However, those jobs are competitive.  St. Louis firms don't do the kind of complex work that firms in bigger cities do.  So there are plenty of mid-sized well-respected St. Louis firms that hire lots of WashU grads that do a wide variety of corporate work.  Then of course there are plaintiff's firms and insurance defense firms and family law firms, etc. and WashU grads are more likely to end up in the 'respectable' ones. 

To answer your question, I'm a little older (30's) but I don't look older (if I may say so myself).  WashU has a very 'traditional' student body.  Meaning that there aren't that many 'unusual' students here (older students, etc). 

There seem to be a fair number of Asian-American students here.  There are loads (at least it seems that way) of foreign Asian students here getting their LLM.  Since I'm not an Asian American I'm not in a position to say how they're perceived here although the student body does not seem to be prejudiced. 

Overall it's a pretty nice friendly place.