Law School Discussion

Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?

I am planning to apply to law schools for the Fall 2009 class, and I'd like some other opinions on a thought of mine.  I have a 3.78 GPA and I got a 162 on the LSAT - both are okay, but not outstanding.  I have gotten many emails and pamphlets about how I may qualify for scholarships at less prestigious schools, as I'm sure everyone on here has.  I have been wondering if it may be worth it to take a scholarship at at worse school for my first year if I don't get into a great school outright, do very well, and then attempt to transfer to a better school for the next two years.  This would save me a lot of money, but I'm not sure if this would at all help me to get into a better school in the end.  Has anybody tried this at all or have any thoughts on the idea? 

botbot

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Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 09:07:00 PM »
Sounds foolproof.
Transferring is easy.
etc

Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 09:10:05 PM »
Sounds foolproof.
Transferring is easy.
etc

I've heard more negative than positive about transferring...

Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 09:16:18 PM »
Go to the best school possible.  There are exceptions:

If schools are comparable but one offers you more money, then go with the money.
Do not choose a T2 school over a T14 school just because they gave you money.

casper13

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Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 11:18:59 AM »
Go to the best school possible.  There are exceptions:

If schools are comparable but one offers you more money, then go with the money.
Do not choose a T2 school over a T14 school just because they gave you money.

Time to throw log on fire.

So if you get a full ride plus stipend to attend a good local T2 school in the area you want to practice and live then you should not go there to pay full sticker price with over 180K in debt at a T14. Cause if this is your reasoning then well I would have to disagree with you. Now if it is only like half tuition to a T2 and that is all then yes T14 is a better bang for your debt.

Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 03:18:20 PM »
Go to the best school possible.  There are exceptions:

If schools are comparable but one offers you more money, then go with the money.
Do not choose a T2 school over a T14 school just because they gave you money.

Time to throw log on fire.

So if you get a full ride plus stipend to attend a good local T2 school in the area you want to practice and live then you should not go there to pay full sticker price with over 180K in debt at a T14. Cause if this is your reasoning then well I would have to disagree with you. Now if it is only like half tuition to a T2 and that is all then yes T14 is a better bang for your debt.

So you'd choose $0 debt and $0 salary over $180k debt and $180k salary?

Ninja1

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Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 09:23:56 PM »
Take the school that is where you want to be. I had some great offers from some T3 and T4 schools, and I really thought about them, but I'd rather be at Florida State and in Florida. Even if it costs me some more money, I'm already happier for my decision.

There is certainly something to be said for less debt, but there's also something to be said for ultimately being happy with where you went to school. You'll eventually pay your debt off, but you'll only be able to do law school once.

And of course, counting on transferring out is a horrible idea. The plan may not go down right and you might be stuck wherever. There are going to be some other hungry people that you'll be competing against and your LSAT and GPA only count when they first let you in. If you already want to go somewhere better and you know you can get there right now, it's better to just do it right and eat the extra debt. It's the cost of doing business.

Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2008, 10:04:38 PM »
Sounds foolproof.
Transferring is easy.
etc

I've heard more negative than positive about transferring...

he was being sarcastic. generally, you shouldn't go to a school solely with the intention of transferring. wherever you choose, make sure you would be happy being there for 3 years. being at the top of your class, or accepted where you want to end up, are not even close to guaranteed.

Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 03:50:18 AM »
A friend of mine did this. He went to a very small private Catholic school (Ave Maria) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Seeing the school fall apart throughout his first semester, he transfered to the University of Michigan, from which he just graduated.

I think it's doable with your numbers, but having a very solid performance in your first year at the 'lesser' school is imperative. In my friend's case, he finished his first year with a 4.00, though his LSAT was slightly higher than yours (165) and he finished undergrad with ~3.85 (from Eastern Michigan University, where I currently attend undergrad - as you may know, it's no Princeton). The undergraduate school you're attending could be very important. If you have a 3.78 at a decent institution, that will mean something and show that you haven't and aren't just taking the easiest path.

I couldn't tell you if this is the exception to the rule, but I have a feeling it is to some extent.

casper13

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Re: Is completing first year at a worse school a horrible idea?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 10:16:58 AM »
Go to the best school possible.  There are exceptions:

If schools are comparable but one offers you more money, then go with the money.
Do not choose a T2 school over a T14 school just because they gave you money.

Time to throw log on fire.

So if you get a full ride plus stipend to attend a good local T2 school in the area you want to practice and live then you should not go there to pay full sticker price with over 180K in debt at a T14. Cause if this is your reasoning then well I would have to disagree with you. Now if it is only like half tuition to a T2 and that is all then yes T14 is a better bang for your debt.

So you'd choose $0 debt and $0 salary over $180k debt and $180k salary?


0$ debt can be a guarantee while 180K salary is not. Even if you get some contracting job or document reading least you have zero debt and can always work your way up.