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Author Topic: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!  (Read 5566 times)

premieraw

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Hey all,

I'm trying to decide between a couple different schools, and instead of asking your opinion about each one, i'm more interested in hearing from current students who took a scholarship from a lower ranked school only to pass up an offer of admission from a T-1. (say the very low end of the first tier to be specific)

Did you end up doing well within your class? Can anything really be said about being in the top 90th percentile of the entering class? I assume there is somewhat of a correlation, i'm just curious if anyone has an experience that would enhance or detract from that logic. Finally, are you happy with your choice?

Note: I'm just looking for generalizations here and personal narrative, i realize the location and name of the schools im considering plays a large factor, but i'm more interested in hearing from people from any school that have turned down a more prestigous school only to enter in the top 80-90th percentile with a scholarship at a lesser ranked school. Thanks a lot!
1L...wait, really?

smiley86

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 05:23:53 PM »
This is serious advice. Go to the highest ranked school that you were accepted to. I took a full scholarship at a T2, without realizing that they grade on a 2.5 forced curve. It is much better to graduate from a top-ranked school, no matter what your GPA is, than to risk getting lower grades at a lower-ranked school. Everyone thinks going in that they will be able to manage top 10%, but it is a lot harder than it seems.  Good luck with whatever you choose to do. :)

NoUsername

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 05:25:31 PM »
How far off is the rank of the lesser school?

If it is reasonably close, I would say it is unimportant.  If we are talking 48th v. 148th, that is different. 

NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 06:00:02 PM »
I took some money at a T3 and gave up admission to a T2.  After a year at the T3, I did well and am desperately trying to transfer.  Some professors are very good, some are not.  Some classmates are very smart, some are not.  At times it doesn't feel like law school, but rather like the place third-rate wannabes might go to teach and learn.  Several classmates just skipped class and put no effort in at all, which I hear does not happen at better schools.  And most of all, JOB MARKET JOB MARKET JOB MARKET. 

Go to a better-tiered school, regardless of money.  I think money should only be a factor in deliberating between different schools of the same tier.
I'll never trust a Klingon.  Klingon bastards killed my son.  -- Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise NCC-1701

premieraw

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008, 07:45:39 PM »
How far off is the rank of the lesser school?

If it is reasonably close, I would say it is unimportant.  If we are talking 48th v. 148th, that is different. 

Let's say Case Western Vs. a tier 2 or 3..but really i'd prefer to hear more stories of actual students who have done this, regardless of the disparity in ranking.
1L...wait, really?

philosophia

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2008, 08:02:14 PM »
I took some money at a T3 and gave up admission to a T2.  After a year at the T3, I did well and am desperately trying to transfer.  Some professors are very good, some are not.  Some classmates are very smart, some are not.  At times it doesn't feel like law school, but rather like the place third-rate wannabes might go to teach and learn.  Several classmates just skipped class and put no effort in at all, which I hear does not happen at better schools.  And most of all, JOB MARKET JOB MARKET JOB MARKET

Go to a better-tiered school, regardless of money.  I think money should only be a factor in deliberating between different schools of the same tier.

Re: bold type...

While this may be way off, it seems to me that when considering the job market, you would want the least amount of loan debt as possible, regardless of which school you choose.  I realize that a better tiered school will get recognition, but if you can't rank high enough, get on LR, etc, then I wonder how much the name will do for you in the way of paying back the debt?!?!

IMO, lower debt = safer bet.  Then again, I'm gong to a T2 on a scholarship, so maybe I'm biased.  ;)

DCLabor25

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2008, 09:00:55 PM »
This is serious advice. Go to the highest ranked school that you were accepted to. I took a full scholarship at a T2, without realizing that they grade on a 2.5 forced curve. It is much better to graduate from a top-ranked school, no matter what your GPA is, than to risk getting lower grades at a lower-ranked school. Everyone thinks going in that they will be able to manage top 10%, but it is a lot harder than it seems.  Good luck with whatever you choose to do. :)

Obviously, your at school and I'm not, so take whatever I say with a big grain of salt.  But I think the decision is a lot more complicated than simply "go to the highest ranked school."  As Henderson and Morriss point out in their NLJ article, sometimes going to the higher ranked school does not materially impact your ability to land a NLJ 250 job.  You can easily land at a higher ranked school with tons and tons of debt and not much better career prospects.  Put another way, while Smiley is right that the top 10% is hard, the top 25% can be tricky too.  And for a fair number of T1 schools, you need the top 25% -- some you even need the top 10% too by looking at their charts.  Don't discount the lack of $1500 a month in loan payments.

That being said, if you take the scholarship money, you have to be realistic, realize that you might be limiting your career prospects, you should be comfortable wanting to work in the geographic area where the school is located, be comfortable working at smaller firms, government work, etc.  I think sometimes people "take the money" thinking that the lower ranked school will give them the exact same career prospects as the higher ranked school and that's not the case in many instances....

Here is that article I referenced:
http://www.law.com/jsp/law/careercenter/lawArticleCareerCenter.jsp?id=1208256428026

NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 09:16:10 PM »
Keep in mind that today's Bushwhacked legal market is not the one most articles and general wisdom are founded on.  Government jobs and public interest jobs are not open-door policies for low-tiered law grads; there are PLENTY of top-tier grads hunting for those positions.

I might sound a little bitter against the lower-tiers, but I've been through a year of having my resume trashed and have had a few employers be frank about it -- "To be honest, we just wouldn't look at your school." 

It has been amazing to see how name-prestige trumps other factors... it's not a system I agree with or I think makes sense, but the tier-hierarchy perception is not exaggerated in my (albeit brief) experience.
I'll never trust a Klingon.  Klingon bastards killed my son.  -- Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise NCC-1701

SEC_2L

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 09:55:20 PM »

NevertrustKlingons,

What market did you go to school in/are you job seaching in? Or at keast what size market?

x

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 10:09:05 PM »
Hey all,

I'm trying to decide between a couple different schools, and instead of asking your opinion about each one, i'm more interested in hearing from current students who took a scholarship from a lower ranked school only to pass up an offer of admission from a T-1. (say the very low end of the first tier to be specific)

Did you end up doing well within your class? Can anything really be said about being in the top 90th percentile of the entering class? I assume there is somewhat of a correlation, i'm just curious if anyone has an experience that would enhance or detract from that logic. Finally, are you happy with your choice?

Note: I'm just looking for generalizations here and personal narrative, i realize the location and name of the schools im considering plays a large factor, but i'm more interested in hearing from people from any school that have turned down a more prestigous school only to enter in the top 80-90th percentile with a scholarship at a lesser ranked school. Thanks a lot!

Based on what you have asked:

My daughter applied to 1 law school (around 15-20) and was placed on the wait list
( 165/3.8 ).  It was there or nothing.  At the last minute she decided to apply to a T4 down the road (30 days late).  She was accepted and offered a 50% scholarship (her numbers put her well in the
top 5% of those admitted).

She did EXTREMELY well over her 3 years.  At 2L OCI she had 10 interviews and 7 offers (If I remember correctly).  She worked for 2 great firms in the city her school is in.  

She was offered a New York salary with a southern state cost of living.

She loved her school and the city it was in.  
She feels she got a great education and (most) of the teachers were good.  She did have some gripes but you will find that anywhere.

It all comes down to personal preference.
Do you want to graduate with a ton of debt and hope you can find a job or do you to graduate with as little as debt as possible and hope you can find a job.  Is that higher ranked school really gonna give you that much more of an advantage.  Some say yes. Some say no.  

What state will the economy be in in a few years.  You can graduate from a T1 but if there are no, or limited, jobs then what are you going to do.

What is it you want out of life.

How much risk are you willing to take.

It's like the lottery - everyone plays but only a few win the big prize.