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Author Topic: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!  (Read 5530 times)

DCLabor25

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2008, 10:24:25 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.


Interesting story.  I'd agree with the conclusion -- it is a lottery.  There are not many guarantees unless you go to a very top school and those spots are reserved for only the lucky few. 

Klingons -- I'd also ask, are the places where you are applying in the backyard of the school?  I have heard that schools with less prestige usually have a harder time going outside of their area, but tend to place very well within their geographic areas.  I think the willingness or at least openess to working in the geographic area of the school should be a major consideration in whether or not to take scholarship money. 


philosophia

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2008, 10:36:09 PM »
I totally agree with the last two posts.  And a big "Thanks" for sharing your daughter's success story. 

It is so frustrating to see that even on a board that should be littered with intellectuals, most people still get caught up in social hierarchies and the sayings of the elite.

Since I have joined this board, I have found myself slipping further into this oblivion.  I have asked questions about transferring to a better ranked school and I haven't even started yet!!! It can be demoralizing, I admit, but I almost feel fortunate that I haven't taken the other path.

I CERTAINLY WILL NOT ARGUE THAT PRESTIGE DOESN'T MATTER
, but I just can't help but think, "Who gives a sh!t what a bunch of liberal elitists think about my resume anyway?!?!"

Now, I'm prepared for the attacks that my comment is sure to evoke and I realize that I may not get some BIGLAW salary, but my debt load certainly won't dictate that I need one either.  I have a child, which makes the idea of accumulating debt even more scary, but I challenge anyone to tell me that having $100,000+ in loan debt isn't a HUGE heartbreaker even when you make 6 figures.

I have a scholarship to a regional school in a very large city that typically places its students very well.  It also boasts the highest bar passage rate in my state.  USNWR ranked it one of the best values in the nation, and I feel confident that even without a T1, Top 15 logo, I will be just fine, even in this economy. Making $60K-$80K with less than $40K in debt doesn't sound too bad to me.

By the way, we haven't even hit recession yet... so who knows how easy it will be to get a job in 3 even if you are lucky enough to be at a top school?

Here's to the rest of us!!!

DCLabor25

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 10:41:30 PM »
I totally agree with the last two posts.  And a big "Thanks" for sharing your daughter's success story. 

It is so frustrating to see that even on a board that should be littered with intellectuals, most people still get caught up in social hierarchies and the sayings of the elite.

Since I have joined this board, I have found myself slipping further into this oblivion.  I have asked questions about transferring to a better ranked school and I haven't even started yet!!! It can be demoralizing, I admit, but I almost feel fortunate that I haven't taken the other path.

I CERTAINLY WILL NOT ARGUE THAT PRESTIGE DOESN'T MATTER
, but I just can't help but think, "Who gives a sh!t what a bunch of liberal elitists think about my resume anyway?!?!"

Now, I'm prepared for the attacks that my comment is sure to evoke and I realize that I may not get some BIGLAW salary, but my debt load certainly won't dictate that I need one either.  I have a child, which makes the idea of accumulating debt even more scary, but I challenge anyone to tell me that having $100,000+ in loan debt isn't a HUGE heartbreaker even when you make 6 figures.

I have a scholarship to a regional school in a very large city that typically places its students very well.  It also boasts the highest bar passage rate in my state.  USNWR ranked it one of the best values in the nation, and I feel confident that even without a T1, Top 15 logo, I will be just fine, even in this economy. Making $60K-$80K with less than $40K in debt doesn't sound too bad to me.

By the way, we haven't even hit recession yet... so who knows how easy it will be to get a job in 3 even if you are lucky enough to be at a top school?

Here's to the rest of us!!!


Along these lines, I do believe that some lesser ranked schools make more sense than others.  Especially those in decent sized cities all by themselves or where they are clearly the top dog -- and with scholarships that do not have burdensome retention requirements.

I just think you really have to look at all of the factors involved and not make an automatic assumption that the better rank is always and forever the better choice.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. 

philosophia

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 10:47:54 PM »
Just to clarify, DC... My school isn't necessarily the top dog, as there are two other reasonably ranked (higher than mine) schools in my state and some very competitive schools in neighboring states.  But, you are right: everyone should consider ALL factors, not just which school gets ranked highest.

Kittyl30

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 11:00:56 PM »
so i haven't read all these posts, but I want to put my 2 cents in

going to a higher ranked school over money is, in my opinion, ONLY worth it if the higher ranked school is in the top 30. if you are choosing between a school ranked 75 and a school ranked, say, 50 and the 75 one gave you money i would say take the $$. schools are done by ranges and outside of the top 25 or so the odds of you getting "big law" are quite low unless you place high in the class.  even in a top 25 you still need to do top 1/3 at least.  its only once you get to T14 that you can relax a little.  Consequently, I really do believe you are screwing yourself if you choose a T2 with money over a tier one.  b/c this is your JOB. sure you will have debt, but you will have much much more opportunity. and yeah, its just a first job.  but its a pretty huge first job. you can start your first year with 160,000 in your pocket and prestige and the ability to do wonderful things.  not having that firm job (and wanting it- this doesn't go for public interest) means you will have to work ever so harder to achieve it.  this is your career. this is your life, money and education.  i'd say what job you get is pretty damn important..
she says she's tired of life
everybody's tired of something..

vap

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2008, 11:16:54 PM »
going to a higher ranked school over money is, in my opinion, ONLY worth it if the higher ranked school is in the top 30.

Consequently, I really do believe you are screwing yourself if you choose a T2 with money over a tier one.

Wait a second - how do those two assertions square with each other?  Are you defining "tier one" as "top 30?"

Also, we're talking about Case Western vs. T2/3.  Last I checked Case was not a top 30 school.  Even if it is a top 30 school, it's certainly not a national school or one that provides students a likely chance of making biglaw.

DCLabor25

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2008, 11:19:06 PM »
so i haven't read all these posts, but I want to put my 2 cents in

going to a higher ranked school over money is, in my opinion, ONLY worth it if the higher ranked school is in the top 30. if you are choosing between a school ranked 75 and a school ranked, say, 50 and the 75 one gave you money i would say take the $$. schools are done by ranges and outside of the top 25 or so the odds of you getting "big law" are quite low unless you place high in the class.  even in a top 25 you still need to do top 1/3 at least.  its only once you get to T14 that you can relax a little.  Consequently, I really do believe you are screwing yourself if you choose a T2 with money over a tier one.  b/c this is your JOB. sure you will have debt, but you will have much much more opportunity. and yeah, its just a first job.  but its a pretty huge first job. you can start your first year with 160,000 in your pocket and prestige and the ability to do wonderful things.  not having that firm job (and wanting it- this doesn't go for public interest) means you will have to work ever so harder to achieve it.  this is your career. this is your life, money and education.  i'd say what job you get is pretty damn important..

I am not quite sure how you reach your conclusion.  If you get into a T14, you should obviously go.  I don't think many people would argue with that.  But, even as you point out, with some of the T1 schools outside the T14, you still need to get top 1/3 to get biglaw.  If everyone goes in thinking they will get top third, then two-thirds are going to be out of luck.  Those are not particularly good odds.  If somebody told you, give me your entire life savings, and I am going to invest it in a mutual fund where there is a 67% chance that you will lose all of your money -- how many people would sign up for that?  Probably not too many.  At least with a scholarship, you do not have that headache to worry about.  

Never the less, in some circumstances, I'd say it's worth the gamble.  But in others, I am not so sure.  I don't think it's a slamdunk decision either way.  It's a close call and people should make a thoughtful choice that looks at all of their life circumstances.

jammer

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2008, 11:41:30 PM »
I totally agree with the last two posts.  And a big "Thanks" for sharing your daughter's success story. 

It is so frustrating to see that even on a board that should be littered with intellectuals, most people still get caught up in social hierarchies and the sayings of the elite.

Since I have joined this board, I have found myself slipping further into this oblivion.  I have asked questions about transferring to a better ranked school and I haven't even started yet!!! It can be demoralizing, I admit, but I almost feel fortunate that I haven't taken the other path.

I CERTAINLY WILL NOT ARGUE THAT PRESTIGE DOESN'T MATTER
, but I just can't help but think, "Who gives a sh!t what a bunch of liberal elitists think about my resume anyway?!?!"

Now, I'm prepared for the attacks that my comment is sure to evoke and I realize that I may not get some BIGLAW salary, but my debt load certainly won't dictate that I need one either.  I have a child, which makes the idea of accumulating debt even more scary, but I challenge anyone to tell me that having $100,000+ in loan debt isn't a HUGE heartbreaker even when you make 6 figures.

I have a scholarship to a regional school in a very large city that typically places its students very well.  It also boasts the highest bar passage rate in my state.  USNWR ranked it one of the best values in the nation, and I feel confident that even without a T1, Top 15 logo, I will be just fine, even in this economy. Making $60K-$80K with less than $40K in debt doesn't sound too bad to me.

By the way, we haven't even hit recession yet... so who knows how easy it will be to get a job in 3 even if you are lucky enough to be at a top school?

Here's to the rest of us!!!


Along these lines, I do believe that some lesser ranked schools make more sense than others.  Especially those in decent sized cities all by themselves or where they are clearly the top dog -- and with scholarships that do not have burdensome retention requirements.

I just think you really have to look at all of the factors involved and not make an automatic assumption that the better rank is always and forever the better choice.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. 

This point is key, in my opinion. What a lot of law students overlook, at least in my opinion from reading these boards, is the JOB MARKET of the area they are going to. I'm not sure I would take money over prestige in a competitive job market in Chicago or New York.

But, in my example, I'm going to go to school in St. Louis. Most Wash U. students leave STL for other areas, and Mizzou also places in STL, but also all around the state of Missouri. Meanwhile, SLU has a pretty good lock on the STL legal market. If you want to work in St. Louis, why would you go to a place like the hypothetical Case Western for a few ranking points? Likewise, in the case of the OP, I think you should consider location/job market when choosing money over prestige. I use the St. Louis example because I'm familiar with it, but I'm sure they are other similiar legal markets.

Choosing money over prestige is only wise if you've done your homework and found a "gem" in a Tier II that places well in the region you want to work.

philosophia

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2008, 11:50:34 PM »
so i haven't read all these posts, but I want to put my 2 cents in

going to a higher ranked school over money is, in my opinion, ONLY worth it if the higher ranked school is in the top 30. if you are choosing between a school ranked 75 and a school ranked, say, 50 and the 75 one gave you money i would say take the $$. schools are done by ranges and outside of the top 25 or so the odds of you getting "big law" are quite low unless you place high in the class.  even in a top 25 you still need to do top 1/3 at least.  its only once you get to T14 that you can relax a little.  Consequently, I really do believe you are screwing yourself if you choose a T2 with money over a tier one.  b/c this is your JOB. sure you will have debt, but you will have much much more opportunity. and yeah, its just a first job.  but its a pretty huge first job. you can start your first year with 160,000 in your pocket and prestige and the ability to do wonderful things.  not having that firm job (and wanting it- this doesn't go for public interest) means you will have to work ever so harder to achieve it.  this is your career. this is your life, money and education.  i'd say what job you get is pretty damn important..

Isn't "the cutoff" for T1 and T2 at like 50?  So, your logic doesn't add up anyway b/c you claim there is no difference in 50 or 75, but then claim one is screwing him/herself by choosing T2 even with $$.  But, assuming you didn't contradict yourself, I'd agree and say that anyone was a fool for passing up $160K.  The only problem is only a handful of people get those gigs even coming out of T1.  Anyway, half a year's salary in debt versus 60-75% of an annual salary in debt seems like better odds to me.  And, most 1 year BIGLAW associate positions hover around $125K or so I believe.  Then odds get even slimmer... 

philosophia

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Re: Dear Current Students who took Money over Presitge..Please Help!
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2008, 11:55:38 PM »
I think we'd all agree that the moral of this whole thread is:

Weigh your options and consider the market/debt/prestige ratio when deciding where to go.  If you want to stay in Cleveland, or MidWest I guess, then maybe Case is a better choice.  Otherwise, though, save your purse and opt for the $$!