Law School Discussion

Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???

Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« on: August 03, 2008, 08:14:16 PM »
Split City - 174 LSAT and 2.93 GPA.

Applying to ~20 school, a few low T14 and also some scholarship happy T1/T2 schools I have no intention of attending in the hopes of gaining scholarship offers as bargaining tools with other schools.

In reality, Top 3 choices are:

Washington and Lee (assuming 90k scholarship)
Wake Forest (assuming 90k scholarship)
South Carolina (In-state, full tuition scholarship, commute)

The problem is, getting one of those 90k scholarships is going to be very iffy with my UGPA.

So then I am faced with the decision of basically close to 2x the debt and 2x the monthly repayments to attend W&L or Wake if I can only get the more common/almost assured scholarship for splitters with my numbers there, 30k

Being the anal retentive nerd I am, I have created spreadsheets with future salary levels, loan repayment amounts, expenses, etc. and have determined that:

The cost of attending W&L or Wake (without the 90k scholarship) will only be worthwhile to me with a minimum salary of $85,000.  For South Carolina, that number would be close to $70,000

The problem is that "average" salaries are misleading, and employment figures in general suck and do not paint a solid or accurate picture.  However what I have been able to gather is that in order to reasonable and confidently expect to hit my salary requirements, I would need to finish at maybe Top 20-25% at W&L, Top 15-10% at Wake Forest, and Top 10% at South Carolina.

I am confident my UGPA does not reflect my current work ethic, given a much better graduate GPA, work experience, and being a much different person now.  Even my last 2 undergrad years my GPA was over 3.5.  I was a slacker and a late bloomer.

Also, I obviously did well on the LSAT, scoring in the 99th percentile.

So, I have been left pondering this question - which will I be more likely to achieve - Top 1/4 at W&L, Top 1/5 at Wake, or Top 1/10 at USC???

Will I be better off with a better degree and more debt, or less debt from a lower ranked school?

I would love to hear some outside input and reasoning, so please provide justification for any responses, as it will greatly help me weight my options.

bt

  • ****
  • 405
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 08:40:04 PM »
It's gonna be pretty tough for anyone to accurately predict how you will do at each school.  But, if we're going off of the assumption that your UGPA doesn't reflect your intelligence now, which is believable with such a high LSAT, I think it's reasonable to assume that with a good work ethic you can land any of those percentiles at those schools.

Now, with that in mind, I think you should go to W&M over the others as it is superior in virtually every way to the other two choices.  Landind top 1/4, while not guaranteed, is certainly within reach if your LSAT score really is a pretty good predictor of your law grades.

Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2008, 09:14:46 PM »
Why would you suggest William & Mary?

In my research, I also looked up the NALP forms for every firm listed in every city I would be willing to work in.

All of my desired areas are in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Washington & Lee, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Emory were the 4 schools that almost every firm did OCI at.  North Carolina is out for me because of their in state requirements and no shot at any scholarship money, and Emory is out due to location (Atlanta)

I would be willing to go to William & Mary and it is one of the schools I am applying to, but they seem stingier with scholarship money for people with my numbers, and they word is they place much better in D.C.  That probably explains the higher starting salary figure compared to W&L, but I have no desire to go to D.C. 

I can see for most people William and Mary is a better choice, but if we take into account that Washington and Lee garners more attention from employers where I want to live, would you still recommend William & Mary over W&L for me???

Also, thanks for responding.  I appreciate it.

meggo

  • ****
  • 581
    • View Profile
Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2008, 11:02:54 PM »
Do you want to stay in the South or are those the schools you think you can get into? Because if I were you, I would alter my list heavily. And I think (this is just off the top of my head, not off research) that in order to lure you (because they know your high LSAT will get you in to higher ranked schools) schools like Wake and W&L would offer you a pretty decent scholarship

nealric

  • ****
  • 2248
  • a.k.a. Miguel Sanchez
    • View Profile
Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 08:54:46 AM »
I would apply all over the place and see what the fallout is. Spam all the lower T14.

If you are taking the scholarship money, make sure it is not conditional on a relatively high GPA (it often is). I would advise against taking the scholarship at a lower ranked school if you want a practice area that is difficult to get into without being at the very top of a lower ranked school- not worth the risk of not getting to do what you want to do.

good luck.

Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 10:16:40 AM »
Thanks for the responses.

Meggo - yes, I do want to stay in the South.  Those are not the only schools I think I can get into, but they are the ones I would most like to attend (assuming scholarships).  I am applying to schools # 8-14 in the T14, as well as T1 and T2 schools that have been scholarship happy in the past for people like me (WUSTL, Illinois, Alabama, SMU, Tulane, etc.)

20 schools total.

But I want to go to school close to home, and I 100% want to work in the Carolinas.  My Top Choices would be Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC, and then after that smaller cities (but they pay less)

Ideally I'd like to finish at the top of the class and get a six-figure job in Charlotte or Columbia.

But I am trying to cover my rear and assume only average performance just in case.

Lindbergh - Thanks.  That was the way I was leaning, to go to W&L IF they give me the close to full ride scholarship of 90k, but otherwise to avoid debt and go to South Carolina. 

Nealric - I will definitely keep that in mind.  From what I understand, the requirements for W&L aren't very steep and they try to insure everyone keeps their scholarships.  For Wake I am not sure, and since USC is in-state, lower T2, and my numbers are so high I'm hopeful I should be able to negotiate acceptable terms/class rank to keep the scholarship.

Thanks for the input guys.


botbot

  • ****
  • 2793
    • View Profile
Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 12:38:37 PM »
OP should go to GULC.

Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 12:52:30 PM »
OP should go to GULC.

Can you expand???

Lenny

  • ****
  • 455
    • View Profile
Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2008, 01:52:29 PM »
I would take Wake out of the calculus - it offers nothing that W&L doesn't and will likely be a similar price. 

Re: Debt vs. School Rank vs. Class Rank ---> Where should I go???
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2008, 02:34:35 PM »
What about UNC? 

I would also consider Vanderbilt and Duke, in your position.