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Author Topic: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit  (Read 1741 times)

taxguy

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Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« on: July 03, 2010, 12:20:47 PM »
I just visited University of Miami with my son,who has an interest in it. I really wanted to like it since my son has relatives here and because it has a good ranking. In addition, it is supposedly strong in estate planning and tax, which interested my son the most.

At first glance, UM seems quite good. It has very decent rankings. It has a lot of offerings. In fact, it even has a course in "online gaming." and I am not kidding about that. It also has a great college environment. Moreover, most faculty graduated from top schools. The facilities such as gyms, cafeterias etc. were also great as were the nearby surroundings in Coral Gables. They also have a supposedly good reputation in south Florida. Moreover, you can probably get admitted with a 3.2+ GPA and  about 157 on the LSAT, which isn't bad for a top 60 school. However, everyone on our tour was a bit discouraged from what we saw and from what the tour guide said. Why?

First, UM is fairly expensive at $37,000 in tuition alone. Moreover, they are a bit cheap in scholarships giving out 22 merit scholarships out of 400 students.

Secondly,I really didn't get the feeling that the school was very student centered. For example, we went into several classrooms that had over 125 seats. The tour guide frankly admitted that UM tries to get as many students into a class as the room holds! In fact, each seat was numbered! Miami definitely had that "diploma mill" feeling.

Third, our tour guide noted that career services was fairly awful at the school. She was a JD and still was giving tours,which should tell you something. In addition, their passing rate on the bar was just above average for the state.

Finally, although UM is known for its graduate tax and estate planning graduate programs, most of these courses are not available to undergrads without professional permission. Oddly, the undergrad concentrations that UM boasts about have nothing to do with either estate planning or tax. They emphasize programs like international law, business and financial law,and immigration law . Whoever does their marketing and concentration planning should be fired.

In addition, most law school buildings looked like they had been there for 30 years. Most were old and needed some renovation. I didn't get the classy feel that I got at Stetson.

Personally, we also did check out Florida and Stetson. Frlorida really impressed us with much lower tuition and very high quality offerings. They even seem to have smaller class sizes.  We didn't thoroughly investigate Florida since I didn't think my son would get admitted there.

Stetson seemed a lot better than we expected with a top notch advocacy program and elder law program and being very student- centric. In fact, a law school professor told me to check out Stetson because it was known to be very student friendly. Sadly, Stetson is almost as expensive as Miami, although it is cheaper by about $7000 per year,and doesn't have the overall ranking that either Miami and Florida have. I really did get a "southern school" feel from Stetson. Everyone was very nice and helpful. We even got to meet with the Deans of the programs that interested my son. Stetson requires a bit less than Miami for admission. you could get in with the same 3.2 and a 155 on the LSAT.

In addition, Stetson has some remarkably designed buildings both inside and outside since they took over the property from a prior upper class, luxury, resort hotel. Although I also got a resort feel from Stetson but more  of a lower key feel than that of Miami.

Alhtough I loved the beach area located near Stetson, there certainly isn't as much to do as in Miami unless water sports is your priority. I also got the feel that Gulfport, where Stetson is located, is a bit "hickish."

Bottom line: Miami does have a good rankings and nice environment and so does Florida. However, I would personally recommend Stetson or Florida over Miami from what I saw .

Your take may be different than mine.

bigs5068

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2010, 05:47:19 PM »
The rankings are a joke man. They really if you and your son like Stetson better then that is where he should go. The formula is an absolute joke, but I am getting huge scholarship money because they count my 40 A's in basketball that I got in Undergrad the same as my friend who got a B's in moleculor biology in fact my A's mean more.

I know you said you are an attorney so probably know more, but these rankings are absolutely ridiculous and you should not put any value on them. They change drastically all the time outside of the top 20 or so and Miami could be a tier 3 and Stetson could be ranked 50 next year. 


taxguy

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 02:34:44 PM »
bigs, Yes, I know that the rankings are suspect at best. However, sometimes perceived reality becomes reality. Recruiters do take them into account.

As for my son, he has a different angle as to why he is going to law school and is isn't working for BigLaw. He wants to either open up his own financial planning practice or even work in the tax/financial planning department of a big accounting firm, in which he has an "in."

I just wanted to compare these two schools for other folks who might be interested in Florida schools.

SASS

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 02:53:51 PM »
bigs, Yes, I know that the rankings are suspect at best. However, sometimes perceived reality becomes reality. Recruiters do take them into account.

As for my son, he has a different angle as to why he is going to law school and is isn't working for BigLaw. He wants to either open up his own financial planning practice or even work in the tax/financial planning department of a big accounting firm, in which he has an "in."

I just wanted to compare these two schools for other folks who might be interested in Florida schools.

If your son knows he want to do tax law I would recommend UF.  Especially if you are from FL and that is where he would like to stay. It is my understanding (word of mouth, not from FL) that it is fairly highly regarded school in FL.  Also, their tax program is very good, he might be able to do a joint JD/LLM tax if he is so inclined.  Plus, if you are from FL the tuition at UF can't be beat. It's a great option for locals. Even better for local tax people. 


taxguy

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 09:52:05 AM »
Son is school huh........   http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/109991/college-grad-sues-dad-to-cover-student-debt?mod=edu-continuing_education

Yes, I think UF would be best;however, unless my son does very well on the LSAT, he won't get into UF. His undergrad GPA was 3.1. Thus, I have somewhat ruled out UF for that reason.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 10:17:51 AM »
I say have him do his best on the test, retake it if he does too bad, and apply for the ones that you guys think are best. I dont personally respect the rankings much, but if it means a lot to you then really thats what matters if its your money and his time. Aim for the stars and you'll find a good place.

Son is school huh........   http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/109991/college-grad-sues-dad-to-cover-student-debt?mod=edu-continuing_education

Yes, I think UF would be best;however, unless my son does very well on the LSAT, he won't get into UF. His undergrad GPA was 3.1. Thus, I have somewhat ruled out UF for that reason.

bigs5068

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 12:50:48 PM »
I know you commented on my rankings post earlier, but the other thing about them is they change so drastically especially for schools like Stetson. It could be top 50 by the time your son graduates or a tier 3/4. For example when I was applying last year I took the rankings seriously (STUPIDLY) and I was really considering Gonzaga because they ranked 92 I think or somewhere around there bottom line they were a tier 2. (woopdee doo).  In the new rankings they are tier 3 now so I would not even been at a tier 2 anymore and been in Spokane, Washington. I give the same example for USF it has jumped 72, tier 3, to 84, back to a tier 3, now back to a tier 2 like 80 or something that has been their over the last 5 years. There really is just no consistency behind U.S. News because the formula makes no sense and by the time your son graduates Stetson or UF their rankings could be significantly higher or lower.

The top schools stay in their respective spots consistently, but outside of them they can drop and rise drastically, but nothing really changes at these schools beside their number changing. The professors, administration, buildings, OCI employers pretty much stay the same.

Cicero

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 06:38:51 PM »
From what I understand, part of why there has been more change recently in the rankings and why schools like Stetson have gone from about 100 to tier 3 is because they now take into account full time and part time students. The ranks for a lot of the schools don't change very much--maybe 5 spots. Schools that have been kicked out of T-2 to T-3 were already at the very edge of the T2. A school isn't going to go from T-3/4 to #50 in 2 years or in the reverse unless there is some major change to it, like they decided to throw out the LSAT all together from their admissions decisions or something. Schools generally creep up and down the rankings slowly and good schools respond to the problems if their rankings get worse.

bigs5068

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Re: Stetson vs. University of Miami updated visit
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 06:50:02 PM »
I exaggerated slightly, but USF honestly has changed so drastically over the last 4 years you have no idea what it is going to be. It was 72 I think at it's highest and a tier 3 at it's lowest. The school has not really changed much over those 4 years and it is tier 3 for a year then tier 2. 

Believe what you want about the rankings, but I really think the formula is a joke and that is why schools change so drastically. There is very little objective statistics in the U.S. News rankings formula and that is why a schools rankings can and does change so drastically.