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Author Topic: I need help!  (Read 1158 times)

jinc1019

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I need help!
« on: February 10, 2011, 04:46:16 PM »
I would really appreciate some help deciding where to go. I won't bore you with every single law school I got accepted to because, quite frankly, it's not worth your time but just know that I applied to A LOT of schools (because my fiance and I needed to find a med school and a law school in the same city that would accept us both and that we could afford). I am pleased to say that we have found several matches that are both affordable and great places to live. However, I have some huge decisions to make and basically, I have no idea what to do. I have been accepted into several levels of law schools: Tier 3 and 4 schools that have given me FULL SCHOLARSHIPS or close to it, lower end Tier 1 schools like Catholic University of America that have given me a moderate scholarship but will still require me to pay $20,000 to $25,000 a year, and more solid Tier 1 schools like Loyola in Chicago, University of Denver, etc. where I will have to pay $35,000 to $40,000. So I guess what I am asking is, as a general rule, would it be more wise to go to school for virtually nothing but sacrifice the kinds of connections the Tier 1 schools offer, or would it be better to go to a school like Catholic University of America where the cost is moderate but still a total of $60,000 to $75,000 more than a Tier 3 and 4 school, OR am I better off going to the best school I can provided that it is the best 1 or 2 schools in the market? Any advice would be really helpful! I really just, cannot make up my mind. All of the cities that I have narrowed it down to are great, so it's not about living...it's mostly about finances at this point.

like_lasagna

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Re: I need a lot of help...a million choices
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 07:26:51 PM »
OR am I better off going to the best school I can provided that it is the best 1 or 2 schools in the market, like Loyola Chicago (which is second in Chicago to Northwestern) or University of Denver, etc?

This is generally correct but you are really, really, really off-base here. Loyola Chicago isn't even close to second in Chicago. It's obviously behind University of Chicago and Northwestern, but it's also behind Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan, etc.

jinc1019

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Re: I need a lot of help...a million choices
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 10:02:38 PM »
Thanks for the information, I think Illinois and Loyola are comparable honestly....but you made a great point about the market. Obviously Notre Dame and Michigan grads head to Chicago and I should have realized that. I was only thinking of schools immediately in the Chicago area since I am only looking at those schools. At any rate, you are right, and I am wrong!

nealric

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Re: I need a lot of help...a million choices
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 12:19:42 AM »
Quote
Tier 3 and 4 schools that have given me FULL SCHOLARSHIPS or close to it, lower end Tier 1 schools like Catholic University of America that have given me a moderate scholarship but will still require me to pay $20,000 to $25,000 a year, and more solid Tier 1 schools like Loyola in Chicago, University of Denver, etc. where I will have to pay $35,000 to $40,000. So I guess what I am asking is, as a general rule, would it be more wise to go to school for virtually nothing but sacrifice the kinds of connections the Tier 1 schools offer, or would it be better to go to a school like Catholic University of America where the cost is moderate but still a total of $60,000 to $75,000 more than a Tier 3 and 4 school, OR am I better off going to the best school I can provided that it is the best 1 or 2 schools in the market? Any advice would be really helpful! I really just, cannot make up my mind. All of the cities that I have narrowed it down to are great, so it's not about living...it's mostly about finances at this point.

I would be inclined to take the full ride, assuming the GPA conditions aren't too onerous. Remember that law school grading is nothing like undergrad grading. A 3.0 is by no means a sure bet even if you work hard at a lot of T3/4 schools.

The schools you described like CUA are really not 1st tier schools. US News arbitrarily decided to skip eliminate the 2nd tier a few years ago, but anything below top 50 is generally considered 2nd tier. In any case, even a school like CUA gives you very little chance of getting a job at a large firm- which is the only easy way to pay back 100k+ of loans. It's much easier to go into a small firm or start your own without huge debts.
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bigs5068

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Re: I need a lot of help...a million choices
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 02:56:22 AM »
Yea do not take the rankings to seriously. Outside of the elite schools the rankings make no sense. This is literally the system judges from across the country mark a scantron that says Excellent, Very Good, Good, Marginal. A judge in Miami checks very good for Loyola Chicago one year based on no facts, because it is unlikely a Miami judge would ever meet a Loyola Chicago grad, but he has the honor of checking a box. Next year around he might check good for no reason,  then Loyola could go down to tier 3. This ingenious method of having people fill out scantrons about schools they have never interacted with makes up 60% of a schools ranking. Trivial things like bar passage make up 2% of a schools ranking. Then the amazing employment formula uses where being a fry cook at Mcdonalds or managing partner at a mega law firm count equally makes up 20%. The final 18% of a schools ranking are based on legitimate factors like incoming students GPA & LSAT.

You can see the the formula makes very little sense. This results in schools that were tier 2 becoming tier 4 by the time you graduate or tier 4 schools becoming tier 2 by the time you graduate. It is simply not something to take very seriously unless you are at an elite school. I like to cite University of San Francisco for this. 4 years ago when I first started considering law school it was ranked 72nd. Then it went down to tier 3 for a year then to 86th now it is in a 13 way tie for 96th place. Guess what changed at the school over those 4 years? You guessed it nothing. Everything stayed the same, but some judge in Nebraska check good instead of very good.

 The rankings make sense when top schools are involved, but when this arbitrary formula is making distinctions between 78th and 94th place it really is not very accurate. If you look at it now there are 13 way ties for certain spots. I believe USF and Santa Clara are in a 13 way tie for 93rd place. It really is not something you want to take seriously unless you are going to an elite school. Even if the formula did make sense not many people are  going to be impressed that you went to the 78th best school opposed to the 109th. If you have the option of paying 100K to say you are 78th or getting out debt free and saying you are the 109th best  I would take the free ride. Just my two cents.

jinc1019

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Re: I need a lot of help...a million choices
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 03:00:38 AM »
Excellent posts, I really appreciate the advice. I knew that U.S. News eliminated the 2nd Tier a few years ago but I assumed, and wrongly so, that some schools who are now Third Tier once were Second Tier than realizing that the First Tier is the group that actually got larger. Great information. At this point, I am leaning toward the scholarship, although I am still waiting on a couple of T-20 schools that I am competitive at (albeit just barely).