Law School Discussion

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Poll

Which law school should I attend?

Wayne State University (75% tuition ride)
 6 (75%)
Michigan State University (no tuition $$)
 2 (25%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Author Topic: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?  (Read 3194 times)

StuckInMI

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Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« on: March 15, 2011, 01:58:02 PM »
GPA: 3.34
LSAT: 158

Wayne State University offered me a 75% tuition ride, but Michigan State University didn't offer me anything.

I thought the two schools were highly competitive in terms of rankings, but according to the 2012 law school rankings: WSU is #121 while MSU is #95. I know that's still a relatively small gap, but does anyone think differently?

2012 law school rankings if anyone is interested:
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Thoughts/opinions/advice/feedback are all greatly appreciated!  :)

Hamilton

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 02:35:52 PM »
One can argue the merits of one school over the other - other threads have more detail on that.  Quality of school/education/faculty/etc. aside, I do not think there are many firms in MI that would refuse to grant an interview to a top performer from either school (there are some).  The reality is that there are many MI firms that flat-out will not look at someone from Cooley, I do not think WSU or MSU grads in the top 25% or so face that same barrier, so then it is up to the individual.

Given that, 75% ride is a pretty good deal.

StuckInMI

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 09:43:49 AM »
Hamilton, thanks for the feedback. I received my actual packet from MSU yesterday and I guess they are giving me a scholarship; they said evaluations are done on April 2nd, and Iíll be notified on April 3rd of my award. I plan to go with the school that offers me more. The only problem is that my first seat deposit is due at Wayne on 4/1, but I wonít know what MSU is offering me until 4/3. Bummer!  :-\

Does anyone have advice on this or has anyone been in a similar situation?

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 08:15:11 PM »
Hi Stuck:

There is a LOT that one could say about this issue, but I'll spare you the details for now.  You have a choice to make, and here's my take on it:

Do not worry that Wayne wants a seat deposit before MSU makes a financial aid offer.  B/c of the USN results that you mention, you have Wayne over a barrel.  The difference between 95 and 121 is NOT small at all in the law school world, esp between such close rivals. Please keep in mind that even before these rankings, Wayne was a school in decline and MSU was a school on the rise.  (How's this: from '09 to '10, Wayne applications fell 11%, and MSU's increased 27%: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20100825/C03/308259994#). So: we are talking about the difference between a school that is T2 w/ a bullet and T3 dead in the water.

Wayne has been pretending for years that it has a much better local reputation than DCL/MSU.  The latest USN rankings put a nail in that coffin.  So: you hold the whip hand here.

Contact Wayne and explain that you are waiting for offers from other law schools, and need another couple of weeks to look at your options.  Wayne has no choice but to give you the time.

Then see how much you get from MSU.  Even if the number isn't that great, contact Wayne again and say that you got $X from MSU, and are thinking about accepting in light of the US News differences.  You might get a full ride from Wayne.

You are in a good position right now, so get the best deal you can. 

StuckInMI

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 12:37:39 PM »
WSUAlum:

Your advice is SO helpful; thank you! Thanks for the facts; great info.

As for asking WSU for an extension on seat deposit, do you suggest I do this by sending a letter or calling the admissions office?

Assuming I get a decent offer from MSU, how do I go about using this as leverage against WSU for more tuition money? Write a letter; call the admissions office, etc.?

Thanks so much! This is just the kind of information I needed.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 10:31:40 PM »
Call the office to ask for the time extension.  Wayne is understaffed, and phone calls typically get higher priority than emails.  Try to call between 9 and 10 before people get swamped.  If you have to leave a message, be sure to tell whoever answers the phone that you received a 75% offer and need another couple of weeks to decide.  If you get any resistance, tell them that you are concerned about the Wayne's US News numbers, and its employment numbers.  (If you are curious about the employment numbers, see my post here: http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?board=25.0).  They'll know you are paying attention.

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 10:42:52 PM »
Better link than the one above: see my posts in this thread: http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?topic=4024719.10

StuckInMI

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 10:49:30 AM »
Thanks for the links; this is all helping tremendously with my decision.

Update: I called WSU on the seat deposit extension, and the woman didnít even give me the time of day. She immediately replied saying that they do not, under any circumstances, allow extensions of time on the seat deposit. I guess my next step is to just pay the $300 deposit, and hope for the best from MSU?

How exactly does one negotiate their scholarship amount with a school? Is there a certain person in the department that I should be speaking with?

WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 02:13:51 AM »
I can't believe you wrote back!  My last bit of advice was so off the mark, I hope you take everything else I say w/ the appropriate grain of salt.  FWIW, here I go.  Let's start w/ background.

Here are the 2010 numbers (a year old) for Wayne Law's entering class: http://www.law.wayne.edu/admissions/jd/2010incomingclassprofile.php.  At the bottom of the page, you can see a link for the 2009 #s.  What you'll see is a lot of 'slippage' between the two years.  Applications were down over 10% from '09 to '10, but Wayne accepted more students in '10 than '09.  So--'selectivity' fell from 37% in 2009 to 43% in '10.  You'll also see that while LSAT scores stayed the same by quartile, GPA fell in each quartile.  (Compare to their major competitor MSU, and you'll see Wayne's predicament: http://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/standards-profile.html)

Note that all of this bad news predates the latest US News rankings, where WSU is mid T3 (#121), while MSU is now T2 (#95) and moving up quickly.  (http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings).  These rankings came out just as students are starting to make their choices for next year.  I expect Wayne is a little under the gun.

What this means for you:  In spite of the above, I don't expect Wayne to improve its 75% offer.  You are above W's median for LSAT, but below for GPA (barring a real catastrophe in this year's class).  You are in the same position re: MSUs numbers, tho farther below the GPA median, so I'd expect MSU to offer you something, tho more like 25% or so.  That's where the hard choices start.

PLEASE double check this, but I think Wayne has a very high GPA requirement to hold a merit scholarship.  I think the requirement is 3.25.  Understand that law schools in general like it when students fail to retain their scholarships--they get your numbers as a 1L for US News purposes, and then they can take your money and give it to someone else next year for the same purpose.  Schools typically like 50% of students not to retain.  I don't mean to be snotty, but most of the people who will get merit scholarships in Wayne's 1L class had higher UGPAs than you did.  If you pick Wayne, you need to be ready for the possibility that your scholarship will disappear after the 1st year.  Or--you need to be ready for the possibility that you will have to eat, sleep and poop law morning noon and night to keep your scholarship.

Again: PLEASE double check this, but I think MSU's scholarships are contingent on a 3.0 GPA.  That is a much more 'makeable' figure--just above the median in a typical 1L class (maybe top 40-45%).   Depending on what assumptions you make about retaining or not retaining scholarships, the price difference between Wayne and MSU may be a lot or a little.  I'll leave those assumptions to you, but I'd advise you to be realistic.

Finally, think about how well your law degree might travel.  Everyone in SE Michigan knows about Wayne State, and in spite of all the 'slippage' noted above, Wayne retains a strong reputation among judges and lawyers in Detroit and adjacent counties.  But MSU has a strong reputation in other parts of the state, and beyond the state boundaries as well.   About 1/2 of MSU's students have been coming from out of state for a while, and they are creating a pipeline back to their home towns.  If you think you might want to leave this state, that pipeline might be valuable.  I'd contact the Career Services offices at both schools, and figure out how many out of state firms interview there.  Not a perfect guide to 'out of state respect,' but not a bad one either.


WSUAlum1

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Re: Wayne State w/ $ or Michigan State w/o $?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 08:40:24 PM »
BTW--Hereís a comparison between Wayne and MSU re: your Career Services options.
Here are the firms who will come to campus looking to interview.  The #s below are from
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/

MSU:
53 firms
12 from NY, DC and CA

Wayne:
39 firms
4 from NY, DC and CA