Law School Discussion

Small Debt vs Big Debt (Cali)

Small Debt vs Big Debt (Cali)
« on: June 04, 2011, 09:43:18 PM »
Accepted to Western State with 15k scholly with 2.6 gpa requirement or Chapman at Sticker.

120k debt from Chapman sounds horrible, but losing the scholarship at WSU would be worse...Please Help Me Decide!!!

Additional information:

Can't do much better on LSAT, don't have any legal connections, will be be living at home.

Re: Small Debt vs Big Debt (Cali)
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 11:43:55 AM »
What's the curve? Given that you're required to maintain a 2.6 GPA to keep your scholarship, I bet they have a C curve. Which means that roughly 50% of your class will end up with GPAs at or near 2.5. This is conveniently (for the school, not you) just short of the 2.6 you'll need to keep your scholarship.

Merit scholarships are the law school equivalent of "bait and switch." Many students lose their scholarships because of forced curves that are weighted heavily against them. Does this mean you'll lose yours? Of course not. But you should factor into your decision the probability that you may very well lose it. If so, would you still be happy attending that school at the sticker price?

Re: Small Debt vs Big Debt (Cali)
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 07:05:52 PM »
The debt difference is substantial, but be sure to look at the difference in bar passage rates. Theres over a 20% difference between Chapman and Western State. And Western State has had notoriously low bar passage rates- at least in Cali. LSAC reports Western with less than a 50% bar passage.

Please consider this. If you can't pass the bar then the whole 3-4 years of law school is far less valuable.

Re: Small Debt vs Big Debt (Cali)
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 09:16:40 AM »
I wouldn't worry too much about the school's bar passage rate. These rates have more to do with individual test takers than with particular institutions as a whole. There's a positive correlation between LSAT/UGPA numbers and bar passage rates. The ugly truth is a good number of folks at lower-tiered schools have no business being there in the first place. They just simply lack the cognitive firepower needed in a legal practitioner. Some may struggle through law school and ultimately graduate with a degree. But they stand very little chance of passing the bar. If these students found covering a semester's worth of subject matter in a single test difficult, just wait until they're faced with one test covering the combined material from all three years of law school plus additional material that wasn't covered in school. However, as long as you have the intellectual prowess needed to pass the bar, it matters very little which ABA-accredited school you attend (that is, from a bar passage perspective; a school's reputation on job prospects is a whole other ball of wax).

One caveat, however, is if the school's bar passage rate drops below a certain percentage for a given period of time, the ABA could revoke its accreditation. This would certainly affect you.