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Author Topic: Baylor (no scholarship and quit job) v. St Mary's (scholarships and keep job)  (Read 3927 times)

DanielleTex

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I am having a very hard time weighing my options, and I guess I am looking for validation that I am not making the wrong decision.  Specifically, I'm looking at the public or government work sector after obtaining my JD (eventually, I'd like to work in-house).

I was offered admission to Baylor (T2) with no scholarship.  Attending Baylor would mean I would need to quit my full-time job and commute 1.5 hours every day (my husband and I live in Austin).  However, Baylor has an incredible program and a great reputation.

Alternatively, I was also offered admission to St. Mary's University (T4) with a significant amount of scholarships (also, St. Mary's tuition is substantially less than Baylor's).  At St. Mary's, I can enroll in their PT evening program and keep my FT job (the job is relevant to the legal workforce and offers a competetive salary).  At St. Mary's, I will also need to commute 1.5 hours to school.

Thus, I'll graduate with significantly less debt (under $50k for law school), I'll retain a strong and relevant work history, but I'll have a JD from a T4 school.  Soooo...  if I'm not planning on going into Big Law, does it really matter if I graduated from a T4?

FalconJimmy

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I am having a very hard time weighing my options, and I guess I am looking for validation that I am not making the wrong decision.  Specifically, I'm looking at the public or government work sector after obtaining my JD (eventually, I'd like to work in-house).

I was offered admission to Baylor (T2) with no scholarship.  Attending Baylor would mean I would need to quit my full-time job and commute 1.5 hours every day (my husband and I live in Austin).  However, Baylor has an incredible program and a great reputation.

Alternatively, I was also offered admission to St. Mary's University (T4) with a significant amount of scholarships (also, St. Mary's tuition is substantially less than Baylor's).  At St. Mary's, I can enroll in their PT evening program and keep my FT job (the job is relevant to the legal workforce and offers a competetive salary).  At St. Mary's, I will also need to commute 1.5 hours to school.

Thus, I'll graduate with significantly less debt (under $50k for law school), I'll retain a strong and relevant work history, but I'll have a JD from a T4 school.  Soooo...  if I'm not planning on going into Big Law, does it really matter if I graduated from a T4?

Uggghhhh... both of those options suck.  When you say 1.5 hours, do you mean 45 minutes there, 45 minutes back?  If you mean 1.5 hours each way (for a total of a 3 hour commute), throw the entire plan on the scrap heap.  It can't be done. 

First, do you really think it's realistic to commute 1.5 hours to school for a part-time program?  Like you'll work 8 hours, drive 1.5 hours, take 3 hours of class?  Two or three times a week?  And every time you need to go to the library?  Forget it.  Seriously, that dog won't hunt at all.  You'll get terrible grades, do a crappy job at work and your husband will get tired of dating the couch and divorce you.  (Okay, trying to be humorous, here, but you cannot work this plan.  Don't even think about it.)

Between the two, I'd go with Baylor and either get a room-mate and small apartment and/or rent crash-space on a classmate's couch for the times when you won't be able to make that ridiculous commute home.

If you really want to go to law school, you need to think about moving.  There's just too much work to do to for you to plan on losing 12 hours or more per week to driving around.  1L year, most schools schedule classes 5 days a week.  You're talking about almost 8 hours a week of driving just to get to and from class.  Not to mention anything you need to do on weekends, etc.

Go big or stay home. Right now, I'm leaning towards advising you to stay home.

DanielleTex

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Thank you for the unsolicited portion of your advice.  "Stay home" wasn't an option nor was moving to either location.  Also, not attending law school is not an option.

For the commute, I am referring to 1.5 hours there and 1.5 hours back. 

I am well aware of the difficulties I am facing, and I would appreciate feedback that genuinely addresses the original post.  Please refrain from the "don't do it" responses.  If that is all you have to contribute, just don't contribute at all.

FalconJimmy

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Thank you for the unsolicited portion of your advice.  "Stay home" wasn't an option nor was moving to either location.  Also, not attending law school is not an option.

For the commute, I am referring to 1.5 hours there and 1.5 hours back. 

I am well aware of the difficulties I am facing, and I would appreciate feedback that genuinely addresses the original post.  Please refrain from the "don't do it" responses.  If that is all you have to contribute, just don't contribute at all.

Danielle, you are delusional.  What you're proposing is not possible.  You will not make it.  You want advice?  Or do you just want sunshine blown up your ass to reinforce your idiotic plans?  I absolutely cannot state forcefully enough that your plans are both just about the stupidest things I've ever heard.  You need a serious reality check.  You are totally disengaged from the real world right now.  You need to spash cold water on your face and come back to this universe.

You don't have to "stay home".  You need to "go big or stay home".  If you want a law degree, go big. 

You do not have a workable plan.  If you want to live in fantasy land, go onto World of Warcraft and get advice from them.  If you want realistic advice, be receptive to it, in spite of the fact that it doesn't reinforce your current plan.

It isn't often that I state things in so stark and absolute terms, but in case you're not hearing this:  your plans will not work. 

The only option I see working is to go the full time route to baylor and get a room mate and small apartment.  Sorry if that rather obvious piece of advice was not discernable.

You cannot work a plan that involves 3 hours a day of commuting.  You.  Can.  Not.

DanielleTex

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The only delusional part about what I proposed was in thinking that I could actually receive intelligent advice from an online forum.  THAT was certainly my mistake. 

Online Trolls: 1; Intelligent Advice: 0.

Shame on me.

(However, if you are not a troll, and you just happen to be oddly and inappropriately passionate about my financial dilemma, would you mind addressing my real concern/question?  If I plan on working in the public or government sector, does graduating from a T4 really matter?)

FalconJimmy

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Danielle, I was going to comment on that, but frankly, it's 1% of your problem.  If you want to ignore the other 99%, so be it.  Just realize that when you're knee deep in 1L, that you were warned.

Yes, the school you go to matters.  For this and every other thing involved in the law.  Graduates from University of Texas Law, SMU, etc. get a lot more public policy and government jobs than graduates from Texas Wesleyan or St. Mary's.  Trust me, the folks at St. Mary's who are graduating right now are not thinking, "Well, at least I'm well-poised for a government job."  They're thinking "Oh, snap.  I might not get any job, anywhere."

Obviously "government and public policy" is a broad swath, but frankly, many of those jobs are highly competitive.  Many, many an attorney wishes they had a government job with government hours and government benefits.  Plus, the salaries aren't that bad, especially with the federal government.

Although you don't want to hear it, I can't stress highly enough that your only shot at this is a room mate and full-time at Baylor.  Live in Austin, and only stay at Baylor when it's impractical to commute home. 

1L is not something you can half-ass.  4th tier schools are easy to get into, but they're also easy to get booted out of.  Typical 4th tier schools lose 1/3 of the class after 1L year.  (Look to your left, look to your right... one of you won't be here next year.)  A great way to make sure you're not part of the 2/3 who get to be 2Ls is to be overcommitted, have too little time for schoolwork, to be stressed out and frazzled all the time and to be staring at a windshield when you should be staring at your outlines.

Don't just gloss over this.  What you don't want is to go through all this pain only to be booted from the school after 30 credit hours.  Yeah, you're smart and you're special, but so is everybody else who got in and 1/3 of them end up getting walking papers instead of a diploma.

FalconJimmy

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Also to put a finer point on it, I couldn't care less about your financial situation.  I'm talking about your ability to survive 1L.  Don't presume this is a foregone conclusion.  A great many very intelligent and accomplished people don't make the leap from 1L to 2L. 

You can call it inappropriate, and you may think it is not intelligent advice, but I can assure you that every single law student on these boards would say that I'm right and that you really, really, really need to rethink your plan.

FalconJimmy

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And if you really think a room-mate at Baylor is out of your reach financially, I'd ask you to think about it a bit.  We're talking what, maybe $300 a month?  Maybe $400?  You could probably work a deal with somebody since you won't be there that often.  Don't try to scrimp on this.  It's going to take a LOT of money and a LOT of time to do this.  Saving a few hundred bucks on the front end will cost you thousands on the back end.

john4040

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If you had to go to law school, I'd say go to Baylor.  The alumni network there is killer.  The same is not true for St. Mary's. 

Also, as Jimmy pointed out, the 3 hour commute will probably negatively affect your law school performance - which is a relevant consideration if you're looking to go in-house later on.

DanielleTex

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Thank you for the relevant portions of your response!  I appreciate your honest feedback (I'm not sure if that is coming across as sarcastic, but I am genuinely thanking you for your input regarding the public/government jobs).

I truly do understand the difficulties I am facing, and my husband and I have had numerous discussions about the difficulties that lie ahead.  Your commentary has not been ignored, but it has been researched and discussed thoroughly in the past.  And it is a bit off-putting that someone who does not know me or my circumstances passionately believes that my goals and career plans are "delusional."

Nonetheless, I'll break down the financials, and I would welcome you to let me know if you still believe Baylor is the best option.

Approximate tuition for full JD:
Baylor- $125,000
St. Mary's- $90,000-$100,000

Opportunity Cost (approximate salary loss from attending- not adjusted for payraises, bonuses, etc.):
Baylor- $150,000
St. Mary's- $24,000

Scholarships:
Baylor- $0
St. Mary's- $10,000/year

(You can probably tell that my internal dilemma is weighing prestige v. practicality.)

[If I were to go to Baylor, I would get an apartment nearby, but would keep Austin as my main residence.]

Thanks John, I appreciate your input!