Law School Discussion

Help! between W&L, Richmond and W&M

Help! between W&L, Richmond and W&M
« on: March 21, 2012, 04:05:21 PM »
I'm having a really hard time figuring out where I want to go in the fall. I got into Washington and Lee and they offered me $25,000 a year. I got into Richmond and they're giving me $30,000 a year and i was accepted to their John Marshall Scholars Program which seems really interesting. I have to decide if I'm accepting the scholars program by April 1st but I'm still waiting to hear from William and Mary and they told me that I would find out if I was accepted on April 1st, maybe a few days earlier if I'm lucky. William and Mary has always been my dream school but I dont know if im going to get in and I doubt I would get any money if i did. I also got into George Mason and UConn but neither of them have given me any money so I'm starting to not consider them. Please help I basically only have 10 days to decide!


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Re: Help! between W&L, Richmond and W&M
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 04:51:48 PM »
First, realize I am only an anonymous poster that knows nothing about you or your situation, so heavily scrutinize any advice given by me or any other internet poster. 

Also realize, there is no right answer to this question every student goes through this decision of what school should I go to. Most 0Lís think there is some right answer that they can find if they keep looking, but there isnít. Just like you I went until the deadline stressing out, but I once you make your decision all that goes away, and you will be on your way to becoming a lawyer.


 I see you received several scholarships, which is great, but be cautious about scholarships for two reasons.

1)   Often schools have outrageously high tuition, and cover by giving a lot of scholarship money. Case in point William Lee is 38k per year and they did offer you 25k per year so 13k total. While George Mason & William & Mary did not offer you scholarships they are only 20k per year. ĖNow your thinking well 13k per year at William Lee is less than 20k per year. Correct, but that leads to the second concern.


2)   Many schools impose strict conditions on their scholarships. These New York times article does a great job explaining it. . The gist of the conditions and article is this. Schools will offer you a great scholarship renewable if you maintain a 3.0 GPA, or stay in the top 35% of the class, or some other condition that you as a 0L truly believe you will keep. You believe this because you likely could have gotten a 3.0 in undergrad while doing a kegstand, because your a good student. However, when you get to law school everyone could have gotten a 3.0 while doing a kegstand in undergrad, and you are surrounded by excellent students.

This then leads to law school grading, which is nothing like undergrad. In law school everything is curved, and often only 35% of the class can have a 3.0 at the end of the first year. 100% of law students on their first day are sure they will be in the top 35% and more likely the top 10%, but you can see how the math on that works. If you donít make that cut your scholarship goes away and the 13k you were paying per see at Washington &  Lee goes to 38K per year for year two and three.

So if you lose the scholarship at Washington &  Lee. You will pay 13k + 38k + 38k= 89k over three years in tuition.

Where if you went to George Mason it would be 20k per year totaling 60k over three years, and you donít have to worry about maintaining the GPA.

It is true if you keep the scholarship it will be 39k in tuition over three years, but the odds are you will lose the scholarship at Washington & Lee if they have these conditions. If these conditions do not exist then forgot everything I said about this, but just really pay close attention to whatever conditions the different schools impose, because so few studentís realize what they mean until it is to late.

I am guessing your a Virginia resident based on the schools you have listed. It also seems like you want to go to live in Virginia, and if you want to be in Virginia at graduation going to law school in Virginia is what you should be doing. If that is a correct assessment I would throw UConn out.

You should also consider these particular areas in Virginia. I know absolutely nothing about Virginia or these schools, but I imagine some are in small towns and others are in more urban areas. Which one are your  more comfortable in, this is important because if you canít stand college towns and your stuck in one for a minimum of three years you might not enjoy your time. Or vice versa if you hate urban environments love small towns.

This is something very few students do, but it is one of the most important things to consider. Each school has their own feel, culture, etc to it and you need to see if it fits what you want. I remember when I was visiting some schools I did not fit in with, while others I did. Not to say the schools I didnít like were awful, terrible places they just didnít fit my personality.

If you havenít visited these schools already you should do it ASAP, because I think everyone gets a general feel when they go into a school, and if you hate some place and everyone you meet during a day visit, then you wonít last three years. How you feel is highly personal and it is completely your own call, but it is very very important.

It sounds like William & Mary is your dream school, and it is cheap plus in Virginia and if that comes through it sounds like your decision is made. However, I was in a similar situation as this with the school I really wanted they told me they would make a decision by April 1st, and in typical B.S. law school fashion guess what their ďDECISIONĒ was? They decided to WAITLIST me, which went on for three months until they finally decided to reject me two weeks into August. I imagine if they havenít made a decision on you yet odds are a waitlist is coming your way, but I could certainly be wrong.

With that said I would pay the deposit at one of the schools that has accepted you, and you would feel comfortable attending. However,  wait until the last minute if William & Mary accepts you before the other schools no need to pay money unnecessarily. However, you want to have a seat come August so pay the deposit, if William & Mary come through  then you will lose your deposit at the other school, but a few hundred dollars is a small price to pay in the long run of legal education.

Hopefully some of this is helpful, and I also attached a quick list of prices per school below. Good Luck!

William & Lee
Lexington Virginia

Richmond 32k
Richmond, VA

William & Mary

George Mason
20k Arlington, VA

Non-Resident 42k
Resident 20k