Law School Discussion

PLEASE HELP! W&M vs. Seton Hall vs. Rutgers vs. Villanova and more!


  I would really appreciate it if someone could give me some advice on how to pick from the following schools. I am from New Jersey and I am leaning toward public interest law but I am not set on that (I am also considering healthcare law and trusts/estates).  The main areas I would like to live/practice in are Boston, Philly, and DC.  Thanks!

William & Mary (ranked #24): I would only pay about $12,000 per year for tuition, plus I would get a $4,000 stipend
Seton Hall (#68): Full-ride
Rutgers (#81): $7,000 per year
Villanova (#93): Full-ride

I was also accepted to GW, Fordham, BU, and BC. I haven't heard back about scholarships from BU or BC but I would love to go to either if the price was right (though I can't imagine they would give me quite as good a deal as W&M despite the fact they are ranked lower).  I asked GW and Fordham for more money but I am not holding my breath for that to happen.

Any advice you can give would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!


Re: PLEASE HELP! W&M vs. Seton Hall vs. Rutgers vs. Villanova and more!
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2015, 06:14:44 PM »
This seems like a two step process to me.

Step1: Remove ALL items from the list that don't have a full ride option in them.
Step2: Make lists of  "pro" and "con" for each one. Add one point for each pro and subtract point for each con. (geographics, rankings, whatever you think is important) Pick the one with the highest points after tallied.

That's how I'd do it.

Re: PLEASE HELP! W&M vs. Seton Hall vs. Rutgers vs. Villanova and more!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 10:49:40 AM »
Congrats on your acceptances and scholarships.

Before I say anything substantive realize that I or anyone else posting on this board or others comes from anonymous internet posters, my post included and when making a life altering decision such as where to attend law school anonymous internet advice should be low on the relevance scale.

With that intro I think any incoming law student should consider the following five factors in this order when choosing a law school (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) The reality of legal education; and (5) last and least U.S. News rankings. Here is a good article analyzing these factors.

Two main things that stick out in your post is that I think you are taking the rankings to seriously and you have listed what the scholarship conditions are, which is very important.

U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit unregulated magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News is certainly entitled to provide it's opinions, but for all intents and purposes it is entertainment and should not be a large factor on where you attend law school. U.S. News ranked Albuquerque, New Mexico #1 best place to live. .  Will you move to New Mexico, because U.S. News said it is the #1 best place to live? I assume moving to a new city based on what a magazine says seems a bit crazy, but for some reason incoming law students myself included make three year $100,000+ commitments and move to new cities to attend law school often based on what this magazine says, which is not a smart decision.

Additionally, the rankings change year by year when I was in law school Villanova was #50 or so, but it has dropped to #91, but will probably rise again and the methodology U.S. News uses is far from scientific and it doesn't need to be it is entertainment after all. Here is the list of U.S. News law schools for the past 5 years you can see outside of the top 15 schools change drastically year by year.  If you attend Seton Hall at 68th now there is a strong chance Rutgers at 81st could be ranked higher by the time you graduate. It changes drastically year by year and more importantly nobody cares about 68th or 81st best. Seton Hall and Rutgers are both fine schools.

As for your scholarships what are the CONDITIONS many law schools require that you maintain a 3.0 GPA, which to an incoming law student seems like a piece of cake, but it is not. All law students are smart, hard-working, motivated and 100% really believe they will finish in the top 10%, but you don't need to be a math major to see how that works out. The 3.0 requirement is also unlike undergrad, because law school has a steep curve and typically only 35% of students can get a 3.0 first year. This means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship if that is the scenario. I don't know what the conditions of your scholarships are, but ASK. This New York Times Article explains the situation better than I can.

You have a lot of good options, but I strongly encourage you to visit each school, learn the scholarship conditions, and put the U.S. News magazine down if after all the other factors are considered and you can't make a decision use it as a tie-breaker, but a magazine should not be a major basis for a 3 year, $100,000+, life and career altering decision.

Good luck and congrats on your acceptances.