Law School Discussion

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Poll

Where should I go?

Columbia/NYU ($0)
Chicago ($46k)
Penn ($58k)
Northwestern ($105k)
Cornell ($105k)

Author Topic: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige  (Read 797 times)

ghaleon

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POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« on: March 31, 2006, 08:38:05 PM »
So I was fairly crushed by the complete lack of grants Columbia and NYU offered me today since they were my top choices. I want to be in NYC, but I don't know if it's worth paying the full price tag since my parents won't be helping at all. The poll choices are the schools I've narrowed down based on scholarship offers, which I put in parantheses. I'm fairly uncertain about what I want to do with my JD, though I would like to clerk after law school. I don't mind a few years of BigLaw, but I'll probably end up doing in-house in the long run. If I can stomach the pay, I'm also considering academia and NGO (mainly gay rights and civil liberties) work. Basically, I'm trying to keep all my options open while taking out as little in loans as possible. I really appreciate any advice on this decision.
CLS'09

bass

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2006, 08:45:47 PM »
I went with Penn because I think the money difference makes up for the prestige difference between the NY schools and the rest of the list.  However, since you want to work in NY, I wanted to choose a school that places well in NY, and I believe that Penn is better than NU, Chicago, or Cornell on that end.  I could be wrong there of course, but it seems that many (most?) Penn grads are looking at NY.  The money difference is small perhaps, but you have to fact in cost of living.  In Philly, you can honestly get a very livable place for under $750, and you can get a less-livable place sometimes around $500 (less, of course, with roommates).

Plus, I'm an honorary Penn troll.  I think it's da bomb.

Goodfella Aaron

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2006, 08:50:54 PM »
When I went to Penn it did seem very NY-centric. But I chose U Chicago. If you want to clerk and keep academia open as a possible route I'd choose it, and it's held in very high esteem by lawyers of past generations (aka hiring partners). If they let me in I might go there, I'd need to do a gut check about spending 3 years in nerd heaven though. When I visited them UG they sold shirts that said top ten reasons why Chicago is worse than hell. I don't remember all of them but I remember one was "If you're in hell God hates you, if you're at the University of Chicago He's forgotten about you."

bass

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2006, 08:53:47 PM »
Actually, I like NYU a lot too... and Chicago...

I wouldn't do Northwestern or Cornell though.

ghaleon

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2006, 09:25:18 PM »
I would advise that you don't think in terms of scholarships; think in terms of your total debt at each school.  Different ways of asking the same questions can be helpful. 

FWIW, it's why I'm leaning towards Michigan over Chicago -- I realized it's not really a 21k difference once you factor in COL.

Yeah, I actually have an excel file with each school's cost of attendance, grant amount and net cost calculated. 'Cause I'm a nerd. Chicago, Penn and Cornell are around $170k before scholarship. Northwestern and the NYC schools are around $180k.
CLS'09

rowala

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2006, 11:09:46 PM »
Cornell actually has very good placement in NYC firms and its alumni are very loyal.  It placed 6th among placement at "Top 50" law firms.

remiz22

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2006, 09:15:06 AM »
I would take Cornell or NU. Those offers are amazing.

cyberrev

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2006, 09:53:41 AM »
I would advise that you don't think in terms of scholarships; think in terms of your total debt at each school.  Different ways of asking the same questions can be helpful. 

FWIW, it's why I'm leaning towards Michigan over Chicago -- I realized it's not really a 21k difference once you factor in COL.

Yeah, I actually have an excel file with each school's cost of attendance, grant amount and net cost calculated. 'Cause I'm a nerd. Chicago, Penn and Cornell are around $170k before scholarship. Northwestern and the NYC schools are around $180k.


ha ha , me too

ghaleon

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2006, 03:47:56 PM »
Wow, seems there's a tie between Cornell and Chicago. I'm going to visit Chicago and Philly next weekend to see the schools since my scholarships from NU and Penn require a response by April 15. I don't know if I'll be able to squeeze in Ithaca too, but I'll probably visit Cornell later in the month if I turn down the NU and Penn scholarships.
CLS'09

ghaleon

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Re: POLL: Give me advice on choosing money v. prestige
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2006, 05:14:17 PM »
I would advise that you don't think in terms of scholarships; think in terms of your total debt at each school.  Different ways of asking the same questions can be helpful. 

FWIW, it's why I'm leaning towards Michigan over Chicago -- I realized it's not really a 21k difference once you factor in COL.

Yeah, I actually have an excel file with each school's cost of attendance, grant amount and net cost calculated. 'Cause I'm a nerd. Chicago, Penn and Cornell are around $170k before scholarship. Northwestern and the NYC schools are around $180k.

Did you factor in the amount of interest over the life of the loan?  Becuase if so, I may be your long-lost soulmate. 

Stupid dying computer won't run Excel anymore, so I've been doing all the calculations by hand. :(

EDIT: Also, I'm fairly cure CCN are lying about the real cost-of-living.

Ha, no I haven't calculated interest yet... I figure that's too variable depending on how much my salary is after graduation and thus how long I take to pay back the loan. I may just calculate it out over a ten year period now that you've mentioned it though...

I think you're right about COL being underestimated. The housing budget seemed about right on the aid offers, but the "misc. expenses" are definitely underestimated.
CLS'09