LSAT Podcast Episode 53: To Debt or Not to Debt? That is the Law School Question
Dave and Jon turn their focus away from the ongoing LSAT-Flex saga to tackle another pressing consideration looming over many applicants these days: how to navigate multiple acceptances and choose the school that's right for you! In particular, they explore several applicants' unique circumstances, from school rankings and prestige to estimated debt to ultimate career goals, and offer detailed advice on what they believe is the best decision for each person.
0:00 – Intro. Dave and Jon tease today’s discussion with “Take The Money And Run” by Steve Miller Band. A catchy tune, but does it always serve as the best advice in regards to law school attendance decisions?
6:58 – This week in the LSAT world. LSAT-Flex registration and rollout updates, plus new PowerScore developments to help students get ready for this particular test and how LSAT-Flex is affecting the law school admissions cycle.
23:20 – Law School Admissions Decisions. Jon and Dave outline the upcoming topics, serving as a follow-up to our Scholarship Vs. Prestige discussion last year.
26:06 – Scenario 1. “My career goal is to become a deputy district attorney and work in my hometown of Orange County, CA. Factoring in school rank, tuition costs, and personal preferences – help me decide between Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, University of San Diego, and Chapman.”
37:22 – Scenario 2. “I’d like to end up in the western states and interested in entertainment law, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. I’m not interested in Public Interest, but open to all other areas. I’m debt averse, but willing to take out loans if I’m reasonably confident that I can pay it off later. Help me make a decision between offers at UCLA, Arizona State, and Northwestern.”
46:24 – Scenario 3. “I was hoping you could help me decide between my current situation of prestige vs. debt. Considering my current financial offers of full scholarship (Arizona), 50% scholarship (Minnesota), and full cost at my dream school (UC Berkeley) - can you help me decide between these three schools? I am typically very risk adverse, and my dream career would be in international human rights law.”
53:48 – Scenario 4. “I am going to be choosing between $168,000 of debt at Cornell, and $32,000 of debt and potential free housing at BYU. So far, I have only felt good about the thought of attending Cornell but I am terrified of the debt. Conversely, I have only felt good about taking the full-ride from BYU but terrified of spending another 3 years in Provo. What should I do?”
1:00:33 – Scenario 5. “I have two offers to consider: Northwestern - $120k offer (approximately $100k in loans). Or Columbia - $35k offer (approximately $200k in loans). I would ideally like to obtain a federal clerkship. I picture myself working in Big Law for a few years, then transitioning to public interest, but I’m not married to this plan. (And I have no interest in trial work.) I would also really like to attend Columbia. I love NYC (I have never visited Chicago), and, frankly, I like Columbia’s prestige. What’s your advice?”
1:05:42 – Scenario 6. “I want to continue pursuing Pub Interest work in law school. I don't want to work Big Law hours, but not totally writing it off. Have the general end goal of living a comfortable life doing interesting work. My ideal role would be as policy counsel at an advocacy org. I’m also fairly certain I’d like to clerk for at least a year after graduating. I’m from Ann Arbor and could live at home free if at UMich and would ultimately like to end up back in the Midwest. Can you help me choose between offers at Harvard, Michigan, and NYU?”
1:10:34 – Scenario 7. “I just got some wonderful news -- got the Rubenstein at Chicago & into Harvard Law (still waiting on Yale). I ultimately want to go into international or electoral politics. I'd love any advice on what you think is the best move!”
1:15:50 – Outro.