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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Berkeley's dead and I'm looking ahead

I got the Berkeley rejection today. It bummed me out, for sure, but I can't say it's a surprise. I felt like my chances were about 50/50, and I was ready for either result. It's a very selective school, and I don't think my application was very standout-ish for such a selective school. But a girl could dream, couldn't she?

On the bright side, we don't have to try to figure out how the hell to pay for Berkeley. It would have been outrageous. I was prepared to take on upwards of a hundred grand in debt on that one. Ian told me today that he didn't think we'd make it through that. He thought we'd either have to pull out or else he'd have to pull out while I stayed. That was a bit of a surprise to me. But he would have been willing to try, because he wants me to be happy. That's sweet of him. As an aside, we will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary next week. It's completely bizarre and rad to think that we've been together so long already. Here's to the next 3 years, My Love. May I not drive you completely mad while I'm in law school. Or if I do, may the madness take me with you.

So now I can zero in on the schools of most interest to me. I still haven't heard from Hastings or Oregon, but frankly, I don't care about Hastings cause I'd rather go to Davis, and I only care about Oregon if they offer me a lot of money. Otherwise, I'm deliberating between Lewis & Clark and UC Davis. Let's break it down:

UC Davis - Sacramento area
Ranked about 44
No scholarship money, still waiting on financial aid package which could include grants and/or loans.
Tuition will cost about $90,000.

Lewis & Clark - Portland
Ranked about 73
Scholarship of $22,000 per year, with the condition of maintaining a 2.95 GPA.
Tuition will cost about $80,000, but with the scholarship my debt would be about $15,000. Some people buy cars for more money than that!

In order to make the most informed decision possible, I will be visiting each school for a few days during their respective admitted student events. Lewis & Clark is offering a $500 travel stipend to visit them in mid-March, and Davis will reimburse travel expenses of about $120 in early April.

Money and rank are not the only factors to consider here. I also want to feel like the school and city that I choose are a comfortable fit for my personality. I want to consider things like earning potential, student camaraderie and atmosphere, competitiveness, how easy it will be for me to make law review, get a good job, have prospects for judicial clerkships or an academic career. There are many things to consider, and either choice could be viable, but I won't know for sure until I check them out to see if they are a good fit.

I'm excited to explore the possibilities, and I'm confident that I will end up choosing the right school for me. I want to thank everyone who has provided support and assistance so far. I feel victorious, and that is all that matters to me right now.


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19 comments:

sov said...

I was talking to a friend today, and he related that UC Davis was really Mormony. Do you know anything about this? I admit I know nothing about Davis, other than it's in California. Was he just pulling my leg?

Sra said...

Well I don't know. The whole western US has its fair share of Mormons. Can't be any more Mormon than my home state, though, can it? ;)

I know that Davis is a more rural area, which might lend to a more conservative and maybe even Mormony atmosphere, but I figure with Sacramento right there, it ought to balance out. Who knows? That's why I'm going to visit.

FrankandMary said...

But he would have been willing to try, because he wants me to be happy< Take it from an old lady well, 43 should be old to you :-), what he was willing to do wasn't just "sweet." He is an awesome guy. Most people let self-interest win out over sweet.

I have an online friend who had a very bad experience living is a super Mormon community in Utah, but attending school would be a different experience than that I believe. I am sure the majority of students would NOT be Mormon. ~Mary

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Personally, I think Portland would be a more interesting place to live. As you said, it's just not about that. Good to know you're keeping an open mind as you make your decision. Either way, at least there's a decision to make!

heidikins said...

Ooooh! I can't wait to hear about each school. I've never been to Portland, so I am secretly hoping that's what you choose. But hey, UC Davis is pretty damn good too, right?

(I have absolutely no concrete knowledge on which to base the above statements.)

xox

Sra said...

Mary: Yes, Ian's a keeper. We understand each other and fit each other better than I've understood or fit anyone else. You know, I might have a bad experience living in a super Mormon community as well. That's why I steer clear of Utah County unless I'm going to see a show. But Salt Lake County, where I come from, is roughly 50% Mormon. Still a high percentage, and still a large influence, but there's more room for sanity.

As an aside to all my Mormon friends and loved ones: you know I love you. I could say the same thing about any group of people who make up a majority of a region. It gets a little, you know, homogenized.

Nilsa and heidikins: I've never been to either Sacramento or Portland. Based on pictures, Sacramento looks a lot like Salt Lake except they have a huge river (huge for a Utahn, anyway), and Portland and the surrounding Oregon area is immensely beautiful but looks a little claustrophobic for all the trees. Where I come from, trees are sparse, and you always know what direction you're going because you can see the forest for the lack of trees, so to speak. So physically Sacramento might be more like home. But I know that I'm not necessarily committing our lives to live in whichever city forever. Just for at least three years. Then we can be more serious about finding the place that fits us. I will know a lot more about how I feel after visiting these places. Meanwhile, I have to try to calm my anxiousness since I still have a month until the first visit. And lots to do in the meantime besides.

B.R. said...

If you pick Portland, you will have a stupendous time. It is, come to think of it, my most favorite US city. There's a sense of tranquility it brings with it that I have yet to experience anywhere else. Good culture, good museums, good culinary opportunities, great people, and even greater for indie arts/things.

What great results, these are!
Einfach super, sag' ich. Viel Glueck!!

Frank said...

For the analytical side of your brain.

A. You will do well in any school you choose and they will be lucky to get you.
B. Personal support from a loved one is the most important and valuable factor.
C. Mormony California is MILES away from Mormony Utah. No offense to any of Sra’s Mormony friends or loved ones.
D. F@#% Berkley and the horse they ride away on. Those snobs would have been D@#% lucky to get you. No offense to any of Sra’s friends and loved ones that own horses.

Erin said...

Good luck! Smart not to make any decisions until you visit and get a feel for the place. I used to think I could live anywhere, but then I lived somewhere I just did not fit. Life's too short to spend multiple years feeling like a castaway.

tennessee mike said...

Sra, did you hear about this?

http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/22573.html

...read #3.

tauns said...

Okay - First Congrats (that is the positive). You now have a better grasp on where you want to be. Having to decide between 2 places is great. Less debt at anytime but especially now is awesome. Last but not least, both Portland and Sacramento are nice places. I love the rain, so obviously I love Portland. Sacramento has Yosemite national park and the HUGE redwoods not far away. Plus you can take a couple hour drive and be in San Fran (one of my favorite vacation destinations).

As for the Berkley stuff - let them be selective snobs and high tuitioneringness...not really sure of the word there but you get the drift (I hope)!

Claire said...

Good for you, lady, making lemon aid out of lemons. Whatever school you choose will be lucky to have you!

Dena said...

Debt, schmebt! I racked up $13,000 for a lawyer and what did I get out of the deal? A really AWESOME kid!

$15K = $200-250/mo for 60 months (roughly). That's what I pay for my car, Carmen Elantra.

Sra said...

B.R.: Yeah, that sounds like a good fit for me. What entices me the most is the opportunity for so much outdoor activity nearby. There's plenty of hiking, biking, camping, and even river rafting available. I'm an outdoor enthusiast, and I love my mountains, so that would be great.

Frank: Thanks! I'm confident I will do well, and I'm very excited to move forward. I don't fault Berkeley. They are a good school, and they get a lot of really well-qualified applications. It has a reputation for being one of the most difficult schools to get into.

Erin: I agree. I thought I was going to move to Boston after graduating college, though I'd never been there before. I ultimately decided to stay in Salt Lake for my then-beau, but visited Boston at the end of summer on a road trip. After having seen it, cool though it is, I think moving there would have been a mistake. Too humid and closed in for me.

Mike: Yes, I heard about that. I just checked it out in more detail to see if I should shoot off an application, but they require 3 letters of recommendation, and I only had 2 of my recommenders come through for me, so I'd have to deal with that. At this point, I don't want the hassle. Also, they are only taking 60 people and they want to be ranked 20th, which means they are probably going to shoot for people with 170+ LSATs and 3.8-4.0 GPAs. Cool for that inaugural class, though.

Claire: Thanks!

Dena: Yeah, I've never actually carried any substantial debt, so having any at all will be an adjustment, but $15,000 definitely sounds more palatable than $80,000-ish. So I'm actually kind of leaning that way today. But I flip back and forth all the time, so the visits are really going to be the thing that seals the deal for me.

jess said...

dammit, i thought you'd get into berkeley for sure. that's my "glass half full" bullshit, i guess.

i'd go where the scholarship money is. that's because i'm cheap.

and if it was me, i'd go to san diego, because that is one of my favorite places on earth. portland is pretty darn cool, though. :)

whatever you decide, at least you have options - and that is a good thing!

jess said...

dammit, i thought you'd get into berkeley for sure. that's my "glass half full" bullshit, i guess.

i'd go where the scholarship money is. that's because i'm cheap.

and if it was me, i'd go to san diego, because that is one of my favorite places on earth. portland is pretty darn cool, though. :)

whatever you decide, at least you have options - and that is a good thing!

Sra said...

B.R.: Yeah, that sounds like a good fit for me. What entices me the most is the opportunity for so much outdoor activity nearby. There's plenty of hiking, biking, camping, and even river rafting available. I'm an outdoor enthusiast, and I love my mountains, so that would be great.

Frank: Thanks! I'm confident I will do well, and I'm very excited to move forward. I don't fault Berkeley. They are a good school, and they get a lot of really well-qualified applications. It has a reputation for being one of the most difficult schools to get into.

Erin: I agree. I thought I was going to move to Boston after graduating college, though I'd never been there before. I ultimately decided to stay in Salt Lake for my then-beau, but visited Boston at the end of summer on a road trip. After having seen it, cool though it is, I think moving there would have been a mistake. Too humid and closed in for me.

Mike: Yes, I heard about that. I just checked it out in more detail to see if I should shoot off an application, but they require 3 letters of recommendation, and I only had 2 of my recommenders come through for me, so I'd have to deal with that. At this point, I don't want the hassle. Also, they are only taking 60 people and they want to be ranked 20th, which means they are probably going to shoot for people with 170+ LSATs and 3.8-4.0 GPAs. Cool for that inaugural class, though.

Claire: Thanks!

Dena: Yeah, I've never actually carried any substantial debt, so having any at all will be an adjustment, but $15,000 definitely sounds more palatable than $80,000-ish. So I'm actually kind of leaning that way today. But I flip back and forth all the time, so the visits are really going to be the thing that seals the deal for me.

tauns said...

Okay - First Congrats (that is the positive). You now have a better grasp on where you want to be. Having to decide between 2 places is great. Less debt at anytime but especially now is awesome. Last but not least, both Portland and Sacramento are nice places. I love the rain, so obviously I love Portland. Sacramento has Yosemite national park and the HUGE redwoods not far away. Plus you can take a couple hour drive and be in San Fran (one of my favorite vacation destinations).

As for the Berkley stuff - let them be selective snobs and high tuitioneringness...not really sure of the word there but you get the drift (I hope)!

Frank said...

For the analytical side of your brain.

A. You will do well in any school you choose and they will be lucky to get you.
B. Personal support from a loved one is the most important and valuable factor.
C. Mormony California is MILES away from Mormony Utah. No offense to any of Sra’s Mormony friends or loved ones.
D. F@#% Berkley and the horse they ride away on. Those snobs would have been D@#% lucky to get you. No offense to any of Sra’s friends and loved ones that own horses.

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