Does undergraduate prestige matter

Hi! I am a senior in highschool planning to eventually go to law school (its been my dream since I was 8, a lot of family is in law, and I don’t see myself doing anything else), I am debating between two main options: Uchicago (but I will have to take out 100k in loans to go) versus a state school ranked around 150 where I recieved a full ride. Is the prestige of Uchicago worth it insofar that it will help me with law school admissions enough where I should take out 100k in loans to go their? Or should I save the money for grad school? Thanks.

You should save the money for law school


No, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like undergrad admissions, basically a numbers game actually. Save your money, get a high GPA and LSAT, then go to a nice law school and take out debt if you choose.

Where you get your graduate degree is far more important than your undergrad, at that point nobody is really going to care where you went for undergrad.

Just my two cents, I’m not an expert by any means but am considering law school. I have a full ride at a moderately selective school but then also got into Notre Dame where I would have a decent amount of debt––not worth the cost of a house. So I would suggest saving the money.

Lawyer here—agreed, save the money for law school, where prestige matters more, depending on what kind of law you want to practice. Build a great undergrad transcript, read lots and study hard.


Here is the difference the way I see it, if you go to UChicago and get a 4.0 you will get into a top law school and most definitely UChicago Law school. If you go to your state school and get a 4.0 you might get into a top law school based on a number of factors. Top law schools take students from there own undergrad schools at a much greater rate. Still save your money and take your chances at the state school. Odds aren’t great you would graduate from UChicago with a 3.8 or better anyway and you may change your mind about being a lawyer.


Yes, the prestige of U Chicago will matter for law school admissions and even during your career as a lawyer. Given your situation, however, you should probably lean toward your state school option unless there is a 3rd choice not being mentioned in the post.

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Thinking State school ranked around 150 full ride, Is it Alabama?
How sure are you on Law school?
If not Law then a Masters or if not law enter the workforce?
Were there any other choices say somewhere in between cost wise?

Undergrad really doesn’t matter to much on Prestige So save the money but make sure you are really set on being a Lawyer or in 4 years you may regret not going to UC

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I’m 90 percent sure I plan to go to graduate school – I skipped grades so I will be starting college at 15 and graduate school is very likely in my plans as I don’t really want to start working at 18. The other aspect is that the state school will accept all my dual enrollment credits (which I have 61) making my degree very flexible and allowing me to double or even triple major.

Wrong. It would only matter if OP had a very similar GPA to someone from a lesser ranked school, all else considered equal.

Undergrad school does not matter in law school admission. Law schools care about their median accepted LSAT and GPA because that’s what affects their ranking.

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The bigger issue is that you will be three years younger than your classmates. ABSOLUTELY go with the full ride at the state school option. Honestly, and I know you are not gonna want to hear this, there’s a lot of risk involved for you in going to college so early. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go - you absolutely should! But there is a risk of the social and academic stresses at college leading to a bump in the road for you. So take the full ride, plan on taking a junior year abroad at age 18 (or something like that) to round out your undergrad education, do it in the lower stress, no-cost environment of that state school. I’m hoping that it’s located closer to home, too, so that you can go home for visits if you feel the need.

But even if you weren’t 15, I’d say take the full ride. You’re a superstar. You’re gonna get a 4.0 and have a fantastic LSAT score, plus you’ll probably do thing in undergrad to distinguish yourself. You’ll wind up at a top law school anyway, and without 100K in debt before you even start.


You seem super knowledgeable on the subject. What did you find when you looked at the top 10 law schools and who graduated in the last 5 years? Were there more people who come from mid-level state colleges or top ranked undergrads?

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There are more people from top ranked undergrads. However, that’s because the quality of applicant accepted at top 14 schools is naturally a better student. They have a high LSAT and GPA. Almost anyone who is intelligent and competent enough to receive a full ride at a lesser ranked school yet still be accepted to an elite one has the potential and likelihood of scoring high on the LSAT and securing a high GPA––they’re a more academically minded student.

Most of the people applying from the lower state schools don’t have the crazy high test scores or good prelaw advising like someone who went to an elite school. Not to mention a lot of students at elite schools are more familiar with the process and have access to consultants and family members who are lawyers…much more money.

Also, in OP’s case, UChicago has grade deflation.

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I’m assuming that @secretslytherin and @michaeluwill will either agree to disagree or will take it to PM.


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Love you know where I am going before I go there. No problem at all.

Am I the only one somewhat troubled about the fact that we are advising a 14 year old about a college choice?

IMO the best decision would be to wait on college, learn more, and experience life. In the current times, there are no advantages to skip grades, graduate early and start careers early. Those lost years hurt people in so many ways.

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Totally agree with what you said, but OP is actually a high school senior! So 17-18 years old.

@secretslytherin how do you know he is not telling the truth?

If you have to take $100k in loans for undergraduate, would you be able to afford even more loans for law school?

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