going to a mediocre state school because it's free -- how much will it hurt me?

<p>If I were to go to a mediocre state school because I can go for free yet I earn a stellar GPA and list of ECs, will it hurt me for law/grad school admissions?</p>

<p>Nope .</p>

<p>You have to remember that the posters on CC are not typical of the average college students. The people here tend to be higher income who can afford more prestigious schools. Many, many law school admits are from state college programs. Also, many undergrads with limited resources choose to attend less expensive undergrad programs so that they have money for more prestigious and expensive graduate schools. I think you would be smart to attend a state college for free, get very good grades, do some community service or other EC's, and then apply for law school. If you then do well on your LSATS, you should have just as good a chance at being admitted as students from other programs.</p>

<p>The main problem is that i sincerely doubt I'd be happy at this state school. The type of people who go are pretty much the opposite of who I am.</p>

<p>If many people go there, the odds are good that some will resemble you.</p>

<p>If you do intend to go on to law school you should save as much money as possible for that. Free is good. And you might be surprised. Some students go off to a college with the intent to transfer after a year and find they like it and have developed good friendships.</p>

<p>Look at the honors program. Every state school we have looked at has one. The honors programs at some schools like UT are so rigorous and selective that at least by the numbers it's as hard to get into as an Ivy. (taking in the lower single digits of all applicants - capped size)</p>

<p>For a less academically demanding school the honors will be also somewhat less demanding but will still have a more selective group of students and coursework that is probably more challenging. Some of them seem to have course alternatives that are not necessarily more challenging but are more interesting, more focused on fostering participation and being engaged in the class as opposed to snoozing through 13th grade.</p>

<p>If you are way above the average academic stat at the school I highly recommend you look at their honors college.</p>

<p>And it shouldn't hurt your chances at law school. It is true that the most important factor is going to be your Lsat.</p>

<p>And free is very very very good. Then you can afford law school. My brother, after graduating from Case Western 15 years ago, is just now paying off his law school loans and has the same debtload he went into law school with as an undergrad. </p>

<p>It's also true you will find some like yourself if it's a big school. As you get into higher level classes the blowoff kids who are just going to get mom and dad off their back will be weeded out and go back home anyway and it will be mostly people who are truly focused on getting an education, the higher up you get.</p>

<p>I doubt that you will be the only intelligent, motivated person there. You will find your peers in the Honors program, at scholarship events, etc. Not all the friends that you have in life need to share the same academic goals. It is possible that those you meet at this college will still help make you a better person and a better lawyer, because you will have lived in a more diverse environment.</p>

<p>Define "mediocre state school." For some on here that's ANY state school or, at best, any outside of the Berkeley--U of M--UVA triumvirate. Some would say anything out of the top 20 public flagships, while others believe there is little difference between Michigan and Western Michigan (the "it's all what YOU make of it crowd).</p>

<p>Secondly, law schools DO pay attention to your undergraduate college, and they do have preferred "feeder" schools. If the last two spots in Yale's class came down to three students from Ohio with similar stats--one from Kenyon, one from Ohio State and one from Bowling Green--and the Bowling Green student does not have a compelling socio-economic story to tell (race, first generation college student, orphan who worked his way through college)--I can guarantee which of the three is getting a thin envelope.</p>

<p>I chose the free path too(books,tuition,meals everything).Double majored in math&CS.Now as a rising junior with a 3.94/4 GPA,am wondering if its really worth it.I never found a peer</p>

<p>Some statistics have shown that, in general, which school you go to is not going to make a difference on your future income. A similarly motivated and talented person can go to either Harvard or an average state school and is likely to earn just as much. Considering this, you should consider whether spending two hundred thousand dollars on your college education is worth it. Also, a state school being a state school, there are usually a lot of opportunities for talented students - as some have mentioned, you can try for the honor programs, which will be recognized by law schools.</p>

<p>We still don't know exactly what kind of state school you're talking about though, so it's difficult to make an absolute judgment.</p>

<p>If the OP is worried about the mediocrity of the undergraduate program, you might work extra hard at finding interesting summer employment/programs that will highlight your interests and strengths. The school you plan to attend can also tell you where its graduates go to law/grad school. </p>

<p>Herunar is right. Students who could go to the top 20 schools will do just as well in life if they choose to follow the scholarship dollars.</p>

<p>wildflowerwaltz,</p>

<p>Much of what you get out of a college education anywhere is strongly dependent upon what you, yourself, put into it.</p>

<p>Yes, there is a difference between going to a top-notch, highly selective college versus a directional state university. Bright and talented classmates will allow faculty to teach courses that move at a faster rate and go deeper into the material. But that doesn't mean the only way you can challenge yourself is by going to an expensive, but higher rated university.</p>

<p>Being at a large, public college much farther down the ratings requires a top student to be very pro-active if they want a challenging, interesting, and fulfilling undergraduate career. But it can be done and is done by many, many students. If you wind up at the "medicore state school" you will want to look for an honors program (and seek out the students in such a program). But you'll also want and need to be willing to proactively approach professors about doing independent study courses and undergraduate research opportunities. Take advantage of the opportunities that do exist and find professors who are willing (and often eager) to work with you at the level you are capable of working at, and in the end, you should find that the name of the college on your diploma is less important than how that college actually changed you as a person.</p>

<p>In a perfect world you'd know about all the opportunities available to you, have instant knowledge of who the other motivated and bright kids are to study with, etc. We don't live in that world. A lot of what people end up doing they find out by seeing what others around them are doing, they learn about interesting programs by talking with friends who know about internships and other possibilities for getting involved, they study with the people they get to know in their classes who are sitting by them or who live in their dorm, etc. In other words serendipity place a big role in the college experience, bigger than most people allow for. And the worlds of a top school and mediocre U are different.</p>

<p>I agree.one has to be proactive to get an education.am in the Honors college,and there is nothing spectacular.My state school is smwhere in the south</p>

<p>isnt grad school in arts and sciences going to be different from law school? IIUC law school is more about grades and tests than admissions to other grad schools. Arts and science the chance to do research with a known prof will be important, which can happen at some state schools, but maybe not the "mediocre" ones? What kinds of grad schools other than law might you be thinking about? MBA? MPA?</p>

<p>I think what matters is not the overall quality of the school, but the quality of your major. If the school is mediocre, but your major has the classes, resources, and internships you need, you will end up having an okay experience. With most state schools I am aquainted with, the overall academics aren't the strongest, but there are 2-3 majors that that are excellent. If your major is one of them, it might work out. I would check to find some statistics about what percentage of people from your college who apply to grad school and get accepted. Maybe interview a professor from your intended major as well--I just did that for a university that I was having my doubts about, and it helped me see if the academics were rigorous enough for me. Perhaps look into studying abroad if you go to the state school--you could have a chance to attend a more prestigious institution for a semester or even a year, and you might find that to be an enriching experience.</p>