Smart Tactical Move?

<p>With cost of a law degree nowadays I was wondering if it would be prudent to consider attending a school like Howard University? Looking at their stats, my GPA is already outside their 75th percentile, and I'm sure my LSAT can hit their 75th also. With those kind of numbers I could probably get some merit aid, to asborb some of the cost, plus the school is under 30k a year right now which would save me a lot of cash. Not to mention I'd probably be in the top 10% of the class based on the predictors. And their median salary is $105,000 for the private arena. They also seem to have pretty decent recruitment. The only two real pitfalls is the name and rankings, also "only" 86% of the grads find work after graduation. I was looking at schools like Emory and Notre Dame where I'd be a reach to get accepted no merit aid, the tuition is considerably higher Emory is 44k, and UND is in the middle price wise at about 35k. I probably won't get any merit aid, if I got accepted into these schools, and I'd be competing against some slightly brighter kids. Emory and Notre Dame have better name recognition, a higher bar passage rate, and a employment rate near 99% after 9 months. But they have a lower starting salary 93k-95k, and I'd owe over 120k atleast where I'd probably owe a fraction of that at Howard. So would it be smarter to just go to Howard? Also Howard students pass the bar at a horrible clip something like 52%. in D.C 75% in NY.</p>

<li><p>Never, ever assume that, just because you're going to a school that gives you merit money, you will do well. Yes, you are competing with slightly more intelligent people at better schools, but, reality is that everyone has the same courses. Intelligence is also a very mediocre proxy for who does well in law school. A lot of people may have done really well in college but simply do not "get" how the law works. </p></li>
<li><p>Do not compre overall salary with median private sector salary. If only 50% of the grads work in the private sector, you really shouldn't assume that you'll be making six figures. Pick up US News, flip to the back, and find out where Emory grads work and where Howard grads work.</p></li>
<li><p>Where do you want to work? The three schools you mentioned will give you radically different job opportunities, geographically. </p></li>
<li><p>I know that I'll be attacked for this, but going to Howard won't confer upon you the advantage that a lot of Howard students have, which is being black. Law firms do practice affirmative action.<br>
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<li><p>I usually really encourage people to find ways to reduce their debt. I'm worried because you seem to be doing this for the wrong reasons, or using bad assumptions. </p></li>
<li><p>Compare bar passage rates among the same jurisdictions. NY is notoriously difficult (CA, NY, and VA are considered to be the hardest); DC has an overall bar passage rate of about 49%. (Note that this bar passage rate is much higher for first-time test takers - about 73% - I think that many people take the DC bar after failing another bar exam.) </p></li>

<p>Please, compare apples to apples. Also, do out the math. Howard will cost you $100,000/year, without merit, once you're done paying room and board and all that. Notre Dame would probably cost about $150,000. Are the increased job opportunities worth $50,000? Probably. Remember, compare average starting salaries across the board. Also, a lot of good students from top schools clerk; they bring down the average starting salary. However, after their clerkships, they often make a very nice salary.</p>