WM vs. U. of Delaware

<p>My son was recently accepted off the waitlist of WM (one of his top choices) and would love to attend. He wants to go to law school eventually and feels that WM will prepare him well to get into a top ten law program (he is well aware that he has to do his part- GPA, LSAT's, etc). His concern is financial. Our state school, the University of Delaware, has offered him a free ride and he would be in their honors program, but it was his safety, is much larger than WM, and does not carry the prestige of WM he feels could be helpful down the road. On the other hand, WM has offered 6K in Federal Aid only and he would have to take out about 10K in loans each year (40K T) in order to attend. </p>

<p>He already turned down another top school which was more expensive than WM because of the undergraduate debt load he would have had to take on. Although he reallly wants to go to WM and knows that it is a good fit, is 40K just too much undergrad debt to carry with law school still to come?</p>

<p>40K in loans is a lot to start out with, especially if he wants to go to law school, which will be expensive and generally comes with less financial aid. Perhaps he should try the Delaware honors programs for a year.</p>

<p>Jillysmom, Don't forget that T/R/B costs are escalating each year at a rate of appox. 8-10%. I don't foresee that changing while he is a student there. In fact, if the state of VA doesn't get its act together and start supporting higher education with more state funding, these schools may be forced to increase the students' costs even more. I'm with fiddle on this, stay in state, save his $, do great academically at U of D and then he can come on down to WM for law school.</p>

<p>I agree with the other posters here. Though I'm a huge W & M fan, I'm also a fan of avoiding undergrad debt when major grad school debt is in the picture. UDel is an excellent school. If your son's LSATs and GPA are top-notch, his chances at admission to top law schools won't be hurt by attending a well-regarded state flagship. </p>

<p>I poked around on the UDel website a bit, looking for info on law school admissions, but didn't find a list of schools where grads have recently been accepted. It's probably in there somewhere, though! Each year when some top law schools publish a profile of admitted students, they seem to come from everywhere, including many state flagships. Best of luck to your son!</p>

<p>A good friend's son is graduating from UDel Honors College this year -- he has had a wonderful experience there. Unlike lots of 'honors programs' from what I understand this is really a separate college w/in the University -- small classes, personal attention from the profs - he's gone on fully funded, study abroad trips w/his profs over the interim breaks, has been accepted to top tier grad school for his profession. </p>

<p>There was an article in the NYTimes (quite a while ago) about UDel honors college - maybe you can google and get some more info.</p>

<p>FWIW I think others have pointed out that W&M does have a wonderful reputation but it is a state school & like all state schools probably facing budget cuts etc. When we visited my D asked and was told that most classes your first 2 years (aside from a seminar) are large - over 100 kids). Not what she was looking for and I think you might have a different experience at UDel.</p>

<p>Plus - it's a free ride!!</p>

<p>Both places can get him on the path to law school. Like, say,
Leonard</a> P. Stark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Is he looking for a smaller school?</p>

<p>
[quote]
When we visited my D asked and was told that most classes your first 2 years (aside from a seminar) are large - over 100 kids).

[/quote]
Just reporting on d3's recent experience in her first two years at W & M - aside from the intro courses she's taken to fulfill GERs (Chem and Psych), most of her classes have been less than 35 students, and several have been in the 20-25 range. She's a history major, and the trick is getting into the history classes you want.</p>

<p>Btw, all of her teachers have been professors. In the intro classes, there have been sections led by grad students, but the lectures have been done by professors. The chem prof especially was available and very connected to his students.</p>

<p>Thank you for the good insight. We see 40K as the worst possible senario, but it is one he has to consider. Also, if we don't spend the money on his undergrad tuition (if he attends UD) then he knows he has the help coming for law school.</p>

<p>While UD is an excellent school with graduates who have landed prestegious scholarships and have been accepted at impressive graduate/law/medical schools, it is practically in our back yard and he was looking for the opportunity to go away to school. William and Mary is a school he has always wanted, has a public policy program that he desires and is the size that he prefers. Delaware is nearly three times the size of William and Mary, although the Honors College should lend itself to some smaller classes and interactions with the professors. I transferred my sophomore year out of UD to a smaller college because it seemed too big for me, but what was right for me isnt necessarily right for him.</p>

<p>It has been a lot to think about and objective opinions are very useful especially since we have been practically submerged in the college process these past months.</p>

<p>I echo Frazzled1's sentiments. I hate to see W&M lose a qualified student, but if your son's ultimate goal is to attend law school, then his LSAT and GPA are going to be far more important than the name of his undergraduate institution. In my experience, law school admissions are much less holistic than the undergrad process. My evidence is anecdotal: I went to W&M, had a good GPA and good LSAT score, and got into good law schools. My brother attended our home state's flagship school, had an excellent GPA and excellent LSAT score, and got into excellent law schools (top 20). Those schools were also very, very expensive, so it was a good thing he had no undergraduate debt. </p>

<p>But, if I may ask, how much of this decision is his? If he decided that the debt was worth it ("it" being whatever unquantifiable benefits that going to W&M would confer to him), would you be on board, or, since you'd then be on the hook for a significant amount, too, would you talk him out of it? If he went to UD, would he be able to overcome the feeling that he's settling? Although I think we too often mythologize the college experience, giving it more credit in shaping lives or finding happiness than it may be due, to select a college based solely on professional expediency seems a bit reductive, and as you mentioned, your son really wants to go to W&M and knows it would be a good fit. And in four years, he may have an entirely different set of post-graduate plans.</p>

<p>Financially, objectively, I think staying in-state is a no-brainer. When it comes to the squishy, qualitative factors, it may not be so cut and dry. My brother, along with many of my high school friends, stayed home, did the honors program at our state university, and they all ended up happy, socialized, and holding diplomas from prestigious graduate programs. But unlike your son, they didn't care about leaving home. When I was in your son's shoes, you couldn't put a price on that, so I completely empathize with his dilemma.</p>

<p>Is there an amount of debt that you and he would consider acceptable? What if W&M could come up with, say, another $4000 (or whatever) each year? If you haven't already, it probably wouldn't hurt to call up the school and say something to the effect of, if you can find this much more aid, we'll send the deposit right now, and if you can't, we're going with UD and take us off the wait list. It's a hard bargain, but worth a shot if you're ready to walk away. </p>

<p>Best of luck with the decision. Whatever the verdict, I hope its significance diminishes with time.</p>

<p>I adore William and Mary--beautiful, charming, wonderful school. But do NOT let your kid take out $40,000 in loans!! Especially for grad school. I have a number of friends who are laid-off lawyers, and other friends who HATE being lawyers. If he's got seven years ahead of education in front of him, he will have a very impaired future. If you can pay more money for him (so that he can take out the amount of the Stafford loan--$25,000ish), then maybe that's reasonable, but if you can't, then really don't let him harm himself financially in this way. UDel for free--that's fantastic@</p>

<p>College is about education, experiences, peer group, challenges. It shouldnt be vo-tech training. Ridiculous amount of kids who enters college are either pre-law or pre med. That is no guarantee thats where they will end up. Einstein said "Not everything that counts can be counted." If you take out a loan for cars/homes, I believe a life-enhancing education is a good value. Also, there is nothing wrong waiting tables in college. A kid can make a lot of cash in W'burg. </p>

<p>Just another thought. Decide what is best for your child and it will be all right. But I wouldnt discount the idea that it would be worth the money. W&M is a special place. Good luck.</p>

<p>
[quote]
When we visited my D asked and was told that most classes your first 2 years (aside from a seminar) are large - over 100 kids). Not what she was looking for and I think you might have a different experience at UDel.

[/quote]

Weird. I only had 3 large classes my Freshman and Sophomore years.</p>

<p>And that is a tough situation. Some students take out much more than that, yet they likely didn't have a free ride waiting in the wings. Top 10 Law schools give Fin Aid to about 80% (from my guesstimations) of students attending, but at 50k a year for most its still a lot of money.</p>

<p>40K is a huge amount of money to owe after college. I would go to UD. If it is not to his liking, he can always transfer after freshman or sophomore year. I would impress upon your son that a free ride is awesome and he should be thrilled!</p>

<p>Certainly a difficult question for any family to tackle.</p>

<p>To reply to several posts, only 3% of W&M classes have more than 100 students. 40% have fewer than 20 and 86% have fewer than 40 so it's rare to have large class enrollments at W&M and generally most courses outside of introductory psych, economics, and the hard sciences, classes are manageable if not small and every freshman takes a freshman seminar (capped at 15 students).</p>

<p>W&M certainly has a great reputation among law schools and our students are admitted to law schools at rates 15-20% higher than the national average. Our pre-law advisor, Professor Nemacheck is a fantastic asset and may be someone you should contact before making a final decision.</p>

<p>$40K is certainly a substantial amount to take out for one's college education but the question is about what your son values. It sounds like W&M is maybe the better/more desired fit and the question is it is enough value-added to go to W&M to compensate for the difference in cost and that's of course a decision only your family can make.</p>

<p>We wish you the best of luck.</p>

<p>pierre0913 posted this great article on student debt in the parents forum. Thought it may be a good addition/read, in particular for this post:</p>

<p>The</a> Education Bubble, Part 1: Sticker-Shock Debt Becomes An ‘Overwhelming’ Burden | WBUR</p>

<p>The</a> Education Bubble, Part 2: Stricter Institutional Advisement Could Keep Loan Levels Down | WBUR</p>

<p>I'm a huge W&M fan and an alum. However, $40k in debt, with law school still to go, is too much. There is nothing about UDEL to hinder a law school admission. Law schools pay very little attention to the undergrad school. I would also add that the GPA may be higher from UDEL than W&M.</p>