Cornell or UCLA?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which school should I choose?

Poll ended at Tue May 25, 2010 12:47 am

UCLA
15
29%
Cornell
36
71%
 
Total votes: 51

undeclared
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:41 am

Cornell or UCLA?

Postby undeclared » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:47 am

I was hoping for some input as I decide on Cornell or UCLA. (Ignoring my million waitlists for now) I have been offered loans only to both schools.

I will be visiting the two schools soon, but since the first deposit for Cornell is due before I even go to UCLA, I thought it would be helpful to listen to some insight from others. I found some past posts helpful but after speaking to people at a UCLA event, I've been torn.
(At the event a Cornell undergrad, UCLA law grad very bluntly said there was no point on going to cornell if ucla offered the same with better weather. I realize his bias but he makes a good point)

Please keep in mind I would be paying sticker to both schools and do not know where I want to work after. (Most likely SF, NYC, or DC but not LA) Also I am strongly considering a clerkship, then a career in public interest. I'm also curious what people think about the strength of the alumni networks

Thanks for your thoughts!

Cornell
Pros:
- Strong community feel, although my cornell alum friend warned me it could also feel too small since everyone knows everyone's business
- Reputation/Job prospects (?): It is slightly higher ranked and slightly more prestigious because its an Ivy, but I wonder how real that difference is. (Talking to some HYS grads/friends, they dont think Cornell and UCLA differ materially, would have to jump to T10 for it to matter) I also think of Cornell as being a more "national" school
-Private school funding/facilities: I went to an excellent public undergrad but the facilities were older, and tuition increases were a constant concern.
-Location: Mostly a negative as a city girl, but I won't need a car and I do like outdoorsy activities

Cons:
-Weather: I've been warned. Currently live in NYC and have been told how much worse Ithaca is, esp for someone who grew up on the beach. On the bright side maybe it would force me to study.
-Location: While I'm happy with the east coast (have lived in CA too), I've always been within an hour or so of a big city and I'm slightly concerned about the isolation. (My alum friend is pushing Cornell, yet spent 3L abroad to escape Ithaca) It is expensive and far to get out to visit family/friends.
-Cost: More expensive, paying sticker
-PI: Doesn't seem to a strong point here


UCLA:

Pros:
-Tuition: Slightly cheaper. I can get in-state after a year. I know tuition is rising but that should save at least $20k. (not much in the long run but something)
-Public Interest career: I didn't apply to the program because I wouldn't qualify but the existence of the program may make it easier to find opportunities and like-minded students
-Weather: It would be nice to pack away my winter coats. I dont mind NYC weather but Ithaca would be a whole different level.
-Food: Sounds silly but I'm a huge foodie and after living in SF and NY it would be hard to live somewhere without great ethnic food. (Although, it could be distracting and expensive)
-Family/friends: I have f/f in LA, and my parents want to move to LA. This is a really marginal pro, could be a con in some ways.

Cons:

-Culture: I loved living in the bay area but was never a big fan of LA. I understand it is stereotypes and will keep an open mind at ASD but I almost didn't apply for that reason.
-Driving and traffic: I'm a terrible driver and prone to road rage. I have never owned a car and the one time I drove in LA was a confusing mess
-Public school: as mentioned before, I have concerns about the CA economy and state of the UC's. My undergrad is taking a lot of hits to reputation due to the economy and I think UCLA will too.
I am a little worried about the effect this will have on the long term value of my law degree.
-More regional reputation: I have the sense (perhaps untrue) that UCLA's academic reputation outside of CA is weaker, and I do not want to live in LA after
-LRAP: Looks like UCLA is doing away with LRAP and all students will have to do IBR.

woeisme
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:39 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby woeisme » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:09 am

undeclared wrote:I was hoping for some input as I decide on Cornell or UCLA. (Ignoring my million waitlists for now) I have been offered loans only to both schools.

I will be visiting the two schools soon, but since the first deposit for Cornell is due before I even go to UCLA, I thought it would be helpful to listen to some insight from others. I found some past posts helpful but after speaking to people at a UCLA event, I've been torn.
(At the event a Cornell undergrad, UCLA law grad very bluntly said there was no point on going to cornell if ucla offered the same with better weather. I realize his bias but he makes a good point)

Please keep in mind I would be paying sticker to both schools and do not know where I want to work after. (Most likely SF, NYC, or DC but not LA) Also I am strongly considering a clerkship, then a career in public interest. I'm also curious what people think about the strength of the alumni networks


For God's sake, go to Cornell!

ETA: I guess such a short response isn't fair. But you really should pick Cornell here for a few reasons, I think. First, you just said you didn't want to be in LA and I really believe that that's the only place where UCLA will better serve you. You'd just be putting yourself at a bit of a disservice by going to UCLA over Cornell, unless you for some reason felt you'd end up doing better at UCLA. But this is particularly true given the current economy. Cornell is more prestigious and also quite a bit smaller. Your resume will stand out more. Second, the weather up here really isn't that bad and it also baffles me how much people freak out about it. I'd compare the winters here to the winters in Chicago (to be honest, they're probably a little more tolerable here). I'd say they're slightly more intense than the winters in NYC, but it's not that big of a difference. And, when it's at its coldest, we're on winter break.
Last edited by woeisme on Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

de5igual
Posts: 1463
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:52 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby de5igual » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:11 am

if you have no interest in staying on the west coast, cornell is a no-brainer...especially at same/similar cost

undeclared
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:41 am

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby undeclared » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:34 am

Thanks for the input! At this point I'm very 50/50 so the ASD's will be very crucial.

Note that I am strongly considering the Bay Area to live in afterwards so west coast is a possibility. Also i don't hate LA ...I actually enjoy visiting LA, but don't see myself settling down there. According to biased UCLA grads, this is a pro because almost everyone else will be competing to stay in LA, while Cornell grads compete with all the other higher ranked northeastern schools.

woeisme
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:39 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby woeisme » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:43 am

undeclared wrote:Thanks for the input! At this point I'm very 50/50 so the ASD's will be very crucial.

Note that I am strongly considering the Bay Area to live in afterwards so west coast is a possibility. Also i don't hate LA ...I actually enjoy visiting LA, but don't see myself settling down there. According to biased UCLA grads, this is a pro because almost everyone else will be competing to stay in LA, while Cornell grads compete with all the other higher ranked northeastern schools.


Do you have ties to the Bay Area? If so, I'm pretty sure that Cornell is just as good (likely better, even) than UCLA. And Cornell is definitely better, with or without ties, for anything outside of California. Hence my rather adamant position that this is one of those obvious choices.

undeclared
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:41 am

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby undeclared » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:39 am

Well I used to live in the Bay Area so I have a handful of friends still out there

undeclared
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:41 am

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby undeclared » Wed May 05, 2010 8:56 pm

bumping this because after choosing cornell I have now received $ from UCLA. That with eventual in-state would basically result in 1 year of law school free. Also, I could be wrong but after re-examining the LRAPS UCLA's looks better...although its a small amount.

Should I follow the money? I did prefer Cornell overall but given the minor difference in ranking I think it might be worth it

User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Posts: 557
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed May 05, 2010 9:05 pm

undeclared wrote:bumping this because after choosing cornell I have now received $ from UCLA. That with eventual in-state would basically result in 1 year of law school free. Also, I could be wrong but after re-examining the LRAPS UCLA's looks better...although its a small amount.

Should I follow the money? I did prefer Cornell overall but given the minor difference in ranking I think it might be worth it


There isn't much difference between the two. However, Cornell>UCLA.
It depends on how much debt you don't mind being in after law school..you might want to talk to the Cornell financial aid office about this UCLA offer and see what they can do.

woeisme
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:39 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby woeisme » Thu May 06, 2010 12:39 am

undeclared wrote:bumping this because after choosing cornell I have now received $ from UCLA. That with eventual in-state would basically result in 1 year of law school free. Also, I could be wrong but after re-examining the LRAPS UCLA's looks better...although its a small amount.

Should I follow the money? I did prefer Cornell overall but given the minor difference in ranking I think it might be worth it


I think it's personal preference. I'd pick Cornell, but I can see the argument for why one would pick UCLA. Have you tried to leverage at all with Cornell? It's worth a shot.

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apper123
Posts: 985
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:50 pm

Re: Cornell or UCLA?

Postby apper123 » Thu May 06, 2010 4:18 am

As the above posters have noted, it's a close decision, but considering things as you laid them out, Cornell has an edge. Everything else seems even and the only difference is ranking/prestige. Cornell is ranked higher and is a national school. UCLA is borderline, but is not a national school. Not right now anyways. And just slipping past GULC in the US News (which is pretty unlikely IMO) ranks isn't gunna make them a national school overnight. People on this board will go nuts over it, but it won't really mean anything in the short run. GULC is a T14 because it's a national school; it's not a national school because it's a T14 (at least that's my opinion).

Look at these two situations:

1. You attend UCLA and decide you want to work in NY.
2. You attend Cornell and decide you want to work in LA.

Both possibly could succeed, but #2 is more likely to succeed. My thought whenever it comes down to a T14 vs. a T20ish school and all else is equal is take the national portability. People change their minds and preferences, so leave yourself room to change yours.




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