Harvard or Yale?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
jamesieee
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:14 pm

Harvard or Yale?

Postby jamesieee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:54 pm

I know this is the nth incarnation of this topic, but I neeeeed some new voices in my head.

I'm fortunate enough to be in the enviable position of choosing between the two schools in the subject of this thread. I'm leaning toward Harvard, for several reasons:

1) The name. I may want to pursue non-law and/or international careers, and the general consensus seems to be that the H-bomb goes much farther in those circles.

2) The size. I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do or how to get there, so I feel that I would have more choices at HLS. I'm also tempted by the simple fact that there will be three times as many people to meet and a huge alumni network to tap into.

3) The other schools, namely business. I would love to take a class or two at HBS just to meet the future Michael Bloomberg or Mitt Romney.

BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

Thoughts? Perspectives? First-person narratives? Entreaties to STFU and GTFO?

User avatar
Unitas
Posts: 1387
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:03 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby Unitas » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:56 pm

jamesieee wrote:I know this is the nth incarnation of this topic, but I neeeeed some new voices in my head.

I'm fortunate enough to be in the enviable position of choosing between the two schools in the subject of this thread. I'm leaning toward Harvard, for several reasons:

1) The name. I may want to pursue non-law and/or international careers, and the general consensus seems to be that the H-bomb goes much farther in those circles.

2) The size. I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do or how to get there, so I feel that I would have more choices at HLS. I'm also tempted by the simple fact that there will be three times as many people to meet and a huge alumni network to tap into.

3) The other schools, namely business. I would love to take a class or two at HBS just to meet the future Michael Bloomberg or Mitt Romney.

BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

Thoughts? Perspectives? First-person narratives? Entreaties to STFU and GTFO?


Yale doesn't grade. No pressure and you will get a great job in law if you want it.
Harvard is great too... But lots of pressure.

hellokitty
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:43 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby hellokitty » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:58 pm

Personally, I would go to Yale. Harvard is a really prestigious school and the name carries a lot of weight, but I don't think I could pass up on the #1 law school in the country, minus the pressure of grades.

APimpNamedSlickback
Posts: 1126
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:33 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:58 pm

jamesieee wrote:I know this is the nth incarnation of this topic, but I neeeeed some new voices in my head.

I'm fortunate enough to be in the enviable position of choosing between the two schools in the subject of this thread. I'm leaning toward Harvard, for several reasons:

1) The name. I may want to pursue non-law and/or international careers, and the general consensus seems to be that the H-bomb goes much farther in those circles.

2) The size. I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do or how to get there, so I feel that I would have more choices at HLS. I'm also tempted by the simple fact that there will be three times as many people to meet and a huge alumni network to tap into.

3) The other schools, namely business. I would love to take a class or two at HBS just to meet the future Michael Bloomberg or Mitt Romney.

BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

Thoughts? Perspectives? First-person narratives? Entreaties to STFU and GTFO?



oh, hi me!

although i wasn't lucky enough to have had to choose between the two, your reasoning is what would have ultimately made me pick harvard had such been the case.

however, if you've got any interest in pursuing a clerkship or a career in academia, turning down yale would in fact be pretty dumb

lawyering
Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:27 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby lawyering » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:00 pm

harvard. based on your post i'd say you'll fit in better there. and HBS is certainly the better business school.

APimpNamedSlickback
Posts: 1126
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:33 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:04 pm

actually, perhaps i conceded a bit much by declaring yale to be the categorically better choice for those seeking prestigious clerkships and academia?

maybe someone with a better sense for the opportunities at each school can weigh in.

User avatar
Nom Sawyer
Posts: 933
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:28 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby Nom Sawyer » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:05 pm

jamesieee wrote:I know this is the nth incarnation of this topic, but I neeeeed some new voices in my head.

I'm fortunate enough to be in the enviable position of choosing between the two schools in the subject of this thread. I'm leaning toward Harvard, for several reasons:

1) The name. I may want to pursue non-law and/or international careers, and the general consensus seems to be that the H-bomb goes much farther in those circles.

2) The size. I don't have a strong idea of what I want to do or how to get there, so I feel that I would have more choices at HLS. I'm also tempted by the simple fact that there will be three times as many people to meet and a huge alumni network to tap into.

3) The other schools, namely business. I would love to take a class or two at HBS just to meet the future Michael Bloomberg or Mitt Romney.

BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

Thoughts? Perspectives? First-person narratives? Entreaties to STFU and GTFO?


Comes down to what's more important for you between these two:

1) Harvard's name/size is greater for International opportunities and non-law careers. If you think you might want to go abroad eventually or expand outside of Law, Harvard might be the better choice. Also, if you know you want to have a larger class, more interaction with outside opportunities (Kennedy School, HBS, etc.) Harvard has a great edge in this area. These reasons are what made me pick Harvard (decided not to apply to Yale after getting in to H)

2) If you want Academia, then go to Yale. Definitely seems easier that way. As for clerkships, depends on how much you want them, available from both H or Y, but still easier coming from Y.

As for grades, I'd think the new grading system makes it a lot closer. Yale is definitely still more relaxed, but they are only ungraded the 1st semester. Feels like the 2nd semester of Y is equivalent grading scale to both semesters at H.

User avatar
dutchstriker
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:15 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby dutchstriker » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:20 pm

You should definitely go to Harvard. Sounds like that's where you want to be and where your interests and future goals are best served.

User avatar
DoubleChecks
Posts: 2333
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:24 pm

jamesieee wrote:BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

Thoughts? Perspectives? First-person narratives? Entreaties to STFU and GTFO?


i think Freud would say you're stuck in the phallic stage haha

id say pick yale; your reasons dont seem strong enough to turn down #1

or go to HLS and meet me; i like the way you think :wink:

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby GeePee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:33 pm

jamesieee wrote:BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

OTOH, if you're looking for the ultimate clerkship, 5 out of the current 8 justices attended Harvard (4 graduated), and the likely next justice, Elena Kagan attended HLS and served as Dean for 5 years.

Just food for thought. I'm not sure how much of a gunner you are.

Zara
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:37 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby Zara » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:34 pm

harvard places really well in academia and clerkships. Yale might place slightly better in these areas, but I think a good deal of that is self-selection. So don't let a clerkship determine your choice because at either school you'll be able to get a prestigious clerkship if that's what you want. Given your other possible interests (which seem to be stronger than an interest in academia or clerkships) HLS seems like the better choice.

IowaGirl
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:28 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby IowaGirl » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:39 pm

OP, I was in your position last year and ended up picking Harvard. (And the law school gods have yet to smite me for doing so.)

You are actually identifying a lot of the same reasons I had for picking Harvard. Size, flexibility of the degree, better opportunities to cross register (For me, the Kennedy School of Government was just a bigger selling point than the Yale School of Forestry.)

Both are amazing options though. A lot of it comes down to what your preferences are in a school. Do you want a big school or a small school? Do you know you want to focus on an area where one of the schools excels? How important is it to you to maximize how flexible your degree is in areas outside the law? How important is the location of the law school (i.e. being in a smaller town versus proximity to a big city)?

Another question: have you visited? A big factor in my decision was that Harvard just felt right as soon as I got there, and, no matter how hard I tried, I never got that feeling at Yale.

I hope that helps. Good luck with the decision. And feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

User avatar
BioEBear2010
Posts: 745
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:05 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby BioEBear2010 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:43 pm

Go to the one you like more (I recommend visiting both). I'm having a similar dilemma with Stanford vs. Yale (although I have different career ambitions), and almost everyone I've spoken with (students at both YLS and SLS, graduates of both YLS and SLS, and professors at both schools) has told me that one can't make a wrong choice between Y/H/S. Career prospects will be nearly identical from Harvard and Yale, and you will have brilliant classmates and professors at both.

It seems from your interests, though, that you will enjoy Harvard more. But I reiterate: go visit.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:47 pm

I can understand one having difficulty deciding between Stanford & Yale as they have many similarities, but Harvard & Yale are opposites & hopefully you should know yourself well enough at this stage of your life to know which is better suited to your likes, needs & interests.

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby sayan » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:03 pm

I have a hard time seeing true evidence that YLS, all else equal, will place someone in a better job or clerkship than someone graduating from HLS.

Because YLS can be choosier with its class, I can see why they choose to admit the most interesting (read: employable) law students who will naturally have more success on the OCI and clerkship circuit than a typical HLS student who may have been admitted more on numbers than qualitative (read: employable) criteria.

OTOH, your points on why HLS is better than YLS are typically indisputable.

I suppose YLS offers more security since you can be bottom of your class and still get a good job. But if you received admittance to YLS, I'm sure you'd do well enough in HLS that bottom of the class won't apply to you. In that case, HLS is probably the better school to attend for the reasons you outlined.

Interestingly, I felt there was a slight air of arrogance to those I talked to at the HLS ASW who were admitted to YLS. Perhaps I may be off, but everyone at HLS seemed really humble and normal.
Last edited by sayan on Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jamesieee
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby jamesieee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:04 pm

Wow - thanks for the fast replies guys. A lot to think about.

To flesh out my quandary a bit:

1a) Is there a tangible enough difference in the type of students at HLS and YLS that a "quality over quantity" argument can be made for Yale? I know there are extraordinary people at both schools, but is there at all a sense that because of the sheer number of people at Harvard, there's also a wider range in quality?

1b) Is the "quantity" part of that argument a valid thing to say about Harvard? That is, will I actually meet and get close to more people at Harvard than Yale? Will I even have the time and energy to network with HBS and HKS people, or is that just wishful thinking?

2) Is it really harder to land a prestigious clerkship if I go to Harvard? I know I'd have to compete with more people, but if I'll be competing against more qualified people at Yale, then it's hard to use clerkship as a reason to pick Yale.

User avatar
tomhobbes
Posts: 455
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:20 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby tomhobbes » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:04 pm

GeePee wrote:
jamesieee wrote:BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

OTOH, if you're looking for the ultimate clerkship, 5 out of the current 8 justices attended Harvard (4 graduated), and the likely next justice, Elena Kagan attended HLS and served as Dean for 5 years.

Just food for thought. I'm not sure how much of a gunner you are.


I'm not sure this means that Harvard would be better than Yale for getting a Supreme Court clerkship. There's probably much, much better evidence out there to evaluate that than the relative numbers of them on the Supreme Court.

jamesieee
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby jamesieee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:09 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:I can understand one having difficulty deciding between Stanford & Yale as they have many similarities, but Harvard & Yale are opposites & hopefully you should know yourself well enough at this stage of your life to know which is better suited to your likes, needs & interests.


Thanks for your input. You would be right if likes, needs and interests are truly the only things that separate Harvard and Yale. As I mentioned in my original post, I think Harvard is a better fit for me. But Yale is still the indisputable number one and is, as I've heard repeated verbatim from many, "head and shoulders above Harvard" in academia and clerkships. I'm trying to gauge whether that is a strong enough consideration for me to set my personal preferences aside.

User avatar
sayan
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:05 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby sayan » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:12 pm

jamesieee wrote:Wow - thanks for the fast replies guys. A lot to think about.

To flesh out my quandary a bit:

1a) Is there a tangible enough difference in the type of students at HLS and YLS that a "quality over quantity" argument can be made for Yale? I know there are extraordinary people at both schools, but is there at all a sense that because of the sheer number of people at Harvard, there's also a wider range in quality?

1b) Is the "quantity" part of that argument a valid thing to say about Harvard? That is, will I actually meet and get close to more people at Harvard than Yale? Will I even have the time and energy to network with HBS and HKS people, or is that just wishful thinking?

2) Is it really harder to land a prestigious clerkship if I go to Harvard? I know I'd have to compete with more people, but if I'll be competing against more qualified people at Yale, then it's hard to use clerkship as a reason to pick Yale.


1a) To what end do you ask this question? It's really hard to gauge this, but I suppose it can be argued YLS will have a more varied range of genuine talent since they have a more holistic admission system.

1b) I think you CAN meet a ton of people at HLS and branch out a lot more than at YLS. Whether you want to do that is up to you. From what I've gathered there are events going on almost every day at HLS among a huge number of organizations that I doubt are available at YLS. If you're interested in business or international law it's more likely a stronger alumni system will be available to support you.

2) This question is so tangled in correlative issues that getting a genuine, all else equal, answer is basically impossible IMO. You're precisely right the competition at YLS will be, on the whole, tougher than at HLS since everyone has insane talent while some at HLS got in just because they have high numbers. It's also known the people who most want clerkships (and the most likely to get them) will usually choose YLS over HLS for the "perceived" advantage of clerkships. Hence the % of the class getting clerkships is unsurprisingly biased towards YLS.

User avatar
TaipeiMort
Posts: 874
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:51 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby TaipeiMort » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:20 pm

Chicago.

If you value academic inquiry, rigor, interdisciplinary education, and ideological diversity that is. <end truthful flame>

However, if you want to rule the world, network with foreign leaders, and have unlimited layperson respect, all without pressure, go to Yale.

Harvard has 1 billion students, Yale has something like 17. I would posit that this brings a strong advantage to you in terms of overall student quality and nondiluted faculty quality if you choose Yale.

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby GeePee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:46 pm

tomhobbes wrote:
GeePee wrote:
jamesieee wrote:BUT - turning down Yale strikes me as the theological equivalent of kicking Jesus in the balls. I'm not much interested in academia, but the idea of a prestigious clerkship does make me want to rub myself. And at least from posts I've come across, TLS'ers in similar situations in past years seem to pick Yale more often than Harvard.

OTOH, if you're looking for the ultimate clerkship, 5 out of the current 8 justices attended Harvard (4 graduated), and the likely next justice, Elena Kagan attended HLS and served as Dean for 5 years.

Just food for thought. I'm not sure how much of a gunner you are.


I'm not sure this means that Harvard would be better than Yale for getting a Supreme Court clerkship. There's probably much, much better evidence out there to evaluate that than the relative numbers of them on the Supreme Court.

I know. I just like to troll sometimes :D

User avatar
Nom Sawyer
Posts: 933
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:28 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby Nom Sawyer » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:50 pm

Actually I think it comes down to this: How much of a gunner are you OP? If your one of em hardcore strivers go to Yale... if you're chill and a procrastinator come to Harvard.*




*this has nothing do in any way with the fact that I want an easier curve at H so I can slack more myself

jamesieee
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby jamesieee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:01 pm

sayan wrote:To what end do you ask this question?


I'd like to surround myself with the most extraordinary people I can find, people who really believe they're going places in life and are taking the necessary steps to get there. Again, I know there's an abundance of them in both schools, but if that sense is significantly more prevalent at Yale (for whatever reason - whether it's because Harvard has a less holistic admissions process or because Harvard's so big and diverse that there's not a sense of shared identity), that would be an important consideration for me.

Yeah, I know this is difficult to gauge and any answer I get would be highly subjective. I suppose I need to decide that for myself after visiting.

Casus
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:25 am

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby Casus » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:18 pm

Not that this necessarily holds much water when we're talking about two of the best law schools in the country, but Yale strikes me as the less risky option (at least for legal jobs).

Harvard is large enough, and still has enough of a grade curve, to have a legitimate class rank. With an an established curve comes a more or less definable upper and lower half of the class. Combine this with prestigious top of the class awards, and you are looking at a good deal more competition at Harvard. Some people thrive on that, other people don't. It is much harder to rank at Yale, because there is no curve and no top awards. When combined with a small class size and the Yale name, every graduate is quite employable.

In other words, your average Yale graduate will probably be in a better position than your average Harvard graduate. For example, if you have 200 firms who recruit summer associates at both Harvard and Yale, there will be less Yale graduates (in a typical class) available to hire than total firms that are looking to hire. At Harvard, there could very well be 1.5 to 2 graduates for every firm looking to hire.

To be fair, great options are certainly available for Harvard grads, but toward the bottom of the Harvard class, your options are probably diminished more rapidly than at the "bottom" of the Yale class. Granted, if your choices are 160k at a Vault 10 firm, or 160k in a market that isn't your first choice at an NLJ250 firm, you're options are still quite desirable.

Yale also has a COAP program that ensures you will have a comfortable lifestyle, regardless of what position you take in the future. Worst case scenario graduating from YLS is that you live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle with a job (in ANY field) that's interesting to you. You won't have to worry about loans at all if you're making less than 60k per year.

Ultimately, though, the schools are quite different in terms of culture and feel. Both are extraordinary, and you are fortunate to have such a wonderful opportunity to attend either. I would think that your gut feeling would be most helpful. Perhaps go where you think you are most likely to succeed, get involved in that community, and don't look back.

User avatar
rowlf
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:55 pm

Re: Harvard or Yale?

Postby rowlf » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:30 pm

jamesieee wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:I can understand one having difficulty deciding between Stanford & Yale as they have many similarities, but Harvard & Yale are opposites & hopefully you should know yourself well enough at this stage of your life to know which is better suited to your likes, needs & interests.


Thanks for your input. You would be right if likes, needs and interests are truly the only things that separate Harvard and Yale. As I mentioned in my original post, I think Harvard is a better fit for me. But Yale is still the indisputable number one and is, as I've heard repeated verbatim from many, "head and shoulders above Harvard" in academia and clerkships. I'm trying to gauge whether that is a strong enough consideration for me to set my personal preferences aside.


No. Personal preferences are always credited, in my opinion. Some would say you should buck them in the face of huge money or rank differentials, but neither of those are even at play here. Go to Harvard.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: carlos_danger, Google Adsense [Bot] and 4 guests