Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

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

Mich ($45k) vs. Columbia ($37.5k)

Michigan - $45k (total cost approx. $150k)
14
20%
Columbia - $37.5k (total cost approx. $180k)
57
80%
 
Total votes: 71

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parker09
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Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:02 pm

Been wavering back and forth every single day and have made lists and spreadsheets and polled friends and THEY KEEP COMING OUT EVEN, so would really appreciate any insight! (Chicago refused to match or negotiate, so it's pretty much between Mich and Columbia for me. but I am open to arguments for Chicago.)

Ideal dream situation (hah!): international NGO work for 1L summer, biglaw SA for 2L, clerk for a year after graduating, work for a firm for 5-10 yrs, then transition back into international NGO (the UN, HRW, IRC, etc.)

More realistic general goal: public and private sector experience during summers, work for a firm for a while after graduating, and then eventually transition to the public sector (including government). I really would like to eventually work abroad, maybe in Africa.

In the end, cost and job prospects (and to a slightly lesser extent, clerkships) are most important to me; seems like Mich is cheaper by the tiniest bit, but Columbia may offer the tiniest edge professionally?

If those factors end up being even, then some less important factors:

Columbia:
- Pros: location for professional-factors (not crazy about NYC, but does have easy access to a ton of nonprofit/NGO headquarters for networking and externships), pretty well-established international programs (including international human rights clinic and tons of externships), proximity to lots of other cities and easy contact with my friends who are scattered in NYC/Boston/DC
- Cons: can't afford to live alone, I feel like it would be a lot like my HYP undergrad in terms of potential pretentiousness (I know law school student bodies are probably a lot more homogeneous than their reputations, but Columbia prob has more kids coming from Ivies?), and awful library

Michigan:
- Pros: location for life-factors (I like the idea of a college town/city; less overwhelming, more conducive to cohesive student body), legendarily friendly student body (perhaps a little less gunner than CLS?), I could get a 700-sq-ft apartment to myself for <$1000 (!!!), beautiful library (I'm a library-studier)
- Cons: potentially fewer school-year opportunities (for 2L and 3L years, obvi) to be involved in the types of externships I'd be interested in (and therefore networking for later on), no escape (stuck in Michigan, with only Chicago being within reasonable weekend-trip distance).
- Caveat: Mich does promote itself as being all about "Internationalism" and seems to offer decent opportunities for summers abroad or semester externships (I'm not interested in studying abroad). Just don't hear about it as much as Columbia, so I don't know that much about the programs, but actually looking at the website now, it looks pretty good...

Both: similar class sizes (I really wanted a smaller class size, but not enough to pay sticker at Chicago, I think, or deal with the quarter system).

Thanks for wading through all that -- any opinions would be appreciated! I'm sure I made a ton of unfounded assumptions and would love for someone to correct me.

*EDIT* I didn't get to visit anywhere (abroad, ugh) (and won't be able to).
Last edited by parker09 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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GeePee
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby GeePee » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:04 pm

parker09 wrote:Ideal dream situation (hah!): international NGO work for 1L summer, biglaw SA for 2L, clerk for a year after graduating, work for a firm for 5-10 yrs, then transition back into international NGO (the UN, HRW, IRC, etc.)

Columbia. Hands down.

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im_blue
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby im_blue » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:07 pm

With only a $30k cost difference, Columbia is a no-brainer.

tamlyric
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby tamlyric » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:11 pm

I think they're close enough that you should go with whichever school feels best to you: where is your heart at?

byunbee
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby byunbee » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:40 pm

I'm going to Michigan with the same exact $$, but I voted Columbia because the difference in money is really not THAT significant.

Is there any way you can leverage the Columbia $$ for more at Michigan? If you up your scholly into the $60k range at Michigan, I think it might give you something more to think about :) .

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parker09
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:39 am

byunbee wrote:Is there any way you can leverage the Columbia $$ for more at Michigan? If you up your scholly into the $60k range at Michigan, I think it might give you something more to think about :) .


I doubt I can leverage a smaller offer at Columbia, but I might throw them my $60k at Duke and see how it goes. Still doubtful, but worth a shot!

tamlyric wrote:I think they're close enough that you should go with whichever school feels best to you: where is your heart at?


I don't know :? Haha I would definitely love to go with the school that felt more "right," but I never got to visit, so I really don't know if I really would find the student body at Mich as friendly and collegial as TLS makes it out to be.

Any thoughts on how big a difference $30k really is? On the one hand, it's maybe only 1-ish year of additional debt, or $500ish more/month... but on the other hand, $500/month is a cross-country plane ticket, or 10 nights out to dinner, or a pair of boots, or a nice suit... per month.

Tofu
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby Tofu » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:54 am

parker09 wrote:Any thoughts on how big a difference $30k really is? On the one hand, it's maybe only 1-ish year of additional debt, or $500ish more/month... but on the other hand, $500/month is a cross-country plane ticket, or 10 nights out to dinner, or a pair of boots, or a nice suit... per month.


you buy $500 boots?!

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parker09
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:57 am

Tofu wrote:
parker09 wrote:Any thoughts on how big a difference $30k really is? On the one hand, it's maybe only 1-ish year of additional debt, or $500ish more/month... but on the other hand, $500/month is a cross-country plane ticket, or 10 nights out to dinner, or a pair of boots, or a nice suit... per month.


you buy $500 boots?!


No, I buy $100-200 boots... but $500 isn't unreasonable for a good pair? (I think... I'm from the warm-and-sunny South, so really, I don't know much about buying boots except what 4 years of college in colder climes have taught me, which is mostly that I'm too poor to live in colder climes that require boots.)

byunbee
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby byunbee » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:13 am

parker09 wrote:I don't know :? Haha I would definitely love to go with the school that felt more "right," but I never got to visit, so I really don't know if I really would find the student body at Mich as friendly and collegial as TLS makes it out to be.


It's too bad. Preview Weekend at Michigan pretty much sealed the deal for me.

But then again, I didn't have Columbia to think about either. And I don't know what type of environment is right for you. I got the impression that most people stay around Ann Arbor and the majority of their social interactions occur with other law/graduate students. Which would be great if you really like your classmates and Ann Arbor. I really got a strong sense from Preview Weekend that this would be true for me.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:30 am

I think I know how Oblomov would vote...

byunbee
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby byunbee » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:32 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:I think I know how Oblomov would vote...


Yeah I saw that too. Wow.

Tofu
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby Tofu » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:36 am

parker09 wrote:
Tofu wrote:
parker09 wrote:Any thoughts on how big a difference $30k really is? On the one hand, it's maybe only 1-ish year of additional debt, or $500ish more/month... but on the other hand, $500/month is a cross-country plane ticket, or 10 nights out to dinner, or a pair of boots, or a nice suit... per month.


you buy $500 boots?!


No, I buy $100-200 boots... but $500 isn't unreasonable for a good pair? (I think... I'm from the warm-and-sunny South, so really, I don't know much about buying boots except what 4 years of college in colder climes have taught me, which is mostly that I'm too poor to live in colder climes that require boots.)


Yeah, I think you can get a really nice pair of boots for $500 or more. Your mentioning of $500 boots just reminded me of this girl I knew in my first two years of college. She would always wear $350+ shoes, and seeing those would constantly elicit a O__O response from my cheap friends and me haha.


Anyways, Columbia seems to fit your "Ideal dream situation" better, and I think it also has an edge for your "More realistic general goal". Since the difference is 30k, I'm going to go with Columbia.

Regarding Columbia's library, are you talking about the Law School's library? Couldn't you study in some of the other libraries on campus?

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of Benito Cereno
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby of Benito Cereno » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:10 am

just so you know. Off the top of my head I can think of three CLS grads who are in the process of living at your ideal life goal.
For example. One did a 1L internship at the ICC working on human rights prosecutions, 2L summer at V10 firm, federal clerkship postgrad, 4 years at V10 firm after finishing clerkship, 1 year now at major international development and human rights NGO in NYC (involving many trips to sub-saharan africa).
In general, if you get decent enough grades and have a strong interest there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to find a cool international public interest 1L job, a big law 2L job, a nice clerkship, an an associate position at a nyc biglaw firm. also, ngo's do not like to hire 3Ls, they like to hire people who have worked for a few years at top law firms. columbia, i thin, really makes your ideal a quite reasonable possibility.

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parker09
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:43 am

of Benito Cereno wrote:just so you know. Off the top of my head I can think of three CLS grads who are in the process of living at your ideal life goal.
For example. One did a 1L internship at the ICC working on human rights prosecutions, 2L summer at V10 firm, federal clerkship postgrad, 4 years at V10 firm after finishing clerkship, 1 year now at major international development and human rights NGO in NYC (involving many trips to sub-saharan africa).
In general, if you get decent enough grades and have a strong interest there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to find a cool international public interest 1L job, a big law 2L job, a nice clerkship, an an associate position at a nyc biglaw firm. also, ngo's do not like to hire 3Ls, they like to hire people who have worked for a few years at top law firms. columbia, i thin, really makes your ideal a quite reasonable possibility.


:shock: *swoon*

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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:55 am

I don't think this is even close. In general the placement difference (which is not "the tiniest edge" - it's noticeable) would be enough to sway this in favor of CLS, but the fact you eventually want to do public international law make CLS an absolute no-brainer.

CLS:
-Has much better reputation/name recognition in the practice area you're targeting
-Has many more opportunities/established relationships for both term time and summer internships (there's a spring-semester externship for credit with the UN high commissioner, for instance)
-Is located in and places much better in New York, which (in addition to DC) is pretty much where you have to be if you want to transition into public international law.

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parker09
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:24 pm

Tofu wrote:Regarding Columbia's library, are you talking about the Law School's library? Couldn't you study in some of the other libraries on campus?


Oh, true. Lowe does look nice. I'm still getting used to the idea that everything is in one building (obvi, not specific to Columbia); that just seems weird to me. Saves hiking up and down the campus all day, but it seems a bit... claustrophobic.

Okay, I've been pretty much re-swayed to Columbia. Pending some compelling arguments for Mich (if you have them, go for it! I still think it's a happy happy place), I'll probably still twiddle my fingers for a week or so, but will most likely end up at CLS.

(And I was already leaning Columbia, so don't worry, I don't entrust big life decisions entirely to the opinions of strangers on the internet :D )

Tofu
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby Tofu » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:55 pm

parker09 wrote:
Tofu wrote:Regarding Columbia's library, are you talking about the Law School's library? Couldn't you study in some of the other libraries on campus?


Oh, true. Lowe does look nice. I'm still getting used to the idea that everything is in one building (obvi, not specific to Columbia); that just seems weird to me. Saves hiking up and down the campus all day, but it seems a bit... claustrophobic.

Okay, I've been pretty much re-swayed to Columbia. Pending some compelling arguments for Mich (if you have them, go for it! I still think it's a happy happy place), I'll probably still twiddle my fingers for a week or so, but will most likely end up at CLS.

(And I was already leaning Columbia, so don't worry, I don't entrust big life decisions entirely to the opinions of strangers on the internet :D )


unfortunately, Low Library isn't a library anymore; it's now Columbia's administrative center. oh well, there's always Butler Library!

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parker09
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Re: Mich ($45k) vs Columbia ($37.5k) (maybe vs Chicago sticker)

Postby parker09 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:53 am

Tofu wrote:unfortunately, Low Library isn't a library anymore; it's now Columbia's administrative center. oh well, there's always Butler Library!


Okay, I think that's what I meant -- I knew the big white domed one with the steps and columns (though the other one also might have steps and columns... but you know what I mean) was no longer a library, but I get the names confused :P




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