Help!! SLS vs HLS

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

Given the specifics from my first post, do you recommend SLS or HLS for me?

Stanford
36
52%
Tossup
10
14%
Harvard
23
33%
 
Total votes: 69

saxamaflob
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Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:08 pm

So I'm not going to ask the overly broad question "SLS vs HLS" because no generalized and universalized answer is possible. Here are my specific considerations:

1. I'm from the Midwest, went to Yale undergrad, and don't know where in the country I want to end up.
2. I want to study computers and the law, that is, both computers from a legal perspective and the law from a computer-science perspective (cf. Berkman @ HLS vs CodeX @ SLS).
3. I want to do significant research and writing in law school (cf. resources @ HLS vs relationships @ SLS).
4. I'm thinking academia as an eventual career but may want first to practice in BigLaw for two years to acquire some real-world experience.
5. I will probably want to clerk before either BigLaw or academia; a clerkship anywhere, preferably federal, is probably fine.
6. I'm highly interested in SLS's JD/MS (CS) program but have no formal education in CS (only extensive independent experience—see a later post), so admission to the program may be unlikely.
7. I consider the more competitive (perhaps more rigorous?) atmosphere at HLS a plus.

Please post your reasoning, and thanks for your input!!

P.S.: I visited both, loved both, but am leaning slightly toward SLS right now (perhaps just because the visit was more recent??).
Last edited by saxamaflob on Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:51 pm, edited 5 times in total.


saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:17 pm

Yes, weather is great in Palo Alto… except that I'm from Minnesota and am used to winter.

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ConMan345
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby ConMan345 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:18 pm

Just a note: the CS MS at Stanford is REALLY hard to get into, even for people with Stanford BAs in CS.

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:20 pm

ConMan345 wrote:Just a note: the CS MS at Stanford is REALLY hard to get into, even for people with Stanford BAs in CS.


Hmmm. Thanks for the heads-up.

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DerrickRose
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby DerrickRose » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:22 pm

saxamaflob wrote:Yes, weather is great in Palo Alto… except that I'm from Minnesota and am used to winter.


Exactly. Get the hell out of there man.

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underachiever
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby underachiever » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:24 pm

SLS

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ConMan345
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby ConMan345 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:26 pm

saxamaflob wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:Just a note: the CS MS at Stanford is REALLY hard to get into, even for people with Stanford BAs in CS.


Hmmm. Thanks for the heads-up.

Oh jk, you have to have a BS in CS. : /

Danteshek
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby Danteshek » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:27 pm

Stanford, because of your interest in technology

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im_blue
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby im_blue » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:28 pm

Since you don't know where you'll end up, you should pick HLS. They're a bit more portable than Stanford, especially for the East Coast and South. Without any formal education in CS, the MS CS program at Stanford is not going to be an option. Even if they did let you in, there's no way you'll pass the classes with no background.
Last edited by im_blue on Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:30 pm

BigLaw for two years for real world experience??????? Try public defenders clinic for two years if you want real world experience! Or clerk for a state court judge for two years. But not biglaw=big library.

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dutchstriker
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby dutchstriker » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:34 pm

im_blue wrote:Since you don't know where you'll end up, you should pick HLS. They're a bit more portable than Stanford, especially for the East Coast and South. Without any formal education in CS, the MS CS program at Stanford is not going to be an option.

This is kind of how I felt (I voted HLS). It's close to a tossup though. SLS is nice because it's in Silicon Valley, but it's not like HLS is a slouch in law and technology (Lessig, Zittrain, Berkman Center, JOLT, etc).

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:42 pm

ConMan345 wrote:
saxamaflob wrote:
ConMan345 wrote:Just a note: the CS MS at Stanford is REALLY hard to get into, even for people with Stanford BAs in CS.


Hmmm. Thanks for the heads-up.

Oh jk, you have to have a BS in CS. : /


May I ask your source? The website for the program indicates otherwise…

Thanks.

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:43 pm

im_blue wrote:Since you don't know where you'll end up, you should pick HLS. They're a bit more portable than Stanford, especially for the East Coast and South. Without any formal education in CS, the MS CS program at Stanford is not going to be an option. Even if they did let you in, there's no way you'll pass the classes with no background.


I have an extensive background in programming, just no formal education. In fact, I'm the lead programmer in a business venture right now, and I'm deferring law school for a year to pursue it. Moreover, I could easily take Stanford courses online for credit during that time, and I'm planning on taking the GRE in CS and doing quite well (I've already reviewed the material, though "mileage may vary" in the actual test!).

Do you think that should change things?

Thanks.

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im_blue
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby im_blue » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:51 pm

saxamaflob wrote:
im_blue wrote:Since you don't know where you'll end up, you should pick HLS. They're a bit more portable than Stanford, especially for the East Coast and South. Without any formal education in CS, the MS CS program at Stanford is not going to be an option. Even if they did let you in, there's no way you'll pass the classes with no background.


I have an extensive background in programming, just no formal education. In fact, I'm the lead programmer in a business venture right now, and I'm deferring law school for a year to pursue it. Moreover, I could easily take Stanford courses online for credit during that time, and I'm planning on taking the GRE in CS and doing quite well (I've already reviewed the material).

Do you think that should change things?

Thanks.

It takes a lot of formal education in CS to do well in MS courses, which focus heavily on math, algorithms, theory, proofs, etc. In other words, things that you wouldn't learn even from programming for many years. The MS prerequisite courses include math proofs, computer organization, and computer systems. If you can take them online and do well, and do well on the CS GRE, and your bachelor's degree is in something quantitative like math or physics, then perhaps MS CS would be a viable option. But that's a lot of if's...

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:01 pm

im_blue wrote:
saxamaflob wrote:
im_blue wrote:Since you don't know where you'll end up, you should pick HLS. They're a bit more portable than Stanford, especially for the East Coast and South. Without any formal education in CS, the MS CS program at Stanford is not going to be an option. Even if they did let you in, there's no way you'll pass the classes with no background.


I have an extensive background in programming, just no formal education. In fact, I'm the lead programmer in a business venture right now, and I'm deferring law school for a year to pursue it. Moreover, I could easily take Stanford courses online for credit during that time, and I'm planning on taking the GRE in CS and doing quite well (I've already reviewed the material).

Do you think that should change things?

Thanks.

It takes a lot of formal education in CS to do well in MS courses, which focus heavily on math, algorithms, theory, proofs, etc. In other words, things that you wouldn't learn even from programming for many years. The MS prerequisite courses include math proofs, computer organization, and computer systems. If you can take them online and do well, and do well on the CS GRE, and your bachelor's degree is in something quantitative like math or physics, then perhaps MS CS would be a viable option. But that's a lot of if's...


Except see this: « People enter the MSCS program with a wide variety of background experience. Some people did CS undergrads, and others have never done any programming. But most every MSCS class will assume that you've taken these classes, or their equivalents elsewhere: […] These courses are not required, and so they're not listed on the program sheets. However, if you haven't taken classes like them already or want a refresher, you can count any of them towards your degree. The decision is entirely up to you; some people may have already acquired much of this experience working in industry or be comfortable doing some background reading to catch up. Your advisor can help you determine whether you should take these courses here.You can count up to 21 units total of background and breadth courses. »

In other words, it seems to me that I should be able to take the courses online and/or during 1L/2L. The operative phrase seems to me to be the one underlined.

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BioEBear2010
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby BioEBear2010 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:15 pm

Given your interests, it seems like HLS makes more sense. If you are a student who thrives on competition, then you will likely have more success there. Also, while both degrees are mobile, a Harvard degree probably gives you a slight edge nationally. That being said, since you're from the Midwest and went to undergrad in the Northeast, it might be worthwhile to not only experience the west coast, but also have some ties in each part of the country (minus the South, but hey you can't win 'em all). I've heard that it can be tough to land a Cali job without having a vested interest in staying in California.

Also, I'm in a similar position in that I may want to pursue a joint J.D./M.S. from Stanford (I was already accepted to the program, but am deferring admission). However, from what I hear, a M.S. doesn't give an attorney much added value, and it will make your 2L and 3L years a lot tougher. If you are really interested in computer science, though, go for it :)

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I had to decide between law schools located on the two coasts, and ultimately chose SLS.

jbjb1
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby jbjb1 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:18 pm

OP, are you aware that if you go to HLS you can probably take classes at MIT and earn your CS degree there? Harvard and MIT are extremely connected.

HLS/MIT hands down, no contest.

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:13 pm

jbjb1 wrote:OP, are you aware that if you go to HLS you can probably take classes at MIT and earn your CS degree there? Harvard and MIT are extremely connected.

HLS/MIT hands down, no contest.


Except that there's no joint JD/MS at HLS/MIT, which means that the program goes from three years to four or five years (or concurrent degrees, in which case suicide is the most probable outcome).

Edit: Besides, at MIT, I can't apply just to the MS program, and there's no way I can compete in the admissions pool for a PhD in CS with my record: « There is only one admission process. When we admit an applicant, it is into the PhD program. If you do not have a Master's degree when you apply, you will get that degree first before proceeding on to the PhD. If you already hold a Master's degree from another school, you can begin by working directly toward the PhD qualifiers. »

I could, however, always go on for a PhD in CS from MIT after having earned a JD/MS from Stanford… much more feasible than applying directly for the MIT PhD. At the same time, I could do postgraduate research as a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center, but now I've gone so far off into hypothetical space that any speculation is just wild dreams and flights of fancy :wink:

saxamaflob
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Re: SLS vs HLS (with specifics!)

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:48 pm

JR from HLS just emailed me again asking whether I have questions… I've let him know where I'm at right now, and I'll keep you all posted as to the response I receive!

In the meantime, thanks for your votes and thoughts.

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dutchstriker
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Re: Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby dutchstriker » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:14 pm

Wow, people really hate Harvard. Seems to me like this is a much tougher choice than the votes seem to indicate.

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BioEBear2010
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Re: Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby BioEBear2010 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:17 pm

dutchstriker wrote:Wow, people really hate Harvard. Seems to me like this is a much tougher choice than the votes seem to indicate.

+1. I'm surprised to see so many Stanford votes. Hell, I'm going to SLS next year, and I voted for Harvard. For such a great school, HLS gets a bad rap on TLS.

Kretzy
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Re: Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby Kretzy » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:20 pm

BioEBear2010 wrote:
dutchstriker wrote:Wow, people really hate Harvard. Seems to me like this is a much tougher choice than the votes seem to indicate.

+1. I'm surprised to see so many Stanford votes. Hell, I'm going to SLS next year, and I voted for Harvard. For such a great school, HLS gets a bad rap on TLS.


+1. I did the same, and I'm even pretty sure I met saxamaflob while at SLS (who seemed like a great guy with whom I'd love to have class).

In all honestly, though, it's a matter of both opportunity and access. The chances for research exist at Berkman, but have you spoken to anyone about how likely it is you can do substantive work with those faculty members while there? I think that would be a good place to start.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:20 pm

Ttthe Crimson H.

saxamaflob
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Re: Help!! SLS vs HLS

Postby saxamaflob » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:06 pm

Kretzy wrote:
BioEBear2010 wrote:
dutchstriker wrote:Wow, people really hate Harvard. Seems to me like this is a much tougher choice than the votes seem to indicate.

+1. I'm surprised to see so many Stanford votes. Hell, I'm going to SLS next year, and I voted for Harvard. For such a great school, HLS gets a bad rap on TLS.


[…]

In all honestly, though, it's a matter of both opportunity and access. The chances for research exist at Berkman, but have you spoken to anyone about how likely it is you can do substantive work with those faculty members while there? I think that would be a good place to start.


I raised exactly this point (regarding accessibility of faculty at Berkman) with JR in response to his email. I'll keep you posted.
Last edited by saxamaflob on Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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