Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

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

Which School Should I Attend?

Cornell
45
74%
George Washington
8
13%
Villanova
8
13%
 
Total votes: 61

Bure96
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Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby Bure96 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:30 pm

Hello everybody, I've been having an excruciatingly difficult time deciding upon a law school and I had seen some posters on this board who appear to be very well educated regarding law school rankings and job placements, so I decided to gather some of your thoughts regarding my situation.

After being rejected from my dream school (Penn) and wait-listed at my #2 (Georgetown), I was forced to consider schools that were lower down on my preferred list. I've narrowed the law school field down to Cornell, George Washington, and Villanova. I have been awarded a Dean's Merit Scholarship (full tuition paid as long as I maintain a 3.2 GPA) at Villanova. However, I have been going back and forth between each of these schools and I need to make a decision as soon as possible.

First of all, my LSAT score was a 169 and I had a 3.56 GPA at Columbia University as an undergraduate. Here are my thoughts about each school:

Cornell
This is clearly the highest-ranked school (13th per USNews) on my list. Provided I perform relatively well in law school, Cornell will offer me the best opportunities for job placement at a high-paying NLJ 250 firm and likely give me the "best" education. It would also offer me the most regional flexibility in terms of where I would like to work/live after law school. Unfortunately, Cornell is located in Ithaca, NY. I visited the school a month ago and was impressed by its campus and facilities, but did not have a good feeling about the location of the school. I worry that the weather, location, and/or the 4-hour distance from my home (and g/f) in Philadelphia would cause stress and inhibit my performance as a law student. I know this sounds like an irrational concern, but it is one that I am struggling with quite a bit.

George Washington
GW has been ranked in the #20-30 range over the past few years. It also boasts a nice location in D.C. I see George Washington as the middle ground amongst these schools - not as highly ranked as Cornell, but significantly higher than Villanova, and further from home, but not in Ithaca, either. Unfortunately, GW is expensive and I am not sure if the cost is worth it if I am not able to land a high-paying job when I graduate. Also, it seems to live in the shadow of Georgetown and has earned a reputation for being a bit of a regional school. I am not sure if I will want to remain in D.C. upon graduation and GW would likely offer less regional flexibility than Cornell. However, I would much prefer to live in D.C. than in Ithaca.

Villanova
As mentioned earlier, I received a scholarship to Villanova and will have my yearly tuition paid for as long as I maintain a 3.2 GPA. I don't foresee that being a problem considering how my credentials place me among other Villanova students. Villanova is in a very nice location with which I am very familiar and it is only 30 minutes from my home and down the street from my girlfriend's place. I am confident that I could be in the top 10% of students at Villanova, but then again, I could fail to meet that mark and hurt my chances at landing a competitive job. I recognize that being near the top of the class at a lower-ranked school like Villanova is very important as most NLJ 250 firms will be most interested in interviewing these students. Villanova is a regional school (much more so than GW, I'd say) and will offer decent job opportunities in Philadelphia, but not likely very many other cities. Furthermore, Cornell graduates looking for jobs in Philly will still likely receive precedence over even the best 'Nova grads.

I guess what I am asking you guys is whether you think it is worth going to a school like Villanova over Cornell or George Washington because of the familiarity factor. How much do you think it will hurt my chances at landing a job at a top-250 firm? Is Cornell the best choice simply because of its ranking and job placement prospects? Should I just tough it out in Ithaca? And what about GW - is this the best choice as the middle ground amongst my options? Thanks for the help. I know this post gets a bit personal, but I see this as a very personal decision.

doomed123
Posts: 156
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby doomed123 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:35 pm

No scholarship at GW? Go to Cornell.

Bure96
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby Bure96 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:39 pm

doomed123 wrote:No scholarship at GW? Go to Cornell.

I would be paying full price at Cornell and GW. Also, I should mention that I would consider trying to transfer into Penn and/or Georgetown. Cornell would probably give me the best shot at transferring to one of these schools, right?

doomed123
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby doomed123 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:40 pm

Bure96 wrote:
doomed123 wrote:No scholarship at GW? Go to Cornell.

I would be paying full price at Cornell and GW. Also, I should mention that I would consider trying to transfer into Penn and/or Georgetown. Cornell would probably give me the best shot at transferring to one of these schools, right?


I doubt it would make a difference. And, in any case, you really shouldn't go to a school expecting to transfer.

Bure96
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby Bure96 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:44 pm

doomed123 wrote:
Bure96 wrote:
doomed123 wrote:No scholarship at GW? Go to Cornell.

I would be paying full price at Cornell and GW. Also, I should mention that I would consider trying to transfer into Penn and/or Georgetown. Cornell would probably give me the best shot at transferring to one of these schools, right?


I doubt it would make a difference. And, in any case, you really shouldn't go to a school expecting to transfer.

I certainly wouldn't go to any of these schools expecting to transfer. I'd simply give it a shot and if it works out, then that'd be great. But there's no harm in trying. I assume I will be at one of these schools for all three years.

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bk1
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby bk1 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:48 pm

If you're doing well at Cornell then transferring to Penn or GULC would probably hurt your job prospects more than it would help.

Since you seem to be focused on getting a biglaw (NLJ250) job then Cornell seems to be the clear choice.

doomed123
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby doomed123 » Sun May 23, 2010 8:50 pm

bk1 wrote:If you're doing well at Cornell then transferring to Penn or GULC would probably hurt your job prospects more than it would help.


This is a good point. If you're at the top of your class at a T14, you'd give up more than you'd gain by transferring (unless you're transferring to HYS).

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KMaine
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby KMaine » Sun May 23, 2010 9:06 pm

Do not really understand the issue. You don't like the weather in Ithaca? The choice is rather clear-cut for Cornell. Also, I would not count on being in the top 10% at 'Nova despite the lack of respect you seem to have for your potential future classmates. I guess you like DC, but GW over Cornell, both at sticker? Really? Maybe I am stressed out over my writing competition, but maybe if you are having such a difficult time with this choice, you should just go to 'Nova, be close to your girlfriend and get a free education.

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OneSixtySix
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby OneSixtySix » Sun May 23, 2010 9:34 pm

Fact #1: I want you to go to GW or Nova so my reserve list chances improve

Fact #2: Cornell offers an amazing legal education, you need to go there. Ithaca, NY is honestly not that bad. I guess that depends on your tolerance for non-city environments, but eh...I'm not sure its worth demoting your legal education over.

Bure96
Posts: 5
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby Bure96 » Sun May 23, 2010 10:08 pm

KMaine wrote:Do not really understand the issue. You don't like the weather in Ithaca? The choice is rather clear-cut for Cornell. Also, I would not count on being in the top 10% at 'Nova despite the lack of respect you seem to have for your potential future classmates. I guess you like DC, but GW over Cornell, both at sticker? Really? Maybe I am stressed out over my writing competition, but maybe if you are having such a difficult time with this choice, you should just go to 'Nova, be close to your girlfriend and get a free education.

I really meant no disrespect to my future classmates, wherever it is I choose to go. This decision would not be so tough for me if I did not have such tremendous respect for each of these law schools and their students. I just feel that my chances at being near the top of my law school class would be higher if I were to go to Villanova. I think that is a fair judgment and I do not say it with any sort of condescension at all. Thanks for the responses everybody. Honestly, I am leaning towards Cornell at this point, but I occasionally get caught up in thinking that I might not enjoy Ithaca and it would affect my performance somehow. Maybe my fears stem from the fact that my best friend went to Cornell for one year before transferring to USC and still talks about how much he hated it or from my aunt, who lived in Ithaca for seven years and echoes my friend's sentiments towards the area. The truth is, I really liked Cornell's campus and I didn't really enjoy NYC that much, so a rural area might be fine for me.

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dood
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby dood » Mon May 24, 2010 12:22 am

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Last edited by dood on Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KMaine
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby KMaine » Mon May 24, 2010 6:00 am

Bure96 wrote:
KMaine wrote:Do not really understand the issue. You don't like the weather in Ithaca? The choice is rather clear-cut for Cornell. Also, I would not count on being in the top 10% at 'Nova despite the lack of respect you seem to have for your potential future classmates. I guess you like DC, but GW over Cornell, both at sticker? Really? Maybe I am stressed out over my writing competition, but maybe if you are having such a difficult time with this choice, you should just go to 'Nova, be close to your girlfriend and get a free education.

I really meant no disrespect to my future classmates, wherever it is I choose to go. This decision would not be so tough for me if I did not have such tremendous respect for each of these law schools and their students. I just feel that my chances at being near the top of my law school class would be higher if I were to go to Villanova. I think that is a fair judgment and I do not say it with any sort of condescension at all. Thanks for the responses everybody. Honestly, I am leaning towards Cornell at this point, but I occasionally get caught up in thinking that I might not enjoy Ithaca and it would affect my performance somehow. Maybe my fears stem from the fact that my best friend went to Cornell for one year before transferring to USC and still talks about how much he hated it or from my aunt, who lived in Ithaca for seven years and echoes my friend's sentiments towards the area. The truth is, I really liked Cornell's campus and I didn't really enjoy NYC that much, so a rural area might be fine for me.


Fair. I do think your chances are better for finishing at the top of the class at Villanova, but that transferring to Penn willl still be an uphill battle, and you shouldn't bank on transferring from anywhere. I also agree that a Cornell-Georgetown transfer would be a bad idea.

Cornell's community and school are great. Ithaca is not everybody's cup of tea. I am not a huge fan myself, but I think that even if you don't like it, it is worth putting up with for three years for the greater opportunities compared to GW. Good luck, and sorry for being so dismissive last night. Good luck.

keg411
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby keg411 » Mon May 24, 2010 8:34 am

OP, would you kick yourself if you finished median at 'Nova and lost your scholarship? Because there is a chance that could happen no matter how good your GPA/LSAT combination is. A 3.2 stipulation sounds very high and difficult to do. Just because you think you can do it, doesn't mean it will happen. Most people go to school thinking they are going to finish in the top 10% and 90% of them don't.

Go to Cornell. It's 3 years and Ithaca really isn't that bad unless you have some type of serious seasonal depression (and since you appear to currently live in Philly and not somewhere where it's sunny 24/7/365, I can't imagine that is the case) and it will be far more worth it for you career goals.

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holydonkey
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby holydonkey » Mon May 24, 2010 8:38 am

keg411 wrote:Go to Cornell.

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Entchen
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby Entchen » Mon May 24, 2010 11:10 am

Well, I would go to Cornell of those three, but, even if it weren't ranked higher, I would prefer it BECAUSE it is in Ithaca. So maybe my opinion is useless.

starstruck393
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Re: Cornell, GW, or Villanova?

Postby starstruck393 » Mon May 24, 2010 11:37 am

Maybe see if Nova would renegotiate your scholarship to remove the GPA stipulation? Even then, and certainly otherwise, there's really no reason not to pick Cornell. If you lost your $$, you'd really be kicking yourself. And even if you retain it, but only do average, you'll probably be kicking yourself for having minimal debt but minimal job prospects. Your chances of transferring are really small (to the point where one bad grade could do you in), and many transfer students were having trouble getting SA positions; Cornell is just the much safer bet. It may get shit here compared with the T12, but in all honestly it's a very good school.

Plus, Columbia->Cornell just sounds so much better than Columbia->George Washington or Columbia->Villanova...




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