Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern

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

Help me choose

Columbia (0 scholarship)
5
26%
Duke (72k)
7
37%
Northwestern (90k)
7
37%
 
Total votes: 19

lakerfanimal
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Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern

Postby lakerfanimal » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:29 pm

Finally making one of these. Any help is appreciated!

I'll have my visits done by mid April but want to get some opinions before that. I'm leaning towards Columbia right now, but it's insanely expensive compared to Duke (my 2nd choice).

Background- I want to go into PI, but am not averse to the bigfirm jobs either. A clerkship upon graduation would be awesome so clerkship prospects are important too. From Southern California and want to end up back here if possible. However, I'd rather be employed anywhere than unemployed in So-Cal. Financially, I'll have to take out probably 50-100K in loans for Duke, and 100-150K in loans at Columbia. I want some help figuring out if passing up Duke with a large amount for Columbia would be worth it essentially. I've looked at other threads related to this, but not many have this same situation. Again, I know I need to visit and I am, but wanted to get some opinions before that (and maybe the discussion will help others too). Thanks again.

Columbia:
Pro's- Best school I got into. Superstar professor in a field I want to go into and that leads a clinic I want to do while in school. LRAP is probably the best. Clerkship prospects seem to be the same as Duke (?). Firm prospects are great too. I have family in NYC and NJ too. Diverse student body and clinics/student org's that interest me. NYC seems pretty amazing.
Con's- Have never actually been in the city (I anticipate enjoying it, but who knows). Cost is going to end up being around probably 90k more expensive than Duke.

Duke:
Pro's- Small class is intriguing. Cost is cheaper than Columbia. They have a clinic I'd enjoy. Weather is closer to Southern-California :P. More outdoor stuff to do which would be cool (I like going hiking and exploring). Duke basketball haha. The new Dean seems like he's doing great things. Good clerkship and biglaw prospects.
Con's- Never been to north carolina, and I think I'd enjoy it but not sure. Not a great LRAP and PI support is growing but it doesn't seem super well established.

Northwestern is third and UCLA is fourth. Unless I get financial aid from them, I wouldn't go to them. UCLA does have location going for it though.

Thanks a bunch! I hope others might find this helpful too.

EDITED 4/14
Last edited by lakerfanimal on Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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HugerThanSoup
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby HugerThanSoup » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:15 pm

lakerfanimal wrote:Finally making one of these. Any help is appreciated!

I'll have my visits done by mid April but want to get some opinions before that. I'm leaning towards Columbia right now, but it's insanely expensive compared to Duke (my 2nd choice).

Background- I want to go into PI, but am not averse to the bigfirm jobs either. A clerkship upon graduation would be awesome so clerkship prospects are important too. From Southern California and want to end up back here if possible. However, I'd rather be employed anywhere than unemployed in So-Cal. Financially, I'll have to take out probably 50-100K in loans for Duke, and 100-150K in loans at Columbia. I want some help figuring out if passing up Duke with a large amount for Columbia would be worth it essentially. I've looked at other threads related to this, but not many have this same situation. Again, I know I need to visit and I am, but wanted to get some opinions before that (and maybe the discussion will help others too). Thanks again.

Columbia:
Pro's- Best school I got into. Superstar professor in a field I want to go into and that leads a clinic I want to do while in school. LRAP is probably the best. Clerkship prospects seem to be the same as Duke (?). Firm prospects are great too. I have family in NYC and NJ too. Diverse student body and clinics/student org's that interest me. NYC seems pretty amazing.
Con's- Have never actually been in the city (I anticipate enjoying it, but who knows). Cost is going to end up being around probably 90k more expensive than Duke.

Duke:
Pro's- Small class is intriguing. Cost is cheaper than Columbia. They have a clinic I'd enjoy. Weather is closer to Southern-California :P. More outdoor stuff to do which would be cool (I like going hiking and exploring). Duke basketball haha. The new Dean seems like he's doing great things. Good clerkship and biglaw prospects.
Con's- Never been to north carolina, and I think I'd enjoy it but not sure. Not a great LRAP and PI support is growing but it doesn't seem super well established.

Northwestern is third and UCLA is fourth. Unless I get financial aid from them, I wouldn't go to them. UCLA does have location going for it though.

Thanks a bunch! I hope others might find this helpful too.


Go to Columbia. Seriously. Go to Columbia.
1) If you do PI, then you'll be eligible for LRAP and the cost differences between Duke and CLS won't matter.
2) If you do biglaw, then you'll make 160k/yr and the cost differences between Duke and CLS "won't matter."
2a) If you don't get PI, then it will be easier for you to get Biglaw from CLS than from Duke.
3) If you want to go back to So-Cal, Columbia will get you there faster than Duke (in terms of alumni connections, on-campus interviewers, or just the name of the school alone).
4) NYC >>>>>> Durham
5) NYC >>>>>> Durham

09042014
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:24 pm

HugerThanSoup wrote:
lakerfanimal wrote:Finally making one of these. Any help is appreciated!

I'll have my visits done by mid April but want to get some opinions before that. I'm leaning towards Columbia right now, but it's insanely expensive compared to Duke (my 2nd choice).

Background- I want to go into PI, but am not averse to the bigfirm jobs either. A clerkship upon graduation would be awesome so clerkship prospects are important too. From Southern California and want to end up back here if possible. However, I'd rather be employed anywhere than unemployed in So-Cal. Financially, I'll have to take out probably 50-100K in loans for Duke, and 100-150K in loans at Columbia. I want some help figuring out if passing up Duke with a large amount for Columbia would be worth it essentially. I've looked at other threads related to this, but not many have this same situation. Again, I know I need to visit and I am, but wanted to get some opinions before that (and maybe the discussion will help others too). Thanks again.

Columbia:
Pro's- Best school I got into. Superstar professor in a field I want to go into and that leads a clinic I want to do while in school. LRAP is probably the best. Clerkship prospects seem to be the same as Duke (?). Firm prospects are great too. I have family in NYC and NJ too. Diverse student body and clinics/student org's that interest me. NYC seems pretty amazing.
Con's- Have never actually been in the city (I anticipate enjoying it, but who knows). Cost is going to end up being around probably 90k more expensive than Duke.

Duke:
Pro's- Small class is intriguing. Cost is cheaper than Columbia. They have a clinic I'd enjoy. Weather is closer to Southern-California :P. More outdoor stuff to do which would be cool (I like going hiking and exploring). Duke basketball haha. The new Dean seems like he's doing great things. Good clerkship and biglaw prospects.
Con's- Never been to north carolina, and I think I'd enjoy it but not sure. Not a great LRAP and PI support is growing but it doesn't seem super well established.

Northwestern is third and UCLA is fourth. Unless I get financial aid from them, I wouldn't go to them. UCLA does have location going for it though.

Thanks a bunch! I hope others might find this helpful too.


Go to Columbia. Seriously. Go to Columbia.
1) If you do PI, then you'll be eligible for LRAP and the cost differences between Duke and CLS won't matter.
2) If you do biglaw, then you'll make 160k/yr and the cost differences between Duke and CLS "won't matter."
2a) If you don't get PI, then it will be easier for you to get Biglaw from CLS than from Duke.
3) If you want to go back to So-Cal, Columbia will get you there faster than Duke (in terms of alumni connections, on-campus interviewers, or just the name of the school alone).
4) NYC >>>>>> Durham
5) NYC >>>>>> Durham



2 is just plain stupid. 50K is an entire year of working in big law and saving hard.

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HugerThanSoup
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby HugerThanSoup » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:34 pm

Desert Fox wrote: 50K is an entire year of working in big law...


Speaking of stupid. First, 1 year in biglaw =/= 50k (yes, even after taxes, housing and other expenses, you'll be taking home more than 50k). Second, over 5 years of repayment, it's only about 10k a year (plus a bit extra in interest). So yeah, overall, if you get a job in biglaw, the extra 50k in tuition "won't matter" in the long run.

On the other hand, the difference between 100k in debt at Duke and 150k in debt at CLS is HUGE if you don't find a job, which is more likely to happen at Duke than at CLS.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:56 pm

HugerThanSoup wrote:[it's only about 10k a year

I don't normally precede "about 10k a year" with "only"

Also this:
lakerfanimal wrote:Cost is going to end up being around probably 90k more expensive than Duke.


Anyway, I view this as a win-win for you either way. My only real advice would be to make sure to visit each school (especially since you haven't been in each location), think through your goals, financial situation and risk tolerance, and remember that you also have to live wherever you end up for the next three years.

With that being said, I actually like Durham and feel something of an aversion to New York, so from my point of view the "NYC >>>>>> Durham" thing doesn't hold.

Also, I can't let this one go without commenting:
HugerThanSoup wrote:On the other hand, the difference between 100k in debt at Duke and 150k in debt at CLS is HUGE if you don't find a job, which is more likely to happen at Duke than at CLS.

1. Barely.
2. I would not pay either $50k or $90k for marginally better employment overall.
3. Where I would imagine that you might find a more significant advantage with Columbia is in relatively greater access to very high-prestige jobs (PI, clerkship, and otherwise), but I couldn't tell you how big this advantage is.

Curry

Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby Curry » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:58 pm

poprcorn.gif

09042014
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby 09042014 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:03 pm

HugerThanSoup wrote:
Desert Fox wrote: 50K is an entire year of working in big law...


Speaking of stupid. First, 1 year in biglaw =/= 50k (yes, even after taxes, housing and other expenses, you'll be taking home more than 50k). Second, over 5 years of repayment, it's only about 10k a year (plus a bit extra in interest). So yeah, overall, if you get a job in biglaw, the extra 50k in tuition "won't matter" in the long run.

On the other hand, the difference between 100k in debt at Duke and 150k in debt at CLS is HUGE if you don't find a job, which is more likely to happen at Duke than at CLS.


After tax 160 is more like 100 in SoCal or NYC after taxes. Even if you live like a law student you are talking at max 70. But 50 is much more realistic.

It's also 50K with a 4% origination fee + 8% interest

Most people don't last 5 years in big law anyway. If you want to weight the increased risk vs. 50K that's fine, but writing it off as inconsequential is crazy.
Last edited by 09042014 on Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:04 pm

The only two that are going to get any serious talk are Columbia and Duke.

Without moolah, I don't think anyone on here would advise you to go to UCLA or Northwestern over Columbia. So I'd cross those out. If they decide to give you something, come back and tell us about it. Maybe it will change things.

As far as picking between Columbia and Duke, I think most people (on here, at least) will tell you to take Columbia. My hunch is the same, but I think a visit to Duke could be worth your time. If you like it a lot, and the scholly is big enough, you might just prefer them.

Gooooood luck!

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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby Top14Hope » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:15 am

I picked Columbia, but if not C, then UCLA 100%. Duke sucks. Cali/NYC >>>>>>>>>>>>NC (duh). Northwestern should be out because you don't want to live there, you seem to want to live in Cali. If you go to UCLA or C, you will be making a fine living in California, if you try hard and aren't a douche. Congrats!

Tell UCLA about these other schools and get them to hook it up. They will. I can't even believe anyone would pick duke over UCLA or Columbia. It shouldn't even be considered (maybe w/ a ton of $)

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JG Hall
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby JG Hall » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:17 am

Find the Duke/CLS OCI schedules for CA firms. That should pretty much tell you everything.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:06 am

JG Hall wrote:Find the Duke/CLS OCI schedules for CA firms. That should pretty much tell you everything.


Thanks everyone!

Is this something I could potentially get from the schools? I tried to get OCI info from both schools but they both offered generalities more than any records..

And why the duke hate haha

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JG Hall
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby JG Hall » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:10 am

lakerfanimal wrote:
JG Hall wrote:Find the Duke/CLS OCI schedules for CA firms. That should pretty much tell you everything.


Thanks everyone!

Is this something I could potentially get from the schools? I tried to get OCI info from both schools but they both offered generalities more than any records..

And why the duke hate haha

nah you're going to have to get it from current students on TLS.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:15 am

JG Hall wrote:
lakerfanimal wrote:
JG Hall wrote:Find the Duke/CLS OCI schedules for CA firms. That should pretty much tell you everything.


Thanks everyone!

Is this something I could potentially get from the schools? I tried to get OCI info from both schools but they both offered generalities more than any records..

And why the duke hate haha

nah you're going to have to get it from current students on TLS.


Alright, thanks JG!

Danteshek
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby Danteshek » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:27 am

This guy is not interested in PI. Or at least he won't be by the time he graduates from law school.

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tome
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby tome » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:55 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
HugerThanSoup wrote:it's only about 10k a year

I don't normally precede "about 10k a year" with "only"


That is because you still apparently think like a peasant. That is irrelevant to the fact that, if he does go into biglaw (as the poster you quoted was assuming), 10k will be "only," no matter what you happen to think.

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jpk5372
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby jpk5372 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:48 am

Oh, hello friend who will be making the same exact decision as me!

I'm in a slightly different scenario in that my family lives in Greensboro, NC. I loved Duke when I visited, I've lived in the northeast all my life and I'm sick of the cold, and I enjoy being outdoors so the atmosphere at Duke is definately one I would prefer to NYC.

That said, Columbia is the best school I've gotten into. Both have very interesting programs and I'm curious about live in NYC...

I don't think there is any wrong choice for us but I'm struggling with the decision as well.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:51 am

jpk5372 wrote:Oh, hello friend who will be making the same exact decision as me!

I'm in a slightly different scenario in that my family lives in Greensboro, NC. I loved Duke when I visited, I've lived in the northeast all my life and I'm sick of the cold, and I enjoy being outdoors so the atmosphere at Duke is definately one I would prefer to NYC.

That said, Columbia is the best school I've gotten into. Both have very interesting programs and I'm curious about live in NYC...

I don't think there is any wrong choice for us but I'm struggling with the decision as well.


Haha awesome! Yeah there being lots of stuff to do outdoors is definitely appealing about Durham.

Just curious, how come Chicago and NYU aren't in the picture for you? (I didn't even get into those haha)

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jpk5372
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby jpk5372 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:02 am

lakerfanimal wrote:
jpk5372 wrote:Oh, hello friend who will be making the same exact decision as me!

I'm in a slightly different scenario in that my family lives in Greensboro, NC. I loved Duke when I visited, I've lived in the northeast all my life and I'm sick of the cold, and I enjoy being outdoors so the atmosphere at Duke is definately one I would prefer to NYC.

That said, Columbia is the best school I've gotten into. Both have very interesting programs and I'm curious about live in NYC...

I don't think there is any wrong choice for us but I'm struggling with the decision as well.


Haha awesome! Yeah there being lots of stuff to do outdoors is definitely appealing about Durham.

Just curious, how come Chicago and NYU aren't in the picture for you? (I didn't even get into those haha)


Chicago offered $, but really doesn't have the type of programs that I'm interested in or the environment that I'm looking for. Chicago is also very cold. I would be ok with dealing with the cold for NYC...

At the moment I'm assuming I'd have to pay sticker for both Columbia and NYU because I haven't heard anything from them financially. In that case, I'd pick Columbia over NYU.

Have you visited both?

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:09 am

jpk5372 wrote:
Chicago offered $, but really doesn't have the type of programs that I'm interested in or the environment that I'm looking for. Chicago is also very cold. I would be ok with dealing with the cold for NYC...

At the moment I'm assuming I'd have to pay sticker for both Columbia and NYU because I haven't heard anything from them financially. In that case, I'd pick Columbia over NYU.

Have you visited both?


Ohh got ya. Haha yeah that wind chill does seem pretty daunting. Someone I know has lived in both cities and they seem indifferent about the weather in NYC, but when you bring up Chicago they just get this expression like, "Do you realize how cold it is there?! :shock: "

Hmm Columbia has more of the programs you're looking for than NYU?

I actually haven't, the ASW's will be my first time! I've driven through NYC but never actually been outside the car in NYC haha. And I have never stepped foot on Duke's campus. Are you going to both ASW's?

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jpk5372
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby jpk5372 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:15 am

lakerfanimal wrote:
jpk5372 wrote:
Chicago offered $, but really doesn't have the type of programs that I'm interested in or the environment that I'm looking for. Chicago is also very cold. I would be ok with dealing with the cold for NYC...

At the moment I'm assuming I'd have to pay sticker for both Columbia and NYU because I haven't heard anything from them financially. In that case, I'd pick Columbia over NYU.

Have you visited both?


Ohh got ya. Haha yeah that wind chill does seem pretty daunting. Someone I know has lived in both cities and they seem indifferent about the weather in NYC, but when you bring up Chicago they just get this expression like, "Do you realize how cold it is there?! :shock: "

Hmm Columbia has more of the programs you're looking for than NYU?

I actually haven't, the ASW's will be my first time! I've driven through NYC but never actually been outside the car in NYC haha. And I have never stepped foot on Duke's campus. Are you going to both ASW's?


Its not that Columbia is that much significantly better than NYU for me, but I just have a better feeling about the school. That said, money would probably sway me towards NYU but I don't think it is likely I will get any.

I won't be at either ASW unfortunately. I don't really have much time off from work, but I went to Monday's at Columbia and looked around NYUs campus and attended an NYU event here in DC and I've already toured Duke and know that I really like it down there.

Right now I know that I'll be happy at either school, I'm just trying to weigh the employment/career prospects and whether that is worth sticker vs. a scholarship.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:11 pm

jpk5372 wrote:
lakerfanimal wrote:
jpk5372 wrote:
Chicago offered $, but really doesn't have the type of programs that I'm interested in or the environment that I'm looking for. Chicago is also very cold. I would be ok with dealing with the cold for NYC...

At the moment I'm assuming I'd have to pay sticker for both Columbia and NYU because I haven't heard anything from them financially. In that case, I'd pick Columbia over NYU.

Have you visited both?


Ohh got ya. Haha yeah that wind chill does seem pretty daunting. Someone I know has lived in both cities and they seem indifferent about the weather in NYC, but when you bring up Chicago they just get this expression like, "Do you realize how cold it is there?! :shock: "

Hmm Columbia has more of the programs you're looking for than NYU?

I actually haven't, the ASW's will be my first time! I've driven through NYC but never actually been outside the car in NYC haha. And I have never stepped foot on Duke's campus. Are you going to both ASW's?


Its not that Columbia is that much significantly better than NYU for me, but I just have a better feeling about the school. That said, money would probably sway me towards NYU but I don't think it is likely I will get any.

I won't be at either ASW unfortunately. I don't really have much time off from work, but I went to Monday's at Columbia and looked around NYUs campus and attended an NYU event here in DC and I've already toured Duke and know that I really like it down there.

Right now I know that I'll be happy at either school, I'm just trying to weigh the employment/career prospects and whether that is worth sticker vs. a scholarship.


Ahh got ya, well it's good that you got a gut feeling at least :)

Oooo what'd you think?!

Haha yeah that's where I'm at too. Trying to figure out if Columbia is worth THAT much more than Duke :/

lakerfanimal
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Re: Columbia vs. Duke ($$) vs. Northwestern vs. UCLA

Postby lakerfanimal » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:57 pm

It seems everyone is making decisions now and I wanted to a) get some more feedback if possible and b) there's a difference now: Duke's offer is now at 72k, Northwestern's offer is at 90k but I have to tell them tomorrow, and Columbia is still at 0 :?
Because of personal savings and whatnot, I'd be able to pay about 100k of the total costs.

Does anyone have any info they'd like to add? I know I can't be the only person going through this decision, so I hope this helps others too.

All of my background is up above, only edits being- I didn't really like Durham and I loved NYC. If cost were no issue it would be Columbia>>>>>>>Duke>>NW.

Thanks again!




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