Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

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Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

// If not Yale... //
6
4%
Stanford
41
25%
Harvard
17
10%
NYU (if RTK)
12
7%
// If Yale... //
4
2%
Yale
58
35%
Stanford
15
9%
Harvard
8
5%
NYU (if RTK)
3
2%
 
Total votes: 164

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dot
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Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:53 am

Ok, so I've had good enough luck to get into most of the places I've applied and also to have been invited to interview for the Root-Tilden-Kern program at NYU. I'm thankful for this, but I'm starting to get decision-making anxiety. If I get the Root, I'll have to decide before Harvard and Stanford ASWs and possibly before hearing back from Yale.
Would be cool if you vote for one of Stanford, Harvard or RTK assuming no Yale acceptance. And then add choose again under "If Yale..." Thanks for the opinions.

Edit: update: No RTK at NYU (over 100k in $) and just got my Yale acceptance



Here's the breakdown:

I'm planning a career in public interest environmental law/policy (mainly been working on international climate policy to date, but also renewable energy development); might stray from the legal field a little down the road, but not completely. I am not sure how concerned I am about debt with Harvard or Stanford's LRAP. It is certainly emotionally a factor during law school to know that what I am doing is getting me into massive debt, but I don't THINK I'm that concerned about how it will be to get it all paid off, as I have the feeling that either Harvard or Stanford's LRAP programs will work fine for me (but maybe I'm wrong).

The main draws of Stanford:
I have the opportunity to get a joint MS degree (currently getting MA in enviro policy, this second masters would be more climate science, which is important to me). Excited about environmental law program/clinic. Generally enthused about culture/weather/potential for happiness*.

And concerns:
General decline in employment numbers. Ability to get PI jobs on east coast reduced?
Stanford was my first choice going in for a number of reasons, but I am also worried this is because it is the only school from this list that I've already visited (and perhaps I just got excited about *law school* and not *Stanford Law School* from my visit last year)
*Happiness-potential caveat: Reduction of CalTrain service scares me; Not a Stanford/Palo Alto bubble kind of person; I need access to the rest of the Bay and do not drive/have a car.

The main draws of Harvard:
I've lived much of my life abroad and will probably move around a fair bit around the world later in life, so international prestige does mean a fair amount (in terms of jobs, not impressing people at cocktail parties). This also applies for possible non-legal work in the future. I'm not a prestige whore, but since I do want to build a career that isn't quite as simple as joining a BigLaw firm and working my way up, I do want to maximize brand value across a varied spectrum.
3rd year tuition write-off for public interest students is a nice addition to LRAP, it seems. Edit: too bad it doesn't exist.

And concerns:
Feel like I need to visit (wouldn't have that option if I decide to take RTK) to check out the school culture. In my head, I am fairly biased against Harvard in this regard. Don't want to spend 3 years with assholes, but I'm not sure how much perception actually reflects facts.
I've never been to Cambridge/Boston and therefore have no opinion on location.
Also, I'm not too sold on Harvard being the right place for environmental law, but also not that concerned in the face of general strengths in regulatory law/law&government.

The main draws of NYU with RTK:
Elimination of 3 years of tuition debt is obviously the main draw. But being in RTK also has its own benefits (network, support) beyond money.
NYU also drew me in initially with its (urban) environmental planning/law tie-ins.
I actually am quite excited about NYC, at least for a short-period (3 years) of my life.

And concerns:
Obvious reduction in prestige and impacts on job opps. Not sure how much this could be offset by RTK.
Last edited by dot on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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tgir
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby tgir » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:26 am

dot wrote: I have the feeling that either Harvard or Stanford's LRAP programs will work fine for me (but maybe I'm wrong).


From what I've heard, a fair number of environmental law jobs are in firms. If you're set on working for public/nonprofit entities only, it won't matter. But if you're not sure, Harvard's LRAP might be a safer bet, as it covers private employers too.

dot wrote:I have the opportunity to get a joint MS degree (currently getting MA in enviro policy, this second masters would be more climate science, which is important to me). Excited about environmental law program/clinic.


This seems like a very important point. Stanford, especially with the joint MS, makes the most sense BY FAR in terms of programmatic strength.

dot wrote:General decline in employment numbers. Ability to get PI jobs on east coast reduced?


If you're referring to the recent NLJ stats, I wouldn't read too much into those. There could be many explanations. As for East Coast PI, I think the only real impairment you'd have at Stanford is just a bit of a harder time actually seeking out employers, going to interviews, etc. I don't think Stanford's brand, especially among PI employers, is going to be limiting in the least.

dot wrote:Reduction of CalTrain service scares me; Not a Stanford/Palo Alto bubble kind of person; I need access to the rest of the Bay and do not drive/have a car.


They've been working on the budget recently. It sounds like the cuts will probably not be as drastic as originally stated. The announcement should be made April 7th, I believe.

dot wrote:3rd year tuition write-off for public interest students is a nice addition to LRAP, it seems.


This Harvard program doesn't exist anymore.


Regarding Yale and NYU, the NYU money would be nice, but it shouldn't be dispositive, and Yale is awesome, but if you're thinking of doing environmental work, I'm pretty sure that's one area where Stanford beats Yale handily.

If I were in your shoes, it'd come down to Stanford or NYU, and I'd probably end up choosing Stanford.

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src42
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby src42 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:38 am

I said Harvard because I figure it'd be easier to get a government or non-profit job in energy/environmental policy in DC from Harvard than from Stanford, plus it would just be easier to go down to DC for summers to do internships. The environmental law clinic at Harvard looks pretty legit too. But really, either one would be great. At Stanford you'd benefit from all the clean tech activity in Silicon Valley, and there's tons going on in San Francisco too. No wrong decision.

If Yale => Yale.

I'm seriously jealous. Good luck to you!

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dot
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:05 am

tgir wrote:
dot wrote:3rd year tuition write-off for public interest students is a nice addition to LRAP, it seems.


This Harvard program doesn't exist anymore.


No? Wow. Now I see this news from 2009. Must have confused JR's talking about Public Service Venture Fund etc with Public Service Initiative. Too bad. I should have paid more attention to the e-binder and not to the entire financial aid website. This might be enough to to cut Harvard from the running.

Thanks for your other thoughts, too, though. Also good to know at least the plan for the next year of CalTrain service should be out soon.

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tgir
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby tgir » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:51 am

dot wrote: Must have confused JR's talking about Public Service Venture Fund etc with Public Service Initiative.


I cynically think that they encourage this confusion. :lol:

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dot
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:07 pm

tgir wrote:
dot wrote: Must have confused JR's talking about Public Service Venture Fund etc with Public Service Initiative.


I cynically think that they encourage this confusion. :lol:

I think so, too. And when I first heard from you that it doesn't exist, and I was still confused from the JR chat, I also felt pretty bitter/angry that I'd been more intentionally misled.

legalmindedfella
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby legalmindedfella » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:32 pm

The enthusiasm for working on and huge amount of scholarship/research related to environmental issues on Stanford as a campus combined with California being a big, big deal for energy policy makes me think you have to pick Stanford. You'll also be, you know, delighted to be there, which'll help too. PM for more on this if you want.

notanumber
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby notanumber » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:48 pm

I'm not as knowledgeable about the law side of things (ironic, I know), but in terms of heavy-hitting academic environmental policy research, Yale forestry is amazing and would certainly be my choice over Stanford's program (shiny new building and all).

If you do get into YLS, look seriously at joint programs with Forestry.

That being said, I've heard rumors that the Stanford environmental law program is stellar.

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yuzu
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby yuzu » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:07 pm

Stanford is a great place, but if you really want access to the rest of the Bay Area you need a car. In my experience taking transit around here takes something like 3 times as long as driving, and when you're going to faraway places like SF or Berkeley that's a huge time sink. And much of Silicon Valley's sprawl isn't accessible to transit. So, especially given a dual grad student workload, I would not expect to get out of the Stanford bubble too frequently unless you hitch a ride with your classmates.

As for your original question - my opinion is that the ability to be in a Stanford science program (if that's what you want to do) trumps Harvard's international brand. Yale's main draw is that it will be well-respected if you want to go into US federal policy, and also provides a path to academia (which may not be a bad path for influencing environmental policy).
Not sure about RTK, but I think it hinges mainly on your financial situation and how much of a burden debt would be on your career.

HamDel
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby HamDel » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:19 pm

If you're feeling brave you should email professor Michael Gerrard at Columbia. He was a Root Tilden scholar and is one of the biggest names in environmental law on the planet. He might be able to give you an idea of how the RTK program helped him/what's important in terms of landing your dream job.

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dot
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dot » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:07 am

So update:

No RTK at NYU (over 100k in $) and just got my Yale acceptance.

Aiiii

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St.Remy
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby St.Remy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:11 am

Congrats on Yale. Obviously you should take it.

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NikaneOkie
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby NikaneOkie » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:11 am

dot wrote:So update:

No RTK at NYU (over 100k in $) and just got my Yale acceptance.

Aiiii


WOW!!
Congratulations!
Enjoy Yale! (or withdraw and give me a spot?) :oops:

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tea_drinker
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby tea_drinker » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:28 am

NikaneOkie wrote:
WOW!!
Congratulations!
Enjoy Yale!

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dot
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dot » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Yale,

Is it really that simple or is this law student groupthink?

I mean, I know in general it is far and away the best; but not sure it is in 100% of the cases, including mine (?)

dkt4
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dkt4 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:27 pm

dot wrote:Re: Yale,

Is it really that simple or is this law student groupthink?

I mean, I know in general it is far and away the best; but not sure it is in 100% of the cases, including mine (?)


no, its not that simple.

in terms of your interests, i can't imagine how a stanford dual degree isn't preferable to a yale law degree. hell, for your interests, the location alone probably trumps yale.

also, if you're worried about getting around in palo alto, you'll definitely know someone with a car and caltrain up to SF is really not bad (think of it like getting to brooklyn or something in NYC via subway)...but for those times when you want to get to the east bay, which will probably be few and far between, it'll be a pain unless you're comfortable bumming a ride off people.

notanumber
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby notanumber » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:20 pm

dkt4 wrote:
dot wrote:Re: Yale,

Is it really that simple or is this law student groupthink?

I mean, I know in general it is far and away the best; but not sure it is in 100% of the cases, including mine (?)


no, its not that simple.

in terms of your interests, i can't imagine how a stanford dual degree isn't preferable to a yale law degree. hell, for your interests, the location alone probably trumps yale.

also, if you're worried about getting around in palo alto, you'll definitely know someone with a car and caltrain up to SF is really not bad (think of it like getting to brooklyn or something in NYC via subway)...but for those times when you want to get to the east bay, which will probably be few and far between, it'll be a pain unless you're comfortable bumming a ride off people.


I'll agree that it's not that simple, that Stanford has a lot going for it, and that a lot of people would be better served at Stanford than at Yale. That might include the OP, but I'm not convinced out of hand. People tend to think Stanford=California=environmentalism without understanding just how heavy-hitting the Yale forestry program is. Climate change science may be one of the only areas of environmental research where Stanford can go toe-to-toe with Yale, but initiatives like GCEP are not without controversy and IMHO Stanford isn't as strong a school on the policy end of things. I can't speak to the environmental law programs at the two schools.

Regarding Caltrain, it's not a very useful system for anything other than going to Giants games (I commuted on it from the city to Palo Alto for the better part of a year before giving up and deciding to drive). It has fairly infrequent service, it is quite expensive, and dumps you in a part of the city that's a long MUNI ride from anything fun. Caltrain also lacks a dedicated funding source and, as a result, has been raising fares by absurd amounts, has cut service dramatically, and is even considering chopping off weekend service.

Bottom line: OP should visit both schools and talk to people in the law and environmental science departments before figuring out which program is the best for the OP. OP should also chat with experts who are unaffiliated with either university. The opinions of people who actually work in the field will be far more productive than random 0Ls on TLS.

dkt4
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Re: Stanford joint deg / Harvard / RTK? / Yale?

Postby dkt4 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:47 pm

not trying to knock the yale forestry program, but stanford is probably the world's foremost research university and is very dedicated to emerging technology (including cleantech), as is much of the community around it. while i think yale's a great school, it can't really compare to the departments related to the OPs interests university wide.

there's may be a legitimate point to be made that yale has more pull with regard to policy, but i'm not sure that is definitely the case.

agree 100% with your bottom line, though, and those are fair points about caltrain. regardless of what anyone would like it to be, the vast majority of the US has shitty public transportation heh.




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