Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

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jtemp320
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Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:02 am

Feels like a lot of us Californians who didn't make it into HYS are making this tough decision. My cycle has taken many twists and turns but I was most interested in these two schools for very different reasons from the beginning and now have ended up with them as the finalists. I felt pretty sure I was going to Columbia but then I got a matching scholarship from Berkeley last week.

I got 75k from Columbia and 75k from Berkeley. Here is the catch - my Berkeley scholarship is separate from a need based aid evaluation that I will hear the results of this week - that could be nothing or could be up to an additional 60k in aid (I have gotten substantial need based from other schools). That aside right now...

my COA at Berkeley is 188 - 75 (113k)

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/6943.htm

my COA at Columbia 222- 75 (147k)

http://www.law.columbia.edu/current_stu ... st_billing

My goals remain somewhat undefined - long term I'd like to work in government but am also interested in business. I could see myself potentially working in-house at a company - right now the idea of academia even appeals to me. I'm not enamored of biglaw as a long term career path but definitely willing to pursue it to pay my dues (and my loans). Short term I would love to have the opportunity to clerk.

I am from SoCal and went to college on the east coast (not NY). I have family and friends in NYC and think I could make my way there fine but I have a lot that I am attached to here (serious girlfriend, family, friends, car) and honestly I love the California's quality of life. Basically - I think quality of life difference for me - especially first year between Boalt and CLS could be very substantial. I love Berkeley and San Francisco and though I love NY I think it could be a very tough place to be a broke student. Also - I hate CLS' toaster like building and found Morningside Heights dreary. On the other hand nearly everyone I met at CLS's ASW seemed like someone I could get along with (unfortunately, I missed Boalt's ASW while checking out another school).

I am also very attracted to the history, prestige and opportunities that I imagine a place like CLS can provide and I have always thought living in NY for a few years could be a great experience (though I didn't imagine doing it as a broke student). I do probably want to end up back in California eventually unless I could crack the tiny DC market.

I know these are mostly the kind of personal considerations that only I can weigh but with a few days left I'm willing to hear advice from anyone. Thanks to everyone on TLS who has been helpful throughout my cycle and see some of you on the east/west coast next year.

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Dany
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby Dany » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:23 am

Even though you say to put it aside for now, I think you need to know your need aid from Berkeley in order to get useful opinions. As is? I would personally take Columbia, but my life isn't in Cali. But Berkeley isn't a bad call either, especially with all you have on the west coast.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby lakerfanimal » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:43 am

Congrats again man!

I think if you get even half of that 60k, you should go to Berkeley (which sucks for me to say because you were definitely one of the coolest people I met at CLS haha). If you get 30k at Berkeley, then the difference ends up being around 65,000. To me, as someone else from CA that wants to end up back here, CLS isn't worth THAT much more. Outside of CA, yeah CLS gives you some more options, but in CA I doubt it makes you that much more marketable, if at all. Good luck man :)

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jtemp320
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:10 pm

lakerfanimal wrote:Congrats again man!

I think if you get even half of that 60k, you should go to Berkeley (which sucks for me to say because you were definitely one of the coolest people I met at CLS haha). If you get 30k at Berkeley, then the difference ends up being around 65,000. To me, as someone else from CA that wants to end up back here, CLS isn't worth THAT much more. Outside of CA, yeah CLS gives you some more options, but in CA I doubt it makes you that much more marketable, if at all. Good luck man :)



It was great meeting you too! If I come to CLS we definitely are going to have to get a group together to watch Laker games.

Anyway re: my decision - I'm probably thinking the same thing - getting at least some extra $ in need based aid will be big. It will be a tough one if not.

Thank you both for the input - I'm finding it very hard to make this decision.

jman77
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jman77 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:13 pm

jtemp320 wrote:
lakerfanimal wrote:Congrats again man!

I think if you get even half of that 60k, you should go to Berkeley (which sucks for me to say because you were definitely one of the coolest people I met at CLS haha). If you get 30k at Berkeley, then the difference ends up being around 65,000. To me, as someone else from CA that wants to end up back here, CLS isn't worth THAT much more. Outside of CA, yeah CLS gives you some more options, but in CA I doubt it makes you that much more marketable, if at all. Good luck man :)



It was great meeting you too! If I come to CLS we definitely are going to have to get a group together to watch Laker games.

Anyway re: my decision - I'm probably thinking the same thing - getting at least some extra $ in need based aid will be big. It will be a tough one if not.

Thank you both for the input - I'm finding it very hard to make this decision.


You know what I pick :D But congrats on the Berkeley offer. It's great to have the Cali option at the very least.

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glitched
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby glitched » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:17 pm

I am also a cali resident born and raised and with those figures, i would have to say go to Berkeley! i was there for undergrad and it is seriously the best!

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bk1
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:26 pm

Berkeley since you want to be in CA more than NYC and have serious attachments to CA.

Neither school is going to give you a significant edge towards clerking or academia so I wouldn't let that affect the decision.

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aesis
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby aesis » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:36 pm

Berkeley. Lower COA, better QOL, significant personal ties, possibility of need-based aid, and my understanding from the hiring partners/associates I've spoken with is that only YHS is better than Boalt for those who want CA after law school.

But seeing as you are open to NYC/DC it comes down to "fit" and QOL. Hope to see you at Boalt this fall!

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jtemp320
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:42 pm

bk1 wrote:Berkeley since you want to be in CA more than NYC and have serious attachments to CA.

Neither school is going to give you a significant edge towards clerking or academia so I wouldn't let that affect the decision.


Thanks everyone - is that consensus that Columbia vs. Berkeley for clerkships, academia etc. is basically even?

Strangely enough I got an email from UChicago saying they probably were going to make offers from the waitlist this week and wanted to discuss my file. I tried to withdraw but they replied that there are still scholarships available and would that change my mind?...I know that Chi is a school that could seriously help with these goals but I think I'll stick with CLS vs Berkeley (unless they make a very compelling offer) because I can't really see myself in Hyde Park compared to NYC or Norcal.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:51 pm

As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.

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jtemp320
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:56 pm

worldtraveler wrote:As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.


Wait - why do most people lose it their second and third years?! I'm not going to come into any money while in law school nor are my parents I can assure you.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:02 pm

jtemp320 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.


Wait - why do most people lose it their second and third years?! I'm not going to come into any money while in law school nor are my parents I can assure you.


Because it's used as an incentive to get you to come to the school.

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bk1
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:06 pm

jtemp320 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Berkeley since you want to be in CA more than NYC and have serious attachments to CA.

Neither school is going to give you a significant edge towards clerking or academia so I wouldn't let that affect the decision.


Thanks everyone - is that consensus that Columbia vs. Berkeley for clerkships, academia etc. is basically even?

Strangely enough I got an email from UChicago saying they probably were going to make offers from the waitlist this week and wanted to discuss my file. I tried to withdraw but they replied that there are still scholarships available and would that change my mind?...I know that Chi is a school that could seriously help with these goals but I think I'll stick with CLS vs Berkeley (unless they make a very compelling offer) because I can't really see myself in Hyde Park compared to NYC or Norcal.


I mean CLS is definitely more prestigious, don't get me wrong. Academia is basically nill out of either so that is definitely a wash and I would hazard that for clerkships they are pretty close. But the thing is, even if CLS has an edge, I don't think that edge is worth the worse CA placement generally.

If you end up in below median and can't get the jobs you are aiming for (I realize I am being pessimistic here), would you rather be working for a small firm in CA or a small firm in NYC? Since you seem to prefer CA and have a lot that ties you there, I say take Berkeley because in worst case scenario it is going to be easier getting CA stuff from Berkeley than from CLS and CA seems to be where you want.

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powerlawyer06
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby powerlawyer06 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:18 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
jtemp320 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.


Wait - why do most people lose it their second and third years?! I'm not going to come into any money while in law school nor are my parents I can assure you.


Because it's used as an incentive to get you to come to the school.


I asked this question to the Berkeley financial aid office and they stated is was renewed each year but would only be affected by a change in your income, residency, or a general lack of availability of funds.

What you are saying makes more sense though. Are you sure these people are not losing their fin-aid because of a change in their residency (ie-becoming a resident of California)?

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jtemp320
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:25 pm

powerlawyer06 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
jtemp320 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.


Wait - why do most people lose it their second and third years?! I'm not going to come into any money while in law school nor are my parents I can assure you.


Because it's used as an incentive to get you to come to the school.


I asked this question to the Berkeley financial aid office and they stated is was renewed each year but would only be affected by a change in your income, residency, or a general lack of availability of funds.

What you are saying makes more sense though. Are you sure these people are not losing their fin-aid because of a change in their residency (ie-becoming a resident of California)?


This is a good question considering they said my need based aid decision is being made seperate from my matching scholarship but I doubt that will be the case next year...

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worldtraveler
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:27 pm

powerlawyer06 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
jtemp320 wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:As for need based aid, keep in mind that whatever you get from Berkeley, and from any school, is for 1st year only. It' re-evaluated each year and most people lose it their 2L and 3L year.

If I were you I would choose Berkeley due to your personal ties but you'll have to make the decision as to how important those relationships are for you. There is no wrong answer here.


Wait - why do most people lose it their second and third years?! I'm not going to come into any money while in law school nor are my parents I can assure you.


Because it's used as an incentive to get you to come to the school.


I asked this question to the Berkeley financial aid office and they stated is was renewed each year but would only be affected by a change in your income, residency, or a general lack of availability of funds.

What you are saying makes more sense though. Are you sure these people are not losing their fin-aid because of a change in their residency (ie-becoming a resident of California)?


Yes, I'm sure. This isn't a Berkeley thing; this is a law school thing. Need based aid is guaranteed for one year only while making it look like you'll get it renewed. It is renewable, and a few people keep it. Most people don't though. I'm just saying look at whatever amount you get as a one time thing and don't count on anything else, wherever you go.

Also notice the response Berkeley gave you. They say it's renewed but can be affected by all kinds of stuff. All they have to say is there is a lack of available funds and you don't get anything. That response doesn't guarantee anything.

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jtemp320
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:22 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
Yes, I'm sure. This isn't a Berkeley thing; this is a law school thing. Need based aid is guaranteed for one year only while making it look like you'll get it renewed. It is renewable, and a few people keep it. Most people don't though. I'm just saying look at whatever amount you get as a one time thing and don't count on anything else, wherever you go.

Also notice the response Berkeley gave you. They say it's renewed but can be affected by all kinds of stuff. All they have to say is there is a lack of available funds and you don't get anything. That response doesn't guarantee anything.


Wow - if I had need based money only and lost it I am pretty sure would flip out...that seems like a pretty terrible practice...

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powerlawyer06
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby powerlawyer06 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:26 pm

jtemp320 wrote:Wow - if I had need based money only and lost it I am pretty sure would flip out...that seems like a pretty terrible practice...


+1

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awahoya
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Re: Another Columbia vs Berkeley thread

Postby awahoya » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:20 pm

You know my personal preference on this :D

But let's wait to see what that other offer turns out to be from Boalt...




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