173/3.8 - non-traditional applicant.What were your expectations going in?
I was pretty hubristic and figured I'd get something within CCN. How did things turned out?
Textbook LSN/LSP outcome. Rejected at H and S, in at CLS and NYU, waitlisted there on down. The only wild card was Berkeley, and I got in just because I really ravaged the 4 page PS.How did you make your decision?
I dinged UCLA, because I was worried about the California legal market and job prospects outside Cali. Turning down Berkeley was hard, I'd probably rather be in Nor Cal, but with the legal market such as it is... I felt the T6 schools were safer.
CLS and NYU offered me equal money. Talking with the administration at both schools, I got the a much more positive vibe from NYU regarding how the career services stuff works. As a non-traditional, there's all sorts of weird variables that go into where I can/want to work. People I talked with at CLS were kind of like, "oh the Columbia name will open doors." At NYU both the OCS people and people within the Law and Business program engaged me pretty directly about what my objectives were, and they were clear that I would need to manage my OCI selection process carefully. More broadly, the Law and Business program at NYU struck me as more developed and interesting - given that I don't want to completely leave my accounting background behind, that resonated positively.
So all of that and I think this fringe-hipster lifestyle I've been living in Chicago would make the transition to Columbia pretty painful.What did you feel you did right?
Got solid recs lined up way in advance.What would you do differently?
I would have applied to more schools. I may have left money on the table by not applying to Michigan, Penn, etc. and not filling out scholarship stuff for schools like Duke, Cornell, Vandy, etc. which may have been useful for leverage. I was basically too lazy to write the extra essays.
lol, I was using Dany's as a template, and this is almost EXACTLY what I was going to say. I really, really should've applied to Penn - people with my numbers got money. I failed to submit scholarship documentation for Duke in particular, which might have gotten me money.
I really should've applied to Northwestern, who I think gave out 150k to some people with my numbers. And I should not have withdrawn from the Chicago waitlist, as some people with my index got off the waitlist with more money than I got out of CLS/NYU.
Beyond that, I wouldn't have stressed about the personal statement nearly as much - as long as it's not complete garbage you're fine. And if you're coming up with something so breath-taking that it will actually make a difference, you're not stressing over it to begin with.General tips from your experience?
Similar stuff to Dany. Early = Thanksgiving, except Harvard I think may want stuff particularly early.
Get your recs in line. I was fortunate to have two people who basically jumped at the chance to write me a rec, but whatever your situation, don't have that be the item delaying your application.
Apply everywhere, even places you'd never go. The whole scholarship bonanza is a lot more fun if you can bring weapons to the game.
If you have a question, call the admissions office. Don't be a jerk - they have caller ID. But they're there to answer questions about the application process, and are broadly very nice and very helpful.
Take everything you hear on TLS with a grain of salt. If opinions are like assholes in that everyone has one, the internet is where the assholes themselves seem to have the loudest opinions. Do your own research, and you'll be much better informed about what your 200,000 dollars is buying you.