Bildungsroman wrote:evilsushi1 wrote:I get the feeling that a lot of posters in this thread stopped reading after $35k in debt from Texas and $150k in debt from Stanford...
The OP mentioned a preference for living in Austin which hasn't been addressed much. Even though the OP states he/she won't be living on campus I'm going to assume for the purposes of this post that he/she lives near campus. Stanford is a very insulated school; while it is well-maintained, beautiful, and clean (some might say sterile), it is also pretty quiet at night. Going out at night to grab dinner requires having to exit Stanford's huge campus probably by car to Palo Alto, which is very nice but also not the most exciting or affordable city. I think it's pretty safe to say Palo Alto is no Austin. Palo Alto would never embrace a "Keep Palo Alto Weird" slogan. A south bay real estate agent once told me some very interesting stories about how Palo Alto has tried various tactics to shield itself from the adjacent city East Palo Alto, which is, to put it lightly, less socioeconomically fortunate.
Also, I don't think the "Stanford is near SF" claim holds water. Stanford is also still a considerable distance from San Francisco, though my perspective may be slanted from living in Berkeley and how much more convenient it is to reach SF from Berkeley. The CalTrain station is a bit of a distance from the Stanford campus and during some parts of the day, there is only one train per hour. The CalTrain is also pretty slow, though to be fair, the BART and AC Transit aren't very fast either. But Berkeley is substantially closer to Berkeley and from UC Berkeley, there are a multitude of ways to get into the city, like from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, the Rockridge BART station, and the F or FS line bus. Also, parking in the city is not fun.
If you can't put up with a less engaging nightlife for 3 years then you're retarded.
OP turned down Harvard for quality of life issues, does that also make him/her retarded? I only brought location up because it seemed like it was part of the OP's equation. By no means is it the only factor. There are other parts which I didn't comment on like placement specifically into small law firms and public interest in AZ because it's not clear to me which school is better within that narrow range. For other things like biglaw it's much easier to see the difference. Frankly, I haven't seen much in this thread that actually makes a really good argument for either school in this respect and a lot of (currently) unsubstantiated claims have been thrown about.