Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

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What should I do?

NU Early Decision
59
66%
Go RD and take a chance on HYS
31
34%
 
Total votes: 90

lawlcat4179
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Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:38 am

So, here's the situation. I'm debating on whether next fall I should apply Early Decision to NU, or if I should just take my chances with regular decision. If I go the regular decision route, I'd blanket all the T14+Texas/Vandy, and go with the best balance of debt/career prospects. I know that with an Early Decision at NW, you get a 150k scholarship if admitted, and the opportunity to go to a T14 for free would be incredible (especially in this economy).

So for the situation...
I've taken the LSAT 3 times, 160/170/175
GPA 3.85
Interested primarily in biglaw, but really like the added possibilities of a Harvard degree

If it was a pick between Northwestern full ride and Harvard, I'd pick Harvard in a heartbeat. However, if I didn't get Harvard, I would go with NU over all others (unless an unlikely full ride from a T6). I don't have very great softs, and, combined with a completely terrible undergrad, I'm thinking that may spell doom at Harvard. At best, I'm guessing 50% chance of getting in? Could lower apps next year make Harvard more likely than that?

Also worth noting is that I've been obsessed with NU since I was about 4 years old. This doesn't trump career outcomes in any way, but just a soft factor in their favor. Plus I'm from the midwest.

So... Would a full ride at Northwestern be worth it to forgo a chance at Harvard? If I did apply to all those schools with regular decision, how do you think my cycle would turn out? Would I get comparable offers through RD at other schools, or am I likely to get shafted? I would also go to Stanford or Yale over NU obviously, but those are basically off the table due to my softs.

Also, I'm open to creative advice... Would it be an option to apply day 1 to harvard and maybe hear back with a decision before the deadline for NU early decision? Their deadline I believe is Nov 15 to get your application in.

Thanks for the help.

nsbane
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby nsbane » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:21 am

I have never heard that early decision applicants get a full ride at Northwestern. I think you may be confused. Where is the link to the details of the scholarship?

lawlcat4179
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:27 am

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissi ... ision.html

At the bottom it mentions 50k per year in merit money, unless I'm missing something.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:28 am

It's new this cycle. All NU ED admits receive a full tuition scholarship.

snehpets
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby snehpets » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:36 am

Harvard has been pretty harsh on 3.8s this year. Also, there's been some suggestion that they still aren't big on multiple scores with a low average. If I had your numbers in your situation I would probably do northwestern since it's your favorite school and you'd be close to if not completely debt free.

As for applying sept 15th or whatever, based on past cycles it's extremely unlikely you'd hear back from Harvard in time for NU's deadline.

Good luck either way!

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goldenflash19
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby goldenflash19 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:40 am

You have the WE for NU, right? If so, I'd go for the full ride. A T14 education for free is as good as it gets. Even though Harvard is Harvard, it sounds like you have a soft spot for the Midwest, and NU should leave you in excellent shape there.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby bk1 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:50 am

Since you're interested in biglaw, I would personally choose a large scholarship at a lower T14 over HYS. If all you want is biglaw and not academia/clerkships/prestigiouspi/etc then, imo, the advantages of HYS are not as large. Sure you have a greater chance at HYS and will likely be able to get a more prestigious biglaw firm, but if biglaw really is your primary goal then I'd probably take the scholarship.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:18 pm

lawlcat4179 wrote:Also worth noting is that I've been obsessed with NU since I was about 4 years old

I'm sorry about the swirly in high school.

lawlcat4179
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:42 pm

goldenflash19 wrote:You have the WE for NU, right? If so, I'd go for the full ride. A T14 education for free is as good as it gets. Even though Harvard is Harvard, it sounds like you have a soft spot for the Midwest, and NU should leave you in excellent shape there.


I'll have about a year and a half of WE. I'm figuring that I could slightly balance that out by having numbers that are better than what would usually be required. Plus if they deem it to be an issue, I'd be back at square 1 and just wind up seeing how the cycle plays out.

I really do have a soft spot for the Midwest and NU in general. Although it's been painful watching their sports teams always finding a way to lose in every single game.

My big concern is that last year I turned down U of M when they offered me a small scholarship. I come from a lower middle class family so I don't want to pass on Northwestern, not get accepted to Harvard, and wind up in the same boat as last year. I really don't want to be taking out 100k in debt for a non HYS degree.

Ranking of law firms really doesn't matter to me either. I don't really care about the difference between V5 or V100, as long as they pay the same (or reasonably similar). My main draw to Harvard would be some of the doors it would open up that are not biglaw (clerking, political, etc.). Also the fact that it is of course, Harvard.

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bk1
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby bk1 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:47 pm

lawlcat4179 wrote:My big concern is that last year I turned down U of M when they offered me a small scholarship. I come from a lower middle class family so I don't want to pass on Northwestern, not get accepted to Harvard, and wind up in the same boat as last year. I really don't want to be taking out 100k in debt for a non HYS degree.


If you have a shot at HYS it is important to consider what kind of need-based aid you might get when evaluating this decision.

Bumi
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby Bumi » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:52 pm

PM me if you'd like me to gush about Northwestern while mocking you for calling a 3.85 a "completely terrible undergrad."

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:56 pm

Interesting quandary. Sounds like you really like NU, and with a seemingly good shot with their ED program (which also subsequently means a full ride), I would actually throw my weight onto the NU-bandwagon as well.

HLS will not get back to you by NU's ED deadline. Need based financial aid from HLS is certainly something to consider, but with your 3.85/multiple LSATs, you're right that HLS is far from certain (or even more likely than not). Dancing around 50% sounds about right to me. Of course HLS has better biglaw employment prospects, but NU has great biglaw opportunities too; is the difference in probability and rankings worth $150k? imo, yes lol, unless you really want that Harvard brand name. Won't lie, it has had a surprisingly greater positive intangible effect than I thought it would (in the real world, and the legal professional world to the expected extent).

r6_philly
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby r6_philly » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:15 pm

I don't think whatever chance you have a Harvard is worth a full ride. An acceptance at H may be, but not the chance you have. You can also hope to bank a full ride elsewhere. For example, Penn only consider your top LSAT. So you may actually have a shot at a full ride at Penn.

Still I vote for NU. The better your UG background and your WE, the more I would vote NU. I don't think NU would foreclose any opportunities at biglaw if you have good background.

lawlcat4179
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:05 pm

Bumi wrote:PM me if you'd like me to gush about Northwestern while mocking you for calling a 3.85 a "completely terrible undergrad."


I may not have been entirely clear. The place I went to undergrad is completely terrible, not necessarily the GPA. It's a pretty TTTTTTTT state school, and actually when I got my 170, it was the highest score in our schools history (not exactly an intellectual hotbed). As a side note, is there any chance that Harvard could view that as a bonus? Odd question, but wondering how much they value being able to say... 278 undergraduate institutions represented as opposed to only 277 represented?

I would imagine that with my fairly poor work experience (see problem above with TTTT undergrad), that getting a good job out of NU would be more of an uphill climb. I've been fairly impressed with their placement data, but I wonder how much of their performance is due to stellar work experience of their student body. I would not have such experience, which I would imagine gives me a slimmer margin of error when I go.

The real data that would be useful for me is how well the students place from their school that come in with less than 1 or 2 years of WE, but I don't really expect to ever get much of a real idea of this.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:28 pm

Your numbers put you in a decent spot to snag a full-ride from CCN. I would not apply to NU ED in your position.

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soj
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby soj » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:11 pm

I think you'll get half-tuition or better from at least one of CCN if you don't ED.

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JoeFish
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby JoeFish » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:22 pm

Take the money and run. Pretty sweet problem to have, making that decision. But I wouldn't turn down full tuition at any T10 school for a 50% chance of getting into Harvard. I'm pretty big on cost-benefit analyses, and a 100% shot of going to NU for COL multiplied by your prospects from there is better, I'd think, than 50%*cost of attending Harvard*prospects from there.

lawlcat4179
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:49 pm

JoeFish wrote:Take the money and run. Pretty sweet problem to have, making that decision. But I wouldn't turn down full tuition at any T10 school for a 50% chance of getting into Harvard. I'm pretty big on cost-benefit analyses, and a 100% shot of going to NU for COL multiplied by your prospects from there is better, I'd think, than 50%*cost of attending Harvard*prospects from there.


Yeah, its definitely a good problem to have. Although certainly nothing is guaranteed, I'd imagine I stand a pretty good shot of getting awarded the full ride at NU (hate to jinx it). I'm also very big into cost-benefit-analysis (to a point where it becomes excessive). I'm at the point where I'm thinking that a big part of the cost-benefit-analysis should also be cost of living. If I went to Harvard, I'd probably work in NYC, whereas at NU I'd probably wind up in Chicago (assuming I don't strike out). The fact that the cost of living would be considerably less in Chicago would save quite a bit from going to Harvard.

I guess my problem is that I'm being greedy and am trying to squeeze every cent of value out of my LSAT (I'll have postponed school for two years already). If I went to Harvard I'd probably be looking at 5 years to pay off my debt, whereas at NU after 5 years I could probably be buying my parents a house and letting them retire (again, provided I don't strike out).

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Simplicity
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby Simplicity » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:43 pm

I'll be in a very similar situation when I apply next year. I took the LSAT twice (167/175), and I've got a 3.75 undergrad GPA. Also, I have decent softs with various internships I've had, a masters, and I'll be a CPA with a year of work experience at a large public accounting firm.

I'd like to go to a T6, but I don't like the idea of being in debt. I'll probably wait and see how much money those schools offer before making a decision (assuming I actually get accepted to any of them). I would also consider going to a lower ranked T14 for a substantial scholarship. Staying in Austin for 3 more years wouldn't be too bad.

vulpixie
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby vulpixie » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:27 am

bk1 wrote:Since you're interested in biglaw, I would personally choose a large scholarship at a lower T14 over HYS. If all you want is biglaw and not academia/clerkships/prestigiouspi/etc then, imo, the advantages of HYS are not as large. Sure you have a greater chance at HYS and will likely be able to get a more prestigious biglaw firm, but if biglaw really is your primary goal then I'd probably take the scholarship.


Credited. However, you should be aware that you have a very strong chance at Harvard. Especially if this trend of substantially fewer LSAT-takers/applicants continues next year.

071816
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby 071816 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:33 am

I'd opt for a huge scholly at a mid T14.

lawlcat4179
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby lawlcat4179 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:00 am

chimp wrote:I'd opt for a huge scholly at a mid T14.


This is also something I'm fairly interested in. I've tried to figure out what kind of scholarships I could get around other t14 schools, but its hard to tell with so few people posting scholarship info on LSN. If I had an offer of like, 90k at any other t14, I feel that to me personally it would be worth taking the chance on Harvard.

What do you think the odds are of this happening? As an example, if my best offer wound up being 67k from Michigan, I would be fairly disappointed and would rather want NU. As for T6, I'd need 75k+ to make it worth it in my mind. I figure numbers wise I may have an outside shot at some of the big full rides in the T14, but I don't really think I have the non numbers to pull it off.

Also, one last question, does anyone know how NU handles scholarships outside of Early Decision? What I'm wondering is if its still possible to get a full ride outside of ED? In the end it seems like they just want to attract good numbers, so if you were to commit to them outside of ED, I'm wondering how they might react to such an offer.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:34 am

NU's scholarship assures you of little debt, while a Harvard degree does not guarantee success. Nevertheless, it's better to wait until you receive actual offers before deciding. :D

snehpets
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby snehpets » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:44 am

If you're open to a big offer at any other t14, you could apply early in the year (not early decision) to Texas, Michigan, and UVA (which grouped some of their RD people with ED this year and they got decisions early). They all get back to at least some people before the NU early decision deadline. If you wrote good Why Texas, Why UVA, Why Mich statements you definitely have a shot at scholarships around or above 90k, especially at Texas. Early in the cycle they were quite generous with $. Anyway, so if any of those scholarship offers were enough that you would be fine with taking them you could forgo NU ED and wait on Harvard. You could also perhaps use them to gauge your shot (to some extent) at a big scholarship from a T6.

Personally, while I think you have about as good as or better a chance than anyone at 90k at a T6, I think that's too unsure to really count on for anyone. It's not as predictable as the lower ranked schools.

I'm still on board with the NU early decision program, but that is perhaps because I love the idea of no debt, I'm highly likely to choose a school I like over a more prestigious school (not that I'll have to do that necessarily, I just mean I would do it), and since I really only care about getting a biglaw job I can tolerate and have no interest in academia, PI, or politics. It's true that Harvard offers you advantages that NU does not in those last areas.

also, lol @ canadianwolf, did you read the OP? She's trying to decide whether to ED somewhere, which kind of precludes waiting on offers :P

CanadianWolf
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Re: Northwestern Full Ride vs Chance at Harvard

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:46 am

Yes, but you misread my poorly worded advice. My suggestion is to apply ED to NU & hope for an acceptance since this is the first year of NU's scholarship program for all ED acceptees.

P.S. It's nice to see someone who is so easily amused. :lol:
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:49 am, edited 2 times in total.




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