Am I insane?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which School?

Columbia
29
41%
Stanford
42
59%
 
Total votes: 71

SpoonForkSpork
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Am I insane?

Postby SpoonForkSpork » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:18 pm

I'm seriously considering attending Columbia over Stanford. I wasn't lucky enough to get a Hamilton or even a Butler, so I will be paying close to sticker regardless of which school I attend. I know that TLS loves HYS, and am sure most people would consider this a mistake.

I know Stanford is an amazing school, and confers all sorts of opportunities, but I've lived in California my entire life and have been really itching to study in NYC for a while now. There are worse places to be stuck than California for another 3 years, but I grew up in the Bay Area and could really use a change. I'm worried that if I study here much longer, the inertia will keep me here forever. I'd also love to live somewhere else as a student, while I still have some small amount of free time to appreciate it. I've always assumed that I would go into some sort of BigLaw, soul-crushing kind of job after graduation, but like anyone else I can't really be sure how I'll feel further down the road.

Both Columbia and Stanford are great schools, but I want to make sure that I won't be irreparably limiting my chances, options, and opportunities by attending one over the other. Nothing's set in stone yet, and obviously I need to visit both schools, but I wanted to see if this was a decision others could maybe rationalize, even if they didn't necessarily agree with it. That, or convince me not to consider this an option.

Sorry for what I'm sure seems like a stupid problem.

TL;DR - I'd love to go East, but Stanford.

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ilovesf
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby ilovesf » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:23 pm

You're saying you want to study outside of CA, but do you want to come back to CA after school?

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catwomangirl
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby catwomangirl » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:26 pm

Also, if you're not 100% set on biglaw, Stanford has amazing opportunities for other things (clerkships, academia etc.).

Are those the others that you're referring to?

In addition, can I be you?

SpoonForkSpork
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby SpoonForkSpork » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:28 pm

ilovesf wrote:You're saying you want to study outside of CA, but do you want to come back to CA after school?

I think I'd like to come back to the Bay Area eventually, but it definitely doesn't have to be immediately. Perhaps by the end of the decade or something, but who knows?

catwomangirl wrote:Also, if you're not 100% set on biglaw, Stanford has amazing opportunities for other things (clerkships, academia etc.).

Are those the others that you're referring to?

In addition, can I be you?


This is obviously the biggest reason to pick Stanford. It's a much safer bet, has a less stress-inducing grading system, and gives me more options if I decide that I don't actually want to work for some giant firm. It's a (perceived, to be fair) quality of life vs. quality of education problem, and I'm not sure how to navigate it.

Also, I know I'm lucky to have these options (although I would have killed for a Hamilton), so I'm sorry if this comes of as whiny.
Last edited by SpoonForkSpork on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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soj
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby soj » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:28 pm

If you want a change in scenery, get it during the summers. I wouldn't turn down SLS for CLS at sticker. Also, any chance you can get need-based aid at SLS? Any offers from peer schools you could use to negotiate at CLS?

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hoos89
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby hoos89 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:32 pm

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Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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moneybagsphd
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby moneybagsphd » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:35 pm

soj wrote:If you want a change in scenery, get it during the summers. I wouldn't turn down SLS for CLS at sticker. Also, any chance you can get need-based aid at SLS? Any offers from peer schools you could use to negotiate at CLS?

This.

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plaiseadieu
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby plaiseadieu » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:36 pm

I think your thought pattern is valid. I have lived in CA all my life and decided that I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone by only applying to schools on the East Coast/South/Midwest. Try and talk to current students about quality of life in both schools. If you are paying sticker price at both, then you should really think about where you want to practice, strength of alumni network, etc. Personally I encourage going to Columbia. It broadens your horizons. If you end up liking NY, you can get a BigLaw job there. If you get sick of the Big Apple, then you can always interview with California firms and tell them you are originally from CA and want to go back home -- something I am sure they will understand and accept. Either way, you are in a good place to be! 8)

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Bronck
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Bronck » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:37 pm

Yes. CLS doesn't give out much aid to non-Hamilton/Butler candidates and SLS is pretty generous in their need-based aid. Stanford will open up more opportunities than CLS (clerkships, academia in particular), and will get you to the East Coast if that is what you desire. I don't know anything about each school's LRAP programs, but my guess is that SLS has a better one as well. That should be easy enough to corroborate.

SpoonForkSpork
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby SpoonForkSpork » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:37 pm

soj wrote:If you want a change in scenery, get it during the summers. I wouldn't turn down SLS for CLS at sticker. Also, any chance you can get need-based aid at SLS? Any offers from peer schools you could use to negotiate at CLS?



I don't think I will get much if any need-based aid from SLS. I'm not rich, but my parents were able to put me through college without financial aid. I'm also in at NYU (but still have to submit the financial aid forms) and haven't heard back from Penn/Michigan. I have solid numbers (177/3.85+), so I'm hoping to get something, but outside of named scholarships I was under the impression that the amount wouldn't be nearly as much. I'm also on hold at Harvard, so there's the possibility that that changes things later, but until then...

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hoos89
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby hoos89 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:39 pm

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Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SpoonForkSpork
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby SpoonForkSpork » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:42 pm

plaiseadieu wrote:I think your thought pattern is valid. I have lived in CA all my life and decided that I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone by only applying to schools on the East Coast/South/Midwest.

This is actually pretty important to me. Going to a much larger college after high school had a hugely positive influence on me, but I'm still kind of socially retarded. Most of my lectures were larger than an entire entering class at SLS, and I'm not sure if I want to go back to something that small, especially if it's in the middle of Palo Alto.

hoos89 wrote:And Yale?

I applied. Not expecting anything though.

Asleep
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Asleep » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:47 pm

Columbia is a great school, but choosing it here where the costs are roughly equal is really just irrational. I know that you want to get out of California, but you are making a mistake if you choose to go to Columbia over Stanford. Law school is a professional decision and only lasts three years. I would suck it up and spend the three years in California, working elsewhere over the summers, and definitely being able to go to NY or somewhere else after school. It doesn't even sound like you will be that miserable, and there are certainly better ways to combat inertia than shooting yourself in the foot.

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Flash
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Flash » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:54 pm

You're crazy. I would go to SLS over a Hamilton.

bdubs
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby bdubs » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:56 pm

SpoonForkSpork wrote:I'm also in at NYU ... I have solid numbers (177/3.85+), so I'm hoping to get something, but outside of named scholarships I was under the impression that the amount wouldn't be nearly as much.


I think a 177/3.85+ should get good money at NYU (62.5 - 105k). Did you apply for the named scholarships?

Are your parents also underwriting your law school education? If your parents are paying for school and a nice lifestyle in NYC, then you can do what you want. NYU, Columbia, and Stanford will all place well into big law firms (the former primarily in NYC and not as much in CA). If you're financing your own way through, I think Stanford is a much better bet.

SpoonForkSpork
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby SpoonForkSpork » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:21 pm

Asleep wrote:Columbia is a great school, but choosing it here where the costs are roughly equal is really just irrational. I know that you want to get out of California, but you are making a mistake if you choose to go to Columbia over Stanford. Law school is a professional decision and only lasts three years. I would suck it up and spend the three years in California, working elsewhere over the summers, and definitely being able to go to NY or somewhere else after school. It doesn't even sound like you will be that miserable, and there are certainly better ways to combat inertia than shooting yourself in the foot.

I guess I realize that one option clearly provides better educational opportunities. I'm more curious if choosing the "wrong one" would be gimping myself that much. I mean, it's still Columbia. If I think I would be happier out-of-state, is that disparity big enough at this level to justify staying? Even if that gap exists, would Columbia really be that bad overall? It might be. I dunno. This is one of the situations where having options is actually making me more unhappy.

bdubs wrote:I think a 177/3.85+ should get good money at NYU (62.5 - 105k). Did you apply for the named scholarships?

Are your parents also underwriting your law school education? If your parents are paying for school and a nice lifestyle in NYC, then you can do what you want. NYU, Columbia, and Stanford will all place well into big law firms (the former primarily in NYC and not as much in CA). If you're financing your own way through, I think Stanford is a much better bet.

I did not apply for the named scholarships at NYU. I don't think I actually qualified for too many of them.

My parents also offered to subsidize my legal education. I don't think that would cover all of it, but more importantly, I'm not sure if it's something I want to ask of them. They've already given me plenty of opportunities. There's also the whole cutting the cord thing (though maybe that matters less when we're talking about $100k).

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kwais
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby kwais » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:35 pm

Full Disclosure: I go to CLS and likely would've chosen SLS in your shoes.
However, you sound like you want to go to CLS. You are very unlikely to regret going and NY is a great place to go to school. People are right about the difference in Academia/Clerkships, but this is your life and you have no bad choice here.

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AreJay711
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:36 pm

I understand wanting to experience somewhere different -- it is one of the reasons I'm at U Mich over Penn or UVA after spending almost my whole life in Maryland -- but Stanford is clearly better and NYC will always be there.

Don't get caught up in the romance of NYC. I lived there for a few months and there is no place I'd want to be less without a significant billfold. The city is like a high class hooker -- there is nothing better as long as you can keep paying but wants nothing to do with you otherwise. Being a student on loans in NYC is probably the worst experience I could imagine no matter what these NYU and Columbia students tell you.

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Dany
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Dany » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:39 pm

If you're dumb enough to seriously consider CLS at sticker over Stanford, you should really go to SLS because I'd hate to see your grades at Columbia.

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camelcrema
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby camelcrema » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:39 pm

SpoonForkSpork wrote:I guess I realize that one option clearly provides better educational opportunities. I'm more curious if choosing the "wrong one" would be gimping myself that much. I mean, it's still Columbia. If I think I would be happier out-of-state, is that disparity big enough at this level to justify staying? Even if that gap exists, would Columbia really be that bad overall? It might be. I dunno. This is one of the situations where having options is actually making me more unhappy.




Disclaimer: CLS 1L and Bay Area native. Generally, I would say Stanford is TCR here. I think you're getting some idea of the kind of opportunities (clerkship, academia, low stress grading system) that you would be forfeiting by choosing CLS. If you really don't want to go to law school in California, I would wait on HLS and YLS to make their decisions; I think you should have a good shot at HLS. Beyond that, I think you should come out to CLS for the ASW (they'll throw about 200 bucks your way for a plane ticket that should cost 280 if you buy it now) and see how you like it. If you really love Columbia and New York, then I don't think choosing CLS will be something you'd regret. Also, consider money that may come in the future. I don't think CLS and NYU have received their "need-based" awards yet, which often seem to have a merit-based element as well. Feel free to PM re: questions about CLS.

Edit: Dammit Kwais, why you gotta pre-empt my post in a more concise and cogent manner.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:16 am

It's professional school dude.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:23 am

I really don't think the OP's thoughts are too crazy. I understand your train of thought and I think that you really need to figure out what you want to do after leaving law school in order to make this decision. If you want biglaw/PI/government, then yes Stanford would be easier, but you won't have a problem at Columbia. The only case where I really think this becomes a stupid decision is if you're thinking about a very prestigious clerkship and/or academia. Stanford's placement in those areas is much better. This being said, if you're only interested in the former, Columbia isn't a horrible choice here given your background and preferences. Yes, law school is a trade school, but if you're lucky enough to be picking between the #3 and #4 school it's not that ridiculous if you choose #4 over #3 imo. It's not like you're choosing UCLA or UVA at sticker over Stanford.

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romothesavior
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:25 am

Maybe I missed it in my quick skim, but where is Hahvahd in this equation? You should be in there.

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plaiseadieu
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby plaiseadieu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:29 am

Side note: Rankings do change from year to year.

So making a decision about law school based on rankings that differ marginally is silly. Example: My boss at the law firm I work at chose to go to Washington & Lee when she went to law school because they were #15 (& they gave her scholly money). Now they are in the 30's...and thats less than 10 years later. She wishes now that she would have went to a different school because she may have enjoyed the quality of life more.

Not to say that Columbia or Stanford will drop in the rankings that far. But you have to look at other personal factors to help one option stand out more.

Just something to think about.
Last edited by plaiseadieu on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Am I insane?

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:30 am

romothesavior wrote:Maybe I missed it in my quick skim, but where is Hahvahd in this equation? You should be in there.


OP was Held their. I would assume he stands a good shot at it when they begin releasing decisions again.




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