HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

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

NOW WITH POLL!!!1

Harvard ($90k debt)
20
53%
Columbia (no debt)
18
47%
 
Total votes: 38

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patrickd139
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Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby patrickd139 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:25 am

First, congrats. Those are truly impressive options. Second, I personally appreciate your humility. It's refreshing around here.

I'll throw my suggestion in the hat: CLS w/ Hamilton. It's literally free law school at a solidly entrenched top 5 program in the country. Anyone who tells you CLS is as good as HLS is obviously full of it, but I think it's a closer decision for you than most people who simply put "Harvard. Duh, it's Harvard!" as an answer.

Have you visited both? If not, do so. You might form a strong opinion of one or the other. Cambridge is a world away from the Morningside Heights in just about every aspect.

Re: job prospects: I'm not sure that your personal career prospects are going to be materially different at either school. Clerkship opportunities are going to be marginally better at HLS, from a pure numbers standpoint, but I'm not sure that's not due to self-selection on some level. Lots of people go to CLS to get NYC/DC biglaw. Plenty of them end up clerking at the circuit level and above. For academia (should that be a consideration down the road), both are good, but Harvard is (again from a numbers standpoint) a step above.

Post clerkship, you mentioned working for a firm. Where you want to work could be as good a thing as any to base this decision on. For instance, if you want to work at a firm in NYC? CLS. (Though you'll have no problems getting in from HLS, for the record.) A place like Seattle, LA or Miami? Probably gotta go with Harvard.

EMZE
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Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby EMZE » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:28 am

cwolf - Yeah I still would, but my situation is completely different and I am not k-jd, so debt is something different to me.

fdsa
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby fdsa » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:57 am

sunynp wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:I wonder if some are misinterpreting OP's situation. Harvard Law School will not cost OP just $90,000, it will leave OP $90,000 in debt after paying the rest (about $160,000) in cash. The real comparison, therefore, is between Harvard at approximately $250,000 total COA versus Columbia at approximately $60,000 total COA.

P.S. Both the $250,000 cost-of-attendance at Harvard and the $60,000 total COA at Columbia are in after-tax dollars.

Columbia all the way. OP should fix his thread to reflect this huge difference. No way Harvard is worth almost 200k more than Columbia. Not to mention e prestige points of the hamilton.


I thought the first post was relatively clear ("between what my parents can contribute and what I will make during my 2L summer" etc. etc.) but the clarification is appreciated.

So: HLS w/ $90k debt means a bit over $100k in cash payments made by my parents and me (through my 2L employment and various not-terribly-large savings I have).

@EMZE: It was an unsolicited offer on their part. The deal had always been that they paid for UG and it was on me from there, but some stuff went their way financially and they've made the offer and declined to retract it when given the opportunity. Believe me when I say I'm tremendously thankful, and I understand the sentiment that I should walk away; however, I've extensively discussed it with them and they think it would be a good use of funds. At that point I can't see turning it down.

Re: other posters in the thread asking for more info on my situation--

No UG debt, no SLS/YLS offers on the table as of yet (holding out hope but... y'know, whatever).

Very strongly want to gun for clerkships, and the HLS 25% placement rate does look a whole lot better than the CLS ~9% placement rate though there are obviously some secular factors at work at CLS (more people on straight transactional path, more NYC-obsessed haters of the pro-America parts of America, etc.). A clerkship isn't *absolutely* necessary for my career goals, but it would be a tremendous help given the importance that the US Attorney's Office and DOJ litigation sections, as well as the top litigation shops, place on clerkships (according to the one AUSA I've talked to).

Not really taking into account a prestige bump with the Hamilton; talked to a bunch of current fellows and they've all said that it was a brief positive interview talking point and nothing else. All of them said they had performed around where their grades suggested they would.

Finally, thanks so much for the input, folks. Keep it coming, I really appreciate it.

EDIT: Have visited both campuses, am indifferent to the location (would be fun to do NY for a few years, also love Cambridge). HLS impressed me more than CLS for sure, but I definitely did *like* CLS.

I think the way I'm trying to frame this is "what will I be happy that I did in 30 years"-- which is pushing me toward HLS at the moment, but I really have no conception of what it feels like to service a big student loan for ten years.
Last edited by fdsa on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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patrickd139
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Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby patrickd139 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:00 am

I still think the best thing you can do is to visit both schools, if you haven't already. Sounds like you're thinking about this in the right mindset and talking to the right people, though.

Good luck and be sure to let us know where you end up!

fdsa
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby fdsa » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:01 am

patrickd139 wrote:I still think the best thing you can do is to visit both schools, if you haven't already. Sounds like you're thinking about this in the right mindset and talking to the right people, though.

Good luck and be sure to let us know where you end up!


Rats, the edit wasn't fast enough. Anyhow, I've visited both and could see being happy at either, though think I'd be at least somewhat happier at HLS.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:16 am

CanadianWolf wrote:@EMZE: Even if that debt were $250,000 for Harvard versus $60,000 for Columbia ?


Just to be clear, this is NOT the situation the OP is dealing with.

OP, you don't need to apologize for anything. Play the hand you've been dealt.

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westinghouse60
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Re: HLS ($90k debt) vs. Columbia w/ Hamilton

Postby westinghouse60 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:03 pm

EMZE wrote:CLS.

Seriously, leave the nest. Don't ask your parents to pay for anything anymore. You're a big boy/girl.

If it were me, though, I would take the debt at HLS.


Bad reason to choose CLS IMO. This is a once in a lifetime choice, not the time to make a point.




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