This is an absolute first world problem and I know it, sorry in advance for being such a brat.
I've read all these comparison threads and I think I'm a special snowflake enough to create my own. These are the schools I'm seriously considering for pretty various reasons, but I'd like to get some objective opinions that compensate for my personal biases.
I have to start off by explaining that debt isn't quite as bad for me as most. My parents are footing exactly half of my expenses over the next three years, and fronting the money on the other 50%. This means I'll pay 1/2 total cost of attendance after the scholarship. Almost more importantly, the money I do owe will be paid back interest-free to my parents, and they promised not to break my kneecaps if I'm short once or twice.
Also, K-JD, I wanna do LargeLaw, possibly litigation. Not a big preference on working city, but 99% sure it'll be Chi/NYC.
Chicago ($90k scholarship, "Morality" Stipulation)
Obviously the best rank/$ choice here, but I found myself only somewhat impressed when I visited. I love Chicago as a city but I'm really torn on here and NU at $30k less COA. This is much more of a case of me Loving NU than it is not liking U Chi, but still makes me hesitate. "Morality" thing means I sign something that say I'll donate my scholarship back within 10 years if I have that kinda money, and it is something I would definitely like to honor. Somewhat of an insurance policy for biglaw in my mind.
Northwestern ($120k scholarship)
Honestly just felt like I fit in the most here, my type of people, etc. Deep down I know a year or two of slightly more enjoyment doesn't compensate for the increased prospects at U Chi, but this doesn't make it easier to turn down. Can't stress enough how much I just felt at home here, and all the research/asking around I've done about Northwestern almost makes me feel like it's just as good as Chicago.
Duke w/ LLM ($105k for tuition, rest fully covers LLM)
Gonna be the toughest for me to turn down, but I think I need to. Their office has been awesome to me with help and providing late money, but obviously I can't exactly justify a decision on this alone. I was really excited about their LLM situation too, but I'm pretty sure the consensus is going to tell me this is a subpar choice for my long-term goals.
Columbia (Just admitted, who knows)
2nd Favorite to Northwestern in terms of "feel", just trying to determine what a reasonable amount of money to go here would be. Definitely my "money is not an option" top choice, but turns out money is an option. I know they're stingy too. For the purposes of this exercise pretend they gave me no money and tell me don't even think about it.
Deposit due Monday, NYU gave me zero dollars, thanks for your help and "ED UVAs" in advance.
Update: Chicago wins. Nothing surprising I suppose, I just needed people to reassure me that was the way to go.
Only schools I haven't withdrawn from are Columbia and Harvard, but I'm fully committed to Chicago unless the offers change (Columbia needs some $, the Harvard offer needs to exist) in the next ~month.
Last edited by StrictlyBusiness on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.