Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

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

Which option would you take?

Harvard or Stanford with less than 100K in loans
65
71%
Penn with no debt and money in the bank
27
29%
 
Total votes: 92

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bernaldiaz
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Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:16 pm

I have read plenty of HYS vs. full ride in the T14, but I have some unique circumstances so I figured I'd make my own thread. My goal is to end up in big law, and I would like to practice in Boston (where I have ties), but would be open to San Francisco (which is really only realistic if I go out to Stanford and love it out there) or really any other market in the north east (Philly, DC, NYC).

I am in at Harvard and Stanford (still waiting on Yale), but am leaning heavily towards Stanford. I did not receive any need based aid from these schools, however, my parents agreed to pay for my first year at either school. In addition, I have saved a little over 50,000 throughout high school and college (and am graduating without any debt), so will be able to lower my debt by a fair amount with these savings. So, while my COA is still astronomical at either Harvard or Stanford, my debt load will be quite reasonable. Additionally, my grandfather will give me a low interest loan which will help a good bit. Assuming a 2L SA position and being very conservative in my estimates, I would graduate from Stanford with no more than 100K in loans, and a little less from Harvard.

I didn't have any luck with the big scholarships at CCN, so my other option would be a full ride from Penn. Since my goal is big law, I'd feel fairly confident that I could land that from Penn. My parents would help cover living expenses while in school in this scenario, so if I took the scholarship I would probably graduate with like 50-80K in the bank (again, assuming a 2L SA) and zero debt. The freedom of having some nice money in the bank and a big paycheck sounds amazing.

I feel like there is not objectively a wrong or right choice. I could see compelling and rational arguments either way. On one hand I could graduate from one of the best schools in the country with a very reasonable debt load. If you think of amortizing the cost of attendance over an entire career and take into account the career opportunities that HYS open up, that may be the best way to go. On the other hand, no debt from still an amazing school would be unreal and if my goal is big law then I could probably get there from either school.

And if you think this is just a matter of personal preference, I would much prefer the culture and campus of Stanford to either of the other options.
Last edited by bernaldiaz on Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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untar614
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:20 pm

If u want Boston, Harvard seems the way to go. I'm curious, what was it you much preferred about Stanford over Harvard? I've never been myself, but from what I've heard from ppl, they seem to really like Harvard, even without considering the name value/job prospect benefit.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby Micdiddy » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:30 pm

I envy you having this decision. My initial reaction was to go Penn, but I think that was just me putting myself in the spot of graduating with a full ride and 50k in the bank. I mean, that just sounds too sweet!

At the same time, under 100k at HS is not crippling debt and should be serviceable rather quickly. Do you ever have plans to get into academia? Become a Supreme Court Justice? Anything like this?

Honestly, since you are shooting for Big Law, and it will pay you the same 160k no matter where you graduate, I think Penn is the way to go. That money saved can be invested, be a really nice safety net in case things go wrong, etc. etc. If you wanted to go Supreme Court Justice path or Academia, it would be different, imo, but I don't see HS being THAT much better for a career of Big Law (of course, I'm just an 0l so what do I know, just giving my two cents).

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thatgumyoulike
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby thatgumyoulike » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:32 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
I am in at Harvard and Stanford (still waiting on Yale), but am leaning heavily towards Stanford. I did not receive any need based aid from these schools, however, my parents agreed to pay for my first year at either school. In addition, I have saved a little over 50,000 throughout high school and college (and am graduating without any debt), so will be able to lower my debt by a fair amount with these savings. So, while my COA is still astronomical at either Harvard or Stanford, my debt load will be quite reasonable. Additionally, my grandfather will give me a low interest loan which will help a good bit.


You're obviously in an enviable position, but it sounds like you have an incredible amount of financial support from your family, and you could graduate HYS with less than $100K debt. If you are hoping for Boston, I mean, Harvard dude. If San Fran, go to Stanford. If you decide on somewhere else, you still have a great shot because you decided to go to HYS. Penn with no debt (and savings!) is a great deal, obviously, but I think the risk in HYS is mitigated by your family's support and the range of options they open up. If you are dead set on big law and nothing else, I could maybe see an argument for Penn.

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby CaptainLeela » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:34 pm

I'm extrapolating from your post that: 1) you are fairly responsible and generally efficient with money and 2) even in a worst case scenario your family can ensure you will be housed & fed. Based on this I think S or H is the way to go. Even if you aren't interested in academia or a judicial route today, why close any doors? Further, if you think that you'll be happiest at Stanford, I think in this UNIQUE set of circumstances, that merits weight.

Congratulations, you sound awesome, have great options & any of these schools will be lucky to have you.

Johnny1607
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby Johnny1607 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:38 pm

Congrats!

If you don't care about prestige, I'd probably go for Penn. Their employment stats this year were amazing; and having 50-80k in the bank at graduation would be a really nice position to be in. But honestly, there's not a bad choice to be had between the three.

Good luck!

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bernaldiaz
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:41 pm

Micdiddy wrote:I envy you having this decision. My initial reaction was to go Penn, but I think that was just me putting myself in the spot of graduating with a full ride and 50k in the bank. I mean, that just sounds too sweet!

At the same time, under 100k at HS is not crippling debt and should be serviceable rather quickly. Do you ever have plans to get into academia? Become a Supreme Court Justice? Anything like this?

Honestly, since you are shooting for Big Law, and it will pay you the same 160k no matter where you graduate, I think Penn is the way to go. That money saved can be invested, be a really nice safety net in case things go wrong, etc. etc. If you wanted to go Supreme Court Justice path or Academia, it would be different, imo, but I don't see HS being THAT much better for a career of Big Law (of course, I'm just an 0l so what do I know, just giving my two cents).


I don't have dreams of academia or any particularly prestigious PI work (which I guess may change when I, you know, actually learn about some of these things), just will want to work in big law and pay down my debt. I guess the big question here is, is all big law equal? Yeah I'll probably make 160K out of either school, but am I not having the long term vision by picking Penn? Would the exit options be that much better at a V10 with a HYS degree than a V100 with a Penn degree? Would my chance of making partner be affected at all, etc. etc. (and I'm genuinely asking all these things, not just being rhetorical).

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bernaldiaz
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:44 pm

thatgumyoulike wrote:You're obviously in an enviable position, but it sounds like you have an incredible amount of financial support from your family, and you could graduate HYS with less than $100K debt. If you are hoping for Boston, I mean, Harvard dude. If San Fran, go to Stanford. If you decide on somewhere else, you still have a great shot because you decided to go to HYS. Penn with no debt (and savings!) is a great deal, obviously, but I think the risk in HYS is mitigated by your family's support and the range of options they open up. If you are dead set on big law and nothing else, I could maybe see an argument for Penn.


untar614 wrote:If u want Boston, Harvard seems the way to go. I'm curious, what was it you much preferred about Stanford over Harvard? I've never been myself, but from what I've heard from ppl, they seem to really like Harvard, even without considering the name value/job prospect benefit.


As for the Harvard for Boston thoughts, that was originally my sentiment too. However, I asked a bunch of Harvard students and the general answer was that Stanford does at least as well, if not better, in Boston than Harvard does. The logic is that from Stanford with the small class size, less than 5 people are probably bidding Boston, whereas at Harvard 100+ people normally do . If firms want diversity in their summer classes, this obviously bodes really well for Stanford (current students weigh in on this if I'm spouting bull shit, though). Also, keeping open the SF market is something I'm interested in doing, so I think Stanford makes sense for me.

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UtilityMonster
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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby UtilityMonster » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:54 pm

Go to H/S.

20 years down the road when all debt is paid off and you have either $2 million in the bank or $2 million & 150k in the bank, will it really matter? You'll likely have more money than you know what to do with, and you'll wonder why you passed up on the contacts, friends, life, prestige, job opportunities, etc., that come with a T3 law degree.

It sounds like you think you will enjoy Stanford a lot, and I know this has been your dream for a while, so just go and I guarantee you won't regret it.

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UtilityMonster
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby UtilityMonster » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:00 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:As for the Harvard for Boston thoughts, that was originally my sentiment too. However, I asked a bunch of Harvard students and the general answer was that Stanford does at least as well, if not better, in Boston than Harvard does. The logic is that from Stanford with the small class size, less than 5 people are probably bidding Boston, whereas at Harvard 100+ people normally do . If firms want diversity in their summer classes, this obviously bodes really well for Stanford (current students weigh in on this if I'm spouting bull shit, though). Also, keeping open the SF market is something I'm interested in doing, so I think Stanford makes sense for me.


In addition to this, I think you'll perform better at Stanford than Harvard relative to your classmates. There is a less competitive atmosphere and... I tend to think HLS has smarter students :shock: , at least based on entrance test scores (Stanford has a West Coast bias in their admissions that sacrifices numbers for a higher yield %).

I do believe Stanford grads have slightly better employment prospects than Harvard grads, so there seems to be a real advantage there, and it seems to be highly likely that you'll end up with a better job with a SLS degree. Add to that the fact that you want the small community, weather, lifestyle, etc. Stanford seems the clear choice here.
Last edited by UtilityMonster on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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untar614
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Re: Which option to choose?

Postby untar614 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:02 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
thatgumyoulike wrote:You're obviously in an enviable position, but it sounds like you have an incredible amount of financial support from your family, and you could graduate HYS with less than $100K debt. If you are hoping for Boston, I mean, Harvard dude. If San Fran, go to Stanford. If you decide on somewhere else, you still have a great shot because you decided to go to HYS. Penn with no debt (and savings!) is a great deal, obviously, but I think the risk in HYS is mitigated by your family's support and the range of options they open up. If you are dead set on big law and nothing else, I could maybe see an argument for Penn.


untar614 wrote:If u want Boston, Harvard seems the way to go. I'm curious, what was it you much preferred about Stanford over Harvard? I've never been myself, but from what I've heard from ppl, they seem to really like Harvard, even without considering the name value/job prospect benefit.


As for the Harvard for Boston thoughts, that was originally my sentiment too. However, I asked a bunch of Harvard students and the general answer was that Stanford does at least as well, if not better, in Boston than Harvard does. The logic is that from Stanford with the small class size, less than 5 people are probably bidding Boston, whereas at Harvard 100+ people normally do . If firms want diversity in their summer classes, this obviously bodes really well for Stanford (current students weigh in on this if I'm spouting bull shit, though). Also, keeping open the SF market is something I'm interested in doing, so I think Stanford makes sense for me.

I have no way of really knowing, but that reasoning sounds plausible. Stanford places well regardless, so I guess as long as you make that effort to get there and firms there know your genuinely interested, I doubt you'd have a hard time unless you're at the bottom of the class. And with 75% of the class getting biglaw or clerkships, even if you don't get boston, you should be able get something good somewhere. I'm super jelly.

whereskyle
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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby whereskyle » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:11 pm

H or S no doubt due primarily to your financial situation.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby florida1949 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:27 pm

UtilityMonster wrote:Go to H/S.

20 years down the road when all debt is paid off and you have either $2 million in the bank or $2 million & 150k in the bank, will it really matter? You'll likely have more money than you know what to do with, and you'll wonder why you passed up on the contacts, friends, life, prestige, job opportunities, etc., that come with a T3 law degree.

It sounds like you think you will enjoy Stanford a lot, and I know this has been your dream for a while, so just go and I guarantee you won't regret it.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:36 pm

It sounds like you're non-committal about where you want to end up after law school (Boston? SF? NY? DC?). If this is the case, then go to Stanford because you're going to be the happiest there and you don't necessarily loose any options. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure you want to wind up in Boston in the short to mid-term, Harvard has a decisively advantage over Stanford in the Boston market.

I wouldn't even consider Penn due to your financial situation. Graduating from H or S with around $100k in loans is worth it.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby spicyyoda17 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:38 pm

I am in a similar situation as you, so this is something I've thought about quite a bit.

Option A: Full-ride at top 10 school, graduate with some savings
Option B: Attend HS, graduate with $100k or less in debt

I agree with you that there is not a wrong choice here. I would be surprised if you regretted either decision years down the road.

My top 3 questions in arriving at a decision:
1) What do I want to do career-wise both in the short-run and the long-run?
2) Where will I be happiest for 3 years?
3) Which option will help me grow the most and become my best self?

As to #1, both options can get you what you want (i.e. BigLaw). Because option A is cheaper, option A has the slight edge here. It should be noted that long-term prospects are hard to gauge. They mostly depend on prior work experience, but there is still something to be said for prestige and the school name.

As to #2, only you can answer that.

As to #3, again, this is something only you will know. However, I do think the HS might have a slight edge in that they may push you more. I don't just mean from a grades perspective (as the argument could be made that due to the grading system, HS would push you less). I am referring to being challenged academically by your classmates and professors, socially by your surroundings and other students, and personally based on individual circumstances. For people like me, I am my best self when I am being pushed. Others, however, perform better in an environment where they are not pushed; so again, it's something for you to think about and figure out. To be clear, I'm not saying that HS will definitely push you more; it is different for everybody. However, I do think that the median student would be pushed more at HS than at another school in the T10. I think the difference is slight, hence the slight edge here for HS.

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twenty
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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby twenty » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:40 pm

With only 100k debt, H/S is the way to go here.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby toothbrush » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:41 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:With only 100k debt, H/S is the way to go here.

+1

amazing option you have though OP.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:53 pm

UtilityMonster wrote:Go to H/S.

20 years down the road when all debt is paid off and you have either $2 million in the bank or $2 million & 150k in the bank, will it really matter? You'll likely have more money than you know what to do with, and you'll wonder why you passed up on the contacts, friends, life, prestige, job opportunities, etc., that come with a T3 law degree.

It sounds like you think you will enjoy Stanford a lot, and I know this has been your dream for a while, so just go and I guarantee you won't regret it.


UM, I appreciate the insight, and despite its ridiculousness, the anti-Stanford trolling is quite novel and a nice niche for you to fill :lol:

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:55 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:It sounds like you're non-committal about where you want to end up after law school (Boston? SF? NY? DC?). If this is the case, then go to Stanford because you're going to be the happiest there and you don't necessarily loose any options. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure you want to wind up in Boston in the short to mid-term, Harvard has a decisively advantage over Stanford in the Boston market.

I wouldn't even consider Penn due to your financial situation. Graduating from H or S with around $100k in loans is worth it.


Can you expand on why you think Harvard is better for Boston in the short term? Is my logic above (self selection out of Boston for S grads makes them more of a commodity in Boston compared to Harvard grads) not really correct? I definitely have a preference for Boston short term unless I fall in love with San Fran, and I just listed those markets as places I would have no problem working for a few years, but would probably want to end up in Boston long term anyways.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:13 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:It sounds like you're non-committal about where you want to end up after law school (Boston? SF? NY? DC?). If this is the case, then go to Stanford because you're going to be the happiest there and you don't necessarily loose any options. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure you want to wind up in Boston in the short to mid-term, Harvard has a decisively advantage over Stanford in the Boston market.

I wouldn't even consider Penn due to your financial situation. Graduating from H or S with around $100k in loans is worth it.

Can you expand on why you think Harvard is better for Boston in the short term? Is my logic above (self selection out of Boston for S grads makes them more of a commodity in Boston compared to Harvard grads) not really correct? I definitely have a preference for Boston short term unless I fall in love with San Fran, and I just listed those markets as places I would have no problem working for a few years, but would probably want to end up in Boston long term anyways.

Basically everything I've heard from 2Ls who have done EIP is that Boston (like NYC) is basically the back-up location for people who want more selective locations (DC, SF). Many Boston offices of biglaw firms have very close ties to Harvard for both individual and institutional reasons, there's a strong Harvard -> Boston big law network, and there are a great deal of events put on specifically by Boston offices for Harvard students. You can basically fumble into a Boston biglaw job from Harvard.

This being said, I'm sure you can totally get a Boston biglaw gig from Stanford. It's not like not going to Stanford crosses Boston off in any way. I don't know much about Stanford's recruitment process, but I would imagine a fair amount of firms with Boston offices go there and since you have ties it'll be easy for you to explain why you want to work in Boston from Stanford.

It sounds like you naturally enjoy the environment of Stanford more than Harvard. If that's the case, I would ask Admissions to put you in touch with 2Ls/3Ls who want Boston, see what they say, and then go to Stanford if they don't report any difficulties.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:08 pm

spicyyoda17 wrote:I am in a similar situation as you, so this is something I've thought about quite a bit.

Option A: Full-ride at top 10 school, graduate with some savings
Option B: Attend HS, graduate with $100k or less in debt

I agree with you that there is not a wrong choice here. I would be surprised if you regretted either decision years down the road.

My top 3 questions in arriving at a decision:
1) What do I want to do career-wise both in the short-run and the long-run?
2) Where will I be happiest for 3 years?
3) Which option will help me grow the most and become my best self?

As to #1, both options can get you what you want (i.e. BigLaw). Because option A is cheaper, option A has the slight edge here. It should be noted that long-term prospects are hard to gauge. They mostly depend on prior work experience, but there is still something to be said for prestige and the school name.

As to #2, only you can answer that.

As to #3, again, this is something only you will know. However, I do think the HS might have a slight edge in that they may push you more. I don't just mean from a grades perspective (as the argument could be made that due to the grading system, HS would push you less). I am referring to being challenged academically by your classmates and professors, socially by your surroundings and other students, and personally based on individual circumstances. For people like me, I am my best self when I am being pushed. Others, however, perform better in an environment where they are not pushed; so again, it's something for you to think about and figure out. To be clear, I'm not saying that HS will definitely push you more; it is different for everybody. However, I do think that the median student would be pushed more at HS than at another school in the T10. I think the difference is slight, hence the slight edge here for HS.


Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. Very helpful!

Huh I thought this poll would be a lot closer...

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby Lacepiece23 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:12 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
spicyyoda17 wrote:I am in a similar situation as you, so this is something I've thought about quite a bit.

Option A: Full-ride at top 10 school, graduate with some savings
Option B: Attend HS, graduate with $100k or less in debt

I agree with you that there is not a wrong choice here. I would be surprised if you regretted either decision years down the road.

My top 3 questions in arriving at a decision:
1) What do I want to do career-wise both in the short-run and the long-run?
2) Where will I be happiest for 3 years?
3) Which option will help me grow the most and become my best self?

As to #1, both options can get you what you want (i.e. BigLaw). Because option A is cheaper, option A has the slight edge here. It should be noted that long-term prospects are hard to gauge. They mostly depend on prior work experience, but there is still something to be said for prestige and the school name.

As to #2, only you can answer that.

As to #3, again, this is something only you will know. However, I do think the HS might have a slight edge in that they may push you more. I don't just mean from a grades perspective (as the argument could be made that due to the grading system, HS would push you less). I am referring to being challenged academically by your classmates and professors, socially by your surroundings and other students, and personally based on individual circumstances. For people like me, I am my best self when I am being pushed. Others, however, perform better in an environment where they are not pushed; so again, it's something for you to think about and figure out. To be clear, I'm not saying that HS will definitely push you more; it is different for everybody. However, I do think that the median student would be pushed more at HS than at another school in the T10. I think the difference is slight, hence the slight edge here for HS.


Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. Very helpful!

Huh I thought this poll would be a lot closer...


Nah bra HYS with 100k debt is everyone on this boards dream. I'll be the first to admit it. I'd take the 100k in debt just so I could tell girls at bars that I went to Harvard instead of having them confuse Penn with Penn State.

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UtilityMonster
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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby UtilityMonster » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:18 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:
Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. Very helpful!

Huh I thought this poll would be a lot closer...


The reason is that some early posters said H/S and people on this board are sheep who are too afraid to take on the general consensus. If the first two posts were "Penn hands down" and "Penn and don't look back" people would read that and go, "yeah! I'm smart and confident like those posters," and would proceed to vote Penn as well.

Also, I think Stanford is developing the sort of magical reputation that Yale has, at least on this board. If it was Harvard v. Penn it would almost certainly be closer. Although maybe it would be if it was just Stanford v. Penn as well.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby sinfiery » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:23 pm

It's because it seems people on TLS value money differently when borrowed.from a bank versus parents/savings to a ridiculous degree.

There was a Penn full ride vs HLS sticker that had the exact opposite mentality


But I'd pick HS for both scenarios. And H, for you, at that.

#1: 100+ people.bid Boston from HLS
#2: apparently this is for safety net reasons

So it's not overly competitive but sort of entitled to HLS grads as far as I can tell.

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Re: Which option to choose?(better than another scifiguy thread)

Postby bernaldiaz » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:25 pm

UtilityMonster wrote:
bernaldiaz wrote:
Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. Very helpful!

Huh I thought this poll would be a lot closer...


The reason is that some early posters said H/S and people on this board are sheep who are too afraid to take on the general consensus. If the first two posts were "Penn hands down" and "Penn and don't look back" people would read that and go, "yeah! I'm smart and confident like those posters," and would proceed to vote Penn as well.

Also, I think Stanford is developing the sort of magical reputation that Yale has, at least on this board. If it was Harvard v. Penn it would almost certainly be closer. Although maybe it would be if it was just Stanford v. Penn as well.


There's definitely some truth to that. So can I take it that you're going to Harvard over the Ruby from the responses you've given here, or are you still up in the air?




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