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ph5354a
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby ph5354a » Sun May 05, 2013 7:13 pm

I already said this in the Ask a 1L thread, but I took 40k at Columbia over 105K at Cornell. A lot of my reasoning was personal (I'm from Ithaca originally and, while I love it there, found myself really miserable at the prospect of going back there for 3 years), though I also didn't have your level of family contribution. I'm gunning for big law too, and I know that I probably would've gotten there at Cornell, but I just couldn't escape the *what if* question of giving up my T6 options. I know that sounds crazy. A lot of it was geographical too, i.e. I had been wanting to move to New York for a while and now felt like the right time; I didn't feel like delaying that for another three years. For me, it came down to the fact that my debt was going to last the first 3-8 years of my career, but my alma mater was going to last a lifetime. Again, I realize that's a very narrow way of looking at things, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my career wondering what if. Probably a more balanced/less prestige-whore person would be totally fine with that (i.e. Lavitz :D ) but I didn't think I would be comfortable with that trade off, so I chose Columbia.

What if, instead of letting your parents contribute 50k, you took it as a interest-free loan and paid them back if/when you got big law (I think someone said this already)? That would still save you quite a bit. Either way, with the levels of debt you're talking about, it seems unquestionably worth it to go with Columbia but leaving Cornell with under 50k in debt would put you in an unreal position. Like so many people have said to me, and probably most of us here, you really can't make a wrong decision here.

What ultimately made my decision was this: take 2-3 days and pretend to be committed to one school. What questions, doubts, and fears, etc. do you have? Then take the next 2-3 days and do the same to the other school. It's sort of an extreme hypothetical, but it helped answer a lot of the questions I had, and it might do the same for you.

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby Lavitz » Sun May 05, 2013 7:59 pm

ph5354a wrote:I already said this in the Ask a 1L thread, but I took 40k at Columbia over 105K at Cornell. A lot of my reasoning was personal (I'm from Ithaca originally and, while I love it there, found myself really miserable at the prospect of going back there for 3 years), though I also didn't have your level of family contribution. I'm gunning for big law too, and I know that I probably would've gotten there at Cornell, but I just couldn't escape the *what if* question of giving up my T6 options. I know that sounds crazy. A lot of it was geographical too, i.e. I had been wanting to move to New York for a while and now felt like the right time; I didn't feel like delaying that for another three years. For me, it came down to the fact that my debt was going to last the first 3-8 years of my career, but my alma mater was going to last a lifetime. Again, I realize that's a very narrow way of looking at things, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my career wondering what if. Probably a more balanced/less prestige-whore person would be totally fine with that (i.e. Lavitz :D ) but I didn't think I would be comfortable with that trade off, so I chose Columbia.

Lol, I was wondering when you'd show up in this thread. Your situation was definitely unique. For the record, I never had the Columbia option, so I guess we'll never know how that would've turned out. But yes, I did decide that would've taken Cornell over NYU at a 60K difference. Of course, I also grew up in NYC as opposed to growing up in Ithaca, so there's that influence.

ph5354a wrote:What if, instead of letting your parents contribute 50k, you took it as a interest-free loan and paid them back if/when you got big law (I think someone said this already)?

Yeah, that was me. I also speculated that his family may refuse such an arrangement. OP knows his family's dynamics and financial situation better than us, though. It's up to him.

NYstate
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby NYstate » Sun May 05, 2013 8:18 pm

Lavitz wrote:
NYstate wrote:Also, you will be in New York which will make everything about getting a job in NYC much, much easier.

Can you explain how this works, exactly? Genuinely curious.

Briefly you can get to interviews and callbacks much more easily because you are in NYC anyway and it is just a train ride. You don't have to worry about flights and missing classes. It is just logistically much simpler. It is easier to have quick networking breakfast, lunches or drinks. You can make more contacts because it is easier. Plus you will have alumni events and other events to meet people practicing in NYC. My firm gets tables to all these events all over the city and many of them have law students attending.

Basically it just comes down to logistics and the advantages of proximity to the actual firms and lawyers you want to work with. I went to bar association events when I was a student too. The bar association is just in midtown. There will be some people from top firms at bar events, often the presenters, so you can meet some people.

If OP doesn't get an SA or gets no offered, the search for a job in NYC will be easier if he is in NYC. A firm doesn't have to invest a lot to bring you to the office. It is just simpler.

Also, at my firm we have a few SAs working as law clerks after they accepted their offer. (This isn't common but we have a few) The Cornell kids don't have a chance of doing this.



sinfiery wrote:There is no way this is a mistake unless you inherently value the money of your parents as worthless which I highly doubt OP did.

This is close enough to being a toss up that I can't imagine you being so adamant that CLS is worth 60k more than Cornell. Yes, there are slightly better job prospects for biglaw plus clerkship but 60k plus COL difference is a big.chunk of change that easily equates to being worth more.than the difference in certain characters personalities.

This. I have similar goals to the OP and a $60,000 difference in scholarships is right where I'd have a difficult time choosing between the two schools.[/quote]

I disagree because I think OP has a better chance at biglaw transactional practice- the practice he says he wants - from Columbia. I think that as OP doesn't have to take on debt, he should go for the school that has the best chance of getting him where he wants to go. I'm not going to decide for his parents how they should spend their money. If they want to spend the money, then I think he should take it. I think sending your kid to Columbia law school is a better use of money than an expensive vacation, and maybe his parents agree with that.

MrBlueSky! wrote:Also, how do the two schools stack up against each other in the field you are going for, transactional law (I have no clue if they are comparable).

No idea if this is even relevant, but Cornell's been trying to beef up its transactional offerings: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/spotli ... Lawyer.cfm[/quote]

My feeling is Columbia is better. But I don't have a bunch of stats to prove it. It could just be that i know more Columbia grads.

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby Lavitz » Sun May 05, 2013 9:15 pm

NYstate wrote:Briefly you can get to interviews and callbacks much more easily because you are in NYC anyway and it is just a train ride. You don't have to worry about flights and missing classes. It is just logistically much simpler. It is easier to have quick networking breakfast, lunches or drinks. You can make more contacts because it is easier. Plus you will have alumni events and other events to meet people practicing in NYC. My firm gets tables to all these events all over the city and many of them have law students attending.

Basically it just comes down to logistics and the advantages of proximity to the actual firms and lawyers you want to work with. I went to bar association events when I was a student too. The bar association is just in midtown. There will be some people from top firms at bar events, often the presenters, so you can meet some people.

If OP doesn't get an SA or gets no offered, the search for a job in NYC will be easier if he is in NYC. A firm doesn't have to invest a lot to bring you to the office. It is just simpler.

Also, at my firm we have a few SAs working as law clerks after they accepted their offer. (This isn't common but we have a few) The Cornell kids don't have a chance of doing this.

Thanks for the insight. I figured that it would be easier to search for a job in NYC in the event you get no-offered, but I didn't know about the other stuff--like firms having tables at alumni events.

Cornell does have the campus-to-campus bus which might make a convenient alternative to flying, but obviously that's not going to beat being in the city full-time.

NYState wrote:I disagree because I think OP has a better chance at biglaw transactional practice- the practice he says he wants - from Columbia. I think that as OP doesn't have to take on debt, he should go for the school that has the best chance of getting him where he wants to go. I'm not going to decide for his parents how they should spend their money. If they want to spend the money, then I think he should take it. I think sending your kid to Columbia law school is a better use of money than an expensive vacation, and maybe his parents agree with that.

I agree that OP has a better chance at biglaw from Columbia and that's why I initially supported Columbia. But it seems that OP is protective of his parents' money--almost treating it as his own--so then I think it's fair to phrase this as "Is Columbia worth 60K more than Cornell?" After all, someone is paying the extra 60K. If that's the case, I just think it's odd to tell OP Cornell is definitely the "wrong" choice. Especially when I feel we don't know the whole situation with OP's family.

I admit that if I had to do something like choose between Cornell with no debt and Columbia with 60K debt, I'd probably go with Columbia since 60K isn't really going to carry the risk of being debtpwned. But I don't think it would be crazy to pick Cornell to either save parents' money or avoid taking out loans.

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ph5354a
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby ph5354a » Thu May 09, 2013 4:25 pm

Btw Lavitz (and other Cornell people) I took the C2C bus for the first time a few weeks ago. It's fucking luxurious. I usually stick to the megabus out of Binghamton since the Cornell bus can get pricey($80 each way) but man is it worth it. Huge seats, wifi that actually works (I'm talking Netflix and streaming), and snacks and coffee in the back. Not a bad way to travel.

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby Lavitz » Thu May 09, 2013 4:30 pm

ph5354a wrote:Btw Lavitz (and other Cornell people) I took the C2C bus for the first time a few weeks ago. It's fucking luxurious. I usually stick to the megabus out of Binghamton since the Cornell bus can get pricey($80 each way) but man is it worth it. Huge seats, wifi that actually works (I'm talking Netflix and streaming), and snacks and coffee in the back. Not a bad way to travel.

Thanks for bumping the thread to tell me this. :lol:

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ph5354a
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby ph5354a » Thu May 09, 2013 4:31 pm

Lavitz wrote:
ph5354a wrote:Btw Lavitz (and other Cornell people) I took the C2C bus for the first time a few weeks ago. It's fucking luxurious. I usually stick to the megabus out of Binghamton since the Cornell bus can get pricey($80 each way) but man is it worth it. Huge seats, wifi that actually works (I'm talking Netflix and streaming), and snacks and coffee in the back. Not a bad way to travel.

Thanks for bumping the thread to tell me this. :lol:


Haha I realized you made a C2C plug and forgot to let you know how fantastic it is. Definitely a pro in Cornell's column.

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Lavitz
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Re: Columbia $$ vs Cornell $$$

Postby Lavitz » Thu May 09, 2013 4:37 pm

ph5354a wrote:Definitely a pro in Cornell's column.

Yeah, I suppose I may need to break out the columns again in a few weeks.

Now I wonder what OP ended up deciding.




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