Confused 0L wrote:Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
I did present my Chicago offer to NYU and got pretty much nowhere—I was told that all of their merit aid is gone. And I don’t qualify for need-based aid either, other than loans. So I’m left with deciding to take on more debt or to live with family in order to attend NYU, or to go to Chicago.
I guess my question is if I can make the debt about the same at both schools, which is the better option? I know that this is a personal decision, but your input on that has definitely been helpful.
From some of your responses, I do wonder if I’m crazy to focus on the differences in the academic schedule between the two. For example, is there really no difference between having three graded classes (plus the ungraded LRW) and having five graded classes each term, even if you’re not taking finals in all five classes each quarter? I recognize that some of my concern may be particular to me, given my learning disabilities, but does no one else see the differences that I see?
I also wanted to gauge whether NYU would have a significant advantage over Chicago in terms of opportunities for Biglaw in NYC, and you all have pretty much answered that with a resounding “No,” so I appreciate your guidance on that, too.
I think the course load probably does make a difference in terms of how many things you'll have to juggle at once, but not really in terms of how well you'll do, if that makes sense. Everything is curved, so since your classmates have the same workload, and are basically equally smart/qualified at both schools, I'd guess same amount of effort is probably roughly going to equal the same outcome at both. But maybe your disability means your ability to succeed doesn't scale equally with everyone else's as your workload gets more intense.
Either way, this seems highly speculative and I wouldn't base my decision on it.
As far as biglaw, I think they will be comparable and to the extent they may place slightly differently in NYC no one can really isolate how much of that is "placement power" versus self-selection, luck, etc.
If your debt will really be the same, or even a little more but comparable, then it's completely reasonable to go to NYU. Personal preference is important, and the most important distinction between these schools. (For reference, I went to NYU but between getting slightly more financial aid and lower cost of living, I'd probably have graduated from Chicago with $10-15k less debt; in retrospect I feel fine about my decision.) But I think it would be a mistake to pay significantly more for NYU.