UChicago vs. UPenn

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Copester27
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UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Copester27 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:25 pm

My younger cousin is currently deciding whether to early decision UPenn or UChicago. When I applied three years ago, I was accepted to both schools (money at UChi, no money at UPenn). To the surprise of many, I chose Penn despite having an enormous friend-base in Lincoln Park and being from Illinois originally. My reason was simple: when I visited UChi, I simply could not envision myself remaining happy there for three years. Penn, on the other hand, had a great collegial feel to it that I believed would help me maintain my sanity.

Three years later, my cousin is asking me for advice and I am struggling to provide any. I enjoyed my three years at Penn, but always wonder if I would have actually been happier at UChi (due primarily to Chicago being, in most peoples' minds, a superior city along with the fact I have so many friends there). At the time, I was under the impression that I would be so busy with school (particularly at UChi), I would have little time to take advantage of the fact that I had so many good friends in the city. Now I realize (at least at Penn), there is sufficient time to enjoy oneself on the weekends, especially during 2L and 3L year.

My cousin aspires to work at an elite firm upon graduation with no interest in academia. However, he too is very concerned about ensuring he is able to maintain an enjoyable social life (not just going out to dinner, but actually going to bars on weekends). Please provide any insight, especially regarding UChi. Is it (1) reasonable to live in Lincoln Park and drive to school everyday and (2) go out on weekends with his friends?

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sinfiery
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby sinfiery » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:31 pm

Total cost to attend each each school for your cousin?

Copester27
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Copester27 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:35 pm

He is currently trying to decide which to apply to ED, but will likely not receive aid from either school. His parents will help him out, so money is not an issue. He's really just trying to determine which place he would be happier at over the next three years, cognizant of the fact that it is still law school and he will be working a large portion of the time. He loves Chicago, and said he could definitely envision himself working there, but is reluctant to attend UChi due to its reputation of being so rigorous.

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kwais
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby kwais » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:42 pm

I really think all of these considerations are crap. Chicago is not noticeably more rigorous than Penn, NYU is not more laidback than Columbia. With a few exceptions, a large group of the same students, with 2-3 point differences in LSAT, apply to the same schools every year and get distributed among them. Many students, to justify their decision, might perpetuate these stereotypes but they are marginal at best.
As you seemed to have figured out, you romanticized something at the expense of the cheaper, and some would say better school, for some notion that didn't necessarily pan out. Why let your cousin do the same?
Real reasons to pick a school are money, employment outcomes in the filed you want and location. Since #2 is largely the same for your cousin in this case, s/he should choose based on # 1 and 3.

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sinfiery
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby sinfiery » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:43 pm

ED UChi.

The rigorous thing is somewhat of a flame. All schools in the T14 are full of students who are in a debt range coinciding with that of a mortgage and reliant upon their grades (to a large extent) to get a job that may be able to pay off said debt. There is going to be over-the-top competition regardless of if the environment is dubbed as such coming in. (Though you're a Penn grad so maybe I'm wrong? Though I doubt it)


UChi likely enjoys the same boost among elite firms that CLS/NYU do over P and has some favorable statistics as far as current partners to class size ratio and at obtaining work at elite boutiques (so I hear) are concerned. At equal costs, that would be the better school for your cousin.

Ti Malice
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:02 pm

Copester27 wrote:He loves Chicago, and said he could definitely envision himself working there, but is reluctant to attend UChi due to its reputation of being so rigorous.


RIGOR is basically just branding language.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:36 pm

kwais wrote:I really think all of these considerations are crap. Chicago is not noticeably more rigorous than Penn, NYU is not more laidback than Columbia. With a few exceptions, a large group of the same students, with 2-3 point differences in LSAT, apply to the same schools every year and get distributed among them. Many students, to justify their decision, might perpetuate these stereotypes but they are marginal at best.
I think this is overstated. In fact, it's precisely because the student bodies are so similarly qualified that the cultural differences do exist. If the same people get into all of CCN with the same money then in general the student bodies are going to shake out along the lines of the stereotypes. All things equal, why wouldn't you go to the school that is branded in the way you like? If NYU's admissions people talk like they're the public interest CLS, and enough cross-admits go there for that reason, then it becomes the public interest CLS. If Chicago highlights their RIGOR thing and the people who get in there also got into CLS, NYU, Penn, etc., then people who like the RIGOR thing are gonna go and people who dislike it won't. To some extent I think this means the perception becomes the reality. It's definitely at the margins—maybe 75% of the people are pretty similar at the end of the day—but I've known enough people at enough of these schools to think that the reputations are largely deserved. It's the kind of thing that is inescapably anecdotal, but I think it is definitely a real effect.

TL;DR, jobs are the most important thing but different schools are still different.

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kwais
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby kwais » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:52 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
kwais wrote:I really think all of these considerations are crap. Chicago is not noticeably more rigorous than Penn, NYU is not more laidback than Columbia. With a few exceptions, a large group of the same students, with 2-3 point differences in LSAT, apply to the same schools every year and get distributed among them. Many students, to justify their decision, might perpetuate these stereotypes but they are marginal at best.
All things equal, why wouldn't you go to the school that is branded in the way you like?


1) Because you see through the branding.
2) Indeed, students may choose for this reason, but a) quickly find that it is marketing and b) think that it is true (perpetuate the stereotype) because they have nothing to compare it to.

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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:14 pm

kwais wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
kwais wrote:I really think all of these considerations are crap. Chicago is not noticeably more rigorous than Penn, NYU is not more laidback than Columbia. With a few exceptions, a large group of the same students, with 2-3 point differences in LSAT, apply to the same schools every year and get distributed among them. Many students, to justify their decision, might perpetuate these stereotypes but they are marginal at best.
All things equal, why wouldn't you go to the school that is branded in the way you like?


1) Because you see through the branding.
2) Indeed, students may choose for this reason, but a) quickly find that it is marketing and b) think that it is true (perpetuate the stereotype) because they have nothing to compare it to.

But that doesn't answer the question, really, because when you're choosing between schools that are so similar, culture is a completely legitimate and meaningful way to distinguish between schools that are "close enough." The way a school sells itself provides an easy way for relatively more like-minded people to cluster in the same place. It's certainly mostly marketing, but at some point the marketing becomes a reality to the extent it can influence the people who attend a certain school, and the experience you'll have there as a student. Higher educational institutions mostly distinguish themselves based on signaling anyway, when it comes down to it, so what's the difference. Anyway, both of our opinions on this are equally anecdotal and speculative, so we'll probably have to agree to disagree.

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sinfiery
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby sinfiery » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:37 pm

I think things like being PI (UCB/NYU) or Govt (Gtown/UVA) or business (CLS/NU) oriented are indeed characteristics that are fair to pick a school off of (to an extent of course) but rigor isn't in the same category. The T14 is full of students who have preformed at the top 1-2% of a graduate admissions test and have had near perfect GPAs in UG being put on a strict curve after having been given a bunch of nondischargeable student loan debt with grades being the most malleable thing they are able to alter in an effort to determine if they can pay off said debt with a job. That's, imo, where 99% of the rigor will come from.

Will you see a small difference in the amount because of the self perpetuating stereotype at UChi? Yes but the other source of rigor kind of dwarfs this difference between UChi and the rest of the T14 - Thus the difference, in percentage amounts, is likely minuscule. Because 100 vs 100 becomes 101 vs 100. An advantage, but compared to everything else that drives one to be full of rigor, it likely isn't a big deal.

Ti Malice
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:38 pm

sinfiery wrote:I think things like being PI (UCB/NYU) or Govt (Gtown/UVA) or business (CLS/NU) oriented are indeed characteristics that are fair to pick a school off of (to an extent of course) but rigor isn't in the same category. The T14 is full of students who have preformed at the top 1-2% of a graduate admissions test and have had near perfect GPAs in UG being put on a strict curve after having been given a bunch of nondischargeable student loan debt with grades being the most malleable thing they are able to alter in an effort to determine if they can pay off said debt with a job. That's, imo, where 99% of the rigor will come from.

Will you see a small difference in the amount because of the self perpetuating stereotype at UChi? Yes but the other source of rigor kind of dwarfs this difference between UChi and the rest of the T14 - Thus the difference, in percentage amounts, is likely minuscule. Because 100 vs 100 becomes 101 vs 100. An advantage, but compared to everything else that drives one to be full of rigor, it likely isn't a big deal.


I agree with all of this. The idea that standard doctrinal legal education at Chicago is of a different kind from what other schools offer is what's absurd. I won't dispute that there's some self-selection going on based upon the reputation/branding, but the notion that the Chicago classroom experience is clearly distinct from that of its peers is bullshit.

I do agree that some of the other characteristics are much more real, though. Law students at top schools are more similar than they are different, but, for instance, CLS and NYU are fairly culturally distinct to me -- and it makes sense when you look at the institutional offerings. CLS has nine clinics and generally weak administrative support for PI. NYU has a huge (39 clinics) and very high-quality clinical program, and institutional support for PI is very strong. It shouldn't be surprising that a substantially greater percentage of NYU's student body consists of serious PI people.

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twenty
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby twenty » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:01 pm

1) Philly > Chicago.
2) UPenn as a school > UChicago as a school
3) UChicago as a law school > UPenn as law school

Biglaw jerb rates are more or less identical, excluding for the fact that Penn doesn't place nearly as well in clerkships or tippy-top firms. But just the getting in part, they're pretty much identical.

I really dislike Chicago as a city, so I'd pick Penn. If you're down with either city, UChi is TCR.

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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:36 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:1) Philly > Chicago.
2) UPenn as a school > UChicago as a school
3) UChicago as a law school > UPenn as law school

Biglaw jerb rates are more or less identical, excluding for the fact that Penn doesn't place nearly as well in clerkships or tippy-top firms. But just the getting in part, they're pretty much identical.

I really dislike Chicago as a city, so I'd pick Penn. If you're down with either city, UChi is TCR.


A minority of people would agree with 1) and 2)

Copester27
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Copester27 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:27 am

I appreciate all of the responses, but think I failed to clearly articulate my question. Basically, I went to Penn on the notion that law school was going to be a three-year grind and, if I'm going to spend the majority of my time at school working/studying, that I would prefer to spend those three years at a school with a collegial atmosphere. I preferred Chicago to Philadelphia, and had a much larger group of friends in Chicago, but was under the impression that if I attended UChicago I would not be able to really take advantage of either of these qualities since I would be so busy. However, I found that law school did not occupy as much of my time as I had anticipated. My question is essentially, thus, whether I had so much free time due to the general non-competitive nature that pervades Penn, or whether my cousin could expect to have the same general amount of free time in Chicago so that he would be able to actually enjoy the city and his weekends.

I am not attempting to paint UChi with a broad brush. I know that some UChi students unquestionably enjoy their weekends there, but do these people's grades suffer immensely since they are in the minority? Also, I am not saying I did not put in a lot of work at Penn. However, I found that if I worked during the week, I generally had Friday night and all day Saturday to enjoy bars or partake in other social activities while maintaining good grades.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Dr. Dre » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:33 am

upenn only because it's an ivy league

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jbagelboy
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:16 am

Copester27 wrote:I appreciate all of the responses, but think I failed to clearly articulate my question. Basically, I went to Penn on the notion that law school was going to be a three-year grind and, if I'm going to spend the majority of my time at school working/studying, that I would prefer to spend those three years at a school with a collegial atmosphere. I preferred Chicago to Philadelphia, and had a much larger group of friends in Chicago, but was under the impression that if I attended UChicago I would not be able to really take advantage of either of these qualities since I would be so busy. However, I found that law school did not occupy as much of my time as I had anticipated. My question is essentially, thus, whether I had so much free time due to the general non-competitive nature that pervades Penn, or whether my cousin could expect to have the same general amount of free time in Chicago so that he would be able to actually enjoy the city and his weekends.

I am not attempting to paint UChi with a broad brush. I know that some UChi students unquestionably enjoy their weekends there, but do these people's grades suffer immensely since they are in the minority? Also, I am not saying I did not put in a lot of work at Penn. However, I found that if I worked during the week, I generally had Friday night and all day Saturday to enjoy bars or partake in other social activities while maintaining good grades.


You and your sibling are overly concerned with socializing. Chill out man. Its just school. Of course there will be time to see friends. It's neurotic to avoid one's friends and move to a new city out of fear of not being at liberty to see them, and it's asinine to select a law school based on the perceived ability or inability to socialize. Its a three year $300,000 professional investment

dtownlove
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby dtownlove » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:18 am

Copester27 wrote:I appreciate all of the responses, but think I failed to clearly articulate my question. Basically, I went to Penn on the notion that law school was going to be a three-year grind and, if I'm going to spend the majority of my time at school working/studying, that I would prefer to spend those three years at a school with a collegial atmosphere. I preferred Chicago to Philadelphia, and had a much larger group of friends in Chicago, but was under the impression that if I attended UChicago I would not be able to really take advantage of either of these qualities since I would be so busy. However, I found that law school did not occupy as much of my time as I had anticipated. My question is essentially, thus, whether I had so much free time due to the general non-competitive nature that pervades Penn, or whether my cousin could expect to have the same general amount of free time in Chicago so that he would be able to actually enjoy the city and his weekends.

I am not attempting to paint UChi with a broad brush. I know that some UChi students unquestionably enjoy their weekends there, but do these people's grades suffer immensely since they are in the minority? Also, I am not saying I did not put in a lot of work at Penn. However, I found that if I worked during the week, I generally had Friday night and all day Saturday to enjoy bars or partake in other social activities while maintaining good grades.


Even at UChi, you will have free time. The only people who don't have ANY free time did so by choice and didn't seem any happier, or to perform any better, than the students who made having more of a balance a priority. If your cousin has friends and likes Chicago, it seems kind of silly to not go there for the off chance he could go to college style bar one more night a week in Philly. Even UChicago gunners relax on (most) weekend evenings, they just choose to do it in their apartments rather than downtown at the bars.

That being said, as far as I can tell, the rigor reputation at Chicago is well deserved (whether self selection or administrative/professor influence, who knows and who cares- end result is same). It just doesn't have to be constant, it more depends on the timing of assignments and exam schedules. Living in Lincoln Park is more difficult but definitely doable.

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kwais
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby kwais » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:35 am

your cousin's aptitude for law school exam writing and ability to study smart/efficiently will have much more of a factor on free time than any inherent quality of UChi/Penn. as someone else mentioned, I did not notice a correlation between time spent in library on weekends and grades during 1L.

20141023
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby 20141023 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:45 pm

.
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Dr. Dre
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Dr. Dre » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:55 pm

BUT BUT BUT DONALD TRUMP WENT TO UPENN!

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Emma.
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Emma. » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:08 pm

I lived in the southern part of Lincoln Park and drove to school every day down LSD. It is totally doable, and if you don't pay for a parking spot it is a great motivation to get to school early (free parking fills up between 7:30 and 8), which lets you get your work for the day done by mid-afternoon so you have plenty of time for a social life.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:33 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:You made the right decision, and you'd be wise to advise your cousin to do the same.

UPenn as a university has consistently been ranked higher than UChicago in the US News & World Report's National University Rankings, and it has that Ivy prestige. UPenn is also fortunate in that laymen don't get it confused with other schools in the region that had issues with pedophiles, which UChicago cannot claim. UPenn as a law school is pretty much on par with UChicago if you look at the USNWR rank for 2007 and 2008. (The rankings are clearly flawed, though, because UPenn is actually the best of the T14 - even better than Yale, Harvard, and Columbia - yet it is ranked lower for some reason.)

Stay away from Chicago if you ever want to see your friends or have fun.


BUT ATL RANKINGS THO. CLS and NYU are obviously festering shitholes.

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twenty
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby twenty » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:03 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:You made the right decision, and you'd be wise to advise your cousin to do the same.

UPenn as a university has consistently been ranked higher than UChicago in the US News & World Report's National University Rankings, and it has that Ivy prestige. UPenn is also fortunate in that laymen don't get it confused with other schools in the region that had issues with pedophiles, which UChicago cannot claim. UPenn as a law school is pretty much on par with UChicago if you look at the USNWR rank for 2007 and 2008. (The rankings are clearly flawed, though, because UPenn is actually the best of the T14 - even better than Yale, Harvard, and Columbia - yet it is ranked lower for some reason.)

Stay away from Chicago if you ever want to see your friends or have fun.


Never change. <3

bayvcroberts
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby bayvcroberts » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:02 pm

That's silly.

Chicago > Philly
UChicago > Upenn (all global rankings and usnews)
UChicago law > Upenn law

Outside of "academic" grad programs, where UChicago has the lead, I'd say Upenn's medschool has the edge. The bschools are more or less on par. I don't have affiliations to either schools and respect both.

timbs4339
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Re: UChicago vs. UPenn

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:02 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
kwais wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
kwais wrote:I really think all of these considerations are crap. Chicago is not noticeably more rigorous than Penn, NYU is not more laidback than Columbia. With a few exceptions, a large group of the same students, with 2-3 point differences in LSAT, apply to the same schools every year and get distributed among them. Many students, to justify their decision, might perpetuate these stereotypes but they are marginal at best.
All things equal, why wouldn't you go to the school that is branded in the way you like?


1) Because you see through the branding.
2) Indeed, students may choose for this reason, but a) quickly find that it is marketing and b) think that it is true (perpetuate the stereotype) because they have nothing to compare it to.

But that doesn't answer the question, really, because when you're choosing between schools that are so similar, culture is a completely legitimate and meaningful way to distinguish between schools that are "close enough." The way a school sells itself provides an easy way for relatively more like-minded people to cluster in the same place. It's certainly mostly marketing, but at some point the marketing becomes a reality to the extent it can influence the people who attend a certain school, and the experience you'll have there as a student. Higher educational institutions mostly distinguish themselves based on signaling anyway, when it comes down to it, so what's the difference. Anyway, both of our opinions on this are equally anecdotal and speculative, so we'll probably have to agree to disagree.


Think of it this way. CLS is a school for tall people. NYU is a school for heavy people. Both select from an applicant pool of people who are between 6'6" and 6''8" and weigh between 275-325 pounds.

There may be some people who choose between CLS/NYU based on reputation. But I didn't, and neither did most of my friends. We selected based on other factors- money and location being the most prominent. The self-selection effect was at best marginal (say 5% PI students vs 10% at NYU). The vast majority of the student body was probably exactly the same, and if NYU had offered me 25K more than CLS I would have jumped at that number.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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