NW with a full ride or Harvard?

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Free Ride to NW or Harvard

 
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The Agitator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby The Agitator » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:16 pm

If you want big law, the advantage is marginal and so the cost is immense.


If you truly want BigLaw as a life, you'll be making millions eventually. I doubt you will regret at that point spending an extra 150K to go to Harvard.

Just my two cents.

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ari20dal7
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby ari20dal7 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:19 pm

No wrong move. I believe I'd go to Harvard, but don't think that either decision is a bad one. I would also go to Harvard because I can go right now, as opposed to waiting a year for NW.

The Agitator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby The Agitator » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:22 pm

No wrong move. I believe I'd go to Harvard, but don't think that either decision is a bad one.


I'm in agreement with that, BTW. Congratulations on being in an absolutely fantastic position, either way.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:23 pm

Since some of us love the anecdotes, I just asked my HLS friends what they'd do in this position. One (academic aspirations) said Harvard. The other five (firm aspirations) said NU.

mildmannered
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby mildmannered » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:25 pm

I don't buy any of this aspirations and expectations bullshit.



I hear you. The reason I said all that stuff is that I think that you will find more people who end up being world-leader types at Harvard Law than at NW. I also think that to be a world-leader type you have to have certain expectations of yourself and it helps to be in an environment that takes you and those expectations seriously. I think that adds an intangible benefit to attending Harvard over NW that should not be discounted. If you have big dreams you might find more "traction" to help you realize them at Harvard. or if you don't have big dreams, your eyes may open to more possibilities about what you as an individual have the power to do at Harvard v. NW.
Those are the reasons that I am going to attend a T14 school (let alone Harvard, which has not admitted me) - I want to be among people who really take themselves seriously. I think I will realize more of my own potential in those surroundings.


EDIT: I do want to say that I am just using this as an opportunity to philosophize about why to make certain school choices - I agree that the OP will be alright either way. Follow the advice or the reasoning that speaks to you.

The Agitator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby The Agitator » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:34 pm

Since some of us love the anecdotes, I just asked my HLS friends what they'd do in this position. One (academic aspirations) said Harvard. The other five (firm aspirations) said NU.


I can totally see this, but I think it would be more telling to approach graduates of the class of 1997 and ask them, rather than current students.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:44 pm

And I wasn't really disagreeing with your reasoning about "global leader[ship]". It just comes across as if you think Harvard has a monopoly on that sort of thing, which I think is patently false.

If world changing is what you want to do, you'll find a very supportive and encouraging community at NU as well. Some might even make an argument about it being easier to do that sort of thing where there may be fewer competing for the same attention. Of course, others may tell you that the crucible of competition (and the fact that you'll have "Harvard" on your resume) is more beneficial.

As has been noted, you probably can't make a "wrong" choice here. But one may be righter than the other.

mildmannered
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby mildmannered » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:31 pm

It just comes across as if you think Harvard has a monopoly on that sort of thing, which I think is patently false.


I may have an inflated idea about Harvard's monopoly on that sort of thing, so I'm glad to hear your experience.

Georgetown51
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Georgetown51 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:24 am

Im guessing most giving advice on this thread are undergrads and dont yet understand concepts of having massive debt. No Fun.

If your aspirations are Big Law then it is a no brainer for Northwestern. Believe it or not big firms do not staff exclusively from Harvard and Stanford. If you are interested in working in the Chicago area...all the better. As anecdotal evidence, my brother in law is a tax attorney who just graduated from HLS. He is making 160+ in big law and working with other first year associates from NW, Michigan, and Chicago LS. They are all making the same salary as first years. Im sure the northwestern guy at the firm wouldnt pay 140k for my brother in laws diploma.

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sbjohnsn
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby sbjohnsn » Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:28 pm

If you want to go into academia, go to Harvard. If you want to practice on the east coast, go to Harvard.

If you want to practice in Chicago, go to NW.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:34 pm

You don't think NU travels?

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TTT-LS
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:36 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hobbla
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby hobbla » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:22 pm

I was just playing with excel and this is what I came up with:

Over the course of 5 years, the real value of the NW scholarship is a little more (~$20,000) than going to Harvard (assuming no scholarship based finaid). It's surprisingly close because you have to remember that in forcing you to delay law school one year, they are also forcing you to delay that first gigantic $160k (~100k after tax) salary year (it should also be noted that I assumed you would be paid the same amount out of NW as you would out of harvard, which is not a horrible assumption). Go up to 10 years and they are almost exactly same.

The depressing thing? Including costs of school I would be earning an average of $67k after-tax over 12 years if you assume nothing unordinary happens (like making partner).

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:26 pm

You need to post some more details here. I understand you're argument, but just saying that you came to a number doesn't explicate anything.

I entirely forgot that the scholarship required waiting it out for a year.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:27 pm

Georgetown51 wrote:Im guessing most giving advice on this thread are undergrads and dont yet understand concepts of having massive debt. No Fun.

If your aspirations are Big Law then it is a no brainer for Northwestern. Believe it or not big firms do not staff exclusively from Harvard and Stanford. If you are interested in working in the Chicago area...all the better. As anecdotal evidence, my brother in law is a tax attorney who just graduated from HLS. He is making 160+ in big law and working with other first year associates from NW, Michigan, and Chicago LS. They are all making the same salary as first years. Im sure the northwestern guy at the firm wouldnt pay 140k for my brother in laws diploma.


You know I was just thinking that. So often, a strong applicant from a place like Northwestern places just as well as a Harvard grad. Just because you make 160K+ for your first year does not make you invulnerable to financial consideration. Remember that 160K after taxes is about 33% smaller. Then, factor in rent, necessary expenses, etc. and you'll realize that your money will be gone quite quickly even with that big sweet salary. Northwestern allows you pure financial flexibility, and if you make that 160K, then you start to save $2,000/per month easily. If you started to invest that money early, you could have a significant financial advantage over a Harvard grad with that same sweet salary.

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LSAT_Cat
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby LSAT_Cat » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:36 pm

I would definitely take the full ride at NW. There's nothing better than being debt free. Well, almost nothing...

hobbla
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby hobbla » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:00 pm

Ok I suck at posting excel spreadsheets in forums, so I'll just give you the relevant endogenous info (it's a simple excel spreadsheet)

On the NW side (in nominal $$$)

Year1: $40k (very high estimate after tax for a first year grad in my position- favors NW slightly)
Year2: -20k (living expenses, not covered by scholarship)
Year3: -20k
Year4: -20k (done with law school)
Year5: 100k (after tax)
From then on I have the after tax income grow by 5% a year.

I then used a 3% rate of inflation to bring it back to real $$$ (nominal value)/(1+.03)^t

On the Harvard side (in nominal $$$)
Year 1: -60k
Year 2: -60k
Year 3: -60k (done with law school)
Year 4: 100k (after tax income)
Growth continues on like it would for NW, inflation rate calculated the same way.

I know I'm missing some things, here are a couple:
Interest paid on loans to attend harvard
Summer employment during law school

hope this helps:)

The Agitator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby The Agitator » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:02 pm

I entirely forgot that the scholarship required waiting it out for a year.


That makes a big difference. You're missing out on probably 110K (after taxes) by deferring a year. Subtract from that, say, 40K, which you may make in the year in which you are deferring. You are left with an opportunity cost of 70K. Subtract that from the total value of your scholarship and that is what it will be worth in the end.

Xin Tai Ruan
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Xin Tai Ruan » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:09 pm

One other factor to consider is the year off. You are really young right now, so perhaps taking a year to explore other interests would be a good thing. The NW offer is amazing (and I would love your spot!), but Harvard is a great school. You can't go wrong really. I just think that taking a year to get a little experience out of the academic arena would be good.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:19 pm

The Agitator wrote:
I entirely forgot that the scholarship required waiting it out for a year.


That makes a big difference. You're missing out on probably 110K (after taxes) by deferring a year. Subtract from that, say, 40K, which you may make in the year in which you are deferring. You are left with an opportunity cost of 70K. Subtract that from the total value of your scholarship and that is what it will be worth in the end.


You have to consider in terms of opportunity cost the fact that you would start the "grind" one year earlier too. You do make the big bucks one year sooner, but you also have to start working long hours with stress a year sooner as well. Taking the year off gives you time to relax and read some of your favorite books, or waste your time on TLS to reduce that blood pressure.

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Chadbertwick
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby Chadbertwick » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:25 pm

You truly have a difficult decision on your hands! My advice is that if Harvard was originally your dream school then go to Harvard. If you weren't already fantasizing about attending Harvard then perhaps choose Northwestern. All and all, I find it difficult to imagine that you will have great difficulty paying off your debt from Harvard in three years. Think about the money you will make in the long run...the Northwestern scholarship is miniscule in comparison.

nellie06
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nellie06 » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:38 pm

I love how people are so presumptuous simply because the other school involved is hls. Honestly, the op needs to be an individual and not simply follow what other people would do.

Other people may assume an hls degree will open up doors to untold riches, but then again a lot of people may be coming straight out of ugrad and don't understand how the working world works.

I have worked for two years and at places like morgan stanley, and some of the most senior attorneys went to law schools barely in the top 50. Their experience is what mattered in their hiring, not some jd they got 20 years ago. A jd is like a new sports car. Its impressive for a year or two, and 10 years down the line no one really notices as much anymore.

Plus nu is t-14, which means both schools are nationally recognized. What's the difference? 160k is standard its no more or less for an hls as opposed to an nu graduate.why not get a top education and not have to pay loans? Unless your aiming for scotus, or some really high level pi jobs, why pass up nu?

And people looking at being partner as some assumed reward for going to hls when they haven't cracked a torts book yet are really projecting into the future.that's a hornets nest best discussed by someone on a partnership track.

The value of someone to a law firm is the same in any profit maximizing organization:money. If the op is a great attorney, bills like an animal and clearly has the skills to be a rainmaker, I doubt nu vs hls will matter. At that point it would be 8 years of superior performance at a biglaw firm.
If your still trying to rest on the prestige of your degree 8 years down the line,chances are you at that point would be out of biglaw long before that. By the 5th year, you would be let go.

Its just as pointless as a washed up division one player who pumps gas for a living in his late 30's talking to the mechanics at the autobody shop about his days as a star point guard. No one would really be impressed anymore.

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ErissaK
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby ErissaK » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:57 pm

forget the money man..

Harvard.

If you go to Tanzania, Africa, and ask a native african if they've heard of Harvard.... they'll say yes.
Think about writing "Harvard Law School" on your Resume... forget the money.

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nonunique
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby nonunique » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:35 pm

If you go to Tanzania, Africa, and ask a native african if they've heard of Harvard.... they'll say yes.


Good thing I don't plan on working for any firms in native Tanzania. Prestige whores are funny.

prettypithy
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Re: NW with a full ride or Harvard?

Postby prettypithy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:43 pm

I can't be sure, but I would imagine a lot of the "choose Harvard" peeps are straight out of ugrad and have not yet had extensive experiences with debt. Debt is an ugly, ugly thing. There is a strong chance that you can realize all of your dreams coming from NW as effectively as you could coming from Harvard--UNLESS you want SCOTUS, BigLaw partnership or a SCOTUS clerkship. If you want any of those things, go to Harvard. If not, it is SIMPLY NOT WORTH IT. Don't let your ego take you down the wrong road here. Who knows, maybe you'll end up in BigLaw and actually get to enjoy a lifestyle that matches your salary because you don't have the debt monkey on your back.




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