NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

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ub3r
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NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby ub3r » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:29 am

I mean that question seriously.

Having done my due diligence looking at numbers and stat sheets, I'm having a hard time coming to a clear understanding about the differences between these two strongly similar schools.

Similarities (mostly statistical):
-They're both great, they're both in NYC, and they usually sit next to each other in the rankings
-Employment score is essentially the same for both (94-95%)
-GPA and LSAT medians look similar too (170/3.72 and 171/3.7)
-They both place incredibly well in NY, followed by CA, though their grads can go pretty much anywhere (T6 is T6, duh)

I guess the key differences for me are that NYU's class is slightly larger, and NYU grads do public service a bit more (19% vs 13%) and clerk slightly more as well (9% vs 5%). On the flip side, Columbia students end up in Biglaw at a higher rate (73% vs 58%). And I'm sure the differences in location within NYC itself has a big impact on student life as well.

None of this stuff is a secret. I created this thread for more information, and I just wanted to show you how easy it is for me lump Columbia and NYU together, especially as someone who has never been to either and hasn't really spoken to their alumni.

So, accepting that they're very similar schools, what are some key differences between them? I mean this academically, professionally, and with regards to student life as well. What kind of people might be drawn to one over the other, given the choice?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:45 am

NYU: Better location

Columbia: Cheaper housing which is easier to get into and deal with, especially if you have a spouse/SO coming with. Better location if you would have to otherwise live outside of Manhattan because you can't afford NYU housing.

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2014
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby 2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:47 am

Some of the big law differential can be explained away by the PI focus but CLS still probably gives a better shot on average (and to the extent lay prestige matters for smaller markets CLS might carry better name recognition). It most often comes down to cost and feel though - CLS is in a lower COL area but is more stingy, NYU is in a higher COL area but gives a little better aid. The people who self select into the areas and the PI thing create a perceived culture difference too.

All in all splitting hairs here, they are peer schools in really every sense.

kaiser
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby kaiser » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:51 am

Largely similar in most respects. CLS name has a bit more cache in general, and that counts for something in the calculus. Employment prospects are largely the same. Perhaps CLS places a tiny bit better at the top firms, but its very close. As for PI, NYU places more into these positions, but a lot of this is self selection. NYU neighborhood is way better, so thats a pretty big difference between the schools. Course offerings, quality of the professors, clinical offerings, etc. are essentially indistinguishable.

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sims1
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby sims1 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:57 am

As a current NYU student who visited and ended up choosing between these two schools I'll say that they are about as similar as any two T14 schools could be. Employment-wise I think your prospects are the same. I've heard some people say that if you want biglaw, Columbia may have a slight edge, but I don't think it's true. Definitely true that NYU has more of a PI vibe, and some people definitely choose it for that reason. FWIW Columbia really tried to sell itself on its PI support at the ASW.

What it came down to for me was location (Greenwich Village was more appealing than Morningside Heights), and a bit different culture (although now I think it's hard to attribute cultures to the schools rather than to certain smaller groups of individuals). Talking to students at both schools gave me the impression that I would be a better fit at NYU, but I think this was extremely hard to gauge. I liked the actual law school at NYU a bit more (although they both kind of suck).

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banjo
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby banjo » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:00 am

I like that NYU doesn't require Con Law or Property in 1L year. You take a Leg Reg course instead, which actually seems cool.

I like that CLS doesn't require professors to give B- grades. Our curve is generous.

mvp99
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby mvp99 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:02 am

banjo wrote:I like that NYU doesn't require Con Law or Property in 1L year. You take a Leg Reg course instead, which actually seems cool.

I like that CLS doesn't require professors to give B- grades. Our curve is generous.


Taking leg reg without con law is a bit stupid IMO.

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jbagelboy
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:46 am

It was common to speak of the two as peers several years ago, but its now somewhat established that Columbia holds a definitive edge. Not a big one though: if you get a lot more scholarship money at NYU, go there.

ub3r
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby ub3r » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:08 am

Great feedback everyone, thank you.

lapolicia
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby lapolicia » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:17 am

banjo wrote:I like that NYU doesn't require Con Law or Property in 1L year. You take a Leg Reg course instead, which actually seems cool.

I like that CLS doesn't require professors to give B- grades. Our curve is generous.


I went to NYU and loved it, but I actually thought the required administrative law class 1L was a really bad decision. It's way too complex and in-depth a topic for 1Ls and Con Law is almost a prerequisite. NYU doesn't require B- grades either, at least when I was there (back in the good old days when it was ranked tied or above CLS).

ub3r
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby ub3r » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:04 am

I guess since I've got the attention of some courteous NYU/Columbia people, I'll ask a question more specific to me.

Can you speak of anyone you know who's looking to work in California after NYU/Columbia? That would be me. Biglaw, most likely.

03152016
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:06 am

common response is that nyu is known for pi and cls is known for biglaw

truth is, both schools are fine choices for either

here at nyu, the oci success rate was 88% this year

over at cls, an eighth of the class went into public service

slight edge for cls in private sector placement? sure. slight edge for nyu in public sector placement? sure. and those are valid considerations. but at the end of the day, they're very close, and both have strong placement in both the private and public sectors

(tho if you are concerned about prestige, go to cls
the edge in private sector placement inspires certain people to come up with terms like "hcc" and worry about cls/nyu peeriness
if that doesn't describe you, consider your goals and the placement numbers, consider cost, consider location, consider fit)

k5220
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby k5220 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:54 am

nyu has broader public interest offerings (more varied clinics, more classes, more norman dorsens), although it varies a bit depending on the particular type of public interest you're interested in.

columbia has a reputation for being better at big law. i don't know how true that is, probably a little, but nyu students who want big law pretty much get it too and can take business-y classes at stern which seems neat for them.

i think the realest differences boil down mostly to the subjective feel of the schools. the culture seemed really different at columbia to me when i visited to make my decision. it felt stodgy to me and don't think i would've been comfortable there. i visited with my sister though and she loved it. i would recommend checking out both schools so you can see for yourself if you end up making that decision.

lapolicia
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby lapolicia » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:45 am

ub3r wrote:I guess since I've got the attention of some courteous NYU/Columbia people, I'll ask a question more specific to me.

Can you speak of anyone you know who's looking to work in California after NYU/Columbia? That would be me. Biglaw, most likely.


Plenty of my NYU classmates ended up in California either directly out of law school or by lateraling after a few years in NYC biglaw. Out of law school, it's definitely harder to get than NYC--you need around top 1/3 and California ties to have a very confident shot. You can get it at median, but if you're median it's too risky to bid heavily on CA so you should aim for NYC unless you're IP or have real tech work experience. If you have strong ties, you'll be able to lateral to California after a few years in biglaw (more so from corporate than from litigation).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:08 am

Brut wrote:(tho if you are concerned about prestige, go to cls
the edge in private sector placement inspires certain people to come up with terms like "hcc" and worry about cls/nyu peeriness

The funny thing is the only people I hear freaking out about this are NYU students. Started with admitted student week when I was nearly convinced by NYU students and admins that Columbia was filled with evil gremlins. Haven't heard it going the other way.

OP I am headed to California after graduation. I think lapolicia's comments are generally accurate; if you're spending good money on either school you need to be prepared to start your career in NYC, but California is a real possibility.

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BruceWayne
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby BruceWayne » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:13 am

I know one thing, if it's really true that CLS doesn't require their professors to give out B- or below grades I would go there over NYU every day and twice on Sunday. That's the kind of thing that 0Ls don't think about/understand just how much it matters but should actually be a deciding factor over a lot of stupid stuff like professors and which one is higher within the "Top 6". That could be he difference between getting a firm job or not.

Also if you're aiming for a non NYC/DC/CA market I would lean CLS too.

thisone2014
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby thisone2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:41 am

Someone already alluded to this, but the neighborhoods are extremely different. It probably shouldn't be the deciding factor in your decision, but if you're really stuck, maybe it can be a tiebreaker

Morningside Heights is relatively quiet and residential, and completely dominated by the presence of the University. It's all the way uptown. There isn't a ton of nightlife or shopping. There's better access to what little "nature" Manhattan has-- the Hudson River and its running/biking paths are a two minute walk from the University, and it's close to Riverside Park and Central Park. As someone else mentioned, rent is cheaper and you have the option of living outside Manhattan, which would be difficult at NYU. Columbia has a actual "campus," with greens etc, whereas NYU is more integrated into the surrounding area.

The Village is a lively, vibrant neighborhood. It has a lot of nightlife and restaurants, running the gamut from expensive, trendy hotspots to long-time, cheap-eats, neighborhood standbys. There's a lot to do and see. It's definitely more crowded and the streets are narrower. There are few high-rises, so you'll likely be living close to the street (which can be loud). NYU looms large in the Village, but so do other influences-- I'd argue it's not quite as dominated by the presence of the University as Morningside Heights is. You'll definitely have more "Only in New York" experiences in the Village.

Both neighborhoods are great, and for very different reasons. You can't really go wrong. A caveat though: if there are extenuating circumstances (for example, you or your spouse is not completely able-bodied, or you'll need to travel in and out of Manhattan frequently, you have kids, etc), there are clear advantages to one over the other.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:53 am

thisone2014 wrote:you have the option of living outside Manhattan, which would be difficult at NYU.

Great post and I agree with everything except this part. Columbia is pretty tough to get to from other boroughs, while living in Brooklyn or New Jersey would be very doable for an NYU student.

thisone2014
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby thisone2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:18 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:thisone2014 wrote:
you have the option of living outside Manhattan, which would be difficult at NYU.


Great post and I agree with everything except this part. Columbia is pretty tough to get to from other boroughs, while living in Brooklyn or New Jersey would be very doable for an NYU student.


my bad, you're probably right on that. I guess I was thinking about the Bronx, since it's my understanding Columbia actually offers law student housing in Riverdale, which could be an attractive option for some people. And parts of NJ are definitely equally accessible from Columbia. But yeah, in general, you're probably right.

03152016
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:12 pm

tiago you missed the joke
i was poking fun at a certain cls poster

03152016
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:16 pm

also i've never heard any actual nyu students shit on cls

cls people probably think that b/c the administration here has a couple of dumbasses who play up the "rivalry" during asw and orientation

but that doesn't reflect what actual students think

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utahraptor
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby utahraptor » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:19 pm

follow the money

otherwise I've heard that the law revue show at CLS is much funnier than NYU's, is better written, and has (absolutely objectively) better people than NYU's law revue show

make of that what you will

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:51 pm

Brut wrote:tiago you missed the joke
i was poking fun at a certain cls poster

Haha my bad I was actually going to be more defensive until I thought about him. Funny thing is one guy who was hardcore shittalking CLS at my ASW ended up attending CLS. It probably is just an ASW thing.

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jbagelboy
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:56 pm

utahraptor wrote:follow the money

otherwise I've heard that the law revue show at CLS is much funnier than NYU's, is better written, and has (absolutely objectively) better people than NYU's law revue show

make of that what you will


Our law revue is pretty great

ub3r
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Re: NYU & Columbia: What's the Difference?

Postby ub3r » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:02 pm

lapolicia wrote:
ub3r wrote:I guess since I've got the attention of some courteous NYU/Columbia people, I'll ask a question more specific to me.

Can you speak of anyone you know who's looking to work in California after NYU/Columbia? That would be me. Biglaw, most likely.


Plenty of my NYU classmates ended up in California either directly out of law school or by lateraling after a few years in NYC biglaw. Out of law school, it's definitely harder to get than NYC--you need around top 1/3 and California ties to have a very confident shot. You can get it at median, but if you're median it's too risky to bid heavily on CA so you should aim for NYC unless you're IP or have real tech work experience. If you have strong ties, you'll be able to lateral to California after a few years in biglaw (more so from corporate than from litigation).


Really good to know, thank you.

The other posts have been informative as well. Appreciate it.




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