Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Where should I choose?

HLS (130k)
21
68%
U of C (95k)
10
32%
 
Total votes: 31

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Kluge
Posts: 38
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Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Kluge » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:14 pm

Hello,

I'm relatively new here and I'm looking for some guidance/outside perspectives. Thank you in advance for your help!

-The schools you are considering: HLS, U of C

-The total Cost of Attendance (COA) of each: HLS ~265k, U of C ~190k

-How you will be financing your COA, i.e. loans, family, or savings: My parents will be splitting the expense (COA after scholarship) 50/50 with me and loaning me the rest interest free. This will not jeopardize them financially. I'm coming fresh out of undergrad and don't have any existing debt nor any significant savings.

This means my cost at repayment will be roughly 130k for HLS and 95k for Chicago.

-Where you are from and where you want to work, and other places where you have significant ties (if any)

I'm from SW Ohio (with very extensive ties here) and want to either return home or work in Chicago. I'm against moving out of the midwest long-term and have zero interest in working in NYC. I don't really have any ties to Chicago.

-Your general career goals

I can't answer this with real certainty. My dream outcome would be eventually working as a federal prosecutor in or near my home district, but realize this is a complete long-shot. I'll likely work in big law until I pay off parents. My career trajectory probably depends a lot on whether I decide to pursue employment in Chicago or come back home. Due to the relatively small size of the markets in SW Ohio, I think my options will be much more limited here.

-Your LSAT/GPA numbers: probably not relevant, retaking won't help me.

-How many times you have taken the LSAT: once.

The debt numbers seem pretty terrifying to me right now, even though I know some others have it worse and I'm incredibly lucky to have such amazing parental support. My SO will be working and making ~60-75k and is willing to try and support us both after law school so I can pay my family back as quickly as possible.

I don't have any full-ride offers on the table. I got a generous offer from NYU, but I'm really not interested in ending up in NYC. I'm still waiting on my decisions from Stanford and Yale, but I don't expect to get accepted to either.

I'm happy to provide any other relevant information. This is the biggest decision I've ever faced, by far, and I really do appreciate any insights you can provide.

Thank you!

Please don't quote me.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby UnicornHunter » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:17 pm

That's a tough call, especially given your goals. Did you apply to NU and Michigan?

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zombie mcavoy
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby zombie mcavoy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:20 pm

At those costs and with those goals, I'd just say to tour them and pick your personal preference. Harvard w/ only 130K in debt is pretty badass and worth the extra debt, but UC at 90 for someone who prefers to be in chicago above all else is compelling, too.

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Philafaler
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Philafaler » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:21 pm

I don't think you can go wrong.

Tour them, and listen to your heart.

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Kluge
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Kluge » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:24 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:That's a tough call, especially given your goals. Did you apply to NU and Michigan?


Honestly, I didn't. I didn't apply as broadly as I should've. I was naïve and hoped, based on my numbers, that I'd get more compelling offers to the schools I applied to.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby UnicornHunter » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:30 pm

Kluge wrote:
TheUnicornHunter wrote:That's a tough call, especially given your goals. Did you apply to NU and Michigan?


Honestly, I didn't. I didn't apply as broadly as I should've. I was naïve and hoped, based on my numbers, that I'd get more compelling offers to the schools I applied to.


If I were in your shoes then, I would let Chicago know that you got into Harvard and that you really want to be in Chicago, but can't justify the cost unless they bump up the scholly. If they don't bite, withdraw all your apps and have yourself a proper cycle next year. Waiting to go to law school is almost never a bad option.

That being said, neither option is bad. It's just that, you know, NU for free or Chicago for cheaper would be better. Are you K-JD? IF you are, I definitely recommend the year off approach.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:01 pm

Whichever you like better. See if Chicago will go lower for you.

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Dog
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:00 am

Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Dog » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:44 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:
Kluge wrote:
TheUnicornHunter wrote:That's a tough call, especially given your goals. Did you apply to NU and Michigan?


Honestly, I didn't. I didn't apply as broadly as I should've. I was naïve and hoped, based on my numbers, that I'd get more compelling offers to the schools I applied to.


If I were in your shoes then, I would let Chicago know that you got into Harvard and that you really want to be in Chicago, but can't justify the cost unless they bump up the scholly. If they don't bite, withdraw all your apps and have yourself a proper cycle next year. Waiting to go to law school is almost never a bad option.

That being said, neither option is bad. It's just that, you know, NU for free or Chicago for cheaper would be better. Are you K-JD? IF you are, I definitely recommend the year off approach.


I'm going to take a wild guess and say if OP tries this his parents will feel guilty that he's not going to Harvard due to financial limitations and they will up their support.

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jingosaur
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby jingosaur » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:16 pm

I would say H. The fact that your "loans" are from your parents and are interest free makes a world of difference.

I agree with posts above in that you should probably visit both schools before you make your final choice.

NonTradLawHopeful
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby NonTradLawHopeful » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:36 pm

Those are two really great options given your parent's financial support. I would add that since you want to be in the Midwest long-term, having an interest in seeing a different part of the country for a few year may sway you towards Harvard. A lot of law students are forced to stay in their region for job prospects, where that is not a limitation for you at all.

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Winston1984
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Winston1984 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:28 am

Echoing what others said. Can't really go wrong here. Would probably take Harvard.

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Kluge
Posts: 38
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Kluge » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:52 pm

Thank for all the feedback, everyone. I already visited the University of Chicago and was really impressed, but the reputation for student life there worries me. I'm visiting Cambridge this weekend for the ASW. I haven't been to Boston for many years, so I'm really excited to check it out. It would be nice to be closer to home (at U of C), but I think NonTrad made a good point in that it might be nice to try living somewhere new for awhile.

I think I will try to negotiate a bit with Chicago, maybe I'll have some luck. I didn't realize that was really a prevalent thing you could do.

I do think sitting out a year would offend my parents' sensibilities a bit, only because they are pretty enthusiastic about the opportunities I have and are being very generous. They actually really want me to go to Harvard at this point, despite the added expense. Also, my degree makes me super un-employable haha.

BigZuck
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby BigZuck » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:04 pm

I think I'd just go ahead and drop an H-Bomb on everyone's asses here

Although, if TLS is at all representative of what students are like at Harvard you might run screaming to U Chicago, student life reputation be damned.

exitoptions
Posts: 263
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby exitoptions » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:05 pm

Kluge wrote:Thank for all the feedback, everyone. I already visited the University of Chicago and was really impressed, but the reputation for student life there worries me. I'm visiting Cambridge this weekend for the ASW. I haven't been to Boston for many years, so I'm really excited to check it out. It would be nice to be closer to home (at U of C), but I think NonTrad made a good point in that it might be nice to try living somewhere new for awhile.

I think I will try to negotiate a bit with Chicago, maybe I'll have some luck. I didn't realize that was really a prevalent thing you could do.

I do think sitting out a year would offend my parents' sensibilities a bit, only because they are pretty enthusiastic about the opportunities I have and are being very generous. They actually really want me to go to Harvard at this point, despite the added expense. Also, my degree makes me super un-employable haha.


Honestly, given your financial means, there's no reason not to go to Harvard, as long as you're ok with being on the east coast for a few years. If you really want to be an AUSA, I think Harvard increases your odds substantially given their higher clerkship numbers and also AUSA numbers (although I only have anecdotal evidence of that, I don't think there are nationwide stats on AUSAs). I certainly think Harvard over UC is worth the marginal $35k to keep your tentative career goal options open.

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ChoboPie
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby ChoboPie » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:34 pm

Kluge wrote:Thank for all the feedback, everyone. I already visited the University of Chicago and was really impressed, but the reputation for student life there worries me. I'm visiting Cambridge this weekend for the ASW. I haven't been to Boston for many years, so I'm really excited to check it out. It would be nice to be closer to home (at U of C), but I think NonTrad made a good point in that it might be nice to try living somewhere new for awhile.

I think I will try to negotiate a bit with Chicago, maybe I'll have some luck. I didn't realize that was really a prevalent thing you could do.

I do think sitting out a year would offend my parents' sensibilities a bit, only because they are pretty enthusiastic about the opportunities I have and are being very generous. They actually really want me to go to Harvard at this point, despite the added expense. Also, my degree makes me super un-employable haha.


I don't know what most of the law students are like at UChi, but I do think the reputation for shitty student life is mostly just centered around the undergrad and a few of the grad schools (i.e.: econ dept). Even the actual UG experience isn't that bad--I got the sense that most of the negativity was just normal stressing out over exams (like pretty much anywhere else), and a culture of using the "where fun goes to die"/omg rigor reputation as a convenient excuse for a bad grade or two. And FWIW, the few people I know who did stay at UChi for law school tended to be on the much more normal/happy end of the spectrum.

I'd say your experiences with current UChi law students are going to be a lot better indications of what you should expect than general UChi reputation.

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Emma.
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby Emma. » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:16 pm

If it weren't for your potential interest in practicing in Chicago, I'd probably lean towards Harvard here. But especially without other ties to Chicago you're probably going to be in a better position for Chicago firms coming from UChi. That said, I'd echo what others have said here. Unless you can talk Chicago into raising that offer you should probably just visit both & take the one you like best.

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KMart
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Re: Chicago ($) vs. Harvard

Postby KMart » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:21 pm

The fact OP wants to work in Chicago without ties makes this such a difficult choice. Go where you'll be happiest, it's really a toss-up.




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