What's the deal with Harvard students?

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abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:34 pm

bklynlady wrote:
abl wrote:I come from a somewhat different generation than most others on this board. I was lucky enough to get my first job out of college before the economy crashed, and I attended one of the few recession-proof law schools. As a consequence, I don't find debt all that scary. (I'm also lucky enough to have a strong enough debt-to-income ratio that I've never been a position where I've been at risk of not paying off my debt.) I've seen from my experience that the way I live when I have a lot of debt is very similar to the way I live when I am debt free -- I find surprising ways to fritter away my excess cash when I'm not paying off my loans that ultimately brings me reasonably little additional enjoyment. The extra meals out, larger wardrobes, nicer apartments, nicer cars, more drinks purchased at bars, etc. end up impacting my life in a fairly minimal way. On the other hand, I've found that my enjoyment of my job has had an enormous, basically controlling, impact on my happiness. My loans effectively cost me $15,000 per year in net salary, and will for another 5+ years (after taxes and whatnot come into play). When I think about how little that ~$1,500/month actually impacts my happiness as compared with how much my job satisfaction does, and when I realize that the $1,500/month goes away in the next 5 or so years (whereas my career path is going to extend over decades), it's incredibly easy for me to justify substantial debt for even just a chance at a better career.

Now, I obviously understand that other people value money differently. My sense is that some of the younger folks in our generation are exceedingly debt averse, and associate significant negative utility with debt. I also have friends who substantially enjoy material wealth--for them the extra couple thousand dollars a month they spend towards meals out, fancier clothes, and nicer apartments makes a big impact on their happiness. I also know tons of folks who legitimately don't care much if their work is a drudge. For people like that, the idea of giving up these luxuries for a mere chance at a better job seems foolish. For me, it is the idea that you wouldn't that seems foolish. But I also recognize that the added pleasure that a lunch out vs a boxed lunch or a $2,200/m vs $1,200/m Chicago apartment brings me (for example) is probably less than average.

For anyone actually making these sorts of decisions, I suggest these are all questions worth asking yourself.

Some people also have other financial obligations, especially those associated with starting a family, childcare/tuition, etc. that make debt difficult even with the spartan existence you describe. I live in NYC and its not possible to find any normal housing for either 1200 or 2220 per month! So geographics also plays a role in the amount of debt one can sustain.


Absolutely. Although, I do want to note that my lifestyle is far from spartan--in Chicago, $1,200 can get you a pretty nice 1br (or even 2br if you look hard) in a reasonably fun and safe residential neighborhood within ~40 mins or so via public transit from the loop. You may not get somewhere models and bottles nice, but you'll find something more than nice enough to bring friends or coworkers by for dinner or drinks. And to be clear, now speaking personally, I still have a fairly solid wardrobe, drive a respectable (if somewhat aging) car, eat out lunch maybe once a week and dinner a couple of times a week, take an international vacation (albeit on a very tight budget) each year, largely support my SO, etc. Living like you make, say, $80k/year in a city like Chicago is not really all that different from living like you make, say, $100k/year in Chicago (and the difference is even smaller for $140k and $160k).*

My point isn't that taking on lots of debt is the right call for everyone (it may not be for someone who plans on supporting a large family in short order), or that you don't have to make any sacrifices (not living in NYC may be one such sacrifice)--my point is that for many, like me, the level of sacrifice that large debt loads require (at a lawyer's salary) can be pretty acceptable.
*Not that I currently live in Chicago. I'm just using that as an example.

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bruinfan10
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bruinfan10 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:42 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
abl wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Saying twice as many Harvard students clerk 9mo out is not really the same as saying a specific individual debating Hamilton or HLS is twice as likely to clerk choosing HLS. That's not how clerkship recruitment works :/


I'm not sure I follow.


I'll preface by saying I am not in the camp who mock or decry the value of an art III clerkship; that would be somewhat self-inculpatory.

My thoughts on this are twofold. First, clerkship hiring is much more about individual motivation, planning and preparation than OCI, which at this level follows a sort of "if you build it they will come" philosophy to jobs. Not so, in post-Plan hiring. Actually applying and engaging in the obsequious gunnerdom that comprises an honest effort - securing strong recommendations/calls from faculty, research and publication, journal, taking certain obnoxious classes -- is half the battle, and matters more name of your school within this range. This stuff takes a serious toll on those of us who aren't naturally obsessed with school. But once you've committed to it, you can do it from either school -- yes you need decent grades, but its not like top third from CLS and bottom quartile from HLS, more like top third from one and top half or top 2/5 at the other.

Second and relatedly, if you're that type of person, you're more likely to make it work at either school. It's so individualized that it matters who the specific person is for what we can label as their "chances." A student debating between a Hamilton and HLS is already better qualified than most hls or ccn students. They will overperform relative to their peers in many of the metrics considered by a judge or current clerks involved in the hiring process. You don't change who you are by making that choice between schools.

This is the best post I've read in this thread, and it's pretty dead-on topic. I know firsthand that you can outperform your school's historical clerkship placement (and job placement in general) by trashing your personal life (or just being hyper-disciplined) and breaking from the "wander-aimlessly-into-OCI > Offer from a Megafirm > Slack Off 2L/3L > Wash Out of Biglaw in 3-yrs" herd. A good portion of the Hamilton recipients would probably avoid that route and gun their way to great outcomes, so paying 180k more for Harvard is a terrible idea.
Last edited by bruinfan10 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pneumonia
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:43 pm

Lol at 15k/year being "lots" of debt.

bklynlady
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bklynlady » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:03 pm

abl wrote:
bklynlady wrote:
abl wrote:I come from a somewhat different generation than most others on this board. I was lucky enough to get my first job out of college before the economy crashed, and I attended one of the few recession-proof law schools. As a consequence, I don't find debt all that scary. (I'm also lucky enough to have a strong enough debt-to-income ratio that I've never been a position where I've been at risk of not paying off my debt.) I've seen from my experience that the way I live when I have a lot of debt is very similar to the way I live when I am debt free -- I find surprising ways to fritter away my excess cash when I'm not paying off my loans that ultimately brings me reasonably little additional enjoyment. The extra meals out, larger wardrobes, nicer apartments, nicer cars, more drinks purchased at bars, etc. end up impacting my life in a fairly minimal way. On the other hand, I've found that my enjoyment of my job has had an enormous, basically controlling, impact on my happiness. My loans effectively cost me $15,000 per year in net salary, and will for another 5+ years (after taxes and whatnot come into play). When I think about how little that ~$1,500/month actually impacts my happiness as compared with how much my job satisfaction does, and when I realize that the $1,500/month goes away in the next 5 or so years (whereas my career path is going to extend over decades), it's incredibly easy for me to justify substantial debt for even just a chance at a better career.

Now, I obviously understand that other people value money differently. My sense is that some of the younger folks in our generation are exceedingly debt averse, and associate significant negative utility with debt. I also have friends who substantially enjoy material wealth--for them the extra couple thousand dollars a month they spend towards meals out, fancier clothes, and nicer apartments makes a big impact on their happiness. I also know tons of folks who legitimately don't care much if their work is a drudge. For people like that, the idea of giving up these luxuries for a mere chance at a better job seems foolish. For me, it is the idea that you wouldn't that seems foolish. But I also recognize that the added pleasure that a lunch out vs a boxed lunch or a $2,200/m vs $1,200/m Chicago apartment brings me (for example) is probably less than average.

For anyone actually making these sorts of decisions, I suggest these are all questions worth asking yourself.

Some people also have other financial obligations, especially those associated with starting a family, childcare/tuition, etc. that make debt difficult even with the spartan existence you describe. I live in NYC and its not possible to find any normal housing for either 1200 or 2220 per month! So geographics also plays a role in the amount of debt one can sustain.


Absolutely. Although, I do want to note that my lifestyle is far from spartan--in Chicago, $1,200 can get you a pretty nice 1br (or even 2br if you look hard) in a reasonably fun and safe residential neighborhood within ~40 mins or so via public transit from the loop. You may not get somewhere models and bottles nice, but you'll find something more than nice enough to bring friends or coworkers by for dinner or drinks. And to be clear, now speaking personally, I still have a fairly solid wardrobe, drive a respectable (if somewhat aging) car, eat out lunch maybe once a week and dinner a couple of times a week, take an international vacation (albeit on a very tight budget) each year, largely support my SO, etc. Living like you make, say, $80k/year in a city like Chicago is not really all that different from living like you make, say, $100k/year in Chicago (and the difference is even smaller for $140k and $160k).*

My point isn't that taking on lots of debt is the right call for everyone (it may not be for someone who plans on supporting a large family in short order), or that you don't have to make any sacrifices (not living in NYC may be one such sacrifice)--my point is that for many, like me, the level of sacrifice that large debt loads require (at a lawyer's salary) can be pretty acceptable.
*Not that I currently live in Chicago. I'm just using that as an example.

With all due respect, I think you're lowballing the cost of living. NYC is probably more expensive than Chicago...

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:12 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Lol at 15k/year being "lots" of debt.


If I'm doing my math correctly, I disagree: it's $225,000 in debt.

To net $15,000 in income in the 28% tax bracket, you have to make over $20,000. Because of the tax benefits, you can pay off about $28,000 in loans with that $20,000 (in this tax bracket).

Assuming a 5% average interest rate (refi, yo) paid over 10 years, $28,000/year is about what you need to pay to pay off $225,000 in loans.

Thus, assuming you're making a six-figure salary, your loan repayment on $225,000 in loans is equivalent to an additional $15,000 a year in take-home pay.

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:14 pm

bklynlady wrote:
abl wrote:
bklynlady wrote:
abl wrote:I come from a somewhat different generation than most others on this board. I was lucky enough to get my first job out of college before the economy crashed, and I attended one of the few recession-proof law schools. As a consequence, I don't find debt all that scary. (I'm also lucky enough to have a strong enough debt-to-income ratio that I've never been a position where I've been at risk of not paying off my debt.) I've seen from my experience that the way I live when I have a lot of debt is very similar to the way I live when I am debt free -- I find surprising ways to fritter away my excess cash when I'm not paying off my loans that ultimately brings me reasonably little additional enjoyment. The extra meals out, larger wardrobes, nicer apartments, nicer cars, more drinks purchased at bars, etc. end up impacting my life in a fairly minimal way. On the other hand, I've found that my enjoyment of my job has had an enormous, basically controlling, impact on my happiness. My loans effectively cost me $15,000 per year in net salary, and will for another 5+ years (after taxes and whatnot come into play). When I think about how little that ~$1,500/month actually impacts my happiness as compared with how much my job satisfaction does, and when I realize that the $1,500/month goes away in the next 5 or so years (whereas my career path is going to extend over decades), it's incredibly easy for me to justify substantial debt for even just a chance at a better career.

Now, I obviously understand that other people value money differently. My sense is that some of the younger folks in our generation are exceedingly debt averse, and associate significant negative utility with debt. I also have friends who substantially enjoy material wealth--for them the extra couple thousand dollars a month they spend towards meals out, fancier clothes, and nicer apartments makes a big impact on their happiness. I also know tons of folks who legitimately don't care much if their work is a drudge. For people like that, the idea of giving up these luxuries for a mere chance at a better job seems foolish. For me, it is the idea that you wouldn't that seems foolish. But I also recognize that the added pleasure that a lunch out vs a boxed lunch or a $2,200/m vs $1,200/m Chicago apartment brings me (for example) is probably less than average.

For anyone actually making these sorts of decisions, I suggest these are all questions worth asking yourself.

Some people also have other financial obligations, especially those associated with starting a family, childcare/tuition, etc. that make debt difficult even with the spartan existence you describe. I live in NYC and its not possible to find any normal housing for either 1200 or 2220 per month! So geographics also plays a role in the amount of debt one can sustain.


Absolutely. Although, I do want to note that my lifestyle is far from spartan--in Chicago, $1,200 can get you a pretty nice 1br (or even 2br if you look hard) in a reasonably fun and safe residential neighborhood within ~40 mins or so via public transit from the loop. You may not get somewhere models and bottles nice, but you'll find something more than nice enough to bring friends or coworkers by for dinner or drinks. And to be clear, now speaking personally, I still have a fairly solid wardrobe, drive a respectable (if somewhat aging) car, eat out lunch maybe once a week and dinner a couple of times a week, take an international vacation (albeit on a very tight budget) each year, largely support my SO, etc. Living like you make, say, $80k/year in a city like Chicago is not really all that different from living like you make, say, $100k/year in Chicago (and the difference is even smaller for $140k and $160k).*

My point isn't that taking on lots of debt is the right call for everyone (it may not be for someone who plans on supporting a large family in short order), or that you don't have to make any sacrifices (not living in NYC may be one such sacrifice)--my point is that for many, like me, the level of sacrifice that large debt loads require (at a lawyer's salary) can be pretty acceptable.
*Not that I currently live in Chicago. I'm just using that as an example.

With all due respect, I think you're lowballing the cost of living. NYC is probably more expensive than Chicago...


I think you're misreading me (or maybe I misspoke): I'm referring to Chicago CoL. It'd be much harder to live on my budget in NYC.

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Pneumonia
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:55 pm

abl wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:Lol at 15k/year being "lots" of debt.


If I'm doing my math correctly, I disagree: it's $225,000 in debt.

To net $15,000 in income in the 28% tax bracket, you have to make over $20,000. Because of the tax benefits, you can pay off about $28,000 in loans with that $20,000 (in this tax bracket).

Assuming a 5% average interest rate (refi, yo) paid over 10 years, $28,000/year is about what you need to pay to pay off $225,000 in loans.

Thus, assuming you're making a six-figure salary, your loan repayment on $225,000 in loans is equivalent to an additional $15,000 a year in take-home pay.


Alright I get whar you're saying, didn't notice the "income" qualifier in your post.

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Emma.
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Emma. » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:59 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Varooom wrote:I’m fascinated by the groupthink here with regard to prestige as a fabricated idea without much value. Quite simply, the best schools in the country (undergrad, law, business, etc.) open doors that other schools do not. This is why a lot of people are willing to pay the higher cost. Now, of course, everyone must determine their own value – and, risk tolerance – for those said doors.

The focus here on comparing 1L hiring is misguided. As someone else said above, not all firms are equal. And, more importantly, a prospective career arc must be considered in full. Bigger spoils are more reachable from a better school. And, yes, this comes at a greater risk, particularly for a person that is an all-star on paper, but not quite in person.

In the end, the best schools are best for a reason. As bad a societal truth as it may be, and as much as people want to devalue it, there is much intangible – or, perhaps, deferred – value in attending the best schools. Unlocking that value depends on an alumnus’ abilities (i.e., positioning) and luck. But, to trivialize its value is, well, a bit foolish.

We're talking Harvard vs Columbia, not Harvard vs fucking Florida A&M. And we're talking about 180k plus interest.


This. Someone please explain to me the doors that HLS opens that Columbia doesn't.

Fawkes
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Fawkes » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:09 pm

100% agree that the financial aid talk was full of misinformation and came off as a poorly designed sales pitch.

I actually had a different experience at ASW in terms of student interaction, though. While some did try to sell Harvard, most of the people I talked to acknowledged that it's a very personal decision and there are a ton of factors to consider, such as your career goals, the environment you want to live in, your ROI, etc. Despite what many people may tell you, it's not a one-size-fits-all decision. The one (and maybe only) thing I agreed with from the financial aid talk is that the decision should not be all about money, unless money is the most important contributor to your personal utility. Money should absolutely be a consideration, but it should not be the ONLY consideration.

I found it more useful to talk to alumni who were at least a couple years out of school and who had faced the same choices to see how they viewed their decision either in light of the debt they now faced or in light of the debt they didn't have to face due to the full-ride they received. In my experience, their responses were much more substantive than those of current students. Perhaps this was because the communications were via e-mail, so they had more time to package their thoughts, or perhaps it was because they had more life experience to color their opinions. For those still trying to decide, talk to some alumni from the schools you're considering if you haven't already. In the end, you have to determine what factors are most important to you and, based on that, pick the "right" school for you.

bklynlady
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bklynlady » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:11 pm

Fawkes wrote:100% agree that the financial aid talk was full of misinformation and came off as a poorly designed sales pitch.

I actually had a different experience at ASW in terms of student interaction, though. While some did try to sell Harvard, most of the people I talked to acknowledged that it's a very personal decision and there are a ton of factors to consider, such as your career goals, the environment you want to live in, your ROI, etc. Despite what many people may tell you, it's not a one-size-fits-all decision. The one (and maybe only) thing I agreed with from the financial aid talk is that the decision should not be all about money, unless money is the most important contributor to your personal utility. Money should absolutely be a consideration, but it should not be the ONLY consideration.

I found it more useful to talk to alumni who were at least a couple years out of school and who had faced the same choices to see how they viewed their decision either in light of the debt they now faced or in light of the debt they didn't have to face due to the full-ride they received. In my experience, their responses were much more substantive than those of current students. Perhaps this was because the communications were via e-mail, so they had more time to package their thoughts, or perhaps it was because they had more life experience to color their opinions. For those still trying to decide, talk to some alumni from the schools you're considering if you haven't already. In the end, you have to determine what factors are most important to you and, based on that, pick the "right" school for you.

So was there any consensus among the alumni you connected with?

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:24 pm

bklynlady wrote:
Fawkes wrote:100% agree that the financial aid talk was full of misinformation and came off as a poorly designed sales pitch.

I actually had a different experience at ASW in terms of student interaction, though. While some did try to sell Harvard, most of the people I talked to acknowledged that it's a very personal decision and there are a ton of factors to consider, such as your career goals, the environment you want to live in, your ROI, etc. Despite what many people may tell you, it's not a one-size-fits-all decision. The one (and maybe only) thing I agreed with from the financial aid talk is that the decision should not be all about money, unless money is the most important contributor to your personal utility. Money should absolutely be a consideration, but it should not be the ONLY consideration.

I found it more useful to talk to alumni who were at least a couple years out of school and who had faced the same choices to see how they viewed their decision either in light of the debt they now faced or in light of the debt they didn't have to face due to the full-ride they received. In my experience, their responses were much more substantive than those of current students. Perhaps this was because the communications were via e-mail, so they had more time to package their thoughts, or perhaps it was because they had more life experience to color their opinions. For those still trying to decide, talk to some alumni from the schools you're considering if you haven't already. In the end, you have to determine what factors are most important to you and, based on that, pick the "right" school for you.

So was there any consensus among the alumni you connected with?


Are there any other alums on this thread? I'm an alum, made a choice along these lines (albeit with non-max debt at HYS), have been repaying my HYS debt for several years now, and am pretty convinced I made the right choice for me.

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yot11
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby yot11 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:53 pm

bklynlady wrote:
Fawkes wrote:100% agree that the financial aid talk was full of misinformation and came off as a poorly designed sales pitch.

I actually had a different experience at ASW in terms of student interaction, though. While some did try to sell Harvard, most of the people I talked to acknowledged that it's a very personal decision and there are a ton of factors to consider, such as your career goals, the environment you want to live in, your ROI, etc. Despite what many people may tell you, it's not a one-size-fits-all decision. The one (and maybe only) thing I agreed with from the financial aid talk is that the decision should not be all about money, unless money is the most important contributor to your personal utility. Money should absolutely be a consideration, but it should not be the ONLY consideration.

I found it more useful to talk to alumni who were at least a couple years out of school and who had faced the same choices to see how they viewed their decision either in light of the debt they now faced or in light of the debt they didn't have to face due to the full-ride they received. In my experience, their responses were much more substantive than those of current students. Perhaps this was because the communications were via e-mail, so they had more time to package their thoughts, or perhaps it was because they had more life experience to color their opinions. For those still trying to decide, talk to some alumni from the schools you're considering if you haven't already. In the end, you have to determine what factors are most important to you and, based on that, pick the "right" school for you.

So was there any consensus among the alumni you connected with?


FWIW, I spoke to two HYS alums. One (I think) had no debt, the other definitely did (although I couldn't tell you how much). They graduated in 2014, and 2010, respectively. Neither regretted their decision to attend HYS.

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rpupkin
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:07 pm

yot11 wrote:FWIW, I spoke to two HYS alums. One (I think) had no debt, the other definitely did (although I couldn't tell you how much). They graduated in 2014, and 2010, respectively. Neither regretted their decision to attend HYS.

Although it's good to talk to alumni, it's hard to avoid confirmation bias. If a HLS grad turned down a Hamilton and ended up clerking on SCOTUS, then of course they're going to tell you they made the right choice. But if a HLS grad turned down a full ride at a T14 and ended up working as an associate at Paul Hastings in NYC, then you might hear a very different answer.

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yot11
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby yot11 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:13 pm

rpupkin wrote:
yot11 wrote:FWIW, I spoke to two HYS alums. One (I think) had no debt, the other definitely did (although I couldn't tell you how much). They graduated in 2014, and 2010, respectively. Neither regretted their decision to attend HYS.

Although it's good to talk to alumni, it's hard to avoid confirmation bias. If a HLS grad turned down a Hamilton and ended up clerking on SCOTUS, then of course they're going to tell you they made the right choice. But if a HLS grad turned down a full ride at a T14 and ended up working as an associate at Paul Hastings in NYC, then you might hear a very different answer.


Agreed in principle.

However, both alums were working biglaw (one in DC, one in Atlanta). Just pointing out that (contrary to popular belief) not every HYS grad working biglaw hates their life, even if they have loans.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby gaprivacylaw » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:16 pm

I'm an HLS grad 20 years out who has been reading the scamblogs since their inception, and I have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, even the Prof Campos's of the world will tell you that having a full ride is the exception to the ultra-conservative "avoid all law schools except HYS" self-protective posture that is recommended these days. This applies in SPADES if you have a full ride to one of the CCN schools. So long as you can stand the opportunity cost, you will be free to enjoy the intellectual feast (which it really can be) that is three years at a top law school without much fear of hideous downside.

I suspect these HLS kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to take on the major debt that comes with that school (esp if they had turned down free rides elsewhere!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

I hope you post again and let us know what you decide.

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Hikikomorist
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Hikikomorist » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:17 pm

abl wrote:I come from a somewhat different generation than most others on this board. I was lucky enough to get my first job out of college before the economy crashed, and I attended one of the few recession-proof law schools. As a consequence, I don't find debt all that scary. (I'm also lucky enough to have a strong enough debt-to-income ratio that I've never been a position where I've been at risk of not paying off my debt.) I've seen from my experience that the way I live when I have a lot of debt is very similar to the way I live when I am debt free -- I find surprising ways to fritter away my excess cash when I'm not paying off my loans that ultimately brings me reasonably little additional enjoyment. The extra meals out, larger wardrobes, nicer apartments, nicer cars, more drinks purchased at bars, etc. end up impacting my life in a fairly minimal way. On the other hand, I've found that my enjoyment of my job has had an enormous, basically controlling, impact on my happiness. My loans effectively cost me $15,000 per year in net salary, and will for another 5+ years (after taxes and whatnot come into play). When I think about how little that ~$1,500/month actually impacts my happiness as compared with how much my job satisfaction does, and when I realize that the $1,500/month goes away in the next 5 or so years (whereas my career path is going to extend over decades), it's incredibly easy for me to justify substantial debt for even just a chance at a better career.

Now, I obviously understand that other people value money differently. My sense is that some of the younger folks in our generation are exceedingly debt averse, and associate significant negative utility with debt. I also have friends who substantially enjoy material wealth--for them the extra couple thousand dollars a month they spend towards meals out, fancier clothes, and nicer apartments makes a big impact on their happiness. I also know tons of folks who legitimately don't care much if their work is a drudge. For people like that, the idea of giving up these luxuries for a mere chance at a better job seems foolish. For me, it is the idea that you wouldn't that seems foolish. But I also recognize that the added pleasure that a lunch out vs a boxed lunch or a $2,200/m vs $1,200/m Chicago apartment brings me (for example) is probably less than average.

For anyone actually making these sorts of decisions, I suggest these are all questions worth asking yourself.


I've loved your work in this thread.

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yot11
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby yot11 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:20 pm

gaprivacylaw wrote:I'm an HLS grad 20 years out who has been reading the scamblogs since their inception, and I have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, even the Prof Campos's of the world will tell you that having a full ride is the exception to the ultra-conservative "avoid all law schools except HYS" self-protective posture that is recommended these days. This applies in SPADES if you have a full ride to one of the CCN schools. So long as you can stand the opportunity cost, you will be free to enjoy the intellectual feast (which it really can be) that is three years at a top law school without much fear of hideous downside.

I suspect these HLS kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to take on the major debt that comes with that school (esp if they had turned down free rides elsewhere!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

I hope you post again and let us know what you decide.


I suspect these Hamilton/Ruby/Vanderbilt kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to turn down HYS (esp if they got in!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

c wat i did thar

bklynlady
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bklynlady » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:25 pm

yot11 wrote:
gaprivacylaw wrote:I'm an HLS grad 20 years out who has been reading the scamblogs since their inception, and I have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, even the Prof Campos's of the world will tell you that having a full ride is the exception to the ultra-conservative "avoid all law schools except HYS" self-protective posture that is recommended these days. This applies in SPADES if you have a full ride to one of the CCN schools. So long as you can stand the opportunity cost, you will be free to enjoy the intellectual feast (which it really can be) that is three years at a top law school without much fear of hideous downside.

I suspect these HLS kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to take on the major debt that comes with that school (esp if they had turned down free rides elsewhere!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

I hope you post again and let us know what you decide.


I suspect these Hamilton/Ruby/Vanderbilt kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to turn down HYS (esp if they got in!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

c wat i did thar

Good point! What are they going to tell you? Look at me, I'm the schmuck who gave away 195k+ money to be here wallowing in debt! And I want you to do the same!

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bruinfan10
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bruinfan10 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:39 pm

yot11 wrote:
gaprivacylaw wrote:I'm an HLS grad 20 years out who has been reading the scamblogs since their inception, and I have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, even the Prof Campos's of the world will tell you that having a full ride is the exception to the ultra-conservative "avoid all law schools except HYS" self-protective posture that is recommended these days. This applies in SPADES if you have a full ride to one of the CCN schools. So long as you can stand the opportunity cost, you will be free to enjoy the intellectual feast (which it really can be) that is three years at a top law school without much fear of hideous downside.

I suspect these HLS kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to take on the major debt that comes with that school (esp if they had turned down free rides elsewhere!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

I hope you post again and let us know what you decide.


I suspect these Hamilton/Ruby/Vanderbilt kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to turn down HYS (esp if they got in!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

c wat i did thar

lol just lol at the idea a Hamilton/Ruby didn't get accepted to both Harvard and at least one of YS. even lowly michigan darrows almost invariably turn down HLS.

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yot11
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby yot11 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:32 am

bruinfan10 wrote:
yot11 wrote:
gaprivacylaw wrote:I'm an HLS grad 20 years out who has been reading the scamblogs since their inception, and I have a strong opinion on this.

First of all, even the Prof Campos's of the world will tell you that having a full ride is the exception to the ultra-conservative "avoid all law schools except HYS" self-protective posture that is recommended these days. This applies in SPADES if you have a full ride to one of the CCN schools. So long as you can stand the opportunity cost, you will be free to enjoy the intellectual feast (which it really can be) that is three years at a top law school without much fear of hideous downside.

I suspect these HLS kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to take on the major debt that comes with that school (esp if they had turned down free rides elsewhere!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

I hope you post again and let us know what you decide.


I suspect these Hamilton/Ruby/Vanderbilt kids HAVE to think this way to justify their choice to turn down HYS (esp if they got in!). I can just picture them coming at you like cult members, all repeating the same refrain!

c wat i did thar

lol just lol at the idea a Hamilton/Ruby didn't get accepted to both Harvard and at least one of YS. even lowly michigan darrows almost invariably turn down HLS.


Guess u didn't c wat i did thar. Reading is hard huh

michlaw
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby michlaw » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:20 am

lol just lol at the idea a Hamilton/Ruby didn't get accepted to both Harvard and at least one of YS. even lowly michigan darrows almost invariably turn down HLS.


No they don't.

Hamilton's and Ruby's have many excellent purposes and are not just offered to the 10 or so at each school with the highest numbers. Rumor has it that the median Hamilton/Ruby is roughly the median at YHS. They are offered to people who deserve them for lots of reasons and who are likely to accept them. These admission people are smart cookies when it comes to building their class. Part of the discussions here keep asking what doors does Harvard open that CCN don't putting completely aside the op's situation of full ride vs full price. Not sure, but when the COA is even roughly equivalent people pick YHS over CCN in overwhelming percentages. If the schools are the same then the choice of which to attend should have a more equal distribution based mostly on where you want to live for 3 years.

Oh and I did see what you did there... clever, and true.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:35 am

I mean, dude, prestige is a thing.

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jbagelboy
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:02 am

michlaw wrote:
lol just lol at the idea a Hamilton/Ruby didn't get accepted to both Harvard and at least one of YS. even lowly michigan darrows almost invariably turn down HLS.


No they don't.

Hamilton's and Ruby's have many excellent purposes and are not just offered to the 10 or so at each school with the highest numbers. Rumor has it that the median Hamilton/Ruby is roughly the median at YHS. They are offered to people who deserve them for lots of reasons and who are likely to accept them. These admission people are smart cookies when it comes to building their class. Part of the discussions here keep asking what doors does Harvard open that CCN don't putting completely aside the op's situation of full ride vs full price. Not sure, but when the COA is even roughly equivalent people pick YHS over CCN in overwhelming percentages. If the schools are the same then the choice of which to attend should have a more equal distribution based mostly on where you want to live for 3 years.

Oh and I did see what you did there... clever, and true.


What, no one is saying the schools are all the same

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downbeat14
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby downbeat14 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:14 am

abl wrote:
Assuming a 5% average interest rate (refi, yo) paid over 10 years, $28,000/year is about what you need to pay to pay off $225,000 in loans.



0L here taking a T14 full ride instead of sticker, so what do I know, but...

Here's the thing a lot of people that pay sticker really can't bring themselves to face about this situation (or maybe just don't get it or not care):

It's not just that you are giving up income and paying interest that you'll never see again. The bigger picture is that you will have earned a shit ton of money working BL in those 5-10 years and have very little show for it, since you are bleeding your money into the student loan abyss instead of building wealth, securing your future with liquid assets thereby self-insuring yourself against unforeseen obstacles ahead, retire comfortably, and be able to free up resources to give money to causes you care about and contribute to the betterment of those you can help by giving it to people that need it.

Here's a fun game I like to play to demonstrate the point:

Based on the 225K figure at 5% interest, to pay that off in ten years would be a monthly payment of $2386. Now, this is doable, but yeah you have to live more modestly and whatever.

Let's say you keep your frugal (and by the way this is a good thing I believe) lifestyle, but let's say you took a full ride to a T14 instead, and only have to take out 60K for COL. To pay that off in 10 years is a monthly payment of only $636.

Now doing the math here, that means in the debt financed tuition scenario you are giving up 1750 per month. Now you say, psssh whatever I gots plenty of money. BUT, and this is where shit gets cray, if you had instead gone the T14 for free route (let's face it it's likely you are making the same salary) AND put that monthly amount in a mutual fund earning an average annual return of 10% a year (not unusual), then after 10 years instead of having no money to show for all that debt, you instead of a single investment worth: 368,000. If you didn't contribute any more to that investment and just let it grow another 20 years to retirement, then you would have about 2.5 million.

0Ls, this is what you are actually giving up when you pay sticker. Not only do you have to hand over more of your money to the government after they already take 28-30% in the short term, you lose your ability to determine your financial future.

Sorry rant over...

michlaw
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby michlaw » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:16 am

Emma. wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Varooom wrote:I’m fascinated by the groupthink here with regard to prestige as a fabricated idea without much value. Quite simply, the best schools in the country (undergrad, law, business, etc.) open doors that other schools do not. This is why a lot of people are willing to pay the higher cost. Now, of course, everyone must determine their own value – and, risk tolerance – for those said doors.

The focus here on comparing 1L hiring is misguided. As someone else said above, not all firms are equal. And, more importantly, a prospective career arc must be considered in full. Bigger spoils are more reachable from a better school. And, yes, this comes at a greater risk, particularly for a person that is an all-star on paper, but not quite in person.

In the end, the best schools are best for a reason. As bad a societal truth as it may be, and as much as people want to devalue it, there is much intangible – or, perhaps, deferred – value in attending the best schools. Unlocking that value depends on an alumnus’ abilities (i.e., positioning) and luck. But, to trivialize its value is, well, a bit foolish.

We're talking Harvard vs Columbia, not Harvard vs fucking Florida A&M. And we're talking about 180k plus interest.


This. Someone please explain to me the doors that HLS opens that Columbia doesn't.



What, no one is saying the schools are all the same


Seems that some are wondering? It's a valid question.
Last edited by michlaw on Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.




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