LetsGoMets wrote:0L, posting a question in this forum because I think it's relevant.
So I went to Harvard's ASW a week ago, and of the 15-20 current students I talked to, almost all had turned down scholarships at CCN, including many full rides, to pay sticker at Harvard -- and they're all totally convinced they made the right decision, and worked to convince me to make it also (I have a Hamilton, which I can't see myself not taking unless some magic scholarship money shows up to bring down Harvard's insane COA, which is 85k for next year). I actually had multiple people coming up to me at one event to try to sell me on going there, explaining without a whole lot of substance why Harvard beats a CCN full ride even at sticker, and then bringing over their friends to back them up. It was a pretty bizarre display. (Not quite as bizarre as the financial aid office's presentation to us on why HLS is a good financial decision, in which they directly told us to turn down full rides because after ten years our income would be equal... that was a trip.)
So what's the deal with these kids? Are they just blinded by the preftige light and drowning in confirmation bias, and will be telling a different story a year into their Biglaw jobs after they've started making debt payments? (I did try to get some of them to elaborate while I was there, but I either got blank stares or "just trust me, it's worth it" back.)
I would assume the TLS response is that they just don't understand money, should have taken their full rides, and are going to suffer in debt because they made the wrong decision. So is that just the modern HLS business model? Jack up tuition 4% every year, and dupe otherwise intelligent people into taking out massive loans to pay for something they probably could've gotten elsewhere much cheaper? Seems like a very exploitative system, if that's really the case.
This post is a little hypocritical in my opinion since you are essentially doing the same thing as these Harvard 0Ls...you are discounting another point of view, thinking it is obviously silly without, you know, even having real life experience to back it up.
Making something seem black and white (both you and these Harvard 0Ls) is the problem here. It is a gray area. It depends on a lot of factors and what you want to do with your degree. Where do you want to practice, what work do you want to do, etc. There are of course areas where Harvard beats CCN, but yes, financially, if you are just going to do biglaw in NYC, it probably isn't best to choose sticker Harvard over say a Hamilton.
Yet there are other factors. Some JDs actually do plan on moving more to the business side, or handling a lot of international accounts. I personally transitioned from law to business and I will tell you, the prestige is real. Saying I went to Harvard law vs. CCN is sometimes the difference between the other party deciding to work with you or another competitor, esp. if they are international individuals.
And if you are in an area that is not simply overflowing with Harvard grads (say you want to practice in the South or Midwest vs. East Coast), your Harvard brand name will carry you farther. First impressions and initial perceptions/biases are hard to shake. Same work product from the same two people, if person knows one is Harvard and other is some other decent school...Harvard gets more credit. Fairly or unfairly, having the Harvard name is worth a lot because people project certain values and traits on you (that are positive in the working world) that other brands simply do not have. That's right, Harvard is a brand
and is, in my opinion, the strongest brand name I have ever encountered. Note again that I often deal with international companies, have transitioned into the business world (though my opinion was the same even when still in law) and practiced in the South/Midwest haha.
What is right for you may not be for them. They could be looking for something else or have different life goals than you. They could also, believe it or not, be richer :O!! and so the cost-savings of a Hamilton just isn't that impressive to them.
I think you were just turned off by how obnoxious they seemed and how strong headed they were on their opinion, which is at best, only right in certain contexts for certain people. You know, kind of how I felt when I read your original post.....