Columbia vs. Stanford

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lawschoolhopeful2018
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Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lawschoolhopeful2018 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:02 pm

First of all, I haven't heard back yet about money from either school, so all of this is obviously pending scholarship info.

That being said, would it be crazy to go to Columbia over Stanford at the same price? I would really prefer to live on the east coast (my whole family is from the New York area) both during school and after graduation, and I like the idea of going to graduate school in a big city. My ultimate ideal goal would be to work in government (DOJ, USAO kind of stuff), although I understand that I may need to work in BigLaw for a few years to get the requisite training and pay off loans.

Update: I received $75k from Columbia, which basically seals the deal for me. Thanks for all of your help!
Last edited by lawschoolhopeful2018 on Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kingpin101
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby kingpin101 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:15 pm

If you don't get any money from either, then yes, going to Columbia would be sort of crazy.

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MarkfromWI
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby MarkfromWI » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:22 pm

kingpin101 wrote:If you don't get any money from either, then yes, going to Columbia would be sort of crazy.


Ehh, I kinda disagree. Given your east coast preference, I wouldn't go so far as to call it crazy.

BigZuck
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby BigZuck » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:27 pm

I think sticker at either is kinda crazy

But chosing C over S for personal reasons isn't. Not at all.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby Clemenceau » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:27 pm

I certainly wouldn't call it crazy. Stanford's superior clerkship placement is worth considering I guess. Still dont think that would make it crazy to pick columbia.

I think there's something to be said for going to law school where you want to live/practice, even in the t14, even though "nyc doesn't require ties". At the end of the day, it is still three years of your life.

Edited for clarity
Last edited by Clemenceau on Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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moopness
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby moopness » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:32 pm

I picked Columbia over Stanford. It's definitely stressful here because of grades, and I don't know if I would be under the same stress at S, but I love NYC and being in the city was a huge factor for in me choosing C. I definitely don't regret it (bad weather withstanding) and if you have personal preferences for the east coast I don't think that would be crazy.

hdunlop
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby hdunlop » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:32 pm

Not crazy to do it because you really want to go to school in NY. Completely crazy to do it if all you're worried about is getting back East afterward.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:21 pm

As someone already said, sticker debt at either is crazy.

I don't think it's crazy, or even a mistake, to go to CLS if you want to live/work in New York. It's a great school with amazing opportunities in government and the private sector in the city (and elsewhere) for its graduates. Tons of CLS grads at US attorneys office in eastern & southern district after stints at elite NY firms. If you wanted to work in California, then yea, it would be pretty goddamn stupid to take CLS over SLS at the same cost.

I was wait listed at Stanford, so I never got to make this decision. But I know people that did and came to Columbia (they are all east coasters born and bred -- cali kids love stanford). As for other options if you want to live in the northeast, if you were admitted to SLS and CLS it suggests you stand a strong chance getting into Harvard/off their wait list.

lawschoolhopeful2018
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lawschoolhopeful2018 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:29 pm

Thanks for all of your help!

It seems like most of you think it wouldn't be crazy to go to Columbia, which is pretty comforting since I'm definitely leaning that way. Still hoping for some $$, obviously. Also, I should probably add that I went to the Columbia admitted students days earlier this month and really liked the school a lot, so that's also pushing me in that direction.

also, re: Harvard/Yale, I haven't heard back from either school yet, so I'm expecting waitlists at this point.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:59 pm

Did you apply to anywhere else? How are you funding law school? If you got into Stanford you could probably do something like go to Cornell for free which will put you in New York biglaw

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downbeat14
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby downbeat14 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:17 am

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wons
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby wons » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:49 am

When I faced this choice as a NYC native, my father, who worked in Biglaw, urged me to take Columbia. His argument - which I think was right based on my experience at CLS - was that even if Stanford's NYC biglaw placement is better, the difference is small relative to the improvement in GPA that you'll get by being able to go home for a home cooked meal after a bad day.

Wise counsel, this was.

On the other hand, if you want California placement, Stanford is the no brainer.

eph
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby eph » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:25 am

Stanford, particularly so when it is even money. There is nothing from Columbia that you can't get from Stanford. There are some things from Stanford you can't get from Columbia. If you come back east you are a bit of a special snowflake since something like 80% of Stanford stays out west. The weather, the change of pace, the smaller class size. I know and appreciate the allure of NYC but you can work there as a summer and after you graduate. Given the competitiveness of Columbia you will never get out of the library anyway so it won't matter where you are.

Do not imo underestimate the stark differences in grading systems. Good luck. Both are great choices.

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Postby MistakenGenius » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:49 am

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Big Dog
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby Big Dog » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:24 am

why not HLS? (i would guess that someone accepted to SLS has a an extremely high probability of a js2.)

lawschoolhopeful2018
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lawschoolhopeful2018 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:20 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that going to Columbia for sticker is objectively stupid and crazy over Stanford at sticker (I am okay in certain situations on sticker at HYS). If you want government, there are two basic routes. You can do governmental honors, where most government hiring for the divisions you mentioned takes place, and Stanford gives you much better odds outside of the New York areas. The other way is to lateral in after several years in private practice, which, while possible, is not an extremely easy transfer. Now, if you get some money from Columbia, say $45,000+ total, which you may or may not (since we're discussing Stanford and not HY, I'm guessing you have an absolutely incredible GPA but low 170s LSAT), then I think it's fair to start thinking about where you'll be happier for the next 3 years. But at equal price, Stanford is just way ahead and is basically in its own tier and it doesn't make sense to choose Columbia. Also, I know you think living in a big city could be cool, but definitely visit both. Living in Manhattan is great for some but is definitely not for everyone.


This is my major concern - that government options are simply better coming from Stanford across the board. Is that really true for major non-New York east coast cities? I would ideally like to work in either New York, Boston, D.C., or Philly after graduation (with a very slight preference for New York).

Additionally, I am still hoping to get a decent amount of $$ from Columbia, given that I am above the 75% (174 LSAT, 3.88 GPA). And, again, still waiting to hear from Harvard and Yale, although I am not particularly optimistic at this point - I think my lack of good recommendations really hurt me (I go to a top [HYP] undergraduate school but I almost exclusively took larger lecture courses, so I didn't really get close to any of my professors), and being a k-jd probably doesn't help.

Also, I am receiving an independent scholarship of ~$100k (for the sake of anonymity, I won't get into the details), so I'm not really paying "sticker" at any school.
Last edited by lawschoolhopeful2018 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

lawschoolhopeful2018
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lawschoolhopeful2018 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:24 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:Did you apply to anywhere else? How are you funding law school? If you got into Stanford you could probably do something like go to Cornell for free which will put you in New York biglaw


I'm receiving an independent scholarship of ~$100k for graduate school. I knew I had the scholarship pretty early, so I only applied to 7 schools. Perhaps that was a mistake, but it's a little late in the game for me to do anything about it. I'm still waiting on scholarship info from Chicago and NYU as well (and I haven't heard from Penn - probably should have written that optional essay; oh well), but I preferred Columbia to Chicago/NYU, and I figure that any scholarship money I receive from one school could hopefully turn into money at the others as well.

lawschoolhopeful2018
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lawschoolhopeful2018 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:27 pm

wons wrote:When I faced this choice as a NYC native, my father, who worked in Biglaw, urged me to take Columbia. His argument - which I think was right based on my experience at CLS - was that even if Stanford's NYC biglaw placement is better, the difference is small relative to the improvement in GPA that you'll get by being able to go home for a home cooked meal after a bad day.

Wise counsel, this was.

On the other hand, if you want California placement, Stanford is the no brainer.


I guess this is one of the major sentiments that is driving me - family is extremely important to me, and I would hate to be on the other side of the country for 3 years. Additionally I have a lot of friends in the city and on the east coast in general, and it would be nice to keep up those connections. I certainly would not want to stay in CA, so I don't really care about California placement, and I am in general a little concerned that so many Stanford graduate stay on the West coast.

hdunlop
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby hdunlop » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:11 pm

Many people have that concern, but IMO what drives it is there are a lot of folks who get here and realize it's just better and change their plans to return East or to the Midwest.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:27 pm

eph wrote:Stanford, particularly so when it is even money. There is nothing from Columbia that you can't get from Stanford. There are some things from Stanford you can't get from Columbia. If you come back east you are a bit of a special snowflake since something like 80% of Stanford stays out west. The weather, the change of pace, the smaller class size. I know and appreciate the allure of NYC but you can work there as a summer and after you graduate. Given the competitiveness of Columbia you will never get out of the library anyway so it won't matter where you are.

Do not imo underestimate the stark differences in grading systems. Good luck. Both are great choices.


The competitiveness of Columbia? Lol, what a joke . People say the weirdest shit on this website

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:32 pm

MistakenGenius wrote:I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that going to Columbia for sticker is objectively stupid and crazy over Stanford at sticker (I am okay in certain situations on sticker at HYS). If you want government, there are two basic routes. You can do governmental honors, where most government hiring for the divisions you mentioned takes place, and Stanford gives you much better odds outside of the New York areas. The other way is to lateral in after several years in private practice, which, while possible, is not an extremely easy transfer. Now, if you get some money from Columbia, say $45,000+ total, which you may or may not (since we're discussing Stanford and not HY, I'm guessing you have an absolutely incredible GPA but low 170s LSAT), then I think it's fair to start thinking about where you'll be happier for the next 3 years. But at equal price, Stanford is just way ahead and is basically in its own tier and it doesn't make sense to choose Columbia. Also, I know you think living in a big city could be cool, but definitely visit both. Living in Manhattan is great for some but is definitely not for everyone.


Fed Government hiring in Manhattan isn't better out of stanford than columbia. Elsewhere - certainly. But if you know you want to work in New York it isn't crazy to go to the best connected and best placing school in that city

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MistakenGenius
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Postby MistakenGenius » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:18 pm

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lapolicia
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby lapolicia » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:37 pm

lawschoolhopeful2018 wrote:
MistakenGenius wrote:I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that going to Columbia for sticker is objectively stupid and crazy over Stanford at sticker (I am okay in certain situations on sticker at HYS). If you want government, there are two basic routes. You can do governmental honors, where most government hiring for the divisions you mentioned takes place, and Stanford gives you much better odds outside of the New York areas. The other way is to lateral in after several years in private practice, which, while possible, is not an extremely easy transfer. Now, if you get some money from Columbia, say $45,000+ total, which you may or may not (since we're discussing Stanford and not HY, I'm guessing you have an absolutely incredible GPA but low 170s LSAT), then I think it's fair to start thinking about where you'll be happier for the next 3 years. But at equal price, Stanford is just way ahead and is basically in its own tier and it doesn't make sense to choose Columbia. Also, I know you think living in a big city could be cool, but definitely visit both. Living in Manhattan is great for some but is definitely not for everyone.


This is my major concern - that government options are simply better coming from Stanford across the board. Is that really true for major non-New York east coast cities? I would ideally like to work in either New York, Boston, D.C., or Philly after graduation (with a very slight preference for New York).

Additionally, I am still hoping to get a decent amount of $$ from Columbia, given that I am above the 75% (174 LSAT, 3.88 GPA). And, again, still waiting to hear from Harvard and Yale, although I am not particularly optimistic at this point - I think my lack of good recommendations really hurt me (I go to a top [HYP] undergraduate school but I almost exclusively took larger lecture courses, so I didn't really get close to any of my professors), and being a k-jd probably doesn't help.

Also, I am receiving an independent scholarship of ~$100k (for the sake of anonymity, I won't get into the details), so I'm not really paying "sticker" at any school.


There is virtually no entry-level federal government attorney hiring outside of DC. If you want to do government straight out of law school, you should plan on being in DC for at least a few years whether you go to Stanford or Columbia. Sure, there are a few positions available every year, but they are very limited (a typical breakdown might be 10 openings in DC, 1 in NYC 1 in SF). After a few years in DC, you can transfer to a regional office.

michlaw
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby michlaw » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:00 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
eph wrote:Stanford, particularly so when it is even money. There is nothing from Columbia that you can't get from Stanford. There are some things from Stanford you can't get from Columbia. If you come back east you are a bit of a special snowflake since something like 80% of Stanford stays out west. The weather, the change of pace, the smaller class size. I know and appreciate the allure of NYC but you can work there as a summer and after you graduate. Given the competitiveness of Columbia you will never get out of the library anyway so it won't matter where you are.

Do not imo underestimate the stark differences in grading systems. Good luck. Both are great choices.


The competitiveness of Columbia? Lol, what a joke . People say the weirdest shit on this website


I'm curious. If Stanford has a system where you might be able to identify the top 20% and then there is the rest, and they essentially give no low passes, and Columbia has a forced curved letter grade system where inevitably 25% of the class will be in the bottom 25% of the class, even though no one thinks it will be them, then wouldn't the competition for grades be more fierce at Columbia? Maybe I don't understand properly the grading system at Columbia. I am aware there are people on both sides of the argument of whether the systems at HYS are preferable or not but still where there are grades is there not competition? And as the highest ranked school that gives grades would not the completion be the greatest?

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jbagelboy
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Re: Columbia vs. Stanford

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:08 pm

michlaw wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
eph wrote:Stanford, particularly so when it is even money. There is nothing from Columbia that you can't get from Stanford. There are some things from Stanford you can't get from Columbia. If you come back east you are a bit of a special snowflake since something like 80% of Stanford stays out west. The weather, the change of pace, the smaller class size. I know and appreciate the allure of NYC but you can work there as a summer and after you graduate. Given the competitiveness of Columbia you will never get out of the library anyway so it won't matter where you are.

Do not imo underestimate the stark differences in grading systems. Good luck. Both are great choices.


The competitiveness of Columbia? Lol, what a joke . People say the weirdest shit on this website


I'm curious. If Stanford has a system where you might be able to identify the top 20% and then there is the rest, and they essentially give no low passes, and Columbia has a forced curved letter grade system where inevitably 25% of the class will be in the bottom 25% of the class, even though no one thinks it will be them, then wouldn't the competition for grades be more fierce at Columbia? Maybe I don't understand properly the grading system at Columbia. I am aware there are people on both sides of the argument of whether the systems at HYS are preferable or not but still where there are grades is there not competition? And as the highest ranked school that gives grades would not the completion be the greatest?


Strawmaning me a bit. I'm sure at Stanford there's less explicit competition for good grades, but the idea that CLS students have this particularly competitive environment is utterly false. People are incredibly social and even fuck the library. People are ambitious at both schools and that creates a certain atmosphere, but its not worse at CLS than anywhere else.




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