Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

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willtraven

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Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby willtraven » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:32 am

Hi all,

I've been lurking for a while but finally decided to post, figuring I could use any/all insight. Here's the lay of the land:

Stanford (unclear COA as of yet, probably ~$200K)
Honestly, Stanford is a dream. Leaning heavily this way. Love the small class size and the Bay Area makes me so happy.

Harvard (~$200K)
Worried about the huge class, the competitiveness, etc.

NYU (interviewing for named full-tuition scholarship, not RTK)
I like the vibe of NYU - students seem happy, and the PI focus is great.

Columbia (received unnamed full-tuition fellowship)
Visited; generally liked it, but understand a lot of the concerns. Hate that as PI I'd feel like I'm swimming upstream.

I'll be financing my COA primarily with loans/LRAP. I'm from the West Coast (not the Bay Area) originally and would like to end up either there or DC (or both) eventually, and I spent college and a few years post-grad in the Northeast.

Career wise, I want to be involved in public policy broadly writ. I think clerking or working for the public sector would be amazing, but not 100% wedded to either idea. Relatedly, I'm pursuing a joint JD/MPA, and have been accepted to both Princeton's MPA (currently my #1 choice, they gave me a lot of money and the programs seems excellent and full of happy kids) and Harvard's MPP (less money). Harvard won't let me combine Princeton with their law school.

Finally, I took the LSAT once and got a 178, and my GPA is roughly 3.7.

With all of this, I am leaning very heavily towards Stanford (with Princeton for my MPA). Does this thinking make sense? My only real concern would be turning down the NYU scholarship should I receive it, since it seems a shame to say no to that much money (secondary concern, turning down Columbia's fellowship...).

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xael

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby xael » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:34 am

Stanford is just as competitive as Harvard. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

You can do PI from any good school.

Go to Columbia.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Rigo » Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:48 am

As it stands, Columbia.

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Clearly

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Clearly » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:05 am

Columbia or nyu. No question.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:27 am

Columbia/Wilson MPP is TCR here. It also won't disrupt your personal life since the two schools are relatively close together. Congratulations on two degrees for free!

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Clearly

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Clearly » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:04 am

xael wrote:Stanford is just as competitive as Harvard. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

You can do PI from any good school.

Go to Columbia.

Personally, of my many friends at H and my few at S, I actually think S is more competitive, although some outliers might contribute to that haha

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby eph » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:05 am

If you want to live on the West coast Stanford. Special snowflake. On the East coast Harvard. Amazing depth of affiliations.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby lawlorbust » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:24 am

Clearly wrote:Columbia or nyu. No question.


"No question" is hyperbole.

willtraven

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby willtraven » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:52 am

It sounds like most of those saying Columbia/NYU are saying so for financial reasons. I get that. I went through my LIPP payments and, at the salary level for the jobs I'm aiming for (pretty low), H/S actually seem pretty doable. Plus, I'm already taking out ~$100K in loans for living expenses at either NYC school. Once I think through it, over the long run I'd probably end up paying $30-40K more out of pocket for Stanford/Harvard... which might be worth it for me.

And to answer another question, I want to be on the West Coast — I'm far happier in the Bay Area than I am in New York.

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deepseapartners

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby deepseapartners » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:55 am

willtraven wrote:And to answer another question, I want to be on the West Coast — I'm far happier in the Bay Area than I am in New York.

Do you think your desire to stay in the Bay Area outweighs your desire to work in government/public policy, all other things equalized?

willtraven

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby willtraven » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:00 am

deepseapartners wrote:
willtraven wrote:And to answer another question, I want to be on the West Coast — I'm far happier in the Bay Area than I am in New York.

Do you think your desire to stay in the Bay Area outweighs your desire to work in government/public policy, all other things equalized?


Everything equalized, no, probably not. But that's where I see the Wilson MPA coming into play.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby eph » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:00 am

Unless you know something I don't Stanford doesn't offer a JD/MPA with Princeton (I looked into it 3 years ago so it may have changed). I seem to remember that you could do a Stanford MBA/Princeton MPA. If you have you heart set on a JD/MPA then Harvard stands out. You save a year of time and tuition and have one of the best JD/MPA's possible. I did a JD/MBA (as I am sure you know you have to be accepted into each program separately which surprisingly happens less frequently than you might think) and many still question the joint degree route but that's another subject. You say San Fran over NY which I get but for PI the east coast includes DC and that is a big deal.
Last edited by eph on Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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fliptrip

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby fliptrip » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:13 am

If you get the RTK, pairing that with the WWS MPA looks like a winner to me. I just figure if you're gung-ho PI/Policy, why not take the scholarship that's been specifically focused on that for 50-60 years.

Are you sure that you'll be able to combine your NYU/Columbia JD with the Princeton MPA in a way that HLS won't allow? Are you sure you won't have the same issues?

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:55 am

What is an "MPA"? Anyway, NYU or Columbia is the easy choice, unless you are rich with 10 mm in the bank and 300k doesn't matter to you.

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fliptrip

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby fliptrip » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:56 am

MPA is a professional degree

MPP is more of an academic/research degree

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:59 am

fliptrip wrote:MPA is a professional degree

MPP is more of an academic/research degree


Haven't heard of either - doesn't seem like employable degrees

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fliptrip

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby fliptrip » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:01 pm

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:
fliptrip wrote:MPA is a professional degree

MPP is more of an academic/research degree


Haven't heard of either - doesn't seem like employable degrees


LOL. They are very employable, particularly from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. So much so that I wonder why OP wants to go to law school at all.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby abl » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:05 pm

I'm unclear: at what schools are you going to be able to do the joint degree that you want to do? If you're pretty set on doing a joint degree, I don't think it makes sense to give this up for whatever slight advantage S gives you over C in hiring. On the flipside, if you're strongly considering skipping out on the joint degree to go to your first choice school, it's probably worth considering whether you should be doing the joint degree at any school. Doing a joint degree isn't a small commitment, and the difference between S and C in both placement and experience is going to be dwarfed by the difference between doing a joint degree and not doing a joint degree (probably in both placement and experience).

In other words, your first decision should be whether you're doing a joint degree. After you decide that, look at the remaining schools for which that joint degree is possible.

FWIW I strongly disagree that S is more competitive than H. I'm not arguing that people work less hard. But east coast / west coast vibes feel SUPER different, and definitely permeate the culture of both of these schools. I also think that size generally makes a huge difference in terms of classmate collegiality. And Stanford's grading system is a little less intense than Harvard's. That's not to say that H is without its advantages: you really can't beat the name, and there's definitely something to be said for being at a school with such a large collection of top faculty. I just don't think "less competitive" is one of them.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Indifference » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:14 pm

I'd say Columbia or NYU here. Full tuition is full tuition is full tuition.

Also I wouldn't advise picking a law school for how competitive you think it is/feels. It's law school, it's competitive by nature.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Dishydiana » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:17 pm

Indifference wrote:I'd say Columbia or NYU here. Full tuition is full tuition is full tuition.

Also I wouldn't advise picking a law school for how competitive you think it is/feels. It's law school, it's competitive by nature.


I'm in a comparable situation as OP, in that I'm weighing a 2/3 ride @ NYU v. Harvard. Would you give the same advice? (also looking to do PI work).

abl

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby abl » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:22 pm

Dishydiana wrote:
Indifference wrote:I'd say Columbia or NYU here. Full tuition is full tuition is full tuition.

Also I wouldn't advise picking a law school for how competitive you think it is/feels. It's law school, it's competitive by nature.


I'm in a comparable situation as OP, in that I'm weighing a 2/3 ride @ NYU v. Harvard. Would you give the same advice? (also looking to do PI work).


What kind of PI work? How sure about doing PI are you? And are you debt averse? How comfortable do you feel about the idea of having to rely on Harvard's loan repayment system for ~10 years if you do PI?

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Mikey » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:24 pm

Columbia, but if you get the named scholly from NYU then you'll have 2 great choices.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Dishydiana » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:28 pm

abl wrote:
Dishydiana wrote:
Indifference wrote:I'd say Columbia or NYU here. Full tuition is full tuition is full tuition.

Also I wouldn't advise picking a law school for how competitive you think it is/feels. It's law school, it's competitive by nature.


I'm in a comparable situation as OP, in that I'm weighing a 2/3 ride @ NYU v. Harvard. Would you give the same advice? (also looking to do PI work).


What kind of PI work? How sure about doing PI are you? And are you debt averse? How comfortable do you feel about the idea of having to rely on Harvard's loan repayment system for ~10 years if you do PI?


Environmental advocacy. My research indicates that those who get jobs in this field overwhelmingly have H/Y/S degrees. Without a background in the hard sciences, I may need to bite the bullet and take the more prestigious program for the much, much higher cost.

100% committed to PI work. Big Law would be a big, big mistake for me.

Harvard's LIPP seems very good, relative to other programs. I need to do more research on this front...specifically, I'd like to talk to a few attorneys who have chosen this debt-repayment route, at least right out of school.

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Nathanael » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:32 pm

the huge class size is one of the best things about hls and it really isn't very competitive here fwiw

not saying harvard is the right answer here, i'd be very tempted to take the money from NYU (if you are offered the full ride) and run.

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Tiago Splitter

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Re: Stanford v Harvard v Columbia $$$ v NYU ($$$)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:15 pm

Any feeling of competitiveness will be entirely self-induced at all of these schools.

I don't really know how joint degrees work but is there any logistical problem with going to school in both Palo Alto and Princeton?



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