Harvard vs. Stanford

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ayylmao

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Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby ayylmao » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:06 pm

I know there have been several posts about this dilemma over the years, but I wanted to get some fresh opinions.

I'm from the east coast and have never lived anywhere else. I suspect I want to practice in NYC or DC, but am attracted to the idea of experiencing California and then deciding whether I'd want to stay out west or come back east. I've heard Cali culture and law firms are generally a little more laid-back than NYC, which is attractive to me.

My professional interests aren't rigidly defined, but I'm interested in IP (non-tech background) and policy work. I'm interested in a federal clerkship, though I don't know how valuable one is if you're doing corporate work.

Part of me is attracted to S's tight network, extraordinarily low student-to-faculty ratio, and paradisiacal environment. But since I come from a big state school and don't mind the northeast's weather, part of me is attracted to H's endless resources, large and diverse student body, and brand. Then again, I'm afraid that there will be an annoying amount of competition for profs' time at H, and that there is a colder and more competitive atmosphere there. I value culture very highly, as I know that law school is going to be stressful.

I know there's no one answer here, but what do you all think?

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby nealric » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:01 pm

ayylmao wrote:I know there have been several posts about this dilemma over the years, but I wanted to get some fresh opinions.

I'm from the east coast and have never lived anywhere else. I suspect I want to practice in NYC or DC, but am attracted to the idea of experiencing California and then deciding whether I'd want to stay out west or come back east. I've heard Cali culture and law firms are generally a little more laid-back than NYC, which is attractive to me.

My professional interests aren't rigidly defined, but I'm interested in IP (non-tech background) and policy work. I'm interested in a federal clerkship, though I don't know how valuable one is if you're doing corporate work.

Part of me is attracted to S's tight network, extraordinarily low student-to-faculty ratio, and paradisiacal environment. But since I come from a big state school and don't mind the northeast's weather, part of me is attracted to H's endless resources, large and diverse student body, and brand. Then again, I'm afraid that there will be an annoying amount of competition for profs' time at H, and that there is a colder and more competitive atmosphere there. I value culture very highly, as I know that law school is going to be stressful.

I know there's no one answer here, but what do you all think?


You've pretty much summed up the pluses and minuses. Personally, I'd pick Stanford simply because it's a more exclusive club, which means more resources can be directed at you individually. There's always a few people who end up getting lost in the crowd at Harvard and end up struggling to find the employment they want. That seems much more rare at Stanford.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby T3TON » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:56 pm

ayylmao wrote:I know there have been several posts about this dilemma over the years, but I wanted to get some fresh opinions.

I'm from the east coast and have never lived anywhere else. I suspect I want to practice in NYC or DC, but am attracted to the idea of experiencing California and then deciding whether I'd want to stay out west or come back east. I've heard Cali culture and law firms are generally a little more laid-back than NYC, which is attractive to me.

My professional interests aren't rigidly defined, but I'm interested in IP (non-tech background) and policy work. I'm interested in a federal clerkship, though I don't know how valuable one is if you're doing corporate work.

Part of me is attracted to S's tight network, extraordinarily low student-to-faculty ratio, and paradisiacal environment. But since I come from a big state school and don't mind the northeast's weather, part of me is attracted to H's endless resources, large and diverse student body, and brand. Then again, I'm afraid that there will be an annoying amount of competition for profs' time at H, and that there is a colder and more competitive atmosphere there. I value culture very highly, as I know that law school is going to be stressful.

I know there's no one answer here, but what do you all think?


First let me say that both schools are amazing and you are most lucky to have this choice to make. I was in the same situation (also from a large state school not on the west coast) and chose Stanford- never regretted the decision. You would probably love both schools but here are a few things in your post that incline me to recommend Stanford.

1) If you stay out east, you may never get another chance to experience the west coast. What you've heard about Cali firms being more laid-back really does have some truth to it. Not everyone likes this type of work environment, but you'll get a chance to experience the culture and decide for yourself. Cali is a very tough market to break into without ties. If you think you might want to work Cali biglaw you should really go to Stanford.

2) A lot of (but not all) IP work requires some technical background. However, if it's a field you'd like to explore then Stanford's IP program is arguably the best in the country (both in terms of professors and clinical opportunities). Policy work is primarily field specific and both schools have excellent placement power. I would counsel Harvard if you planned on doing work where your boss was not involved in law or business (i.e. if you wanted to be an elected representative), but within the profession of law they are treated as peers.

3) For clerkships both schools do well in every district and circuit in the country. Statistically, Stanford does have a fairly sizable advantage here. This is not a knock against Harvard- it has amazing placement for its size and with the right grades the sky is the limit. However spots with ArtIII judges are highly limited and Stanford's small size is a big advantage. The difference in the student:faculty ratio probably helps too.

4) The same intuition applies to a much-reduced extent to east coast firm hiring. I have some reason to believe that for certain top NY vault firms it is a little easier out of Stanford (PM me if you're really curious) but this is nothing to get hung up about. With good grades you'll do well at either.

5) Culture matters but don't get too caught up in the stereotypes. Harvard kids might be slightly more on-edge, but nobody is slacking at either school and there are plenty of gunners here too. Having said that there is a definite difference in the energy- you should visit both to get a feel for which you like more. I am of the view that a diversity of experience is advantageous and if you are more accustomed to the east coast that could be a good reason to give something new a try.

PM me if you have any question

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby Nonconsecutive » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:29 am

Do you anticipate getting need-based aid?

If so do what I did and leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid and then see who gives you more.

For me the S vs. H debate ended when H put about 15k more on the table (and also because I found Harvard's LIPP to be better than Stanford's LRAP - but that doesn't seem like it will be a consideration for you).

This doesn't really get to the specifics of your question, I just like to encourage people to try to maximize their need-based aid if they are considering 2 or more of HYS.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby Gabriel_is_Satan » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:09 am

Nonconsecutive wrote:Do you anticipate getting need-based aid?

If so do what I did and leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid and then see who gives you more.

For me the S vs. H debate ended when H put about 15k more on the table (and also because I found Harvard's LIPP to be better than Stanford's LRAP - but that doesn't seem like it will be a consideration for you).

This doesn't really get to the specifics of your question, I just like to encourage people to try to maximize their need-based aid if they are considering 2 or more of HYS.


This. This is step 1. Money. Step 2 would be waiting for Y's decision, presumably you're a competitive applicant there too. Maybe that will get you more money at H or S, or settle the debate for good by you picking Y.

Once Y is out of the picture and the money is more or less equal, well you can't really go wrong. It's much more a question of personal preferences, you're really not sabotaging your big law career in NYC by going to Stanford. So have fun, it's three years of your life!

Personally, I'd pick S in a heartbeat. As you wrote, paradise on earth, awesome faculty student ratio, less competition etc. But a different person would pick H and there would be nothing "wrong" with that either.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby OnlyHumean » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:31 am

Nonconsecutive wrote:Do you anticipate getting need-based aid?

If so do what I did and leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid and then see who gives you more.

For me the S vs. H debate ended when H put about 15k more on the table (and also because I found Harvard's LIPP to be better than Stanford's LRAP - but that doesn't seem like it will be a consideration for you).

This doesn't really get to the specifics of your question, I just like to encourage people to try to maximize their need-based aid if they are considering 2 or more of HYS.


I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby nimbus cloud » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:35 am

OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby OnlyHumean » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:45 am

nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.


I realize the formula is different and so the numbers won't be identical at each of HYS, but "leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid" really seems to imply that (s)he told Harvard that Stanford was offering more, and so Harvard increased their aid to be competitive, not just that Harvard's aid package happened to be 15k more than Stanford's.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby nimbus cloud » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:48 am

OnlyHumean wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.


I realize the formula is different and so the numbers won't be identical at each of HYS, but "leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid" really seems to imply that (s)he told Harvard that Stanford was offering more, and so Harvard increased their aid to be competitive, not just that Harvard's aid package happened to be 15k more than Stanford's.


I am sorry, I should have read the post your were replying to more closely. I am surprised as well - contradicts everything I have heard about their financial aid process ("HYS do not negotiate").

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby OnlyHumean » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:01 am

nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.


I realize the formula is different and so the numbers won't be identical at each of HYS, but "leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid" really seems to imply that (s)he told Harvard that Stanford was offering more, and so Harvard increased their aid to be competitive, not just that Harvard's aid package happened to be 15k more than Stanford's.


I am sorry, I should have read the post your were replying to more closely. I am surprised as well - contradicts everything I have heard about their financial aid process ("HYS do not negotiate").


No problem. Really curious about this because it'll make me seriously regret not applying to Stanford even knowing that I wouldn't go.

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malleus discentium

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby malleus discentium » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:15 am

OnlyHumean wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.


I realize the formula is different and so the numbers won't be identical at each of HYS, but "leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid" really seems to imply that (s)he told Harvard that Stanford was offering more, and so Harvard increased their aid to be competitive, not just that Harvard's aid package happened to be 15k more than Stanford's.

My understanding is not that they negotiate per se but that they will consider adjusting their amount if other need-based programs (i.e. Y and S) come up with different assessments of need.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby ayylmao » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:31 pm

malleus discentium wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:
nimbus cloud wrote:
OnlyHumean wrote:I did not realize this was a thing. I thought the HYS aid packages were essentially formulaic and you just got whatever number their process spit out - they will really negotiate?


They may be formulaic but it is not the same formula across HYS. Harvard offered more independently. I don't think they knew what Stanford had offered or were negotiating.


I realize the formula is different and so the numbers won't be identical at each of HYS, but "leverage S and H against each other a couple of times to bump up your aid" really seems to imply that (s)he told Harvard that Stanford was offering more, and so Harvard increased their aid to be competitive, not just that Harvard's aid package happened to be 15k more than Stanford's.

My understanding is not that they negotiate per se but that they will consider adjusting their amount if other need-based programs (i.e. Y and S) come up with different assessments of need.

Thanks for all the replies fam, but I don't anticipate getting need-based aid. The only sense in which HYS are relevant for financial aid considerations is that I could potentially leverage them to receive more merit coin at CCN. But that's obviously not important for this thread.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby Nonconsecutive » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:38 pm

Just to address the above conversation about my aid. Perhaps "leverage" wasn't the best choice of words, but I did have back and forth conversations with both Harvard and Stanford via phone and email where I submitted the other side's documentation. It ended up with me being bumped up two times. So maybe it wasn't negotiation in the traditional sense, but it sure felt like it on my end. The key is that I was solely relying on the other school's documentation and then QQing about how I thought it was a more accurate capture of my financial circumstances - it was never merit based and never involved any school other than Harvard or Stanford. Conversations I've had with other students have made it seem like the amount of my bump is not normal, so maybe I just got really lucky, but I see no reason not to try if you have 2 or more of HYS and there is an aid difference.

More on topic:

Based on your preferences, I'd lean Stanford.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby T3TON » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:06 pm

ayylmao wrote: Thanks for all the replies fam, but I don't anticipate getting need-based aid. The only sense in which HYS are relevant for financial aid considerations is that I could potentially leverage them to receive more merit coin at CCN. But that's obviously not important for this thread.


I won't weigh in on your situation because for all I know you have a giant trust fund. However I see this comment made a lot on this forum. Often, people are pleasantly surprised by the need-based aid packages they receive from HYS. The term "need" is used loosely when the schools making the decision all have $22 bil+ endowments.

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Re: Harvard vs. Stanford

Postby nimbus cloud » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:40 am

Nonconsecutive wrote:Just to address the above conversation about my aid. Perhaps "leverage" wasn't the best choice of words, but I did have back and forth conversations with both Harvard and Stanford via phone and email where I submitted the other side's documentation. It ended up with me being bumped up two times. So maybe it wasn't negotiation in the traditional sense, but it sure felt like it on my end. The key is that I was solely relying on the other school's documentation and then QQing about how I thought it was a more accurate capture of my financial circumstances - it was never merit based and never involved any school other than Harvard or Stanford. Conversations I've had with other students have made it seem like the amount of my bump is not normal, so maybe I just got really lucky, but I see no reason not to try if you have 2 or more of HYS and there is an aid difference.


Interesting, thanks.

But I have another question: you said in one of the other threads that you received 130k+ in need-based aid from Harvard, which is very generous. But I am confused because it does not add up in my calculations. HLS says that the base loans (the absolute minimum they expect you to borrow) is 48k/year, which in three years equals 144k. Their total COA is 264k. So according to their policy the most you can theoretically expect -- assuming you and your parents have zero income and zero assets -- is 264 minus 144, which is 120k. Since you borrowed in the past, the sum in absolute dollars should be even less. How did you end up with 130k+? What am I missing?



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