TatNurner wrote:TK, a few posts back you said you would pick Harvard over a CCN full ride, perhaps I missed it, but I'm curious as to your reasoning for this one? Harvard is nice, but is it that good, esp if biglaw is end goal and Columbia and NYU can do the same for cheaper?
(This is not a challenge about your decision making btw, just general curiousity).
No problem. First, it is probably best for me to define "goal" as I write it. When I say goal, what I mean is the "worst" outcome that I would find satisfactory. I dont mean to use it as a synonym for dream. Its kind of like saying you want to get a certain grade in a class. Of course you would be happy with doing better, but you arent going to be upset unless you do worse. Ideally I would prefer to have a fed. clerkship(and eventually academia.. this would be my dream situation), environmental PI, or even transition into in-house work. Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables that go into all of those (high-grades, relationship situation, luck, etc.). I really dont feel comfortable saying those are my "goal" under the definition I gave.
In the end, I think going to HLS gives me a good chance of meeting the baseline "goal" while also giving me a very good shot at the other options if everything falls in place. In addition, I prefer non-NYC markets so that kind of takes the edge off of Columbia and NYU a bit. I also have to take into account that my decision is likely to be 25-29k grant vs. ~45k scholly rather than sticker vs. ~45k.
Dont get me wrong. If I had CCN full vs. HLS I would definitely give it a long thought. Im not anywhere near 100% sure I would turn it down. But this is pretty much how I would reason my way through it.
I really don't think Harvard is your best bet for environmental PI. That's the path I am on and I have found almost no reason to go to Harvard (didn't even apply there). For environmental PI, I think S, NYU, and obviously Yale would be a much better decision (or Berkeley). But if you're going for academia, I suppose, you're good at H. A Yale acceptance (did you apply?) would be
the best for your goals by leaps and bounds