## Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Reinhardt

Posts: 458
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 2:27 am

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

I think it may be helpful to look at this in a probabilistic way. Sub in your own numbers according to what you think and your personal preferences. This is just an example.

HLS, 5 years after graduation
Chance you will be a successful lawyer making big money: 50%
(impact of loans - negligible)

Chance you will be a successful lawyer making small money: 30%
(impact of loans - significant)

Chance you will be an unsuccessful lawyer: 5%
(impact of loans - "Why in hell did I go to law school?")

Chance you will not be a lawyer: 15%
(impact of loans - depends on where you end up)

Repeat the same exercise with the lower ranked schools and you may get a better picture of what you should do.

The Brainalist

Posts: 315
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:12 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

msoftceo wrote:I think it may be helpful to look at this in a probabilistic way. Sub in your own numbers according to what you think and your personal preferences. This is just an example.

HLS, 5 years after graduation
Chance you will be a successful lawyer making big money: 50%
(impact of loans - negligible)

Chance you will be a successful lawyer making small money: 30%
(impact of loans - significant)

Chance you will be an unsuccessful lawyer: 5%
(impact of loans - "Why in hell did I go to law school?")

Chance you will not be a lawyer: 15%
(impact of loans - depends on where you end up)

Repeat the same exercise with the lower ranked schools and you may get a better picture of what you should do.

So, I just put in percentages, and that's it? Seems almost too good to be true...

Reinhardt

Posts: 458
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 2:27 am

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

Well, ultimately, this is not about math. You could try to create an expected value of your loan payments relative to your salary, or some nonsense like that, but expected value is meaningless to the possible future you that is unemployed with \$200,000 of debt.

ali & ali

Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:47 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

Awesome debate. Honestly, I think this will all depend on the amount of money Columbia offers. If they're generous (i.e. full ride), then a cheaper #4 sticker might look a little prettier than a debt-laden #2 sticker. If not, then I definitely wouldn't mind scraping by in Cambridge. 3.94, 176...I'm waiting for you, Nkonye.

PoliticalJunkie

Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:32 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

Both Duke and CLS has portability across the US and internationally. Harvard will obviously get you the better education, better contacts, and better/more helpful classmates/colleagues in the future, but arguably, Duke and CLS wouldn't be that far behind.

Personally, I'd lean towards CLS or even Duke, though I never spent much time in the Carolinas so not sure how i'd like it but a free legal education from a top-10 law school is tempting.

Esc

Posts: 720
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:09 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

TheLuckyOne wrote:
Esc wrote:
TheLuckyOne wrote:
Esc wrote:I don't have my first semester grades back yet, and haven't interviewed for 1L summer jobs yet, so take this with a grain of salt, but I took free tuition to Texas over Harvard and I'm extremely thankful that I did so.

..and if I remember correctly, you're a Texas resident, want to work in Texas or something along those lines, initially Texas was your top choice and you really wanted to stay in the State. Also, ONLY AFTER you had got an acceptance from Harvard, you were a bit perplexed and even made a Texas \$\$\$ vs Harvard thread (though, I cannot remember what the poll resulted in). Right?

Yes, but my point is that I'm not regretting my decision. After seeing the HLS public interest funding dry up and after reading articles that show HLS grads in the bottom half of their class are not immune to difficulty in getting employment, I'm very glad that I decided to take scholarship over prestige. It will be harder to get certain superstar jobs from Texas, perhaps, but with low debt I'll be secure no matter how things turn out. I couldn't say that if I had chosen HLS. The same would hold true even without my local affinity.

LOL, ok, but let's face it, your decision and current stance is way too biased and subjective since your plans are very in line with UT. It's like me vouching for Harvard as the absolute best place for everyone as if my opinion is objective. (However, it's hard to deny it)

Untrue. I could say the same if I went to GULC, Duke, NU, Vandy, etc, on full scholly. I'd have good clerkship opportunities, decent Biglaw, Midlaw, and Boutique opportunities, decent fed gov opportunities, and decent local government opportunities, and I wouldn't be forced to either take a Biglaw job or LRAP-applicable job to pay back debt.

My opportunities at any of these schools wouldn't be as good as at Harvard, but with 25k in debt rather than between 100k and 200k, I'm fine with that. Of course, in the unlikely event that I completely strike out and can't get any job, having 25k of debt is a much better thing...

TheLuckyOne

Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:00 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

Esc wrote:
TheLuckyOne wrote:
Esc wrote:
TheLuckyOne wrote:
..and if I remember correctly, you're a Texas resident, want to work in Texas or something along those lines, initially Texas was your top choice and you really wanted to stay in the State. Also, ONLY AFTER you had got an acceptance from Harvard, you were a bit perplexed and even made a Texas \$\$\$ vs Harvard thread (though, I cannot remember what the poll resulted in). Right?

Yes, but my point is that I'm not regretting my decision. After seeing the HLS public interest funding dry up and after reading articles that show HLS grads in the bottom half of their class are not immune to difficulty in getting employment, I'm very glad that I decided to take scholarship over prestige. It will be harder to get certain superstar jobs from Texas, perhaps, but with low debt I'll be secure no matter how things turn out. I couldn't say that if I had chosen HLS. The same would hold true even without my local affinity.

LOL, ok, but let's face it, your decision and current stance is way too biased and subjective since your plans are very in line with UT. It's like me vouching for Harvard as the absolute best place for everyone as if my opinion is objective. (However, it's hard to deny it)

Untrue. I could say the same if I went to GULC, Duke, NU, Vandy, etc, on full scholly. I'd have good clerkship opportunities, decent Biglaw, Midlaw, and Boutique opportunities, decent fed gov opportunities, and decent local government opportunities, and I wouldn't be forced to either take a Biglaw job or LRAP-applicable job to pay back debt.

My opportunities at any of these schools wouldn't be as good as at Harvard, but with 25k in debt rather than between 100k and 200k, I'm fine with that. Of course, in the unlikely event that I completely strike out and can't get any job, having 25k of debt is a much better thing...

I have a hard time agreeing with you here, but whatever works for you... ))

tamlyric

Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:21 pm

### Re: Harvard or a Lower-Ranked School with \$\$

aussie3b wrote:OP....TLS is great for a lot of things but perspective on this question is limited. The most sensible post I've seen here is from the Yale 1L...I'd take most other posts with a grain of salt. Anyone who pretends like this is an easy decision doesn't know what they are talking about. I am in a similar situation...trying to decide on a full darrow offer. The only perspectives I am interested in are from people who have wrestled with this decision and chosen one way or another. I'm particularly interested in hearing from HYS students/graduates and other T10 graduates/students who have been through the ringer with job searches and grades. Note that I'm not just a kid who got a full scholarship offer and is now in a giddy trance...I left I-banking to become a lawyer because I'm interested in becoming a lawyer..my sister is a Yale alum...and my dad is a law professor...and not a single person I've talked to has pretended like this is an easy choice.

Thank you for adding some much need sanity to this thread!