Berkeley vs. Harvard

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
Blessedassurance
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:08 am

bilbobaggins wrote: Yes, every time one of my friends related their "choosing a law school" experience to me I demanded they prove that they got into higher ranked schools than Boalt. :roll:


I see. Your naivete is very adorable.

User avatar
Blessedassurance
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:13 am

pop_pop_pop wrote: Of course; I was joking. I was providing a snarky reply to someone else's snarky (and strange?) comment. I don't think anyone would judge an entire student body off of a singular comment, especially on an Internet message board. (Still, the comment certainly didn't debunk any stereotypes.)


Slow down, PETA. The poster in question is not a current student as HLS. Not yet anyways.

User avatar
Blessedassurance
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:17 am

pop_pop_pop wrote: Okay, thanks! That actually sounds similar to our Ivy undergrad experience, so if HLS is similar in that respect, she may very well enjoy it and be able to find her niche.


???

User avatar
BiglawOrBust
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby BiglawOrBust » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:32 am

I enjoy this thread.

User avatar
acrossthelake
Posts: 4432
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 5:27 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:15 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:This really really old thread might be helpful. http://www.top-law-schools.com/archives ... =1&t=51939

It's slightly out of date. They scrapped the third year thing.


:?: Isn't there still a 3rd year exchange? I know Berkeley students who are at Harvard this year. That program is pretty competitive though so it's not something anyone should count on when making a decision, from what i understand.


I meant there's no longer a free third year if you do public interest for 5 years.

Curious1
Posts: 964
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Curious1 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:36 pm

pop_pop_pop wrote:
Curious1 wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:lol, no, I'm not a "flame"/"troll". This may seem like a really easy question for almost everyone (Harvard, obviously!), but as a previous Berkeley student even said, s/he has met numerous Berkeley students who chose it over HYS, so it does happen. Believe it or not - whether this is important to others here or not - a significant factor in my friend's decision is the "fit" of the school, and not solely career prospects afterwards. So, if she feels like she "meshes" better with the student body of one, then that would really tip the scale in favor of that school. "Fit" is probably her number one factor, which is why I wanted to post here to see if students from Berkeley felt that it is indeed a laid back environment (relative to other law schools), or if Harvard students felt that the statements I made about about it were true/false. (So far, I really appreciate everyone's insight! The Berkeley posters especially have helped to show that is really is the type of place my friend would probably love.) Obviously Harvard's "name" is stronger, so the fact that she isn't automatically choosing Harvard should indicate that she is very interested in factors besides "name brand" and how far that may take her.


I hope your friend goes to Berkeley. She doesn't sound like the kind of person I want to meet.


If you're a Harvard student and don't like meeting people described as generous, loving, and passionate, then Berkeley probably is a better fit for her.



Generous, passionate as Loving are fine. But I don't want to meet someone clearly lacking ambition and drive. Not to mention someone unbelievably naive. There are more trees to hug at Berkeley. Go there

pop_pop_pop
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:57 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby pop_pop_pop » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:37 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote: Of course; I was joking. I was providing a snarky reply to someone else's snarky (and strange?) comment. I don't think anyone would judge an entire student body off of a singular comment, especially on an Internet message board. (Still, the comment certainly didn't debunk any stereotypes.)


Slow down, PETA. The poster in question is not a current student as HLS. Not yet anyways.


He indicated that my friend should go to Berkeley because he did not want to be classmates with her, so if he isn't a current HLS student, he will be soon, and is still a representative of a HLS student.

Curious1 wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:
Curious1 wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:lol, no, I'm not a "flame"/"troll". This may seem like a really easy question for almost everyone (Harvard, obviously!), but as a previous Berkeley student even said, s/he has met numerous Berkeley students who chose it over HYS, so it does happen. Believe it or not - whether this is important to others here or not - a significant factor in my friend's decision is the "fit" of the school, and not solely career prospects afterwards. So, if she feels like she "meshes" better with the student body of one, then that would really tip the scale in favor of that school. "Fit" is probably her number one factor, which is why I wanted to post here to see if students from Berkeley felt that it is indeed a laid back environment (relative to other law schools), or if Harvard students felt that the statements I made about about it were true/false. (So far, I really appreciate everyone's insight! The Berkeley posters especially have helped to show that is really is the type of place my friend would probably love.) Obviously Harvard's "name" is stronger, so the fact that she isn't automatically choosing Harvard should indicate that she is very interested in factors besides "name brand" and how far that may take her.


I hope your friend goes to Berkeley. She doesn't sound like the kind of person I want to meet.


If you're a Harvard student and don't like meeting people described as generous, loving, and passionate, then Berkeley probably is a better fit for her.



Generous, passionate as Loving are fine. But I don't want to meet someone clearly lacking ambition and drive. Not to mention someone unbelievably naive. There are more trees to hug at Berkeley. Go there


Where do you get that she is "clearly lacking in ambition and drive"? For one, I'm not sure how such a student could get admitted to HLS. More importantly, what information about her did I relay that would lead you to believe she is lacking in ambition and drive?

And how does having passion for a field of law relating to social issues automatically make someone "unbelievably naive"? You have no insight into her specific goals or aims.

User avatar
NewLobo
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby NewLobo » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:27 pm

This has to be a troll.

User avatar
3v3ryth1ng
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:48 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:38 pm

Curious1 wrote:I hope your friend goes to Berkeley. She doesn't sound like the kind of person I want to meet.


... and this guy^ is living proof that even good grades, a great LSAT and a T14 degree can't buy you a personality. I hope a Cooley grad slaps you in front of your parents. Maybe then you'll learn to be respectful, because apparently neither they, nor HYS taught you that.

Having never gone to either school, my contribution is to just point out that your friend should go to the school she identifies with more (probably Berkeley). After school, people only care about what you do with your degree. Students obsessed with prestige (many who've never worked) forget this, but any working professional will tell you that, ESPECIALLY an attorney.

Curious1
Posts: 964
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Curious1 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:53 pm

NewLobo wrote:This has to be a troll.


Sometimes feeding the troll is fun.

User avatar
curiouscat
Posts: 315
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 9:57 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby curiouscat » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:18 pm

NewLobo wrote:This has to be a troll.


It's a reasonable enough question. Some of the replies have been snarkier than necessary, not sure why.

Anyways, OP, if your friend got into Harvard and Berkeley, there's a good chance she has a number of other acceptances coming her way. Unless Harvard and Berkeley are undoubtedly her top two choices, I recommend that she wait a little while before narrowing her debate to those the two. Who knows - in a couple of weeks, she might get in somewhere else that is a much better "fit" for her than either one and makes this whole Berk vs HLS comparison irrelevant.

At any rate, she should definitely be looking beyond the stereotypes at both schools (as posters noted, there are all sorts at both). I agree that the fact that PI jobs are so hard to get makes the HLS edge pretty significant. Berkeley's reputation doesn't necessarily translate into the kinds of opportunities she's going to need to do what she hopes to do in the future.

pop_pop_pop
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:57 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby pop_pop_pop » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:14 pm

NewLobo wrote:This has to be a troll.


I'm honestly confused - why would people say that? Is it because everyone assumes that this is a really easy decision (Harvard)? Because I don't think my friend would be the first one to turn down Harvard for Berkeley. I also don't know why someone would "troll" to pose this question, but I guess that's beside the point.

curiouscat wrote:It's a reasonable enough question. Some of the replies have been snarkier than necessary, not sure why.

Anyways, OP, if your friend got into Harvard and Berkeley, there's a good chance she has a number of other acceptances coming her way. Unless Harvard and Berkeley are undoubtedly her top two choices, I recommend that she wait a little while before narrowing her debate to those the two. Who knows - in a couple of weeks, she might get in somewhere else that is a much better "fit" for her than either one and makes this whole Berk vs HLS comparison irrelevant.

At any rate, she should definitely be looking beyond the stereotypes at both schools (as posters noted, there are all sorts at both). I agree that the fact that PI jobs are so hard to get makes the HLS edge pretty significant. Berkeley's reputation doesn't necessarily translate into the kinds of opportunities she's going to need to do what she hopes to do in the future.


Thanks - I think it's a reasonable question too. Although I personally would probably choose Harvard in a heartbeat, the point of the matter is that my friend is split between the two; hence why I posted here. I'm not sure why many have been unnecessarily snarky, as you said.

Also, I agree that there may be more top-notch acceptances coming her way (I'm not sure if she applied to Yale or Stanford). I think Stanford would be a good fit because it's west coast - which is more her style, I think - and it's one of the "T3". But she hasn't told me that she applied there, so I guess we'll see.

3v3ryth1ng wrote:
Curious1 wrote:I hope your friend goes to Berkeley. She doesn't sound like the kind of person I want to meet.


... and this guy^ is living proof that even good grades, a great LSAT and a T14 degree can't buy you a personality. I hope a Cooley grad slaps you in front of your parents. Maybe then you'll learn to be respectful, because apparently neither they, nor HYS taught you that.


LMAO

User avatar
kwais
Posts: 1683
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby kwais » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:22 pm

Curious1 wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:
Curious1 wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:lol, no, I'm not a "flame"/"troll". This may seem like a really easy question for almost everyone (Harvard, obviously!), but as a previous Berkeley student even said, s/he has met numerous Berkeley students who chose it over HYS, so it does happen. Believe it or not - whether this is important to others here or not - a significant factor in my friend's decision is the "fit" of the school, and not solely career prospects afterwards. So, if she feels like she "meshes" better with the student body of one, then that would really tip the scale in favor of that school. "Fit" is probably her number one factor, which is why I wanted to post here to see if students from Berkeley felt that it is indeed a laid back environment (relative to other law schools), or if Harvard students felt that the statements I made about about it were true/false. (So far, I really appreciate everyone's insight! The Berkeley posters especially have helped to show that is really is the type of place my friend would probably love.) Obviously Harvard's "name" is stronger, so the fact that she isn't automatically choosing Harvard should indicate that she is very interested in factors besides "name brand" and how far that may take her.


I hope your friend goes to Berkeley. She doesn't sound like the kind of person I want to meet.


If you're a Harvard student and don't like meeting people described as generous, loving, and passionate, then Berkeley probably is a better fit for her.



Generous, passionate as Loving are fine. But I don't want to meet someone clearly lacking ambition and drive. Not to mention someone unbelievably naive. There are more trees to hug at Berkeley. Go there


wow. In at Harvard for like a fucking week and already acting like an asshole veteran spokesman. You seemed like a decent individual before this crap.

Curious1
Posts: 964
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Curious1 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:27 pm

wow. In at Harvard for like a fucking week and already acting like an asshole veteran spokesman. You seemed like a decent individual before this crap.


Actually only been 3 days, but I've been trained by 4 years of undergrad.

But you're right, that was kind of douchey--sorry. Don't judge me by that one post.

freestallion
Posts: 944
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby freestallion » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:33 pm

0L here, so take this with a grain of salt. I have gotten into both and am making the same decision. I'll probably wait til ASW to pick Harvard with 100% certainty, but I am also pretty set on doing public interest law. I think that the Harvard edge will really make a difference when it comes to getting public interest jobs -- it's not easy from any school to work at a top public interest organization or non-profit since they simply lack funding. If you want to do something like be a public defender, then I hear that you can probably do that from a variety of schools and prestige is not as big of an issue. However if you want a prestigious public interest job like -- ACLU, Human Rights Watch, DOJ, Skadden fellowship, EJW fellowship, or some international fellowships, it seems like you definitely have an edge if you go to Harvard. This year, 6 Skadden fellows went to Harvard!! If you want academia or prestigious clerkships, it becomes much easier with Harvard too.

Berkeley is also extremely expensive and the tuition has been rising recently - right now it's 54k for out of state! But ask your friend to negotiate and try and get a huge scholarship from Berkeley - it may be a bit more worth it then. But at sticker, I would say it's definitely not worth it in this economy and the opportunities you give up.

Ask your friend to look at LRAPs and school fellowships to do public interest. I looked at the LRAPs and Harvard's seems to be REALLY good, and very flexible. Furthermore, Berkeley does not seem to guarantee as much summer funding as Harvard. Finally, Harvard funds a lot of post-graduate fellowships in public interest but Berkeley does not have any of those, except 6 month ones for people who can't find jobs it seems.

Fit is important but ultimately, you will be shelling out a lot of money so you should be mindful of that. Anyway, just my $0.02.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Borhas » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:59 am

IAFG wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:
She is mostly unconcerned with prestige and does not like things pretentious, uppity, or "stuffy".

Maybe she doesn't want to be a lawyer then. Even public interest employers fucking love prestige. And Berkeley Law isn't laid back. No law school is.


it's all relative

====

all in all it's probably best to swallow her pride and go to Harvard. If I could let my degree be smart on my behalf, I would be sooo much more laid back than I am now. Course that would mean spending a few years with H kids, which seems like less than healthy (let alone fun see the quote below)... but if I had the employment prospects of those H kiddies, I wouldn't give a fuck about LS and I'd make non-LS friends. But then again, I'm a laid back person, and people like me never get into H. She did, so she's probably not so laid back either.

$0.02... worthless I know

Curious1 wrote:Generous, passionate as Loving are fine. But I don't want to meet someone clearly lacking ambition and drive. Not to mention someone unbelievably naive. There are more trees to hug at Berkeley. Go there



well, well, looks like we found a turd blossom just dying to bloom

User avatar
hyakku
Posts: 604
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:35 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby hyakku » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:27 am

I avoided this thread originally because I thought it was a flame. Then I entered, saw the OP was sincere, and then immediately had his (admittedly biased but understandable) preconceived notions reaffirmed almost immediately. LOL, TLSed.

It sounds like money isn't an issue for your friend. To be honest, I'm not going to write a whole long, detailed post, because I don't think anyone is uniquely qualified to really give her much advice, but she sounds like she would be a lot happier at Berkeley. Given her ability to get into Harvard, your undergrad, and other things you've mentioned, I'm sure she likely can excel at Berkeley.

If money is an issue, she might want to reconsider, but from the way you put it it doesn't seem like it. Either way, hope she enjoys wherever she goes, and this thread is an example to me of why some people are so bitter with LS students. Next three years should be entertaining.

User avatar
bilbobaggins
Posts: 686
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:41 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby bilbobaggins » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:38 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
bilbobaggins wrote: Yes, every time one of my friends related their "choosing a law school" experience to me I demanded they prove that they got into higher ranked schools than Boalt. :roll:


I see. Your naivete is very adorable.


Hardly. There's this incredible world outside of TLS where people don't make decisions based solely on US News ranking. At Boalt you don't look like hot shit bragging about where else you could have gotten into. The people I spoke to are sincere and have all done very well, have jobs, etc.

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby tomwatts » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:39 pm

Two things automatically make this thread suspect, namely 1) the OP is asking about this for a "friend" and 2) the OP gives strong indications of wanting to be told that Berkeley will be better for this "friend" and really not wanting to hear that Harvard will be better. Nevertheless, under the assumption that this is sincere...

For background: I'm a 1L at HLS. I'm from San Francisco but didn't apply to Boalt because I did five years of undergrad at Berkeley and lived in the same apartment for three years after graduating. Eight years was enough, at least for the moment. I loved being in Berkeley, but I wanted to get a different perspective before I come back to San Francisco (as is likely after law school).

The undergrad population at Harvard College is really different from the population at the law school. Maybe I was expecting far higher levels of snobbery than was realistic and HLS just beat my expectations, but I doubt it. My section has been really great, and I haven't met more than three or four people in the whole school so far who've been annoying, all outside my section. I quite like the Harvard undergrads I've met, but I can see how some of them might grate a little on people who are not me. HLS is different, though.

The difficulty in giving advice for this specific situation, though, is that nothing that the OP has mentioned is particularly decisive in either direction. To wit:

* HLS is maybe twice as big as Boalt, which cuts both ways: HLS has a bunch of overlapping communities (your section, any student groups or journals you join, etc.), whereas Boalt may be a more unified, singular community (but even at Boalt's size, there are still sub-groups). Size doesn't immediately determine quality of life either way; I prefer the large size at HLS.
* Size may relate to the alumni network, though. HLS has grads doing more or less everything you can imagine, more or less anywhere you can imagine. Boalt has half as many grads, and they're probably more concentrated in California.
* HLS and Boalt have very similar grading systems. And as you might expect from law schools, they offer fairly similar classes.
* They're obviously in different locations geographically, but for someone who may want to be in California (Boalt) and may want to be in the PA/DE/MD area (Harvard), uh, that's a toss-up.
* The immediate area of both campuses is rather similar: Cambridge is a little more upscale than Berkeley (with a correspondingly higher cost of living), but they're both nice college towns with liberal reputations.
* Being "mostly unconcerned with prestige" is fun and all, but public interest jobs relating to interesting social issues are among the hardest jobs in the legal profession to get, and prestige counts rather a lot for that, as has been pointed out. Even so, this doesn't strongly change the game; we're talking Harvard and Berkeley, both great schools, not Harvard and Unaccredited Law University. Harvard may have a slight edge, but it's slight.
* Debt might be a consideration. The price tags on H and B are similar, but not exactly the same. Neither gives much merit aid (H none, B minimal). I'm not sure whether their need-based financial aid packages differ at all; HLS has a ridiculously large endowment, but it mostly goes towards the summer funding (SPIF) and the LRAP, as below.
* Their Loan Repayment Assistance Programs may be different. I don't know a thing about B's LRAP, but H's LRAP (called LIPP) is phenomenal. Basically, if you don't make very much money, but you get a full-time job doing something law-related (defined fairly broadly), you don't have to pay back much of your loans, if any.

Soooooo... this is not any sort of obvious choice. This comes down to the details of, say, comparing LRAPs, campus visits, etc. I'm going to go with a solid "Your 'friend' will be fine at either place" recommendation.

Oh, and obviously, post here or PM me if you want more info on my experience at either school.

User avatar
Blessedassurance
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:47 pm

bilbobaggins wrote: Hardly. There's this incredible world outside of TLS where people don't make decisions based solely on US News ranking. At Boalt you don't look like hot shit bragging about where else you could have gotten into. The people I spoke to are sincere and have all done very well, have jobs, etc.


Why do I get the feeling you and your friend are one and the same? Kinda like the whole I-and-the-father-are-one or Holy Trinity concept. Merry Christmas, I see what you did there.

Boggs
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Boggs » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:04 pm

target wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:
ebeth wrote:HLS 1L here, just wanted to say that my classmates are neither pretentious nor ultra competitive. I only know about my section, but I can't say enough about how awesome the people are.


Great! I think the more she talks to HLS students, the more her preconceived notions may be debunked. I think she may be conflating Harvard undergrads (many of whom she knows, and almost all of whom are pretentious and arrogant), but of course graduate and undergraduate student bodies can be significantly different. I will probably accompany her on a trip to Harvard in the spring and hopefully by talking to HLS students, she/we will be able to get a better feel for what they are like.


Trust me when I say this, there are many more pretentious douchebag at berkeley thanone may think. Now, there are many cool, down to earth people there too.

So my point is both Harvard and Berkeley are big schools (Berkeley law is still relatively large even though it's smaller than Harvard), and you friend may not have to worry about the pretentious culture. Someone brought up the weather issue. My advice is to look hard at that. Berkeley's weather is no sunshine 365 days per year. But, I'd pick Berkeley's breezy weather over a possibility of a Nor'easter every damn time.


Maybe we're just letting this extreme inaccuracy go, but as someone who thought somewhat along these lines when I moved to Berkeley, I thought I'd speak up. I'm not sure if I've seen as much winter sunshine in my life as I have at Berkeley. Granted, I haven't been through Spring Semester yet, but Fall was spectacular. It seems like we had barely any rain at all.

I would never select a law school on weather though; after all, I miss snow.

pop_pop_pop
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:57 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby pop_pop_pop » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:29 pm

tomwatts wrote:Two things automatically make this thread suspect, namely 1) the OP is asking about this for a "friend" and 2) the OP gives strong indications of wanting to be told that Berkeley will be better for this "friend" and really not wanting to hear that Harvard will be better. Nevertheless, under the assumption that this is sincere...

For background: I'm a 1L at HLS. I'm from San Francisco but didn't apply to Boalt because I did five years of undergrad at Berkeley and lived in the same apartment for three years after graduating. Eight years was enough, at least for the moment. I loved being in Berkeley, but I wanted to get a different perspective before I come back to San Francisco (as is likely after law school).

The undergrad population at Harvard College is really different from the population at the law school. Maybe I was expecting far higher levels of snobbery than was realistic and HLS just beat my expectations, but I doubt it. My section has been really great, and I haven't met more than three or four people in the whole school so far who've been annoying, all outside my section. I quite like the Harvard undergrads I've met, but I can see how some of them might grate a little on people who are not me. HLS is different, though.

The difficulty in giving advice for this specific situation, though, is that nothing that the OP has mentioned is particularly decisive in either direction. To wit:

* HLS is maybe twice as big as Boalt, which cuts both ways: HLS has a bunch of overlapping communities (your section, any student groups or journals you join, etc.), whereas Boalt may be a more unified, singular community (but even at Boalt's size, there are still sub-groups). Size doesn't immediately determine quality of life either way; I prefer the large size at HLS.
* Size may relate to the alumni network, though. HLS has grads doing more or less everything you can imagine, more or less anywhere you can imagine. Boalt has half as many grads, and they're probably more concentrated in California.
* HLS and Boalt have very similar grading systems. And as you might expect from law schools, they offer fairly similar classes.
* They're obviously in different locations geographically, but for someone who may want to be in California (Boalt) and may want to be in the PA/DE/MD area (Harvard), uh, that's a toss-up.
* The immediate area of both campuses is rather similar: Cambridge is a little more upscale than Berkeley (with a correspondingly higher cost of living), but they're both nice college towns with liberal reputations.
* Being "mostly unconcerned with prestige" is fun and all, but public interest jobs relating to interesting social issues are among the hardest jobs in the legal profession to get, and prestige counts rather a lot for that, as has been pointed out. Even so, this doesn't strongly change the game; we're talking Harvard and Berkeley, both great schools, not Harvard and Unaccredited Law University. Harvard may have a slight edge, but it's slight.
* Debt might be a consideration. The price tags on H and B are similar, but not exactly the same. Neither gives much merit aid (H none, B minimal). I'm not sure whether their need-based financial aid packages differ at all; HLS has a ridiculously large endowment, but it mostly goes towards the summer funding (SPIF) and the LRAP, as below.
* Their Loan Repayment Assistance Programs may be different. I don't know a thing about B's LRAP, but H's LRAP (called LIPP) is phenomenal. Basically, if you don't make very much money, but you get a full-time job doing something law-related (defined fairly broadly), you don't have to pay back much of your loans, if any.

Soooooo... this is not any sort of obvious choice. This comes down to the details of, say, comparing LRAPs, campus visits, etc. I'm going to go with a solid "Your 'friend' will be fine at either place" recommendation.

Oh, and obviously, post here or PM me if you want more info on my experience at either school.


Wow, thank you very much for the wealth of information! I will forward it to my friend, as I have been with the other useful info in this thread.

Regarding your suspicions, all I can say is that I'm being honest, but obviously someone who is lying could easily say the same, lol, especially over the Internet. (I'm not sure why someone would take the time to make up a fictional thread topic and then respond diligently as I have been, but I guess some like to do that?)

Also, if I've seemed to indicate that I just want to hear encouraging words about Berkeley and not about Harvard, I didn't mean to imply that. It may just be that my friend is leaning towards Berkeley, and that more Berkeley students/alums have commented here. But I really have no preference of what she picks; in fact, I'd probably encourage her to choose Harvard, because that's what I would do and because I think its better career prospects are more important than personal "fit". But that's just me, and I respect her personal considerations and am just letting her make the decision on her own, but information such as that that you've discussed is really helpful, so thanks.

User avatar
bilbobaggins
Posts: 686
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:41 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby bilbobaggins » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:41 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
bilbobaggins wrote: Hardly. There's this incredible world outside of TLS where people don't make decisions based solely on US News ranking. At Boalt you don't look like hot shit bragging about where else you could have gotten into. The people I spoke to are sincere and have all done very well, have jobs, etc.


Why do I get the feeling you and your friend are one and the same? Kinda like the whole I-and-the-father-are-one or Holy Trinity concept. Merry Christmas, I see what you did there.


Yeah, and you're a fucking troll. Great job!

User avatar
Blessedassurance
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:44 pm

bilbobaggins wrote: Yeah, and you're a fucking troll. Great job!


You mad, Gandhi?

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7662
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: Berkeley vs. Harvard

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:01 am

Boggs wrote:
target wrote:
pop_pop_pop wrote:
ebeth wrote:HLS 1L here, just wanted to say that my classmates are neither pretentious nor ultra competitive. I only know about my section, but I can't say enough about how awesome the people are.


Great! I think the more she talks to HLS students, the more her preconceived notions may be debunked. I think she may be conflating Harvard undergrads (many of whom she knows, and almost all of whom are pretentious and arrogant), but of course graduate and undergraduate student bodies can be significantly different. I will probably accompany her on a trip to Harvard in the spring and hopefully by talking to HLS students, she/we will be able to get a better feel for what they are like.


Trust me when I say this, there are many more pretentious douchebag at berkeley thanone may think. Now, there are many cool, down to earth people there too.

So my point is both Harvard and Berkeley are big schools (Berkeley law is still relatively large even though it's smaller than Harvard), and you friend may not have to worry about the pretentious culture. Someone brought up the weather issue. My advice is to look hard at that. Berkeley's weather is no sunshine 365 days per year. But, I'd pick Berkeley's breezy weather over a possibility of a Nor'easter every damn time.


Maybe we're just letting this extreme inaccuracy go, but as someone who thought somewhat along these lines when I moved to Berkeley, I thought I'd speak up. I'm not sure if I've seen as much winter sunshine in my life as I have at Berkeley. Granted, I haven't been through Spring Semester yet, but Fall was spectacular. It seems like we had barely any rain at all.

I would never select a law school on weather though; after all, I miss snow.


This is an abnormally dry year though. Normally it's 3 months of rain.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], capnobvious123, sonyco, splitterfromhell, Yahoo [Bot] and 7 guests