RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Which school for human rights law career?

RTK (meaning spend $ to fly back to the US)
5
36%
Columbia full tuition
3
21%
Harvard with minor aid
0
No votes
Yale at sticker
6
43%
 
Total votes: 14

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buckeyeinbangkok
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RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby buckeyeinbangkok » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:14 am

Hello all,

I wanted to gauge people's opinions on this particular question, since I haven't seen it debated before. What I'm trying to decide is if it's worth flying back to the US to interview for the RTK if in fact the Columbia fellowship is superior, or if Harvard is actually at sticker a better option. I'm still waiting on Yale, and if I got in would nearly definitely go there at sticker.

So I wanted people's opinion on the relative merits of each option and whether or not I should shell out the grand to fly back to the US for an interview that is basically the same as what I have already at Columbia. I posted elsewhere about the Columbia fellowship, but basically it's full tuition with a few minor perks and a 5 year expectation to work in PI, compared with the RTK which is the same but has a ten year expectation for PI work. To be honest, the commitments for PI don't phase me since I don't have any private sector ambitions regardless.

I'm mainly interested in the substantive differences between the schools and their ability to place students at large international organizations. My main goal is to do human rights law advocacy for NGOs/UN OHCHR. My thinking is Harvard at sticker is not better than Columbia full tuition, but I'm not sure at what level of aid that calculus changes. What do you all think?

Thanks in advance for the advice!
Last edited by buckeyeinbangkok on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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052220152
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby 052220152 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:23 am

Go to whichever one is cheapest

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DetroitRed
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby DetroitRed » Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:50 am

You do realize that having Harvard there twice will muck up the results, right?

Also, I would shell out the dough for H or Y if you're really committed to HRL. LIPP/COAP will cover you, and the network will be much more helpful. (Not to mention the international name recognition H, and to a lesser extent Y, has.)

tiltedwindmill
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby tiltedwindmill » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:20 am

You haven't gotten into yale but, if you do, it's between RTK and yale for your goals. However, unless you have previous experience in something related to IHR and speak at least french (plus, mostly likely, another relevant language) you're chances for working at HRW or some comparable org are very slim (they are only slightly less slim if you do have languages and exp.)

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ChemEng1642
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby ChemEng1642 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:33 am

Also I'm not sure why someone would pick Harvard at sticker over Harvard with some aid haha...

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AOT
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby AOT » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:36 am

Columbia full tuition sounds like the best combination of low cost and lay prestige (if you're planning on working abroad)

03152016
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby 03152016 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:41 am

rtk is one of the best possible outcomes for a pi gunner

also you haven't gotten into y, that's going to mess up the poll results
and not sure why h is included twice
you may want to consider redoing that poll

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Hand
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby Hand » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:46 am

ChemEng1642 wrote:Also I'm not sure why someone would pick Harvard at sticker over Harvard with some aid haha...


You don't really get the full Harvard experience unless you are paying sticker IMO

Either way, take the money. I wouldn't bother paying for the flight to interview for the RTK, and just go to CLS, but I'm a cheapskate.

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Skool
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby Skool » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:57 am

Brut wrote:rtk is one of the best possible outcomes for a pi gunner

Sure, but Columbia's PI program is clearly a potential challenger.

I would probably go with RTK. Don't underestimate the established programming in RTK, its networking, and its brand name. RTK carries a lot of psychological weight in the PI community. Also, it seems like RTK fosters relationships within its group of students. That will make for a positive support system while you're in school and when you're out. They're a ready made community of people with your values.

Columbia's PI program is clearly a competitor and will eventually have all these things (assuming it's sustained). But it doesn't have them now.

I would go with the established RTK.

But also, H/Y wouldn't be terrible either. If you're truly committed to PI, going full cost knowing that Mama H/Y have you covered on the back-end isn't the worst idea. I know a few young H/Y attorneys and they swear by their LRAP programs. If you chose that option, you would have to look seriously at what salary increases are likely for you and how they effect your enrollment in the program. H/Y loan repayment is great for your first 45-55k a year job. Not sure how they do later on with increases. Maybe another reason to take RTK.

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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:47 pm

Cut out Harvard sticker. Clearly illogical in the poll and not on par from a decisional standpoint with the other options. Depending on what "Harvard with aid" means it could come back into play. And it doesn't seem like you've gotten into Yale so I'm confused.

I would definitely pursue RTK. You've proven you're competitive for the program. Given its longevity and deep network in public service, it's probably still better than the Columbia PI fellowship. However, anything short of RTK and the Columbia full ride wins out hands down.

If you do get into Yale and you get some financial aid from them (they should be as generous as H), then it comes to Y vs. CLS full ride or RTK. That's a tough decision and it depends on exact COAs, goals, and risk aversion. There are a lot of threads on here discussing it, but you aren't at the stage where you can really narrow it to those choices quite yet.

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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby badaboom61 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:04 pm

If you do get into Yale, Yale's LRAP is very good. I'm not sure what the kind of jobs you're seeking pay, but if its on the lower end, Yale could end up being the cheapest option, since you need to pay for cost of living somehow anyway. Even if you phase out of LRAP in later years, PAYE might end up making the total cost of law school as cheap as taking the cost of living loans out at NYU or Columbia.

RTK is also an inverse LRAP sort of program, IIRC. You get full tuition provided you work in the public interest, but if you stop working in the public interest, you have to pay it back.

Any chance at all that you might want to work somewhere other than public interest in the next 10 years after you graduate? If so, I'd choose Columbia.

Do the jobs that you want, 5-10 years out, pay less than Yale's LRAP covers? If so, I'd probably choose Yale.

Are you absolutely set on committing the next 10 years of your life to public interest, and if so, do those jobs pay pretty well 5-10 years out? If so, I'd choose RTK.

03152016
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby 03152016 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:13 pm

cls is dominating this poll, unexpected
curious to hear from people voting that way
what factors are you looking at?

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Skool
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby Skool » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:18 pm

Probably because at CLS full scholly public interest, you can bail on PI with no consequence. Hard to do at RTK.

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jbagelboy
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:30 pm

Brut wrote:rtk is one of the best possible outcomes for a pi gunner

also you haven't gotten into y, that's going to mess up the poll results
and not sure why h is included twice
you may want to consider redoing that poll


probably because OP doesn't actually have the RTK yet so it's a screwed up poll

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buckeyeinbangkok
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby buckeyeinbangkok » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:45 pm

Thanks for your responses everyone. I updated the poll also to reflect your comments.

My main considerations are positioning myself to be competitive for a career working for top human rights NGOs and eventually the UN. Debt aversion is an important consideration for me, but from the general consensus on TLS it seems that that shouldn't affect my thinking when it comes to Yale and their lrap. Whereas even with full tuition at Columbia I'd still need to take out +$60,000 in loans for COA.

From my reading on TLS and elsewhere, it seems the RTK is more focused on domestic public interest work as opposed to other more niche HRL jobs that I'm interested in. A friend at Columbia also argued that in terms of internaional connections, Columbia has an advantage over NYU. These are considerations affecting my thinking.

I know I don't have the RTK, but if I do decide To interview for it I would need to book my ticket in the next week or two, thus the poll and thread now.

Thank you for your advice!

03152016
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby 03152016 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:58 pm

the problem w/ the poll is that you're trying to make a decision about whether to even put yourself in play for the rtk
but your poll is essentially a choosing poll
i'd bet that a very high percentage of those voting y (another choice which you don't currently have on the table) will still think you should keep the rtk option open

03152016
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby 03152016 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:16 pm

also i'm highly skeptical of the claim that cls is a better choice for pi abroad
i understand the intuition, since cls more prestigious and has an excellent international law clinic
but nyu has an established reputation in that area specifically

couple more thoughts:

it sounds like you're just not terribly interested in the rtk
which is fine, if you wouldn't be happy at nyu, or don't think the rtk benefits you, you shouldn't attend just based off of the program's reputation
you have other excellent offers on the table. you're not weighing nyu vs touro. all your options are solid
if you know your heart is somewhere else, go with it and open up an interview spot for someone who really, really wants the rtk

also, i highly suggest talking to people in the orgs you're interested in working for, if you haven't already

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utahraptor
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby utahraptor » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:20 am

for the CLS side, ask to be put in touch with students pursuing IHRL

also should probably ask to speak with Prof. Cleveland. I don't think she'd bullshit you, and she's like, the person here for IHRL.

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utahraptor
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Re: RTK vs. Columbia Full tuition vs. H/Y sticker

Postby utahraptor » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:21 am

also re: IHRL reputation, CLS is generally weaker in PI, but that fact that we had Henkin for so long and now have Cleveland is a lot of it, I think

no more, no less




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