Ivy or Public University

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Treamer

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Ivy or Public University

Postby Treamer » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:03 am

I just graduated from Community College, and I was accepted by Cornell University's ILR school. In addition to ILR, I found a University that offers me a bachelors degree in Communications, from a SUNY (State University of New York), online. My dream, more than anything academically, is to go to Harvard Law School. Therefore, in terms of sheer law school prospects, what's better for me? Do I go to Cornell, work my ass off, barely squeak out a 3.8, and potentially get into HLS? Or do I take the online degree, get a 3.9+, and potentially get into HLS? I have been reading forums all day on this website, and from my perspective, all that appears to matter, in terms of admission into law school, is the uGPA and LSAT score. If that is the case, what is the purpose of me going to Cornell, wasting so much $$, rather than finishing my B.A online, and going to HLS?

One thing that worries me greatly about the Online degree is that no one from the SUNY school went to HLS. Another thing is extracurricular activities, I don't know how much they matter, but I won't be able to join any clubs or have any leadership positions, since I won't be on campus. Those are my prime concerns with the SUNY, as well as the fact that it is online, and I don't know if Harvard would see that as a demerit. Would they?

My concern with Cornell is the rigor of the classes(easiest Ivy to get into, hardest to graduate from), as well as the competitiveness in terms of law school admission. I'll be one of the few applying to HLS from SUNY. However, from Cornell, I'll be one of the 100's (literally).

So, the question is, what do I do?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: After reading many of the answers on this post, I feel like I should clarify. This is not an online university like U of Phoenix or ITT Tech, this is a SUNY, SUNY Geneseo. However, they have a degree program through which most of the classes can be taken online. Just as, UIUC has a degree online (http://online.illinois.edu/online-programs/undergraduate-programs/earth-society-environmental-sustainability).
Last edited by Treamer on Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

AJordan

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby AJordan » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:52 am

Is there no middle ground public school with a much smaller tuition? MS9 said in his Reddit AMA that if you are getting an online degree you better be prepared to give a good reason. What kind of financial package are you getting from Cornell?
Last edited by AJordan on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hmm360

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby hmm360 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:16 am

A couple years at school is a long time and your interests can easily shift. If that's the case, you might have a lot of doors closed from the online university. Moreover, if you want to go to HLS, actually aim to get a high GPA at a major university like everyone else there. You'll gain the analytical skills and work ethic that's probably needed to do well on the LSAT.

If the choice was between Cornell and a place like Syracuse/Rochester/Rutgers etc that's one thing, but Cornell vs an online university is a bit extreme both if you want HLS or if your goals change

cavalier1138

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:23 am

Let's back up. Why do you want to go to HLS?

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Pneumonia

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:26 am

I went from community college to HLS via a large state school, so I know where you're coming from. An true online school would conclusively bar you from admission at HLS or any other T14 school. But as discussed below, I can't tell from you post if that's what you're considering. I think Cornell ILR is a defensible option, especially if you have financial aid or outside resources to help defer the cost or if you're not sure that law school is for you. If you are certain that you're going to go to law school, then I agree with the other poster that another school might make more sense financially.

I don't know much about the SUNY system, but I think you should clarify whether you're getting an degree via online coursework taken from a physical school (that's what it seems like to me) or whether you're getting an online degree from an online institution. The stigma associated with online degrees is that most of them come from places like the Phoenix, ITT, AMU, Kaplan, etc. Since SUNY is a real school, it seems to me like you've been accepted at a real school that offers you the chance to complete your coursework online. Is that the case? Put another way, if you wanted to attend the SUNY school in person for your final 60 hours, would your current acceptance allow you to do that? (If no, then absolutely don't do it.)

If your degree would be from a real school, then I think it could be a good option. I'm not sure how finely law school admissions committees parse the distinctions between the SUNYs, but the upshot is that with the right GPA/LSAT a SUNY degree won't keep you out of any law school other than Yale. If I'm wrong about the way the SUNYs are ranked (maybe someone else can chime in on this?), or if you've been admitted to an online-only program, then I think it would be worth looking into other public options—even if it means delaying your bachelor's degree by another year. I'm pretty unfamiliar with the colleges in NY, but from reading your post it seems like you have a cheap, bottom of the barrel option and an expensive, top of the line option. If you can explore the middle a little more (Syracuse/Rochester/Rutgers?) then I think you should do that. And again, it's worth taking a year off to do that.

Cornell ILR seems like a great program, and it would be cool to have an undergrad degree from an Ivy. The ILR program would also give you more non-law school options if you decide that being an attorney isn't for you. If it were me, I think I'd go to the ILR school on that basis alone. But you should understand that student loans are real and that law school is very expensive. 50k or whatever for undergrad may not seem like a lot in the abstract—especially if you're banking on making 180k in a few years—but that money adds up. It accrues interest while you're in law school. And it makes law school loans that much harder to pay off once you graduate.

So if you're dead set on law school, then the ILR school probably isn't your best option financially. I think it's a defensible choice though. The better choice—again, assuming that you're 100% set on law school—would be to go to a state school and keep your GPA up. The downside of that route is that if you end up deciding against law school, your employment opportunities from a lower-ranked school are going to be much more limited than they would be from Cornell.

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Sacred Cow

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby Sacred Cow » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:41 am

I think you're overstating the rigor of ILR classes. If you take it seriously, which it sounds like you will, it won't be that tough to average 3.9+. Make the decision on cost and opportunity, not difficulty.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:47 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Let's back up. Why do you want to go to HLS?

This might seem like an asinine question, but cavalier is trying to make a good point.

OP, you say that you really want to "go to Harvard Law School." That's a weird goal. It suggests that you haven't thought about anything beyond HLS, e.g., being a lawyer. That's understandable, but it's also shortsighted. Undergrad students tend to see law school as the culmination of 20+ years of lecture-based knowledge acquisition. That's the wrong way to look at it. Law school is the start of a legal career as an attorney. So what cavalier is pointing out is that your post would set off fewer red flags if it read something like "I want to be a lawyer because of x, y, and z; since I need a law degree to be a lawyer, I want to go the best one I can get into; I think Harvard is a good option because of x, y, z financial/personal/career goals." Aspiring towards HLS in the abstract is like getting married for no other reason than that you've always dreamed of having a fancy ceremony. The point being that law school, like marriage, should not be a terminal goal in and of itself.

Most undergrads that go to law school—and certainly most that go to HLS—don't think about their decision in the way I've outlined above. Maybe you've already done that and so maybe this advice is moot. You don't need to have your entire career mapped out in order to attend law school. You don't need all the answers. But thinking seriously about your life beyond law school will help you avoid some mistakes.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:50 am

Sacred Cow wrote:I think you're overstating the rigor of ILR classes. If you take it seriously, which it sounds like you will, it won't be that tough to average 3.9+. Make the decision on cost and opportunity, not difficulty.

I meant to comment on as well. Ivies are not known for their strenuous grading. OP, I guess this is also a good time to ask whether you're aware that your GPA for law school admissions will include your community college GPA?

etramak

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Re: Ivy or Public University

Postby etramak » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:37 am

Isn't ILR basically a SUNY/Public university? Anyway, go to ILR if you're interested in industrial and labor relations.



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