Yale Law School Class of 2012

(housing, friendships, future exams, all things 2012)
shuchong
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby shuchong » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:12 pm

ccw1234 wrote:Okay, the part about the classes I too experienced when I went up for a visit in October this year.


Well, that's scary/worrying! Did anyone visit Harvard outside of the ASW and get a chance to see what the classes were like there on a normal day?

As another woman who's not all that aggressive: if the classes don't hold students' attention, the Profs pick favorites, and there are (almost) no grades, I can see myself going through three years without learning much during class. Granted, I'm sure I'd learn a lot in clinics/from my fellow students, but aren't classes supposed to be all about forcing you to engage?

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zabagabe
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby zabagabe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:14 pm

shuchong wrote:
ccw1234 wrote:Okay, the part about the classes I too experienced when I went up for a visit in October this year.


Well, that's scary/worrying! Did anyone visit Harvard outside of the ASW and get a chance to see what the classes were like there on a normal day?

As another woman who's not all that aggressive: if the classes don't hold students' attention, the Profs pick favorites, and there are (almost) no grades, I can see myself going through three years without learning much during class. Granted, I'm sure I'd learn a lot in clinics/from my fellow students, but aren't classes supposed to be all about forcing you to engage?


Yeah, this is a concern. Some classes DO ban laptops and ARE very engaging, but I think you just have to be active in enrolling in those. And it's not like every prof picks favorites - just a few of the big names (Ackerman also). A friend visited Harvard in October and she said some of the classes were equally unengaging. Also, my random class for Monday was pretty boring and disengaged, so I think HLS isn't perfect in this regard either.

shuchong
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby shuchong » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:23 pm

shuchong wrote:A friend visited Harvard in October and she said some of the classes were equally unengaging. Also, my random class for Monday was pretty boring and disengaged, so I think HLS isn't perfect in this regard either.


Thanks Zabagabe! This probably should make me feel worse instead of better, but for some reason I find it comforting.

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zabagabe
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby zabagabe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:27 pm

shuchong wrote:
shuchong wrote:A friend visited Harvard in October and she said some of the classes were equally unengaging. Also, my random class for Monday was pretty boring and disengaged, so I think HLS isn't perfect in this regard either.


Thanks Zabagabe! This probably should make me feel worse instead of better, but for some reason I find it comforting.


I had a similar set of reactions, haha. I think the key is to be proactive, wherever you go, in taking classes from the good profs, even if the subjects aren't your first choice. A good prof can sell really uninteresting material, but even the most exciting stuff (as I witnessed at Yale) can be completely undermined by a bad teacher. :)

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SparkyLives
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby SparkyLives » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:39 pm

To Zaba and ccw...how was the diversity of the student body? About what I see on the facebook group? (which is.....uhh....monochrome) Or better?

ccw1234
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby ccw1234 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:46 pm

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Last edited by ccw1234 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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zabagabe
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby zabagabe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:56 pm

Yeah, for what it's worth, Yale felt a little more diverse to me than Harvard. Maybe it was a random selection at each, but I remember thinking that out of 300 people, the vast, vast majority seemed white at the ASW. Yale felt more like there was a mix of everyone.

shuchong
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby shuchong » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:05 pm

ccw, speaking of diversity (or lack thereof), I think you're my long-lost twin. If you happen to run into a non-aggressive person who can't spell at any of the ASWs you attend, that will be me. :D

Anonymous0L

Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Anonymous0L » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:20 pm

zabagabe wrote:Yeah, for what it's worth, Yale felt a little more diverse to me than Harvard. Maybe it was a random selection at each, but I remember thinking that out of 300 people, the vast, vast majority seemed white at the ASW. Yale felt more like there was a mix of everyone.


My visit was excellent. The campus is obviously diverse, though everybody seems to be coming from a somewhat advantageous background.

KP429
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby KP429 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:10 am

Jwatson wrote:
zabagabe wrote:Yeah, for what it's worth, Yale felt a little more diverse to me than Harvard. Maybe it was a random selection at each, but I remember thinking that out of 300 people, the vast, vast majority seemed white at the ASW. Yale felt more like there was a mix of everyone.


My visit was excellent. The campus is obviously diverse, though everybody seems to be coming from a somewhat advantageous background.


Honestly, I felt this to be the case as well. Although I think that those who are less advantaged probably couldn't afford to come in the first place (to Monday's Yale thing or Harvard's ASW). There were plenty of kids at Harvard this weekend who were discussing housing and were perfectly OK with paying, for a 1BR apartment, more money monthly than my family back home pays for our HOUSE. Scary stuff.

Anonymous0L

Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Anonymous0L » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:15 am

KP429 wrote:
Jwatson wrote:
zabagabe wrote:Yeah, for what it's worth, Yale felt a little more diverse to me than Harvard. Maybe it was a random selection at each, but I remember thinking that out of 300 people, the vast, vast majority seemed white at the ASW. Yale felt more like there was a mix of everyone.


My visit was excellent. The campus is obviously diverse, though everybody seems to be coming from a somewhat advantageous background.


Honestly, I felt this to be the case as well. Although I think that those who are less advantaged probably couldn't afford to come in the first place (to Monday's Yale thing or Harvard's ASW). There were plenty of kids at Harvard this weekend who were discussing housing and were perfectly OK with paying, for a 1BR apartment, more money monthly than my family back home pays for our HOUSE. Scary stuff.


Yep. I totally agree. This is also the feel for the Yale campus in general. A good amount of the students I met has some sort of legacy connection as well.

KP429
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby KP429 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:16 am

zabagabe wrote:Ok, I just did my HLS dump on that thread, so now for YLS. I didn't visit for the ASD on Monday because I couldn't get away from school in time, so I went mid-week (which of course outs me to anyone I met at YLS, including Rabbit!!).

My thoughts:

Classes: Not going to lie, I was somewhat disappointed by what I sat in on. I really relish the intrinsic, engaged classroom education, and it was lacking in a major way at Yale. All five classes I sat in on permitted laptops, which means everyone was in email, gchat, internet, facebook, etc., for a lot of the class. You could sort of hear the attention dissipating into the ether. Only one of the five was a traditional cold-call class, which I think has pros and cons. I sat in on one class (which I won't name) VERY related to my law school interests, and it was so bad I would never take it if I went to Yale. I won't lie - this was a huge disappointment, overall. I'm told the 1L classes in the fall are much better, but I guess I just felt like teaching wasn't particularly prized at YLS.

Profs: For the most part, the profs at Yale are all older, white and male. The school gives off a very "old boys network" vibe among its faculty, which coming from Oxford I am extremely wary of. I was told by multiple people that certain profs (Amar is notorious for this) pick favorites, usually boys, and only call on them. I hate this type of environment. Several female students expressed the feeling that you have to be a fairly aggressive female in class in order to participate, but they also noted that this is a general problem with law school as a whole, regardless of where you go. It's also a bit concerning that most people I spoke to named the same 4-5 profs over and over as the ones they like, work with, and value. Not surprisingly, most of them were either female or minority (or both) profs. One friend confirmed that the 2003 report was still valid in some respects: the two black guys in her class last term had been called by each other's names (WTF?! What century do we live in?!). Again, this was pretty disappointing, but I appreciated everyone's candor.

Students: This is where YLS makes up for everything else. I absolutely adored the students. They were friendly, thoughtful, helpful, engaged and down-to-earth. No one had the "I go to Yale" puffed ego and no one tried to sell me on the school because of the name. They were very candid in their assessments, willing to engage with me as I wrestled with arguments for alternatives, and weren't defensive about their school or its weaknesses. Even better, a bunch of the Yale Women have met with Koh and are basically working to get more student participation in the faculty hiring process (and more influence in getting female and minority faculty), which I think speaks both to Yale's interest in its students and its students' interest in helping to shape Yale. Also, the types of projects and work that Yale students do is just pretty incredible. I hate to say it, but I think the stereotype is somewhat true. It is a place for a lot of really smart people who are interested in the law but also excited and engaged in other work and want to use the time and resources at Yale to pursue their interests/passions. I went out with a bunch to a bar for their Thursday drinks and despite not knowing a single person, they were all friendly and excited to talk to me, included me in their group discussions, and were just the coolest people. It felt like one big happy family (and a very diverse one, too, which was really nice to see).

Community: Yale is small, and it shows. I feel like I ran into everyone I know there within 24 hours of arriving, because there’s one dining hall, two main hallways, and one lounge where people hang out/stop by. It really feels like a small high school, but without the cliques and stupidity. Within two days I was regularly recognizing people I had never even met, and I imagine by the time you’ve been there for a year you would get to know people pretty dang well. Because your first year sections are ~16, ~50, ~50, and ~70 people respectively, you get to know your class pretty dang quickly. For me, this is great. I think some people might find this really undesirable, and given that it’s New Haven, I think finding a life outside the law school would be fairly difficult if you wanted that.

Clinics: This seems like the shining star of the Yale education. Everyone raves about them. Almost everyone I talked to was involved in one from second semester of 1L on. Connecticut is the only state in the nation that allows 1Ls to represent clients in court, so the projects are pretty awesome from day 1. One of the people I was staying with was up until 3 a.m. on a Thursday night in order to prepare a brief for a court case she was going to on Friday morning. And again, this is in 1L!

On Yale itself: I got the sense that it’s 3 years to have a fairly self-directed education in the law. As one person said to me, Yale gives you a plot of land and a bunch of timber – you decide what you want to build with it. I don’t think this should appeal to everyone, and I think if I choose Yale I will approach my legal education very differently than if I go anywhere else. But there’s definitely something to be said for how open-ended and free-form the education is.

Also, I’m not going to lie, they made it sound easy to get pretty much whatever you want for your summers or after graduation. You know the NLJ 250 (which ranks the top 250 law firms)? Well, as one of them pointed out, there are more of those firms than there are Yale grads in each class, so there literally aren’t enough to go around. As a result, a 2L I spoke to said his firm interviews were more like conversations than interviews, asking about Yale and what it’s like. These are obviously kind of base reasons for choosing Yale, but knowing that so many doors are open to you means that you can relax and spend your time at Yale pursuing your intrinsic interests.

New Haven: Yeah, it totally sucks. People order groceries online because there’s no good grocery store anywhere in walking distance. They take the shuttle either because it’s too cold or too unsafe, and a lot of areas people did not walk around alone at night, only blocks from the law school. One person was mugged last semester at 3 p.m on a Sunday. Needless to say, quality of life is fairly nonexistent in New Haven, but it’s still pretty ridiculously expensive despite this. If Yale were any other law school, I think it would have a hard time attracting students. This is a serious consideration for me because I really like being outside, soaking up sunshine, cooking, and eating fresh food. I feel like I would be sucking it up to get through Yale.

Financial Aid: I only got a preliminary offer, but assuming it holds, Yale is hella generous. I was surprised. It matched most of my best merit-based offers from other schools. Given its AMAZING COAP repayment program, Yale is very committed to erasing debt load as a reason not to attend. That said, Stanford and Harvard, from what I’m told, offer similar amounts.

Overall: On balance, I left pretty excited, despite its many drawbacks. The students there felt really empowered, engaged and happy to be there. I get the sense that Yale is a bit on the downward crawl (and HLS on the upward), but I think it is inevitable that schools go through cycles. The rumored replacements for Koh are both people the students really adore, so it’s possible Yale could get Kagan’d very shortly. All in all, I wasn’t rushing to put down my deposit, but it’s somewhat striking I spent the last hour of my time in New Haven trying to find a YLS sweatshirt (which I failed to do, damnit!). I’m not 100% (I haven’t visited Stanford yet), but I definitely left excited to come back in April!

Hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask any other questions… if I can answer them I will.

PS: Big shout-out to Rabbit for meeting up with me! Like all the other Yalies, she was thoughtful, helpful, willing to engage on Yale’s flaws, and a generally awesome person. :)


Thank you for this, Zabagabe. I am REALLY concerned about the professors at Yale and the elitist legacy of the school. I will not fit in with that atmosphere at all. No one in my family has ever even gone to law school.

On grocery stores, Harvard has the same sort of problem despite its "central" location. Most students order their groceries to be delivered to their house, at least according to a current 3L during the housing panel. Students will run over to a quickmart to pick up anything they need, and just order the essentials online.

Also one question that I really want the answer to is: Is there a meal plan at Yale for law students? I'm not a cook, don't plan on becoming one, and relish the luxury of having someone prepare my meal for me (no matter of what quality it actually is). There is no meal plan at Harvard!

franfair
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby franfair » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:30 am

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Last edited by franfair on Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lastminute
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby lastminute » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:26 am

As someone who went to Yale undergrad I just wanted to let you guys know that New Haven is not as bad as it seems. Yes, crime occasionally happens, but I never felt unsafe in my four years there (just don't walk around alone late at night, good advice in any city). The big grocery store (Shaws) isn't walking distance (unless you don't mind carrying groceries a mile back to your apartment), but it is a two minute car ride, and you will know someone with a car within the first week, I promise. Also, New Haven has a lot of really good restaurants, both cheap and expensive, and some fantastic museums (all Yale owned, of course). For those of you who are into the outdoors, East Rock is a really beautiful park that looks over New Haven and is great for picnics, jogging, etc. I'm still a YLS hopeful, but I didn't want anyone to be deterred from such a wonderful school because of the legendary awfulness of New Haven. I promise you it's not as bad as it seems/is reported! Also, you can live not too far off campus (in a still safe area) for much cheaper, which is what I did with a group of friends.

lastminute
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby lastminute » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:28 am

Oh, and YLS cafeteria actually has good food. The undergrads were so jealous and tried to eat there so oftent that they had to institute a law-students-get-to-cut-the-line policy.

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Ranita
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Ranita » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:36 am

KP429 wrote:Thank you for this, Zabagabe. I am REALLY concerned about the professors at Yale and the elitist legacy of the school. I will not fit in with that atmosphere at all. No one in my family has ever even gone to law school.



I can see this being a problem, and also not being a problem.

I went to a little Catholic school that took in a surprisingly large swath of the socioeconomic spectrum. Despite having almost no ethnic diversity (it was upstate New York), cliques formed quickly. Almost immediately the kids of doctors and lawyers had found each other, as did the kids of the blue collar parents. Throughout the four years the rich kids discovered that we could be cool and funny, even if we couldn't host parties in a McMansion while our parents were in Nantucket for the weekend. On the flip side, just because someone is given a new car for their 16th birthday doesn't make them a bad person -- it's more the parents' fault than their kids'.

Ok, that was cheezy. Anyhoo, be consoled that at least one of your classmates comes from a trailer park.

shuchong
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby shuchong » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:46 am

Just to second Ranita...

I went to a public high school in a tiny town, and then to an elite/elitist undergrad. (Err... so I might be one of those people turning you off from Yale, KP. I promise I'm not a tool!) I spent my first few months on campus in kind of in a daze, having never actually known anyone with a trust fund before and finding it weirdly hilarious that when it got cold out half the guys on campus put on sweater vests. Voluntarily. Without their mothers dressing them up for Easter, which is the only time I'd ever seen a sweater vest before.

Once I actually got to know people though, their crazy love of argyle and Brooks Brothers didn't matter all that much. Sure, sometimes they came off as coddled or spoiled, but I don't think anyone ever looked down on me because I was on financial aid, or because I didn't summer in Martha's Vineyard or whatever.

I feel like this is where Yale's small size works in its favor, actually. You're going to get to know your classmates pretty well. I'm sure there'll be a few people you kind of want to smack, and a few people whose idea of going out into the "real world" involves weekend shopping sprees in Paris, but I don't think you'll have to deal with a rich kid/poor kid rift among your classmates. Especially considering the amount of money we're all going to be spending on law school. Crushing debt might just be the great equalizer here. According to Yale's website, 80% of us are going to be on need-based aid. And, even if I were in the habit of buying my kid a BMW every year, I would think twice about giving him new toys as well as paying $60,000 a year for him to go to school :)

Anonymous0L

Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Anonymous0L » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:34 pm

lastminute wrote:Oh, and YLS cafeteria actually has good food. The undergrads were so jealous and tried to eat there so oftent that they had to institute a law-students-get-to-cut-the-line policy.


+1, I have to agree with this completely.

Anonymous0L

Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Anonymous0L » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:39 pm

Yale bakery <3

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SparkyLives
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby SparkyLives » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:54 pm

Anybody heard from financial aid? I haven't.

carlitos
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby carlitos » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:11 pm

Still waiting anxiously...

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zabagabe
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby zabagabe » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:12 am

shuchong wrote:Just to second Ranita...

I went to a public high school in a tiny town, and then to an elite/elitist undergrad. (Err... so I might be one of those people turning you off from Yale, KP. I promise I'm not a tool!) I spent my first few months on campus in kind of in a daze, having never actually known anyone with a trust fund before and finding it weirdly hilarious that when it got cold out half the guys on campus put on sweater vests. Voluntarily. Without their mothers dressing them up for Easter, which is the only time I'd ever seen a sweater vest before.

Once I actually got to know people though, their crazy love of argyle and Brooks Brothers didn't matter all that much. Sure, sometimes they came off as coddled or spoiled, but I don't think anyone ever looked down on me because I was on financial aid, or because I didn't summer in Martha's Vineyard or whatever.

I feel like this is where Yale's small size works in its favor, actually. You're going to get to know your classmates pretty well. I'm sure there'll be a few people you kind of want to smack, and a few people whose idea of going out into the "real world" involves weekend shopping sprees in Paris, but I don't think you'll have to deal with a rich kid/poor kid rift among your classmates. Especially considering the amount of money we're all going to be spending on law school. Crushing debt might just be the great equalizer here. According to Yale's website, 80% of us are going to be on need-based aid. And, even if I were in the habit of buying my kid a BMW every year, I would think twice about giving him new toys as well as paying $60,000 a year for him to go to school :)


I totally agree. I really got the sense that Yalies grow to love and respect each other through their small classroom experiences and generally small student body in a way that can't happen at larger law schools. And you're absolutely right - being rich doesn't mean being spoiled. The only people who came off vaguely snobby (one or two people out of the approx. 50 I interacted with) were more of the intellectual variety than the moneyed.

I still haven't got my official offer from Yale, though I got my Stanford offer and it's $7k more per year(!!! - so generous!) than the preliminary Yale one. Time to start negotiating! :)

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rabbit9198
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby rabbit9198 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:16 pm

franfair wrote:
KP429 wrote:
Also one question that I really want the answer to is: Is there a meal plan at Yale for law students? I'm not a cook, don't plan on becoming one, and relish the luxury of having someone prepare my meal for me (no matter of what quality it actually is). There is no meal plan at Harvard!


According to the binder, there is a meal plan of sorts. I think it just amounts to putting a set amount of dollars on a card to be used in the Law School's dining center. IIRC, you get 10% off of your purchases if you get one of the set amounts put on your card. Hope that helps. Thanks again to everyone for the wonderful posts both here and in the Harvard ASW thread!!!


You're right - the "meal plan" is essentially a discount when you put a certain amount on your card. That said, don't be fooled into thinking that the dining hall is the same as you might find in an all-you-can-eat dining hall on an undergrad campus. It's all a la carte, and not particularly extensive (I do recommend the chicken wraps, and occasionally the "hot" offering). Hot breakfast is served two days a week (random continental/a la carte stuff the other days). Currently dinner is not served [but it might be served in the future, as a way to fight financial constraints, since undergrads eating in the law school = income for the law school], though there is snack service (basically a human-run vending machine) until early evening.

That said, you can almost always get multiple options for free lunch and dinner (various speakers, events, club meetings, journal source cites, etc.)...so far this semester, I've averaged one weekday dinner NOT free/at school. Some people even bring a tupperware container to school and take leftovers home for the next day's lunch.

You can also volunteer to be an "affiliate" of one of the undergrad residential colleges - if you do that (it requires an application process, but I don't think it's particularly stringent), you get 3 meals a week for free in that college's dining hall in exchange for helping to organize an event or two every semester.

In other words, it's not hard to get by even if you're not a cook. :)

Anonymous0L

Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby Anonymous0L » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:15 pm

When are you guys planning to move in? Anyone living in York Crown?

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SparkyLives
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Re: Yale Law School Class of 2012

Postby SparkyLives » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:33 pm

Jwatson wrote:When are you guys planning to move in? Anyone living in York Crown?


Haven't thought about living situation...still not sure if YLS is where I'm going. But the "when" is a good question and I'd like to hear people's initial thoughts assuming we begin in early september.


I've received my HLS financial aid award--this is reassuring because I now know Yale should have all my documentation. Just waiting on the award....when do you guys think I should send a follow up email? I'm thinking never...but I'm willing to let people change my mind.




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