tinman wrote:yes, it feels amazing. So happy!
OK, I’m in too. In a lot of ways, I had a better weekend at Stanford than I did at Yale, and I definitely don’t think YLS is all things to all people. However:
-The curriculum is heaven. The flexibility is unrivaled, and I feel like if you come into Yale Law with a game plan, you can do incredible things. Most other schools have preset offerings for what you get to choose from, often if you’re lucky enough to apply or lottery your way in. At Yale, if they don’t have it, you can find a few other people interested and start it yourself. If you want to do research halfway around the world, write a proposal, and the funding’s easy. Writing publishable papers is the norm, not the exception. Yes, you could free-ride your way through Yale and still have great opportunities, but the fun part is, very very few people I met want to do that. Which gets me to…
-The people are fantastic. Honestly, I really feel like YLS works as well as it does because of the students. There were great people at other places, but the density and concentration here was pretty awesome. I think everyone has waxed poetic about this already, so I won’t overindulge in it, but suffice it to say, this was the key part of my decision. This was the one school where I felt comfortable walking up to any person, any time, during any event, and introducing myself. Other places I felt sometimes a bit unwelcome or uncomfortable doing so. I have stayed in touch with a fair number of fellow admits, and I already feel a strong bond with them. Also, the queer community here is hands down the best of the ones I had interaction with while visiting law schools. Awesome, awesome group of people.
-Yeah, weather and city leave a little bit to be desired. But there are diamonds in the rough: as a friend pointed out, unlike Palo Alto, tons of businesses in New Haven were started by immigrants who are aspiring business owners, and there’s a real sense of community here that lacks in Palo Alto amidst its rug stores and $50-dinner restaurants. I won’t lie, I love Stanford’s community and how absolutely blissful the area is, but I think a new community and environment will be a welcome challenge. If I really decide I dislike the northeast, I’ll just make sure to end up in California after law school. A number of Californians assured me that you can more than survive, even if you hate cold weather.
Also, I think the shuttle bus, while again non-ideal, makes up for a lot of the inadequacy of safety issues at night. You can call anytime, anywhere, and ensure you have a safe ride home. Pretty sweet.
-I won’t lie, the faculty, while brilliant, is not the most diverse. I found the Stanford faculty remarkably more approachable, and the NYU faculty is far stronger in my areas of interest. However, I feel like Yale makes collaboration with faculty fairly easy, and I think the students were far more diverse than anywhere else I visited. 32% non-white isn’t ideal, but it’s sure better than just about any other law school. I also think they’re working to increase their number of young faculty members, and their clinical profs, by all accounts, rock.
-Financial aid, again, was not quite as good as Stanford for me (and measurably worse than my merit scholarship at NYU), but it’s still amazingly generous and the COAP program offers a world of flexibility unmatched by any other school. If I want to start a small business, make end’s meat while writing a book, work in a foreign country doing journalism, or just bartend in the Caribbean, COAP will cover it. Pretty incredible, and one of the hardest things to consider turning down.
-The can-do attitude of Yale is what sold me in the end. The “here’s a plot of land and a pile of logs, build whatever you want” system is just too tempting to turn down. I think in a lot of ways my life would have been easier at Stanford, but I think I’m up for the challenge.
Can’t wait to hear everyone’s 1L experience. I’ll be deferring for a year, so you guys will all be able to coach me through it next year! It’s a testament to the people that at several points in the weekend I kept thinking to myself, “How can I defer?! I want to be a 1L with these people!”