Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

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zabagabe
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby zabagabe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:21 pm

Cartwright4 wrote:Interestingly enough, my experience was roughly the opposite of zabagabe's! I found Yale really stifling and LOVED the atmosphere at Harvard.

I was at Yale for the Monday sneak peek. While some of the people there were really nice, the majority struck me as very pretentious and somewhat arrogant, not to mention from similar ivy league backgrounds. Our very first session with Dean Rangappa was dominated by this 3L, who despite being somewhat well-intentioned, was a complete caricature of a Yale law student. In between mentioning his summers at Wachtell AND Cravath (but of course, he's not into that scene so now he's going to work for a senator from Colorado), he also mentioned how handsome and charming he was (I kid you not!). My assigned "student buddy" was also similarly full of himself and spoke about other schools, especially Columbia, in a really condescending way. The classes were also kind of ridiculous; it was like they took the Paper Chase Socratic extreme and swung it WAY too far the other way, where the professor is peripheral, teaches no law, and the students all just talk about their PhD's from Oxford. The whole thing struck me as intellectually masturbatory, and the fact that it's so small and New Haven is such a shithole that you're confined to this world was tough for me to handle. I should say, however, that the dinner with faculty at night was great and I loved Dean Koh, who seems like a reallyyy nice guy (although him referring to Harvard as a large buffet and his outright dismissal of the Hamilton were a little extreme). But overall, Yale struck me a little too much like it's worst stereotype.

Harvard was completely different for me. I had the option to talk to a diverse array of people, not all of them from HYP doing legal academia like it essentially was at Yale. Yes, there were annoying, assholish people, but you could avoid them and find someone else. There didn't seem to be a set culture - more like the neighborhoods that the New York analogy alludes to. Also, the classes I went to were RIDICULOUSLY good, particularly the Supreme Court one which was just a treat. It was great to be able to stray off campus and interact with a great city too. The deep diversity of the school was something that really appealed to me and stood in stark contrast with Yale.

EDIT: I should perhaps qualify my criticisms about Yale after looking them over. There were only TEN admitted students there, and I only got to meet maybe a dozen students so my sample set was pretty small. But those were still my observations pretty much. And I agree with zabagabe that the Harvard negotiation exercise was pretty ridiculous - it was good as an icebreaker but pretty absurd for the purposes of a law class.



Wow, it's amazing how night and day our experiences were! Time to haul out Rashoman for a re-watching...My interactions with Koh were pretty terrible but everyone else was fantastic, the complete reverse. I was also the only admitted student (that I know of) there, so maybe that made people less inclined to turn their "sell Yale" persona on? I know a few people who attended the ASD on Monday and who are the types you are talking about (HYP and a bit arrogant). They are in the minority in terms of the people I know at Yale, FWIW. And yes, they're pricks!

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zabagabe
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby zabagabe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:22 pm

JackieTreehorn wrote:Zab, this is ridiculous--I sat next to you at the ACS dinner. Great conversation!

Anyway, I've got a lot to say about the weekend but I don't quite have time to type it all up now. Overall a positive experience.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I plan on making a detailed post later


That's hilarious! I look forward to your thoughts and we'll have to catch up at Stanford in April!! :)

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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:43 pm

I will do a detailed write-up when I have some time (either Friday or Saturday probably).

Cliff notes: HLS is freaking awesome and I'm way pumped to go. If you are capable of initiating a conversation with another human being, I don't see any reason to go to a school with less resources, options, etc. I'm one of those people that has a lot of different interests and since Harvard is basically a 9 (or higher) across the board, it seems like a great place for me. I can see some people who are POSITIVE of their chosen field choosing to go somewhere like Yale or Stanford if they have stronger faculty/resources in that area.

I met ccw and objection and they are both awesome. Objection seems pretty stoked on Harvard and my personal mission over the next month and a half is to convince ccw to go to HLS (yes, she's that cool) :)

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mightyaphrodite
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby mightyaphrodite » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:51 pm

sluggo wrote:I will do a detailed write-up when I have some time (either Friday or Saturday probably).

Cliff notes: HLS is freaking awesome and I'm way pumped to go. If you are capable of initiating a conversation with another human being, I don't see any reason to go to a school with less resources, options, etc. I'm one of those people that has a lot of different interests and since Harvard is basically a 9 (or higher) across the board, it seems like a great place for me. I can see some people who are POSITIVE of their chosen field choosing to go somewhere like Yale or Stanford if they have stronger faculty/resources in that area.

I met ccw and objection and they are both awesome. Objection seems pretty stoked on Harvard and my personal mission over the next month and a half is to convince ccw to go to HLS (yes, she's that cool) :)


It seems as if we have similar goals because that's what I'm going to try to do as well :)

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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:06 pm

OK, here goes!

Let me start by saying that this ASW has taught me the dangers of posting on a forum like this without trying overly hard to remain anonymous. I am the type of guy who much prefers to be behind the scenes, so this idea that my reputation preceded me was a bit disconcerting and made me quite nervous.

With each person I met that knew I was Objection (there were quite a few, including ones I didn’t plan to meet), I thought to myself, “Damn, this person has an opinion of me already.” This naturally led to: Is my reputation with them bad? If so, am I confirming that reputation? Are they even giving me an honest chance to disprove that reputation? When I leave, are they saying, “Yep, that Objection guy is the total weirdo/asshole/jackass/douchebag/<insert bad adjective here> I expected.” I didn’t think I was, but the fact that so many people had preconceived opinions of me made me a little bit paranoid, particularly because reputation is everything in this field, and law school can be quite gossipy.

There were quite a few times where someone outted me randomly. For example, I was walking with a group of people and a girl (who turned out to be Eri) calls out from the back, “Are you Objection?!”

Moments like that were kind of cool, but at the same time made me feel a bit exposed.

I hope I wasn't too bad. Haha :?

General

I came into HLS with relatively low expectations. The campus looked bleak and depressing in pictures. Coming from a state school, I expected ivy leaguers to be weird, awkward, arrogant, and lame. As a Steelers fan (and, to a much lesser extent, a Yankees fan), I had a built in dislike of Boston. I was a bit worried about the size of the school. To be honest, the only argument I could make for HLS as I went into it was “Well, it’s Harvard.”

Thankfully, every concern of mine seems to have been addressed, and the idea of graduating with over $200,000 in debt seems much more palatable now.

The people

Universally intelligent and accomplished. I feel bad for zab, because I only ran into a couple of bad eggs. I didn’t let them ruin my time, because there were so many other amazing and friendly people that there was no reason to interact with the jackasses. I think the social situation was what you made of it. If you let the rare bad egg bring you down and caused you to generalize everyone else, you really missed out. I also feel that you missed a lot of the experience because you had a circle of friends outside of HLS that probably kept you in a comfort zone. If I’ve learned anything from going 21 hours away for undergrad and then heading up to the ASW alone it’s that the best way to meet people is to be forced to meet people. When you travel with friends, you don’t need to move out of your comfort zone, and thus are more likely to write everyone else off on the basis of a few bad eggs. I don’t mean to rag on you, zab, but the few people I met who didn’t seem to like it were people who had come with friends and just hung out with them most of the time.

Anyway, to put my feelings on the people in context: I’m from Jersey. I’m a Yankee. I judge people in the first 2 seconds of a conversation. I can’t help it. I will dislike someone because they have too much grease in their hair, or their sunglasses are obnoxiously large. Yet, when thinking back on the weekend, there is not a single person that I spent time getting to know that I disliked.

Of course, there were some people who I probably would have disliked if I had talked to them. The two gunners in the “random drawing” group were annoying, but seriously, that’s only 2 people out of how many?

Oh, and I met a couple of Steelers fans. Made me happy.

The Faculty

Wow. Elizabeth Warren was phenomenal. The guy who gave the Supreme Court talk was phenomenal. Carol Steiker (the woman I ate lunch with…criminal law) was phenomenal. There isn’t much to be said here, except I’d like to respond to CCWs complaint about Dean Jackson…

From my understanding, he is coming over from the business school. He has a lot on his plate. The questions weren’t planned, so it seems completely understandable to me that he might not be able to rattle off facts and figures as well as a pure law school faculty member or, say, Dean Kagan would have. He’s also an interim. He wont be the actual dean. HLS is going through a minor transition period right now, so I gave Dean Jackson a bit of a pass on any evasiveness.

The Campus/Area

I actually really liked it. Obviously, it’s not up to the standard of Yale or Michigan or Stanford, but it was a lot better than I had expected. The library is phenomenal. I was awestruck.

I also absolutely loved how right in the middle of everything HLS was, while still retaining a quiet campus feel within the campus. It was a perfect balance. I fell in love with the city and the area.

Size

I find this discussion of “getting lost” or “not getting the full experience” to be a bit odd. Perhaps it is because my high school was approximately the size of HLS, or perhaps it’s that my undergrad has 40,000 people, but I don’t see how the size of HLS is a minus. The fact of the matter is, if there is something you want to experience, you can experience it. Even at my undergrad with 40,000 people, if you want to do an activity or get involved with a group, you can! 1,500 people is really not that big. HLS student:faculty ratio is 10:1. Yale’s is 7:1 (off the top of my head; correct if I’m wrong). Is 3 extra people per faculty member really something to base such a major decision on? In my opinion, it isn’t.

Faculty members may seem like they would be less accessible, but when you factor in the idea of section leaders, reading groups, and the fact that 200 of the 280 upper level classes have less than 25 people, are they really less accessible? If you want to interact with a faculty member, you will be able to. Reading groups, office hours, small classes, etc.

I also think there is something to be said for having 550 unique personalities vs 180, but that’s a personal choice, I guess.

Harvard certainly does have a lot of opportunities, but since when is having options a bad thing? It was reiterated several times that the people who really want to do something will be able to do it. There is so much at the school and it’s true – you won’t be able to see it all. But you will be able to do what you want to do if you know what you want to do, or do enough to find out what you want to do if you don’t.

vs Yale

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not yet heard from Yale.

With that out of the way, I take issue with several points made about the comparison:

1. KP brought up the Harvard name not having much impact in itself. 1Ls still struggling for jobs. Etc. If Harvard students are struggling to get jobs, Yale students are struggling to get jobs. Name doesn’t matter. The fates of HY grads are mirror images of each other. I don’t know if KP meant to imply that the Harvard name has taken a hit while Yale’s remains unblemished, but if so, I find that to be absolutely without merit. Both are affected equally by the job market. Furthermore, KP said “why compete with more students when I don’t have to?” But if you want to clerk or do academia, won’t you be competing with more students at YLS than you would at HLS? Furthermore, since neither school ranks, how exactly are you competing? You will have the same options at the top of your class at Yale as you would at the top of your class at HLS; you will have the same options at the bottom of your class at Yale as you would at the bottom of your class at HLS.


2. This was brought up by the Dean and I think it was a very, very valid point. Yale is a fantastic school, and better than Harvard in some areas to be sure. If you definitely want academia or clerkships, go Yale (although I believe a lot of the success Yale has with placing grads in academia and clerkships has to do with self-selection and a bit of a cycle because of reputation…I don’t believe Yale necessarily does anything to prepare their students better in this regard…but that’s for another post). If you absolutely know what you want, know you will not be swayed, and know Yale specializes in it, go Yale. For everyone else, I think Harvard is the way to go.

If this were the Olympics, Yale has a few 10s and a bunch of 7s and 8s. Harvard has 9s across the board. Take the international law program, for example. Harvard absolutely demolishes Yale in this respect. It’s disgustingly lopsided. So what happens if you go to Yale undecided and realize that your real desire is to do international law? You would be much better served at Harvard. What if you decide on sports law? You would be much better served at Harvard. But even if you get to Harvard and decide you want to do academia or get a clerkship, you won’t be at that much of a disadvantage relative to Yale.

Yale is better at its specialties than Harvard is in those areas, but not to the same extent that Harvard is better in the other areas. Going back to international law…the difference between H and Y in international law is exponentially greater than the difference between H and Y when it comes to academia.

So if you are unswayably sure about what you want to do and Yale excels in that area, go Yale. Otherwise, go Harvard.

The way I see it, Harvard will never be the wrong answer. It is excellent in every single area. Yale, on the other hand, is unmatched in a few areas but simply good in the others.

I just feel that at Harvard you have more options. If you want to do something at Harvard, you can. The same can’t always be said at Yale, and that to me is the biggest advantage Harvard has.

All that said, you really can’t go wrong with either choice. I do not mean to belittle Yale, but I feel as if people talk about Yale as if it’s clearly better than Harvard, when, all things considered, this is not the case.

Miscellaneous

I got bored of separating everything into different categories, so I just plan to ramble now. I just really loved it. The people I met were amazing. The activities were fun. The faculty members were intimidatingly accomplished. The surrounding area was fantastic. The opportunities were limitless. I don’t know. Am I forgetting anything?

Now, for my TLS-member review:

treple – the guy is awesome. Clicked the most with him and I feel like I’ve known him for much longer. My future roommate if I attend HLS (I’m trying to go into Michigan with an open mind, although the amazingness of the weekend made that task more difficult). He needs to stop trying to steal the girls I flirt with though. I even played wingman for him once but no, that wasn’t good enough!

Iagolives – Another great guy. Extremely intelligent and down to earth. I wish I had gotten to hang out with him more, but we kept ending up just missing each other.

sluggo (and his gf) – truly two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Humble, intelligent, approachable, funny. I hope to see much more of them in the future.

Ccw – One of my biggest regrets about the ASW is that I didn’t get to talk with her more. From my brief interaction with her at breakfast, she was funny, charming, and obviously intelligent and accomplished. Hopefully, we’ll cross paths again. I plan to spend the next month and a half trying to convince her to come, just to make up for the lost opportunity.

krswmact – She attends a rival SEC school, so she had a lot to overcome in my mind! Yet she did. The little social butterfly, haha. Because of her, my experience was much smoother. She set up a group dinner prior to the start of ASW, which gave me a solid foundation of familiarity from the start. In fact, all of the (ridiculous number of) people from her school were fantastic.

FrenchiePatootie – Another one I wish I had been able to interact with more. Much like ccw, she came across extraordinarily intelligent and friendly.

Eri – Absolutely sweet, funny, and down to Earth. She was one of the people with whom I had quite a bit of interaction, and it was great.

I’m probably forgetting someone, but if I am, there wasn’t any TLSer I met that I didn’t like, so don’t worry.

I’m kind of writing this as I go and I’m in the airport, so I will almost certainly edit and add quite a few times when I get back to the hotel.
Last edited by Objection on Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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FrenchiePatootie
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby FrenchiePatootie » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:19 pm

haha Obj is TLS' Paula Abdul, everyone's nice and awesome :wink:

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SparkyLives
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby SparkyLives » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:37 pm

Thanks for all these write-ups everybody! I could only afford one cross-country flight this year and I chose to go to Yale's ASW and visit HLS on my own after so these experiences are very helpful.

And Objection, somebody's become an HLS fanboy, huh? There was NOTHING you didn't like? :lol: :wink:

ccw1234
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby ccw1234 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:38 pm

Objection, I really hope my snarky comment does not prevent you from posting. As I've said before, I think people's excitement was a testament to how many positive and informative things you do post (such as the detailed post above).

I also appreciate everyone's posts today, it's been very helpful to hear other perspectives and reflect on the weekend a bit more. It will be interesting to see if as we go to other Accepted Student Weekends, the experience with incoming classmates will be as exciting as Harvard's was.

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Objection
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:46 pm

SparkyLives wrote:Thanks for all these write-ups everybody! I could only afford one cross-country flight this year and I chose to go to Yale's ASW and visit HLS on my own after so these experiences are very helpful.

And Objection, somebody's become an HLS fanboy, huh? There was NOTHING you didn't like? :lol: :wink:



Sure there were.

I disliked the housing options. I mean, come on, you're a top university. No reason for the severe lack of on-campus living options. And the surrounding areas are expensive.

I disliked the sketchy bar we went to and the creepiness of the locals there.

I hated my hotel.

Some of the really accomplished current students seemed a bit stuffy.

In my class visit, I was able to spot the annoying gunner within the first hour, and was already rolling my eyes every time he raised his hand. I hope that this isn't the norm.

But to be honest, these are all minor quibbles and the experience was so overwhelmingly good they don't stand out. As I said, I went in with low expectations.

Objection, I really hope my snarky comment does not prevent you from posting. As I've said before, I think people's excitement was a testament to how many positive and informative things you do post (such as the detailed post above).


Oh no no, I didn't mean to point at your comment as an example of why I may limit my posting. It was more of an example of having this reputation in the eyes of people I've never met (and thus, have no idea what the reputation is). I like to control my reputation, and I feel like through my frequent posting (that admittedly is in my control, but it's easy to lose sight of the larger picture in what seems like a nameless, faceless community), I've surrendered a bit of that control. I may post less or I may just be more careful. We'll see.

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JackieTreehorn
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby JackieTreehorn » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:08 pm

I just typed up the longest post of my TLS career...and it's lost because I was logged out of the system. I AM SO MAD.

Let me try again, more concisely:

Expectations:
I expected to be impressed with the school's opportunities and slightly turned off by a "C'mon, it's HARVARD!!" attitude. Both were true, to varying degrees. The ASW was extremely informative, and I left with the sense that I could spend an enjoyable three years at HLS and graduate with fantastic career choices.

Introductory Event:
The head of Harvard's Program on Negotiation along with a student helper described the school's curricular and extracurricular offerings in this field and admitted students engaged in a negotiation simulation. I really liked learning about the program--7 courses and various organizations that offer opportunities to practice negotiation and mediation skills. This was something I came into the event interested in, and was not disappointed--I think the head of the program was right in saying that law schools unwisely limit themselves to the small subset of disputes that end up in court instead of focusing on the bottom of the broad dispute pyramid. I think the skills this program teach would be useful for all lawyers and, personally, an attractive alternative to conventional law if it turns out I don't like legal research/memos/discovery/etc. Like others have noted, the exercise was kind of corny, but I enjoyed it. Zag is right in saying that it's a moral issue we discussed, but the program director made some interesting comments about negotiation strategy in response to prospectives' comments.

Cocktail Hour:
I met some great, engaging prospectives. I also met some people I wouldn't want to spend much time with (kind of a theme of the weekend, actually). This was true of the next day's student life panel--most of the panelists seemed smart, interesting and genuine, but one--after repeatedly telling us that she has her resume in with "Mr. and Mrs. Obama"--informed us that she chose her roomate because the girl had a facebook picture with Michelle Obama. Back to the cocktail event, after I asked one kid if he's thinking about any other schools, he responded "Oh I'm definitely going to Yale." Really, then whey are you here? Ugh. If nothing else, this helped me realize that while tools may self-select to Harvard, they certainly aren't absent at other top law schools.

Public Interest Careers Panel:
This was the big turning point of my weekend. I came away extremely impressed with Alexa Shabecoff's Office of Public Interest Advising as well as the students involved in public service. Shabecoff has advised students seeking public interest jobs for 15 years; Harvard's competitors are just now creating similar positions. To me this makes a big difference--not to mention the fact that OPIA has 3 full time advisers and up to 10 part time advisers when things get busy. Very impressive, especially for people interested in government. The other aspect of the panel that impressed me, and perhaps came as more of a surprise, was the community aspect of PI oriented students and faculty at HLS. OPIA and similarly oriented student organizations host retreats, pot lucks, and other events that bring together disparate elements of the public interest community. I think that this is a place where Harvard's size really plays to its advantage: assuming most schools have a similar percentage of students committed to these fields, Harvard has enough people in raw terms to make the community substantial and dynamic.

Mock Class and Lecture:
I thought these were great and I'll leave it at that because other posters covered it already and this is the second time I'm typing up this novel.

Student Organizations Fair:
Probably the most informative part of the whole weekend. Here I learned that the students who are happy and thrive at HLS are those that are able to find a smaller niche within the broader law school--in fact, multiple students told me that they didn't really enjoy their time at Harvard until they found organization X. I spoke with some awesome people from Harvard Mediators, the Legal Aid Bureau, the American Constitution Society and an umbrella public interest social org (can't remember the name), and most of them seemed genuinely happy and engaged.

Dinner with the American Constitution Society:
I had a great time at this dinner. Along with a couple of great prospectives (one turned out to be Zagababe), I had an insightful conversation with a 2L interested in a lot of the same things that I want to pursue. He told us that the best part of HLS is using the tremendous resources of the school to carve out a social and academic niche during your 2L and 3L years. While some schools might grow stifling, Harvard doesn't. We also had a nice conversation about Harvard vs. Yale and Stanford, and it helped that this particular guy didn't seem to have a chip on his shoulder about not going to the number 1 ranked US News law school (unfortunately, some people at the school did).

Other Stuff:
I'm really starting to fade now so I'll just lump other observations together. The actual class I sat in on was "Leadership in the Public Sector" or something of that nature. It started off with a dry analysis of tax code, but turned out to be truly engaging. The students were not aimlessly surfing the web and seemed invested in the class. On Monday I also saw a panel on careers in academia. The prof giving the talk basically argued that Harvard is the best school if you want academia because: (1) there are multiple profs in any area, an argument that I think is right-on, and (2) Yale's per-capita numbers aren't that telling because we lack an appropriate denominator for the number of people actually interested in academic careers, i.e. Yale's advantage results from self-selection. He didn't convince me that HLS is better than YLS for academia, but I think the case is strong that Harvard is damn good. Also, at a financial aid panel I learned something new about the 3L Public Service Initiative: only 3L aid grants are subtracted from the $42k (or whatever) you receive, not grants from 1L and 2L. This means that a student receiving $10k in grants each year will effectively get $62k in grant assistance. Others may have known this, but I didn't, and it's exciting.

Concluding Thoughts:
What they say is true: Harvard Law truly is what you make of it. The happy and successful students are the ones that find academic and social niches, and for those willing to do so, the opportunities are expansive and very impressive. The school has its fair share of Dbags, and I'll have to wait until the Stanford ASW to figure out if it's a higher percentage than at other great law schools...
Last edited by JackieTreehorn on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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joschmo
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby joschmo » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:13 pm

Objection, that post was aburdly long and on point. I'll agree with just about all of it.

I didn't meet most of you via TLS personas, but I'm sure I met many of you by your real names. Everyone was very friendly, and I totally buy the idea that those who came alone had the most fun. I won't rehash everything thats been said already, but to those of you who would argue over a choice between H and Y, remember, the stakes just arent that high. Worst case scenario, you end up at the other greatest law school in the world. Just go with your gut, dont worry about the money, and enjoy the ride.

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Objection
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:32 pm

I knew I forgot someone. Joeschmo was awesome as well.

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Haribo
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Haribo » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:52 pm

mightyaphrodite wrote:
zabagabe wrote:I'm glad you guys had better interactions with the students than I did. Maybe I just got a bad couple of apples, but it definitely tainted my experience as a result. Definitely interested to hear your thoughts, Obj (and perhaps thankful I didn't get to meet you afterall, haha!). :)


Maybe it was different for me because I'm not a Yale admit, so I didn't get the same pressure you did :) But I will say that your post did remind me that one thing I didn't like was that there was almost an assumption on the part of HLS students/faculty (as well as other admitted students) that there really isn't a good reason aside from maybe Yale to not attend HLS. Perhaps that's just the general part of law school prestige whoring and all that, but it can be sort of grating.


I didn't attend the ASW, so I have nothing to say about that, but I find the same attitude in just random non-law people! It's frustrating! If someone finds out I got into Harvard it's immediately "Oh, so you're going to Harvard right?" "Well, there are some other schools I'm considering also..." "WHY?? You got into Harvard? Why would you go anywhere else?" Sigh.

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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby skeletor » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:02 pm

Everything I would have said seems to have been said already...

Stellar weekend on all accounts: everything from the facilities, to the profs, to the admitted students themselves (I'm sure I talked to a few of you TLSers without even knowing it). The weekend has certainly made a difficult choice that much harder.

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Haribo
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Haribo » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:03 pm

Also, thanks everyone for all the information and write-ups about the weekend!! Very helpful.

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ndnlawdc
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby ndnlawdc » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:07 pm

I'll post more tomorrow. I'm, like Objection, trying to go to Michigan with an open mind. I was 75% Michigan before, and now I'm 90% Harvard (after trying to hate it!).

The only TLSer I met was Frenchie, and I didn't even know it until she outed herself as being from NV. FYI, I was the only guy in your negotiation group the first evening. I didn't think the exercise was all that hard -- at least not for us. :)

Objection, I looked for you -- no luck. You posted your undergrad, and you were the only one there from your undergrad. Pretty easy process of elimination. Did I miss much on Sunday AM? We hit the breakfast (which was good!) before heading to church. Didn't make it back until the public service panel.

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Objection
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:37 pm

Aw, I wish I had gotten to meet you ndn!

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ndnlawdc
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby ndnlawdc » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:57 pm

Objection wrote:Aw, I wish I had gotten to meet you ndn!


Given your and my feelings on HLS, there's a pretty good chance we'll have three years together.

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joschmo
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby joschmo » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:14 am

I'm having a really hard time focusing on work. Damn you, Harvard, for making every other aspect of my life irrelevant.

KP429
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby KP429 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:59 am

A couple of points I wanted to address:
• I didn’t out myself throughout my trip mainly because I was lazy and didn’t have computer access for the last 2 days. I think I met Frenchie (I think I ate lunch with you and 2 other girls on Saturday in Austin North. I was also at the Public Interest table during the faculty lunch if any of you were also there (not the table with Shabecoff, though).
• I think that traveling to Harvard’s ASW with a group of people may have been a mistake, zabagabe. Although I felt similarly in many respects, I went by myself despite a couple of friends of mine that were in town (I made them hang out in Boston while I scoped the place out ala John Terry).
• I think that already having been admitted at Yale did put a lot of pressure on me to find reasons to like/dislike Harvard and as a result, I think I was fairly critical/mostly objective about the weekend.

Now, for more specific things:
• I honestly don’t think Yale will have less douches/weirdos/tools/whatever than Harvard. I think, for the most part, that Yale will be Harvard on a lesser scale. With that said, I do think there will be many more interesting kids, in a relative sense, at Yale due to their more holistic admissions criteria and tendency to pick students with public service backgrounds. Yale is much less numbers-driven than Harvard is and I can only imagine/hope that the student body will reflect that.
• As I was telling SparkyLives via PM, there is absolutely 0 comparison between Harvard’s campus and Yale’s. Harvard doesn’t even come close in terms of aesthetics. This may or may not be important to some people, but even when cloudy, gray, and snowy, Yale was more beautiful (in my opinion) than sunny Harvard from this Sunday.
• In response to a few posters on here, I think the “getting lost” claim is completely legitimate. I don’t think you can compare law school to UG or high school for a variety of reasons. In LS, you’re going to “school” with kids of all ages, studying a very specific aspect of higher education, and will be launching a career somewhat analogous to every other student you’re going to school with. I went to a public HS where my graduating class was comprised of 1100 kids. My school had over 4500 total students and I didn’t get lost in the cracks there… but I also wasn’t competing against the brightest and most accomplished kids in the nation. Even at my “Ivy” UG with roughly the same number of graduating students, most kids are simply not going to law school upon graduating. It’s a completely different scenario. It’s not about the faculty/student ratio being a little bit higher at Harvard, it’s a qualitatively different environment at Yale than Harvard, period. I don’t think I need to defend that point at all and that holds true for many of the smaller top LSs (Chicago, Stanford, etc.)
• In response to Objection, I was referring to the inability of students at Harvard to get jobs in a field where Harvard supposedly reigns supreme (sports law). This is anecdotal, but I have more sports experience than many of the kids I spoke with who have enrolled in the sports law clinic (a clinic which only Harvard offers). There’s no doubt that both H and Y students are probably “struggling” for jobs, but my point was that it doesn’t seem to be the case that in a Harvard “specialty” field that Harvard kids are doing any better than Yale kids (I say this because I’ve spoken to several sports law hopefuls at Yale). Secondly, if you think that official school ranking systems are the only way students compete against one another, there’s not much I can say other than I respectfully disagree with that claim. There is probably a reason that faculty and administrators were constantly trying to reassure prospies that students did not compete with one another. Finally, I strongly disagree that the bottom of the barrel at Harvard = bottom of the barrel at Yale. From the idiosyncrasies of the grading system (almost infinitely more LPs at Harvard than Yale) to the simple fact that Yale’s student body top to bottom is probably more “impressive” (even if by a small amount, both qualitatively and quantitatively) than Harvard, there is no way that I believe that argument would be proven true.
“I just feel that at Harvard you have more options. If you want to do something at Harvard, you can. The same can’t always be said at Yale, and that to me is the biggest advantage Harvard has.” – Honestly, this is definitely not what I took away from Harvard. The assumption here is that Harvard excels in all areas it offers classes. This is DEFINITELY not the case. In other words, Harvard is not a “9 across the board.” Sure, there are specialties at Harvard that don’t exist at Yale and other specialties that Harvard reigns supreme in. However, a larger curriculum /=/ better opportunities in more fields post-law school. For full disclosure, Harvard is the only top school to offer a clinic in sports law. As it turns out, the clinic is basically a farce. Many of the students don’t get placed anywhere they would like and the others have to work on their own to find a sports team/company/firm to get placed in. The real world experience is limited and from talking to the kids who’ve participated, it wouldn’t make sense at all for me to go to Harvard because of opportunities in sports law. In fact, the best school for this would probably be Columbia!
• Let’s be serious here: Yale and Harvard are great nearly up and down the board. The difference is in the type of education you want to receive. You can do anything at Yale that you can do at Harvard, it’s just that you will take a bigger personal role in shaping your educational experience. In other words, it’s not about Yale excelling in an area (clerkships, academia, whatever), but what you want out of your time in law school. If you think that a Yalie won’t be able to excel in international law at Yale because Harvard has more renowned faculty in that area, I think you are greatly mistaken.
• Finally, the assumption that Harvard will be a place of greater diversity and provide a more heterogeneous student body is not well founded, in my opinion. More students /=/ more diverse. What I found was that there was just more of the same type of student at Harvard. Sure, there will be more people (in raw numbers) in various fields at Harvard, but that isn’t a consequence of more diversity, it’s just more people in general. Law school attracts a certain kind of person and from my experiences this weekend, there were a lot of that kind of person, if you get my drift. I think that Yale will be more like a community than Harvard, but I could be completely off-base.
• The bottom line: I will wait until visiting Yale before making a decision, obviously. Like I said before, I’ll have no problem choosing Yale over Harvard or Harvard over Yale – I’m supremely confident that I’ll be fine at either. With that said, I don’t think anyone in their right mind should choose anything else over Harvard unless it’s a full ride at Columbia – especially if you plan to stay on the east coast. And Objection, you were Yale’s biggest fan... what happened?
Last edited by KP429 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mightyaphrodite
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

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

KP, based on all that you said about the sports law stuff, I think I know who you are :) We may or may not have had dinner together on Sunday night.

I agree with some of what you wrote and disagree with some other stuff but I'm just too tired to compose a coherent response. I'll come back to this tomorrow.

KP429
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby KP429 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:22 am

mightyaphrodite wrote:KP, based on all that you said about the sports law stuff, I think I know who you are :) We may or may not have had dinner together on Sunday night.

I agree with some of what you wrote and disagree with some other stuff but I'm just too tired to compose a coherent response. I'll come back to this tomorrow.


Haha, we likely did. You probably have guessed who I am by now since you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right :P


On a side note, does anyone know what on-campus kids eat every day? Cooking isn't really an option and there is no meal plan at Harvard for law students (just Crimson Cash) and I don't know where I can use that.

SouthernElle
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby SouthernElle » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:42 am

There's a dining hall in Harkness (I think? It was upstairs in the building that looked like a student center, which may or may not actually be called harkness...) The menus and stuff are online if you want to see what it offers- it looks decent, and they have sushi, yay! Also, one of my friends in the grad school showed me a few places in harvard square that have really good cheap lunches, so I would guess some law students go there.

To be honest, on the dorm tour, i saw a LOT of peanut butter, cereal and ramen around. I guess people with apartments would cook, but most of the rooms I saw in the dorms had lots of cheap food.

On that note, i had a HORRIBLE housing tour. I loved the rest of the events, but the RA who took my group was apathetic, answered a few questions wrong (i found out later), and took us the wrong direction twice. It was not the best experience, and it made gropius even more depressing. Thankfully that was the worst part of my visit, by far, but I wish they had picked someone who a) knew about the options and b) wanted to talked to 0Ls. Another gem of my visit was some girl's mom asking in the financial aid session how to protect her trust fund in the financial aid process. :roll:

Overall, though, I thought they did a good job selling the school, and i happily took my new messenger bag to class today, haha.

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iagolives
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby iagolives » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:46 am

Alright, since it seems like everyone's doing it, I'm going to jump on the post mortem bandwagon. I should note I'm still waiting on a lot of places so this will be less of a comparison than just my experience with the weekend.

PROS:

1) I have to say probably my favorite time/time where I really felt I got to see Harvard for what it is was at the student group-sponsored dinner. I ate with one of the journals (no, not the Law Review) and the people I went with were really nice and really authentic. They were very up front about what they didn't like about Harvard and what they did like. (They were all 3L so I figure they don't have much incentive to lie/sugarcoat the truth.) Also, they told me that a lot of the "competition" you find at Harvard comes from individuals rather than groups. The people who go to Harvard tend to be those who FEEL the need to get those high marks in their opinion so they do it regardless of any outside pressure. While they were more than upfront in admitting that you will find people who get consumed by this and stay in the library forever, most people, at some point or another, take a deep breath and realize that they help themselves and everyone around them by doing what they can do and nothing else. Seemed like good advice to me FWIW.
2) I actually think that size is a plus and a minus, though I’m more leaning towards plus. It was intimidating seeing all 200+ people there last weekend and getting to know everyone but, when seen in the context of three years rather than three days, that task gets less and less. Also, the point of the larger faculty and the potential of more diverse interests in both the faculty and the student body again seem to me like a plus. While I like having a few close friends, the thought of going to a school which in its entirety is smaller than my high school graduating class gives me pause.
3) The people that I met were, for the most part, really nice and didn’t bat an eyelash when they found out I was from a school many of them had never heard of. Granted, there were those people who were either painfully awkward or intensely snobbish but those people were few and far between. (Also, for the record, all the TLS people I met were awesome! Go us. :))
4) As someone who hopes to go into academia or something not corporate someday, I was pleasantly surprised with Harvard’s perceived commitment both financially and in personnel to these students. I won’t spend too much time going into that commitment here but my somewhat long chats with both faculty and admin on this subject left me much more pleased than I expected.
5) I actually liked the distinction that Harvard made with regards to its rep for being more of a mechanics school and less about “big picture” thinking than some of its peers. They said that they definitely do incorporate the philosophic aspects into their curriculum, especially the upper division and their list of courses and reading groups seems to speak to this. However, they see it as their “responsibility” to teach their students black letter law and the more practical side of things. It’s like breathing with both lungs. As someone who is much more disposed to the philosophic side of things, I actually think it will be beneficial to me having someone holding me accountable for the black letter stuff.

CONS:

6) Alright, I’ll concede to the fact that starting this whole weekend off on basically a massive infomercial for the negotiation program and clinics was rather bizarre. I would have preferred to start off with ice breakers or at least not had one of my first interactions with people being deciding who gets to live and who must die.
7) I won’t spend too much time on it as it has been mentioned repeatedly was on here but I thought the sketchy Irish bar thing was lame. In fact, I left after fifteen minutes or so. It was a good idea, just poor execution.
8 ) What can be said about the living arrangements but that they suck. If I choose to go here I really have no idea what I will do about housing. The dorms tour was definitely the most bleak (while important) part of the weekend.

Basically, I had a great time. I liked most of the people I met there and I wish I would have been able to meet more people from this forum! I’m still waiting to hear back from my other schools so I’m not ready to sign on the dotted line just yet, but I was pleased with what I saw of the institution for the most part. I think it basically comes down to something I heard more than once at the ASW this weekend. Harvard doesn't necessarily hand you everything like some places do. However, if you are willing to work for something that you want, whatever it is, their resources are basically endless. It's a tradeoff: ease vs. potential.

PS: Objection, one of my friends was reading over my shoulder as I was reading your opinions of the TLS people you met and when she saw you called me “down to earth” she literally laughed until there were tears. I’m glad I came off better this weekend than I apparently have for the past four years of school. ;)

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JackieTreehorn
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Re: Harvard ASW-W-WHAT!

Postby JackieTreehorn » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:17 am

SouthernElle wrote:Another gem of my visit was some girl's mom asking in the financial aid session how to protect her trust fund in the financial aid process. :roll:


I saw this too! "So you're saying my daughter should just spend all her money?" C'mon, lady.




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