codyoneill wrote:Okay, here's a discussion I'd like to have, fellow admits:
Merit scholarships at other schools.
For the moment, pretend that Yale and Stanford do not exist.
What level of merit aid at what other schools would reach the threshold of
1) making Harvard a difficult decision for you?
2) making you choose this other school over Harvard?
and for what reasons?
I've been thinking about this a lot, especially since some schollies are starting to roll in strongly.
Pretending Yale doesn't exist (or assuming I don't get Yale)... I would consider a Columbia scholly or maybe some others. But emphasis on the "consider." I don't see myself going into biglaw, at least long-term, and HLS has an amazing LRAP program. I'm not fully decided, but I think I might take the arguably irrational choice to take a lot of debt (I'll be paying entirely through loans, and almost certainly won't qualify for grants), in order to not have the "what if" hanging over me forever. It'll be tough, and I will consider a nice scholly at CCN or even some others, but in the end I'll probably end up at HLS. I feel like I worked too hard throughout school and with the LSAT and it might make me make an irrational choice to have the Harvard on my diploma. Idk....
I'm in pretty much the same boat. I want to make the most rational decision (and as of this moment, no merit aid has rolled in that's made choosing Harvard a difficult decision).
All things considered, I'll be going to HLS because:
1) I will be getting some grant aid, which mitigates some of the effects of merit aid that may materialize elsewhere.
2) From a psychological perspective, I would prefer to have more opportunities than more money in my ten year future. I'd rather have HLS open doors for me and have to work to pay off debt / live somewhat less comfortably / luxuriously than go to a lesser school where my debt will be lower but I might not have the same career opportunities / networking.
3) It's really that "what if" question you were talking about. Regret over Harvard debt seems like a smaller problem than Regret over declining Harvard. If I don't go to Harvard then for the rest of my life, every time I'm not chosen for a job I'll wonder (rightly or wrongly) if it would be different had I gone to Harvard.
4) Harvard's LIPP is a great safety net. Some people feel compelled to work Big Law because they don't find the LIPP plan "livable" but I've been making pennies in public service for a few years, and LIPP looks mighty fine to me.
And yet, even writing this, I do struggle, wondering if I'm being rational or if I'm rationalizing my decision. And then I think to myself, what a pleasant struggle to have. And if the worst decision I make this year is talk myself into going to Harvard, it will have been a good year indeed.