Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:04 am

JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.
I don't know how much grades matter for most 1L SAs - the people I know who got them were either URM and grades didn't seem to be an issue, or people who had some random circumstance for which grades didn't enter the equation, and perhaps a few people who had such stellar grades that firms just had to look.
I obsessed over grades and in my most generous calculations, I wouldn't say that most people get straight Ps. At most, slightly less than half have straight P after one semester. And FWIW, the few people I know who got jobs based on grades were most certainly not in that half.
Re: median grades - the conventional wisdom is 3-4 H is median at the end of the year. It sounds reasonable based on what I know.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:10 pm

Sorry if this has been discussed already, but I was just wondering how exactly need based aid works. I know (think I know?) that it is calculated from a formula that takes in to account COL, savings, parent income, etc. After this amount has been calculated, is there any room for negotiation? Has anyone negotiated a small grant reward who was originally calculated to receive nothing because of parent's income. For example if your parents don't plan on contributing much despite the income will they listen to you at all?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:19 pm

bernaldiaz wrote:Sorry if this has been discussed already, but I was just wondering how exactly need based aid works. I know (think I know?) that it is calculated from a formula that takes in to account COL, savings, parent income, etc. After this amount has been calculated, is there any room for negotiation? Has anyone negotiated a small grant reward who was originally calculated to receive nothing because of parent's income. For example if your parents don't plan on contributing much despite the income will they listen to you at all?


Depends. Are they not contributing because you have an abusive/non-existent relationship, or just because they don't want to pay? If the former and you can document it with therapists letters, etc. then they will probably listen. If the latter, probably not.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:01 am

JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.


The median question has been answered, and I don't know if "most people" get straight P's. I have personally had a hard time finding that many people w/ straight P's, but anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it is worth (very little).

Only reason I am adding on to earlier posters is because, as always, I am obligated to point out that those with strong interest in TX can try to get a 1L SA job there. Don't have to be URM or have some crazy resume to get one, just a good personality, not horrid grades, and an earnest interest in TX. For 1L SA though, some connection to TX may or may not be (implicitly) required. For 2L SA, connections to TX definitely not required -- just the interest in TX. My aforementioned sentences only apply to TX biglaw firms, particularly Houston (I am only guessing when it comes to Dallas since it is a similar market. Austin is much smaller so tougher).

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:48 am

DoubleChecks wrote:
JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.


The median question has been answered, and I don't know if "most people" get straight P's. I have personally had a hard time finding that many people w/ straight P's, but anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it is worth (very little).

Only reason I am adding on to earlier posters is because, as always, I am obligated to point out that those with strong interest in TX can try to get a 1L SA job there. Don't have to be URM or have some crazy resume to get one, just a good personality, not horrid grades, and an earnest interest in TX. For 1L SA though, some connection to TX may or may not be (implicitly) required. For 2L SA, connections to TX definitely not required -- just the interest in TX. My aforementioned sentences only apply to TX biglaw firms, particularly Houston (I am only guessing when it comes to Dallas since it is a similar market. Austin is much smaller so tougher).


+1 on the Austin thing. I know people born and raised in Texas, good grades and didn't get Austin. Austin is the one market in Texas that I think is actually difficult to get. I think because it's small plus a lot of people want to go there = slim chances.

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JDflowergirl
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby JDflowergirl » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:38 pm

Thanks guys!! I'm glad that's been cleared up

lameslice57
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lameslice57 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:26 pm

Best/worst OPIA and OCS advisors?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:29 am

lameslice57 wrote:Best/worst OPIA and OCS advisors?


Ann Scibelli is an all-star.

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Wonk
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Wonk » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:47 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
lameslice57 wrote:Best/worst OPIA and OCS advisors?


Ann Scibelli is an all-star.

Seconded, easily the best I've talked to so far in either OPIA or OCS

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JDflowergirl
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby JDflowergirl » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:16 pm

How useful or useless is SIP? How may interviews do people usually get..1..2..? Any tips?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:16 pm

JDflowergirl wrote:How useful or useless is SIP? How may interviews do people usually get..1..2..? Any tips?


Not useless. But don't depend on it to get you a 1L summer job. Treat it supplementary. I can't remember how many interviews I got but it was more than 2.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:35 pm

JDflowergirl wrote:How useful or useless is SIP? How may interviews do people usually get..1..2..? Any tips?


People seem to get 1-3, and only a handful of people actually get jobs through it, though I coincidentally know most people who got jobs through it.

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yarsten
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby yarsten » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:54 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.


The median question has been answered, and I don't know if "most people" get straight P's. I have personally had a hard time finding that many people w/ straight P's, but anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it is worth (very little).

Only reason I am adding on to earlier posters is because, as always, I am obligated to point out that those with strong interest in TX can try to get a 1L SA job there. Don't have to be URM or have some crazy resume to get one, just a good personality, not horrid grades, and an earnest interest in TX. For 1L SA though, some connection to TX may or may not be (implicitly) required. For 2L SA, connections to TX definitely not required -- just the interest in TX. My aforementioned sentences only apply to TX biglaw firms, particularly Houston (I am only guessing when it comes to Dallas since it is a similar market. Austin is much smaller so tougher).


First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:52 pm

yarsten wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.


The median question has been answered, and I don't know if "most people" get straight P's. I have personally had a hard time finding that many people w/ straight P's, but anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it is worth (very little).

Only reason I am adding on to earlier posters is because, as always, I am obligated to point out that those with strong interest in TX can try to get a 1L SA job there. Don't have to be URM or have some crazy resume to get one, just a good personality, not horrid grades, and an earnest interest in TX. For 1L SA though, some connection to TX may or may not be (implicitly) required. For 2L SA, connections to TX definitely not required -- just the interest in TX. My aforementioned sentences only apply to TX biglaw firms, particularly Houston (I am only guessing when it comes to Dallas since it is a similar market. Austin is much smaller so tougher).


First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!


I had a similar decision to make, and in the end, I obviously went with HLS. As you noted, it is a lot more expensive, but it comes down to how risk averse you are. Regardless of how smart you think you may be, there is still a lot of 'luck' and 'chance' that plays into law school exams. You aren't guaranteed to be top 20% at UT law just because you went in w/ 75%tile GPA and LSAT. Not being top 20% at UT law also makes getting biglaw in TX a more precarious venture. At HLS, you can be below median and comfortably get TX biglaw. I know of no one who struck out at TX biglaw from HLS my yr (who actually tried for the market), and all had varying grades (note: smaller TX biglaw firms are very hard to get into as they hire 1 or none from HLS a lot of the time -- I am generally talking about the larger TX biglaw firms, i.e. Vinson Elkins, Baker Botts, Bracewell, Andrews Kurth, Haynes and Boone, etc.). As others have mentioned countless times, it comes down to interviewing prowess more so than grades, and that holds even more true for TX biglaw (assuming you can show genuine interest in the market -- no need for TX ties for 2L SA, unlike for 1L SA).

So again, how risk averse are you? HLS = buying insurance. Yes, at the end of the day, you may end up at the same firm w/ the same pay, but one is much more guaranteed than the other. The law school experience was very pleasant for me; I was never stressed, for whatever that is worth.

Finally, this may sound a bit pretentious, but I have been shocked at the Harvard brand name. That is an intangible that you are also "buying" which really goes with you forever. It may be one of the most powerful brands in the world, imo, esp. internationally. It's a bit more ubiquitous over in the NE/Boston lol, but not so in TX.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:18 am

yarsten wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
JDflowergirl wrote:1L here and I hope this is the place to ask this

(I Know grades do not come out till late Jan or early feb)
But what grades are good enough for a 1L summer firm position (if such a standard exist)? And what are median grades at H? OCS kept saying that most people get straight P's but I don't think thats equivalent to median. I just thought about all these and thought someone here might be able to help.


The median question has been answered, and I don't know if "most people" get straight P's. I have personally had a hard time finding that many people w/ straight P's, but anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it is worth (very little).

Only reason I am adding on to earlier posters is because, as always, I am obligated to point out that those with strong interest in TX can try to get a 1L SA job there. Don't have to be URM or have some crazy resume to get one, just a good personality, not horrid grades, and an earnest interest in TX. For 1L SA though, some connection to TX may or may not be (implicitly) required. For 2L SA, connections to TX definitely not required -- just the interest in TX. My aforementioned sentences only apply to TX biglaw firms, particularly Houston (I am only guessing when it comes to Dallas since it is a similar market. Austin is much smaller so tougher).


First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
What were your very rough calculations? Assuming that you're a bit older (27-28), and don't have a ton of assets $15-20K sounds pretty low.

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Yukos
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Yukos » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:25 am

I know it's complicated by the lack of grades/class rank, but I was wondering if anyone knew the general cutoffs for District Court and COA clerkships (assuming you have adequate LoRs etc.). I know it's super competitive but I'm having trouble translating that to HYS, where everything seems to be so much easier than at other schools.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:40 am

Yukos wrote:I know it's complicated by the lack of grades/class rank, but I was wondering if anyone knew the general cutoffs for District Court and COA clerkships (assuming you have adequate LoRs etc.). I know it's super competitive but I'm having trouble translating that to HYS, where everything seems to be so much easier than at other schools.

My information is not detailed and is hearsay, but it's readily available, so until someone else answers...
Not all district court clerkships and COA clerkships are equal. Feeder judges are a shot in the dark even from the top of the class. Big city/important circuit judges still require some luck at the top of the class. Big city district courts can be more competitive than unknown circuits and the two are possible in like top third. Random district court in far flung places can be had around median, and if you're open to going places as opposed to looking for a clerkship in your far flung hometown, your odds are not bad since you can apply extremely broadly.
Some examples: I know someone bordering on Magna who only applied to SDNY/D.Mass/CD Cal. who struck out; and a couple people around median with a ton of extracurriculars who got a random district clerkship in a random state.

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yarsten
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby yarsten » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:52 am

delusional wrote:
yarsten wrote:First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
What were your very rough calculations? Assuming that you're a bit older (27-28), and don't have a ton of assets $15-20K sounds pretty low.

That's $15-20K/year for clarification. Does that still seem low? I followed one of the examples on the fin. aid site and made adjustments to my situation. I wasn't quite sure how to calculate the parental contribution so I assumed the max contribution (my parents do reasonably well) and then reduced it by 25% (I'll be 26 when I start LS). I didn't take in to account a sibling that will be in grad school, and my wife and I have about zero assets, so hopefully that's close to the actual amount, and it should step up each year due to parental contribution adjustments with my age. Let me know if that sounds crazy.

And thanks for the answer DoubleChecks, pretty much confirmed what I thought would be the case, good to know the perspective from an insider.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby AllTheLawz » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:51 am

yarsten wrote:
delusional wrote:
yarsten wrote:First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
What were your very rough calculations? Assuming that you're a bit older (27-28), and don't have a ton of assets $15-20K sounds pretty low.

That's $15-20K/year for clarification. Does that still seem low? I followed one of the examples on the fin. aid site and made adjustments to my situation. I wasn't quite sure how to calculate the parental contribution so I assumed the max contribution (my parents do reasonably well) and then reduced it by 25% (I'll be 26 when I start LS). I didn't take in to account a sibling that will be in grad school, and my wife and I have about zero assets, so hopefully that's close to the actual amount, and it should step up each year due to parental contribution adjustments with my age. Let me know if that sounds crazy.

And thanks for the answer DoubleChecks, pretty much confirmed what I thought would be the case, good to know the perspective from an insider.


I'll add a second view on this question. I faced a similar decision (~32k/yr at H v. full-tuition at top 10 schools) and chose Harvard. Ultimately my choice came down to risk aversion and the fact that I wasn't confident I would do super well in law school. Looking back, I do kind of kick myself for probably being excessively risk averse. My full-tuition choices were the schools ranked 7-10, however, so they are probably far enough up the chain from Texas to make your risk significantly greater. When making your decision you should also note that your grant aid will be reduced by about $16k each year you take a biglaw SA while your scholarship at Texas would not be affected (allowing you to put money towards cost of living).

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Yukos
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Yukos » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:18 pm

delusional wrote:
Yukos wrote:I know it's complicated by the lack of grades/class rank, but I was wondering if anyone knew the general cutoffs for District Court and COA clerkships (assuming you have adequate LoRs etc.). I know it's super competitive but I'm having trouble translating that to HYS, where everything seems to be so much easier than at other schools.

My information is not detailed and is hearsay, but it's readily available, so until someone else answers...
Not all district court clerkships and COA clerkships are equal. Feeder judges are a shot in the dark even from the top of the class. Big city/important circuit judges still require some luck at the top of the class. Big city district courts can be more competitive than unknown circuits and the two are possible in like top third. Random district court in far flung places can be had around median, and if you're open to going places as opposed to looking for a clerkship in your far flung hometown, your odds are not bad since you can apply extremely broadly.
Some examples: I know someone bordering on Magna who only applied to SDNY/D.Mass/CD Cal. who struck out; and a couple people around median with a ton of extracurriculars who got a random district clerkship in a random state.


Thanks for this, I didn't realize clerkship hiring was so heterogenous, but it's nice to know that if you're any clerkship > prestigious clerkship it's very doable.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:19 pm

yarsten wrote:
delusional wrote:
yarsten wrote:First of all, Thanks for all the helpful posts!!

I am interested in Texas Biglaw after Law school (grew up in TX and have family there). I was lucky enough to get accepted at HLS and a full ride at UT. Judging by my very rough calculations and the fact that I have a wife and kid, I am hoping for 15-20k in aid at Harvard, so (especially factoring in COL), there is a very significant difference in cost. I was wondering what you think about Harvard as far as its edge over UT in Texas Biglaw and, if you had similar options, what helped you choose HLS? I am leaning toward HLS, but that UT scholly is very tempting, especially if I'm just going to end up in TX anyways. That being said, Harvard is obviously much less risky. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
What were your very rough calculations? Assuming that you're a bit older (27-28), and don't have a ton of assets $15-20K sounds pretty low.

That's $15-20K/year for clarification. Does that still seem low? I followed one of the examples on the fin. aid site and made adjustments to my situation. I wasn't quite sure how to calculate the parental contribution so I assumed the max contribution (my parents do reasonably well) and then reduced it by 25% (I'll be 26 when I start LS). I didn't take in to account a sibling that will be in grad school, and my wife and I have about zero assets, so hopefully that's close to the actual amount, and it should step up each year due to parental contribution adjustments with my age. Let me know if that sounds crazy.

And thanks for the answer DoubleChecks, pretty much confirmed what I thought would be the case, good to know the perspective from an insider.
Well, parental contribution can be tricky to work out. But they'd only be counting 75% the first year, going down over the next two. The maximum expected parental contribution your first year would be like $39k and your expected COA would be something like $100k, resulting in a grant of around $10k. But by 3L year you would probably qualify for close to a full tuition grant (although a summer job would affect that). Would you choose UT with a full scholarship over Harvard with a half scholarship? Consider also LIPP, whether you plan to have another child during law school, and whether your wife would work in either TX or in MA. It might also be worthwhile to defer for a year so you can get a larger grant.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:39 pm

acrossthelake wrote:It's difficult to approximate exactly what letter grades they correspond to, since I don't remember exactly what the grade distribution was when it was on letter grades. I talked about this once with someone who did know, and I think he said a DS corresponds to an A+, an H probably covers the range of A to B+, and pass from B down to C or maybe C+, and LP whatever is below that.

I looked this up at one point. If you compare the released grade distributions before and after, you find that a DS is an A+, an H is an A/A-, a P is a B+/B/B-, and an LP is a C+ or below, except that they give more of each of the higher grades than they did before (so they give more H's than they gave A's and A-'s before, for example).

So basically the new grades are an excuse both for grade inflation and for blurring out the lower grades so that a B- looks like a B+.

A lot of people think that an LP corresponds to worse than an old C+, which is probably true; given that they're now discretionary and rarer, the LP is more like an old C- or worse. In that case, the system also eliminated the C and C+ altogether.

Also, I'm pretty sure that profs are encouraged not to give out 0 DS's in a class. In a 1L class, it's probably typically 2-5 DS's per class. But here I'm guessing more than anything, whereas I'm pretty sure of the rest of this.

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zdamico
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby zdamico » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:27 pm

Does anyone have experience with the semester-long study abroad program that could give me some insights?

What year is the best year to go?
Are you at a huge disadvantage in terms of what you miss by being away from Harvard, especially when it comes to job and internship searches?

Any other important info on the program would be greatly appreciated as well!

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:43 pm

zdamico wrote:Does anyone have experience with the semester-long study abroad program that could give me some insights?

What year is the best year to go?
Are you at a huge disadvantage in terms of what you miss by being away from Harvard, especially when it comes to job and internship searches?

Any other important info on the program would be greatly appreciated as well!


No clue on this but just wanted to add that you could instead do the Winter Term study abroad if you wanted. It's only 3 weeks but you don't get the downside of missing Harvard for a semester.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:43 am

Grades coming out tomorrow?




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