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 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:38 am

Mista Bojangles wrote:OK I'm a wee bit confused at people constantly referring to interviewing as a discrete skill. Honestly, "interviewing" (at least for EIP purposes) overlaps enormously - and very close to entirely - with just being socially able, reading social cues well, and being able to have an engaged and entertaining conversation.

Before EIP I'd never done a formal interview in my life, and hadn't even done a BS "mock interview" with OCS - then I absolutely killed EIP with a ton of callbacks, and 7 offers out of the 7 callbacks I accepted (brag blah blah, I don't feel the need for false modesty on an anonymous internet forum).

Guide to interviewing:
Three absolutely essential cardinals. Honestly the rest will just about fall into place if you at least execute these.
- Smile. Even if you hate smiling and prefer neuroticism and pain.
- Sustained eye contact
- Strong initial handshake

General tips:
- Be animated. Be lively and passionate about whatever you're talking about, whether it's an interest on your resume, or how much you loved the chocolate-covered pretzels at the firm's hospitality suite.
- Joke. Make at least one mildly self-deprecating joke to be sure that you don't come off too overconfident, if that otherwise might have been the case
- Bro out a little. If the interviewer begins to bro out back with you (which will happen a large % of the time), then proceed to bro out a lot.
- Absolutely embrace random tangents that have you talking about things completely unrelated to the firm or the law. If 3 minutes in you find the two of you talking about Spotify, or acupuncture, or your shared rock-climbing interest, run with it. Do not steer things back to the firm. If the interviewer seems entertained, you are golden.

DON'T (only one really big one I can think of):
- Approach the interview like it's an exam to be studied for. Do NOT be one of those poor souls crammed in the student lounge doing last-minute research on every aspect of the firm they're about to interview with. Spouting canned facts that you researched is a great way to come off as cold and robotic and boring. Instead, relax and eat a bagel and schmooze with your less neurotic classmates, to warm up for the more important schmoozing you're about to do. And then walk in and kill it.
I'm a 3L and I approve this message.

michlaw
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby michlaw » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:40 am

so after the grading change blurred the lines and collapsed all the As together and Bs together,


Not what happened. Grade relativity is alive and well even at the best law schools. The median at a typical, if there is such a thing, T-10 that gives 1L grades is around a B+. So the top 37% at Harvard isn't
all the As and Bs or anything close to that. The very best law school (if you believe in grades they must be because they get the highest grade every year) doesn't give grades at all, in any truly discernible way, and leaves it to the employers to figure out who to hire. Seems like a good idea.
Last edited by michlaw on Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:45 am

tomwatts wrote:
michlaw wrote:The percentages are fixed, but how they are distributed is not a constant. The likely median is 2 H's for the first year.

I have wondered about this, as a statistical matter. The longer tail of possible grades above the average than below (that is, 10 Hs is farther above 3.7 Hs than 0 Hs is below it) suggests that it's likely that the average is higher than the median, especially if Hs and Ps cluster (so a person who gets an H in one class is more likely to get an H in another class — presumably the actual distribution fits this description but is much more complicated). I'm imagining a distribution that's skewed right, but it might be sort of bimodal, too, or at least have a fat tail.

I also wondered about another effect. The original distribution four years ago had significantly more LPs than DSs, and so there was even more skew. With 8% LPs and 2 DSs (which is 2.5%), you get an average equivalent to 3.15 Hs on the year. The current distribution has more DSs and fewer LPs than the original did, but it's not clear — because they're discretionary — whether, on average, there are now equal numbers of DSs and LPs, or whether one is greater than the other. It seems possible that, at least in some classes, there's some small additional skew remaining because of more LPs than DSs. I suspect the effect is small, though.

Generally, the overall skew would have to be rather dramatic for the median to be 2 with a mean of 3.7. The effect of the fat right tail could conceivably be large enough. Still, given that 5 Hs is on pace for cum laude — 60th percentile — it seems unlikely that it takes all of 3 Hs to hop past 10% of students. (It would mean that half of students get 2 Hs or fewer, and 40% of students get 5 Hs or better. That's far more bimodal than I'd expect — but could be the effect of DSs counting like two Hs.) I'd expect more like 1-2 Hs to move past 10% of students, which fits better with a median of 3. But frankly I'm not sure that we have enough information to tell.

(I feel the urge to reiterate that I just like numbers. I run all kinds of regressions on my Econ students' grades after every semester, mostly out of curiosity.)

One thought just since we are spitballing. Do average grades go up 2L and 3L year? Black box so IDK but there certainly are more classes that are unscaled those years. Could explain this though:

it seems unlikely that it takes all of 3 Hs to hop past 10% of students. (It would mean that half of students get 2 Hs or fewer, and 40% of students get 5 Hs or better. that's far more bimodal than I'd expect.

tachikara
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tachikara » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:19 am

Mista Bojangles wrote:OK I'm a wee bit confused at people constantly referring to interviewing as a discrete skill. Honestly, "interviewing" (at least for EIP purposes) overlaps enormously - and very close to entirely - with just being socially able, reading social cues well, and being able to have an engaged and entertaining conversation.

Before EIP I'd never done a formal interview in my life, and hadn't even done a BS "mock interview" with OCS - then I absolutely killed EIP with a ton of callbacks, and 7 offers out of the 7 callbacks I accepted (brag blah blah, I don't feel the need for false modesty on an anonymous internet forum).

Guide to interviewing:
Three absolutely essential cardinals. Honestly the rest will just about fall into place if you at least execute these.
- Smile. Even if you hate smiling and prefer neuroticism and pain.
- Sustained eye contact
- Strong initial handshake

General tips:
- Be animated. Be lively and passionate about whatever you're talking about, whether it's an interest on your resume, or how much you loved the chocolate-covered pretzels at the firm's hospitality suite.
- Joke. Make at least one mildly self-deprecating joke to be sure that you don't come off too overconfident, if that otherwise might have been the case
- Bro out a little. If the interviewer begins to bro out back with you (which will happen a large % of the time), then proceed to bro out a lot.
- Absolutely embrace random tangents that have you talking about things completely unrelated to the firm or the law. If 3 minutes in you find the two of you talking about Spotify, or acupuncture, or your shared rock-climbing interest, run with it. Do not steer things back to the firm. If the interviewer seems entertained, you are golden.

DON'T (only one really big one I can think of):
- Approach the interview like it's an exam to be studied for. Do NOT be one of those poor souls crammed in the student lounge doing last-minute research on every aspect of the firm they're about to interview with. Spouting canned facts that you researched is a great way to come off as cold and robotic and boring. Instead, relax and eat a bagel and schmooze with your less neurotic classmates, to warm up for the more important schmoozing you're about to do. And then walk in and kill it.


+1. It really is just one big schmooze-fest.

That said, if "socially able, reading social cues well, and being able to have an engaged and entertaining conversation" doesn't describe you that well, getting some practice talking with law firm folks at the 1L receptions can't hurt (+ free booze). The interviews just end up being 30-minute versions of those interactions.

o0o0o0o
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby o0o0o0o » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:22 am

acrossthelake wrote:
o0o0o0o wrote:I understand that a DS and a P together count as two Hs for GPA/latin honor purposes, while the consensus here is that firms at EIP tend to just count the H's rather than calculate GPA.

But does anyone know for Article III clerkship purposes how a DS and a P compares to two H's? (Assuming judges in competitive districts who probably receive lots of applications from HLS students and so who probably have some basic familiarity with the grading system).


Will vary by judge. Judges often let someone else do the screening for them (they receive a LOT of applications; they don't have time to read all of them) so who knows what some random clerk or secretary thinks of the HLS transcript grading system. If the judge bothers to mention some cutoff to him/her, it's going to vary individually. Judges aren't all that uniform and the clerkship system is messy and disorganized.


right. thanks.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:38 am

Interviewing is different from just being social in that a lot of people who might be normal day to day will be really nervous. Really nervous people fall apart socially, so practice can help those who can't stay calm under that situation.

Also, I would recommend that female interviewees refrain from "bro-ing" out.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:41 am

michlaw wrote:
so after the grading change blurred the lines and collapsed all the As together and Bs together,


Not what happened. Grade relativity is alive and well even at the best law schools. The median at a typical, if there is such a thing, T-10 that gives 1L grades is around a B+. So the top 37% at Harvard isn't
all the As and Bs or anything close to that. The very best law school (if you believe in grades they must be because they get the highest grade every year) doesn't give grades at all, in any truly discernible way, and leaves it to the employers to figure out who to hire. Seems like a good idea.

No, you misunderstood. The poster didn't say that grade reform blurred all the As and Bs together, but rather blurred the As together and the Bs together (separately). That is, the H blurs A/A-. The P blurs B+/B. (And that is what happened, or at least close to it.) See page 124 for the evidence and calculations.

But I don't think this made it any more difficult to distinguish yourself on the basis of grades. It just made it more important to rack up Hs, rather than to care about the difference between an A- and an A. (Which, frankly, given the randomness of law school exams, is probably healthy.) This means that doing well broadly across many classes is important, and it's still pretty hard to do, so if you can pull it off, you distinguish yourself.
wert3813 wrote:Do average grades go up 2L and 3L year? Black box so IDK but there certainly are more classes that are unscaled those years. Could explain this though:

Yeah, it is possible. I don't know; the classes that tend to be under 30 students also tend to be fewer credits (2-credit seminars, 3-credit clinics), so I'd expect the effect to be small, but maybe it's not.
Last edited by tomwatts on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby AllTheLawz » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:55 am

Frozen98 wrote:Someone said that HLS used to attract the McKinsey and JP Morgan types but now no longer. As such, those who worked for non-profits (or didn't work at all) won't have gone through as rigorous of an interview process (not just one interview at JPM but at competitor firms too).

Have you noticed whether your classmates were smooth when it came to schmoozing and chitchat (which is what I heard law firm interviews are all about)? Or is it hard to tell? someone else told me that how someone is socially is a poor indicator of how they are in interviews. One person he knew was very quiet and introverted socially but just dominated interviews and ended up @ WLRK.


You are mistaken on this weird sentiment. Plenty of McKinsey/JP Morgan people around (in fact, more than a handful or going to McK/BCG or JPM/GS after graduation).

Law firm interviewing is sometimes about chitchat simply because most of the people they send have no experience being an interviewer and are simply bad at it. Interviewing, in general, is about exhibiting a distinct set of qualities in a short period of time (potential for leadership, ability to operate independently, knowing and respecting the formalities of the workplace, ability to work in teams, client readiness, problem solving, etc.). What you want to do in an interview is tell a set of stories and give a set of examples that indicate you exhibit these qualities.

When preparing for interviews, one good idea is to set up a quality/skills outline. In the outline you have a top level of a skill/quality you would like to show then second levels of short blurbs of examples from your life/background that illustrate the quality/skill. Don't actually write a script, just a blurb that reminds you of the example. Using this structure you essentially anticipate every question related to the top level quality/skill.

Frozen98
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Frozen98 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:31 pm

...
Last edited by Frozen98 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:20 pm

acrossthelake wrote:Also, I would recommend that female interviewees refrain from "bro-ing" out.
Frozen98 wrote:why should girls be more cautious about bro-ing out?

I think the point about "bro-ing" out was to be willing to play off the personality of your interviewer if you can match it. Even as a guy, if I tried to "bro-out" it would come off very strangely. The more important point is to find something you can connect on, and don't discard it just because you want to throw out another tid-bit about why you're awesome.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

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HorseThief
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby HorseThief » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:10 am

Were any of you able to negotiate for better aid because of T14 scholarships, or was HLS like, "Sorry, brah, we're Harvard"?
(I'll take PM's if that is more appropriate)

rathgra
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rathgra » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:32 am

HorseThief wrote:Were any of you able to negotiate for better aid because of T14 scholarships, or was HLS like, "Sorry, brah, we're Harvard"?
(I'll take PM's if that is more appropriate)


Harvard exclusively looks at financial need (no merit scholarships), and they said pretty much straight out at ASW last year that they'll only consider aid packages from other schools that don't offer merit scholarships (...so Yale and Stanford). Their rationale for that is that if Yale or Stanford is giving you something drastically different, Harvard might have messed up their calculations and is willing to take a second look.

No idea how this works in practice, but you're probably out of luck.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:43 pm

HorseThief wrote:Were any of you able to negotiate for better aid because of T14 scholarships, or was HLS like, "Sorry, brah, we're Harvard"?
(I'll take PM's if that is more appropriate)

You don't talk to anyone during the financial aid process. It's like filling out the FAFSA; it spits a number back out at you that's what you're getting for aid. You have to think of it less like a scholarship offer and more like the refund you're getting on your taxes.

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BelugaWhale
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby BelugaWhale » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:22 pm

For those who took analytical methods with Cope. What were the exams (midterm and final) like? The registrar doesnt have any of his old exams so I kinda wanna know what I got myself into.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:48 pm

BelugaWhale wrote:For those who took analytical methods with Cope. What were the exams (midterm and final) like? The registrar doesnt have any of his old exams so I kinda wanna know what I got myself into.

Like the homework, but maybe a bit more complicated. All of the information is in the book; if you go to class and do the homework, and then re-do it in reading week, you are already much closer than you would be with similar effort in a black letter course. Also, you won't cover all the lessons in homework, so make sure you understand the last few statistics classes.

ETA: There are outlines and exams answers available online, so you should get an idea of what it's like. I found that the class was almost exactly the same as the book, so you can almost rely on the table of contents as an outline.

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BelugaWhale
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby BelugaWhale » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:56 pm

delusional wrote:
BelugaWhale wrote:For those who took analytical methods with Cope. What were the exams (midterm and final) like? The registrar doesnt have any of his old exams so I kinda wanna know what I got myself into.

Like the homework, but maybe a bit more complicated. All of the information is in the book; if you go to class and do the homework, and then re-do it in reading week, you are already much closer than you would be with similar effort in a black letter course. Also, you won't cover all the lessons in homework, so make sure you understand the last few statistics classes.

ETA: There are outlines and exams answers available online, so you should get an idea of what it's like. I found that the class was almost exactly the same as the book, so you can almost rely on the table of contents as an outline.

Yeah I saw the outlines and exam answers...I just don't have exam questions to go along with them....

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:03 pm

BelugaWhale wrote:Yeah I saw the outlines and exam answers...I just don't have exam questions to go along with them....

How weird. I was about to point you to the Registrar's exam archive, but I just checked, and they're not there.

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paglababa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby paglababa » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:17 pm

Question thats sort of related to H:

I've been out in the work force for about 3 years. I recently just got offered a new job with a very well regarded company in the industry that I work in. The experience would be great and I really want to accept the offer (would be starting mid Feb if I give in my 2 weeks tomorrow). Oh and the money is better too :P

I feel guilty though because of my H acceptance and my plan to leave in 6-7 months to attend law school. I obviously didn't mention any of this during the interview process and I'm worried that leaving in such a short period of time could potentially damage relationships when I leave.

I'm wondering how this will look on my resume to future big law employers? I'm sure the experience will provide great talking points, but what about the short time period? For reference, post college, I have been at one company for about 1.5 years, current company for 1 year, and this new job would be only about half a year. Will employers think I'm a disloyal millenial who jumps at new exciting opportunities? Will I have to provide references from this new job (if I'm unable to leave on the best of terms?).

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:34 pm

paglababa wrote:Question thats sort of related to H:

I've been out in the work force for about 3 years. I recently just got offered a new job with a very well regarded company in the industry that I work in. The experience would be great and I really want to accept the offer (would be starting mid Feb if I give in my 2 weeks tomorrow). Oh and the money is better too :P

I feel guilty though because of my H acceptance and my plan to leave in 6-7 months to attend law school. I obviously didn't mention any of this during the interview process and I'm worried that leaving in such a short period of time could potentially damage relationships when I leave.

I'm wondering how this will look on my resume to future big law employers? I'm sure the experience will provide great talking points, but what about the short time period? For reference, post college, I have been at one company for about 1.5 years, current company for 1 year, and this new job would be only about half a year. Will employers think I'm a disloyal millenial who jumps at new exciting opportunities? Will I have to provide references from this new job (if I'm unable to leave on the best of terms?).
IME, no one small thing like this is a big deal. I had a small employment gap, for example, and only one person asked about it and I did not think it was a big deal during OCI. In order for it to make a difference in your employment search, it would have to be together with a few of mediocre grades, sloppy clothes, poor interview, arts undergrad or mediocre undergrad, etc.

OTOH, if you are worried about the ethics of it, you can defer for a year or even two. By the time you get to school, you might qualify for more financial aid because you will be older, and you won't be so old that your classmates will feel like kids.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:34 pm

TripTrip wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Also, I would recommend that female interviewees refrain from "bro-ing" out.
Frozen98 wrote:why should girls be more cautious about bro-ing out?

I think the point about "bro-ing" out was to be willing to play off the personality of your interviewer if you can match it. Even as a guy, if I tried to "bro-out" it would come off very strangely. The more important point is to find something you can connect on, and don't discard it just because you want to throw out another tid-bit about why you're awesome.

Correct me if I'm wrong.


This is more nuanced advice that I would agree with.

$alty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby $alty » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:07 pm

Can someone give (or link to) a quick and dirty idea of what one should expect from the financial aid process? Like a list of things they use to calculate need (is undergrad debt included? How much does current salary matter?) and what aid would go with need on maybe a 1-4 scale?

AllTheLawz
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby AllTheLawz » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:43 pm

$alty wrote:Can someone give (or link to) a quick and dirty idea of what one should expect from the financial aid process? Like a list of things they use to calculate need (is undergrad debt included? How much does current salary matter?) and what aid would go with need on maybe a 1-4 scale?


http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... urces.html

This pretty much covers it. Unless you have some unique complexities you should be able to get an estimate that is pretty close based on their formulas.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:45 pm

delusional wrote:
paglababa wrote:Question thats sort of related to H:

I've been out in the work force for about 3 years. I recently just got offered a new job with a very well regarded company in the industry that I work in. The experience would be great and I really want to accept the offer (would be starting mid Feb if I give in my 2 weeks tomorrow). Oh and the money is better too :P

I feel guilty though because of my H acceptance and my plan to leave in 6-7 months to attend law school. I obviously didn't mention any of this during the interview process and I'm worried that leaving in such a short period of time could potentially damage relationships when I leave.

I'm wondering how this will look on my resume to future big law employers? I'm sure the experience will provide great talking points, but what about the short time period? For reference, post college, I have been at one company for about 1.5 years, current company for 1 year, and this new job would be only about half a year. Will employers think I'm a disloyal millenial who jumps at new exciting opportunities? Will I have to provide references from this new job (if I'm unable to leave on the best of terms?).
IME, no one small thing like this is a big deal. I had a small employment gap, for example, and only one person asked about it and I did not think it was a big deal during OCI. In order for it to make a difference in your employment search, it would have to be together with a few of mediocre grades, sloppy clothes, poor interview, arts undergrad or mediocre undergrad, etc.

OTOH, if you are worried about the ethics of it, you can defer for a year or even two. By the time you get to school, you might qualify for more financial aid because you will be older, and you won't be so old that your classmates will feel like kids.
Yeah. Don't assume that employers will in any way understand what you did, when you got the promotion, how the promotion was different, etc.

MissouriMisery
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby MissouriMisery » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:16 pm

Hello! I have a couple of questions about realistic expectations for my need-based aid.

I have been working for 6 years since undergrad making about 30k per year, almost done paying off UG debt and my cheap car. I have about 5K in the bank. My parents both make decent money (combined just over 6 figures). They won't be contributing any money. I have no other assets Approximately how much need-based aid should I be expecting?

Also, are need-based grants reassessed each year or all at once? I am getting married in the middle of 1L year and am concerned that might throw things off. My spouse will have considerably more assets than I.

Thanks in advance for your responses :)

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:25 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:Hello! I have a couple of questions about realistic expectations for my need-based aid.

I have been working for 6 years since undergrad making about 30k per year, almost done paying off UG debt and my cheap car. I have about 5K in the bank. My parents both make decent money (combined just over 6 figures). They won't be contributing any money. I have no other assets Approximately how much need-based aid should I be expecting?

Also, are need-based grants reassessed each year or all at once? I am getting married in the middle of 1L year and am concerned that might throw things off. My spouse will have considerably more assets than I.

Thanks in advance for your responses :)

To answer your qualitative questions: actual parental contribution is irrelevant, it's potential that counts. Need based grants are reassessed each year (that way those of us with firm aspirations aren't living on $40k and still getting the same grants as the public interest fellows living on $4k).




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