Why did you choose Stanford over Harvard? It appears that you withdrew from Columbia as well as many other super elite schools before they offered $$$. Is that the case or did you just not update the $$$ information on LSN? Or the schools were stingy and expected you to go at full freight?
I withdrew from Columbia and others before receiving scholarship information. Part of that was my laziness in not filling out the additional required paperwork (for instance, I have no idea what Harvard’s fin aid package would’ve consisted of) and the other part was my certainty that I would not attend those schools. After visiting Chicago, Columbia, NYU, and Penn in January, I knew that I preferred Stanford and that even a full ride (which would be unlikely at Chicago and Columbia because my lsat anyway) would not change my mind about that. I had little incentive to entertain these offers further.
Not going to Harvard was a very difficult decision. There are a few reasons that I choose Stanford: (1) the fact that I got into S in December and H in June, (2) my honest belief that the opportunities afforded to S & H graduates by virtue of attending their respective schools are equal, and even if H does provide an advantage (3) knowing that I would love S so much more than H, and (4) an honest belief that S is the best law school that ever existed or will ever exist, ever. The bottom line, though, is there is nothing wrong with Harvard and I know I would be happy there but Stanford is just an amazing place.
It was made easier by the fact that I was put on hold for so long. I got very comfortable with my decision to go to Stanford and by the time I was admitted to Harvard the lore of going there had all but dissipated entirely. This has a lot less to do ith the school and much more to do with the way my cycle played out.
Obviously, HLS is an AMAZING place to study law. Going to Harvard provides unbelievable opportunities and access, but I honestly felt that anything Harvard could offer in terms of personal and professional career opportunities I could get from Stanford. I’ll readily admit that Harvard has a more established reputation internationally, but I don’t think that fact necessarily translates into Harvard kids being able to get places Stanford kids can’t. For instance, I made a contact through the international law career counseling office in the Levin Center and as a result I am going to do development work in Sierra Leone over the winter break.
In terms of opportunities domestically, and legal jobs particularly, I don’t think Harvard provides that much more of an edge, if any at all. Stanford students seem to be pretty highly coveted everywhere (even NY and DC!), especially in secondary markets.
Operating under the assumption that I would be able to do whatever I wanted whether I went to H or S, I based my decision on quality of life. Coming from a very arge public uni, I enjoy the small class sizes at S. Our sections have 30 people, H’s has 80. Our largest classes have 60 people, we have classes with other sections so we get to know the other students in our class. H does not have that advantage. It really is an advantage too because as the quarter goes on you have less time for social activities so going to class constitutes most of your social interaction. The housing here is amazing. I live in Munger, which is worth looking up. The weather is amazing. The bay area and nor cal in general is a great place to live especially for the outdoorsy. I am completely in love with the area. My classmates are all so interesting and supportive. It is a collaborative community. There is a spirit on innovation on the Stanford campus that is very much alive in the law school. There really is a feeling here that you can take this degree and do absolutely anything. The law school faculty is very accessible (one prof of mine routinely holds office hours from 4-7 but ends up staying until 9-10pm to talk to students, another prof had our section to her home for dinner…these things don’t and logistically can’t happen at larger schools). The law school admin is beyond supportive. It is a happy place.