Columbia students taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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cardinals1989
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby cardinals1989 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:14 pm

Sampaguita21 wrote:When does Orientation typically start each year? I want to travel this summer but most of my friends won't be able to go with me until late July/early August. I don't want to cut it too close so I'd like to be back in the city at least a week or so before Orientation starts.

Also, can you guys just give us 0Ls a rough idea of what to expect in the first few weeks of Orientation/Classes? Is it super intense in terms of work, or should we be going out and trying to meet everyone in our class, etc.?

Thanks!


Orientation is in the middle of August (I think ours was the 15th). There are a couple days of orientation in which you listen to some useful (although a lot of useless) speeches from various people in the admin, then there are a few weeks of Legal Methods, a class that is just an intro to law school. It is pass/fail and EVERYONE PASSES (seriously, even if you do not technically pass, which is difficult to do, the professor will basically just tell you to do better on your real finals and then pass you). Honestly, though, DO NOT worry about Legal Methods. Real classes start in September (ours were the day after Labor Day; the 1Ls this year had a week after Labor Day of Legal Methods I think this year). That’s when you will actually need to kick things into gear, although the semester starts off slower and accelerates.

During Legal Methods time, the student groups host a bunch of events, and I encourage you to go to as many as possible. This part of law school is very low stress, so go out and go see the city as much as possible. The student groups do not require you to commit or anything-they basically are just blowing some of their budgets on food and booze.

J90
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby J90 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:14 am

cardinals1989 wrote:
Sampaguita21 wrote:When does Orientation typically start each year? I want to travel this summer but most of my friends won't be able to go with me until late July/early August. I don't want to cut it too close so I'd like to be back in the city at least a week or so before Orientation starts.

Also, can you guys just give us 0Ls a rough idea of what to expect in the first few weeks of Orientation/Classes? Is it super intense in terms of work, or should we be going out and trying to meet everyone in our class, etc.?

Thanks!


Orientation is in the middle of August (I think ours was the 15th). There are a couple days of orientation in which you listen to some useful (although a lot of useless) speeches from various people in the admin, then there are a few weeks of Legal Methods, a class that is just an intro to law school. It is pass/fail and EVERYONE PASSES (seriously, even if you do not technically pass, which is difficult to do, the professor will basically just tell you to do better on your real finals and then pass you). Honestly, though, DO NOT worry about Legal Methods. Real classes start in September (ours were the day after Labor Day; the 1Ls this year had a week after Labor Day of Legal Methods I think this year). That’s when you will actually need to kick things into gear, although the semester starts off slower and accelerates.

During Legal Methods time, the student groups host a bunch of events, and I encourage you to go to as many as possible. This part of law school is very low stress, so go out and go see the city as much as possible. The student groups do not require you to commit or anything-they basically are just blowing some of their budgets on food and booze.


Sounds good, thanks, Cardinals. I asked Bronck this before, I think, but am curious about you here - any student groups at Columbia you found particularly interesting?

I'll check out as many as I can during that 3-week stint, forsure, but anything you have to say helps!

westphillybandr
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby westphillybandr » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:20 am

How did OCI go this past fall?

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cardinals1989
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby cardinals1989 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:38 am

There are a few major categories of student groups. (These are just in general and don’t necessarily have special Legal Methods-time events.)

1) Federalist Society, as mentioned earlier, is by far most active on campus. It is a conservative/libertarian group, and it hosts about 20-25 lunches per semester. The lunches are usually non-pizza (this will become important to you when you have the 10+ mandatory school events that only serve pizza), most often sub sandwiches.

2) The regionals groups-Midwest Society, California Society, etc.

3) The ethnicity groups, like APALSA (Asian and Pacific students) and LALSA (Latin American students).

4) Miscellaneous other interests. I think someone posted the link to the student groups list earlier-it is really massive. There is a wine tasting group, a craft beer group, a running group, yoga, mock trial, reproductive justice, animal rights, etc.

One big thing the school does is automatically sign you up for EVERY student group’s list. That means your email will be absolutely spammed with groups announcing their various events, so you won’t miss out. The law school also sends out a daily email detailing student events that day, and there is a student organization fair near the start of the year as well (heavily advertised). There really is no way you will miss all of this, and there is just about anything you can think of to do. Like I mentioned, most groups are fairly casual. You can either join and be part of the board (there are usually 1L positions), or you can just show up to the free lunches.

As far as during LM, there are trips to Rockefeller, a scavenger hunt, trips to the cloisters, the zoo, the UN, etc. etc. Like I said, you will get mass notifications so you won’t miss any of these.

Sampaguita21
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Sampaguita21 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:53 pm

Thanks Cardinals! This is all really helpful, and it's good to know that I can chill for the first couple of weeks :D .

Now that I've gotten in, my biggest concern is financial aid. One of the reasons why I was really hesitant to apply ED to begin with was because I thought it would mean little to no aid if I did get accepted. I know this is a hard question to answer, but how generous is Columbia with grant money? I saw on the CLS financial aid website that about half the class gets grants. I assume that I'm definitely out of the running for merit scholarships because of my stats and ED. I've worked for awhile so have some money saved up, but nowhere near 250k lol. I'm just worried that because I EDed, I basically have no leverage in negotiating for more aid and will end up paying close to sticker.

Any information or advice on how to wrestle more aid from Columbia will be much appreciated!

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby starrydreamz3 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:17 pm

westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?

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cardinals1989
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby cardinals1989 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:38 pm

starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?


Clearly I am on break, have nothing to do, and do not want to do my note.

Anything you hear from us now is based on anecdotes and speculation, because the OCS keeps this close to their breast until basically orientation in the spring for next OCI. I have heard good and bad. I know people who did OCI who do and don’t have jobs. There have been rumors that it did not go as well as OCS predicted, but I get the sense that this is more of an every school thing rather than a bad year for CLS. The market is not going full strength yet, I can tell you that.

Sorry, don’t know anything re: ED financial aid. I was RD and did a bit of bargaining before I deposited.

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:25 pm

cardinals1989 wrote:
starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?


Clearly I am on break, have nothing to do, and do not want to do my note.

Anything you hear from us now is based on anecdotes and speculation, because the OCS keeps this close to their breast until basically orientation in the spring for next OCI. I have heard good and bad. I know people who did OCI who do and don’t have jobs. There have been rumors that it did not go as well as OCS predicted, but I get the sense that this is more of an every school thing rather than a bad year for CLS. The market is not going full strength yet, I can tell you that.

Sorry, don’t know anything re: ED financial aid. I was RD and did a bit of bargaining before I deposited.


All OCS has told us 1Ls is: 97% participated as opposed to 92% from the previous year.

They also claimed that students performed at a similar clip as the previous year (based on the preliminary data), but I have no idea if they were just blowing hot air. We'll have to wait until later (is it April?) when they released more in-depth statistics.

[A] Assuming the above participation rate and similar success rate, there would necessarily be a higher number of individuals who didn't receive anything, e.g.,:
97*.85 = 82.45 --> 97-82.45 = 14.55
92*.85 = 78.2 --> 92 - 78.2 = 13.8

Roughly a ~5.5% increase in those who didn't receive anything through EIP. Granted, this would only change the number by 3-4 individuals. So, this calculation was probably useless.

[B] Even assuming that the success rate dropped, it wouldn't come as a surprise precisely because more individuals participated. If we assume a class of 400, that means an extra 20 participated, e.g. 85% success rate with 92% participation of a 400 class size = 312.8 who got an offer. To get that same number with a 97% participation rate would require a roughly 80.5% success rate.

NB1: This would assume several things, including a similar interview ability among the class as well as a identical firm class sizes. Because the economy has only been sluggishly improving, I think the latter could be a safe assumption. The WSJ compiles more information on this, so you could do independent research if you wanted.

NB2: A ~80% success rate would still place Columbia amongst the highest of the T14 (obviously I'm not including YHS into this)

[C] Another thing to keep in mind is they reduced the size of the 2015 JD class (from the 2014 JD class) by about 10%. I have no idea if they will be keeping it steady for the 2016 JD class, increasing it, or decreasing it further, but this should help with performance at EIP as well (see NB1 under B).

Remember the above is all speculation.

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piccolittle
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby piccolittle » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:41 am

starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?

Haha aren't you a little early on this, having not even started 1L? :P

Also, EIP was kind of feast or famine, though that's usually the way the game goes anyway. I will say that I was, with some exceptions, able to point out a few people who would struggle ahead of time. Many of my friends either got jobs late, through Fall OCI (which is different from EIP and only has like one or two firms), or are still unemployed. Go big and overprepare, because you don't want to be the person who wished they had done more. Feel free to PM me if you want some tips - I had offers before EIP and have a lot of opinions :P

Edited: also, sorry, I didn't want to be all scary and doom and gloom. I think it's great that you guys are already thinking about EIP, and TLS definitely has some great resources. What it really takes is an honest assessment of your weaknesses/strengths, the ability to sell yourself for a professional job, and the awareness that OCS is totally useless...

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:02 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:Do any upperclassmen have thoughts about taking Corporations with Jackson as a 1L? Sounds like a great class for me but I don't want to overdo the Spring semester and have my grades suffer as a result.


I would wait for your 2L/3L year. Ask any 3L who took this course...they'll tell you it was the most intense and packed course they've taken at CLS (albeit one of the best and most rewarding). Many 3Ls I know said this was the largest outline they've ever made for any class and said it took over their lives during finals. Sadly, as a 1L, you don't have this luxury. Imagine how bad 1L fall was, and then add an entire course on top with the exact same amount of time to prepare for an exam. Taking this course as a 1L means you'll have significantly less amount of time to prepare for your core classes as your other 1L classmates.

I'd echo the comments that say that you have 2 more years to take corporations--especially when you are in control of how intense your semester is (and can balance exam prep with papers or weekly assignments). I also 100% agree that employers won't be looking at your classes as much as they'll be scrutinizing the letters next to them.

Don't let this class fall of your radar though, as a 2L. A large number of friends took advanced corporations, and they said the material largely overlapped with what was covered in Jackson's course--while those that took it with other profs. said they were seeing it for the first time.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:13 am

piccolittle wrote:
starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?

Haha aren't you a little early on this, having not even started 1L? :P

Also, EIP was kind of feast or famine, though that's usually the way the game goes anyway. I will say that I was, with some exceptions, able to point out a few people who would struggle ahead of time. Many of my friends either got jobs late, through Fall OCI (which is different from EIP and only has like one or two firms), or are still unemployed. Go big and overprepare, because you don't want to be the person who wished they had done more. Feel free to PM me if you want some tips - I had offers before EIP and have a lot of opinions :P

Edited: also, sorry, I didn't want to be all scary and doom and gloom. I think it's great that you guys are already thinking about EIP, and TLS definitely has some great resources. What it really takes is an honest assessment of your weaknesses/strengths, the ability to sell yourself for a professional job, and the awareness that OCS is totally useless...


"EIP was kind of feast or famine"

Nailed EIP from my point of view with this line.

Some had more CBs than they knew what to do with, others barely scraped by with 1 (if any). Most of my friends got at least 1 offer. I agree that I could spot the people who would have trouble before EIP started (bad grades, awkward, talk too much), and kinda predicted the ones that would sweep (social and charming, good grades, impressive on paper).

I'm hesitant to give an opinion quantitatively without any data, but from my own group of friends and acquaintances, people got what they wanted.

People bitch and complain about OCS, but frankly, for me they were great--it's about how you use them and putting in work to meet them halfway.

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby starrydreamz3 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:04 am

piccolittle wrote:
starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?

Haha aren't you a little early on this, having not even started 1L? :P

Also, EIP was kind of feast or famine, though that's usually the way the game goes anyway. I will say that I was, with some exceptions, able to point out a few people who would struggle ahead of time. Many of my friends either got jobs late, through Fall OCI (which is different from EIP and only has like one or two firms), or are still unemployed. Go big and overprepare, because you don't want to be the person who wished they had done more. Feel free to PM me if you want some tips - I had offers before EIP and have a lot of opinions :P

Edited: also, sorry, I didn't want to be all scary and doom and gloom. I think it's great that you guys are already thinking about EIP, and TLS definitely has some great resources. What it really takes is an honest assessment of your weaknesses/strengths, the ability to sell yourself for a professional job, and the awareness that OCS is totally useless...


Hah, maybe I am...But I'm leaving a pretty good job to go back to law school, so I'm really making sure to keep on top of the employment prospects. (I couldn't imagine graduating and making less than I am now!) And plus, isn't getting a job the whole purpose of law school at the end of the day? =D

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Elahrairah
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Elahrairah » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:27 am

Any idea when the ASW(s) will be this year? I emailed admissions about it; they replied that it would all be made clear in the February mailer.

But if the weekend is at the beginning of March or something, I'd really like to buy my plane tickets now. :?

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kwais
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby kwais » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:57 pm

Elahrairah wrote:Any idea when the ASW(s) will be this year? I emailed admissions about it; they replied that it would all be made clear in the February mailer.

But if the weekend is at the beginning of March or something, I'd really like to buy my plane tickets now. :?


scheduled for March 6-7 and April 3-4. perhaps subject to change.

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Elahrairah
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Elahrairah » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:34 pm

kwais wrote:
Elahrairah wrote:Any idea when the ASW(s) will be this year? I emailed admissions about it; they replied that it would all be made clear in the February mailer.

But if the weekend is at the beginning of March or something, I'd really like to buy my plane tickets now. :?


scheduled for March 6-7 and April 3-4. perhaps subject to change.


Thanks so much!

bhan87
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby bhan87 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:50 pm

Guchster wrote:
piccolittle wrote:
starrydreamz3 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:How did OCI go this past fall?


Seconding this. Any hints on bid ranking?

Haha aren't you a little early on this, having not even started 1L? :P

Also, EIP was kind of feast or famine, though that's usually the way the game goes anyway. I will say that I was, with some exceptions, able to point out a few people who would struggle ahead of time. Many of my friends either got jobs late, through Fall OCI (which is different from EIP and only has like one or two firms), or are still unemployed. Go big and overprepare, because you don't want to be the person who wished they had done more. Feel free to PM me if you want some tips - I had offers before EIP and have a lot of opinions :P

Edited: also, sorry, I didn't want to be all scary and doom and gloom. I think it's great that you guys are already thinking about EIP, and TLS definitely has some great resources. What it really takes is an honest assessment of your weaknesses/strengths, the ability to sell yourself for a professional job, and the awareness that OCS is totally useless...


"EIP was kind of feast or famine"

Nailed EIP from my point of view with this line.

Some had more CBs than they knew what to do with, others barely scraped by with 1 (if any). Most of my friends got at least 1 offer. I agree that I could spot the people who would have trouble before EIP started (bad grades, awkward, talk too much), and kinda predicted the ones that would sweep (social and charming, good grades, impressive on paper).

I'm hesitant to give an opinion quantitatively without any data, but from my own group of friends and acquaintances, people got what they wanted.

People bitch and complain about OCS, but frankly, for me they were great--it's about how you use them and putting in work to meet them halfway.


I agree with all of this. If I had to make an unscientific guess, things didn't go as well as last year, but most people I know scraped by with at least one offer. A few over-performed their grades and were rolling in the offers, but others surprisingly scraped by with only one offer when you'd think they would be shoe-ins for top offers.

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:14 pm

By "didn't go as well", does that mean slightly worse, significantly worse, etc? Anything to be afraid about in the legal economy for 2013 EIP?

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kwais
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby kwais » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:53 am

Bronck wrote:By "didn't go as well", does that mean slightly worse, significantly worse, etc? Anything to be afraid about in the legal economy for 2013 EIP?


Probably slightly worse. Class of 2013 seems to have been a post-recession peak, with rumors of a more modest short-term outlook on hiring. But I would think that median, with good interview skills, is still going to be a good place to be. That said, of course everyone should hustle when EIP comes.

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Guchster
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Guchster » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:17 pm

kwais wrote:
Bronck wrote:By "didn't go as well", does that mean slightly worse, significantly worse, etc? Anything to be afraid about in the legal economy for 2013 EIP?


Probably slightly worse. Class of 2013 seems to have been a post-recession peak, with rumors of a more modest short-term outlook on hiring. But I would think that median, with good interview skills, is still going to be a good place to be. That said, of course everyone should hustle when EIP comes.


Yeah, I'd guestimate slightly worse. I think median w/o 'burgerz is a decent place. Stone, and you just need to hold it together.

At some point they'll release that data for 1Ls...IIRC, this is around late spring when they start explaining the bidding process and EIP and then they give a further break down (with stone/kent percentages per offer per firm) at the beginning of summer when you get ready to figure out your bids. I'd hold off panic this early at least until they give you those excel sheets so you actually see hard number.

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:45 am

Cool, thanks!

Did any of you find your 1L Summer job through the NYU PILC Fair? If not did anyone participate and receive offers? How useful would you say it is?

Sampaguita21
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Sampaguita21 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:05 pm

I've been working FT for 2.5 years and I'm kind of nervous that I'll fall behind on schoolwork once I jump back into taking classes and studying.

What's the grading like at Columbia? Is it on a really strict curve? What's the median GPA for 1L? Also how much do you guys study on average? I've heard of people studying 4-6 hours a day and that's just insane to me. Is that pretty much what people have to do to keep up with the reading?

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:22 pm

Sampaguita21 wrote:I've been working FT for 2.5 years and I'm kind of nervous that I'll fall behind on schoolwork once I jump back into taking classes and studying.

What's the grading like at Columbia? Is it on a really strict curve? What's the median GPA for 1L? Also how much do you guys study on average? I've heard of people studying 4-6 hours a day and that's just insane to me. Is that pretty much what people have to do to keep up with the reading?


Curve is pretty generous. Median is around a B+, but I'm not sure anyone knows for sure.

At least 1st Semester, I basically did all my reading over the weekend and then did no work during the week. This obviously changed once it got closer to finals. I think 4-6 hours a day is absurd. At that point you're just being inefficient. Only one grade has come back, but so far this system has worked at OK for me.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:28 pm

4-6 hours a day maybe on my worst days. I was out of school for six years before coming back, and I didn't find the day-to-day workload to be much of a problem. The horror stories you hear are likely the worst days for the most neurotic students.

When you have a job, you have to wake up. Law school so far has been much more like undergrad than real life.

7ED
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby 7ED » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:54 pm

The notion of studying 4-5 hours per week sounds absurd to me too. If anything I've heard more about people slacking off than anyone working like that.

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:28 pm

7ED wrote:The notion of studying 4-5 hours per week sounds absurd to me too. If anything I've heard more about people slacking off than anyone working like that.


+1. I've heard lots of stories about people slacking off during finals as well -- especially the closer it go to the end of study period.




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