democrattotheend wrote:If anyone here had any luck negotiating merit aid last year (or a previous year), I would love to hear about that.
Also, I noticed that the student budget allows $1,259 per month for housing including utilities, but many of Columbia's student housing options (most of the ones for law school students, it seems) cost substantially more than that. Does that mean that the law-school-only housing is only open to those who have savings or trust funds? It seems weird that the student budget would exclude many of their own housing options.
More info on housing in general would be great. Someone here mentioned cheaper UAH housing that's not law-school-only, but I couldn't find much info about this on their website. I would prefer to live with other law students, but they just seem so expensive. Also, if anyone lives in the cheaper law school building (the one that's not Lenfest or Lionsgate), info on that would be appreciated.
I negotiated merit aid last year. It was actually super-easy and surprisingly successful. I sent them an e-mail attaching scans on my other merit-scholarship letters, and heard back from them fairly quickly.
I live in student housing, and pay $950/month for a huge apartment on 111th, down the street from one of the most gorgeous cathedrals in New York, St. John the Divine (multi-faith, too!). This is literally what looms above me as I walk to class in the morning:
Here's a picture of the entrance into our living room, taken when we were just moving in and setting up. The living room is gigantic, lots of light and open spaces. I think our apartment it one of those that can be viewed at ASW next Thursday morning.
I may have just lucked out, but I'm definitely keeping my apartment next year. My roommate is also a 1L, but not everyone in my building is a law student, or even a student. I think this is kinda nice, because I meet lots of grad students and adorable families in the building, and then get inundated with classmates when I go up to the school.
Obviously, unfurnished apartments are less expensive than furnished. I'd lived by myself in Brooklyn for 2 years before starting at Columbia, so I just brought all my furniture with me. If you have budgetary concerns, definitely specify them in the Comment section of you Housing Application (I set a limit to what I would pay for different things, for example - up to $X for a one-bedroom, etc). Oh, yes, also - one bedroom/studio is a LOT more expensive than having roommates. This is true for basically anywhere. I know some people like their privacy, but you'll be saving a ton of money AND you'll make some friends if you check off the "Roommates" option.
Oh, also, for those wondering about subway times, I go downtown every other day. Morningside to:
Times Square: 15-20 minutes
Chelsea/West Village: 30-35 minutes
SoHo: 25-30 minutes
LES: this is trickier since you have to transfer, but usually 35 minutes
Park Slope: 1/2/3 go here directly, so maybe 40-45 minutes.
If you go with friends or your iPod, the time seriously flies.