Columbia 1Ls 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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superserial
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby superserial » Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:35 pm

trojanfan06 wrote:The app does not ask for it specifically but I've just read of people doing it for schools that don't explicitly ask for one with success so I was just wanted to get some opinions.


I feel like that's something you save for getting off the waitlist.

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Lem37 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:55 pm

trojanfan06 wrote:Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?


I didn't write a "Why Columbia?" essay (thought the answer was pretty obvious). I did, however, write a Diversity Statement, and I'm a white middle-class girl. Columbia loves to emphasize the diversity of their class, especially when it comes to hobbies or interests, so I say go for it.

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:14 am

Awesome, way to pick up the torch guys. :D

::retires::

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frank_the_tank
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby frank_the_tank » Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:49 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Oh, another question. I typically work out about 6 six days a week (three days cardio and three days w/weights). I've heard some not to great things about Columbia's gym. What do the law students typically do for exercise?


The Columbia gym sucks a lot. Seriously, it's terrible. The machines and weights are nice enough, but there are nowhere near enough of them and the space is really small.

I have a road bike so while it's still nice out I bike in central parks then do pushups/situps on the grass. When it gets cold I guess I have to use the gym - probably will try to go at off-hours (it's open really early and really late, which is nice).

Yea, chuckbass is right. The Columbia gym is not nice. Working out outside, particularly when the weather is nice, is a good call. I don't use the gym much, but from what I hear, going during off hours helps cuts down on the swarms of undergrads, but it's still a cramped facility. One of my friends decided on the most amusing solution ever: she bought a treadmill. For her studio apartment. Awesomeness.


I'd wager a guess that I'm the biggest gym rat among Columbia students. The gym isn't great or even good, however I don't do any cardio so I don't have the same complaint that most people make about the gym (having to sign up and wait for treadmills..)

The gym is cramped but not always super crowded; I find I can do whatever exercise I want/need to do without waiting. It has all the major stuff that one would want: bench, squat rack, free weights, leg press, etc etc.

Anyway, don't let such a small thing affect your decision! If you have any more specific questions about the gym, you can PM me.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:07 pm

frank_the_tank wrote:I'd wager a guess that I'm the biggest gym rat among Columbia students.
Haha, agreed! Although a few other people definitely win biggest squash junkies awards. Games before 10 AM classes? Now that's some dedication to squash.

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frank_the_tank
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby frank_the_tank » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:12 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
frank_the_tank wrote:I'd wager a guess that I'm the biggest gym rat among Columbia students.
Haha, agreed! Although a few other people definitely win biggest squash junkies awards. Games before 10 AM classes? Now that's some dedication to squash.



lol...yeah they were talking about playing at 7am..wth!!!

Crazy.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:21 pm

Bump if anyone has more questions.

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rx3r
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby rx3r » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:32 pm

I'm going to visit Columbia on Wednesday & Thursday the 14th & 15th. Any classes you'd recommend sitting in on / other stuff to take a look at while I'm there?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:09 pm

rx3r wrote:I'm going to visit Columbia on Wednesday & Thursday the 14th & 15th. Any classes you'd recommend sitting in on / other stuff to take a look at while I'm there?


I'd say sit in on one 1L class and one upper level class if you have the time. Try to pick subjects where even if you won't follow everything, they're at least accessible enough that you kind of know what's going on (e.g., for 1L classes don't go to CivPro, go to Contracts or Torts). My contracts professor (Chirelstein) is very entertaining - the class is from 130 to 230 both days.

Other than that, take a walk around the campus and try to imagine if you'd like living there. See if admissions can show you where students live, etc.

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rx3r
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby rx3r » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:50 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
rx3r wrote:I'm going to visit Columbia on Wednesday & Thursday the 14th & 15th. Any classes you'd recommend sitting in on / other stuff to take a look at while I'm there?


I'd say sit in on one 1L class and one upper level class if you have the time. Try to pick subjects where even if you won't follow everything, they're at least accessible enough that you kind of know what's going on (e.g., for 1L classes don't go to CivPro, go to Contracts or Torts). My contracts professor (Chirelstein) is very entertaining - the class is from 130 to 230 both days.

Other than that, take a walk around the campus and try to imagine if you'd like living there. See if admissions can show you where students live, etc.


Thanks. I'll email Chirelstein and see if he's open to having me sit in. If you see a random person in your class on Wednesday/Thursday next week.... it might be me!

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:31 pm

chuckbass' advice is solid.

Checking out Contracts is a good call. If it doesn't work out with Chirelstein, try Morrison's Contracts class.

Since I'm only a 1L, I don't have tons of advice on upper level courses. If you're at all interested in net neutrality or copyright, you should check out a Tim Wu class. This semester he's teaching Copyright Law. I've also heard good things about Philip Bobbitt. His Terror & Consent class might be cool. Bobbitt also co-teaches a seminar on the Constitution with Akhil Amar (it's listed as "Seminar: The Constitution").

Tim Wu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wu
Bobbitt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Bobbitt

If there are any 2Ls or 3Ls with better (or at least more) advice on the subject, please feel free to jump in!

I'm sure you've already seen this, but just in case, here's a list of classes you can visit:
https://www.law.columbia.edu/null/class-schedule-fall-2009?exclusive=filemgr.download&file_id=153765&showthumb=0

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:48 pm

One note I'd add about my Chirelstein recommendation: Chirelstein is a legendary figure (he wrote the hornbook) and is widely considered very entertaining (cracks jokes about how old he is, makes fun of students, mumbles to himself, etc). That said, he's not a "typical" professor or necessarily the example of the best teaching Columbia has to offer (though he's certainly not bad). He's more considered a great "personality."

I don't have Morrison, but I've heard he's more of a very competent, younger professor. Very clear, very bright, great at teaching.

Depending on what you're looking for you might want to choose one or the other. With Chirelstein you might be more entertained, but Morrison might leave you more impressd with the quality of the class itself.

Also, I second MeTalkPretty's advice to check out Wu or Bobbit if you can. Jamal Greene (teaches advanced conlaw and federal courts) is also a good choice.

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rx3r
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby rx3r » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:55 am

Thank you both for your advice. I had seen the list of classes, but personal interests aside, I'm trying to gauge which ones might be best for little 0L's like me to check out.

Definitely appreciate your suggestions. I'm really looking forward to my visit.

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monkey85
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby monkey85 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:12 am

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:Checking out Contracts is a good call. If it doesn't work out with Chirelstein, try Morrison's Contracts class.


0L and sat in on Morrison's Contracts class per your suggestion. Solid teacher. Best part - I think I even spotted the gunner in the class (asking questions at the end of each case discussion, even though never asked or invited to speak!)

Thanks for the advice!

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irie
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby irie » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:36 am

frank_the_tank wrote:
MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Oh, another question. I typically work out about 6 six days a week (three days cardio and three days w/weights). I've heard some not to great things about Columbia's gym. What do the law students typically do for exercise?


The Columbia gym sucks a lot. Seriously, it's terrible. The machines and weights are nice enough, but there are nowhere near enough of them and the space is really small.

I have a road bike so while it's still nice out I bike in central parks then do pushups/situps on the grass. When it gets cold I guess I have to use the gym - probably will try to go at off-hours (it's open really early and really late, which is nice).

Yea, chuckbass is right. The Columbia gym is not nice. Working out outside, particularly when the weather is nice, is a good call. I don't use the gym much, but from what I hear, going during off hours helps cuts down on the swarms of undergrads, but it's still a cramped facility. One of my friends decided on the most amusing solution ever: she bought a treadmill. For her studio apartment. Awesomeness.


I'd wager a guess that I'm the biggest gym rat among Columbia students. The gym isn't great or even good, however I don't do any cardio so I don't have the same complaint that most people make about the gym (having to sign up and wait for treadmills..)

The gym is cramped but not always super crowded; I find I can do whatever exercise I want/need to do without waiting. It has all the major stuff that one would want: bench, squat rack, free weights, leg press, etc etc.

Anyway, don't let such a small thing affect your decision! If you have any more specific questions about the gym, you can PM me.


This is alarming. the $79 a month I'm paying for NYSC right now is justifiable since I'm working... and when I'm bleeding money on tuition with no source of income I'll be counting every penny, but waiting half an hour for a treadmill is not okay lol.

I'd consider paying for an off-campus gym tho, but the nearest NYSC is on 115th and 5th, are there other better options in the area (that dont require venturing deep into harlem)?

and how is the columbia pool? wait. there is a pool right?? *slight panic setting in*

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:42 am

irie wrote:This is alarming. the $79 a month I'm paying for NYSC right now is justifiable since I'm working... and when I'm bleeding money on tuition with no source of income I'll be counting every penny, but waiting half an hour for a treadmill is not okay lol.

I'd consider paying for an off-campus gym tho, but the nearest NYSC is on 115th and 5th, are there other better options in the area (that dont require venturing deep into harlem)?

and how is the columbia pool? wait. there is a pool right?? *slight panic setting in*

There is a pool (half-Olympic - 25 yds). Here are the basic fitness center specs: http://www.gocolumbialions.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=9600&ATCLID=1097331

I don't know about treadmill waits, as I don't use them. I've heard going at off-peak hours helps considerably. If any CLSers here use the treadmills at Dodge, please feel free to jump in and answer.

I know some people who run outside. The streets of Morningside Heights aren't as jam-packed as the streets are further downtown, and there are 3 parks nearby (Riverside, Morningside, and Central Park), so running outside is a viable option, particularly in the warmer months.

Since it sounds like the gym is an important factor for you, and since it sounds like you're already in NY, you should drop by sometime and check out Dodge, and see if it would work for you.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:43 am

monkey85 wrote:
MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:Checking out Contracts is a good call. If it doesn't work out with Chirelstein, try Morrison's Contracts class.


0L and sat in on Morrison's Contracts class per your suggestion. Solid teacher. Best part - I think I even spotted the gunner in the class (asking questions at the end of each case discussion, even though never asked or invited to speak!)

Thanks for the advice!

Good to hear your visit went well!

freeflowfox
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby freeflowfox » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:48 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:
trojanfan06 wrote:Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?


I did not write either. I don't have any particular insight into Columbia's thought process, but my general stance on "Why X" and DSs is write them if you actually have something interesting to say, not because you think you "have to."

So if your reasons for going to Columbia are 1) New York City, 2) Strength in corporate/international/robot and alein law, and 3) Great faculty, then you're probably better off not writing one. Similarly, if your "diversity" is you have strong political views....then better off not writing one. If, on the other hand your parents immigrated from China, you had to teach yourself English and you want to really want to study Chinese law because you speak fluent Chinese and have some interesting thoughts about how China's legal system could be reformed, that might be better fodder for a DS/Why X essay.

As far as other advice, not surprising, but CLS is a numbers whore, especially LSATs. If you have a lower GPA but a crazy high LSAT you're better off here than the other way around. Also, CLS seems to put a premium on brand-name undergrads - lots of ivies and top LACs here. It's definitely not impossible to get in from more obscure schools though.



WHAT in GOD'S NAME ARE YOU?! You just described my life and plans down to the letter!!!!!

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:53 am

freeflowfox wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:
trojanfan06 wrote:Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?


I did not write either. I don't have any particular insight into Columbia's thought process, but my general stance on "Why X" and DSs is write them if you actually have something interesting to say, not because you think you "have to."

So if your reasons for going to Columbia are 1) New York City, 2) Strength in corporate/international/robot and alein law, and 3) Great faculty, then you're probably better off not writing one. Similarly, if your "diversity" is you have strong political views....then better off not writing one. If, on the other hand your parents immigrated from China, you had to teach yourself English and you want to really want to study Chinese law because you speak fluent Chinese and have some interesting thoughts about how China's legal system could be reformed, that might be better fodder for a DS/Why X essay.

As far as other advice, not surprising, but CLS is a numbers whore, especially LSATs. If you have a lower GPA but a crazy high LSAT you're better off here than the other way around. Also, CLS seems to put a premium on brand-name undergrads - lots of ivies and top LACs here. It's definitely not impossible to get in from more obscure schools though.



WHAT in GOD'S NAME ARE YOU?! You just described my life and plans down to the letter!!!!!


Mine too!! Damn!!

freeflowfox
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby freeflowfox » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:59 am

No no, i'm serious!

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby OperaSoprano » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:08 pm

This is an amusing thread. I visited CLS late Saturday night (long story, lol), and the building really is attractive on the inside. One of my own classmates said it made Fordham look shabby, so I tried to kill her with a stiletto. (Visit schools after drinking at your own peril.) If we disturbed anyone who was studying, my sincere apologies.

To the person who asked about CLS students: they are very cool people. I don't exactly know the whole class of 2012, but my friends up there are some of the kindest and most welcoming people imaginable, and wonderful company. Also, they have impeccable taste in food. This restaurant http://www.massawanyc.com/ = amazing. Among the actual people I've met/hung out with in real life, I've never seen the smallest hint of elitism. All the Columbians I know are very chill, and refreshingly normal, if frighteningly talented. I adore them, though I always leave feeling like my own list of accomplishments is wanting in comparison. :lol:

I recommend visiting the school. (Preferably earlier than midnight, lol). I'm honestly shocked by how many people pick a school sight unseen, and the main Columbia campus is surpassingly lovely, and worth seeing.

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superserial
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby superserial » Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:31 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:This is an amusing thread. I visited CLS late Saturday night (long story, lol), and the building really is attractive on the inside. One of my own classmates said it made Fordham look shabby, so I tried to kill her with a stiletto. (Visit schools after drinking at your own peril.) If we disturbed anyone who was studying, my sincere apologies.

To the person who asked about CLS students: they are very cool people. I don't exactly know the whole class of 2012, but my friends up there are some of the kindest and most welcoming people imaginable, and wonderful company. Also, they have impeccable taste in food. This restaurant http://www.massawanyc.com/ = amazing. Among the actual people I've met/hung out with in real life, I've never seen the smallest hint of elitism. All the Columbians I know are very chill, and refreshingly normal, if frighteningly talented. I adore them, though I always leave feeling like my own list of accomplishments is wanting in comparison. :lol:

I recommend visiting the school. (Preferably earlier than midnight, lol). I'm honestly shocked by how many people pick a school sight unseen, and the main Columbia campus is surpassingly lovely, and worth seeing.


there's a ton of elitism. most people here are neither "chill" nor "normal."

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:39 pm

Edit: I apparently I still haven't learned the difference b/w a PM and a response.

paranoidjet
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby paranoidjet » Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:10 am

Figured I'd pay it forward by making one last post to this board.

RE: the gym

The gym is dreadful. I challenge Frank's "biggest gym rat" title (in a totally non-confrontational way, this isn't a contest) but as a guy who lifts six times a week it's a constant battle. I wake up every day at 6:30 or 7:30 just to ensure that I'm able to get a spot and get some productive work done. Coming from a large public midwestern university, this was one of the biggest culture-shocks. The equipment is bad, but for as bad as that is the gym culture is worse. Tons of people lifting improperly and dangerously, tons of people doing inappropriate exercises (curls in the squat rack? give me a frickin' break). I don't fault anyone for these problems but overall it provides a very discouraging environment.

RE: the people

I've found that there tend to be two types of comments regarding people who attend Columbia: either folks will say that it's full of neurotic freaks, or people will say that it's totally cool and laid back and just like undergrad. I disagree with both assertions. I'm by far one of the most type-B people here, and the tension is a little overwhelming sometimes. Most everyone has already started outlining, nobody regularly doesn't do the reading. Class participation is extremely lively and almost everyone is prepared and confident enough to participate even when they haven't been called on. That being said, however, the class isn't full of worker robots. I'm on a flag football team and guys chill and watch football. There are numerous events where you can hang out and nobody discusses work or class in these environments.

To tell the truth (and this is a big, big dose of conjecture), I think that most everyone is a pretty cool person but most everyone is really, really scared. This is creating a lot of the tension. Again, though, this is just my take.

RE: the work

Law school is going to seem like a lot of work if you're coming out of undergrad, especially if you were a social science major. I study for about 4-5 hours a day (that's work outside of class, mind you), and the only day where I do nothing is Saturday, usually. Not having class on Friday is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it's the perfect opportunity to get work done, but on the other hand there's a ton of pressure to fuck around and do nothing. You MUST resist. Stay busy. Stay in the library.

RE: the money

I'm on partial scholarship but otherwise all of my cash is through loans. I take out up to my maximum allowance. I'll graduate with about 160K of combined grad school and undergrad debt. I get a ton of money but this city is EXTREMELY expensive. You need to know how to budget, but if you have those skills already in your pocket you'll be fine.

RE: academic/intellectual rigor

A previous poster said it perfectly: while there are only a couple dozen people who are just "blow your doors off" smart (not me), nobody is a slacker. You've probably not been in an environment where this is true before. I'm not exaggerating - nobody is a slacker. Nobody doesn't do the reading. Everyone studies. Everyone is prepared.

I hope, for anyone who is reading this who is still in undergrad, that you enjoy your time. Please, don't look ahead to law school. You shouldn't do this not because law school is terrible (it's kinda fun!), but because each moment that you have is worth enjoying and you're doing yourself a discredit ultimately if you are just looking ahead.

Take care, and I wish you nothing but the best, no matter who you might be.

Blazers4Life
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Re: Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby Blazers4Life » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:28 am

Here's a weird-ish question to pose to a 1L Columbia student: Why should I choose Columbia over NYU? Conversely, what might an NYU student say if I asked the same question?

I'm honestly relatively naive about what makes each school unique, both being in the top 5 and both being in Manhattan and being amazing schools. I'm somewhat borderline for both at 172/3.65. I'm trying to decide which to toss my ED at (one argument for NYU is my chances are slightly better), if either.

If someone can convince me that I should go to CLS or NYU without scholarship over a place like Virginia or Cornell with financial help, I'm going to go for it.




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