In the end, it really has to come down to personal preferences. Both schools are fantastic; you really can't go wrong with either one. I would encourage anyone choosing between the two to read up on both schools and, if at all possible, visit. I found visiting both schools really helped.Blazers4Life wrote: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.
For me, CLS's location was a good selling point. Some people prefer the constant hustle and bustle of the Village (NYU), and that's totally cool - it's all a personal preference. The Village is a fun place, and there's always lots going on. But I like living in the relative quiet of Morningside Heights. Morningside has tons of restaurants, bars, etc, but the it's also a little less chaotic here than it is downtown and midtown. And when I want to head elsewhere in the city, all I have to do is hop on the subway or grab a cab.
I also think the location helps build a sense of community. Nearly every CLS student I know lives in Morningside Heights. IMO, Morningside Heights has a great neighborhood feel. Neighborhood feel + practically everyone living within a few blocks = sense of community.
I love the main undergrad campus (which is across the street from the law school). I think the main campus is gorgeous. I went to a small liberal arts college; having a pretty campus is important to me. As silly as it may sound, walking around the campus - or just sitting on the quad - makes me happy. And that's important to me.
When I visited, I really made an effort to talk with current students at both CLS and NYU. I found students at both schools very friendly. I also made a point of asking students how they liked law school so far, and whether they had any regrets about choosing CLS/NYU. The students I talked with at both schools seemed happy, and said they were glad they chose CLS/NYU. I decided I could be very happy among either CLS students or NYU students.
I sat in on two classes at each school, and was far more impressed by what I saw at CLS. However, that is a VERY, VERY subjective opinion. Furthermore, my small sample size (2 classes at each school) is obviously very vulnerable to sample bias. Maybe I caught two of CLS' best profs, and missed NYU's best profs. Take my opinion on this matter with a grain of salt. Visit both schools, sit in on classes at each, and make your own decision about which you prefer academically.
Finally, if you are particularly interested in a specific subject of law (IP, Con Law, Legal Philosophy, Law and Econ, etc), compare faculty and courses at both CLS and NYU.