Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

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miobrien
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Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby miobrien » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:02 am

SHORT VERSION:

I want to go to school in Boston. I want to work in New York. This leaves me Harvard, BU, and BC from which to pick. As far as the rankings go, however, this is a wide range. I would really like to go to a Top 10. There are many schools in between HLS and BC Law that I might be able to get into -- especially schools like NYU and Columbia. But I don't want to apply to the latter schools (right at this moment) since my girlfriend has a job in Boston for the next three years.

I also don't want to settle on BC just for the sake of pragmatism and convenience and then eventually regret it -- especially if NYU and Columbia have better placements in NY.

This makes me wonder if I should try my hardest to get into HLS. Is it possible with my stats (which are below) to get into HLS?

But then again, would I still have great options if I went to BC and did really well? Is there really THAT big of a difference between HLS and BC Law, or am I taking the rankings too seriously?

Or should I wait three years, find a job, and then try to go to NYU?


LONG VERSION:

I've been thinking on and off about law school for a while now (about a year and a half). I have not taken the LSAT yet. I graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in philosophy, a 3.68 cumulative GPA, and a 4.0 major GPA. My softs aren't anything special compared to most applicants (dean's list, a few academic awards and study grants, editor for the newspaper for 4 years, disc jockey for the radio station, etc.). I'm currently working on an M.A. in philosophy at Boston College and will graduate in May 2011. I might do some work as a paralegal in the MA attorney general's office starting in the fall.

One one hand, my girlfriend will be working in Boston for the next three years, so I'm almost certain that I want to go to law school in Boston. We already live together and I have zero interest in trying a long distance relationship at this point. My options are: BC, BU, and Harvard. On the other hand, both of us grew up in New York. If we stay together, I'm pretty sure we would both like to try and move back to that area eventually.

I would love to go to HLS. I'm disappointed that my UGPA is mediocre and out of the school's range. From what I've gathered, I would need a 175+ in order to have even a slight chance of getting in. Is this true, or do I not have a shot even if I score 175+?

If I still have a chance, I can see myself cracking down for the next few months on LSAT prep. My dilemma is that it already seems like a lost cause, and I should just focus on getting into BC or BU.

But then, on the flip side, I'm worried that I'm narrowing down my choices -- especially since there's such a wide range in rankings between Harvard and BC. Perhaps I should consider NYU and Columbia? But then again, I really want to stay in Boston, and wouldn't want my girlfriend to give up her job.

Blunt, serious advice would be appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Danteshek
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Danteshek » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:05 am

Short version:

I have not taken the LSAT yet.

Burger in a can
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:07 am

Blunt, serious advice: there is never a reason NOT to score as high as you possibly can on the LSAT. Do so, apply everywhere, and only when you hear back from schools will you have the luxury of worrying about this stuff.

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kalvano
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby kalvano » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:10 am

Wow, a burger sighting.

miobrien
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby miobrien » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:10 am

I knew that was coming. I absolutely understand why that's your reply. But I'm asking these questions BEFORE I really dig deep into my LSAT prep so I can gauge my studying. If I'm aiming for HLS, then I'm going to study my ass off. If I'm aiming for BC and BU, I'm still going to study hard, but not as hard. I'm not going to waste time studying for something that's not going to happen.

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kalvano
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby kalvano » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:11 am

miobrien wrote:I knew that was coming. I absolutely understand why that's your reply. But I'm asking these questions BEFORE I really dig deep into my LSAT prep so I can gauge my studying. If I'm aiming for HLS, then I'm going to study my ass off. If I'm aiming for BC and BU, I'm still going to study hard, but not as hard. I'm not going to waste time studying for something that's not going to happen.


Why would you not want the best score possible?

Better score = more money.

miobrien
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby miobrien » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:15 am

Burger in a can wrote:Blunt, serious advice: there is never a reason NOT to score as high as you possibly can on the LSAT. Do so, apply everywhere, and only when you hear back from schools will you have the luxury of worrying about this stuff.

While I understand that, there's a huge difference in time commitment/studying for BC Law compared to HLS. If I can get into BC with a lower score, and that's where I'm going to go, then I wouldn't want to waste time on the LSAT.

Burger in a can
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:17 am

miobrien wrote:I knew that was coming. I absolutely understand why that's your reply. But I'm asking these questions BEFORE I really dig deep into my LSAT prep so I can gauge my studying. If I'm aiming for HLS, then I'm going to study my ass off. If I'm aiming for BC and BU, I'm still going to study hard, but not as hard. I'm not going to waste time studying for something that's not going to happen.


I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but this attitude suggests to me that you don't have the goods to get in to Harvard anyway.

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danidancer
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby danidancer » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:19 am

miobrien wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:Blunt, serious advice: there is never a reason NOT to score as high as you possibly can on the LSAT. Do so, apply everywhere, and only when you hear back from schools will you have the luxury of worrying about this stuff.

While I understand that, there's a huge difference in time commitment/studying for BC Law compared to HLS. If I can get into BC with a lower score, and that's where I'm going to go, then I wouldn't want to waste time on the LSAT.


No there isn't. Without even having started prepping yet, you have no idea where you stand with the LSAT beast. You might never be capable of reaching a Harvard-level score. You might need to study your bum off just to reach BC's median. You might get a 180 on your first PT. You have no way of knowing.

Also, there's a huge difference between "getting into BC" and "going to BC with a fat scholarship."

Also, b/c it bears repeating: there is never a reason NOT to score as high as you possibly can on the LSAT.


Edit to say: please realize that getting to NYC from BC/BU isn't the easiest of propositions. If that's the goal, it might be worth it to throw some apps at the rest of the T14 and Fordham, depending on your LSAT of course. The rest of your career/life >>>>> 3 years of dating long distance, IMHO.
Last edited by danidancer on Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tautology
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Tautology » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:21 am

You have basically no chance of getting into Harvard with a 3.68 no matter how you do on the LSAT.

However, have you even taken a diagnostic? You should do that before deciding how much time you need to spend studying to get where you want to go. You seem sure you could get into a school like NYU, what are you basing this on? Maybe BC or BU will be among your best options.

But, assuming you could get into a school like NYU or Columbia, I say wait, either until you break up with your girlfriend or she is ready to move where you will be going to school.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:23 am

Ok guys stop ripping on the newcomer, he actually has a relevant question in all that stuff he's asking... I mean sure it's best to shoot for as high an LSAT as possible, but in some cases it actually doesn't matter how high you can get. For Example:

To the OP:

If you want to stay in Boston, your choices are basically going to be BU or BC. This is mainly as with a 3.68 UGPA, even if you score a 180 on the LSAT, your chances of getting into HLS are very, very slim. There's a pretty strong <3.7 GPA wall unless you are an URM and sometimes if you're a Harvard UG, but other than those you're basically out...

However you still want to give your best shot at the LSAT just so you can choose between BU/BC fullride or maybe a shot at Columbia/NYU/etc. Just know that these are your main options going in tho.

miobrien
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby miobrien » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:25 am

I've done rather informal, random prep over the past 1.5 years. I'm familiar with the material. About a month ago, I took a diagnostic test and scored a 161. Sorry not including that in my original post.

I look at the LSAT as a test of time investment and familiarization. The more I study and familiarize, the better I can do. But maybe this is extremely misguided, and I need to reevaluate my attitude to the test.

Burger in a can
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:26 am

meh
Last edited by Burger in a can on Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby kalvano » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:27 am

The more you study the better you'll get.

The better your score, the more money you get. And money is nice.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:31 am

Burger in a can wrote:
Tautology wrote: You seem sure you could get into a school like NYU, what are you basing this on? Maybe BC or BU will be among your best options.


This. My LSAT score was 92nd percentile and BC and BU both swiftly told me to take a hike. Sure, 92nd percentile isn't great by TLS standards but it should tell you something about the selectivity of these institutions. NYU and Columbia are also arguably about as difficult to get in to as HLS. Have you done much research about law school admissions?



to be fair, you're right at the gap where the LSAT scores really matter.. I don't think it should be this way, but it seems like from 92% score to 96% or 97% is the big wall for T20 schools. Seems kind of unfair how 92% = 165, below the wall for many top schools, when suddenly at 4% or 5% up your at 96%= 169, 97% = 170... guess the line has to be somewhere based on amount of applicants but sure seems tough.

miobrien
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby miobrien » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:31 am

Na_Swatch wrote:Ok guys stop ripping on the newcomer, he actually has a relevant question in all that stuff he's asking... I mean sure it's best to shoot for as high an LSAT as possible, but in some cases it actually doesn't matter how high you can get. For Example:

To the OP:

If you want to stay in Boston, your choices are basically going to be BU or BC. This is mainly as with a 3.68 UGPA, even if you score a 180 on the LSAT, your chances of getting into HLS are very, very slim. There's a pretty strong <3.7 GPA wall unless you are an URM and sometimes if you're a Harvard UG, but other than those you're basically out...

However you still want to give your best shot at the LSAT just so you can choose between BU/BC fullride or maybe a shot at Columbia/NYU/etc. Just know that these are your main options going in tho.

Thanks. This is exactly what I was looking for.

I understand what everyone is saying about maximizing your LSAT score, I'm just taking what I consider a "realistic" approach to this stuff.

Tautology
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Tautology » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:32 am

miobrien wrote:I've done rather informal, random prep over the past 1.5 years. I'm familiar with the material. About a month ago, I took a diagnostic test and scored a 161. Sorry not including that in my original post.

I look at the LSAT as a test of time investment and familiarization. The more I study and familiarize, the better I can do. But maybe this is extremely misguided, and I need to reevaluate my attitude to the test.


I think it's misguided to expect that you can get your score up from a 161 after some prep to the 172-175 you would need to get into NYU or Columbia even with a lot of studying. You should do as well as you can right now, see what your options are once you have a score, and then make a decision.

Keep in mind, you can use your LSAT score for 5 years.

Burger in a can
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:37 am

Na_Swatch wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:
Tautology wrote: You seem sure you could get into a school like NYU, what are you basing this on? Maybe BC or BU will be among your best options.


This. My LSAT score was 92nd percentile and BC and BU both swiftly told me to take a hike. Sure, 92nd percentile isn't great by TLS standards but it should tell you something about the selectivity of these institutions. NYU and Columbia are also arguably about as difficult to get in to as HLS. Have you done much research about law school admissions?



to be fair, you're right at the gap where the LSAT scores really matter.. I don't think it should be this way, but it seems like from 92% score to 96% or 97% is the big wall for T20 schools. Seems kind of unfair how 92% = 165, below the wall for many top schools, when suddenly at 4% or 5% up your at 96%= 169, 97% = 170... guess the line has to be somewhere based on amount of applicants but sure seems tough.



My point was that BU and BC aren't TTT safeties, and the OP hasn't even taken the LSAT yet so I thought it was rather presumptuous of him to assume that he can rely on attending one of those schools if the whole Harvard plan falls through.

OP: You're doing it wrong. LSAT first, school selection later. It's just the way it works. In my personal opinion, if you're unwilling to give LSAT prep your absolute best effort, then you might need to reevaluate your career path.

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danidancer
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby danidancer » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:42 am

Burger in a can wrote:OP: You're doing it wrong. LSAT first, school selection later. It's just the way it works. In my personal opinion, if you're unwilling to give LSAT prep your absolute best effort, then you might need to reevaluate your career path.


I disagree with this. There's nothing wrong with seeing what score you should aim for to get into certain schools you're really interested in while you're still studying. Definitely helped to keep me motivated!

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kalvano
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby kalvano » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:45 am

danidancer wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:OP: You're doing it wrong. LSAT first, school selection later. It's just the way it works. In my personal opinion, if you're unwilling to give LSAT prep your absolute best effort, then you might need to reevaluate your career path.


I disagree with this. There's nothing wrong with seeing what score you should aim for to get into certain schools you're really interested in while you're still studying. Definitely helped to keep me motivated!



Plus, watching the crushing blow of reality stepping on dreams and seeing people forced to swallow the bitter tonic of failure and defeat is fun to watch.

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lebob
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby lebob » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:02 am

so messed up, but soo true


on a happier note, best of luck on your LSAT man.

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ZachOda
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby ZachOda » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:55 pm

There is no such thing as "wasting your time" studying for the LSAT. The first time I took a practice I thought it would be like the SAT's and just be a breeze. You are going to be in for a long haul, OP. It is an exhausting test, forcing you to think in ways that you are not necessarily used to. The best advice that I can give you, and I'm sure everyone on TLS can attest to this, is that you cannot go into LSAT prep with this kind of attitude. Still, best of luck to you, with hard work you can achieve your goal for BU/BC. Unfortunately, I do not think your GPA will turn any heads at Harvard, NYU, Columbia. However, if you get in the mid or high 160's, Fordham and Cornell may take a strong look

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zanda
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby zanda » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:08 am

miobrien wrote:I knew that was coming. I absolutely understand why that's your reply. But I'm asking these questions BEFORE I really dig deep into my LSAT prep so I can gauge my studying. If I'm aiming for HLS, then I'm going to study my ass off. If I'm aiming for BC and BU, I'm still going to study hard, but not as hard. I'm not going to waste time studying for something that's not going to happen.

If you get in the 170s you could be looking at a full ride to one of the Boston schools. I had a high LSAT in the mid 170s, an average LSAT in the low 170s (took it twice) and a GPA around a 3.8 and got a full ride to BU, and I was far from an unusual case. My point is, whether you think your odds at Harvard are good, ok, or lousy, you should be aiming for the best LSAT score you can get.





Also, apply to many schools, 1) so that you can bargain for scholarship money and 2) because I'm a cynic whose fiance left him during his 1L year.
:mrgreen:

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:29 am

Why did you go from BC/BU (clumped like they're equivalent!) to just BC? If you want New York, BU is inarguably TCR (between the two). BC is not a great idea if you know you don't want to work in Boston; BU is a different kettle of fish.

tram988
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Re: Harvard vs. BC/BU vs. NYU/Columbia

Postby tram988 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:30 am

BaiAilian2013 wrote:Why did you go from BC/BU (clumped like they're equivalent!) to just BC? If you want New York, BU is inarguably TCR (between the two). BC is not a great idea if you know you don't want to work in Boston; BU is a different kettle of fish.

Absolutely incorrect.




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