jbagelboy wrote:taylor447 wrote:That's all great stuff. Clearing job prospects and financial aid, does anyone have a good feel for the columbia soft factors--quality of living, student body culture, etc? The building itself is rather ugly (which may not be relevant), but to do CLS enjoy columbia? The degree is outstanding and the job prospects solid, but do they like their three years? The reason I ask is that my father was admitted to CLS back in the day with half tuition, along with Michigan and Virginia. He intended on CLS but when he visited, morningside heights was "dreary" as he put it and the students, when he talked to them, seemed like they were "getting through," rather than loving their JD years. He visited Uva and everyone loved it--Charlottesville, softball, etc. (ended up at uva). That was an age ago. And I have met some CLS's who seem to love it. Any thoughts? Perhaps it boils down to simple individual preference--city life vs other settings.
Attending CLS '16 here, so I have a clear hopeful bias, but the general feeling Ive received from visiting, talking to ppl on here, and my future classmates, is that the atmosphere has evolved since the mid 90s and is now much more laid back than the paper-chase days. There are always horror stories (like the ATL article on the CLS girl who requested UG transcripts prior to admitting her peers into a study group), but people seem a lot happier than I would have imagined, and as TS often notes, the superior job prospects actually abet the competitive aura since most people are not as scared of striking out. Morningside heights has also come a long way since your father would have been looking at CLS, and manhattan as a whole is a much safer, cleaner, & happier place (albeit more expensive) than it was in the 1980s.
My views have also evolved on this issue. When choosing between Berkeley and Columbia, my primary fear about choosing CLS was the student body and the city. Berkeley seemed much more my speed. However, after meeting more of my classmates and networking a bit, Im more confident that Ill find my niche and have a positive experience. Moreover I have tons o friends in the city and Im moving w/ my SO, and law school isnt about recreating somefalse image of college life (UVA). My friend who's a 2L was pretty negative on CLS and that informed many of my early views, but Ive come to understand that he mostly just doesnt enjoy the law or the pedagogic experience in general, and that wont be a problem for me.
So I wouldnt worry about a perceived CLS "social" scene, and as Borg stated, biglaw placement (NYC) is comparable to Harvards in all the important ways
ETA: as far as the aesthetic of the structure is concerned, the rest of the main campus more than compensates for it IMO
No you're right, the main campus in quite nice. Thanks jbagelboy for the breakdown. My intern buddy I work with now in SLC is starting CLS next month as well; he's good people, and I'm sure with law school the class size offers a little bit of everything so you can find what you're looking for. Good luck with the semester!