YLS or HLS for Academia? Forum

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YLS or HLS for Academia?

Post by carriebell2017 » Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:09 pm

I'm currently considering YLS or HLS. I'm concurrently pursuing a PhD in finance/economics and know that my career goal is legal academia. I have stronger ties at one school over the other, but not sure how much that should matter.

Which one would you recommend? I know people say YLS is better for academia than HLS generally, but I've actually noticed the opposite amongst those who are concurrently doing a finance or economics PhD. Can someone explain more what the resources/mentorship tracks are like for the two with regards to research?

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Re: YLS or HLS for Academia?

Post by VirginiaFan » Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:38 pm

No personal knowledge, but YLS seems like a slam-dunk choice. You may be seeing more HLS grads in academia, but that's because HLS grads outnumber YLS grads 3:1. If you're committed to academia, YLS is the only choice.


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Re: YLS or HLS for Academia?

Post by talons2250 » Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:39 pm

Unless you already have a connection to a professor/mentor in your specific field at HLS, then I would go to YLS. YLS is safer because grades matter less. If you go to HLS and then don't even make top 40% for cum laude, then what? Not to say that grades don't matter at all at YLS but it's fuzzier and more obscure. Also, there are fewer students at YLS, so getting noticed by and building relationships with professors should be easier. HLS has good student/faculty ratio, but YLS still has an advantage in this regard I think.

When you say you've "noticed the opposite," it could just be that you're aware of more people doing finance or economics PhDs at HLS than YLS. That could be because those individuals didn't get into YLS (as is the case with many HLS students, since most cross-admits choose YLS) or because of some other factor that doesn't reflect any relative superiority on HLS's part.

Of course, you can't go wrong either way and no door will be closed no matter which you choose. If you just want to go to HLS because you think you'll like it better for whatever reason, that would not be an irrational reason to make the decision.


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Re: YLS or HLS for Academia?

Post by nixy » Tue Apr 02, 2024 7:34 pm

I really don't think it's going to make a material difference. Yes, YLS is the "top" academia school, but I think self-selection plays a role here. Gun to my head and I have to pick one, sure, go with Yale. If you have personal reasons for preferring HLS, even just that you like Boston better, going where you'll be happier is completely defensible here.

fwiw, I think the calculus is different for someone trying for academia who already has a PhD than for someone who doesn't. Your success in academia will depend on publishing and to some extent impressing your profs - there's no reason to believe you'll have an easier time doing that at Yale than HLS.

Also, I think it's worth considering which of the two is stronger in your PhD field.

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