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Author Topic: Is Harvard worth it???  (Read 10090 times)

jorel2

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Is Harvard worth it???
« on: February 26, 2005, 12:08:42 PM »
Yesterday I got my acceptance package from Harvard law school.  I'm Canadian and I also got accepted to the University of Toronto, which is a really good school and about a quarter as expensive.  If I accept at Harvard, I will have to finance law school almost entirely through loans, and will be really in debt by the time I graduate.  Plus, I don't think I'm interested in working in a high-paying, Wall Street-type job.  I'm more interested in typically low-paying public interest or academic work.  But people I talk to keep saying that I have to go to Harvard because of all the "opportunties" it'll provide me--that I can do "anything" after graduating from there.  So, my question is this: Is it worth it to pick Harvard over another really good school, even if it means racking up enormous debt?  Is a Harvard degree really that much more impressive to employers than another degree?  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks!
in: Harvard, Toronto
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vagrant

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2005, 12:12:42 PM »
If you want academia in the US, Harvard is the clear choice.  I don't know for your other possibilities.

critic

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2005, 12:28:15 PM »
I'm more interested in typically low-paying public interest or academic work.

working in academia- Harvard will really help. Academics are snobs.  ;)

low-paying public interest- then I would go with toronto. Also an amazing school, and it will be hard to repay the enormous debts with a low paying job.

sorry if I ended up not being helpful at all  :-[

Bahamut

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2005, 12:51:21 PM »
Frame the acceptance letter and go to Toronto.
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redstorm

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2005, 12:54:18 PM »
Go to Harvard.  You'll have priceless experiences there.

lizo27

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2005, 12:58:20 PM »
While it may or may not be true that you can do "anything" with a Harvard degree, the question is really whether you want to do "anything" (i.e. BigLaw) or whether you really want to do public interest work.

There are two things to consider here:
a.) Public interest work doesn't pay well. So your debt from Harvard will plague you if that's what you go into after going to Harvard.

b.) if you don't want your debt to plague you after Harvard, you will pretty much have to go to work for BigLaw.

If you don't want to be trapped in this situation ($150K in debt and a job you don't really want), then go with Toronto.

Furthermore, you could get a good job from Toronto. It's not like you'll be stuck in a low-paying position even if you decide you don't want to do public interest law.

Honestly, your options are better with Toronto, given the debt burden at Harvard. In sum, I think Toronto's your better option. Besides, you'll always be able to say you got into Harvard. ;D

Just my 2 cents, but I hope it helps.
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alphalyrae

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2005, 01:11:08 PM »

Look into Harvard's LIPP before you assume that going to Harvard is going to make it a financial hardship to go into public service work. Harvard seems to be really proud of their commitment to their students getting into those fields.

Also, I don't know if Harvard vs. Toronto is really a reasonable decision.
Harvard vs. a full scholarship at Columbia or Chicago, that's a difficult call.
But Toronto? No.

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redstorm

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2005, 01:15:04 PM »
Regardless of where you go, you will be in debt. 

You should matriculate at Harvard Law School.  The avenues of possibilties are greater with Harvard, than Toronto, because all the intellectuals of the world gather there. 

If I were you, I would go to Harvard, work for a few years in a lucrative field, then go into public interest in a financially comfortable state.

lizo27

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2005, 01:19:25 PM »

Look into Harvard's LIPP before you assume that going to Harvard is going to make it a financial hardship to go into public service work. Harvard seems to be really proud of their commitment to their students getting into those fields.


Duly noted. I think Alphalyrae has a good point. Look into whether or not Harvard has some kind of debt repayment program for public interest law. That sort of thing completely slipped my mind when I was posting.

If you can get out of Harvard and get some help with your debt from the school, then go there. Because it's an excellent school.
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steves

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Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2005, 01:31:09 PM »
Harvard...you only get to go to law school once. Anyone can say they got accepted to Harvard and I could even create a fake acceptance letter and frame it. Saying you got in somewhere is not that impressive. The degree is. I think the decision to go to Harvard will change your life for the better.

DEBT: I can't understand why people freak out about student loan debt (credit card debt is another story). Student loan debt is not that big a deal. When it comes down to it, the payments might be (I am guessing) $25-$50 more per month for attending Harvard. Is that worth it to you? I think the debt numbers look more daunting to people than they should. Probably because most are coming out of school and haven't had to deal with a mortgage and other payments and are a little bit afraid of the uncertainty...Debt is not a huge deal and you can still procure assets that will enable you to have a nice net worth once your ls debt is paid down.

Also, the interest on a student loan is so low that it doesn't matter how far you extend it...your net loss from doing that will be negligible. To give some perspective, say you extend your loan to 30 years and given your GS13 pay grade upon graduation (which i think is just above $60k), you will have a little money to invest, say in stocks, or bonds, or whatever, chances are your ROI on those are going to be much higher than your loan rate. It is likely that with your salary and investments, that you are going make 20-30 times your total loan payment. So, extend your loan out as far as possible, live within your means, and keep it in perspective.

Another speculative point, I think there is good evidence that we are on the cusp of a large inflation boom, so maybe your payments in the future will be miniscule compared to the value you get from it?

BOSTON: Boston is the Athens of America. If you get to experience school in this city, you are lucky. Being surrounded by so many bright people and so many great schools nearby will really add to your ls experience. I know Toronto is supposed to be great too (I almost went there for a Master's in Poli Sci), but it can't compare to what you will experience in Beantown.

My two cents.