« on: January 31, 2007, 12:07:25 PM »
Southside, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you believe that Y was way overrated and H was decent but not spectacular initially? I seem to remember you leaning toward Columbia because you liked the institution itself more than H and Y and the Hamilton was just the icing on the cake. I can't remember exactly though.
I wouldn't use those terms. My sense of Yale is that it offers a very different product than either Harvard or Columbia. Y is quite small and has a correspondingly smaller number of faculty, most of whom have never practiced law. What's more, Yale is located in a small city and doesn't formally grade students except on a pass/fail basis. The result of this is a much heavier focus on the theory of law with less emphasis on practice. This didn't appeal to me as much as it appeals to a lot of people, and it's why I don't think that you can say that Yale is "better" than the other schools, given how different it is.
Note also that these differences, especially the smaller size, create a statistical wrinkle that gives Yale a huge advantage in the methods US News uses to calculate rankings. Thus, it is over-rated in the sense that it's an incoherent statement to say that Yale is better than Harvard, much like it would be to say that among colleges, Swarthmore is better than Stanford.
Also, I think Harvard is spectacular. I just think that Columbia is spectacular as well, and that the differences between the two aren't enough, in my opinion, to justify turning down a scholarship at one to go to the other. The bottom line, as I've said several times on this thread, is that all of these options are really great.
(I would say that I don't really see a great argument for going to Harvard over Columbia with the Hamilton or the Sharp. I would have to have strong idiosyncratic reasons for wanting to be in the Boston area to do that.)