I feel lucky to have this choice but it is a very difficult decision for me:
Choice: Levy Scholarship at Penn (guaranteed ~3/4 tuition for 3-year period, faculty mentor, alumnus mentor,etc.) vs. HLS (no grant money, all loans)?
Other Info/Assumptions: rejected at Yale, Stanford
Primary Goals: Want to practice biglaw (corporate/M&A) in SF/LA/Chicago and possibly eventually start/own my own business or earn money through investments (REstate, stocks/options, or something entreprenuerial).
Background: undergrad degree at expensive (but not super-elite) private school; 70k in debt from undergrad and no family help to pay off this debt. Degree in economics w/ some business knowledge b/c of one year management consulting.
Penn Pros: Levy program (individualized attention from faculty and alumni), cheaper (compared to Harvard save ~110k in tuition; also save some $ every year compared to COL in Cambridge), opportunity to apply to Wharton for JD/MBA (maybe I'll get in but maybe not since I only have 1 year work experience). Cost of JD/MBA with Levy factored in--if admitted to program--roughly equivalent to cost of Harvard JD. (Would Penn JD/MBA be better than Harvard JD for my goals? I think Harvard JD/MBA would be too expensive.)
Harvard Pros: international name recognition, lay prestige (helpful for maybe starting my own business in future??), prefer Boston to Philly, better professors (maybe only slightly better??? maybe not?).
I would love to hear some opinions. I am glad to have recently found this board--I've been reading for a little while. Thanks in advance!