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Author Topic: Columbia or Stanford  (Read 1575 times)

1L2004

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Columbia or Stanford
« on: June 16, 2004, 04:18:01 PM »
I was all set to go to Columbia and then Stanford called me this morning offering a seat (I got waitlisted back in April).  This afternoon, the finance folks emailed an offer of roughly 5k per-year more than Columbia.  Here's the catch: I want to do international arbitration with a good deal of human rights pro-bono or perhaps work in the public sector (NGOs or UN) and Columbia is legendary in both int'l and human rights law.  That said, Stanford is more prestigious (and at this point, cheaper). Your thoughts, please.

Ginatio

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2004, 04:22:34 PM »
Sounds like you'll have a chance to get some nice work experience in your future field through clinics and/or externships at Columbia. The difference is 15k total. Plus, Columbia's name is as strong as Stanford's, if not stronger, in the Northeast (which is where you'll probably be hired after graduation)--and they have the whole "Ivy" label going for them. If I was in your situation, I'd stick with Columbia.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm on both their waiting lists. I want to get into Stanford and don't really care about Columbia, so if you end up dinging Stanford's offer, put in a good word for me.  ;)

I was all set to go to Columbia and then Stanford called me this morning offering a seat (I got waitlisted back in April).  This afternoon, the finance folks emailed an offer of roughly 5k per-year more than Columbia.  Here's the catch: I want to do international arbitration with a good deal of human rights pro-bono or perhaps work in the public sector (NGOs or UN) and Columbia is legendary in both int'l and human rights law.  That said, Stanford is more prestigious (and at this point, cheaper). You thoughts, please.

superiorlobe

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2004, 05:28:01 PM »
Wow. Very very tough choice.  Also a very very nice choice to have to make. My recommendation: Stanford.

Here's why:

1) You think you know what you want to do, but that may change.  I understand that a tremendous number of law students change their goals while in law school.

2) $15K is a lot of money.  Imagine it stacked up in twenties and sitting on your desk.  Nothing to sneeze at.  Take the $15K and spend it on a fabulous honeymoon when you get married.  Or start a savings account for your first born's law school tuition.  At 6% annual interest rate that will be over $90K when your kid gets into Stanford 30 years from now.

3) Stanford has a nicer climate and a better reputation.

dsong02

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2004, 05:44:50 PM »
columbia.  not even worth thinking about.

unless you like warm weather.  then stanford.

unless you like 4 seasons.  then columbia.

unless you really need the extra money.  then stanford.

unless you can get loans to cover.  then columbia.

ok...maybe i should think about it a bit more.



in all seriousness...my recommendation: columbia.   if youre interested in international arbitration/human rights law, there is no question you should go to columbia.  to comment on superiorlobe's comment about maybe changing, you cant go wrong with either school in other fields...but why not go to the school that has the better reputation for the field that youre currently interested in.  and later, even if you change your mind, no one is gonna deny you because you went to columbia.  *&^%...people would give their left AND right ball to be in your situation.   

whichever choice you make...itll be the right choice.  there is no wrong in this blessed situation.
'why does it hurt so much when i poke it?'

Tobias Beecher

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2004, 11:03:59 PM »
stanford......

cauz if you believe in the rankings....

stanford is almost always in the "big 3" of american law schools....

plus stanford is the most prestigious school this side of harvard and yale....and it's all about da WEST SIDDDDDDDDDDDDE!

 ;)

1L2004

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2004, 01:38:48 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the points raised. Well, after a very miserable 24hrs I guess I should be thinking in terms of trying to pick a career over the next week and then choosing the school that fits best.  One other thought: Stanford is roughly half the size of Columbia so presumably the chance of journal work or even law review is better (assuming that the Stanford doesn't kick my ass way harder than Columbia).  Disagree at will, but my understanding of the conventional wisdom is that among the top schools, the smaller ones (Yale and Stanford) are somewhat more laid back.  Another thought  floating around is that if I do pick Stanford, I could still potentially  take a semester at Columbia for more focused int'l law coursework.  Well, 6 days and counting down to decision time. Thanks

EnglishToLaw

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2004, 10:54:42 PM »
1L2004,

If you don't mind my asking, what were your LSAT score and GPA? And where did you go undergrad?

Just curious. You have a tough choice. If it were me, I'd go with Stanford, but only if you're staying on the west coast.

gooooooo

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2004, 11:32:30 PM »
You are the luckiest kid.

CourtJester

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2004, 02:05:44 AM »
Stanford is the better university by far but there are some serious reasons for choosing Columbia. One is the networking angle. If your career is going to be in the Northweast and Europe then the connections you make in New York (at Columbia and through your interactions with others in New York) are more likely to be around you throughout your life. I would look at the geographic distribution of graduates from Stanford versus Columbia to see if this off-the-cuff thought is accurate.

I wouldn't put any weight in the "I can do a semester at Columbia" bit. Are you really going to travel all the way to New York for a semester to study? What a pain in the neck! Travel to New York for a paid externship OK but study? I can see someone paying the money to travel if they are moving up tier-wise to study but not going from Stanford to Columbia to study. Wasted money in my opinion.

Another angle is your summer work. More likely the appropriate jobs will be in DC and New York - easier to hunt them down from Columbia than Stanford. Easier to get to them and interview for them from Columbia than Stanford

In terms of personal relationships - more likely to meet attractive like-minded people in Columbia and New York than at Stanford unless you like dating nerds :)

Ivy power - when it doubt go Ivy for the coolness factor - Stanford is only cool if you are in the tech business, IP and venture capital...which comes back to the networking thing again. Which school offers the better networking opportunities for your intended field of study.

I personally think that Stanford Law (and Stanford in general) is very corporate-oriented. Almost as if the Law program is linked with the business school. I think this is because the University is almost orienting itself as a new venture incubator and all the departments are having a hand in that. This makes good business sense, and helps students get great positions, but I wonder how the academics are being affected by this.

Anyway, those are my two cents. I think your choice is one of optimization since you can't go wrong at either school. You are at the point of choosing which is more optimal for achieving your goals. I think if you are sure of your goals, as stated, then Columia otherwise Stanford may be the better choice. (Remember, the prestige of Stanford amongst the public is more for its tech-related programs than their law school while everyone associates Ivy with good law and business programs, whether they are or not!).


zimbu668

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Re: Columbia or Stanford
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2004, 09:36:09 AM »
Am I the only one who thought this sounded like an LSAT writing sample topic?

Columbia: better fit for the career I hope to follow

Stanford: cheaper and more highly ranked in general

You have 30 minutes. Begin.