Law School Discussion

"cutthroat" competition

"cutthroat" competition
« on: March 15, 2004, 08:55:58 PM »
I would describe myself pretty much as a laid-back individual who is willing to work hard and compete when given the opportunities and circumstances.  Therefore, when I hear of these Top 10s or Top 20s all having "cutthroat" competition, I shudder and hope that this isn't the case.  Has anyone found, in their research or visit to the top 10s or so, that this is not the case in certain schools?

I know at those top schools that we'll have to work hard (heck, ANY law school), but some of us know (and most of us think we know and perpetuate the rumors) that in some schools, the competition is palpable.

My main question is basically, do any of you believe that there is an inherent tradeoff between going to a school with a "cutthroat" student body and a school with low national prestige and ranking?

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2004, 10:26:35 PM »
bump

apartment

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2004, 06:49:07 PM »
bump?  Very cute, you must hang out on the PR boards.

But to answer that question, the general consensus among the boards and chats seems to be that Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, Vandy, USC, and Michigan are the most laid back of the top 20 schools.  Harvard, Columbia, and maybe Chicago have a rep for being the most cutthroat.  The others are no doubt competitive, but don't have a "rep" for being pressure cookers.

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2004, 07:24:07 PM »
haha, actually no... I hang out on the Anandtech forums =P... Never been on the PrincetonReview? boards.

apartment

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2004, 07:36:35 PM »
Ha, fellow board baby though.  Yes, PR=Princeton Review
I spend too much time reading the postings there, just assumed everyone else does the same. 

Actually what I like about lawschooldicussion.org is that things are a bit slower-paced, people try to write in complete sentences, and questions generally get well thought-out answers.  Also, people are slightly less numbers obsessed. 

The moderator is kind of cute too.  (Sorry, Andrew, had to get that in there.)

Victor

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2004, 08:47:18 PM »
bump?  Very cute, you must hang out on the PR boards.

But to answer that question, the general consensus among the boards and chats seems to be that Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, Vandy, USC, and Michigan are the most laid back of the top 20 schools.  Harvard, Columbia, and maybe Chicago have a rep for being the most cutthroat.  The others are no doubt competitive, but don't have a "rep" for being pressure cookers.

Where are you getting this information about which schools are competitive and less competitive?

Columbia has a high attrition rate? Whoa . . . I didnt know that. I heard from a lot of people that Harvard is a pressure cooker though.



apartment

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2004, 10:16:09 AM »
This is information that is generally written about these schools (over and over).  I have a few friends who attended/are attending Harvard and Columbia and they all say it is quite competitive.  The "laid-back" schools list is what I see written about particular schools over and over.  I have no personal experience with students from those schools.  The schools' reputations for competition seems not to be tied to attrition rate (people miserable at Harvard are not rushing to transfer out, and few people fail out of any tier one school) but more to attitude.  I'm certain there is lots of cameraderie at all these schools, but apparently at some, that is coupled with a lot of stress to outperform peers.  The actual experience is different for every person. 

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2004, 10:21:24 AM »
The moderator is kind of cute too.  (Sorry, Andrew, had to get that in there.)

Indeed.  ;)

Anti_Ivy

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2004, 10:46:43 AM »
According to some book I read (I will post the name when I stop being lazy), Yale ranks #1 of all top 20 schools for law students' happiness with the prof's, the school's facilities, and the overall campus.  Yale ranked #16 in the nation. Harvard ranked #5 on the list of the 7 law schools where students were most unhappy!!!

I'll apply to Yale, but I won't even consider Harvard.

Re: "cutthroat" competition
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2004, 11:18:54 AM »
I've never heard any students admit that their school is competitive or cutthroat, not even ones at Harvard or Columbia...

But I did read on top-law-schools.com an interview with a Boalt admissions officer who said he transferred from Boalt to Harvard...then back again to Boalt because Harvard was too intense while Boalt was more laidback. I think I remember him also voicing his take, like one person said here, that people usually do NOT transfer out of top schools like Harvard, even if they are unhappy.

I do know someone who visited NYU and Columbia and chose Columbia because Columbia seemed more "serious" than NYU in terms of students and academics. She says from the people she knows at Chicago, Chicago is even worse than Columbia (but she didn't get into Chicago). Everything I've heard and read about NYU leads me to believe it's a pretty laidback school, too, and I'd definitely choose it over Columbia and Chicago. Other things I've read or been told lead me to believe that the top public and/or Southern schools (UVA, Texas, Boalt, Duke) tend to be more laidback than the top private ones.

Finally, I have a story about Yale. Once, I was at this law school forum, and the Yale table was packed (Harvard's had almost no one there...lol). EVERYONE at the Yale table was SUPER serious (the students, not the admissions officers...the admissions officers were actually really cool, funny and relaxed). They were scaring me to death because I was smiling and trying to be cordial to these people and they just stared at me (or ignored me) like emotionless, overdressed machines. So I asked some people from Yale what was up with that and told them what happened, wanting to know if people who attend Yale are like that. They told me that these are the kinds of people who don't get into Yale, that the people at Yale are really--for the most part--pretty great and not to worry about it. A lot of Yalies also say that the student body is more at ease there than at schools like Harvard because of their grading system, no class rankings and not having to worry as much about financial aid--from what I understand, if you make a certain salary and below, Yale will pay your loans and will help pay part of it if you make more than that certain salary but still not a lot...if you want to go into public interest or maybe even government, that's basically a free ride, too...and things like this that ease their minds.