Which would you choose?

Discuss comparisons of various school choices and the various metrics that inform them, including rankings, student life, location, etc.
KDBurnerAccount
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Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:02 pm

This community has helped me out tremendously throughout this process, so I'm hoping it will help me make sense of my current situation. I am incredibly fortunate. I do not take that lightly, but it is still very stressful.

Full Ride Offers
Michigan
Duke
UVA
UCLA
Northwestern
NYU

Other schools (no clue about $, but not expecting full rides)
Columbia
UChicago

Waiting
Yale. Not expecting to get in here, but who knows

Career Goals
I want to clerk and then I want to do impact lit at a prestigious PI nonprofit or do some sort of high level government work. Hoping law school will help me sort out which path I want. I want to be in the DC area or in California long term, but I would be fine with New York or Chicago for a little while.

I would like to know what you would choose in my situation, and why. I appreciate any specifics. If there is a glaring front runner, please let me know. I prefer bigger cities, but I also don't like the idea of debt at all.

Thank you for your help!

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Tsuga
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Tsuga » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:12 pm

Wow, congrats! I think NYU and UVA are your best options. NYU is not as much of a DC/CA feeder as Mich/Duke/UVA, but the biggest prestige-PI feeder among your options and obviously a huge NY-feeder. UVA is your biggest DC feeder and biggest fed-gov feeder. Assuming you like the two schools equally, I would lean NYU over UVA just because of the potential long-term benefits of the slight prestige boost between T6 vs. T7-14—but if you like one more than the other I don't think you can go wrong. You also can't really make a bad decision with your other full-ride options except probably UCLA, so if you find yourself having a strong preference towards Mich/Duke/NU, just go for it IMO.

Oh also for clerking, I got an email from NYU a while ago saying that 130+ alums clerk every year, so with their average class size of 450 that's like a 30% eventual clerkship rate (I would guess this is state+fed, but also that few alums do state clerkships). I don't know what UVA's average alum clerkship rate is—so more people clerk right out of UVA than out of NYU, but the verdict on eventual clerkships may still be out.

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Stranger
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Stranger » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:03 pm

Tsuga wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:12 pm
Wow, congrats! I think NYU and UVA are your best options. NYU is not as much of a DC/CA feeder as Mich/Duke/UVA, but the biggest prestige-PI feeder among your options and obviously a huge NY-feeder. UVA is your biggest DC feeder and biggest fed-gov feeder. Assuming you like the two schools equally, I would lean NYU over UVA just because of the potential long-term benefits of the slight prestige boost between T6 vs. T7-14—but if you like one more than the other I don't think you can go wrong. You also can't really make a bad decision with your other full-ride options except probably UCLA, so if you find yourself having a strong preference towards Mich/Duke/NU, just go for it IMO.

Oh also for clerking, I got an email from NYU a while ago saying that 130+ alums clerk every year, so with their average class size of 450 that's like a 30% eventual clerkship rate (I would guess this is state+fed, but also that few alums do state clerkships). I don't know what UVA's average alum clerkship rate is—so more people clerk right out of UVA than out of NYU, but the verdict on eventual clerkships may still be out.
So, I'd pump the brakes on that clerkship analysis. You're not hitting 30%, for starters because of folks clerking a second or third year. Then, you need to factor in the likelihood that it includes some career clerks. As far as the rates of folks clerking their first year out of NYU, only about 5.7% clerk in the federal courts, while about 1.7% clerk in other courts. Combined, that's something like 36 clerks a year. I've heard there's something of a trend of folks clerking after a few years in biglaw now, so that's probably boosting the total number per year, along with the career clerks and second/third-year clerks. If you figure that about half of the clerks get a second year (potentially an overestimate, but it's NYU, so I'm willing to call it) and that a similar number of folks are clerking after 3-ish years in biglaw as those who clerk initially, and the school has somewhere around 40 career clerks floating around various chambers, you can easily hit that 130+ number, with only around 15% of graduates *ever* clerking.

Here, for comparison's sake, are weighted five-year averages of folks clerking straight out of law school at the places which have offered OP full rides (federal, then other):

Michigan 12.3%/5.9%
Duke 14.4%/3.7%
UVA 12.6%/2.8%
UCLA 3.9%/1.8%
Northwestern 7.8%/2.2%
NYU 5.7%/1.7%

I'm gonna have to say that even with the lower clerkship numbers, I'm team NYU here, with Michigan and UVA as viable alternatives for OP's career goals (so, visit those three and if you fall hopelessly in love with one, take it, but otherwise go to NYU).

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Nony
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Nony » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:44 pm

(I really don’t think enough people career clerk for that really to affect the stats here.)

KDBurnerAccount
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:59 pm

Tsuga- thank you! I'm actually leaning NYU with UVA as a close 2nd. I'll be visiting both soon. Hoping that clears it up. Would UCLA be more defensible if I said I wanted to end up in Southern California? It's not a frontrunner, just curious.

stranger- Do you mind sharing what factors make you team NYU? Are you saying that you think going to NYU gives me less of a chance to clerk than say Duke or UVA? I often assume a lot of that stuff is self selection, but I could be wrong.

Also, if I miraculously got into Yale but had to pay sticker would any of you vote for it? Or CLS at half or something like that?

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quiver
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by quiver » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:03 pm

KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:59 pm

Also, if I miraculously got into Yale but had to pay sticker would any of you vote for it? Or CLS at half or something like that?
Assuming no need-based aid at Yale, then no. NYU is probably the way to go here. Excellent PI culture and placement + you're okay with NYC + it can get you to DC or CA + you have a shot at clerking (as good as anywhere outside of YSH). The cost of living in NYC is high, so if you like one of the other full rides (like UVA) those are certainly defensible.

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Stranger
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Stranger » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:51 pm

KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:59 pm
Tsuga- thank you! I'm actually leaning NYU with UVA as a close 2nd. I'll be visiting both soon. Hoping that clears it up. Would UCLA be more defensible if I said I wanted to end up in Southern California? It's not a frontrunner, just curious.

stranger- Do you mind sharing what factors make you team NYU? Are you saying that you think going to NYU gives me less of a chance to clerk than say Duke or UVA? I often assume a lot of that stuff is self selection, but I could be wrong.

Also, if I miraculously got into Yale but had to pay sticker would any of you vote for it? Or CLS at half or something like that?
I don't think the slightly lower clerkship numbers are material enough to overcome the outstanding PI culture at NYU. Quiver nailed it on the factors - the PI culture, the placement power, and your willingness to be in NYC, at least in the short term, all make it sound like the right play. But Michigan and Virginia also have fairly strong government/PI cultures (though not quite as strong as NYU), and their slightly better clerkship numbers might make them worth considering if you truly love one of them on a visit.

As for Yale, I'm not sure it really gives enough of a structural advantage over NYU to take on significantly more debt for. If you were going to be in major debt either way, it would be more comparable, but as it stands, NYU will produce only modest debt for you, which makes it really tough to argue with. I don't know which full ride you have at NYU, but this is a close analog to the perennial advice on this board that folks with full rides at CCN would do well to choose those over acceptance at HYS. Even if it's shouting into the wilderness, we're going to keep giving that advice because of the comparative freedom that such low debt gives you.

lolwat
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by lolwat » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:16 am

Likely NYU/Michigan/UVA > *, but I can't really choose between the three.

I don't think anyone's answered this earlier question yet, but UCLA isn't worth it even for SoCal when you've got full rides at the schools you did. You'd make it more likely to land something here, but it's just not that big of an advantage to give up all the other markets in the country and clerkship chances. It'd be different if you were choosing between UCLA and Cornell/GULC/t20 schools, but you can likely write it off completely when you've got NYU, Michigan, and UVA.

Likewise, I'd probably consider Columbia, Chicago, and Yale only if you're getting some significant money from them. Take Ruby if you get it :)

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Jack_Kelly
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Jack_Kelly » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:25 am

If I had these choices (so a much much higher GPA) and goals, NYU probably, though the DC bit makes UVA also justifiable as COL will be way less.

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sev
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by sev » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:11 pm

KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:59 pm
Are you saying that you think going to NYU gives me less of a chance to clerk than say Duke or UVA? I often assume a lot of that stuff is self selection, but I could be wrong.
I would also assume that. I suspect the combination of PI focus + folks doing transactional biglaw + wanting to pay down massive quantities of debt quickly accounts for much of the difference. It's possible that the massive class size makes it more difficult to place students into clerkships (harder to get institutional support when you're one of 100 students vying for a clerkship), but Columbia also seems to have a similarly low rate despite having a much smaller class.

1515
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by 1515 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:01 pm

If you already got into Columbia and Chicago and didn't get Hamilton or Ruby, then you're not getting it. This is def true for the Hamilton, I believe it is also the case for the Ruby.

I would think it should be between UVA and NYU (maybe Mich should stay in play too, but simplify your life by taking Duke, UCLA, and Northwestern off the table), in which case your preferred lifestyle would play a huge role.

I think you should withdraw from Yale, frankly. You said you don't like the idea of debt at all, so it makes no sense to go there over a full-ride at UVA or NYU.

Even though NYU is part of "CCN", I feel like it doesn't carry any significant prestige bump over UVA (which is I guess more prestigious than its rank), if that matters to you, but I could be wrong...

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Tsuga
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Tsuga » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:05 pm

1515 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:01 pm
If you already got into Columbia and Chicago and didn't get Hamilton or Ruby, then you're not getting it. This is def true for the Hamilton, I believe it is also the case for the Ruby.

I would think it should be between UVA and NYU (maybe Mich should stay in play too, but simplify your life by taking Duke, UCLA, and Northwestern off the table), in which case your preferred lifestyle would play a huge role.

I think you should withdraw from Yale, frankly. You said you don't like the idea of debt at all, so it makes no sense to go there over a full-ride at UVA or NYU.

Even though NYU is part of "CCN", I feel like it doesn't carry any significant prestige bump over UVA (which is I guess more prestigious than its rank), if that matters to you, but I could be wrong...
A significant number of Ruby’s (maybe all?) are awarded after admission decisions. And there is no tangible reason to withdraw from Yale. And NYU consistently beats UVA on USNWR’s peer score rating, which is probably our best approximation of prestige. This year NYU was 4.6 and UVA 4.4, and the year before NYU was 4.6 with UVA 4.3. The delta of 0.2-0.3 is the same as HYS vs CCN.

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Nony
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Nony » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:30 pm

Just because the OP probably isn’t going to go to Yale, there’s no reason to withdraw and not even find out whether they can get in. :)

1515
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by 1515 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:58 pm

Tsuga wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:05 pm
1515 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:01 pm
If you already got into Columbia and Chicago and didn't get Hamilton or Ruby, then you're not getting it. This is def true for the Hamilton, I believe it is also the case for the Ruby.

I would think it should be between UVA and NYU (maybe Mich should stay in play too, but simplify your life by taking Duke, UCLA, and Northwestern off the table), in which case your preferred lifestyle would play a huge role.

I think you should withdraw from Yale, frankly. You said you don't like the idea of debt at all, so it makes no sense to go there over a full-ride at UVA or NYU.

Even though NYU is part of "CCN", I feel like it doesn't carry any significant prestige bump over UVA (which is I guess more prestigious than its rank), if that matters to you, but I could be wrong...
A significant number of Ruby’s (maybe all?) are awarded after admission decisions. And there is no tangible reason to withdraw from Yale. And NYU consistently beats UVA on USNWR’s peer score rating, which is probably our best approximation of prestige. This year NYU was 4.6 and UVA 4.4, and the year before NYU was 4.6 with UVA 4.3. The delta of 0.2-0.3 is the same as HYS vs CCN.
My bad on the Ruby. Definitely wait and if you get the Ruby then take it.

Money is literally the most tangible reason. Predictably, OP might get into Yale and then be like "oh fuck it's Yale" and make an emotional decision to go to Yale, and then realize later that it really really sucks to have $200k + of debt v just debt from housing and living, especially when you are doing PI. OP should save themselves from the infirmities of human psychology and eliminate Yale as an option now, when it's easy. It's the wise thing to do.

W/r/t the prestige metric you cite, might that not also indicate that there isn't necessarily a huge prestige gap between HYS and CCN either? I don't think that's in practice the case and I'm down with trying to find an objective criterion for something inherently subjective, but like...I also don't think it's wrong to say that NYU doesn't carry a significant prestige bump over UVA if the difference is a .2 or .3 differential in some numerical score awarded by law professors or whoever.

negusdahabesha
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by negusdahabesha » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:45 pm

Would it matter if OP is deciding between named vs unnamed scholarships? I would think that if they have a named scholarship from any of the aforementioned schools, as opposed to just money, that the named scholarship would be worth slightly more. Not sure if that's true or not, just something to think about!

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Hey_Everybody
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:22 pm

What's the COL at each? Michigan, UVA, Northwestern, or Duke might be the best choice if the COL is going to be substantially lower than NYU and you're debt financing it.

KDBurnerAccount
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:20 pm

I don't plan on withdrawing from anywhere at this point. Rough calculations of COL differences between a place like NYU and UVA puts me at 75k more debt for NYU, which is on the conservative side. Haven't fully delved into it yet for the others. Northwestern would probably be less since Chi is more expensive than the others (excluding NYC), which makes it less appealing comparatively.

Is there anything really distinguishable b/w Michigan, UVA, Northwestern and Duke that I should be considering besides COL and "fit" given my goals? I'm not all that concerned about COL since my partner will be able to help, but if the extra debt is resoundingly not worth it then I would rather not take it on.

Is the general consensus that I should order it like so: NYU, Michigan/UVA, Northwestern/Duke, paying for UChi/CLS/YLS, UCLA ?

Thanks everyone for your help!

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Hey_Everybody
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:25 pm

I don't think NYU is worth $75K more debt than UVA. And yes, I don't think there's anything really distinguishable between any of the others, other than where you feel has the best "fit" and maybe where's geographically closest to the location you want to end up. But that's just one person's opinion.

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Stranger
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Stranger » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:59 pm

Does your UVA full ride include a stipend? I'm having trouble figuring out how you're calculating that much of a difference in COA between the two full rides. https://www.lstreports.com/schools/uva/costs/ shows $78,455 for debt-financed CoL at UVA, while https://www.lstreports.com/schools/nyu/costs/ shows $113,868 for NYU. Michigan, Duke, and Northwestern give figures in the middle of those two (in ascending order of CoL). NYU obviously includes a higher cost of living due to NYC, but I'm baffled at how it would be so much more (unless it's a scholarship that goes down 3L year on the assumption you're financing part of 3L year with funds from a summer associate gig).

KDBurnerAccount
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:20 pm

No, they are both full tuition with no stipends and no aid drop offs . I'm actually unfamiliar with that site. I just calculated a rough estimate of 3k/mo rent in NYC and 1k/mo rent for Charlottesville and multiplied by 36 mo for the 3 years. I can't just account for the school year since my partner won't be moving with me every summer (and I probably wouldn't leave NYC if we went there). My rent for NYC is actually significantly less than what it costs to live in on campus family housing, but may be a bit high for off campus. My C'ville price could be a bit low, but both of those numbers seemed to be around the median of what my (admittedly brief) apartment perusing has shown. If i'm thinking about this entirely wrong, I'd appreciate any insight on how to better do it.

Let's assume your numbers are far more accurate. Would 35k difference be worth it for NYU? How about 50k? What are the considerations for some sort of cutoff? Meaning, why would 75k be definitely not worth it but 35k would?

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Stranger
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Stranger » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:46 pm

KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:20 pm
No, they are both full tuition with no stipends and no aid drop offs . I'm actually unfamiliar with that site. I just calculated a rough estimate of 3k/mo rent in NYC and 1k/mo rent for Charlottesville and multiplied by 36 mo for the 3 years. I can't just account for the school year since my partner won't be moving with me every summer (and I probably wouldn't leave NYC if we went there). My rent for NYC is actually significantly less than what it costs to live in on campus family housing, but may be a bit high for off campus. My C'ville price could be a bit low, but both of those numbers seemed to be around the median of what my (admittedly brief) apartment perusing has shown. If i'm thinking about this entirely wrong, I'd appreciate any insight on how to better do it.

Let's assume your numbers are far more accurate. Would 35k difference be worth it for NYU? How about 50k? What are the considerations for some sort of cutoff? Meaning, why would 75k be definitely not worth it but 35k would?
So, the calculations behind what LST uses (and they're a really good site for digging into data on admissions, costs, and outcomes) include what the schools estimate your costs for housing, transportation, food, books, health insurance (I'd have to check if this is actually in the LST calculations, since it's not in the baseline reported number from the schools, but can be borrowed for), etc. to amount to over the course of three years (though they only include the school months, though some schools put a thumb on the scale to try to make sure you can borrow enough to cover summer), with interest over the course of your three years in school. Critically, their estimates represent the maximum you can borrow in federal loans for cost of living.

Now, there are better ways to get personalized information on this, like utilizing abujabal's calculator (viewtopic.php?f=8&t=987), which can account for things like school funding for PI summers, a partner's income (which might be different or the same in the two locations), the need to pay rent in C'ville and another city at the same time during the summer months, etc. I'd recommend finding the schools' breakdowns of the costs to plug in for the numbers you're not getting from your own research.

We have two rough estimates based on data that doesn't reflect the breadth of your particular reality, and so we're making fairly wild guesses at the moment. Now, it may wind up being the case that at NYU, you would borrow the maximum, while at UVA you would borrow considerably less, but it's clear from the schools' reported numbers that you can't borrow twelve months of $3k/month rent each year while attending NYU, let alone the costs of your books and such on top of it. So it's worth a more serious look at the numbers to figure out what your true debt differential will be.

There are a variety of factors that could make NYU worth *some* amount of debt more than UVA but not $75K, including possibly access to various job markets, institutional support and opportunities, and LRAP quality. Unfortunately, I'm attending a school outside the band with killer (or even good) LRAPs, and was unlikely to ever be in a position to care about the differences in quality between them. Some of that information is available on these forums, but I don't recall exactly where.

Downy4in1
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by Downy4in1 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:07 pm

Congrats on the awesome options!! I think the posters above have fleshed this out enough that I won’t be able to help much, but I wanted to drop in anyway to say I love your username. You deserve $$$$ for that alone. Good luck!

1515
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by 1515 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:38 pm

KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:20 pm
I don't plan on withdrawing from anywhere at this point. Rough calculations of COL differences between a place like NYU and UVA puts me at 75k more debt for NYU, which is on the conservative side. Haven't fully delved into it yet for the others. Northwestern would probably be less since Chi is more expensive than the others (excluding NYC), which makes it less appealing comparatively.

Is there anything really distinguishable b/w Michigan, UVA, Northwestern and Duke that I should be considering besides COL and "fit" given my goals? I'm not all that concerned about COL since my partner will be able to help, but if the extra debt is resoundingly not worth it then I would rather not take it on.

Is the general consensus that I should order it like so: NYU, Michigan/UVA, Northwestern/Duke, paying for UChi/CLS/YLS, UCLA ?

Thanks everyone for your help!
Paying for Chicago, Columbia, or especially UCLA shouldn't even be options (and like I said, don't pay for Yale either, but if you really feel an attachment to it, then I understand).

I'm from LA, so I want UCLA to be good and I do genuinely feel it is under-ranked, but at least withdraw from there, jfc, it's not like they're suddenly going to give you a full-ride plus like a $3k a month stipend or something. Shit, even then I'd be hesitant to suggest going to UCLA, given your other options. Like, in what possible scenario would it make sense to go to UCLA over NYU or UVA full-ride?

KDBurnerAccount
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:39 pm

Downy4in1 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:07 pm
Congrats on the awesome options!! I think the posters above have fleshed this out enough that I won’t be able to help much, but I wanted to drop in anyway to say I love your username. You deserve $$$$ for that alone. Good luck!
Thank you! I'm just happy someone got it haha

KDBurnerAccount
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Re: Which would you choose?

Post by KDBurnerAccount » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:41 pm

1515 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:38 pm
KDBurnerAccount wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:20 pm
I don't plan on withdrawing from anywhere at this point. Rough calculations of COL differences between a place like NYU and UVA puts me at 75k more debt for NYU, which is on the conservative side. Haven't fully delved into it yet for the others. Northwestern would probably be less since Chi is more expensive than the others (excluding NYC), which makes it less appealing comparatively.

Is there anything really distinguishable b/w Michigan, UVA, Northwestern and Duke that I should be considering besides COL and "fit" given my goals? I'm not all that concerned about COL since my partner will be able to help, but if the extra debt is resoundingly not worth it then I would rather not take it on.

Is the general consensus that I should order it like so: NYU, Michigan/UVA, Northwestern/Duke, paying for UChi/CLS/YLS, UCLA ?

Thanks everyone for your help!
Paying for Chicago, Columbia, or especially UCLA shouldn't even be options (and like I said, don't pay for Yale either, but if you really feel an attachment to it, then I understand).

I'm from LA, so I want UCLA to be good and I do genuinely feel it is under-ranked, but at least withdraw from there, jfc, it's not like they're suddenly going to give you a full-ride plus like a $3k a month stipend or something. Shit, even then I'd be hesitant to suggest going to UCLA, given your other options. Like, in what possible scenario would it make sense to go to UCLA over NYU or UVA full-ride?
I understand what you're saying. I am from southern California and want to end up there eventually, but even still I'm starting to feel like it isn't worth it. Just to be clear, though, I have a full ride offer from UCLA. The primary difference in cost b/w most of these schools is the difference in COL. Which makes choosing a lower ranked school in a higher COL area seem silly

On that note, earlier you said I should simplify my life by taking UCLA, Duke and Northwestern out of the equation. We've covered UCLA, but why Duke? Northwestern is also probably not worth the extra COL to me since I don't care for Chicago enough to want to be there post grad.

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