NYU vs. Northwestern

Discuss comparisons of various school choices and the various metrics that inform them, including rankings, student life, location, etc.
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NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by GunnerControl » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:48 pm

-Please don't quote-

Hi all!

So my cycle is over and now it's decision time! This is my second cycle and wanted to thank this site for indirectly convincing me to retake/reapply last year. I didn't score higher on the LSAT but I thankfully got better results and it ended up being a great move.

Goals are NYC BigLaw for as long as I can tolerate or allowed to remain, and then generic BigLaw exit options (GC, midlaw, gov., etc.) which I will figure out more specifically before I get there. Doing a fed clerkship or academia would be nice but I'm not going to factor that into my decision.

Main Options:

NYU $-$$ - Total COA - ~$186K
Northwestern ~$$$ - Total COA - ~$121K

Other Options:

Penn Sticker: Total COA - ~286K
Fordham $$$: Total COA - ~82K

Fortunate enough to be able to pay mostly through savings. My spouse will be able to cover most of COL.

I understand that NU is a great option, but I'm leaning NYU. My spouse and I have lived in the NYC area our whole lives and the plan is to end up here. There would be a lot of benefits to being near family, such as help with babysitting when needed, not having to book flights, etc. I think that NYU gives a bigger grade cushion for top firms and I feel like it's a safer place in case a recession hits.

Is it crazy though to choose NYU over NU at a ~65K difference?

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by Stranger » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:06 pm

Well, we have the advantage of this year's employment numbers being available for the four schools you've listed. I'll start with raw biglaw+FC for this year:

Penn: 80.2%
Northwestern: 76.0%
NYU: 75.1%
Fordham: 52.8%

Not much difference up there at the top, really. Let's look at both pure and weighted averages for the past five years:

Penn: 78.2%/78.8%
Northwestern: 69.6%/71.4%
NYU: 72.7%/73.8%
Fordham: 42.3%/45.5%

So, what we see from this is that NYU and Penn are extremely consistent, and that this year, Northwestern put up numbers comparable to those two. It's also worth noting that NYU puts up a substantial number of PI lawyers - they're one of a very small number of top schools to manage over 15% of their grads working in the public sector. They're certainly worth more, for a generic applicant who wants to land in NY biglaw, than Northwestern. I doubt they're worth $65K more than Northwestern to a generic applicant, but maybe $20-30K.

The question for you is, does the benefit of getting to keep that location stable for your NYC-native spouse while getting help with babysitting from family worth the remaining $35-45K difference between the two schools over the course of three years?

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by Dany » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:24 am

It sounds like NYU is perfect for you in terms of your goals and location, so I don’t think the $65k difference is the worst thing in the world, even though you’d likely end up with a similar outcome from NU. Have you tried getting NYU to bump your scholarship based on Northwestern’s offer?

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by George Marshall » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:40 am

Yeah, you wouldn't be insane to take NYU here.

I do think you're right re: NYU giving a bigger grade cushion for top firms, but both schools will get you biglaw just fine and that alone isn't worth 65k. But that combined with personal factors might make NYU worth the additional cost.

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by necho2 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:22 pm

Yeah 65k is squarely in the range where family benefits + relocation expense + spouse being able to retain a job makes sense decision-wise. The fact that NYU is probably a bit better at NYC Biglaw employment is just the cherry on top!

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by Slytherpuff » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:30 pm

I'd go with NYU here. Even if you're at the bottom of your class you'd still have a strong shot at NYC big law. And being so close to family will make your guys' day-to-day lives a lot more bearable.

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Re: NYU vs. Northwestern

Post by GunnerControl » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:25 pm

Thank you all so much! I don't think I would've made the decision to reapply if it wasn't for this site and I am so grateful!

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