Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Columbia (COA 240k)
10
45%
NYU (COA 270k)
2
9%
Penn (COA 200k)
2
9%
Berkeley (COA 200k)
0
No votes
Northwester (COA 170k)
8
36%
 
Total votes: 22

tla1992

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:21 am

Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby tla1992 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:37 am

Just another lurker in desperate need of advice..

Columbia COA ~240k
Penn COA ~200k
Berkeley COA ~200k
Northwestern COA ~170

Some tiny savings (<$5,000) but mostly federal loans

Want to settle in the east coast after law school (Boston, NYC, or DC). Am going to law school to pursue a public interest career (which makes Columbia’s lrap highly appealing) and am particularly interested in international human rights law. Am definitely considering doing biglaw for 3-4 years

My gpa is 3.95 and my lsat is 166 (taken three times, cancelled twice, will not be retaking). Non URM

Thank you!!!

The Lsat Airbender

Bronze
Posts: 196
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:31 am

Am going to law school to pursue a public interest career (which makes Columbia’s lrap highly appealing) and am particularly interested in international human rights law. Am definitely considering doing biglaw for 3-4 years

You really need to decide which of these three you care about most since they're pretty different things. If you're even going to touch biglaw, for instance, then Northwestern is pretty clearly the call here. Biglaw salaries disqualify you from LRAP coverage. And "international human rights law" isn't really a job.

User avatar
Sls17

Bronze
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby Sls17 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:52 am

I recommend some serious research on these LRAP programs before allowing that to be a factor in your decision. The programs will all vary somewhat, but as Lsat Airbender identified, I don’t believe any of these schools have a program that allows you to benefit after a few years spent in biglaw.

icansortofmath

Bronze
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby icansortofmath » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:58 am

Once you said east coast and said NYC you pretty much already narrowed it down to Columbia.

jsnow212

New
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:36 am

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby jsnow212 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:41 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Am going to law school to pursue a public interest career (which makes Columbia’s lrap highly appealing) and am particularly interested in international human rights law. Am definitely considering doing biglaw for 3-4 years

You really need to decide which of these three you care about most since they're pretty different things. If you're even going to touch biglaw, for instance, then Northwestern is pretty clearly the call here. Biglaw salaries disqualify you from LRAP coverage. And "international human rights law" isn't really a job.


I'd pretty plainly pay 30k more for Penn to stay on the east coast and for stronger NYC placement.

User avatar
LSATWiz.com

Partner
Posts: 598
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby LSATWiz.com » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:46 pm

Columbia seems like it's definitely the right call here.

Paul Campos

Silver
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:44 am

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby Paul Campos » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:37 pm

Those cost estimates seem very low for somebody with a 166 LSAT, who is therefore probably paying sticker or very close. For example COA for Columbia this fall will be over $100K, and since you're using federal loans to finance everything you're looking at something around $370K at repayment after adding in annual increases, interest, and fees. Also Columbia really lowballs its COL numbers, budgeting something like $13.5K for nine months' rent in Manhattan.

icansortofmath

Bronze
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby icansortofmath » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:12 pm

Rent isn't that high around Columbia. You can get a full 1 bedroom within walking distance for ~1800 a month, less than $1500 a month if you shop around a little and get a little lucky. Another typical arrangement is splitting a 2500 2 bedroom 2 ways.

The nicer apartments around UPenn aren't much cheaper.

User avatar
jbagelboy

Diamond
Posts: 10313
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:21 am

At these prices, I would definitely urge Columbia

plurilingue

Bronze
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:58 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby plurilingue » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:22 am

Did OP apply to NYU for PI? Strongly encourage OP to consider NYU, which just raised the LRAP income contribution threshold to $100k/year starting with the c/o 2019. In other words, no contribution towards loans for an income up to $100k if in qualifying employment. NYU continues to have by far the most generous LRAP in the country.

Not updated to reflect the above but still helpful: https://7sage.com/admissions/lesson/lrap-programs/

tla1992

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:21 am

Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby tla1992 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:31 pm

Hi TLS

Desperately need help deciding what to do:


I am currently debating between Columbia (COA ~240K), NYU (COA ~270k), Penn (COA ~200k), Berkeley (COA ~200k), and Northwestern (COA ~170k). Unfortunately, I have almost no savings and family support so will have to take out federal loans to cover these costs.



I would love to clerk and ultimately want to go into PI; I am particularly interested in international human rights law (which makes Columbia's and NYU's LRAP very appealing). I am also planning on doing biglaw for 3-4 years to make a dent in loan repayment (will be looking into firms with good pro bono options). While I don't mind moving away from the east coast for a little, I do want to return here once I'm done with school.



My GPA is 3.95 and my LSAT score is 166 (Non URM). Since I have already taken the LSAT 3 times (cancelled twice) I will not be retaking...



Your advice and input are highly appreciated :)

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby LBJ's Hair » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:22 pm

For me, this would come down to whether I prefer NYU's fun location and more PI-friendly culture and programming, Columbia's Ivy League name and $30K, or Penn + $70K. I do think there's a difference, though not a huge one, between Columbia/NYU and Penn for competitive clerkship placement and NY BigLaw, but it's not huge and lower debt is never bad.

Berkeley I would toss out unless you want to be West coast, in which case go there. Alumni network, local firm placement, PI interest, etc etc. Northwestern same, but for Chicago. For unicorn stuff like international human rights, I do think the abstract "prestige" matters -- school name, firm name, fanciness of clerkship, etc. I think NU and Berkeley place meaningfully worse on the East Coast than C/N/P.

But ultimately a reasonable person could pick any one of these I think? If someone quote-posted me and said "Northwestern, you need to minimize your debt load at all costs" I wouldn't say they're an idiot. They're just more risk-average than I would be in this situation.

albanach

Gold
Posts: 1932
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby albanach » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Tend to agree with the above, though I voted for NW because I personally don't think the other options are worth the extra dollars.

I suppose if OP were risk averse, they'd retake the LSAT. That GPA is made for HYS, and HYS (or indeed the chance to go to another T-14 and graduate almost debt free) are probably the best schools for OPs career goals. I really cannot think of a scenario where attending now makes more sense than retaking the LSAT, even if it were to mean delaying by twelve months.

User avatar
Sls17

Bronze
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby Sls17 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:54 pm

Make sure you’ve done your LRAP research on each of these schools — many will not allow you to later enter a loan forgiveness program after starting out in biglaw.

icansortofmath

Bronze
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby icansortofmath » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:08 pm

NYU's LRAP is very generous but I still probably take Columbia. If you move away from areas directly related to law, and especially as you move away from East Coast, Columbia's name carries quite a bit of weight. It's dumb (IMO), but lay prestige matters when a big chunk of your job is establishing credibility with people that know nothing about you and don't understand any of your work histories.

Put differently, I don't think employment options out of school are that different but for what you're trying to do, Columbia's name will pay dividends for rest of your career. Berkeley and Penn would work too.

It's not a big difference but it's there.

I don't see a reason to take NW unless they are huge into PI in ways I am not aware of or you want to be in Chicago. Do Berkeley or Penn if you want to save money and NYU/Columbia's LRAP don't work for you.

Also don't bother the step in big law unless you plan to pay the whole thing off. Just do PSLF/REPAYE. If you do PSLF, it probably makes no difference whether you get a 170k or 400k loan. You'll be paying 10% of your disposable (salary - 150% federal poverty) for 10 years and getting the balance forgiven. In this kind of situation, knowing how LRAP at the schools interact with the PSLF scheme is more important.
Last edited by icansortofmath on Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6338
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:12 pm

icansortofmath wrote:NYU's LRAP is very generous but I still probably take Columbia. If you move away from areas directly related to law, and especially as you move away from East Coast, Columbia's name carries quite a bit of weight. It's dumb (IMO), but lay prestige matters when a big chunk of your job is establishing credibility with people that know nothing about you and don't understand any of your work histories.


There are good reasons to be hesitant about taking out this kind of debt at NYU, but "lay prestige" isn't one of them. Laypeople don't make hiring decisions; lawyers do. And NYU and Columbia, despite what everyone's Aunt Marie may think, are peer schools. NYU's name will carry just as much weight as Columbia's if OP decides to move.

icansortofmath

Bronze
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby icansortofmath » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:14 pm

I am talking about if OP moves away from areas of international human rights occupied by lawyers and Americans.

And in international human rights (like in most areas of philanthropy), a lot of the work is fundraising from "Aunt Marie"s.

If OP wants to just permanently stay near legal work, sure, lay prestige will never help him. But I doubt he/she is sure about where his/her career will take him.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6338
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:02 am

icansortofmath wrote:I am talking about if OP moves away from areas of international human rights occupied by lawyers and Americans.

And in international human rights (like in most areas of philanthropy), a lot of the work is fundraising from "Aunt Marie"s.

If OP wants to just permanently stay near legal work, sure, lay prestige will never help him. But I doubt he/she is sure about where his/her career will take him.


JDs are only good for practicing law. So I'm really not sure what your point is.

There is no such thing as "lay prestige" for law schools.

we'rebothmenofthelaw

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:11 pm

Re: Columbia vs Penn vs Berkeley vs Northwestern

Postby we'rebothmenofthelaw » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:31 am

Columbia’s LRAP stronger than NYU’s for vast majority of circumstances. NYU’s change to a two-track model is basically the same is Columbia’s, but with slightly worse benefits (I emphasize SLIGHT because these are two of the best programs and very similar, although CLS’s third track is arguably the best option for some people in these uncertain times).

CLS, like several other programs (possibly most, but I haven’t surveyed this aspect carefully across the board, does allow you to go in and out or to start after practicing BigLaw for a few years, but you should review the section on non-program earnings carefully, as well as be cognizant of the 3-5 year vesting schedule for CLS forgiving its loans to you.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2468
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Columbia vs NYU vs Penn vs Berkely vs Northwestern

Postby QContinuum » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:25 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
icansortofmath wrote:I am talking about if OP moves away from areas of international human rights occupied by lawyers and Americans.

And in international human rights (like in most areas of philanthropy), a lot of the work is fundraising from "Aunt Marie"s.

If OP wants to just permanently stay near legal work, sure, lay prestige will never help him. But I doubt he/she is sure about where his/her career will take him.


JDs are only good for practicing law. So I'm really not sure what your point is.

There is no such thing as "lay prestige" for law schools.

If OP's goal is to get an "Ivy" degree to assist with fundraising from "Aunt Marie's," there are cheaper/better ways of doing that than a J.D. A one-year Master's program comes to mind.



Return to “Choosing a Law School?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Veil of Ignorance and 5 guests