Canadian Applying to Ivy League Schools - Is it worth it?

Hi everyone,

I just got my lsat score back and I scored 177 (which was above my highest prep test by 3 points lol). I never expected to score this high, so never really considered looking into Ivy League Schools, but now I'm thinking of applying for HYS, Columbia and Berkeley, and maybe Oxford/Cambridge. Obviously, the money is a huge factor, especially with the Canadian dollar so low, but I'm wondering is an Ivy League education worth the money? My parents are quite debt averse and are encouraging me to stay within Canada, but if my goal is international law/human rights law/public interest law or academia, I think the Ivy League schools might be a better option for career prospects/connections. I know they also have good loan assistance programs (but unsure if this applies to Canadian schools?)

Any advice would be muchly appreciated. Also, in Canada I do not qualify for financial aid (not sure what my situation would be in the US) so that is also a factor that I might have to take out huge loans.


  • vanessa fishervanessa fisher Alum Member
    1084 karma

    There is a lot of debate about this topic and a lot of mixed opinions. I think a lot of it depends on where you want to end up and also your financial situation. For international law, I do think the Ivy education looks great and opens some extra doors, but then again the price tag is massive and I think it is really hard to go into any kind of public interest field with a $300K debt, even if you go to Harvard. I have a friend that went to Harvard that said the humanitarian law field is really really stiff competition to get a well-paid job in, even if you come out of Harvard, so unless you are floating in money, I'd consider it deeply.

    I do know that Yale has a good repayment program and that they encourage public interest careers, so you may want to look into that. It's still a risk financially, but that is something you'd have to decide based on your own life conditions.

    If you got a scholarship to New York University, that might be worth it as you are right beside the UN and all those international connections.

    Again, just keep in mind that public interest/humanitarian law/international law all sound sexy, but are extremely hard careers to succeed in and make money from.

    I've decided to apply to Yale and Harvard as well as the Canadian schools here. Not sure I'd go even if I got accepted, but worth putting the app in :)

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    If your goal is international law, I would always go for the prestige factor above anything else.

    So yes, I think it would be worth it.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Agreed with everything @"vanessa fisher" said. Also, congrats on the amazing score!!

    I personally think the debt that you have to take on for HYS isn't worth it unless you are definitely going to do biglaw and will see a massive paycheck. But the fields you are interested in are very competitive and for the most part not high paying. So (take it with a grain of salt maybe because I'm very debt averse) I personally feel like they are not the wisest choice if you are not seeking a big paycheck to offset the expense. You should definitely consider NYU though as they are very strong in that area and obviously a great school.

    I would assume that merit scholarships are the same regardless of citizenship, but you likely wouldn't be eligible for some of the programs in the US that PI folks depend on (like PILF). Can't speak much about the option of Canadian schools since I'm really not familiar with them.

    Best of luck and keep us posted!

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