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Columbia vs Full Ride at BYU

divaspellerdivaspeller Alum Member

First - thank you 7sage! I ended up getting a 172 on the LSAT, and I know it wouldn't have been possible without the amazing materials on the site. I've been blessed to get into Columbia, BYU, Cornell and Vanderbilt. I'm really torn between Columbia, (because I love NYC and all of the programs at Columbia) and BYU, where I have a full tuition scholarship + $2500 stipend. I've visited both (I did undergrad at BYU actually), and enjoyed both...I just can't decide if I should go for the prestige, or the debt free degree. Advice?

Comments

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    3279 karma

    What are your goals? Have you tried negotiating with the other schools?

  • divaspellerdivaspeller Alum Member
    68 karma

    I'm not entirely sure. I'm intrigued by the idea of BigLaw, but not 100% committed; I'm pretty positive I want to try for a clerkship though.

    As for negotiating -- I just sent in the scholarship app for Cornell, and I'm hoping I can use whatever they give me to negotiate with Columbia (thoughts on if that will work given that Cornell is bottom T14 and Columbia's #5?)....Vanderbilt gave me a pretty decent scholarship too but I don't know if I can use it to negotiate, and I'm not really considering going there...

  • thebradleythebradley Member
    3 karma

    Just dropping in to say congratulations. Well done.

  • divaspellerdivaspeller Alum Member
    68 karma

    @thebradley said:
    Just dropping in to say congratulations. Well done.

    Thanks!

  • lexxx745lexxx745 Alum Member Sage
    3190 karma

    lol if you do BYU you dont gotta do bigLaw. But IF you wanna do Biglaw, man cant give up columbia

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    3279 karma

    @divaspeller said:
    I'm not entirely sure. I'm intrigued by the idea of BigLaw, but not 100% committed; I'm pretty positive I want to try for a clerkship though.

    As for negotiating -- I just sent in the scholarship app for Cornell, and I'm hoping I can use whatever they give me to negotiate with Columbia (thoughts on if that will work given that Cornell is bottom T14 and Columbia's #5?)....Vanderbilt gave me a pretty decent scholarship too but I don't know if I can use it to negotiate, and I'm not really considering going there...

    Premature to being making a decision. Hypothesizing is fun but not a good use of time. Once you know how much each school will cost then you can make a decision.

    In the mean time, you should learn more about post-grad opportunities.

    Lastly, Vanderbilt is a good school. The T14s don't know you aren't serious about going there. Use it as leverage.

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Member
    5249 karma

    Have you visited?

  • divaspellerdivaspeller Alum Member
    68 karma

    Yes, I was able to visit both before everything went crazy. I loved being in New York City; I just don’t know if I’m willing to give up a full ride, especially now.

  • danielbrowning208danielbrowning208 Alum Member
    531 karma

    @divaspeller Go to Columbia; it's not even close (unless you know you want to practice in Utah). Your potential career outcomes are much higher and much broader at Columbia, which can be valuable especially since you don't know exactly what you want to do. Columbia gives you many more potential options. Conversely, if you knew you wanted to practice in Utah and not do a clerkship or biglaw, I'd say take the money.

  • 1000001910000019 Alum Member
    3279 karma

    @danielbrowning208 said:
    @divaspeller Conversely, if you knew you wanted to practice in Utah and not do a clerkship

    Colombia's clerkship numbers are pretty meh. Sticker at Colombia is not worth the chance of becoming part of the 5% of the graduating class that lands a federal clerkship.

  • 427cobra427cobra Alum Member
    14 karma

    I had a friend choose full ride at UCLA vs sticker at Columbia. Even in LA area he still hasn't gotten the same job opportunities in BigLaw as he would have in Columbia.

  • g3miller3g3miller3 Member
    16 karma

    For a good mix, I would leverage offers with Vanderbilt. It has a great clerkship and big law rate, and it places really well in NYC. If you go BYU, you would be stuck in Utah for the first part of your career. Columbia would mean HAVING to do big law for like 5 years to pay down sticker debt. Congrats and good luck!

  • Matthew19941Matthew19941 Core Member
    102 karma

    I'm unsure if you're a member of the LDS church but if you are BYU is the cheapest law school in America. Its my personal target school to get into since I'm a member and its extremely cheap.

  • spinosanspinosan Alum Member
    187 karma

    Wanted to start off with a reminder of how cool of a position you're in -congratulations!

    I've theorized about being in this position a bunch of times (if i'm ever so fortunate) and i think it depends on a few things. Ultimately it depends on what you want to do post graduation.

    If you want the ability to make career decisions free of debt (i.e. public interest, sometimes it's easier to take a clerkship if you know you don't have a mountain of debt waiting for you to be paid off after the fact, etc) then BYU might offer you the best option.

    If, however, you're willing to work pretty hard after you graduate for a few years (i.e. biglaw or a job in business that pays really well) and don't mind money being a more primary motivator behind the career decision, then Columbia is probably a better choice. I wouldn't not pick Columbia because you think you'll have a better chance at clerkships somewhere else; I don't think the 15% at Columbia getting clerkships is due to lack of ability (that's still around 50 people per class, too)

    Best of luck with the decision and once again - enjoy this part!

  • spinosanspinosan Alum Member
    187 karma

    @spinosan said:
    Wanted to start off with a reminder of how cool of a position you're in -congratulations!

    I've theorized about being in this position a bunch of times (if i'm ever so fortunate) and i think it depends on a few things. Ultimately it depends on what you want to do post graduation.

    If you want the ability to make career decisions free of debt (i.e. public interest, sometimes it's easier to take a clerkship if you know you don't have a mountain of debt waiting for you to be paid off after the fact, etc) then BYU might offer you the best option.

    If, however, you're willing to work pretty hard after you graduate for a few years (i.e. biglaw or a job in business that pays really well) and don't mind money being a more primary motivator behind the career decision, then Columbia is probably a better choice. I wouldn't not pick Columbia because you think you'll have a better chance at clerkships somewhere else; I don't think the 15% at Columbia getting clerkships is due to lack of ability (that's still around 50 people per class, too)

    Best of luck with the decision and once again - enjoy this part!

    Misread that statistic - it's actually about 25 (~5%) people at Columbia that get clerkships. Still, i don't think this is due to lack of ability, i think it probably has more to do with being in the epicenter of biglaw work and attracting that type of student body/recruiters

  • vichinskyvichinsky Live Member
    502 karma

    Have you applied to NYU? Its not Columbia but its could be a great alternative.

  • jmarmaduke96jmarmaduke96 Member Sage
    2891 karma

    @spinosan I have wondered similar things about those statistics. I can find the raw numbers for how many students from various schools get clerkships, and The Princeton Review published percentages in their latest rankings. But like you said, I feel like some of the differences in numbers might be due to lack of interest. Columbia has pretty poor clerkship percentage numbers compared to Virginia and Chicago, but that percentage is calculated on the basis of the raw number of individuals from the class who take clerkships. Do you know if it is possible to find numbers on how many individuals from a school obtained clerkships out of how many applied? I think that number would be a lot more instructive and account for variables like class size, lack of interest in the student body, etc.

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Member
    5249 karma

    Would Columbia give you a stipend? Do you know anyone there who might help you find affordable housing? For BYU, do you know anyone there? In which location would you be happier? Also, which one has the most course offerings you like?

  • GoVaCaMaDaAqNeGoVaCaMaDaAqNe Alum Member
    118 karma

    If I were you and I already graduated from BYU I’d hit Columbia up to diversify my resume and experience ...yes you’ll have way more debt...but that’s manageable through 10 yr federal service forgiveness program or 20-25 yrs of qualifying payments, which if you have kids , lowers your payments....the experience of an elite education like that is hard to pass up ....look at many of the top church leaders , they went to top law schools too and they did just fine.....graduating from BYU debt free is great and all but working and schooling with the diversity of Columbia and then seeing where that will take you to serve in an even more diverse way is much more exciting....my motto is you should go to the top school that accepts you and do your best and if you do you’ll make plenty of money to pay it back but most of all you have the journey of a lifetime!

  • 99thPercentileOrDieTryin99thPercentileOrDieTryin Free Trial Member
    652 karma

    I wouldn't even think twice. Columbia.

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