Harvard or State School?

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Harvard or State School?
By Mayuris86 (Mayuris86) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

Looks like a lot of you have similar probs, but I wanted to see what opinions were on my dilemma! I have been accepted to numerous schools (and rejected!), but have narrowed it down to Harvard College, University of Florida, and University of Miami. I understand that Harvard is an experience like no other. However, my family does not qualify for financial aid, yet cannot afford the entire tuition. This means that should I go to Harvard, I will be about $100,000 in debt. That is why the state schools are so tempting - I'd be getting paid to go there! I do not, however, want to jeopardize my chances of getting into Harvard Law. Any idea how many students get accepted to Ivies from state schools - I mean is it a real risk giving up Harvard College? Thanks for your help in advance!

By Analogboy (Analogboy) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:56 pm: Edit

I recently saw a study around that kids who reject Ivy league schools go on to do about the same as the kids who go to the ivy league schools. I'll try to find that link.

By Analogboy (Analogboy) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 01:58 pm: Edit

here it is, in case you're curious:


By Spacechic20 (Spacechic20) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 04:56 pm: Edit

If you plan on attending law school, which is probably more expensive than undergrad and much more importamt, you may want to seriously consider a state school. I'm from Florida, too, and I know that UM is a great school. You may want to consider it if you don't want to leave grad school with $300,000+ in debt. Think hard about it and good luck!

By Ashleyswimmer (Ashleyswimmer) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 06:26 pm: Edit

I'm from Florida too. Where in Florida are you guys from?

Also, May, Harvard has financial assistance programs for families who earn over $60k. With 80 million in undergraduate financial aid, they SHOULD be able to help you with payment.


By Mayuris86 (Mayuris86) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

I'm from Jacksonville - you guys?
I am just afraid that by going to UM, I'd be taking a huge risk concerning my chances of getting into Harvard Law. Any opinions?

By Spacechic20 (Spacechic20) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

Well, I'll tell you that during my Harvard interview, my guy surprisingly told me that Harvard really doesn't look at Harvard applicants as above and beyond others. They can only accept so many Harvard undergrads, because they need a diverse student body. They need kids from other schools. Most law majors at Harvard will probbaly apply to Harvard Law, so I'm not sure it going there undergrad will hurt or help. Just something to think about!

By May_1 (May_1) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 02:46 am: Edit

If there is one professional/grad area where name of undergrad matters little, it's law. Law schools have some of the most numbers-oriented admissions. I would strongly recommend taking the less expensive option. I can only imagine how hard it would be to turn down Harvard; if you are willing to take that kind of debt, understand that $100K of debt seriously limits your career options. Tack on another $100K from law school, and suddenly your a 3L with $200K of debt with no choice but to slave away doing grunt work at some massive law firm, when you really want to be working in a smaller market or for some bigger cause. Tough choices lie ahead.

By Brunoniana (Brunoniana) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 02:52 am: Edit

I don't fully agree with May 1. The top law schools overwhelmingly take students from the top 10 liberal arts colleges and universities - particularly Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Amherst.

Furthermore, the very best law schools have extensive loan forgiveness programs for students who decide to work in smaller markets or for "bigger causes" (government, nonprofits, international development, etc.).

My recommendation, based on the experiences of dozens of friends who have attended top universities (as well as those who attended State schools and went to prestigious graduate programs) is that you should go to the best school you can get into, mortgage everything you own, and enjoy those four years. Because you can never, ever, ever repeat undergrad.

By May_1 (May_1) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 05:00 am: Edit

Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Is it the name of the school that they are attracted to, or the fact that a disproportionate number of students from these schools score in very highest percentiles of the LSAT? I'd argue the later. That said, I don't have dozens of friends who have attended top universities, so take my advice (and most you hear over the Internet) with a grain of salt.

By Jingaling (Jingaling) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

I understand your dilemma. I'm in Florida, too, and UM gives a lot of money. UF does, too. Being from Jacksonville, Miami may be a bit farther from home for you. I'm from Miami, so I'm not particularly inclined towards staying. In any case, remember that UM is still a private institution and if they didn't offer you the 100% scholarship, then you're still paying quite a bit for the remainder of the tuition + room and board. And UM is a pretty good school, but it's nothing compared to Harvard -- or UF, for that matter. If Harvard puts you that much in debt, though, I wouldn't push for it. It's really difficult, even with student loans, low interest rates, etc, to pull out of THAT much debt.

Have you looked much into UF? It's a really good state school, and with Florida Bright futures, you'd get full-paid tuition. The only drawbacks I can see for you are the size (it's pretty huge), and the location, as it's a lot closer to Jacksonville than it is to Miami. Also, if you're a National Merit Scholar, though, and you name them your top choice, they give you a LOT of money. Seriously, it's enough money to cover room and board and still get a nice check in the mail every month. That money could certainly go to law school.

My interviewer for Yale actually went to Yale law and graduated from UM for undergrad, so yes, it is definitely possible to get into Harvard law even if you choose to stay in state. Harvard does take a large chunk of its students from its undergraduate program, though. Have you tried talking to the financial aid office at Harvard? Sometimes if you explain to the office that you really can't afford it even though it looks like it on paper, they'll give you some aid. It's worth a shot. It is Harvard, after all. Good luck with everything. I hope it all works out for you!

By Ambitiousyokel (Ambitiousyokel) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:31 am: Edit

Harvard College produces the greatest number of students who attend Harvard Law. I think 1/7 of Harvard Law went to Harvard College. However, Harvard Law isn't necessarily the be-all-and-end-all. I'm going to HC, but I'm willing to admit that Yale has a better law school.

By Qwy (Qwy) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

I have a different question.
I SERIOUSLY want to go to med school. I got into a 7 year BS/MD program at Case Western (so basically a guarantteed position at its med school), but I also really want to attend Harvard. Which one should I choose??? I quite agree with the fact that undergrad can never, ever be repeated, so I'm very confused as to where I should go next year.

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