Didn't really have much of a strategy applying to schools and sort of applied as it occurred to me--often in conjunction with the arrival of fee waivers.
I only applied to schools I actually envisioned myself attending, which would account for missing members of the T-14. Thought long and hard about applying to Harvard, decided against it. Yale and Stanford are simply out of my range, besides I want to study in a legit city
(sorry Cornell). I decided to give Duke, UVa and UM a look, though--have heard amazing things about each one of them.
Just didn't get a good vibe from NYU. I have several friends there who really enjoy the atmosphere, but I think the neighborhood is too hip for me. Although I've never been as far north as Morningside Heights, the Upper West Side definitely appeals to me.
Cycle Complete--good luck everyone. While this site has allowed me to indulge in a bit of solipsism, I do hope my comments and experiences can be of some aid to future applicants. I wish I had discovered LSN sooner, myself.
5/3 $25,000 award from Columbia via mail. Extremely quick turnaround, as I filed my financial aid application less than a week ago. Penn admins should take notice. I had already made my deposit, so this was a nice bonus. It makes passing on Chicago even less painful.
4/27 Made my deposit (online) at Columbia, completed the University Housing application, withdrew from UChicago.
4/23 I had an amazing visit at Columbia. Try as might to keep the weather out of my decision, 80's and sunny certainly trumped the rain/snow mix I encountered in Chicago. I had the opportunity to stroll around the neighborhood, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It was the last day of classes, so the students had begun stressing for finals, but everyone assured me that the "cut-throat" reputation was wholly unfounded. Tough as it will be to pass on UChicago (and the great kids I met there), I'm excited to move to Manhattan this August.
4/16 Withdrew from every school but Chicago and Columbia. The idea of spending three years in Manhattan has started to grow on me. Columbia has an established Sports and Entertainment Law program, so I will factor that into my decision as well. Still, if I don't get the same warm and fuzzy feeling I got in Hyde Park, I won't hesitate to pass.
4/14 Surprise acceptance from Columbia. A large package was waiting for me when I got home--I did not receive an email. I had completely forgotten about them and had geared myself up for three years in Hyde Park. Columbia was my top choice coming into the cycle. I honestly had so much fun at U of C, I had forgotten all about my deferral. This complicates things for me. And while I'm thrilled to have been admitted, I have only two weeks to make a very difficult decision. I really wish I'd have gotten the opportunity to attend the CLS admit weekend.
Visiting Chicago with other prospectives and getting to interact with potential classmates really helped me develop a good idea of what to expect. I was a bit prejudiced against Chicago going into the visit, and I've heard similarly negative things about the environment at Columbia. I'll be popping up for a visit next week and will try to keep an open mind and make the best decision possible. Without trying to sound too melodramatic, I'm seriously torn up over this and will feel like a huge hypocrite if I back out on Chicago now. I somehow developed this perverse loyalty to a school and a city after a mere 72 hours. On the bright side I achieved a "clean sheet" (no rejections) and am privately satisfied at having completed a sweep.
Comments and advice are welcome.
4/12-4/13 ASW at Chicago was unbelievable. The students and professors dispelled all the negative rumors I've ever heard about the school. Everyone, including Dean Levmore was very forthcoming about the academic rigor of the school and what is expected of students. But few, if any, exemplified the "anti-social and depressed" images circulating about U of C. The city is amazing, and remains eminently accessible, even though Hyde Park is a bit removed from downtown.
The class is small and reminded me a lot of my small private high school, with everyone being incredibly smart, but also genuinely personable and a little offbeat--something I enjoy. People at the school are aware of the outsiders' perception of them, and seem to enjoy sending it up. Everyone there seems serious about academics, but the Wine Messes and other group activities offer ample opportunity to socialize. Most of the admits I spoke to were similarly impressed and enthused, with several saying they were ready to commit because of their experience during the weekend. A few seriously claimed to be leaning towards Chicago over Harvard. Still more preferred it to Columbia and NYU. I was 90% I'd be attending until I got home.
4/11 Checked out Northwestern the day before Chicago's ASW. The campus is beautiful and everyone in the admissions office is impossibly nice. I sat in on a Torts class and the professor was engaging and forgiving when students blanked on answers/interpretations. Everyone seemed really relaxed and happy to be there. I thought it would be tough to withdraw until I met the kids at Chicago.
3/22-3/23 Penn's ASW was a good experience. Took SEPTA from my apartment near Old City across the river on Thursday night and discovered the ride wasn't so bad. I didn't do any bowling, but overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere. Friday I got to see the campus and met some more really impressive students (both current and prospective). The class I sat in on was pretty boring, but the Professor made a (goodnatured) crack about one student who disagreed with him and everyone laughed. I was not blown away by the facilities, but they are acceptable. Lunch was amazing and despite the conscious effort to market "collegiality" by the organizers, I genuinely believed it coming from the students. The one downside is that nobody is crazy about the University housing options--so if I enroll, I will likely keep my apartment.
3/21 Good and bad today. Good was the Northwestern Admitted Students dinner at Alma de Cuba (16th and Walnut). I've been dying to eat there and it was a nice excuse--NU is really head and shoulders above the other schools with respect to recruiting effort. Bad was my $0 need and $0 merit aid email from Penn. I'll be at ASW this weekend and will try not to allow their penuriousness affect my bowling (or drinking).
3/19 Withdrew from Duke and Georgetown--best of luck to everyone on the waitlists!
3/10 Productive week in scholarships, capped by $60,000 offer from Duke. Sadly won't be able to visit Durham.
3/9 $30,000 from GULC. My efforts following my rejection as a Dean Scholar appear to have succeeded. Assist goes to a fellow accepted student for advice on how to negotiate.
3/8 $36,000 scholly from Chicago--$18,000 1L, $10,800 2L, $7,200 3L with an extra $7,200 option if I engage in 10 weeks of public interest work. Very excited for ASW in April.
3/7 $120 large from Northwestern. Wow, this certainly makes things interesting.
2/26 Received my first scholly! $18,000 a year, no strings from Michigan. Definitely considering a visit to Ann Arbor now, just not sure how many plane tickets I can afford, as I've RSVPed for Chicago's ASW already.
2/20 Received $70 refund check from Columbia (I submitted my application before receiving their fee waiver). Would totally trade it for an acceptance--currently weighing the merits of sending a homemade card to that effect. A little Elmer's and some glitter can do wonders, I'm told.
2/16 Notified via email that I was not selected as a Dean Scholar at Georgetown. Invited to confirm my interest in other scholarship opportunities and to send along any relevant information. I am and I did.
2/8 Sent a Please, Like Me letter to Columbia. Some refer to it as a "letter of continued interest," but I relied so heavily on the phrase "please, like me," I figured a change in nomenclature was in order.
2/5 Deferred at Columbia, will hear final decision by April.
2/5 Accepted at Michigan via mail. Doesn't exactly ease the sting of the Columbia deferral...but the Dean said that I was a "wonderful writer"...better...and wonderful was underlined...ah, there it is.
2/1 Invited to apply for Georgetown Dean's Scholarship.
2/1 Michigan status checker reads "Decision."
1/26 Had a great time at GULC ASW. I was really impressed with both the credentials and accessibility of the faculty. DC sells itself--to me at least. Current students seemed genuinely happy to be there, and the visiting students were very cool for the most part. A few seemed hung up on their admission to bigger name schools--1 guy in particular, to the point I felt tempted to ask why even bothered to come. These people (prestige snobs) were very nerdy (not the cool kind of nerds I enjoy, either) and I will consider myself fortunate if we end up at different schools. GULC made a huge leap in my book, although this was my first visit, and I suspect I might have similar reactions following other ASWs...I am very susceptible in such environments.
1/22 In at Chicago via mail, must have missed the phone call.
1/19 Email from Northwestern, further admission materials to follow via FedEx.
12/28 Email from Duke welcoming me to class of 2010--pacakge to follow by mail.
12/23 Letter from Michigan saying my application is complete.
12/22 Christmas card/acceptance letter from Georgetown.
12/20 Phone call from Penn--materials to follow by mail. Did not write "Why Penn" essay.
12/20 Website at Georgetown reads "decision." Will be notified by mail.
Thanks for the kind words. I went into the process half-blind, not knowing about LSN or LSD or TLS, which have turned out to be indispensable resources. Columbia was my #1 going into the process, so I will probably wait until April to decide for sure. I am from Philly, so I am looking forward to Penn's ASW in March. They are probably the favorite right now, but things could change if I receive significant aid anywhere.