« on: January 31, 2007, 06:59:48 PM »
I just got back from my final law school visit and figured I would write up a comprehensive review for those of you who applied to one or more of the above schools. Law school visits can be expensive, especially when your coming across the country. However, being from South Jersey, I found myself right in the middle of these 3 cities so I might as well share my good fortune.
A couple things to mention before I begin:
-I didn't get to sit in on classes at any of the schools.
-I'm right out of undergrad so my opinions may not coincide with those of more seasoned applicants.
-My only sunny visit was to GW; it was dreary for the rest of my visits (this may or may not have effected my perception of the atmosphere; in either case, I just wanted to clue you guys into any potential biases)
-I got accepted at GW, accepted at BU, waitlisted at BC, and haven't heard from Fordham. These circumstances may have also subconsciously biased my reviews a little.
Alright lets get to it....
I drove into Boston right after the rush hour traffic had ended. Thanks to me placing my trust in my friend's navigational skills, I got to see ALOT of the surrounding area as we were......exploring (aka horribly lost). There appears to be a ton of stuff around the BU campus. A couple blocks southeast is a huge mall that, from what I could tell, spanned multiple blocks. In this area there are also alot of satelitte shops and the like, a real shoppers paradise from what my friend said (I'll defer to the girl's opinion here). Also, for you baseball fans, Fenway Park is a few blocks east of the campus; within walking distance from what I could tell.
Anyway, on to the campus. BU's grad/undergrad campus runs east-west along Commonwealth Avenue, a two-lane street separated by the trolley line (I'm sure this is called something else in Boston). The law school is located on the northern half while food shops, barbershops, bookstores, etc. are on the southern side of the street. As I approached the law school doors I got hit with a massive wind gust off of the Charles River (DIRECTLY north of the campus) that knocked me back a step. I probably should have taken this as a sign not to enter. As I'm sure everyone has heard, the building looks bad on the outside, but not as bad as I had expected on the inside. The first few floors have some decent-looking study areas. I snuck into some unlocked rooms a couple floors up. Nice stadium seating but not overly comfortable. The library was about as plain as it gets. Nothing really stood out as above average and it had a VERY gloomy feel to it (very little natural light). There also seems to be a satelitte law library in the basement of the building next to the law school. This area was even more dreary and dungeon-like. As we walked through it, my friend kept repeating to herself "this is law school hell, this is law school hell." Enough said. Finally, the elevators scared the s**t out of me. The higher we went, the louder and more frequent the griding (and a little shaking) became. Maybe I just caught a bad elevator or something, who knows, but I didn't like it. On the bright side, the view from the upper floors is REALLY nice.
Overall, my feeling on BU was that it was nothing outstanding, nothing overly horrendous (minus the library). In any event, having only one building in the middle of the undergrad campus left me feeling a distinct lack of community, a factor that really turned me off.
From BU (what a boy from the 'burbs would consider the heart of the city) the BC campus was LITERALLY a 5 minute drive. However, I could have mistaken the campus for being in the middle of the country. COMPLETE 180. The area around BC seems to be largely traditional, victorian, upscale homes. My friend had family in Newton and said it was a pretty upperclass section of the Boston landscape. Also, no more wind(!) and the temperature seemed to be about 10 degrees warmer (thanks to not being riverside).
The campus is surrounded by trees and has a very secluded, community feel. This is aided by the courtyard which, from what I could tell in the middle of the winter, would look very, very nice once the spring came around. From what I was told, people typically congregate here and it is a pretty lively place during periods of nicer weather. The law school buildings made a roughly horseshoe/half circle border to the courtyard. Behind the law buildings was a pretty big parking lot and an undergrad dorm (only a small percentage of the undergrad population lives here from what I've been told). It was hard to tell where the campus ended. I saw a sign for a religious school (I think) as I drifted a little and, from what I recall, there is a school for the blind or deaf right next to the BC campus.
What really struck me about BC was the inside of the law school buildings. Everything looked like it was brand new. The classrooms looked state of the art, the cafeteria area was pretty nice looking and very social (a couple students were more than willing to spare a few minutes to answer questions), and the study area looked comfortable. Overall, a very welcoming feel. Still, the greatest part of the campus was the library. It was, by far, the nicest I've seen on my visits. Again, brand new looking, seemed to possess more than adequate space, state of the art systems, and had a lively atmosphere complete with a very friendly librarian. As we walked through my friend kept saying "now THIS is law school paradise."
The facilities, atmosphere, and people really sell the school quite nicely. The visit took BC from the middle of my list to position #1a. If you have applied to BC or are considering doing so in a future cycle, drop on by. The overall quality of the campus speaks volumes.
Continued in the next post.....