« on: April 19, 2005, 08:12:31 PM »
I'm a 2L at Pepperdine, and I had the same question when I started, so I thought that I'd help.
Some law students choose to live on campus, which is beautiful. The dorms for law students are accross the street from the lawschool itself, and I understand they're very nice, but they are the same price as getting a two-bedroom and spliting the cost with a roomate. Most students live either in the Santa Monica/West Los Angeles area, or in Calabasas. The Santa Monica/West Los Angeles area is south of Malibu by 12 miles, which means you take the Pacific Coast Highway to school. It's a pretty drive, and normally very quick, unless there is a mudslide (which did happen this year and made commutes longer, but normally does not). Santa Monica goes from the coast to about 4 miles inland. The next area over is West Los Angeles, which goes probably 1 mile, and then the next area east is Westwood. All of this area is within an easy commute to Pepperdine. Strangely, a drive from Westwood to Malibu is directly West - the coastline extends out west at the Santa Monica area all the way to Malibu. Rent in Santa Monica and Westwood (the area where UCLA is located) is high, even for L.A. standards. For a typical 2 bedroom, in either Santa Monica or Westwood, expect to pay $1700/month. I live in West L.A., and I pay $1300 for a nice two bedroom (I'm married). My friends tell me I got a steal. I'm from Colorado, and I was paying $650 per month for virtually the same size apartment.
Calabasas is located north of Pepperdine, and students travel from the university to Calabasas via Malibu Canyon Road - a windy road that goes through the Santa Monica mountains. It's pretty, and is fairly easy to travel. However, if there is a mudslide, the entire road can be shut down, and you'll be forced to go out of your way to get to the school via some other canyon road. The prices are similar, but look at the weather differences! Calabasas is considered "in the valley," which means that it's much hotter in the summer, say 95-100, and colder in the winter. On the other hand, in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles, the high temperature is between 65-80 the entire year. As I mentioned before, I live in West Los Angeles, and I don't have air conditioning, or a heater, and I'm fine year round. Additionally, Calabasas is quite a bit away from the fun places to go. It's an isolated city (so safer), but again, less fun. Don't be concerned about safety in Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, or Westwood (the safest areas are like anywhere north of three blocks south of Santa Monica).
A final few words of advice. Don't get an apartment in Culver City, or Palms area. Anything more than let's say 3 blocks south of Santa Monica Blvd. is not a place where you want to be. This isn't to say there's violence or things like that, but nobody I know lives in this area, and I've heard that it's less safe.
Lastly, let me tell you that I love Pepperdine, the education that I'm receiving, the talented people that surround me, and the faculty's concern for the students. Don't be concerned that it's a religious institution. The faculty members are Christian, and there are outlets if you desire to be part of that crowd, but nobody is pressured. The Christianity aspect merely effects the school's commitment to teaching legal ethics. The ranking has gone up each of the last three years, and internal indicators (shared with students) show that Pepperdine will also be moving up next year. I've even heard facualty saying that they hoped to be in the top tier within two years.
Anyway, hope this helps.