I'm still waiting to read an out-of-stater's review. I spoke to one east-coast ivy grad who was also considering Penn and as we talked I kept thinking 'Dude, there is no way you're going to choose this school. What were you thinking?' He wasn't stuffy, but he was awfully hip in a way that I don't associate with Austin or Texas.
Like Pupienus, I don't really want to get into differences because at a certain point it's all a matter of preference. I don't think I'm going to be that great a fit at UT (not just because I'm old) but I think it's big enough that I'll be fine. I don't need my law school colleagues to like the same music/books/movies that I do - I just want them to be smart, considerate, and occasionally funny.
Another review, from a New Yorker:
I liked Austin a lot and could definitely see myself living there for 3 years.
As far as UT goes, I was most impressed with its quality of academics, advocacy programs, and clinical programs. I really do think that they're better than at most 10-14 schools.
However, I left with the impression that UT isn't the best fit for me. One big concern was the student body and the social community. Literally everyone that I met was genuinely nice and friendly; it was the greatest concentration of nice and friendly people that Iíve experienced in my life. However, I found both the prospective and current students with whom I interacted to be sort of plain and uninteresting. Few people seemed hip or eclectic or offbeat in any way, from looks to personalities to interests. In short, I didnít meet anyone who I was interested in getting to know better. Furthermore, the social community seemed largely built around keggers, booze cruises, and bar reviews at typical college bars. While I enjoyed it for a couple years in college, Iím quite bored with that scene at this point and was put off by its prevalence.
Archival, I envy that fitting in is of little concern to you. Generally, it also would be of little concern to me. However, when combined with moving far away from family and friends, embarking upon a long distance relationship, getting used to being a student again, and getting over various aspects of culture shock, if you will, I'm not too eager to have to put in extra effort to make a handful of friends in greater Austin.
I had a couple of other meaningful concerns about UT as well. I'm interested in public service, and UT appeared to devote far fewer resources to public interest than its competitor schools. I was hoping that, despite the lack of LRAP, the school would have a more cohesive public interest community. Less importantly, I value school leadership, and I thought that Dean Goode was not a particularly good speaker and very underwhelming in his vision for the school. Of course, he is only an interim dean.
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Thanks for showing me a good time, Austin.
EDIT: For context, I'm only 22, despite not coming straight from undergrad.