« on: April 03, 2006, 02:51:23 PM »
I definitely give FSU College of Law strong marks for its Admitted Students Day and rank it highly in general as well. The admit day was highly organized and there was strong faculty, administration, and student representation. Facilities were excellent for the most part (wired and good technology throughout) although the library wasn’t anything to write home about. Classrooms were rather new, well lit, and comfortable. Student lounge was very nice and has a Starbucks in it (which is huge IMHO). Exterior of building is pretty with the rotunda and green serving as the most beautiful part of the school. The buildings surrounding the green (Law Review, Children’s Advocacy Center, Alumni Bldg., ..) offer nice southern charm as well.
There were about 50 students that attended (much less than Villanova which had over 100 for sure) and most of them seemed undecided (surprisingly, quite a few were from out of state). Overall, it seemed like a collegial, professional group with a southern edge that I’d enjoy going to school with save for a guy who asked the most ridiculous questions and made some very stupid comments on a tour. Apparently, FSU has over admitted in the past so the low number could be a result of their effort to cut down admits (I def. expected more admitted students). This bodes well for those who are borderline applicants or on the waitlist.
After a full day’s worth of activities I left feeling highly informed. I was very surprised to see such strong representation by current students; they set up tables outside on the green to discuss their many different student orgs and co-curricular activities. Activities seemed to be a very big deal here; Moot Court, Mock Trial, Law Review, Journals, and SBA all come to mind.
Being located in the state capital is a bigger deal than I had imagined. The Court of Appeals is across the street and Supreme Court judges interact with the College of Law quite frequently. I find this to be a huge advantage as I am interested in government/politics work at some point in law school. Many current students I talked to had taken advantage of this.
Professor Gey, who ran the mock class, was unbelievable in my opinion. I could have listened to him lecture for hours as he offered that unique mix of being informed and witty at the same time. Some older professors seemed a little more separatist but the faculty receives high marks overall.
The administration was the best I’ve encountered. All were highly professional, prepared, and accommodative. In particular, the career services lady seemed awesome. She offered a demonstration of their career services online database/application that seemed very cutting-edge. I am sure this is a reason their employment numbers look so good. The alumni network looked to be very strong not only in Florida, but the SE as a whole. New York, D.C. aren’t represented strongly, however. Also, Sharon Booker (dean for admissions) was great. She invited me into her office to discuss my options and basically assured me that the law school will do everything it can for its students if a problem arises (e.g. students coming from out of state who face uncertainty regarding residency transfer).
Their emphasis on “we’re competitive but not cut-throat” seemed a bit contrived, however, and students did not hesitate to explain their dissatisfaction with the curve (C-based). Nonetheless, it seemed like everyone really does work together to help each other out, which I appreciated.
The law school is completely self-contained except for financial aid, which is on main campus. Overall, I thought the campus was rather nice for a state school especially if you get out and walk around rather than drive by on Tennessee St. Parking looks to be a bit of a problem, but less so for law students owing to it’s proximity on the edge of campus. The Leach Center (gym/workout center) is really nice (although busy) and is about the only place I could see myself going on main campus. For the record, the women of FSU really are that good looking and friendly and needless to say, there’s not a lack of motivation at the gym or anywhere else for that matter. Thanks to Geoff for showing me around town and telling me places to go. He, myself, and several students I met at admit day def. had a great weekend partying.
Housing is very affordable in Tally although the closer one goes to campus the less nice are the options. I personally did not like the apartments across the street from the law school and will most likely be living in Polo’s on the Park – a 10-minute drive.
All current students I talked to seemed to have found summer opportunities although there were more students taking class over the summer than at Villanova, which is debatable as to whether that is a good idea or not.
All in all, FSU beat my expectations and is where I’ll be attending in the fall (barring any change to state law regarding residency transfer). While it might never fully escape the shadow of UF, I strongly believe FSU will continue to rise. And for those of us who are interested in more options than Big Law, I think it’s the best school in the state. I am excited to become a Nole and look forward to trouncing Miami on opening day.