« on: June 18, 2008, 08:08:07 AM »
OK, Michigan troll Pt. 2. Pikey and I are a tag team.
My husband and I were dual-income, living in DC. So when I considered going to law school, we immediately liked the idea of going to a college town, some place where the reduction in income would be less painful. My husband's company allows him to telecommute, so location wasn't an issue in that respect. I threw Harvard in as a reach and then later Columbia when I found out about its housing. Reject and waitlist respectively (though I later found out Columbia's housing wouldn't have worked for us anyway). Other than that, Michigan, UVA, and Duke were my top choices from the beginning. Oh, and I applied to Georgetown PT in case our house didn't sell and I had had to keep working.
So, I got similar merit scholarship offers from all three of those, with a bit larger scholarship at Duke and in-state tuition at UVA (so UVA would have been cheapest, then Duke, then Michigan). I visited Duke as an individual and Michigan and UVA during ASWs. My Duke visit was first, and I really enjoyed it. I'm sure I would have been happy there. The people were nice, the JD/LLM in international law really intrigued me, and North Carolina is a great place to live.
Next, I went to Michigan's ASW (with pikey, etc.) and fell absolutely in love. I got the chance to meet tons of current students and loved the diverse perspectives and experiences they brought. They really put on a great program with lots of panels and opportunities to meet people. I felt that everything I wanted from the JD/LLM at Duke I could get out of Michigan, even if I had to figure out my own path a bit more (like finding my own summer job in Europe, which normally Duke arranges for you to do the second half of your summer after the mandatory summer institute you do as part of the JD/LLM).
I tried hard to go to UVA's ASW with an open mind, but it was really hard, because I was so high on Michigan. And it didn't help that we had oddly beautiful weather in Ann Arbor and then a couple weeks later freezing rain in Charlottesville. Plus I had a cold and stomach unpleasantness at the same time at UVA. That aside, I just didn't feel the same connection with people at UVA. They seemed a bit more homogenous to me. And as gorgeous as UVA's facility is, I think that being from the south and having gone to a large southern university made it seem like more of the same, whereas Michigan's gothic style felt truly special.
So in the end, once I had picked out a few top choices based on "logical" factors... great job prospects, lower cost of living... it was a choice of the heart.
I really enjoyed 1L (OK, definitely not every minute of it), and I'm happy with my choice. Call me crazy, but I love law school!