« on: April 25, 2007, 07:17:33 AM »
The cost of living discussion seems sort of strange to me. Of course the exact same apartment will be cheaper in TN, it's simple market economics. Who would pay $1,000 for a studio in Tennessee? No one... and if the market doesn't bear it, it will go away. Your buck will go further in TN because it is TN. It will go even further in Iowa City if you go to the University of Iowa.
You don't get the exact same apartment when you come to a city, though. I grew up in a beautiful house in rural New England with acres of woods and fields. I accept the fact that if I want to live in a big east coast city, an equivalent house would be well out of my reach or non-existent. If you want to maintain the same rent, you downsize. There are a ton of apartments in DC or on the metro at the prices in those CL ads that are hardly closets, but I guarantee they will be inferior in some way to the TN counterpart. If you can't deal with that, I guess COL matters. I would argue that TN is likely inferior in several ways to DC, but that's just my opinion.
I suppose that's what it comes down to -- personal opinion. Based on the posted Craigslist ads, you can get a 2 bedroom by Vanderbilt for the cost of a 1 bedroom by GW. If Nashville vs. DC for three years is more tolerable than a 1 bedroom apartment vs. a 2 bedroom apartment for three years... I guess you go with Nashville. In my view, the size of one's apartment so long as it is adequate is the last thing I'd consider when choosing a law school, considering I'll almost certainly move after I graduate. A lot of better reasons (again, IMHO) for choosing Vandy (job placement, national reach, the feel of the city, the people, etc) have been suggested already here by other people.
I just want to say that my intent was not to disparage any of these places. Like I said, I come from somewhere much cheaper and hope to go back there. I don't think there's anything wrong with comparing COL, as long as you take into account that when you exit Equal Apartment in City A for $1000 vs. Equal Apartment in City B for $2000, you're going to see pretty different cities as well.