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Messages - Forget Money, Read a Book

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The Admitted Students Weekend was great, very impressive on their part.  It started out with a tour of the law school as well as the rest of campus, including seeing a classroom (very nice, modern, wired) and local hang outs for law students and professors.  There were two panel discussions next: the first regarding the different concentrations students can have at the university, including first hand introductions to major professors who were serving on the panel.  The professors were from very prestigious universities around the country (Harvard, Yale, etc.) and seemed very passionate about their jobs.  After a very short break because they ran late, a student panel was held, which was very good, giving much insight into the actual experience that students will get if they attend UM.  Definitely impressed with the level of commrodory (sp?) at the law school, everyone very willing to help out everyone and they all seemed to genuinly like each other.  After lunch, where we all sat with various alumni and discussed their experiences at UM and their current jobs) was another panel, which I skipped because as informative as they were, to be honest, it was exhausting having to pay attention for that long in a crowded gym with awful acoustics.  Members of financial aid talked to students about the amount of monetary assistance they had received, which was included in our information packet when we arrived that day. They said that they just mailed out the rest, so you guys should get them soon. 

All in all, great school, not sure about you guys, but my decision is between here and Rutgers, and it all comes down to money, especially when tuition is 53K a year.

Hope that helped a little!

Funny how different two people can view the same thing.  I was completely unimpressed with the ASW.It started out with breakfast in the quadrangle, a place not conducive at all for meeting people if you came later considering the lack of seating and small tables.

I also was unimpressed with everything put on by the university.  I'm familiar with the city and really like South Miami, Coral Gables, and Coconut Grove so I still may attend solely based on location.

Not only is the quadrangle not conducive to meeting people, the whole thing is rather tiny in size.  There's somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 students enrolled and I'd be willing to bet that place gets crowded.  I know not all 1500 will be on campus at one time, but its hard to believe there are congestion problems.

Then after 45 mins or so, with no introduction, the tour guides assembled their respective groups.  

My guide was horrible.  Someone asked about law review and she goes, "ummm I don't know anything about that...I think there's 5 or 6...Top 10% grade on and those ranked in top 11-50% get invited to write on....My grades suck and I didn't think it was important so I didn't worry about it."  Everyone was just like, "wow." 

The library was small and empty...Granted it was the weekend of their Barrister's Ball, but still.

The professor panel was just plain torture.  90 minutes of unenthusiastic presentation about very dry topics.  They should have kept each speaker to 7-8 minutes, or canned 3 of the speakers.  I really didn't need to hear every detail of all their backgrounds and what they specialize in.  If I have a specific interest, I'll contact them on my own time.  And yes, the acoustics were dreadful.  I could not even hear half of what was said.

This wasn't too bad.  Professor Vazquez (think I got that right) was really interesting.  When the microphone went out he just kept going and didn't even break stride.  He also started off by saying, "OK, you all have options and are considering other schools besides UM.  Here's why you should choose us."  Everyone else throughout the entire day made it seem like we were ALL SOLD and didn't try much to sell the school.

The student panel was equally as painful.  I thought the entire piece could have been skipped.  10 students?  It was a bit redundant and boring.

My guide was on the panel and was even more awful because this time it wasn't in front of the small group it was in front of about 500 plus people....At one point, there was tension on the panel with regard to finding support in minority student groups.  One student totally debunked another's statement, which is fine, but this was done in a totally awkward way...Everyone around me couldn't believe she chose to not use her skills training and craft a better response.  Looking at the stage, the girl that was second from the left was right on target with her answers as well as the two in the middle.  The moderator was also a student from Seattle and point blank admitted that the UM Law degree won't go too far outside of South Florida when you first graduate.  We all knew this and I, personally appreciated the fact that he was honest.

The lunch, after waiting on line for 20+ mins to get to the buffet, I was randomly seated at a table with people who I did not associate well with.  To make matters worse, the alumni at my table was as exciting as watching the spelling bee on ESPN.  Conversation was very dry, and she had no idea what to say. 

I found this to be the most exciting.  I had two alums at my table, one deals with Cross- Border Transactions and the other works at the Public Defenders Office.  They weren't dry at all and actually had good advice to give us.  When all of the Alums introduced themselves I remember being happy about the fact that I may be an alum one day.  There was friendly competition amongst those that worked at rival offices.
I left by the end of lunch.

This is not to say UMiami is a bad school by any means, but I found the 6 hours I spent at the ASW to be very uninformative, very boring and very unconvincing.  Yes, we know UMiami is the best school in Miami.  Give me another reason to go there.  I got none.

This is how I felt also, but after thinking about it I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that most students probably are still undecided and its not the best choice economically to dig deep into the pockets and blow it on us.  I also know, from living in Florida for a bit that to alot of students, $53K/year is not a problem at all.  That being said, as long as they're in, they don't need the hard sell.I haven't completely ruled UM out, but I highly doubt I'll end up there.  I was already leaning towards 1 or 2 other schools, and with that experience, it didn't pull UM to the front.

Most students hadn't even heard from all of their schools yet so I think a lot of people are in your same boat.  I met a few kids in my section and the really cool ones said they probably won't end up there either.

I wish it did... it'd be the most cost effective school for me and the easiest school to attend should I leave NYC.  However, I just didn't leave with the same feeling I left other school(s) with.  The feeling of "wow, I must go here!".

Just my $.02.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Miami...
« on: April 02, 2007, 05:43:03 AM »
I answered my own question about schedules but while I was looking I saw parking prices. WOW- do I want to park? I thought my undergrad was expensive for $78 a year but $400- and the discount parking is around $210 and there are only certain places you can park- I guess the good thing is the Hurry-Cane shuttle.

Also, while you guys were on the housing tours did they mention anything about Kendall. A friend said that a lot of people live there because its suburban and inexpensive. It's about 25 minutes away- I don't know if that is with or without rush hour but in the end I just want to be safe and feel safe. I don't care how far away from the school I will be, I just want safety.

They never took us by Kendall...They only mentioned exactly what you said, its nice and safe but also pretty far and prohibitive for 1L's.  If safety is a major concern, I think you will be fine staying closer...I don't know statistics but the general consenus is that there is the one area of Coconut Grove that's dangerous but that's about it.  Honestly, parts of Coconut Grove and Goral Gables are pretty affluent...Not to say crime doesn't happen in affleunt neighborhoods, its just that you don't get the vibe that its dangerous.  Are you planning on calling the police departments near neighborhoods around campus?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Miami...
« on: April 01, 2007, 09:57:58 PM »
I was down in Miami for all of the admitted students events and Bittersweet is pretty much on target with everything.  I placed comments on a few of her points within the text and am going to pick up where she left off below.

Quote from: WKRUSE on March 30, 2007, 10:24:33 AM
Quote from: dante500 on March 24, 2007, 10:56:10 AM
Quote from: jillibean on March 24, 2007, 10:05:25 AM
Does anyone know about Miami students living in Ft. Lauderdale. It doesn't seem that far away and my husband would be transfered there.

While this is based on my rather limited knowledge, I'd say you'd have a hell of a drive to and from school through traffic and stuff.  Yuo could actually be 50 miles away from the school or better, depending on exactly where in Lauderdale or Broward County.  If I'm wrong someone call me out, but it seems like you'd be spending quite a bit of time in transit... but if that's alright with you.  You may do better to locate in north Miami somewhere, at like a halfway spot.  Good luck!

I concur.  I commuted from south broward to FIU my first year.  It didn't take long for me to move to Miami.  The traffic is a b@#ch!!!  My advise, for what it's worth, move as close to school as you can afford. 

"afford" being the key word. for a very standard, small 1 bedroom condo across from the school, the owner is asking 1500 a month (only sewer, water, and basic cable included). basically, after talking to a realtor, if you want to live in a secure complex within walking distance of UM, there are only three complexes. i would contact a realtor and go through them because it's easier for them to set up with the owners of these condos than you on your own. sure, you can find 700-1000 a month places within walking distance, but those are little cottages or house-like places. as a girl i'm not sure i would feel safe walking to or living in such isolated quarters. maybe it's fine, someone else who knows the area i'm talking about can elaborate (streets off SW 57th along the UM campus near the law school quadrangle). also, the isolation bothers me because i want to be around other UM law students since it would be nice to make friends and know a few people. i'm definitely going to decide on a complex rather than one of those, even if they are cheap in comparison. plus, complexes have pools/spas and sometimes exercise facilities.

another option, if you're looking to walk to class, is the university village. i didn't see the inside, but they're brand new and they look really nice on the outside. best yet, they're very close to the law school and have their own parking garage. a 1 bedroom is 1325 a month. there are three other types of apartments, but they require roommates. one type is a separate room and private bath even though two people are sharing the apartment. i don't remember the exact prices but they were somewhere from 700-900. however, from what i can make out, there are very few available for law students. someone threw out the number 37 spaces, but i don't know how reliable that info is. i also can't say how noisy, etc. these apartments are. that's why i'm still on the fence about doing dorm-living again in my first year of law school.

Around 40 is the number of units available for law students in U. Village...The tour guide said this is split in half- 20 for guys and 20 for girls.  It looked really nice on the outside, but seemed to primarily house Ugrads...

now, if you want a short drive, you have many more nice options. it sounds like for the first year, STAY CLOSE. short drive is fine, but not more than 5-10 minutes because you're going to be on campus much more than 2L's or 3L's. in south miami, check out places near Sunset Place, which is a cute shopping area a little further down US1 than UM. don't go too far south though because otherwise traffic is going to be a HUGE problem. i got more of a taste than i wanted of miami traffic. if possible, live to the north of UM and DRIVE SOUTH (away from downtown miami). that way traffic in the morning is going the opposite direction of you, while when you're driving home in the evening (if you're not in the library studying...) you're driving north while everyone else working in miami is trying to come south AWAY from downtown. the previous area i mentioned is south of UM, but so close that traffic won't matter very much. north-ish of UM is coconut grove (stay away from certain areas like grand ave) and more downtown coral gables. we drove around and saw a lot of signs with for rent signs, but i'm really set on staying close enough to walk so i didn't check out many places. if anyone went on the housing tour on saturday, maybe they could fill in some of these blanks.

Good strategy here...I'd also add that, if you can, stay on the same side of US1 as UM...That way, you can avoid US1 traffic all together as there seemed to be lots of backroads and ways to cut through residential neighborhoods.  Even though there's a metro that runs parallel to US1, stops don't seem to be accessible from most of the complexes we looked at on the tour.  If you can't get on the same side of US1 as the law school, definitely go with Bittersweet's rec's.  Most of the surrounding area of UM is on the low side of the scale in terms of overall crime in Miami, but if I had to pick an area to stay away from it'd be this one section of Coconut Grove near Grand.  When we drove through it on the bus, everyone's face was priceless.  It's right around dowtown Coconut Grove, which I personally found to be quite nice minus this area.  Some friends of mine took me out in the Grove Saturday night and there were lots of cool spots and nice boutique shopping places.  On the bus tour, the guide mentioned that there are a few firms located in the grove, so it may be a nice place to live if you end up summering there.

basically, everything is extremely over-priced. i'm glad i have a big scholarship because a lot of it's going to go to living.

any questions, PM me.

For those that missed the housing tour, we basically took a look at places where most law students live and particularly focused on ideal places for 1L's.  I was on the first bus and the guide frequently mentioned that we don't get first picking when it comes time to scheduling classes so most of our are gonna be at 8am.  This is something to think about when factoring in commute times.  Though parking is bad at the law school, I've heard that you're fine if you have a 8am class b/c lots of 2 and 3Ls don't(one good thing we have going for us).  Also, the guide mentioned that the complexes are good because there are other law students living there which can serve as a support group and also most of the complexes have gyms and laundry facilities.  The fewer times you have to leave your apartment complex for things like this, the better as we will be strapped for time.  Ok, so below I will give you the breakdown of neighborhoods and complexes/condos we viewed:

1. South Miami
-Oasis Condos
-Sunwood Condos
-Gables Point Condos
-Ludlam Point Apartments

2. Downtown Coral Gables
-Sevilla Isles Apts.
-Hernando Gardens
-Gables Grand Plaza

3. Coconut Grove
-no specific complexes, so contacting a realtor would be your best bet if you want to stay here

4. Coral Gables
-University Inn Condominiums

5. South Miami/Sunset Place Area
-Sunset Square
-Villa Fontana
-Mayan Towers

6. Valencia Condos

7. University Village

****I lost my map and can't remember which side of US1 these apartments are fall..In terms of whether or not they are north or south, the neighborhood names should give that away.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: South Carolina ASD....
« on: March 29, 2007, 01:00:08 PM »
I'd like to reiterate a few things, though. First, South Carolina is a small state with a very, very tight legal market. I know this because a family friend, a lawyer -- and my dad's roommate at USC -- talked to me around Christmas about my job prospects coming from USC. He was very blunt and realistic. The school graduates about 220-250 law students per year, and most stay in state. That means each year, probably 150-180 will sit for the bar and want to practice in a state of 3 million people. He suggested the ideal scenario would be having family ties to a law firm so that you don't have to worry so much about grades, while being virtually assured of a small, but loyal clientele. We're talking about the old South and we're talking about an industry that's dominated by the 'old boy's network.' Be cognizant of this.

There aren't a lot of BIGLAW firms in South Carolina. Don't expect to graduate and instantly take a job making 100k/year. Average salaries are about 50k, and I think that's even skewed toward the high end. Furthermore, there aren't any huge cities in South Carolina; Columbia, Charleston and Greeville are all tiny compared to Miami. South Carolina, I believe, places decently in Charlotte, but you're gonna face really stiff competition from UNC, Wake Forest, and Duke grads.

Next, there's a strong sense of heritage in South Carolina. A general skepticism of people not from the South taking up residence in the state is apparent everywhere you turn.

Poverty is incredibly high and there's a tremendous disparity between the rich and poor. Usually this line is drawn on racial bounds, but not always.

There are wonderful things about South Carolina, too. Having a coastline and mountain ranges within 3 hours either way is appealing. Cost of living is substantially lower in the South than elsewhere. In-state tuition at USC is reasonable. 5 points is fun, and campus is great -- especially the Horseshoe. There's reason to believe downtown Columbia is growing, but that, as previously mentioned, is a ways off.

to the OP -- I'm not trying to dissuade you from going to Carolina, but there are elements worth noting that haven't previously been mentioned.

Thanks for this...As someone that's lived in SC for about 2 years, I agree with everything you said 100%....Point blank, USC's seat deposit is due April 1st and I'm not paying it...

Right now, its between Miami, Arizona, and American for me.

The only reason USC's stayed in the running so long is the low cost of living and low tuition.

Rain dog, Sounds like you know the state pretty well...have you made a decision yet?

If you want to work in NYC or DC I would go to Howard. They have an high number of top firms recruiting there.  But yeah, don't count your chickens before you get off the waitlist. 

Miami is by far better....Yes, tons of firms interview on campus at Howard----you should really look into how many firms HIRE Howard grads...

In Miami, if you dont mind staying there, all UM grads that do well have a legitimate shot at getting a good job.

Also, UM (UG, Med, Law) all have outstanding reputations in FL

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: George Mason vs American
« on: March 28, 2007, 08:52:17 AM »
Although several students were accepted to GU and GWU after the first year at AU, only 1 student actually transferred to GU and there wasn't anyone who decided to tranfer to GWU.  The atmosphere at GWU is ultra-competitive and less so at AU.  That's the basis for students' comments that its a "happy place."

I've heard that as well...thanks for expanding on that..

Shadow, you're right, I haven't heard of anyone "settling" for AU when the really wished they were at GMU...Nor have I heard the reverse....

I think it really just depends on the area....rankings, who's rising, who's falling (in this case) aren't too significant...

AU is damn expensive though!

Incoming 1Ls / Re: How does South Carolina notify you of acceptance?
« on: March 28, 2007, 08:49:22 AM »
No problem.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: George Mason vs American
« on: March 28, 2007, 08:32:19 AM »
I think its worth mentioning that the stereotype is that everyone at AU wishes they were at GWU and/or Georgetown and eventually wants to transfer....Although, I have read on this board about people who say AU students seem to be happy...Take it how you all want, just thought I'd throw that out there.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: How does South Carolina notify you of acceptance?
« on: March 28, 2007, 08:25:08 AM »
Super thin white magazine sized envelope...Your acceptance letter is inside along with a pamphlet about Justice Roberts visiting the Law School last year...Scholarship letter came separately in same sized envelope...Seat deposits are due on April 1st so I'm sure they'll be sending more of these letters out once people withdraw.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Arizona
« on: March 28, 2007, 07:58:55 AM »
I grew up an Air Force brat and am ready for another big move....I'm not offended by the way you identified UofA's speciality (I didn't know what to call it)...My college roommate is applying this cycle also and really wants Tulane too....Good luck with that.

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