« on: August 24, 2007, 05:53:29 AM »
Couple of thoughts on the Wake/UNC fight. I'm in the middle of picking schools and dating a girl from NC, so I hear a lot about this argument. First, I think it's important to understand that for in-state people, that is NC residents, UNC has a HUGE halo effect, mostly emanating from their undergrad reputation. To in-state kids, UNC is mecca, and this bright shining star in the academic world. As someone that grew up in Maryland (though born and with family in NC,) UNC always seemed to me what it was: a good state universiy, up there with the best, Wisconsin, Texas, maybe even Virginia. However, that appreciation of it doesn't come close to the way that the NC kids I've met think of it. They will regale you with tales of students that chose UNC over Harvard, Yale, Princeton. It's not to say that I'm wrong and they're right or the other way around, it's just important to realize that there is a difference in reputation in-state versus out. This definitely carries over to the Law School. Out of state reputation is held hands down by Duke. You need to have some idea about where you want to practice after school. If it's NC, SC, GA, etc, then UNC is a good choice, though I don't think you're taking much of a risk by choosing Wake instead. If you haven't thought about it yet, do so now. If you want to move further up the coast, think about taking five minutes to call recruiters at a couple DC or PA firms, and ask them their impressions of the schools. Remember to take NC opinions about the schools with a grain of salt, as these opinions are largely influenced by the reputation of undergrad schools.
If you're looking for a booming cosmopolitan lifestyle, you shouldn't be looking in NC. You probably shouldn't be looking at law school either. But if you want action and nightlife, you should be looking at schools in DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta. You can find comparable schools to UNC/Wake in any of those cities.
And finally, I want to address the regular posts about UNC moving up the boards that you see all over here and TLS. UNC has an in-state quota of 75%!!!!!!! There is no way that the school will move more than a couple slots wile this is in place. Be realistic about what the rankings actually mean when you look at them, and consider them by 'grouping' not by number. That is, position 32 is not better than position 36. When you look at the actual data, it's not that different, and won't change much. However, 22 is better than 35. Consider the schools three or four spots above and below a school as Peer institutions.
Having said that, take another look at the boards and see where UNC actually is. It stands with other (very good) state universities such as Maryland, Alabama, and Ohio. It does not stand in the first tier of state universities with Texas, Virginia, and Michigan. Which brings us back to the incredible 75% in-state quota. To give some scale to that, UVA takes 40% in-state. If I was an out of state student looking at public schools, that number would stop me in my tracks. It is indeed the case as a previous poster noted that UNC is as hard to get into as Boalt for out of state students. But what about in-state. Well, it's obviously a lot easier. So as impressive as it may be that you got an out-of-state slot at UNC, your UNC acceptance is not going to look like a Boalt acceptance.
A previous poster pointed out that Texas did not climb in the rankings when it lowered it's in-state quota. However, students coming to Texas for school from out-of-state do not qualify as texas residents in time to benefit from in-state tuition. At UNC it is much easier to qualify. So, if (and only if,) UNC opens up its admissions pool to out-of-state kids, it could see a large ratings bump, as it would become a great deal. If UNC moved from 25% to 50% out-of-state, I think that within a few years, its numbers would put it on par with Texas, UCLA, etc. However, my impression is that those decisions are not up to the admissions committee, but to the state government.
In summary, UNC and Wake are both great schools. They both enjoy very solid regional reputations. I think it's a mistake to think that UNC is a first-tier ('first tier' not = 'T1') public law school. If you're planning to practice in that region, let the money and visits guide your decision.
I'm sorry to unload all this on you all, but I'm constantly getting a barrage of UNC hype from my girlfriend, and if I put it down to you guys, I don't have to sleep on the couch.