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Author Topic: A day in the life of...University of Washington  (Read 6467 times)

OlderandWiser

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A day in the life of...University of Washington
« on: March 05, 2008, 07:34:41 PM »
Washington was my first official visit to a law school.  Without having other schools to compare it with, I feel like some of my highlights may not cover everything that they should.  But I will offer what I can. Feel free to ask me questions if there is anything I left out.  I know this is pretty long so I’ve included a brief version with just likes/dislikes at the end (for those pressed for time or who just can’t take the time because I have a mailbox to check dammit!)  Without further ado...

University of Washington 03/03/08

The Building: Great building, only a few years old.  Lots of natural light, felt very spacious.  The classrooms were nice.  Some were a bit on the bright side and full of florescent lights (doesn’t bother me but I have several friends who can’t work in that kind of lighting).  Some others were softer, wood walls, big windows, etc.  I also had a chance to check out one of the mock courtrooms, those were pretty impressive.  Plenty of outlets and wireless access.  They have some nice touch screens when you first come in the building.  They also have a small “café” but certainly not huge.  And they only had coffee/tea/sodas and a few small snacks.  Nothing fancy, but nice in a pinch.  Not much common space outside of the library.  There is some space in the café, but not a lot.  Maybe I missed it?

The Classes: I sat in a Property class and a Constitutional Law class.  Both classes seemed to keep the interest of the students.  Very few people were playing cards or using LSD.  Most were following along and writing outlines.  The Socratic method was pretty non-threatening.  Nobody got really hammered while I was there.  Most students asked questions and the discussions were pretty lively. 

The Students: Overall people were really friendly and laid back.  Anyone I talked to was happy to answer my questions.  Seemed like an intelligent group.  I only noticed one person that might have been considered a gunner.  When she tried to answer a question the professor made some flip comment about “So-and-so, always ready with a comment” and the class collectively rolled their eyes.  The student ambassador I met with was friendly and only mildly stressed considering it was almost exam time for them (they are on quarters which I will talk about later).   I’m not sure about social activities.  There didn’t seem to be many announcements or flyers posted except for political events.        

The Administration: Not much to say here as I didn’t encounter too many of them.  The process of setting up to visit was pain free.  And they have been really helpful anytime I have a question.  I did get a chance to speak with one woman in admissions and she was very friendly and happy to take some time out of what looked like a mound of work to answer my questions. 

The Library: Probably the best part of the whole building.  They have a variety of different areas for people who study in different ways.  Group areas, individual cubicles, soft light, natural light, even a lounge area with couches and such.  There are set hours, but my understanding is that you can use your ID card to access the building and library after hours.  They even had a whole aisle entitled “good reads”, books that other students have set aside either for fun or for help in class.  This kind of collegial behavior was everywhere, like students helping each other with outlines in class, post-its sticking out of books everywhere in the library presumably labeling good info, etc. 

The Grounds: I checked out the rest of the campus while I was there and liked it a lot.  But I come from a Big Ten background and like all the old stone, green quads, big football stadiums and such.  The law school is located a small distance from the middle of campus.  But it is very close to a lot of the shops, restaurants and things.  I can imagine that UW is a beautiful place in the spring and summer time. 

The City: This was my first trip to Seattle and I gotta say, I really loved it!  What a cool, fun, beautiful place.  I only got to spend a small amount of time there, but the prospect of living in Seattle certainly gives UW a boost.  Plenty of good restaurants.  Seemed like a lot of great music and cultural activities.  And of course an abundance of outdoor activities.  A very well-rounded city. 

Miscellaneous:
- Mentoring: I was most impressed by this feature.  Every student gets 3 mentors, a student mentor, a faculty mentor and a professional mentor.  It sounds like they put a lot of time into matching students with the right mentors.  I thought it sounded pretty great.   
- Buzzer: wtf, a buzzer before and after class?  Are we in 6th grade?  Not for me. But obviously not a deal breaker
- Quarters: this might be a deal breaker.  You start later, finish later and the structure of your 1L classes just strikes me as a little odd.  If I understood the student correctly, no grades until spring time.  When I asked about summer jobs she hesitated a bit and said that in Washington it is no problem.  But also added that she knows several students who are working elsewhere.  Hmmmm, something that I would recommend looking into further if you are thinking of UW, but don’t want to practice in the pacific NW.   
- Remote learning: Very cool.  For students with infants or young children and no day care, you can come into school and use a separate room that streams your classes live to a computer, but also has space for the little ones.  Pretty neat-o (yeah, I said it). 
- public interest: Students are required to complete 60 hours.  There also seemed to be a very strong commitment to service.  I have not yet decided if public interest is what I want to do, but UW seems to have a very strong program in this area.  They also have a really great clinic located within the school.  This is a great way to complete the hours public service requirement.
- jobs: Hard to say. I definitely got the impression that many people stay in the area, but that may be due to self-selection as much as anything.  Also, every student gets a “career coach” based on your background and areas of interest. 

What I liked: The building/library, the mentoring program; the students; the city

What I didn’t like: the buzzer, lack of common space; the quarter system


Next week: Pitt



University of Washington 2011

Zisi

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 07:45:11 PM »
Thanks for posting this!  Great info.

siski

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 11:08:24 AM »
O&W:

Thank you for posting such a thorough review! I'd like to see a trend of more folks posting reviews as they visit schools.

OlderandWiser

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 01:34:31 PM »
Happy to help out.  i saw some posts like this from last year and I thought they were great and very helpful.  I will be posting more as I visit more schools.  So keep an eye out for "day in the life" posts. 
University of Washington 2011

SarahLouisa

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2008, 12:52:40 AM »
I'm a 1L at UW and it was so interesting to read this post.  I agree with a lot of what the poster said.  It's a great building, terrific library space, but does lack a large common area.  The cafe gets used a lot, but the nice thing about being one block from the university district is that its really easy to go for lunch or gather in coffee shops. 

As lame as the buzzers are (and they make me jump everytime!), it's a little nice when some of our teachers forget that class is over...

Most faculty are very good and I my teachers knew my name within the first few weeks. 

There are usually a lot of events going on, but as you visited right before our reading period and finals, there was less going on.

Classmates are very collaborative, friendly, and laid back.  The gunners really stick out here.  It's pretty funny.

Quarters do kind of suck. I have no idea why UW insists on using them.  Basically, this year we did four classes that stretched between fall and winter and we get grades for them at the end of winter.  We picked up two more in winter that will continue to spring and we add two more in spring.  So we get grades for four classes at the end of winter, and four classes at the end of spring.  They do allow students in their second and third year to take compressed quarters so they can start work with all the semester kids and I know some students have taken advantage of that. 

Shoot, I'm not sure what else I was going to say!  I guess I should get back to my last minute studying for contracts...

Anyways, feel free to pm me if you any questions-I'm from the NW originally so I knew was i was getting into, but I've really enjoyed this year-it's a good place!

Yak Herder

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2008, 10:28:08 AM »
I'm going up to U-Dub in April to check out their public service program, and am very much looking forward to it.  Though I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, it does have a certain draw, as an idea even.  It's funny that, like me, the OP applied to schools as far from one another as UW and Pitt.  We must like rain!
Accepted: Michigan, UCLA, Minnesota, U. of Washington, Northeastern, Pittsburgh, Temple
Denied: Harvard
Waitlisted: Berkeley, Penn, Texas
Pending: Cornell
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=YakHerder

OlderandWiser

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2008, 06:13:28 PM »
I'm going up to U-Dub in April to check out their public service program, and am very much looking forward to it.  Though I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, it does have a certain draw, as an idea even.  It's funny that, like me, the OP applied to schools as far from one another as UW and Pitt.  We must like rain!

haha, yeah, I sometimes have a hard time making up my mind.  especially since my only goal in terms of location is to be out of NYC.  I need a breather.  ;)  As for UW, I will add this to my previous post: as I have visited a couple of other schools, UW has garnered more and more of my interest.  They just have some really nice features compared to some of the other schools I've visited.  Right now I think I am between UW and Tulane.  Again, very different areas of the country.  But for any of you considering UW out there, it was really fantastic.  I definitely recommend a visit if you can (and I hope you enjoy your trip Yak Herder!)

Oh, and very fair point about the buzzers SarahLouisa.  I used to hate that, when professors would ramble on long after class ended.  So i can see the benefit. 
University of Washington 2011

SarahLouisa

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2008, 06:51:32 PM »
Well, the buzzers are nice for that, but if I was visiting, I would think they are lame.  Plus, they kind of are and I always jump a couple of inches whenever I am not expecting them.

Good luck with your decision!  There are a lot of folks here who have relocated from NYC and seem very happy...

sheltron5000

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2008, 10:27:43 AM »
Does anyone have any idea of how UW compares to Lewis and Clark or UO for jobs in the portland area?
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I'd love to join this LGBT club.  It's the Legos, Gobots, Barbies, and other Toys group, right?  I'll show up with an armful of toys.

Team Awesome

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Re: A day in the life of...University of Washington
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2008, 03:46:22 PM »
Olderandwiser - I love your visit debriefs. I wish I could send you on my UGA visit for some insight.