I took a visit to Loyola University New Orleans yesterday, and overall I'd have to say that I was very impressed. I really didn't know what to expect when I went. I had heard so many different opinions on this board about the school. From people saying that it was horrible to people saying that it was great. Naturally you have to take everything with a grain of salt on this board because many people are speaking about schools they absolutly have no idea about except for a ranking by USNWR. That said...let me tell you what I saw and what I was told.
First of all the area where the school is located, the Garden District, is absolutely beautiful. Definately not what I was expecting in that my only previous experience with New Orleans was Bourbon street. The law school's campus is on a tree lined street with a trolley car running down the middle. The law school campus is neat looking, but admittedly a little older. However, it really fits into the overall feel of the Garden District area. Mansions dating back to the 18th century are everywhere on the street, and a great park is right next door to the school. The main campus of the university is a few blocks away, and it is impressive to say the least. It really looks like a great area to go to school. Everything is within walking distance, which will be very nice. I went to the University of Georgia for undergrad, and since everthing was so spread out there I had to take buses across campus. This can get just a little annoying when you have 15 minutes between classes and your next class is a mile away.
As for the law building itself, honestly, it is not very remarkable. It is a four story white colored building that was built in the 80's and you can tell. While it is not remarkable, it is definatly not "horrible" as the Princeton Review states. I mean while there isn't gold and platinum on the walls, there also aren't holes in the walls and rats everywhere. The inside is like many education buildings I've been to, utilitarian. It is just as good as the University of Georgia's law school building which is the only other law school building that I have personal experience with. The building definately got a bad rap from the Princeton Review. Also, as a side note, a 16,000 foot 4 story addition to the building has been approved and is slated to begin construction this fall.
The faculty and staff seemed very professional and were very honest with me about all of my questions. One of the things that I found great was Loyola's placement rate after graduation. The numbers on 97% employed at graduation on USNWR aren't false. That was for the 2003 graduating class, but these numbers dropped for the 2004 graduating class. According to the admissions rep, they fell to 80% (I know, only 4 out of 5 students had a job at graduation). However, at 6 months, this stat was 98% employed. Pretty impressive if you ask me. The 2002 graduating class had 98% employment at graduation as well, this shows that Loyola grads are consistently getting hired. Apparently one of Loyola's keys to success is the strong alumni base, and a skills training program that is required of all students. I was told that Loyola grads are ready to "hit the ground running" which is what employers like.
Another thing that was important to me was being able to transfer to the day time program after a year. (I'm starting out in the part-time program) They assured me this
would be fine. Also, another concern of mine was Civil law. (Louisiana is very strange) Apparently you can get a degree from Loyola in Civil law or Common law, or Civil and Common law. And no matter what program you choose, you can still take the bar exam in any state.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with Loyola. Also, I was equally impressed with the city of New Orleans. (I even won 90 dollars at Harrah's last night playing black jack) Its not just about the booze there. There was such an eclectic mix of people and the city itself just had this vibe about it. It is probably the closest thing to Europe you can find in the United States. Of course there are some homeless people, and its dirty in places, but what city isn't other than Singapore? After I left today I totally didn't want to back to Atlanta. The visit was so positive that it offset the rejection letter from Georgia State that was waiting for me when I got home tonight. My word of advice to everyone sitting on the fence about Loyola is to go check out the school itself.