Checked out George Washington on Friday morning and George Mason on Friday afternoon, just wanted to pass along some of my thoughts.
First, G-dub. I sat in on a Con Law class, met with admissions people, took a stroll around the campus and area myself, and then took a guided tour. The professor was great, very organized and clear. The admissions people were helpful answering a number of different questions I had. The students there were extremely friendly and eager to answer any questions I had, and all pretty much had glowing recommendations about the place. Lots to do in the area, obviously, and a lot of law-related and unrelated student groups. Thursday night bar nights, and sometimes the student bar association just puts out free beer & food in a common area for people to socialize. To a man, the people I talked to appeared to be doing well academically, but without killing themselves, which was nice to hear. The atmosphere seems very collegial, everyone seems willing to help out with notes, studying, etc. Two different students that I talked to told me they had gone out to lunch and/or dinner with several of their professors their 1L year - pretty impressive for a school of GW's size. One even told me that her professor had memorized the facebook, and on the first day walked into class and started calling on people by name.
It was slow at George Mason because it was a Friday, early afternoon - the admissions people were really nice and helpful, but there weren't many students around. For those of you applying there, definitely visit before you decide to attend (duh). The law school is in one building, which is new but kind of sterile, on the Arlington campus of GMU, a couple blocks from the Virginia Square Metro. Their library is rather small, although I was informed that they have an exchange program with GW & GULC. I gathered it was a lot less social than the atmosphere at GW, although a number of people live in the Ballston/Clarendon areas and will hang out together in the evenings. I was showed some interesting stats on GMU by the admissions office about who chose to go where in 1999, and then in 2004. I can't remember exactly, but I think in 1999 15 people chose to go to GMU over American after being accepted at both, while last year 48 people chose GMU. The # for GMU versus GW was 4 in 1999, and 22 in 2004. That being said, I found their Dean of Admissions' honesty really refreshing. She got her JD at Yale, and asked where I had applied/been accepted. When I mentioned Harvard, saying I admittedly knew I was a big longshot, she didn't mince words. It was something to the effect of...
"If you get in there, then forget here. You've just gotta go there."
Any questions anybody has out there, let me know.