So I'm here at UDM. Here is a list of suburbs I would recommend. I've been to all of them. Also, some comments about UDM. This is quick - so forgive any errors.
Royal Oak - has a lot of activity, especially in the central area (S. Main Street). Plenty of coffee shops (with free wireless), Barnes & Noble, Memphis Smoke - Swine Dining (it is SO good), plenty of parking, good looking people, great places to live. A little pricier than other 'burbs, but a great choice. Might be too distracting if you are easily distracted like me. (North of Detroit, 20 minutes)
Woodward Avenue runs throught it and off to Birmingham. Birmingham is another VERY nice area with a few places to rent. Woodward Avenue after you are out of Detroit is pretty cool. There are a few Coffee Beanery's (with free wi-fi) along Woodward. A lot of places to eat/hang out between 10 Mile and 14 Mile on Woodward Avenue.
Ferndale - Small, but cute. Is right off of I-75 and 9 Mile Road. Woodward Avenue runs right through it (Woodward runs North/South from Downtown, kinda alongside i-75. It's smaller, and not as busy as Royal Oak. A few gay establishments, coffee shops, shopping, dining, cheap. (North of Detroit, about 10-15 minutes)
Dearborn - Affluent neighborhood. Quiet. Has UM Dearborn and Henry Ford Estate is there. Easier to find a sublet there than an apartment, but I haven't tried. The drive is 15-20 minutes. Highway patrol is often hiding in the median/on the side of I-94. Don't speed. (West of Detroit, off of I-94)
Grosse Point - That entire area, Grosse Point, Eastpoint, etc., is VERY safe and very affluent. UDM dean lives in Grosse Point. You can get to it by driving on Jefferson Blvd. east/northeast from UDM. 20 minutes. You can also take i94.
St. Clair Shores - There are a few apartment complexes with units for rent. I found a room for rent with a great guy who owns a house there. It is past the Grosse Point area. You can get to it by taking Jefferson Blvd. all the way. Or you can save 5-10 minutes by taking I-94 all the way. St. Clair Shores is quiet. They have a little "downtown" area on 9 Mile and Little Mack (Little Mack, I think.) Shores theatre, a couple of coffee shops (with wireless), a few places to eat. A lot of residential homes. Right off of Lake Michigan.
Warren - Not that great. Stay off of Gratiot on the east side of Detroit. 11 Mile Road runs through Warren. It's okay. Some areas are iffy, but not all. Driving through it, you see "for rent" signs just about everywhere.
UDM Law School - I've talked with a few people in Metro Detroit and all have said (without knowing I was a student there) University of Detroit "is a great school. My so-and-so got a (BA/Masters/went to law school) there. It has a good reputation in Michigan. UDM Law is a great regional law school. No, it's not a "nationally" recognized school, but it is a good school. Many people go on to good careers in Michigan and the surrounding states. I've met people in my class from all over the nation. California, Washington, New York, Ohio, Florida. They have an extensive list of feeder schools.
The faculty at UDM - They are so, so nice. The administrative faculty is helpful. The Registrars office is full of smiley people, ready to help. Many of the students are friendly and it doesn't SEEM that anyone has a mean bone in their body or any ill-will towards the success of another student. I have run into a few completely ANNOYING people there, but that's applicable anywhere. There is a lot of diversity. And I don't mean "oh, we're diverse because we have people from all over." I mean diverse racially/ethnically, young, old, gay, straight, black, green, white, orange, yellow - you name it, they are there.
Too bad the library is old and the building is old. It is very clean though! It just needs some TLC. WIth their funding, you'll see improvements here and there. Their moot courtroom is new. Some classrooms look great. But for the most part, I look around (i.e., their huge "cafeteria-like room") and see missing ceiling tiles, or tiles that need replaced, a broken "No Smoking Sign" that someone should just take off the wall and replace it with a new one. Paper towel dispenser in the bathroom that someone should just tighten on the wall, they need to hire a window washer for the building windows, maybe blast clean the brick on the buildings, replace a door here and there.
If anyone tells you, "hey. they have a chain-linked fence around their building." That's a lie. (I read that somewhere on here.) They don't! The McNichols campus does. Chain fences equipped with those turnstiles you see on the border of California and Tijuana. But the Rennaisance campus is located in a fine area. Greektown is fun and safe, and is nearby.
I obviously have nothing to do tonight. Any questions, just ask!