Hi FLS. I too went to a school in an urban setting and will be attending UVA, so I know what you mean. But UVA is a great school and is in a great location. People call it a small city, but I'm from a Chicago suburb, and it's a whole lot bigger than where I'm originally from. And I went to college in the city of Chicago, and I don't feel like I'd be missing out on anything by attending. They've got malls, theaters, and tons of restaurants. It didn't have that college-town feel that I felt at other small-town schools. I really liked it.
My mom visited with me earlier this month and she was very concerned about the number of minorities, or lack thereof. I worried about whether or not I'd be the only person of color in my section, where I'd get my hair done, all kinds of stuff. But our fears were unfounded. But I found that there are black people in C'ville, and they have a very strong BLSA at UVA as well.
I looked at an apt while visiting there and the renter, who was a black woman, reached out to me, saying she had a friend who could help me get a legal job over the summers (forgot what her friend does) and get me in contact with some people who could help me build a network down there, because, as she put it, there needs to be more of "us" in the profession. It's great. I've emailed her to tell her I won't be renting the property she showed me, but she told me to be sure to look her up when I come down anyway, to help me with networking. And I told my doctor (a black woman) the other day that I will be moving to attend UVA, and she said she has lots of family there. She told me that once I find a place, to get in touch with her so that she can hook me up with her uncle and grandfather who are there, because "they cook" as she put it.
I'm very happy with my decision to attend UVA. I don't feel that I am making a compromise in any respect. If you can, visit. Everyone was wonderful. I worried about being in the South as a minority, but again, that fear was unfounded. It's a great little place, you'll see. Good luck. PM me if you'd like. Otherwise, hope to meet you in the fall!!