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Author Topic: Please help! UCLA or UVA?  (Read 1082 times)

coloradoskier

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Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« on: May 24, 2008, 04:28:00 PM »
I've been accepted and have placed deposits at both.  I'm from Colorado, and would like to possibly return here to practice.  I like UVA's atmosphere and Charlottesville, but really dislike how far it is from everything..the nearest major airport is Washington Dulles, which is two hours away.  I went to school in Northern CA, and feel comfortable with California.  I've never even been to the South except to visit UVA, and am worried that it will be a culture shock.  Also, weekend visits back to CO would be considerably more difficult (though I don't know how often I could do this anyway).  All the lawyers I've talked to recognize UVA as a "top 10" school, but many don't seem to realize that UCLA is highly ranked as well. 

The cost would probably be about the same when I factor in LA's high cost of living.  I'm not totally sure I want to work at a Big Firm, but would do it to pay off loans for a few years.  I would like to work for the federal government ultimately, either at DOJ or another agency.  I do want to get the best education and have the best long-term career prospects possible (probably in government). 

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.  This is such a difficult decision.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2008, 04:35:59 PM »
UVA will have better employment prospects. However, UCLA will not be far behind. If prestige and post law school opportunities are your first priority then I would go with UVA. Have you visited both places yet? It's basically big city vs. small historical town. I think both would be fun. Also, visiting CO from either place will probably cost you about the same (maybe a bit cheaper from LA, but I wouldn't call that a deal breaker).

Hard decision, but my vote is for UVA. You'll get better career opportunities for about the same cost. Honestly though, you can't wrong either way.

vjm

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2008, 04:45:01 PM »
Hey, first of all congratulations on some excellent choices. I will let those more versed in the upper tiers than I am address your career goals.

I have lived in Charlottesville for seven years, and while I am not enamored of it, it is not the Pit of Despair. The closest good airport is actually Richmond, which is an easy drive of an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. You can get home for the weekend if you want, but frankly I think that is a little unlikely given the volume of work in law school.

Charlottesville is very liberal compared to the rest of Virginia (not sayin' much, I know) so it doesn't feel as stifling as other towns its size in the South. It does feel small. However, it is cheap. The people I have met here are truly the greatest (and I have lived all over the US).

I am assuming you have been to LA. If not, you really need to go check it out. I was born and raised in SF, my brother has lived in LA for over 30 years, so I have been down there quite a bit. People either love it or hate it. I think it is everything I hate about cities, with little that I love about them. The idea of spending three weeks there, let alone three years, makes me break out in hives. You may adore it, as many others do.

I don't think this is a slam dunk in UVA's favor FWIW. Colorado seems like a market that behaves differently than one would expect. You also did not mention if you are gay or a URM, in which case I would recommend UCLA.

Feel free to PM me with questions about C'ville if you like.


UVAnProud2L

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 02:17:01 PM »
UVA will have better employment prospects. However, UCLA will not be far behind. If prestige and post law school opportunities are your first priority then I would go with UVA. Have you visited both places yet? It's basically big city vs. small historical town. I think both would be fun. Also, visiting CO from either place will probably cost you about the same (maybe a bit cheaper from LA, but I wouldn't call that a deal breaker).

Hard decision, but my vote is for UVA. You'll get better career opportunities for about the same cost. Honestly though, you can't wrong either way.

agree. UVA will have better employment prospects but UCLA isn't that far behind. if you have any desire to stay in CA, i would go with UCLA

Lenny

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 10:16:56 AM »
I say UVA for one main reason - you say that you may be interested in DOJ work.  UVA gives you a big edge in that pursuit.  First, UVA is just closer to DC, so the recruiting and interviewing will be much easier from UVA (DOJ doesn't pay for your travel to interviews, so the 2 hour drive is much nicer than the cross-country plane ticket).  I also suspect that DOJ has more on-campus presence at UVA than UCLA.

Second, and more importantly, DOJ is extremely competitive.  One of the biggest factors in getting DOJ employment at the high end of the DOJ ladder is whether you clerked.  It is becoming almost a pre-requisite from what I can tell.  UVA will give you a better chance at clerking, thus a better chance at good DOJ (or other agency) work.

remiz22

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 04:02:43 PM »
UVA will have better employment prospects. However, UCLA will not be far behind. If prestige and post law school opportunities are your first priority then I would go with UVA. Have you visited both places yet? It's basically big city vs. small historical town. I think both would be fun. Also, visiting CO from either place will probably cost you about the same (maybe a bit cheaper from LA, but I wouldn't call that a deal breaker).

Hard decision, but my vote is for UVA. You'll get better career opportunities for about the same cost. Honestly though, you can't wrong either way.

I agree. UVA

coloradoskier

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Re: Please help! UCLA or UVA?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 02:09:06 PM »
Thank you for all of your responses.  It's coming down to the wire - second deposits for both schools are due on the 15th.  I had mentioned that the cost would be about the same at both, but it turns out that my cost of attendance at UCLA would be about $45k cheaper ($180k vs. $135k) than UVA.  How much more is a UVA degree worth considering my goals (government work, perhaps Biglaw for a couple of years to pay down loans).
Thanks again!