I'm currently accepted to UC Davis and UW, as well as Lewis and Clark College (although my decision is really between the two former schools). I was born and raised on the East Coast and currently live in Boston, but am excited to make the move out West. I've traveled across Cali and the Northwest, and have visited Seattle but never the Davis/Sacramento area. I plan to do so within the coming month to make a better assessment.
I'm specifically wondering about a few things that could help me choose between UC Davis and UW:
1) Are there any ideas about the cost advantages to either program? Obviously, I'll have to pay OOS tuition for the first year, then qualify for IS for the 2L and 3L at both schools. UC Davis is more expensive, but I wonder if the employment prospects/starting salaries might offset some the higher tuition. Also, I imagine that the COL in Davis is lower than in Seattle (though a cursory search for housing isn't encouraging). Thoughts?
2) Employment - according to the stats and other discussions I've read, both schools seem to have relatively regional reach. Long term, I would rather practice in California than Washington state, so this would likely make Davis the top choice. However, I would also like to have at least a small option of eventual employment on the East Coast (especially Boston, New York or DC), in order to be closer to family. Any ideas about how these schools fare?
3) Speciality - my background is in social justice; I have a MA in community psychology and currently work as the executive director of two nonprofits, one that deals with homelessness, the other criminal justice. In law school, I seek somewhat of a departure from these fields, and would like to study environmental law, but also maintain ties to social advocacy work. Would Davis or UW be a better atmosphere for these pursuits?
3) Quality of life - things you should know about me: I am a competitive rock climber, outdoor freak, bicycle commuter (even in February in Boston), and lover of sustainable living. Given the possibilities of Seattle v. Central Cali, which might better suit my passions? The Cascades are fantastic, but so is Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Plus, it's hard to climb in the rain....
Thanks in advance for any advice!