Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus  (Read 903 times)

MMILLER3

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« on: February 23, 2006, 03:22:51 PM »

What do people think of the new campus that Dickinson is going to be opening up at University Park?

I'm going up to visit on March 17th, so I'd be willing to post a review if wanted.

Also, is PSU rising in the rankings???

stateofbeasley

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • The State of Beasley blog
    • Email
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2006, 05:34:25 PM »
It's a supremely bad decision on Penn State's part to divide its law school. It will divide resources (faculty, students, budget) and establish competing campuses in the same geographical region.

I suspect what the dissenters of the Dickenson board of governors suspect. Penn State has no long term interest in keeping the Carlisle campus open. They got what they came for: the faculty, the school name, and the applicant base.

The rankings are unlikely to rise in the near term. DSL has traditionally been a 75-100 school in USNWR, and from what I can tell its reputation scores have been stable for the past few years. Its admissions #'s are likewise stagnant. When I applied in 2003, the 75% LSAT was 157, exactly what it is today.

Compared to Villanova, Dickinson fares poorly in the #'s.

75/25 spreads for LSAT/GPA
DSL: 157/154, 3.7/3.1
Nova: 163/161, 3.6/3.3

In short: reputation scores are stable, objective #'s have not changed much. No change in rankings. DSL is unlikely to draw students with higher #'s. Its tution and reputation is not competitive with state schools, and it cannot compete on reputation with higher ranked private schools like Villanova.

Edit to respond to Burghblast's reply:

I doubt that moving the law school to State College is going to attract more students.

This moves the school even further away from large job markets, which (1) makes it more inconvenient for recruiters to go to campus; remember that time spent recruiting is time NOT spent billing hours (2) makes it inconvenient for students to travel for interviews.

There are fewer local opportunities to find both paid and volunteer legal work. These are extremely important for the 90% of students who don't get jobs through OCI. Networking through small jobs and Pro Bono internships can be crucial.

Finally, the rankings are relative, sort of like a grading curve. A school can offer good facilities and faculty, but if other schools offer that and more, those schools that offer more are going to win almost every time. Dickinson faces an extremely hard climb against existing PA schools that are not sitting still, and new competition from Drexel (I know people are scoffing, but Drexel's geographic location is far superior to any of of the Dickinson campuses).

I have yet to see anyone come up with convincing counter arguments. The only other thing I have to add is that PA regional schools would be foolish not to take the Drexel threat seriously. The Dragons have been on the warpath for the past few years, and they aren't fooling around. Right now the Philadelphia region lacks a competitive school that students with LSATs in the mid to high 150's can easily enter - I predict that in the near term that school will be Drexel.

burghblast

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2178
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - tforsean
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2006, 10:40:31 PM »
ARe they accepting applicants for the University Park campus already??  They just started building it a few months ago.  Keep me posted.  As a PSU alum I'll be curious to hear any updates.  Moving to main campus can only help them attract students and faculty.  I don't know too many people who would enjoy living in Carlisle, PA.  State College isn't much more urban itself, but at least the university provides massive resources and more people.  I predict PSU's ranking will steadily climb for the next 10 years once the law school campus at University Park gets off the ground.

MMILLER3

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2006, 11:41:26 AM »

Bump for new opinions

chonralda

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 298
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 01:03:06 PM »
I dont have a new opinion, merely a second. I agree that it will be a bad decision - I did not like it from the moment I heard about it - I know they need a NEW facility, so either building a new one at Uni park and then moving there or redoing one at carlisle and staying there would have been fine. Doing two new facilities on different campuses does, in my mind, split the school. Its not like a Harvard that could setup a Harvard campus in, say, FL or CA - or, for example, if UofM opened a second LS on its flint campus - PSU seems to be splitting itself in two, and there isnt enough there to do that. This will likely result in less of everything noted and more of a lot of headaches...
University of Connecticut '09

IN: Miami, Syracuse ($$)
WL: Penn State, Maryland, Case
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=chonralda

burghblast

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2178
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - tforsean
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 10:37:46 PM »
I dont have a new opinion, merely a second. I agree that it will be a bad decision - I did not like it from the moment I heard about it - I know they need a NEW facility, so either building a new one at Uni park and then moving there or redoing one at carlisle and staying there would have been fine. Doing two new facilities on different campuses does, in my mind, split the school. Its not like a Harvard that could setup a Harvard campus in, say, FL or CA - or, for example, if UofM opened a second LS on its flint campus - PSU seems to be splitting itself in two, and there isnt enough there to do that. This will likely result in less of everything noted and more of a lot of headaches...

If it wasn't from immense pressure from the people in Carlisle, I'm sure the University would have preferred to move the law school to University Park altogether.  But obviously the people in Carlisle are pissed about losing their school, which is inevitably going to happen anyway, because who would choose to go to school in Carlisle over State College?  Eventually the Carlisle campus will wither and die, and there will be a single law school at main campus.  But it will take time.

kilroy55

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 280
    • View Profile
    • Mad Rambling by Travis
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 11:58:58 PM »
The law school has to remain in Carlisle till at least 2020.  That is the deal that was struck between the school, state and town.  The dean would have had classes up there this past fall had the town let him.  But Carlisle will remain, for at least 14 more years.  And resources are not a problem.  Dickinson was dying.  PSU saved the law school.  They now have more money than they know what to do with, and most of the alumni are fine with it because there school was slowly disappearing, but now it is rising and its future looks pretty bright.

burghblast

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2178
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - tforsean
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2006, 02:13:17 AM »
The law school has to remain in Carlisle till at least 2020.  That is the deal that was struck between the school, state and town.  The dean would have had classes up there this past fall had the town let him.  But Carlisle will remain, for at least 14 more years.  And resources are not a problem.  Dickinson was dying.  PSU saved the law school.  They now have more money than they know what to do with, and most of the alumni are fine with it because there school was slowly disappearing, but now it is rising and its future looks pretty bright.

I don't know that I'd say Dickinson's future looks "bright".   How do you see this playing out?  Once the University Park campus is up and running, I assume applicants will be able to choose where they want to spend their 3 years.  Since the average age of a first year law student is 25-26, I assume almost all of them will choose the place with thousands of other graduate (and undergraduate) students in the immediate vicinity.  And besides other people your own age, State College is quickly becoming a small city - so much infrastructure has been built in the past 5-10 years .  Sports, concerts, dining, shopping, night life, etc... (OK, well the shopping still pretty much sucks, but the rest ain't bad).   Carlisle is in the middle of Pennsylvania Amish country - lame.  I'm not just talking about the "fun" social/quality of life stuff either... There are actual academic benefits for law students situated within or next to a major university.  For example, here at NU, the joint JD-MBA program with Kellogg is extremely popular (Thanks to Kellogg's satellite campus down here by the law school).  Penn State has nationally recognized programs in business, engineering... well it's pointless to name them, because they have top programs in just about every field, even turf grass management.  You think you're going to have the same access to other non-law courses and faculty in Carlisle?  No way.  So my conclusion is: Almost everyone who applies to PSU Law will want to go to the main campus.  What's going to happen?  Either they will gradually admit more and more people to the main campus while Carlisle whithers and dies, or...

They will effectively become two different schools.  It will be harder to get into the main campus because demand will be higher, so the main campus will get the students with the highest LSAT/GPA numbers and Carlisle will settle for the bottom of the barrel. 

Either way, this does not end well for Dickinson.  Their only hope is that some kind of "feeder" system is developed, where all students are forced to spend their first year or year and a half at one location before transferring to the other for their second and third years.

chonralda

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 298
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2006, 08:57:50 AM »
I think that was a very well written post, and I agree with the specific situations mentioned. While a 'feeder' system would work, I dont think it would be popular at all - this isnt university housing after all! If it does develop as two specific campuses, in order to prevent that sort of gpa/lsat divergence they might try making one campus known for XYZ and another for ABC ie offering only some classes or program at one school etc. Right now, I've been told faculty will travel back and forth and that so will administration. Students can use a free shuttle, but the ride will be a real time killer - books will also be shuttled back and forth from library, if needed. Video conferencing is also in the works, but needs ABA approval. Overall, I think two campus was a bad idea and that they should have just moved in 3 yrs when the new facility at Uni Park is finished and then not even waste another 14 yrs at Carlisle/all money redoing the campus there, which will be tough to sell in such a middle of nowhere real estate market.
University of Connecticut '09

IN: Miami, Syracuse ($$)
WL: Penn State, Maryland, Case
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=chonralda

omachoomar

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 197
    • View Profile
Re: Penn State Dickinson - University Park Campus
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2006, 06:13:56 PM »
I think eventually they will become 2 seperate law schools(I don't see why PSU can't operate 2 law schools like UCAL/Indinia/rutgers ect... can manage more then 1). The reason they did'nt make it 2 different law schools in the first place is because then the new law school would have to wait 3-5 years waiting to be accredited by the aba.  I think when if they eventually break it into two seperate schools they would'nt have to go through the aba accredidation process- although i could be wrong.

I think some are underrating the carlisle campus.  Sure, it is not as huge nor does it have nearly as many people as state college.  But it is a somewhat charming place, and a huge campus is not everybody's cup of tea. (plus the winters are much milder in Carlisle then in state college because state college is on a mountain).    Dickinson is the oldest law school in pa, the 5th oldest in the country. it would be a shame to see it closed down permeanately.