Law School Discussion

My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)

My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« on: March 26, 2006, 04:47:31 PM »
Last week I visited NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia. Hopefully I will be able to post reviews soon, but I have already started uploading my pictures.





Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2006, 05:20:08 PM »
It is a strange sight at 8:30 in the morning. I still have no idea what it was for...

Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2006, 08:19:11 PM »
FYI: The blow up rat is usually a "tool" used by Union members wishing to protest or make a point about someone/something that opposes their views.

For example: A local contractor fails to higher any local union members for a job within the city. The local union will protest and set up the blow up rat as sign to the rest of the community that there is a "rat" among them.

Not sure if that's what's going on in the pic, but that's usually what it's used for.

Hope that helps, nice pics -thanks for putting them up.


PS: In the event that I've managed to missunderstand Union practices, and in the process offend any Union members, all I can say is sorry.

Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2006, 08:21:49 PM »
The GULC and Columbia pictures are up:

Unfortunately, there are few Columbia pictures. I tried the self-tour but it wasn't very clear about what a visitor can and cannot access. Many of the areas required an i.d. to gain access.
My first visit was to NYU. I took the Path train from Jersey City and arrived in a half hour or a little less, including the walk to the school. Having read stories on the board about difficulties with security, I came armed with my letter of acceptance as well as my i.d.. However, this was unnecessary. Although I arrived before the official 9 a.m. opening time, the guards in Furman Hall gave me a visitor's pass. The visitor's pass is also the self-tour guide which gives you information about what is housed in each building and what areas you may and may not access.

I loved Furman Hall. It is modern and comfortable and has nice spaces for studying. There is a study room on the first floor which is also an Edgar Allen Poe memorial because that was formerly his home. Next to that room, there is a cafe and lounge. This cafe is one of two, the other being in Vanderbilt Hall. There is also a study area in the second floor with a balcony on the third floor. There is a coat check room in the building as well as in Vanderbilt Hall. I was told that there is an underground path between the two buildings for periods of cold and inclement weather.

I sat in on Professor Feldman's constitutional law class. It was a great class. There was interesting discussion and the professor made students think. The professor had what appeared to be a seating chart with pictures, but he seemed to already know many of the students by name. He was dressed formally in a coat and tie, and he addressed students by their last names. The students admitted to me that he was one of the best professors so I really didn't get an idea of what a typical class is like.

After the class, I proceeded to my appointment with the Office of Public Interest Law. The main topic of the discussion was the ability to pay off debt on a PI salary. I was told that it was possible and I should accept that I have the debt (if I do choose to incur the debt) rather than constantly worrying about it. The woman I met with was a very upbeat and friendly lady. She is definitely the kind of supportive person I would like to work with again. She walked me to the financial aid office to talk to the LRAP counselor. The counselor immediately spoke to me although I did not have an appointment and e-mailed me the Admitted Students' Day Powerpoint presentation. Later I met with a woman (who was also friendly) in career services to again discuss my debt concerns. She basically reinforced my concerns. Between her and the OPIL lady, I was still on the fence.

When I went to D'Agostino Hall, I was informed that visitors were not allowed access to the residential area and that there was no model room to see. However, I was allowed to visit a suite which had recently been turned into a computer lab. While there, I met a student who showed me his suite. The suites are very small and there is no space in the appartment to lounge other than one's own room. There is no common area and the kitchen is immediately near the entrance. The suite was very small, but the rooms seemed to be standard size from what I could tell.  

The students were great. They were all friendly and seemed quite happy. Although I was a stranger, students made eye contact and smiled. They were willing to talk to a prospective student and usually offered their e-mail addresses at the close of the conversation.

Academically, I got the feeling that NYU treats its students as independents. It seems to have some of the least academic support services available to students. W&M has a law camp and academic support services, Georgetown holds seminars to introduce students to legal academia, and even Columbia has a first year program which provides the basics. NYU does have a tutoring program, but you must have already done poorly in a class with the grades to show for it. One NYU student I spoke to said that he would have prepared before his first year and another felt at a loss as to how to best study during her first semester (although she admitted that might be more personal). Prospective students even tour independently. I got the sense that, while there would be ample support in other areas of law school, when it comes to academics students are on their own.

The recreation center was a short walk away from the law school. I didn't really like the atmosphere of the center. It was old and dark, and it reminded me of an old high school gym. However, it is very big and has a lot of resources. It has basketball courts, pools, a cardio room, a weight room, fencing rooms, and a dance room. I was surprised to see that there was no t.v. in the cardio room, at least not that I noticed, but that doesn't bother me. It would be nice to use a gym without having to hear someone else's t.v. blaring. The center also has classes but I was told that students have to pay extra for the classes, $40 a session. That I did not like. I would hope that there would at least be basic aerobics classes that students could take for free.

Overall, I loved NYU. The people were great. Even though it is a big school integrated into a big city, there seemed to be a sense of community. Students are constantly milling about in the vicinity of the law school so there is a sense of being among friends or peers in the streets rather than strangers. Most of the buildings surrounding the law school are NYU buildings so there is a feeling of familiarity as you walk around. Instead of NYU being overwhelmed by its surrounding area, it seems like the Village has been assimilated into an NYU campus.

Edit: Oops! I forgot to specify that the rec center I visited was the Cole center. There is also another one somewhat farther away called the Palladium.

Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 02:10:28 PM »
FYI: The blow up rat is usually a "tool" used by Union members wishing to protest or make a point about someone/something that opposes their views.

For example: A local contractor fails to higher any local union members for a job within the city. The local union will protest and set up the blow up rat as sign to the rest of the community that there is a "rat" among them.

That seems like a realistic option. I saw the rat on two different days and each time there were men in a white truck parked next to it. The rat seemed completely unaffiliated with anything in the area except that white truck so it seemed like it was being used as a statement.
My second visit was to William & Mary. I was shock by the size of the campus. There was only one building, excluding the residence halls. I felt a sense of claustrophopbia which was compounded by the fact that the school is located in a remote part of a small town. I don't know how far the school is from the main campus, but the road it is located on did not have much happening. On the positive side, the area and the school is beautiful. The building has a historic charm with a contemporary feel. The lobby is an excellent place to study and mingle with others.

When I first arrived, I was struck by the sense of security that pervaded the school. There were no security guards to check-in with (and I wondered if security or campus safety even had a presence on the campus at all) and students were comfortable leaving their belongings, even their laptops, unguarded. The students were happy and friendly. They confessed to being bored sometimes but noted positively that the town did not greatly distract them from their studies.

The admissions office was friendly as well. The recpetionist kindly walked me to the career services office for my appointment. I had been informed the day before I arrived that the person who I was to meet with was going to be unavailable so I would be meeting with the dean of the office instead. He was
nice. I got the sense that even though the career services office works hard for the students, my options, at least for government and public interest, would be more limited at the school. He conceded that W&M could not compare to a school in the D.C. area for government opportunities. He mentioned that government agencies don't recruit on the W&M campus because they do not have the resources to visit many campuses (but I noticed that NYU's public interest fair last year had several government agencies represented). W&M does not hold a public interest fair on its grounds either. To attend the public interest fair a student would have to go to Richmond. Furthermore, a 3L with a Master's degree in public policy confided to me that he was finding it hard to get a government job. I definitely felt that attending W&M as opposed to a T14 would decrease my career opportunities. That would be the price for a low cost education and once I was aware of the stakes I wasn't as confident that the low cost would be worth it.

In addition, I heard students and a professor mention that there was sometimes difficulty obtaining desired classes due to professors being on leave. I am sure this occurs at other schools but I think the small size of W&M compounds the problem. On a side note, I peeked into a classroom window and noticed a few students doing something other than classwork. One person was shopping for shoes, another was playing Mahjong, another was iming someone, and another was filing her taxes! I found it amusing. It made me wonder if all the typing that was going on in my class at NYU was really class-related (Being in the front row, I couldn't tell).

I took a guided tour in the afternoon. The guide was very peppy and friendly and had only positive things to say about the school. I could definitely see why the school would use him as the tour guide. The tour did not go to the residence halls and I stopped by the Admissions Office to ask if I could see the residence halls. I was directed to the Dean of Admissions. She was very kind and cheerful; she immediately invited me to sit down and talk. Apparently you are expected to request to see the residence halls in advance. The dean tried to find students who could show me but to no avail. Instead she kindly walked me to the residence halls. I was touched by her effort. Eventually, she found a student to show me the residence halls. I am surprised that it is not included on the official tour because they are very nice. It was the biggest suite of the three law school appartments that I saw. It had a nice sized kitchen and a large living room (by dorm standards). It did not feel like school housing. If you are looking for comfortable school housing, definitely take a look at W&M. 

Jolie Was Here

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Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 02:50:17 PM »
Just a follow-up on the rat thing...the rat is a traditional symbol of a labor dispute in NYC.  I can't tell from the picture if that one is at NYU, but the graduate students there have been on strike for many months.  The National Labor Relations Board recently reversed an earlier decision which recognized graduate teaching and research assistants as employees, after which NYU's administration stopped recognizing their union.  It's been ugly.

You know, just in case you're ever on Jeopardy and the subject comes up.

Re: My Visits: NYU, W&M, GULC, and Columbia (Pics)
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 04:26:08 PM »
The rat was in the Village but it was not in the NYU area.

I did see a rally about workers' rights in the NYU area but I don't know if that was specifically related to the graduate students or if it was just general.