I attended Loyola's scholarship reception on Thursday and then attended the open house on Friday. Having visited Pepperdine, USD and Loyola admitted student events, I liked Loyola the most by far. I am friendly and willing to speak with anyone. During the reception on Thursday, I was impressed with the faculty, students and alumni I met. Several of the faculty gave me their business cards and said I could contact them if I wanted to discuss anything about Loyola/law school in general. I felt the environment was much more supportive than either USD or Pepperdine. I arrived late to the open house on Friday (had to work). I was apprehensive about the campus location, which proved valid. It is in downtown, neither the safest nor most aesthetic location. However, the law school seems to be a bubble, a fortress. Although the parking is $700 per year, it is ample and easy. I also like the modern architecture on the campus. Since the law school is located away from the undergrad campus, there are no undergrad students. I feel this creates fewer distractions/less people/more unity. I also believe the downtown location makes externships (judicial, firms, non-profit) and clinics very convenient.Professor Levenson was engaging and humorous. In fact, I heard her on NPR on the way to the open house. I was surprised when the dean said hello to me, remembered my name, and introduced me to Professor Levenson.I tried to speak with as many students as possible, both those they asked to come (undoubtedly the superstars) and those just walking around campus (one student proudly introduced himself as ‘the class drunk’). Some were tired law school, but all spoke highly of the faculty, the externships/clinics and their fellow students. I randomly asked two students I met to give me a tour of the campus. One was from Berkeley undergrad, the other UCLA. They were candid, mentioning the strengths and weaknesses of the school. Overall, I thought the students/faculty/staff/alumni from Loyola seemed more diverse, urban and down-to-earth than those at either Pepperdine or USD.Finally, I reviewed their course listings, externships, clinics, international and other opportunities and feel Loyola offers more variety than closely ranked schools in So Cal. I got the feeling I would not be limited by the school in terms of my law school experience (conversely, Pepperdine for example, has a rather poor variety of courses and student groups). As far as the UCLA thing, I think they realize many people attending the open house wanted to go to UCLA instead of Loyola or were also admitted to UCLA (but with no $$$ in the case of the scholarship recipients). Let's face it...their job is to sell us on their law school. They would be foolish not to mention the pink elephant in the room: UCLA (and USC) are better ranked schools in the same market. I believe they were simply voicing what other people were already thinking. "YEAH...were not UCLA, but here are some ways we compete."
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