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Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)

The Dude

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Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« on: March 24, 2007, 12:04:52 AM »
So I just got back from day 1 of the Penn ASW. I didn't see any relevant threads (despite having met a decent number of fellow LSDers), so I thought I should start one.

I had a great time socializing with all of you and exploring University City, even after having getting grilled in our mock Criminal Class (seriously, who scrutinizes a "mock" case?).

Anyway, most entertaining moment of the day goes to some dude in our Career Services panel -- this might top the alleged d-baggery at both Columbia and Harvard. When the panel opened itself up to questions, he brought it on. (First off, imagine a rather quiet room, with a warm panel; these people are expecting to field legitimate questions.)

I'm not sure exactly how the question was posed, but it was something to the tune of (or maybe this is verbatim) "I am looking at clerkships post-grad, but clearly only the most prestigious ones. How might you help me attain a SCOTUS clerkship?"

Sad thing, I do believe he was serious! Move over Clarence Thomas, we've got a hot stepper.

prajna

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2007, 08:31:51 AM »
i guess most people are still enjoying the admit program. i was only there the one day so that's all i can talk about.

I really wasn't as impressed as i thought i would be. they tried hard to sell philly ("we are the king of the hills here and don't need to compete with another law school") but i wasn't convinced. being the best in philly just isn't that impressive.

I must have heard the word collegiality used a million times. Perhaps i've read too much trolling by MTG and other chicago trolls because it just got really old. collegiality is something you just have to let the students feel themselves and i didn't really feel it. people were nice of course, but i didn't feel the school to be this one big fuzzy place. in fact, i got the impression while on tour of the law school or talking with current students that many of them didn't seem to really know each other. for example, as we following our guides around the school, no one seem to say hi to each other or to our guides. perhaps columbia did a better job planning but i really felt like people knew or at least acknowledged each other there, despite it being a bigger school. so i might have had a really unusual experience but i honestly felt more collegiality at columbia. this might seem to go against basic beliefs on this board but it was my honest impression and i was surprised too.

I did really enjoy the constitutional law class i attended. it was understandable and both the students and the professor seemed to be enjoying themselves. this was a nice change from the totally confusing columbia class i was in but it only made me look forward more to visiting chicago  :-\

Overall, the best way to describe what penn lacked was the ability to motivate me. my first impression stepping our of the subway at columbia was that i could do anything i wanted. the feeling of overwhelming opportunity (because of the law school, city, greater university) was so strong. the experiences of the students were just on a different scale (traveling to a handful of countries within the past weeks, working on trial of milosevic, etc.) i'm sure penn would open a lot of doors and many of the same doors but i just felt more challenged at columbia. i came away stunned by the endless opportunities out there with a JD. at penn, i'm convinced i would find a good job but beyond that? granted, maybe a lot of those opportunities dont' apply to me or won't be relevant but i'm starting to understand why going to ASW are crucial. what each school makes you *feel* you can do is much more important than what the school allows you to do (because face it, most of these top schools probably offer similar objective opportunities).

disclaimer:
it was cloudy, depressing and raining in philly so that could have been a factor.

The Dude

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2007, 02:31:08 PM »
Hey, Hollowman. So although Penn also stressed the collegiality issue, I think that Michigan deserves the description more. I don't know, but I just didn't get the same sense of community there that I did in Michigan. Perhaps it's due to the fact that Philly tends to provide students with more off-campus social opportunities than Ann Arbor, so students are better able to go their own ways. Don't get me wrong, the students were generally happy and had good things to say about the school, but it didn't seem that they necessarily knew one another that well. I think I made about the same attempt to socialize at both schools, but definitely ran into/had lengthy conversations with more current students at Michigan; perhaps it was only chance.

In this respect, I think Prajna's comment about the tour was dead on. I think the implied message was that "our collegiality is better than that of those 'notoriously cold schools' (think Chicago, Columbia, Harvard?)," but I think Michigan might still take the cake. Plus, Dean Z is awesome.

Career aspects seem fantastic, as they probably are at all of these schools. Interdisciplinary offerings were also stressed, particularly Wharton certificates and opportunities to study at the school of communication.

I was kind of disappointed by the cruddy weather last night. Regardless, I still tried to be an advocate for Philly in general.

All in all, I could see myself being perfectly happy at either place. Penn seems to have a bit more institutional prestige, perhaps due to Wharton, NE location and the ivy heritage. Michigan was just a little friendlier, probably due to the small town environment.

The Dude

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2007, 02:42:05 PM »
And another thing: I met an entirely new cast of LSDers this time around -- M1, Saja, Team Pam, Dash -- all of whom were very cool and great to talk to. I'm not sure if any of them are dead-set on the school or not.

Also of note, Towelie and Legal App introduced themselves during the cocktail hour. It was kind of funny because I felt like they were both quasi-celebs. Still, awesome people to know and great advocates for the school.

m1

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2007, 07:28:29 PM »
hey hey, i represented the LSD males very well I thought!  nice meeting you too jonah :)

unless something changes (ie: Mich or UVa come calling, a freak accident happens and I get into Stanford, etc) I'll be at Penn next year.  I'd just like to offer one possible explanation for the somewhat unfriendly/disconnected student body, especially on thursday and friday- the 1Ls all had a 20-30 page brief due Friday, so very few people seemed to be in the social mood that day.  I met and spoke with quite a few 1Ls on friday night ad the Irish Pub and on saturday who seemed to get along very well with each other and who, i thought, lived up to their reputation.  just my .02

Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2007, 06:14:27 AM »
I had a great visit - thought it was fantastic. I got called out by other LSDers (apparently   a stocky bald guy who signed up his kid to come to dinner is a likely candidate to be "Deldad" :D)

Towelie was a great ambassador; plus, the info on your summer job was very encouraging, given my plans.  Legal App, I'm sure I met you at some point, but I never connected real name to LSD name.

My experience was on the other end of the spectrum from Prajna's, I think.  My guides were saying hi to everyone as we passed them, firming up post-ASW weekend plans with them (several were going to a Justin Timberlake :P concert  together), and I felt like the camaraderie was genuine.  (Did hear the word "collegiality" a few too many times, but that didn't imply to me that it wasn't true.) Can't personally speak to Michigan, as I didn't apply there, but a lot of people I met seemed to be deciding between there and Penn.  Some felt Penn was more collegial, others Michigan, but I thought, just from talking to them, that deciding between Philly and Ann Arbor was going to be a bigger factor for them than whether one was more collegial than the other.

I was impressed/excited by the opportunities Penn offered.  That my be colored by my weird set of goals and/or my ties to the area, but I left with the feeling I could pretty much do anything I wanted to coming out of there. 

If anyone wasn't there and has questions, let me know.

m1

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2007, 06:31:53 AM »
Nice meeting you too DelDad.  Sorry for calling you out like that!

Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2007, 06:53:31 AM »
No worries, M1 - I pretty much expected it :)  Good meeting you too, and if you are at Penn, I'll almost certainly see you in the fall.

Speaking of my rapidly concluding cycle, got home from the ASW to find my Stanford ding in the mailbox.  Momentary buzz kill, but I'd expected it, so not too big a blow.

Saja

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2007, 10:38:53 AM »
Ok, might as will give a recap so as to avoid the writing of the papers. :D

First, a disclaimer.  Going into this admissions cycle, even before the LSAT, Penn was my goal, mainly for its location and proximity to family/friends than for the school itself.

I'd already visited Penn on the Preview day since I was going to Columbia's ASW anyway, and I'd also been to Penn before, so none of the information I got was really new to me.

First, what I like about Penn.  Penn, like other schools of similar ranking, will provide excellent job opportunities and seems to have a career services staff that will go above and beyond the call of duty to serve its student body.  Since the student body (250 per class) is so small, I think there will be a lot of individual attention.  The faculty seems great, and the law school itself feels very comfortable and homey.  I really like the courtyard area, as well.  (One thing . didn't understand was how there is no cafeteria .  I'd be interested as to what current students do for lunch.)  I like the option of taking 4 courses outside the law school, especially at Wharton (mostly just to say I'm taking Wharton classes.;))  I really like University of Pennsylvania itself- I like the campus, I like how I would be able to interact with other grad students, I like how I could go to basketball and football games.  (Yes, to me Penn has good sports!)  I also have a family member who's an undergrad at Penn, so on a personal level that's a big plus.   I also really like Philly.  It's a fun, manageable city that I can see really falling in love with.  I even like West Philly, so long as you don't venture more than two blocks from campus.;)

To me, Penn's biggest downfall is what might be a positive for some people.  I come from a fairly big undergrad, and the focus on intimacy/collegiality/individualized attention, the "coddling" factor, if you will, is a bit too much for me.  I also dislike the first year housing situation.  Students really push Center City, but it's not a pleasant or short walk, and, although it's much more affordable than NYC, if you want to live by yourself, it's not overly cheap.  I personally would want to live closer to campus in West Philly next year, and the options are not that good.  Even though I originally vetoed Sansom (grad housing) when I first saw it, I might actually lean toward living there 1L for the convenience factor.  It's in a great location, and if you wanted to go out in CC, it would be super easy to take transit, walk, or split cabs (which are pretty cheap) with other people.  Plus, it's close to the gym and would better position me to interact with the larger university.

Right now, I'm probably choosing between CLS and Penn, and now that I've gone to both ASW's, I think I can better compare them.  Penn had the tougher position because I was expecting a lot from it and had no expectations for Columbia, which I imagined would be an ultra-competitive pressure cooker.

I had a good time at both ASW's and met a lot of really nice people (especially LSDers!)  I thought that Penn's program was a bit more comprehensive in terms of showing you around, telling you specifics about career services, pro bono requirement (which I really like), etc.  It was definitely a more personalized experience.  Columbia put on the better "show", so to speak.  It's definitely a bigger school, in a bigger city, and just felt all around a bit more professional, right down to the catering and receptions (although Penn's food was also good ;))  I felt like I interacted more with students at CLS (not associated with ASW), but then again, it was a Wed/Thurs as opposed to a Fri/Sat, and the kids didn't just have a huge assignment due.

So, where does that leave me, and what advice would I give to others?  Penn is a great school, and so is Columbia.  As cliche as it sounds, it's totally a personal decision, and you'd need to go to both places (or any other school you're considering) and see for yourself.  I think money may be a deciding factor for me, because Penn is more likely to give me some, and there is no denying that NYC is a much more expensive place to live than Philly.  But I have no money from either place yet, so that's kind of a moot point.  I personally felt more "at home" at Columbia, but that's kind of negated by my ties to Penn.

Hope that's helpful to some of you, and I'd be more than happy to answer specific questions about my impressions or the ASW.:)

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Penn ASW, Part II, The Redux (Simultaneous Post-Mortem)
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2007, 06:14:43 PM »
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