Last Saturday I attended the admitted student day at UC Hastings and want to share my experience for those unable to attend. Overall, the experience exceeded my expectations and I am excited about the school's future. FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
On one hand the location is amazing as it's directly next to several courts, SF city hall, federal buildings, shopping, transportation, sports, and culture. On the other hand, it's also on the edge of the tenderloin, a not so savory part of the city. That said, the tenderloin has undergone a lot of positive change over the past decade. I spent several years in the bay area, specifically SF, and discussion board lore about the dangers of Hastings are overblown. Look at a crime map (www.sfgov.org/crimemaps
) and you will mostly see drug related crime and a few thefts in the immediate area--it's not crime free, but it's also not the gang ridden slum some make it out to be... Farther north you will see a higher concentration of the same crimes, but reports of homicide and rape are not on the map within the past three months. San Francisco is a big city and all big cities have elements of danger. During the admit day I saw several homeless people—this is not unusual—but the constant UC Police and SFPD patrols in and around the campus created a feeling of safety. At night the area can be sketchy, assault happens, and walking alone in the tenderloin at night is not advised- go with a group or ask for an escort. Bottom line, Hastings is not unusually dangerous for SF and if you are uncomfortable with a grubby homeless man stumbling aimlessly down the street then maybe city life is not for you. ADMITTED STUDENTS:
This is my first admitted student day so I may be completely off base, but the mix of attendees fit my idea of the typical pre law school crowd. There were about 100 people and most of them were normal, though a few stereotypical individuals were in attendance: a guy overdressed by wearing a suit, those still in college that brought their parents, a guy with homemade business cards, and the nerdy bunch that is common in the practice of law. I was surprised in the overall attractiveness of everyone, however. There were only a few ugly people among the group and the women were above average for law school students. CAMPUS TOUR:
The campus tour required a little imagination because one of the large buildings has been undergoing renovation for the past few years and was not part of the tour. We were reassured that construction will be complete as the incoming fall class arrives. With that in mind, there will be a lot more room in the existing buildings and student lounges will return from their temporary computer labs and storage areas. The "200 building" will house the library and various other offices that have been temporarily taking up otherwise student dedicated space. If the students can get by without the 200 building, imagine how nice it will be once it is back in action.SNODGRASS HALL, AKA 198: Mostly classrooms.EXTERIOR:
Ugly. Lets call a spade a spade.CLASSROOMS:
Nice. I was very impressed with the quality of the of facilities at Hastings. The classrooms are new in appearance, chairs are well padded and comfortable, and there are power outlets everywhere. One of the information sessions was held in a media classroom with a main projection screen flanked by large flat screen monitors for those sitting at an angle. Neat. Between information sessions I walked around without a guide and opened every unlocked door I could find to see if an outdated classroom was being kept out of sight, but I found room after room to be modern. The rooms varies from 20 person conference style seminar rooms to large theatre style classrooms. Each featured high ceilings and was very modern.HALLWAYS:
White. A little boring and institutional, but they were well maintained and only lacking in character. BATHROOMS: Alarmingly clean
. The color scheme is very bright, especially when compared to the boring, white hallways. The bathrooms were fully tiled and I the entryway shelf for heavy backpacks was a nice touch. HIGH POINT:
The Gold reading room. The Gold reading room was really, really nice. If the renovated 200 building takes its cues from this room, students will be happy. The chairs were comfortable and the study areas were much better than my those at my undergrad library. The dark wood and loads of books brought the school's tradition and charm.COMPLAINTS:
Other than the institutional feel in some areas of the building--hallways, exterior--I have no complains.THE TOWER
The tower is primarily used for housing, though a student lounge, gym, basketball court (turned temporary bookstore), laundry facilities, administrative offices, etc. are also housed here. Additionally, a clinic is housed in the tower along with a fabulous skyroom with a 360 degree view of the city. EXTERIOR:
Simply gorgeous. It's an older building and looks amazing. I only wish the other buildings were as charming. INTERIOR:
Beautiful. Full of charm and history. One of my favorite things about the building is its quirky feel. The elevators all top out on different floors which could be a pain in certain situations, but I think it adds to the building's allure. OVERALL:
Like I said in the intro, the experience exceeded my expectations and I am excited about the school's future. I am considering attending UC Hastings despite it being the lowest ranked school to which I was admitted. The exterior of the 198 building and 200 building leave a lot to be desired, but the interiors are modern and clean. After the 200 building is complete there will be ample room for everyone, not to mention a brand new and state of the art library. Also, the inexpensive tuition is a huge plus.
Hope this information is helpful...