Are the new rankings changing your mind about where you might attend next year? Since i want to stay in the NW, I personally was considering taking the money at Willamette, but seeing them drop to T4 tells me that maybe I should rule them out.
I had a debate in a thread a few months ago about this issue and students in your situation. I will say that I don't think rankings are absolutely worthless, but I wouldn't base my entire decision on attending one school over another simply because this one is a 54 and this one is a 57, etc. What you can do is first decide on a few regions you may want to practice. That doesn't have to mean down to a particular part of a state but more like Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, NE, West Coast, etc. Surely there are a few preferences here. As for myself, I had 2 regions of the country I liked so then I used the rankings to pick out the 15 or so highest ranked schools in those regions. Then I began my research comparing and contrasting the schools- for instance, their national reputation, starting salaries for new grads, cost of education, teacher to student ratios, feedback from current students, pictures of their campus (like yourself, finances and a very busy job prevented a trip to college campuses for me), info. about the city and even states where these law schools were located especially in regards to the job market, local public schools (fiancée is a teacher), proximity to friends and family, and then also likelihood of acceptance, etc. After this I got down to about 8 schools and then also prioritized them.Now in the end, for me, because of it's location, my familiarity with the campus and law school, available job already offered to my fiancee, the proximity to most of my friends and family, the cost of education and scholarship money, UGA won, even though Alabama is now equally ranked and offered me more $$$$, and to be honest was a better recruiter. Still I know I will be happy at UGA, and a happy student general makes a better student.
Exactly. W&L could have fallen a dozen spots, and I still would have been confident about choosing them based on "fit." I'm curious to know which Penn St. campus you visited. I visited Carlilse (Dickinson) and thought it was a lovely campus. Granted, the transitional building (where they will be for the next couple years during rennovations to the law building) was in an awkward location, but I was totally charmed by the actual campus and law building.
Yes, I liked the old campus and even Carlisle-- but in such a way that I would just like to visit, not live for 3 years. There is NOTHING there And I looked at housing and there aren't many choices of apartments (and I couldn't find any that accepted pets, and I'm bringing my dog with me), and I have no desire to work in the PA/NJ/NY area after I graduate. Not to mention that the renovations will be taking a long time--the new class will probably be in the transitional building the whole time--and that's not what I want for my law school experience. It just doesn't seem like the right fit for me. But...aside from all of that, I love Penn State, and my loyalty alone made me want to at least apply and consider it But I understand the W&L thing--I'm from VA, and Lexington is so cute, and that area makes up for its small size in charm (not to mention, it gets pretty decent tourist business, you are real close to the Natural Bridge)...it is so beautiful in the fall, and the mountains are right there. It is such a beautiful campus, I wish I could have gone there!!
I had the same feeling. I liked the campus, and would have been very enticed by the school if not for the prospect of spending 3 years in the transitional building. And you're probably right that it is a very sleepy town... but I'm going to Lexington, so clearly that's not a huge factor for me. And I totally understand the "I'll be happy going ANYWHERE that accepts me" mentality. That was my approach, too, with my 2.79 GPA. When I got some acceptances from top-tier schools, however, I soon became a bit more snobby. Where were you stationed in the NE. I did search and rescue for the USCG out of Nantucket, MA.
Hasn't affected my decision at all. Talking to many mid and biglaw hiring partners has opened my eyes to the fact that, since I won't be going to a t14, location should be the single most important factor in my decision.