UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

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purell2
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UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby purell2 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:37 pm

Hey guys,
Can anyone provide info about the environment/ overall quality of life at UT Austin or Vanderbilt? In particular, I am wondering about the competitiveness of students, accessibility to profs, ability to maintain a social life (take advantage of the city), etc.. I am from the east coast and have yet to visit either school.
Thanks a lot.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:30 pm

I know nothing of the law school culture at either institution, but I can say with great
conviction that Austin >>>>> Nashville.

As far as school locations go, there are many worse places to be than Nashville. It's just that Austin is one of the best.

Definitely visit both if you can -- and give each city at least a full weekend of your time.

86revolt
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby 86revolt » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:33 pm

got into both. still waiting to hear from some others, but this is the decision for me, too. obviously finances will play a role in my decision and given the similarity between these schools, i would say it should in yours also. barring any scholly, UT seems to be a better bargain (cheaper tuition even for out of staters and $6k cheaper cost of living).

but here are my thoughts based on my research...

vandy: it is top 10 in classroom experience and quality of life by princeton review. it's a great school for international law if that's your interested. the vandy in venice program seems amazing. might be enough to lure me lol.

UT: i've talked to a ton of people who have both traveled to Austin and lived there and everyone seems to love it. have not heard a negative comment yet. i think UT is a better choice if you're into sports since they have good sports teams year-round from football to basketball. when i met with the dean and a few new profs at UT's reception, they all seemed to be very friendly and seemed to love Austin. UT also has amazing clinics and internships programs (SCOTUS, prosecution, legislative law, u.s. atty, etc.) which although doesnt account for much, makes for a great experience, especially if you plan to go the clerk route or gov't route post-graduation (also worth mentioning that UT dominates the TX courts, so if you're into clerkships, it's probably your better bet)

i don't know if this helped, but this is the gist of what i think: do a tuition + cost of living calculation for both, taking into account any scholarships. whichever is cheaper is probably where you should go. then if there's not a huge difference there, go to UT if you're into clerking, gov't work, or sports. go to Vandy if you're into international law.

given that i'm in the same boat, i'd love to hear others' thoughts on this...

gmichaelbluth
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby gmichaelbluth » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:39 pm

This could very well be the decision I try to make. $ matters for me, and I'm thankful to have scholly support at UT. UT's COA clerkship results are incredible, and like you said, the clinical opportunities sound fantastic. I have a 3L friend at Vandy who has LOVED her experience and gets me excited about Vandy every time I talk with her. If some $ comes in for Vandy, it will be a difficult decision.

td6624
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby td6624 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:46 pm

purell2 wrote:Hey guys,
Can anyone provide info about the environment/ overall quality of life at UT Austin or Vanderbilt? In particular, I am wondering about the competitiveness of students, accessibility to profs, ability to maintain a social life (take advantage of the city), etc.. I am from the east coast and have yet to visit either school.
Thanks a lot.


With your concerns, I don't think you can go wrong with Vanderbilt. I'm interested in those things too, and Vandy seems like it would be a great place for those kinds of things. But, I'm not too interested in living in Nashville, but that's my subjective opinion, and it seems like most people who are there love it.

I know nothing about UT, but I've never heard a bad word about Austin or the law school.

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GotYourselfAStewGoin
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby GotYourselfAStewGoin » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:48 pm

This would be a great choice to make. I'm not applying until next cycle, but these are two of my target schools. One factor about Vanderbilt that has interested me is the Law and Business certificate. It allows you to take select business school classes, a fundamental accounting/finance course, and some different versions of Business Law classes to really focus on corporate law. I'm not majoring in business in undergrad, but I'm gradually becoming more interested in it and this seems like a good program to zero in on it.

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dontstopbelivin
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby dontstopbelivin » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:50 pm

86revolt wrote:the vandy in venice program seems amazing. might be enough to lure me lol


Just FYI, if UT does lure you in, you can always participate in the Vandy in Venice program without attending Vandy - it's open to anyone from an ABA-accredited school: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/academics/van ... index.aspx

That being said, to play devil's advocate, I actually prefer Nashville to Austin. I know that 85% of people will disagree with me - I totally admit that it's a personal opinion, and both cities are fun. Maybe it's just the places I visited when I was in both cities, but I got the feeling that there was a lot to Nashville beyond Vanderbilt, whereas it felt like much of the social life in Austin revolved around the Texas campus or 6th Street (which I personally found a little dirty - it was tattoo parlors and really sketchy hole-in-the-wall bars for blocks). Given there are thousands more students at Austin, it makes sense that most things tie back to the college. Just that the places I visited there (which were recommended by locals, for the record) seemed much more like things I would want to do as a new college student, rather than a grad student. If that's what you're looking for, then Austin is it - just keep that in mind when you go. Plus the people in Austin were neutral or rude, whereas everyone in Nashville was insanely friendly.

One pro for Austin: COL seems dramatically less. And if you're really into films or indie music or party life (and hate country music), it's a good place to be.

Did I just end up in the wrong places in both cities? Or does anyone out there have similar opinions?

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catharsis
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby catharsis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:51 pm

really can't go wrong with either decision. being in-state i chose UT (but also because i want to work/live/die in Texas) so it may be different. congrats on being in such a blessed situation of choosing b/w the two!

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whitman
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby whitman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:56 am

Damn, these are my top two choices. I'm jealous of yall and hope I'm in your same position this time next year. Nashville and Austin are both the shit.

Esc
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Esc » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:04 am

dontstopbelivin wrote:
86revolt wrote:the vandy in venice program seems amazing. might be enough to lure me lol


Just FYI, if UT does lure you in, you can always participate in the Vandy in Venice program without attending Vandy - it's open to anyone from an ABA-accredited school: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/academics/van ... index.aspx

That being said, to play devil's advocate, I actually prefer Nashville to Austin. I know that 85% of people will disagree with me - I totally admit that it's a personal opinion, and both cities are fun. Maybe it's just the places I visited when I was in both cities, but I got the feeling that there was a lot to Nashville beyond Vanderbilt, whereas it felt like much of the social life in Austin revolved around the Texas campus or 6th Street (which I personally found a little dirty - it was tattoo parlors and really sketchy hole-in-the-wall bars for blocks). Given there are thousands more students at Austin, it makes sense that most things tie back to the college. Just that the places I visited there (which were recommended by locals, for the record) seemed much more like things I would want to do as a new college student, rather than a grad student. If that's what you're looking for, then Austin is it - just keep that in mind when you go. Plus the people in Austin were neutral or rude, whereas everyone in Nashville was insanely friendly.

One pro for Austin: COL seems dramatically less. And if you're really into films or indie music or party life (and hate country music), it's a good place to be.

Did I just end up in the wrong places in both cities? Or does anyone out there have similar opinions?


East 6th can be pretty dirty in a few places, but I only go down there to see shows. If I'm just looking to chill I usually hang out in other, cleaner areas. I'm quite fond of the Hyde Park area north of the UT campus, which is a lot quieter and more grad student oriented.

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ec2xs
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby ec2xs » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:09 am

dontstopbelivin wrote:
86revolt wrote:
That being said, to play devil's advocate, I actually prefer Nashville to Austin. I know that 85% of people will disagree with me - I totally admit that it's a personal opinion, and both cities are fun. Maybe it's just the places I visited when I was in both cities, but I got the feeling that there was a lot to Nashville beyond Vanderbilt, whereas it felt like much of the social life in Austin revolved around the Texas campus or 6th Street (which I personally found a little dirty - it was tattoo parlors and really sketchy hole-in-the-wall bars for blocks). Given there are thousands more students at Austin, it makes sense that most things tie back to the college. Just that the places I visited there (which were recommended by locals, for the record) seemed much more like things I would want to do as a new college student, rather than a grad student. If that's what you're looking for, then Austin is it - just keep that in mind when you go. Plus the people in Austin were neutral or rude, whereas everyone in Nashville was insanely friendly.


I'll be part of that 85%.

I've lived in Austin for three years now and dread the day I leave. Most of the people that live here avoid 6th street like the plague (it's reserved for undergrads, tourists, and yuppies). There are about six other districts to drink/socialize at, and the entire town is extremely sociable. Aside from 6th, you're still talking about a city with great parks, a beautiful lake and greenbelt, and amazing food. It's also the live music capital of the world and hosts a major music festival and a huge music conference with thousands of bands.

Austin is only based around the campus if you live around the campus. As a non-UT grad, I have never had the vibe that Austin was focused mostly on the school. I think of it as a governmental and counterculture kind of oxymoron, but not primarily a college town. We do have a major hipster problem though. They're like roaches.

Hope that helps!

yournamehere
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby yournamehere » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:16 am

I chose UT over Vandy. Haven't regretted it for a second.

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ec2xs
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby ec2xs » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:22 am

purell2 wrote:Hey guys,
Can anyone provide info about the environment/ overall quality of life at UT Austin or Vanderbilt? In particular, I am wondering about the competitiveness of students, accessibility to profs, ability to maintain a social life (take advantage of the city), etc.. I am from the east coast and have yet to visit either school.
Thanks a lot.

I toured the school, so I can only speak from that perspective. The 2L that took me around said that it wasn't a very competitive vibe at all, partly because they don't keep class ranks. She noted that, like any school, there will be students that work their tails off to be ahead of the curve, but that it wasn't the domineering sentiment.

The classrooms/facilities are gorgeous (they have been ranked #1 in some polls/rankings) and the student body seemed really bright from what I saw (none of the students flubbed the questions they were asked in the con law class I sat in on). The professor was engaging and fairly enjoyable.

I did my undergrad on the east coast and live here now. I much prefer it here. The quality of life at UT seems to be amazing based on the aforementioned factors and the environment you'd be in.

They really should have accepted me. At the very least, I could recruit for them :D

insidethetwenty
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby insidethetwenty » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:11 am

We need a good troll-off between Observationalist and somebody from Texas, ITT, stat.

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holydonkey
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby holydonkey » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:50 am

Decide based on cost of attendance - both are awesome schools. The only thing I like more about Vandy is their geographically diverse and small student body. But Austin might be a cooler city than Nashville. Maybe not. Either way, employment opportunities are about the same.

/but -1 Texas for holding my app for 3 and a half months :evil:

86revolt
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby 86revolt » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:44 pm

ec2xs wrote:
dontstopbelivin wrote:We do have a major hipster problem though. They're like roaches.


i HATE hipsters! live in san francisco right now and the mission district is like their mecca. please tell me they haven't taken over the law school!

Esc
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Esc » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:40 pm

86revolt wrote:
ec2xs wrote:
dontstopbelivin wrote:We do have a major hipster problem though. They're like roaches.


i HATE hipsters! live in san francisco right now and the mission district is like their mecca. please tell me they haven't taken over the law school!


Its not so bad, the hipsters and the yuppies cancel each other out.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:46 pm

dontstopbelivin wrote:...Austin: COL seems dramatically less. And if you're really into films or indie music or party life (and hate country music), it's a good place to be.


Huh?

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observationalist
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby observationalist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:14 pm

insidethetwenty wrote:We need a good troll-off between Observationalist and somebody from Texas, ITT, stat.


[Apologies (not really) for the lack of brevity. Law of Entertainment Industries was cancelled so I'm writing this before heading home to cook up some sweet potatoes and keep working on a neverending paper.]

I actually like a lot of the TLS posters from UT and worked with a bunch of the 3Ls last summer who were all a lot of fun to hang out with, so I will not engage in some sort of rank warfare. But the two schools are very different socially. The similarities between Austin and Nashville (cheap, good weather, lots of music, tendency to bump into famous musicians at coffee shops) don't translate into what it's like to attend the schools themselves because the makeup of the student body is too different. Vandy Law puts together about 190 students from around the country and sends them back off around the country (with about 30-35% staying anywhere in the south, including TX*). UT has double the number of students per class and keeps 75% of them in the state after graduating. I'm not pointing this out to raise a self-selection argument about which school places better or could place better in some other market; I'm saying that this translates into a big difference in culture. There are more Texans at UT Law than there are U.S. law students and international LLMs at Vanderbilt. And if you believe (as I do) that TX at least somewhat resembles an autonomous region with its own unique culture, then the difference is even more pronounced. (You can say the same thing about the south, although I've had a woman in Oxford, Mississippi tell me to "go back up to my Yank school in Nashville," so take broad generalizations about the south with a grain of salt.) For culture questions, just go visit both and see which one suits you better. You Texans out there are incredibly friendly and I've very much enjoyed my 3 years living down south between here and Houston, so take my trolling FWIW.

Also, ask the schools for some current employment info. If I've observed anything from talking to the 1Ls this year and comparing them to my class or the class before ours, it's that decreased job prospects directly translates into a more stressful environment. It helps to know what you're getting into and prepare accordingly, but schools need to do a better job at conveying this to prospectives. Our call for better transparency in employment reporting is definitely not a criticism unique to UT. Every school is more stressful to attend this year than the year before, which is why anyone considering law school should try and get current employment stats on Class of 2010 and 2011 job placement. Once you've got acceptances in hand you can leverage for information on how the 2Ls and 3Ls are holding up. Reports from UT, Cornell, Duke, GULC and Vandy are all coming out differently right now, and some of them are unfortunately less inclined to tell you the reality than others. G'luck finding the right fit and asking the hard questions.

One comment on transitioning to Nashville from the northeast: We got 4 inches of snow a few weeks ago and the city was shut down for as many days... over 90 people were admitted to the ER that weekend with sledding-related injuries. Maybe southerners aren't less educated than people in other parts of the country, but they definitely don't know how to drive or sled in the snow.

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observationalist
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby observationalist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:16 pm

86revolt wrote:
ec2xs wrote:
dontstopbelivin wrote:We do have a major hipster problem though. They're like roaches.


i HATE hipsters! live in san francisco right now and the mission district is like their mecca. please tell me they haven't taken over the law school!


For Nashville, the new Belmont school of law will probably absorb the entire community of hipsters-turned-prospective-law-students once it opens. But that's still two years out from now, so you'd have to make do if you came here.

Esc
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Esc » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:32 pm

observationalist wrote:
insidethetwenty wrote:We need a good troll-off between Observationalist and somebody from Texas, ITT, stat.


[Apologies (not really) for the lack of brevity. Law of Entertainment Industries was cancelled so I'm writing this before heading home to cook up some sweet potatoes and keep working on a neverending paper.]

I actually like a lot of the TLS posters from UT and worked with a bunch of the 3Ls last summer who were all a lot of fun to hang out with, so I will not engage in some sort of rank warfare. But the two schools are very different socially. The similarities between Austin and Nashville (cheap, good weather, lots of music, tendency to bump into famous musicians at coffee shops) don't translate into what it's like to attend the schools themselves because the makeup of the student body is too different. Vandy Law puts together about 190 students from around the country and sends them back off around the country (with about 30-35% staying anywhere in the south, including TX*). UT has double the number of students per class and keeps 75% of them in the state after graduating. I'm not pointing this out to raise a self-selection argument about which school places better or could place better in some other market; I'm saying that this translates into a big difference in culture. There are more Texans at UT Law than there are U.S. law students and international LLMs at Vanderbilt. And if you believe (as I do) that TX at least somewhat resembles an autonomous region with its own unique culture, then the difference is even more pronounced. (You can say the same thing about the south, although I've had a woman in Oxford, Mississippi tell me to "go back up to my Yank school in Nashville," so take broad generalizations about the south with a grain of salt.) For culture questions, just go visit both and see which one suits you better. You Texans out there are incredibly friendly and I've very much enjoyed my 3 years living down south between here and Houston, so take my trolling FWIW.

Also, ask the schools for some current employment info. If I've observed anything from talking to the 1Ls this year and comparing them to my class or the class before ours, it's that decreased job prospects directly translates into a more stressful environment. It helps to know what you're getting into and prepare accordingly, but schools need to do a better job at conveying this to prospectives. Our call for better transparency in employment reporting is definitely not a criticism unique to UT. Every school is more stressful to attend this year than the year before, which is why anyone considering law school should try and get current employment stats on Class of 2010 and 2011 job placement. Once you've got acceptances in hand you can leverage for information on how the 2Ls and 3Ls are holding up. Reports from UT, Cornell, Duke, GULC and Vandy are all coming out differently right now, and some of them are unfortunately less inclined to tell you the reality than others. G'luck finding the right fit and asking the hard questions.

One comment on transitioning to Nashville from the northeast: We got 4 inches of snow a few weeks ago and the city was shut down for as many days... over 90 people were admitted to the ER that weekend with sledding-related injuries. Maybe southerners aren't less educated than people in other parts of the country, but they definitely don't know how to drive or sled in the snow.


I think observationalist is correct that the schools are too different to make an easy comparison. Dean Sager has consistently said at orientations, meet + greets, etc., that UT views the other big elite public schools (UVA/Mich/UCLA) as its peers, but that the small elite schools offer a completely different style of education. I believe (might be misremembering here) that he has analogized the big school/small school difference to the difference between a ritzy department store and a fancy boutique shop. One has a lot of everything, the other is very good in certain areas but has less diversification.

Just one correction: the % of Texas residents here hovers in the 65-70% range, not around 75%. Also, while the class sizes are still approximately double Vandy's, they are smaller than they used to be. My year has ~375 students, while the class that graduated last spring had 420.

purell2
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby purell2 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:47 pm

Thanks for all of the info. What about East Coast (NY/DC/Philly) job placement stats for Austin/Vandy grads?

Esc
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby Esc » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:32 pm

purell2 wrote:Thanks for all of the info. What about East Coast (NY/DC/Philly) job placement stats for Austin/Vandy grads?


Vandy sends a higher proportion of each class to those areas

amped
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby amped » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:39 pm

I'd just like to throw in that Nashville is a great town. I've never been to Austin so I can't compare, but I have really liked Nashville. It's got a lot to do, and (I think) because of the music industry and the money that comes with it, it's a very clean city. I don't know why people rag on it.

My recommendation would be to visit both, even if it costs you some cash. I didn't visit schools before accepting and I really, really wish I had. I essentially transferred because of that.

Oh and the profs are awesome here too. They are very accessible and the school places a huge emphasis on good teaching, friendliness, etc. The int'l law program is cool too. Professor Newton, one of the main guys, has tons of connections in the federal govt and various international organizations and hooks students up with sweet internships.

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vanwinkle
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Re: UT Austin vs. Vanderbilt

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:45 pm

Austin:

Image

Tennessee:

--ImageRemoved--

I hope that illustrates the difference for you.




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