Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

where should i go?

chicago
14
36%
nyu
6
15%
penn
19
49%
 
Total votes: 39

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tintin
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Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby tintin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:59 am

So this past week I visited NYU, Penn, and Chicago. I was not at the entire ASW for any of them, just one day each for the city and one for seeing the school. Here's what I thought:

NYU:
I sat in on a criminal law class which I thought was pretty good, although I had expected the level of discussion to be a little bit higher than it was. The students all seemed pretty normal and into it. I spoke with several members of Outlaw at the student org reception, and they said that it is very active on campus with about 50 or so members. The other potential students I also liked a lot- one thing I noticed is that many of them were interested in NYU primarily because of the location. Which brings me to...
The location. I didn't enjoy NYC all that much because it seemed very crowded and rushed to me, also ridiculously expensive (and I'm from LA!). I think if you like NYC, NYU is probably great, and the village def has its own flavor that makes it seem like a cohesive neighborhood. However, it just wasn't for me. The campus itself is alright looking but didn't seem to have a very communal feel to it. The area outside the campus is kind of a zoo with all the undergrads running around as well.

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Penn:
I was not expecting to like Penn, and I loved it. Philadelphia was a much nicer city than I expected, and it had a lot of great historical stuff and a nice downtown all within close range of each other. I was at the school on saturday so I missed the most informative day of ASW, but the other potential students all seemed to have enjoyed it. There was a clerkship panel which I thought was interesting, seems like Penn is really working on that area. The Penn students all seemed to have good things to say, and one of them offered to show me around the school and gave me some copies of the law review. Penn seems to have a very large, active Lambda group with about 70 members which is really impressive compared to NYU and considering the size of both schools. They also have several out faculty / staff. The campus was really beautiful I thought, and felt like it's own self-contained area without undergrads running around. The courtyard in the middle of the law school was a nice touch, and one of the buildings is being renovated. Faculty offices seemed very accessible as well. I am now seriously considering Penn because I felt such a good vibe there, however, I worry that I might be closing a lot of doors to me that might be open at chicago (high level clerkships / academia). I didn't get much of a feel for the balance between PI/Private work at Penn however which I will be looking at more now (any info will be appreciated!!)

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courtyard of the law school
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entrance hall

Chicago:
When I got to chicago the weather was overcast and freezing, and hyde park looked pretty grim under those conditions. The undergrad campus is of course beautiful, and there are some really nice old houses in HP. There didn't seem to be a lot in the way of shopping/nightlife, but there were plenty of coffeehouses and bookstores. The area has TONS of parks and open spaces which I liked, but everything felt a little grimy and rough around the edges too.
The law school is hideous (see below pics) and surrounded by other unimpressive buildings. The reflecting pool had been drained when I was there as well. The interior is okay, there is a large hangout/study/eating area called the green room that was pretty nice- I don't think any of the other schools I visited had such an extensive area just for students to hang out. Classrooms seemed decent, and the clinical courses have their own private section of the building. Law journal offices were VERY large compared to other schools I've seen. There is a lot of modern art throughout the school too. They have a fake courtroom which kind of had a cave-like feel to it, and a nice auditorium with microphones at about half of the seats. The library was kind of claustrophobic feeling with a dark, low ceiling.
A lot of the students I spoke with seemed verrry intense and nerdy. I got the feeling these students study quite a bit. The outlaw rep I spoke with told me that there is a pretty small gay contingent (about 4 in his class, maybe 20 in the whole school, with some closeted ones). He said that there are also, obviously, a good amount of conservatives but that it usually doesn't translate into any kind of openly hostile situations. The undergrad at chicago is providing more LGBT outreach lately too so apparently there is a larger community there. Although there are several profs who do work in lgbt and intersecting issues, there are not a lot of classes that deal with these issues and the school doesn't seem to have many resources for LGBT students or emphasize this diversity area in their admissions process. The two classes I sat in on (torts w/ epstein and property w/ strahilevitz) were both very good and had a lot of high level discussion going on- kinda intimidating! Epstein in particular was cold calling people and while everyone seemed pretty on top of it, I did see a few people playing solitaire on their laptops. Students in general didn't seem quite as friendly as at NYU or Penn but maybe this was because it was their first day back after break. So, I came away with mixed feelings about chicago, obviously the opportunities coming out are very good, but I wasn't quite comfortable with the atmosphere there, and the school is ugly / hyde park has some downsides.

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the library
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the midway

Anyways, I hope this was useful to someone. I'm still weighing chicago v. penn, so any opinions / thoughts would be really welcome. I have a couple more pictures if anyone wants to see them.


edit: mods, i think this should actually be in the ASW forum....care to move it? :lol:
Last edited by tintin on Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:02 am

You're still weighing Chicago v. Penn? Seriously? Unless Penn is offering you significant money, this is a no brainer. The two schools simply have different opportunities.

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tintin
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby tintin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:11 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:You're still weighing Chicago v. Penn? Seriously? Unless Penn is offering you significant money, this is a no brainer. The two schools simply have different opportunities.


well, i want to work with lgbt issues, so it seems penn would be more amenable to that. i also don't want to be miserable for 3 years :lol:

would love to hear more opinions about whether or not that would be a dumb choice.
i will be paying sticker at either, but not too concerned about debt. Not interested in biglaw.

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gossipgirl
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby gossipgirl » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:17 am

tintin wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:You're still weighing Chicago v. Penn? Seriously? Unless Penn is offering you significant money, this is a no brainer. The two schools simply have different opportunities.


well, i want to work with lgbt issues, so it seems penn would be more amenable to that. i also don't want to be miserable for 3 years :lol:

would love to hear more opinions about whether or not that would be a dumb choice.
i will be paying sticker at either, but not too concerned about debt. Not interested in biglaw.


If you don't have an interest in biglaw/business, I can't see why you'd pick Penn over Chicago. I know you said that it seems like LGBT issues seemed better served in Penn, but I really think you should spend the next month trying to find out what alumni have gone to work in LGBT issues from Chicago. I think you owe yourself some more research into the opportunities afforded by these schools for this unique track. Chicago overall seems to have better opportunities and placement in clerkships and prestigious advocacy groups. Some in-depth research into this, by contacting career services, will be very helpful to you.

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haroldfordIII
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby haroldfordIII » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:19 am

i will be paying sticker at either, but not too concerned about debt. Not interested in biglaw.


Which program has a stronger loan repayment program? Would you be 200+K in debt at both? If so, you would want to see which repayment option will leave you in a better position.

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big_blue79
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby big_blue79 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:21 am

I don't have any insight for you, but thanks for typing this up. I'm in at NYU and awaiting Penn/Chicago, so I'll probably be in the same boat and, frankly, will not have time to visit all 3. If you have any additional insights or even useful pics don't hesitate to PM!

FWIW, in your shoes, I think that NYU fits your professional desires from what I've read. Chicago is the best school among the three, but I don't think you'd be killing your prospects to pick NYU. For Penn, if I was in your shoes, it would take money to choose it over NYU/UC.

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ellewoods110
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby ellewoods110 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:31 am

I am planning on going to Chicago, so I am biased. But reading your description of Penn made me wish I had tried harder on my Penn app (aka write the Why Penn essay) so I wouldn't have been WL. Penn is still in the T14, so you are still going to get an amazing education. If you want to work on LGBT issues, does that really require academia/clerkships? Go where you want. You will do so much better at a school you actually enjoy, and you'll make the best out of it. I went to a very unimpressive undergrad over a top liberal arts school, and I am still going to my top choice of law school because I loved my school and I got very involved.

lz06
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby lz06 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:37 am

It sounds like you love Penn. I say go wherever makes you happy

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:39 am

If you're shooting for PI work, NYU is the only reasonable choice here. They have the best LRAP program by far. Neither Chicago nor Penn really give a damn about PI stuff.

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Veyron
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby Veyron » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:40 am

Hah, I had a similar problem, before I visited both I was dead set on NYU over Penn but NYU was not quite what I had hoped it would be and Penn does a very good job selling itself. Still, I know NYU is better for the fields I am interested in. I have absolutely no idea how I am going to make this decision. Anyways I made a thread at least about the NYU v. Penn ASW if you want to have a look.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=112586

BenJ
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby BenJ » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:43 am

Penn is very good for LGBT stuff; as you noticed, they've recruited heavily. That said, Penn is mostly known for business, and I really can't see choosing Penn over NYU unless you're interested in a JD/MBA or otherwise having connections to Wharton and the corporate world. NYU is also great for LGBT stuff (obviously) and has much greater focus on the general field of civil rights law and PI, something Penn is not very good at. Also, relative size of OUTLaw varies depending on the feeling that you need to be a part of it; at NYU, I doubt even a majority of LGBT students have ever shown up to an OUTLaw meeting (an OUTLaw representative at their ASW said basically as much), but I think that's a good sign rather than a bad one.

Chicago I wouldn't be considering with your career goals, not unless they gave you money (and NYU and Penn didn't).

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:44 am

lz06 wrote:It sounds like you love Penn. I say go wherever makes you happy


I agree with this. Chicago may be a more prestigious school with better job prospects, but it's not in a different stratosphere. Penn is a great school and Philadelphia is an awesome city and I'm glad to hear that you loved it, Tintin!

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tintin
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby tintin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:50 am

NYU would seem to be best but I really, really can't stand the idea of living in NYC, especially when I have no interest in working there.
That is why I think Chicago might be a good choice, because it seems more livable to me but with the same caliber of academics. I want to keep academia at least somewhat on the table as an option too which Chicago has the edge in.

As for debt, I will at most be paying for 1 year of tuition out of loans but likely less than that, because my dad is helping me out. So LRAP isn't a huge concern of mine.

Is PI/gov just not big with Chicago and Penn students because most of them choose otherwise, or because the schools actually have less opportunities for these students? I thought it was just self-selection that fewer students at these schools went into PI/gov.

Veyron, thanks for the link, very useful

Z3RO
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby Z3RO » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:51 am

Thank you for this thread. I am waitlisted at Chicago and waiting to hear back from Penn and NYU, so this is close to my heart as well.

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scribelaw
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby scribelaw » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:55 am

The one U-Chicago Law grad I know said she really liked her three years there.

I just don't think that, among T10 law schools, the differences are going to be that stark on your experience. It's going to be a big workload anywhere you go, and whether you are happy or miserable will depend more on you than your school. Of course, there are external factors that will affect things -- being close to family, etc. But I don't think it's possible to project your happiness level at, say, Chicago vs. Penn.

miamiman
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby miamiman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:57 am

Tintin, Im in a somewhat similar situation to you: NU vs. Chicago. My heart is saying I'd be happier at NU but my head is telling me Chicago is a "safer" pick for all of the obvious reasons ( job placement, reputation, clerking, etc.) I'll be choosing largely on fit ultimately so I think you need to listen to yourself if you're not feeling NYU

Also, Chicago is overhauling their LRAP. Stay tuned



I might also note that I'm also concerned about the intensity at Chicago

BenJ
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby BenJ » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:02 pm

tintin wrote:NYU would seem to be best but I really, really can't stand the idea of living in NYC, especially when I have no interest in working there.
That is why I think Chicago might be a good choice, because it seems more livable to me but with the same caliber of academics. I want to keep academia at least somewhat on the table as an option too which Chicago has the edge in.

As for debt, I will at most be paying for 1 year of tuition out of loans but likely less than that, because my dad is helping me out. So LRAP isn't a huge concern of mine.

Is PI/gov just not big with Chicago and Penn students because most of them choose otherwise, or because the schools actually have less opportunities for these students? I thought it was just self-selection that fewer students at these schools went into PI/gov.

Veyron, thanks for the link, very useful


I'm sure part of it is self-selection, but Chicago in particular has never had any sort of support system for PI that indicates active apathy (if that makes any sense) on their part. Of course, they've been talking about a new PI initiative to be unveiled, but my impression is that it's mostly window dressing. Maybe a Chicago student would be more helpful here.

Self-selection matters, too; you'll always want to be in an environment where your particular interest isn't marginalized in terms of student involvement. For standard career paths like corporate or criminal law, it matters less since there will always be more than a handful of people doing those everywhere, but in really specialized fields like LGBT rights law, you'll want to go somewhere that actually has at least a few other people studying and focusing on the same thing. Penn and NYU will have that, but Chicago won't.

Also, while Chicago is "better" for academia, it's worth considering what sorts of academia Chicago grads tend to go into. If you want to do jurisprudence or law and democracy or other mostly theoretical academic fields, Chicago is great, but for more "practical" academic fields I wouldn't expect Chicago to be appreciably better than NYU (and probably not Penn, either).

Personally, I would advise NYU. But you really don't like NYC (hard to see how Philadelphia or Chicago would be different enough to be more appealing, but whatever), so I would advise Penn. I think Chicago should be your lowest choice.

jerjon2
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby jerjon2 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:10 pm

BenJ wrote:
tintin wrote:NYU would seem to be best but I really, really can't stand the idea of living in NYC, especially when I have no interest in working there.
That is why I think Chicago might be a good choice, because it seems more livable to me but with the same caliber of academics. I want to keep academia at least somewhat on the table as an option too which Chicago has the edge in.

As for debt, I will at most be paying for 1 year of tuition out of loans but likely less than that, because my dad is helping me out. So LRAP isn't a huge concern of mine.

Is PI/gov just not big with Chicago and Penn students because most of them choose otherwise, or because the schools actually have less opportunities for these students? I thought it was just self-selection that fewer students at these schools went into PI/gov.

Veyron, thanks for the link, very useful


I'm sure part of it is self-selection, but Chicago in particular has never had any sort of support system for PI that indicates active apathy (if that makes any sense) on their part. Of course, they've been talking about a new PI initiative to be unveiled, but my impression is that it's mostly window dressing. Maybe a Chicago student would be more helpful here.

Self-selection matters, too; you'll always want to be in an environment where your particular interest isn't marginalized in terms of student involvement. For standard career paths like corporate or criminal law, it matters less since there will always be more than a handful of people doing those everywhere, but in really specialized fields like LGBT rights law, you'll want to go somewhere that actually has at least a few other people studying and focusing on the same thing. Penn and NYU will have that, but Chicago won't.

Also, while Chicago is "better" for academia, it's worth considering what sorts of academia Chicago grads tend to go into. If you want to do jurisprudence or law and democracy or other mostly theoretical academic fields, Chicago is great, but for more "practical" academic fields I wouldn't expect Chicago to be appreciably better than NYU (and probably not Penn, either).

Personally, I would advise NYU. But you really don't like NYC (hard to see how Philadelphia or Chicago would be different enough to be more appealing, but whatever), so I would advise Penn. I think Chicago should be your lowest choice.


I went to an accepted student's wine mess recently and Dean Schill made a huge deal about the overhaul of Chicago's LRAP and the hiring of someone to direct this new PI thrust. He admitted it was Chicago's weakness and that it was one of his main goals as the new dean to correct that. (That said, NYU has obviously had PI as one of it's central foci for a long time)

Side note: Dean Schill is really nice guy and very approachable and if you're considering Chicago and you have the chance to talk to him he will sell it to you really deftly. (And he didn't even have to sell it to me since I was ED)

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tintin
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby tintin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:19 pm

jerjon2 wrote:I went to an accepted student's wine mess recently and Dean Schill made a huge deal about the overhaul of Chicago's LRAP and the hiring of someone to direct this new PI thrust. He admitted it was Chicago's weakness and that it was one of his main goals as the new dean to correct that. (That said, NYU has obviously had PI as one of it's central foci for a long time)

Side note: Dean Schill is really nice guy and very approachable and if you're considering Chicago and you have the chance to talk to him he will sell it to you really deftly. (And he didn't even have to sell it to me since I was ED)


Yeah, I meet Dean Schill when he was at UCLA, he is a great guy. I wish I had been able to talk to him while I was there.

I think this thread is confusing me even more..yikes :roll:

dakatz
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby dakatz » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:25 pm

tintin wrote:
jerjon2 wrote:I went to an accepted student's wine mess recently and Dean Schill made a huge deal about the overhaul of Chicago's LRAP and the hiring of someone to direct this new PI thrust. He admitted it was Chicago's weakness and that it was one of his main goals as the new dean to correct that. (That said, NYU has obviously had PI as one of it's central foci for a long time)

Side note: Dean Schill is really nice guy and very approachable and if you're considering Chicago and you have the chance to talk to him he will sell it to you really deftly. (And he didn't even have to sell it to me since I was ED)


Yeah, I meet Dean Schill when he was at UCLA, he is a great guy. I wish I had been able to talk to him while I was there.

I think this thread is confusing me even more..yikes :roll:


I'm confused as well. Everyone seems to mention the "intensity" and "seriousness" of the Chicago student body. And that, more than anything else, scares me off a bit. I have this sinking feeling like, if I go there, I will be crushed by that competition and finish really low in my class. And ITE, even at a school as great as Chicago, that would hurt me for a very long time.

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tintin
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby tintin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:43 pm

dakatz wrote:I'm confused as well. Everyone seems to mention the "intensity" and "seriousness" of the Chicago student body. And that, more than anything else, scares me off a bit. I have this sinking feeling like, if I go there, I will be crushed by that competition and finish really low in my class. And ITE, even at a school as great as Chicago, that would hurt me for a very long time.


yeah, I feel that. the school just had this intense atmosphere that kinda put me on edge. I don't want to fail out of law school...

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JollyGreenGiant
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby JollyGreenGiant » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:28 pm

I have similar prospects and similar worries.

(I'm not a fan of NYC, especially the expensive-ness)

I'm also worried about the intensity of Chicago (though I'm not visiting 'til ASW).

However, my goals (academia if possible, and living in midwest) are a bit different than yours and make your decision a little bit tougher. I hope things turn out well for you.

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ravens20
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby ravens20 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:54 pm

Tintin (great screen name btw),

You might have picked the wrong day to attend NYU's ASW. On Friday there were faculty meetings, public interest panel, clerkship panels, partners at Watchtell/Cravath/etc, and an awesome judges panel. It was more formal and the Dean gave a great intro. Plus they actually gave tours of the campus (instead of that ridiculous Village tour).

That being said, you have to go where you are going to be happy. If you really didn't like New York City and feel that you won't be happy there, then you shouldn't go to NYU. It isn't just about job opportunities - this decision determines where you are going to be spending three years of your life.

motiontodismiss
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby motiontodismiss » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:41 pm

I just came back from Philly and I LOVE the Penn campus. The law school building is so much nicer than Vanderbilt Hall (NYU).

zanyventer
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Re: Impressions of NYU, Penn, and Chicago

Postby zanyventer » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:46 pm

god, i would killself at chicago.




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