William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

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

Between UNC and William & Mary (all costs, etc. aside), which would you rather attend?

UNC
22
47%
W&M
25
53%
 
Total votes: 47

CloseToGood
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William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:39 pm

It's come down to William & Mary vs. UNC. I have been accepted to both. W&M has offered me a fellowship and more than enough in scholarships/stipends to balance out the in-state tuition that I would get at UNC. I won't really know what financial package UNC might offer me until I get my official acceptance letter in January.

Anyone have any words of wisdom on the two? Not that this means a whole lot, but both are tied for rankings. UNC seems to be recovering from a precipitous drop in rankings over the past decade, while W&M seems to be very slowing increasing in prestige. Right now, both are ranked 28th by US News.

Pros/Cons for UNC:
I currently live within commuting distance to UNC and am fairly established here. UNC is a great school. However, it might be nice live in another state for a while. I also feel like UNC-law could have handled their application process better (it took months, not a couple weeks like they said it would, before they let me know that they even had my application, which I submitted on the first possible day, Oct 1. They were the only school I applied to that wouldn't accept the application free through LSAC. They didn't send me the log-in info to check on my application status until less than 24 hrs before they made a decision on my application -other schools sent it within 48 of actually receiving my application). In short, they were noticeably less responsive than other schools, but most strongly emphasized their policy of 'please don't contact us asking about your application.' This issue is more of a data-point than the crux of my view of the school. I know that the admissions process at a school isn't necessarily representative of the educational quality, etc., though this type of thing certainly doesn't make me hopeful about it either. Two other things to consider: 1) The law school is slated to move buildings in a couple years, which could cause some headache as a 2/3L. 2) I recently spoke with a UNC-law grad, and, while she had nice things to say about the school, she also said she felt that after UNC dropped in the rankings there had been pressure to replace some really awesome professors with ones who look more prestigious on paper. However, I have heard that UNC does have an awesome alumni network to help with job placement post-graduation though. And the current UNC-law students whom I have met all seem to be happy.

Pros/Cons for William and Mary:
Going to W&M would mean selling our house (which we just purchased a couple years ago), moving and giving up the personal/social network we've developed here. We have family in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh-Durham area, and as foodies we LOVE Durham. While my wife and I can also be history nerds, Williamsburg probably won't provide the same level of awesome culture and food that the triangle has. It's also fairly expensive. That being said, W&M seems to be especially well known for having a positive environment and happy student body, and the fellowship would give me some guaranteed practical law experience, which, in a sense, is better than money. Being closer to DC, it would also open up a wider range of possible internships down the line. Uprooting ourselves could also be a bit of an adventure. I still need to visit W&M to get a better feel for the place.

Thoughts?
Last edited by CloseToGood on Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MrAnon
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby MrAnon » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:47 pm

So abandon your newly purchased home and roots in a town you like for an unknown school in an unknown town that is marginally nearer D.C. and has to dole out money to attract you?

krad
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby krad » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:54 pm

MrAnon wrote:So abandon your newly purchased home and roots in a town you like for an unknown school in an unknown town that is marginally nearer D.C. and has to dole out money to attract you?


It does sound to me like you'd be giving up a lot for W+M, as Anon mentioned...

I would try not to base much at all on the admissions process. Many schools discourage applicants from contacting them much (you have to look at this from their perspective: # of impatient applications with "what is my status/I want a decision nowww", etc.), and likewise many schools barely communicate except to say they've received your app and it's complete (no checkers, continued emails).

Where do you want to end up working?

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:00 pm

We wouldn't be moving to the other side of the planet. We'd only be ~3.5 hours away (which is not dissimilar to my situation while I was an undergrad), so it's not like we'd be completely abandoning our network. I'm not scared away by possible unknowns. When I was young, my family uprooted ourselves and moved overseas for a couple years, and it ended up being a really awesome experience. And while a school doesn't have to dole out money to attract me, the fact is that we will be losing roughly 2/3 of our household income while I am in school, and we're not rich, so we have to take financial matters into consideration. Selling our house would also give us some additional cash on hand, so it's not all bad.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about exactly what I want to do, but I do find myself attracted to appellate/government stuff.

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ODBCP
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby ODBCP » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:01 pm

Lots of schools say it will only be weeks for a decision, then weeks turn into months. I don't think that necessarily constitutes a poor handling of the admissions process. I mean, you already have a decision, and its not halfway through the cycle. Give them a break on that one. I think it's hard to draw correlation between support for prospective students and support for admitted students; plenty of great schools have poorly-communicated admissions processes, and vice versa.

I would stay in North Carolina. It seems like you've set up shop in Durham pretty well and you'd be uprooting some serious ties to go to W&M without a ton of incentive. That's my .02, which really doesn't matter because I'm a 0L.

krad
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby krad » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:03 pm

CloseToGood wrote:We wouldn't be moving to the other side of the planet. We'd only be ~3.5 hours away (which is not dissimilar to my situation while I was an undergrad), so it's not like we'd be completely abandoning our network. I'm not scared away by possible unknowns. When I was young, my family uprooted ourselves and moved overseas for a couple years, and it ended up being a really awesome experience. And while a school doesn't have to dole out money to attract me, the fact is that we will be losing roughly 2/3 of our household income while I am in school, and we're not rich, so we have to take financial matters into consideration. Selling our house would also give us some additional cash on hand, so it's not all bad.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about exactly what I want to do, but I do find myself attracted to appellate/government stuff.


Does this mean that you hope to break into the DC market from W+M?

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:10 pm

I don't want to make assumptions about what I might want to do four years from now. However, having DC as more of an option for internships is definitely appealing.

The fellowship could also open some really cool doors.

In short, my head says UNC, but my heart says W&M. That is where the conflict arises.

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:12 pm

My personal situation aside, does anyone have any insights for objectively comparing the two schools?

krad
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby krad » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:15 pm

CloseToGood wrote:I don't want to make assumptions about what I might want to do four years from now. However, having DC as more of an option for internships is definitely appealing.

The fellowship could also open some really cool doors.

In short, my head says UNC, but my heart says W&M. That is where the conflict arises.


Mmmm that's going to be a very tough call then...

You should make TT [this thread] a poll, you may get more responses/quick reads.

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DukeCornell
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby DukeCornell » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:31 pm

While the people were very nice and easy to talk to, I hate UNC Law School. I stopped by the law school while visiting Duke, WTF?!?! I don’t know how those kats do it. Here are my issues with UNC:

1. The law school is surrounded by athletic fields- how in the fuck do you focus when you have the football team, the marching band, and the lacrosse team on 3 fucking sides?
2. I was told, and I quote: “Don’t visit the first floor [of the law building], because it’s not too pretty.” That was a fucking understatement. It was like the 3rd circle of hell in Donate’s Inferno.
3. The law library is small as fuck, I mean really small and you can see and hear the football team, the marching band, and the lacrosse team from inside the library. WTF?
4. All of the classrooms are in disrepair, and all of the furniture in the 90% building needs to be replaced.
5. The ug's were hanging out in the LS like it was a fucking burger joint.
Last edited by DukeCornell on Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:38 pm

They definitely do need an upgrade, which is why they're doing the building move. I think they finally realized that when one of the exterior walls started crumbling a couple years ago. ;) The new building is going to be on a new satellite campus, which will be surrounded by woods, which takes care of some of the other issues you mentioned.

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Grizz
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:39 pm

Want to practice in NC? Go to UNC.
Want to practice in VA? Go to W&M.

It's that simple.

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magicman554
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby magicman554 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:41 pm

Is it just me, or does this sound like an LSAT writing sample question?


I think UNC has a slightly more recognizable name, but reputation is probably on par with W&M.


Flip a coin, or visit an oracle.

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:46 pm

magicman554 wrote:Is it just me, or does this sound like an LSAT writing sample question?


I think UNC has a slightly more recognizable name, but reputation is probably on par with W&M.


Flip a coin, or visit an oracle.


Ha! Love it!

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pokerlaw
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby pokerlaw » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:50 pm

rad law wrote:Want to practice in NC? Go to UNC.
Want to practice in VA? Go to W&M.

It's that simple.


I agree with this.

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fish tacos
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby fish tacos » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:53 pm

William and Mary will give you the same shot at DC as UNC... which is very small. WandM is behind UVa, GULC, GW, American, and any other T14 kids with DC on their list. I would take UNC at the in-state tuition, as it dominates the NC network (most Duke kids go elsewhere). UNC also has a legacy of public service in the state - that large alumni network extends to just as many politicians and government agents as it does those in private practice.

But again, this is your decision. If your heart says WandM, then by all means, go with your heart. I can appreciate wanting to experience something new.

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dextermorgan
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby dextermorgan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:57 pm

UNC's admissions department sucks. This is nothing new (actually they are notorious for it), but has nothing to do with the rest of the school. Ultimately you need to decide where you want to practice. If you want to practice in NC go to UNC. If you want to practice in VA (or try for the crapshoot that is DC) go to W&M. It's simple really.

Aqualibrium
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:01 pm

The fact is, you're going to have to do well at UNC or W&M to get the type of job that really justifies going into significant educational debt. The good thing for you is that with scholarships and instate, the tuition cost of both schools are about equal (although it would seem everything else is going to be cheaper for you at UNC since you live within commuting distance).

With regards to job prospects, if the difference we were talking about was sticker or close to it at UVA vs. money at W&M, you're in a different situation. In that instance, you're looking at the ability to have solid job placement in a wider range of places, all the way down to median (and perhaps a bit lower for students with stellar interviewing skills and or great resumes) at UVA vs. needing to be in the top 25% at minimum from W&M for a comparatively limited range of opportunities.

UNC instate vs. W&M with money that essentially equalizes the base cost isn't the same argument. ITE, you likely need to be in the top 25% at a minimum regardless of which one of these schools you go to, and they are all geographically limited to some extent. For you then, I think it comes down to which school you feel most comfortable at after visiting.

I'm also a big advocate of straying a bit beyond your state lines if you can attend a strong regional school nearby with a scholarship (because again, you need great grades from either school). I'll use myself as an example: I am a resident of one Southern state, but ended up going to a strong school in another Southern state with a full ride. That gave me the ability to rely on my home state as a fall back, tap into the state my law school was in as sort of an oci target, tap into nearby regions like Georgia and Florida, and then try my hand in places like DC and Virginia because I had pretty good grades. It was a situation I kinda lucked into, because I wasn't thinking that way when I enrolled. I'm happy now that it went that way though, and I now encourage people whose best hopes are largely regional schools to look at little things like that. It worked out really well for me, I got offers back home, in my school's market, in Georgia, in Florida, and in DC/VA. The best part is, I did it for free, so if I hadn't done as well in school as I would have liked, there would be no significant debt burden hanging over my head. For you that means the ability to try for DC if your grades are any good, target VA and other nearby states, and fall back on your home state of NC. W&M is close by enough for you to avoid questions about "why did you leave," you've got strong ties to NC, and I really believe being and "exotic" candidate can help you back home.

quetzal_bird
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby quetzal_bird » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:34 pm

Definitely visit W&M. Its absolutely beautiful, which is one of its stronger selling points. However, having been raised in Raleigh and also living in W'burg, I think a visit to W&M is going to make your pro-con lists longer. You will need to get used to a quieter way of life in Williamsburg. You can PM me for more details if you would like, but make sure you visit and check out the town as well as the campus pretty thoroughly.

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magicman554
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby magicman554 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:37 pm

Any acceptances higher ranked than these two? Considering the job market, I think a much better school justifies higher debt.

CloseToGood
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby CloseToGood » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:32 am

I disagree. I know I don't want to move to NY to try to do 80+ hr/week uber-corporate law. That's pretty much the type of job I would have to shoot for straight out of law if I were to borrow 50k in yearly tuition (like at Duke, which is near me) plus expenses in loans. Quality of life is very important to me, and allowing myself to not be scrambling for a job I'll probably hate just to pay off money I didn't want to borrow in the first place would not be the right choice for me and would also limit my options down the line. These are both still T30, Tier 1 law schools were talking about...

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magicman554
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby magicman554 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:59 am

CloseToGood wrote:I disagree. I know I don't want to move to NY to try to do 80+ hr/week uber-corporate law. That's pretty much the type of job I would have to shoot for straight out of law if I were to borrow 50k in yearly tuition (like at Duke, which is near me) plus expenses in loans. Quality of life is very important to me, and allowing myself to not be scrambling for a job I'll probably hate just to pay off money I didn't want to borrow in the first place would not be the right choice for me and would also limit my options down the line. These are both still T30, Tier 1 law schools were talking about...


True, but I should warn you that times are pretty dire for new lawyers. I know some T6ers that can't find jobs. I'm just saying that the options you may find ideal probably won't be out there, and that prestige matters. The world we live in...

shastaca
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Re:

Postby shastaca » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:35 am

. .
Last edited by shastaca on Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Law Sauce
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby Law Sauce » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:27 pm

Im not really sure how much this thread can tell you. the two schools are peers and similar, W&M might have a little more prestige, unc has more name recognition, but neither by much. Aqualibrium may have a good point, but even with that advice the choice becomes purely personal, talk with you SO, visit both, check them out and decide. the two choices are equal but very different

TarHeel11
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Re: William & Mary VS UNC-Chapel Hill

Postby TarHeel11 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:43 pm

I picked UNC over W&M (and a few other comparable schools ranked in the 20-30 range) for the in-state tuition and the in-state alumni network.

But I'm writing to point out that the statements OP and others made about the new law building is pretty much irrelevant for anyone starting next fall. There is not currently any funding for the new building and some significant problems have recently cropped up with the development of the new satellite campus. While the new law school remains the university's top priority for capital spending on academic buildings, there simply isn't any money for that in the foreseeable future.

The law school will eventually move to a new building at Carolina North. I'd be shocked if it opens before 2015 based on the current state of things.

I'd advise anyone considering UNC Law to assume that they'll spend their time there in the current building until ground is actually broken on the new facility.




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