Campagnolo wrote:This is my last gasp attempt: anyone have the time to put together a good overall picture of how the admitted student days went? With whom were they impressed, what disappointed, and whether Ann Arbor is an all right place to live?
I found that plane tickets to Detroit are extremely expensive.
I did a little list on the way back from ASW so I can quickly share my opinion. For the sake of balance, I'm going to alternate 1 pro and 1 con. Warning: if you like well written posts and proper grammar, avert your eyes! Think of it a stream of consciousness if it makes you feel better.
1a. Pro: The student body was about as cool as I could expect of a law school. Not one person I met (and I looked) said they disliked Michigan or regretted their decision. Also, a good % of the people I met who were 0Ls were pretty good company. Good range of people in terms of age too. And I say this in a very non-elitist jerk kind of way.
1b. Con: Had a very undergrad feel, especially with frats right across the street of the law school. People say it's not that big of a deal, but speaking as someone who was in a frat, any time the weather is nice, the bros are gonna be blasting music across the street with very little consideration of classes going on across the street. Also, dorms and college kids everywhere.
2a. Pro: Faculty was great and approachable. I talked to 5 or so different faculty during my time there and they all had good advice and were willing to casually chat about anything. It was pretty awesome. (edited in: also faculty were down to hang out at student events)
2b. Con: Location. Ann Arbor itself is a good town, but it still is a college town in the midwest with no major city nearby (detroit doesn't count). If you're used to good ethnic food (like if you're from nyc or cali) there's none to be found. This also means you're probably going to need to leave over the summer for jobs, which usually means a sublet in a college town where 40,000 people are looking to offload their apartment aka you're probably going to be paying rent at 2 places. Also, people say you don't need a car, but every school, be it a college or a grad program, says that. Sure, you might not NEED a car, but it certainly would be useful.
3a. Pro: I was really impressed by their dedicated clerkship faculty (I forgot the professor's name, but she was a former SCOTUS clerk) and I hear from people that she's awesome and willing to help. I haven't really heard about this at any other school and it was pretty impressive.
3b. Con: I think clinics / externships were pretty lacking because again, it is Ann Arbor and there's not a lot you can do in the town. Yes, there are opportunities but it's definitely not as robust as schools in bigger cities.
4a: Ann Arbor. Yes, it is both a pro and a con. There's cheap housing, great places to hang out, beautiful green areas, a pretty good bus system, and some cool outdoorsy things to do pretty close. I personally like being able to see the sky and I hear there's 4 legit seasons. Winter doesn't seem that bad. I hear they only really get 1-2 inches of snow at a time which is 100% bearable. And over this last ASW, the weather was in the 70s, the sun was shining, and life was good.
4b: Con: 1L summer is going to be rough. They don't guarantee a stipend for public interest work your 1L summer, so if you don't get find something paid, there's a 50% chance you don't get any sort of stipend from the school. This is in pretty stark contrast to UM's peer schools. I should say that 3L's were dropping some serious cash at the faculty auction (like $1000 a pop) at the PI fundraisers so that their classmates could get paid, but still. Only 50% of 1Ls doing unpaid work get a stipend (factor in that you prob will be paying 2 rents, you could be spending anywhere between 5-10k this summer with no income).
-South Hall is brand new and awesome, Hitchens is old and pretty dated but still nice. The library is cool as shit though, but I can imagine it must get pretty tiring having people come in for tours and taking pictures.
-I went to the main gym (CCRB) and I thought it was pretty meh.
-Bars for the most part were fun and cheap. The first bar I went to had a pretty tasty 2$ micro (it was some sort of nutty brown ale if you care) and it's nice to be fairly "loose" with your cash and still end up with a sub-20$ bar tab.
-It kind of sucks that we wont be able to live in the Lawyers Club.
Overview: I think most people are legitimately happy at Michigan. Ann Arbor does feel like a big state school college town, and even though the law school is a bit insulated, a lot of the college feel inevitably leaks in. It's not close to a primary market so get used to leaving for the summers and not having a lot of the opportunities you would have if you went to school in a city. Overall, I really liked Michigan Law and am seriously considering attending next year. The preview weekend they had set up for us was really informative, fun, and allows you to get a good feel for the school. I highly recommend it.
Considerations I left out: Quality of education, faculty, classes, prestige etc. Chances are if you're debating between Michigan and somewhere else, you're debating between schools that are all pretty good. Also, cost of attendance since that info is either generalized (68k is the estimate for everyone) or highly individualized (scholarships).