Thanks all for the tips! I'll definitely try calling around and mentioning Wash U.
I'm renting a car so proximity to the metro isn't a factor. I figured I should scope out the neighborhoods to see where I'd consider living in case I do end up matriculating, since a second trip from CA probably won't happen. Speaking of, if anyone has recommendations for neighborhoods for a native West Coaster (Seattle/SF), it would be much appreciated..
About 80% of students live in either Central West End or The Loop. If you live in the loop, I wouldn't go north of Delmar. Central West End is the better of the two IMO, just because most of the things first years do start or end there.
If you want a more quiet area because of family or something then I would go with Brentwood/Clayton. It's basically a medium sized town in itself, and is a really nice area to live, but is a pretty harsh cab ride if you go out anywhere besides from The Loop or Tower Grove.
I live in Tower Grove and love it, I have a giant house with roommates for about half the price of many people in Central West End pay. I am from STL though, so I go out to areas the non-natives don't hit much in their first year, like Soulard and The Hill. I wouldn't recommend it unless you got other first years to be roommates because it can be a pain for pre-games and sharing cabs home and such.
Pretty much this. I live CWE and like it a lot. I take metro to school, can walk to markets, a few dozen bars and restaurants and a movie theater in less than 10 minutes. Plus the park is a huge plus, and has anything I could ever need. Downtown is boring as hell, and the Loop gets a bit dodgy at night, especially on the weekends. If you are a woman, might not be a good place if you aren't use to cat calls and other harassment. CWE is very safe IMO, and the biggest crime seems to be car break ins, which I never seen nor heard of by people I know, but have heard stories of people who know people. However, where I used to live, every week I would see busted glass where someone smashed a window on my street, so to me it's not an issue.
Moral of the story no matter where you go, be smart, aware of your surroundings, and never be cheap and skimp out on a $15 cab ride home just because you want to save money.