echoi wrote:What are some things that you didn't like about UChicago?
I think the office of career services stunk. Outside of setting up OCI, it seemed to me they don't really know squat and, worse, provide misinformation.
Small class size was a negative in the same way it is a positive. It was hard to avoid people you didn't like, and it seemed easy for one or two jerks to ruin it. I think my class was particularly defined by a few uptight people who were really unpleasant. This was something pointed out to me by people in other classes, which were obviously different in their overall attitudes, so I think the culture changes based on a few strong personalities. I think this is less likely to take place in larger classes.
There was very little emphasis on public service, not just PI, but government and politics. The school seemed entirely focused on clerkships, teaching, and large firms. It was easy enough to go into government if you wanted it with the Chicago reputation, and clerkships are helpful for that. However, it seems obvious to me now that Harvard does a much better job of emphasizing public service. I find it incredibly disappointing that the place where Scalia, Obama, Elena Kagan, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, John Paul Stevens, and Bernard Meltzer taught does such a poor job of informing its students of the value of a life dedicated to public justice. To me, this is the one thing that keeps Chicago from being in the same league as Harvard and Yale. Creating firm partners and teachers is not the same as creating people who are the leaders of this country and who make a real difference. I get "the life of the mind" thing, but what a waste of talent, in my opinion.
I have mixed feelings about the grading system. I have this conspiracy theory that it is inherently designed to make average students feel like they are getting C's, and top students feel only just above average. It is part of this long theory I have based on the history of the Law School. However, I do think a non-grade system, while maybe helping the bottom-ish students with employment, does low-performing students a disservice. I was absolutely helped and motivated by knowing that something I did was sub-par. My standards were elevated, and I knew my strengths and weaknesses by the end of law school. I've attacked those weaknesses and they are now my strengths. Graduating a terrible writer who doesn't know he/she is a terrible writer is a horrible thing for a school to do to you after taking your $120,000. I've seen this happen at Berkeley twice now, and I think its down-right despicable.