Visiting Schools

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Did you visit schools before accepting their offer?

Yes
16
89%
No
2
11%
 
Total votes: 18

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sopranorleone
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:38 pm

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby sopranorleone » Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:10 pm

mirroroferised7 wrote:Yeah, I applied to Penn and UVA, but solely for the financial aid leverage. I have no intention of attending either school. I've heard they have a frat-ish/bro-y atmosphere. I can't even stand the thought of that. My undergrad Alma Mater banned frats, and didn't have sports teams solely to prevent that attitude.

I'm sticking to NYC, LA, and San Fran schools to avoid a "college town" atmosphere, and because I need to be in a city. I've visited Cambridge, and like it. But, at the same time, Boston is too small for me.

I would recommend visiting Chicago, IN JANUARY, though if UChi or NU are on your list. Because, having been in Chicago for five years, (and trust me, schools do not close for snow.) the winters here will either make or break the city for you.


As a Penn 2L, I can say with certainty that we do not have a fratty or bro-y atmosphere. Or at least, if we do, I have yet to notice it--in which case, same difference.

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mirroroferised7
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:35 pm

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby mirroroferised7 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:28 pm

I'm interested in strong IP programs. Also, my fiancee and I both have spent the last five years in Chicago and need a change.

And again, I've never been to San Francisco, it's why I started this thread. And Berkeley and Stanford, according to the google maps I've looked at, are both less than 25 miles from San Francisco.

User avatar
ShrimpToastMasters
Posts: 411
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:47 pm

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby ShrimpToastMasters » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:11 pm

sopranorleone wrote:
mirroroferised7 wrote:Yeah, I applied to Penn and UVA, but solely for the financial aid leverage. I have no intention of attending either school. I've heard they have a frat-ish/bro-y atmosphere. I can't even stand the thought of that. My undergrad Alma Mater banned frats, and didn't have sports teams solely to prevent that attitude.

I'm sticking to NYC, LA, and San Fran schools to avoid a "college town" atmosphere, and because I need to be in a city. I've visited Cambridge, and like it. But, at the same time, Boston is too small for me.

I would recommend visiting Chicago, IN JANUARY, though if UChi or NU are on your list. Because, having been in Chicago for five years, (and trust me, schools do not close for snow.) the winters here will either make or break the city for you.


As a Penn 2L, I can say with certainty that we do not have a fratty or bro-y atmosphere. Or at least, if we do, I have yet to notice it--in which case, same difference.


I'm a girl and went to Penn for undergrad - I don't think there's a frat-ish atmosphere. Yes, there are frats, but there is also a hospital, a medical school, a dental school, and en education school. Penn is a fairly large community of academic specialists - as a law student I would assume it's actually easier to avoid the undergraduate frat boys than to *ahem* fraternize with them.

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midnight_circus
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby midnight_circus » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:00 pm

mirroroferised7 wrote:I'm interested in strong IP programs. Also, my fiancee and I both have spent the last five years in Chicago and need a change.

And again, I've never been to San Francisco, it's why I started this thread. And Berkeley and Stanford, according to the google maps I've looked at, are both less than 25 miles from San Francisco.


In that area, 25 miles is not a quick trip. If you're taking public transit, getting to downtown SF from Palo Alto is 40 minutes to over an hour. Berkeley is quicker. From both schools, driving to SF ranges from fine to hellish, depending on the time of day. In light traffic you're looking at 30 min driving from Berkeley and 40 from Stanford, but traffic (especially on the bay bridge or the 101) can be a bitch and a half. I've had those trips take well over an hour. And then parking is a disaster.

The distance can be prohibitive when you have a busy schedule. So I'd consider the culture of the areas where you'll actually be living and spending the vast majority of your time, not the culture of a nearby city you'll visit far less often than you'd like. Trust me, neither place is much like San Francisco.
Palo Alto is not a college town, but it can still be fun. It caters largely to the wealthy SV crowd, so many of the restaurants are outside of the price range of the average broke student, but there are still good places to eat and a few good bars. (Pro tip: Mountain View has way more cheap & delicious food.) Unless you really like old movies or lawn bowling, there is nothing to do in town except eat. The culture is 99% focused on tech entrepreneurship. Some days, you will see more people in Palantir swag than ordinary clothes. This can be fun or this can be suffocating. You won't know until you've spent time there.
Berkeley is a college town. It's quirky and super enjoyable to explore. Literally just wandering and window-shopping is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. There's a staggering variety of high-quality food (and some particularly excellent pizza. and ice cream!) in all price ranges. There is more social activism (although it has, for better or for worse, toned down since the 60s) and there are lots of homeless people. People still care a lot about the tech industry, but it isn't the valley. People are friendlier.

If you've never been to the Bay Area at all, I strongly recommend you visit. It is a fantastic place, but different than anywhere else I've ever been. I recommend spending at least one night in a bar or coffee shop in each town, eavesdropping. You probably won't glean everything you'd like to know from one weekend, but it would be better than nothing. I've had friends who went to Stanford and Berkeley who then turned around and moved to Boston or New York because they couldn't stand the culture. I have friends who could never imagine living anywhere else. Only you will know where you fit.

Best of luck.

User avatar
mirroroferised7
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:35 pm

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby mirroroferised7 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:07 pm

midnight_circus wrote:
mirroroferised7 wrote:I'm interested in strong IP programs. Also, my fiancee and I both have spent the last five years in Chicago and need a change.

And again, I've never been to San Francisco, it's why I started this thread. And Berkeley and Stanford, according to the google maps I've looked at, are both less than 25 miles from San Francisco.


In that area, 25 miles is not a quick trip. If you're taking public transit, getting to downtown SF from Palo Alto is 40 minutes to over an hour. Berkeley is quicker. From both schools, driving to SF ranges from fine to hellish, depending on the time of day. In light traffic you're looking at 30 min driving from Berkeley and 40 from Stanford, but traffic (especially on the bay bridge or the 101) can be a bitch and a half. I've had those trips take well over an hour. And then parking is a disaster.

The distance can be prohibitive when you have a busy schedule. So I'd consider the culture of the areas where you'll actually be living and spending the vast majority of your time, not the culture of a nearby city you'll visit far less often than you'd like. Trust me, neither place is much like San Francisco.
Palo Alto is not a college town, but it can still be fun. It caters largely to the wealthy SV crowd, so many of the restaurants are outside of the price range of the average broke student, but there are still good places to eat and a few good bars. (Pro tip: Mountain View has way more cheap & delicious food.) Unless you really like old movies or lawn bowling, there is nothing to do in town except eat. The culture is 99% focused on tech entrepreneurship. Some days, you will see more people in Palantir swag than ordinary clothes. This can be fun or this can be suffocating. You won't know until you've spent time there.
Berkeley is a college town. It's quirky and super enjoyable to explore. Literally just wandering and window-shopping is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. There's a staggering variety of high-quality food (and some particularly excellent pizza. and ice cream!) in all price ranges. There is more social activism (although it has, for better or for worse, toned down since the 60s) and there are lots of homeless people. People still care a lot about the tech industry, but it isn't the valley. People are friendlier.

If you've never been to the Bay Area at all, I strongly recommend you visit. It is a fantastic place, but different than anywhere else I've ever been. I recommend spending at least one night in a bar or coffee shop in each town, eavesdropping. You probably won't glean everything you'd like to know from one weekend, but it would be better than nothing. I've had friends who went to Stanford and Berkeley who then turned around and moved to Boston or New York because they couldn't stand the culture. I have friends who could never imagine living anywhere else. Only you will know where you fit.

Best of luck.


Incredibly helpful post, thank you!

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Domke
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:47 pm

Re: Visiting Schools

Postby Domke » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:24 pm

The best way to get to know an area is to go to the grocery store. Those are the people you will be living next to for the next 3+years.

Also if you need a big city I wouldn't recommend Stanford. It is much more removed from SF than you would think. At least with Berkeley you can hop on the BART and be downtown in 30mins. However choosing Stanford over Berkeley because of the area would be a big mistake.




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