Why all the hate towards American???

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phoenix323
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Why all the hate towards American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:36 am

Hey everyone! I was recently accepted to American University WCL and after some searching on TLS, I am now extremely wary. An abundance of posts seem to indicate that choosing American is some kind of death wish. So my question is: Why all the hate towards American?

If possible, I'd love for currently attending students to weigh in. This question has as much to do with getting a feel of how students view the campus, classes, city, etc. as it does job prospects


Thanks!
Last edited by phoenix323 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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MTal
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby MTal » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:40 am

Exorbitant cost, ultra competitive job market, + poor job prospects.

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CardinalRules
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby CardinalRules » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:40 am

phoenix323 wrote:
I am not trying to start any drama.
Thanks!


When you start a thread with this sort of title, you will start drama. HTH.

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flyingpanda
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby flyingpanda » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:43 am

phoenix323 wrote:Hey everyone! I was recently accepted to American University WCL and after some searching here on TLS, I am now extremely wary. An abundance of posts seem to indicate that choosing American is some kind of death wish. So my question is: What's so wrong with American?

If possible, I'd love for currently attending students to weigh in. This question has as much to do with getting a feel of how students view the campus, classes, city, etc. as with job prospects

I am not trying to start any drama, but I do want to know what I am (potentially) getting myself into.

Thanks!


I'm not a current student but I'll chime in with the general TLS wisdom. American isn't a bad school, it's a pretty good school. The problem with American is that tuition is very high at around 40k with a high cost of living at around 20k. In addition, it's in a major legal market with many other higher ranked law schools that feed into the region, Georgetown, GWU, Virginia, W&M, etc.

The campus and classes are probably fine, but job prospects and potential debt leave something to be desired.

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:48 am

A lot of people just view it as a fall back school if they don't get accepted at higher ranked schools, thus once they get accepted to those schools they start to rag on American. But they wouldn't be considering American if they couldn't see themselves there if those other schools fell through. I think it is a great school, in a great location, that may not be as prestigious as GW or Georgetown, but one that still offers a great education, and great opportunities (however, at a pretty high tuition).

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$1.99
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby $1.99 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:01 am

in addition to what the above posters said, you might find the american hate to be even worse on this forum because its called top law schools, and most posters consider top law schools to be meaning harvard yale and stanford

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phoenix323
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:12 am

$1.99 wrote:in addition to what the above posters said, you might find the american hate to be even worse on this forum because its called top law schools, and most posters consider top law schools to be meaning harvard yale and stanford


This is my dilemma. I guess I understand the elitism that goes on here. But for the majority of us who are not attending HYS, is American that bad a choice? I thought American had some competitive programs. So is American a bad choice in general or a bad choice because it's not T-14?

I'm trying to scrape some cash together to go and see it for myself. Maybe that's my best bet.

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CardinalRules
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby CardinalRules » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:14 am

phoenix323 wrote:
I thought American had some competitive programs. So is American a bad choice in general or a bad choice in the context that it's not T-14?


The bolded statement is probably credited. Posters here tend to think "T14 or bust."

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:23 am

Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: International Law
Ranked in 2009
1 Columbia University
New York, NY
2 New York University
New York, NY
3 Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
4 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
5 Yale University
New Haven, CT
6 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC
7 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
8 George Washington University
Washington, DC
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
10 Stanford University
Stanford, CA
University of California--Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:24 am

Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: Clinical Training
Ranked in 2009
1 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
2 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC
3 New York University
New York, NY
4 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM
5 Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
6 CUNY--Queens College
Flushing, NY
7 Yale University
New Haven, CT
8 University of Maryland
Baltimore, MD
9 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
10 Stanford University
Stanford, CA

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:25 am

Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: Trial Advocacy
Ranked in 2009
1 Stetson University
Gulfport, FL
2 Temple University (Beasley)
Philadelphia, PA
3 New York University
New York, NY
4 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent)
Chicago, IL
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
7 Baylor University (Umphrey)
Waco, TX
South Texas College of Law
Houston, TX
9 Samford University (Cumberland)
Birmingham, AL
10 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

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CardinalRules
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby CardinalRules » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:25 am

^^I think that we got the message(s).

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phoenix323
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:27 am

DeSilentio2728 wrote:Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: International Law
Ranked in 2009
1 Columbia University
New York, NY
2 New York University
New York, NY
3 Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
4 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
5 Yale University
New Haven, CT
6 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC
7 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
8 George Washington University
Washington, DC
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
10 Stanford University
Stanford, CA
University of California--Berkeley
Berkeley, CA



This is promising, thanks! I was impressed by the clinical programs American offers.

But, on the other hand, I've heard that International Law is basically a fictitious specialty.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:28 am

DeSilentio2728 wrote:Best Law Schools Specialty Rankings: International Law
Ranked in 2009
1 Columbia University
New York, NY
2 New York University
New York, NY
3 Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
4 Georgetown University
Washington, DC
5 Yale University
New Haven, CT
6 American University (Washington)
Washington, DC
7 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
8 George Washington University
Washington, DC
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
10 Stanford University
Stanford, CA
University of California--Berkeley
Berkeley, CA


Specialty rankings are a joke.

American is expensive, stingy with scholarships, and is in one of the two most competitive legal markets in the US. That's a bad combo.

jetlagz28
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby jetlagz28 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:30 am

American WCL 1L here.

How much is any private law school in the United States? The COL is on the high side, you are right. The reason why *WCL gets a bad rap on this board is because people regurgitate what they've read here.

EDIT! * (1:30am typo)
Last edited by jetlagz28 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CardinalRules
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby CardinalRules » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:31 am

Edit to correspond with edit above.
Last edited by CardinalRules on Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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phoenix323
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:37 am

jetlagz28 wrote:American WCL 1L here.

How much is any private law school in the United States? The COL is on the high side, you are right. The reason why *WCL gets a bad rap on this board is because people regurgitate what they've read here.

EDIT! * (1:30am typo)


Thank you for this ^^^. What are your impressions at the end your first year? How are the classes, work load, social scene, and campus?

I know it's late, but I'd really appreciate your perspective!

thanks!

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tommytahoe
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:43 am

The issue isn't so much that it is costly (we all know private law schools cost $$, and not all law schools can be in the top-25 of course).

But there may be something to the belief that it brings the same private institution cost as GULC, GWU, UVA, but tends to get conspicuously dwarfed by those three, and W&M maybe, in RE: job availability —exacerbated by the severe legal job market decline.
And, in the rankings it does seem to be surrounded by a ton of state school peers whose cost surely is not quite as much.
Also I have heard that, for their ranking, they give out distinctly less merit $$ compared to other top-40/top-50 peers nationwide (Cardozo is one that randomly jumps to mind).

BUT, most of the above also seems to come from folks expecting themselves to be accepted full-price at higher-ranked schools (maybe not YHS, but better). So to some extent these perceptions may be colored by a snobbery, for lack of a better word.

And, I hear they have a great public interest division, and if you want to stay in DC, they have a pretty rock-solid rep. overall...

Also, to the poster who just posted on the International Law rankings: not all specialty rankings are worthless. And, notice the company AU keeps in that list: Georgetown, UVA, Michigan, Stanford, etc etc etc

So, to wrap up, I have not made a coherent point. I have contributed zilch 8)

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phoenix323
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:49 am

tommytahoe wrote:The issue isn't so much that it is costly (we all know private law schools cost $$, and not all law schools can be in the top-25 of course).

But there may be something to the belief that it brings the same private institution cost as GULC, GWU, UVA, but tends to get conspicuously dwarfed by those three, and W&M maybe, in RE: job availability —exacerbated by the severe legal job market decline.
And, in the rankings it does seem to be surrounded by a ton of state school peers whose cost surely is not quite as much.
Also I have heard that, for their ranking, they give out distinctly less merit $$ compared to other top-40/top-50 peers nationwide (Cardozo is one that randomly jumps to mind).

BUT, most of the above also seems to come from folks expecting themselves to be accepted full-price at higher-ranked schools (maybe not YHS, but better). So to some extent these perceptions may be colored by a snobbery, for lack of a better word.

And, I hear they have a great public interest division, and if you want to stay in DC, they have a pretty rock-solid rep. overall...

Also, to the poster who just posted on the International Law rankings: not all specialty rankings are worthless. And, notice the company AU keeps in that list: Georgetown, UVA, Michigan, Stanford, etc etc etc

So, to wrap up, I have not made a coherent point. I have contributed zilch 8)


You made complete sense! Thanks for the balanced response. They're hard to find round these here parts. :)

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OneKnight
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby OneKnight » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:51 am

GMU --> $20,556 in-state and $34,220 OOS.
Maryland --> $22,044 (In-state) $33,323 (Out-of-state)
Both higher ranked than American, both equally great reps in DC, but sans the 40K price tag - I think that's why it gets so much shit on TLS over other strong regional schools.

I also don't think it's the GW/Gtown effect. Every big legal market has a top school or two that make "strong regional" schools seem worse. (And GW is probably somewhere in between "top school" and "strong regional" status anyway) But DC is pretty darn over-saturated given that UVa, Gtown, GW, W&M, W&L, GMU, and UMD all place there.

That said, nothing's inherently "wrong" with American. It's a good school.

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tommytahoe
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:03 am

phoenix323 wrote:
tommytahoe wrote:The issue isn't so much that it is costly (we all know private law schools cost $$, and not all law schools can be in the top-25 of course).

But there may be something to the belief that it brings the same private institution cost as GULC, GWU, UVA, but tends to get conspicuously dwarfed by those three, and W&M maybe, in RE: job availability —exacerbated by the severe legal job market decline.
And, in the rankings it does seem to be surrounded by a ton of state school peers whose cost surely is not quite as much.
Also I have heard that, for their ranking, they give out distinctly less merit $$ compared to other top-40/top-50 peers nationwide (Cardozo is one that randomly jumps to mind).

BUT, most of the above also seems to come from folks expecting themselves to be accepted full-price at higher-ranked schools (maybe not YHS, but better). So to some extent these perceptions may be colored by a snobbery, for lack of a better word.

And, I hear they have a great public interest division, and if you want to stay in DC, they have a pretty rock-solid rep. overall...

Also, to the poster who just posted on the International Law rankings: not all specialty rankings are worthless. And, notice the company AU keeps in that list: Georgetown, UVA, Michigan, Stanford, etc etc etc

So, to wrap up, I have not made a coherent point. I have contributed zilch 8)


You made complete sense! Thanks for the balanced response. They're hard to find round these here parts. :)


No worries. Fact is: it gives a high-quality education, for sure. It's all those comparative factors that I and a few others noted that get in the way of the evaluation.
But my boss when I interned at the ABA in DC this past Fall went there, and she swears by it. She worked at a private firm before scrapping that and moving to policy advocacy work.
Good luck.

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SOCRATiC
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby SOCRATiC » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:06 am

Nothing's wrong wih American...

jetlagz28
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Re: What's so wrong with American???

Postby jetlagz28 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:46 am

phoenix323 wrote:
jetlagz28 wrote:American WCL 1L here.

How much is any private law school in the United States? The COL is on the high side, you are right. The reason why *WCL gets a bad rap on this board is because people regurgitate what they've read here.

EDIT! * (1:30am typo)


Thank you for this ^^^. What are your impressions at the end your first year? How are the classes, work load, social scene, and campus?

I know it's late, but I'd really appreciate your perspective!

thanks!


WCL reaches out further than TLS gives it credit for. We also have a very strong alumni base all over D.C. One of the advantages of the school is the location (obviously). During your 2L and 3L academic years, you have limitless internship possibilities because the only competition is from other regional schools instead of the entire nation.

The classes are challenging and the professors are by and large amazing. It's a very cooperative and supportive environment. The workload is heavy but manageable. Every week most of the students get together for Bar Review on Thursday nights and go out drinking. The students are not inappropriately competitive.

The building is very nice but its location is something to be desired. WCL is separated from the main campus by about a half mile and stuck right in the middle of a residential neighborhood near a small shopping center. There are rumors that the school may move to a new building near the Metro within 4-6 years.

PM or replay if you have any other questions.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:55 am

An abundance of posts seem to indicate that choosing American is some kind of death wish. So my question is: Why all the hate towards American?


I don't think anyone hates on American. The point is that for a rational actor, it is not a smart decision to attend American at full price. Come to think of it, I'm probably not adding anything here since you should know by now the limited job prospects at an exorbitant cost.

Basically, the school is to the DC area what Brooklyn/Cardozo/St Johns/Seton Hall is to the NYC are--extremely and unjustifiably expensive schools that place a small percentage of students into biglaw.

You just need to know that you will be struggling to pay down that ludicrous debt for a very very very long time. A young guy whose parents paid for his college may not understand just how much 150k is at 6.8% federal and 8% private. Have you done the cold number crunching? Have you calculated how you will live off, for instance, a 40k job in private or public sector?

Again, no one hates on American, it's a nice school. It's just a matter of sound financial common sense. If you haven't done the calculations, you should sit down with someone who can and crunch the numbers.

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why all the hate towards American???

Postby Rocketman11 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:33 am

There are some very reasonable posters in this thread. I work in DC now. When I was considering law school, personally I could not let myself attend American when there is a school in the same region (GMU) that is better and cheaper (substantially cheaper if you're a VA resident like I am). Have you retaken the LSAT? I just don't see how American is a good idea when you do a simple cost/benefit analysis. As someone else noted, specialty rankings are a joke.




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