UC Davis versus UW

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djjefferson
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UC Davis versus UW

Postby djjefferson » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:24 pm

I'm currently accepted to UC Davis and UW, as well as Lewis and Clark College (although my decision is really between the two former schools). I was born and raised on the East Coast and currently live in Boston, but am excited to make the move out West. I've traveled across Cali and the Northwest, and have visited Seattle but never the Davis/Sacramento area. I plan to do so within the coming month to make a better assessment.

I'm specifically wondering about a few things that could help me choose between UC Davis and UW:

1) Are there any ideas about the cost advantages to either program? Obviously, I'll have to pay OOS tuition for the first year, then qualify for IS for the 2L and 3L at both schools. UC Davis is more expensive, but I wonder if the employment prospects/starting salaries might offset some the higher tuition. Also, I imagine that the COL in Davis is lower than in Seattle (though a cursory search for housing isn't encouraging). Thoughts?

2) Employment - according to the stats and other discussions I've read, both schools seem to have relatively strong regional reach. Long term, I would rather practice in California than Washington state, so this would likely make Davis the top choice. However, I would also like to have at least a small option of eventual employment on the East Coast (especially Boston, New York or DC), in order to be closer to family. Any ideas about how these schools fare?

3) Speciality - my background is in social justice; I have a MA in community psychology and currently work as the executive director of two nonprofits, one that deals with homelessness, the other criminal justice. In law school, I seek somewhat of a departure from these fields, and would like to study environmental law, but also maintain ties to social advocacy work. Would Davis or UW be a better atmosphere for these pursuits?

3) Quality of life - things you should know about me: I am a competitive rock climber, outdoor freak, bicycle commuter (even in February in Boston), and lover of sustainable living. Given the possibilities of Seattle v. Davis, which might better suit my passions? The Cascades are fantastic, but so is Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Plus, it's hard to climb in the rain....

Thanks in advance for any advice!

CanadianWolf
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:29 pm

You really need to visit UC-Davis before deciding.

djjefferson
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby djjefferson » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:23 pm

Agreed. I'm visiting UW on 19 March and UC Davis on 5 April.

Are you familiar with either/ both programs?

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tea_drinker
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby tea_drinker » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:55 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You really need to visit UC-Davis before deciding.


I second this. I will share what I know about the two schools, but please do visit both schools before making your decision.

1) First, You are right that COL may be cheaper in Davis than in Seattle. However, it is not dirt cheap. CA is an expensive state to live in, and even a suburban such as Davis can be pricey. Do a general search on craigslist, look at the classified sections in newspapers, or talk to students when you visit both places to get a better idea.

2) Employment - I don't know much about employment placements or how portable a degree from either school is, so I will not comment on this. However, if you were to attend either of these, prepare to spend at least several years to work in the school's respective region.

3) Speciality - I think either school has strong reputation for public services. I may give Davis an edge in terms of environmental law since (let's face it) Davis' agriculture and natural resources are among the best programs in the country.

3) Quality of life - Davis and the surrounding area are flat land. You will have a wonderful time cycling, running, fishing, camping, etc., but you may not find many places for hiking or mountain climbing. Sure, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite are 2-3 hours drive, but it is less than that to travel from Seattle to the Olympic mountains.

Closing thoughts:
-UW is the king of its village, while UC Davis competes against many good schools in the area. I am not saying you won't find jobs graduating from Davis, you just have to be sharp in your job search.
-The UC regent is considering increasing tuition. I don't follow the news, but look into this as you consider your options.
-There are rains, too, in Davis, and during the rainy season, it is also gloomy, cloudy, and depressing.

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Cade McNown
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby Cade McNown » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:11 am

OP:

I grew up very close to Davis and I nearly committed to UW last year (deferred and then withdrew). Both are excellent schools, but I really think Washington is the better choice. The town of Davis is essentially a very big farm, so advantage Seattle there. I also think your short and long term employment prospects are better at UW. As previous poster mentioned, UW owns the Pacific Northwest while Davis is a relative newcomer in an already saturated CA market. If you pm me I'd be happy to comment more on these schools as I have some experience with both areas/schools.

Anonymous Loser
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:30 am

djjefferson wrote:
3) Quality of life - things you should know about me: I am a competitive rock climber, outdoor freak, bicycle commuter (even in February in Boston), and lover of sustainable living. Given the possibilities of Seattle v. Davis, which might better suit my passions? The Cascades are fantastic, but so is Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Plus, it's hard to climb in the rain....

Thanks in advance for any advice!


At Davis, it's hard to imagine that you'll actually make it out to Yosemite/Tahoe much during the semester given the travel time. But from UW, you can likely make it up to Index inside of an hour if you time it right, and, depending on where you live, to Exit 32/38 in 40 minutes. As for the rain, Vantage is quite dry is still closer to UW than Yosemite is to Davis.

That being said, this is a pretty ridiculous way to choose a law school.

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vegenator
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby vegenator » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:25 am

I'll add to point #3 quality of living:
I can't say much about Seattle as I've only visited briefly, but I'll mention some things about davis as I spent two years in grad school there.

Davis is a perfect town for a cycling enthusiast. The entire town has bike lanes and there is even a bike path along 1-80 from Sacramento leading into Davis (11 miles between the two). talk of the "rainy season" at first had me worried, but for those of us who've dealt with real winters (im from minnesota, and your experience on tne east coast will suffice) there really is nothing to worry about. It rains fairly frequently between November and February but it never gets below the 40s. It NEVER (and i do mean never) rains between march and september. So throw on a jacket and a poncho in the winter and ride away!

Also Davis is extremely sustainable/ Eco friendly. They have on campus composting sites, the domes At baggins end are something to check out for truly sustainable living.

While davis itself is a flat college/farm town, it's location is awesome. It's a bit more than an hours drive (or Amtrak ride) to San Fran, there are climbing options in the costa mesas by lake barryessa (30 or so minutes from Davis), and the Davis wiki has a great page for indoor and outdoor climbing spots http://daviswiki.org/climbing

You might not have enough time first year to spend the time in yosemite that you'd want as it's more of a drive, but you can be up in the Sierra Nevada foothills/ at lake tahoe in less than two hours. During my ma program my husband I managed to visit tahoe/Reno or yosemite about once a month - it just takes some prep to get all your work done, but logistically it is very feasible.

Also, if you think rent is expensive in Davis, you should also consider parts of Sacramento. The commute isn't bad from places like natomas or elk grove and those are pretty nice communities as well. (I'd avoid south sac or west sac, personally)

As you can see, I really enjoyed my time at Davis and have nothing but good to say of it for fellow cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts! :D

djjefferson
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby djjefferson » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:33 am

Thanks to everyone for the quick and helpful feedback!

A few thoughts based on the responses, as well as further research:

1) It seems that one major difference between UW and UC Davis is that the former school has long been established as the dominant program in its region, as well as in national ranking, while the latter competes with Berkeley, UCLA and other highly ranked in-state programs. However, it is also noteworthy that Davis has consistently enjoyed higher rankings according to the USN numbers over the past several years (#35 to #28 between 2010 and 2011), while UW has hovered consistently around #30. My question is whether there is more momentum at Davis than UW, or if factors such as potential tuition increases, budget cuts, and competition from the new UC Irvine will reinforce any advantage that UW may have as the more secure school.

2) While I didn't previously mention it, I should say that I am eventually - if not initially - interested in an academic career (after loans are repayed, that is). Should the fact that Davis ranks in the Leiter survey for law school faculty while UW does not influence my decision? Should the faculty scholarly impact criterion be influential (Davis is listed, UW is not)? Should I take the Leiter or USN ratings seriously at all when the bottom line really is employment opportunity and ability to repay loans, an area in which UW seems to hold the advantage?

3) In response to QOL and access to outdoor activities, etc., I agree with poster AnonLoser that choosing a law school based on these variables alone would be ridiculous. However, I firmly advocate for self-care and a reasonable work/life balance (to the extent that this is possible in law school), so psychological wellbeing is important to me. As is the fact that, since UW and Davis are both relatively regional in terms of employment outcomes, I'll likely remain in the geographical area that I select for the next 8-10 years. That's why I'm considering overall QOL, as well as long term COL (e.g., Washington has no state income tax; meanwhile, real estate in the Sac area has plummeted since the bubble burst).

Thanks again!

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tea_drinker
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Re: UC Davis versus UW

Postby tea_drinker » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:11 am

Since I am looking at these schools myself, so I will keep answering your questions (even though I just got waitlisted at Davis)

1. There are many different opinions about the US news ranking on this site. Many believe that the 2-3 ranks difference between schools can help them get that big law gig, that judicial clerkship, or that prestigious DOJ position, while many think that as you move away from the T14, ranking only matter in tiers (that is tier 1 school is better than tier 2 or tier 3, but schools within the same tier are relatively the same). My personal opinion is there are the T14, the strong schools in its region (e.g. UCLA, USC, BU, Emory, etc) and the not-so-strong schools (e.g. UCD, UCH, BC, UGA, etc.). When you compare two schools in different locations, rankings don't apply unless one of the schools is a T14 or they are in different tiers. Getting back to your question, if tuition at UCD increases, same will go at UCI, since they're both controlled by the UC regent. Even with increase tuition, UCD may still be able to maintain its ranking since there are many ways to game the ranking, and CA residents still want to go to CA schools (me as an example).

TL;DR version: No, the increase tuition at CA school won't affect the ranking much. Even if it does, it won't affect your employment prospect.

2. In terms of academia, if you move away from the T14, there isn't much of a difference. This thread may be helpful to you viewtopic.php?f=5&t=137145

3. QOL is a factor. As the other poster points out that QOL may not be a primary factor, and as it seems so to you, it really depends on each individual. I, for certain, will take UCD over UCLA or USC because my home is 15 minutes away from UCD, and family supports and familiarity with the area are important to me. In addition, I can't stand the Hollywood culture. Also, it seems like you are not a big law or bust type and given that COA at either of these schools will be the same for you, QOL becomes a major factor.

Good luck.




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