Michigan ASW II

(Where, When and What Did You Think)
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er doctor
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby er doctor » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:09 pm

gmreplay wrote:I haven't been to an ASW before and I won't be able to make it today due to work. What does an event like this look like? Do they just lead you around to different areas for different activities, or is it more free form where you choose where you want to go?


So far it's been really laid back you go to the events you want to go to and you skip the ones you don't want to. Right now there is an auction going on to raise money for 1L summer internships but the room was packed to overflowing and the line to the drinks table was about 100 people long so I headed back to my hotel.

Dean Z is as nice as you would imagine and more so. Everyone is friendly and professional and really seem interested in making sure that each applicant makes the right choice where to go for law school (of course, they try to push the fact that Michigan is the right law school). So far I am very impressed.

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AreJay711
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:46 pm

Ble Leperchan anyone?

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cucullu
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby cucullu » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:19 am

Hi there Michigan ASW-ers! I wasn't able to make it this weekend. Would a few of you be willing to post your thoughts/impressions/reviews? You can speak to student culture, event programming, impression of fellow admits, impression of specific curricular offerings and programs, the weather... whatever you like! Ideally we'll hear a mix of glowing-when-can-I-deposit reviews and not-sure-this-is-the-right-place-for-me reviews.

Appreciate it!

Cheers,
Cuc

mapes
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby mapes » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:05 am

cucullu wrote:Hi there Michigan ASW-ers! I wasn't able to make it this weekend. Would a few of you be willing to post your thoughts/impressions/reviews? You can speak to student culture, event programming, impression of fellow admits, impression of specific curricular offerings and programs, the weather... whatever you like! Ideally we'll hear a mix of glowing-when-can-I-deposit reviews and not-sure-this-is-the-right-place-for-me reviews.

Appreciate it!

Cheers,
Cuc


re: impression of fellow admits: girls were better looking than i had anticipated, which is nice.
re: weather: it has been sunny and a bit chilly but not bad, but it was supposed to rain.
re: anything else: Prof. Clark's lecture on law school made everyone in the room really really want to go to law school more, and do it at michigan.

Mich lived up to everything i hoped it would. the event was wonderful, there seems to be a real sense of community, and the students seem very smart, motivated, AND normal. i'm excited for august.

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er doctor
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby er doctor » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:09 am

mapes wrote:
cucullu wrote:Hi there Michigan ASW-ers! I wasn't able to make it this weekend. Would a few of you be willing to post your thoughts/impressions/reviews? You can speak to student culture, event programming, impression of fellow admits, impression of specific curricular offerings and programs, the weather... whatever you like! Ideally we'll hear a mix of glowing-when-can-I-deposit reviews and not-sure-this-is-the-right-place-for-me reviews.

Appreciate it!

Cheers,
Cuc


re: impression of fellow admits: girls were better looking than i had anticipated, which is nice.
re: weather: it has been sunny and a bit chilly but not bad, but it was supposed to rain.
re: anything else: Prof. Clark's lecture on law school made everyone in the room really really want to go to law school more, and do it at michigan.

Mich lived up to everything i hoped it would. the event was wonderful, there seems to be a real sense of community, and the students seem very smart, motivated, AND normal. i'm excited for august.


I will second everything mapes said (except for the thing about girls....)
Everyone on the Michigan side seems really nice and happy and excited about convincing us to come here. It's almost like they're TOO nice...
All the other students I have met have been nice, professional, NORMAL...not to mention exceedingly intelligent. It's hard to imagine Michigan being a bad choice for anyone.

And I have my fingers crossed that I get Clark for Torts in the fall...I could listen to that man lecture on anything.

rui
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby rui » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:10 pm

While this is all still fresh in my head, stream of consciousness about what I can think of RE: the trip, with most of a focus on the environment/generalizations. If you have more specific questions, please ask! Would also love to hear from other ASW attenders.

I heard the word "collegial" used upwards of twenty times in the past 48 hours. This in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but there were times when I felt like the "WE'RE REALLY FRIENDLY" act was a little on the forced/scripted side. A perfect example of this was the "I was sick and missed class and I had a million people try to share their notes with me before I even asked!" anecdote that was mentioned multiple times. Towards the end I was pretty tired of that selling point and hoping for a few new ones. That being said, if any law school actually does have an extremely friendly student body, it is likely Michigan.

Now part of me wonders if this is because everyone actually likes each other, and the other part of me wonders if this is because there isn't much else to do but sit inside/half the class lives in the LC/ so everyone kind of has to get along because you don't have many other options..

Additionally the example of New York city having so many things to do that it results in a fragmented community was raised (as a plus for Michigan), and I'm not entirely sure that I personally subscribe to that view. If you want to spend your three years of LS 100% focused on school/the surrounding environment and living little else, then I think Michigan would be a tremendous and friendly environment to do that in. Having been out of school for a while and having experienced a fairly strong division between work and play, I'm not so sure that I want to return to a lifestyle where they blend together so much.

I asked a current 1L who has also been out for a while about how it is to be in a place that still feels a lot like undergrad but with bigger kids and she said that it did feel limiting at times, but there were opportunities to meet people outside of school and during those moments when you really just want to be social/ unwind/ party like you're a college senior it's really nice to have that kind of culture around. I can definitely appreciate that.

Ultimately the student body remains the single largest thing that I'm undecided on. Yes, everyone was friendly (or at the very least knew to say that they were), but I went around grilling current students that weren't part of the official program and to be honest I was less than impressed with their answers to my questions and their general impressions of the school. I did appreciate that they spoke candidly (the booze may have helped), but I got the sense that a fair amount didn't actually want to be there or really know why they were there, and I found that worrisome. I realize this will exist at a lot of schools, but the number that I spoke to seemed disproportionately high in comparison with other schools I've visited. That being said, could have been a bad sample, I don't know. I also did manage to find some current students that I did really connect with and enjoyed speaking with, so I'm wondering if it was a little luck of the draw action. One 2L admitted that he wasn't entirely sure how the school chose the tour guides/people who sat with us at meals and felt that some of them may not be the best reps for the school, which was nice to hear.

Really, really liked the ASW bunch (especially all the TLS posters/lurkers that I met!). The funny thing is I feel like the makeup of Michigan's 1L class could really be anything depending on who decides to attend. I met a lot of fence riders and a lot who were still waiting to hear from T6 schools. Rough generalization - of those who were already in at the T6, it appeared that most were leaning away from Michigan and those who were waiting would likely take one of those schools over Michigan. I noticed that the ones I spoke with who really loved the school (and there were many!) predominantly came from a few camps 1) Michigan natives/midwestern expats who wanted to return 2) people making a decision for financial reasons 3) it was simply the highest ranked school they were admitted to.

The single biggest selling point to me was the faculty. Every one that I had a chance to speak with / listen to seemed outstanding in the sense that they actually 1) enjoyed being there 2) genuinely liked interacting with students and 3) are capable of poking a little fun at themselves and letting loose. I've been at a few law schools where the professors seem more into their own work and less into teaching/helping students grow, and I absolutely did not get this vibe from Michigan. Again take this with a grain of salt as it was a small sample spread across a Student Auction / Faculty Panel / Cocktail reception and may not be entirely representative of Michigan professors as a whole, but there were still enough present (across a broad range of disciplines) that I'm confident most people would be able to find at least one professor to work closely with if that's something they're interested in. To echo what previous posters said, Sherman Clark is a tremendous orator and I would love to be in one of his classes.

Dean Caminker is fantastic. Had a chance to talk to him for a while at the Cocktail reception and appreciated how kind and candid he was. And then a few short hours after that conversation he was dancing on a table to Gaga's Bad Romance. He is 100% the type of person I would want leading my law school (I recognize that table dancing is not for everyone, but I think the ability to be simultaneously intelligent but know how to let loose is extremely important, and I kind of like dancing on tables myself).

Dean Z is true to her internet/blog persona + a hilariously foul mouth when she gets excited.

The law school does, in fact, look like Hogwarts. The Lawyers Club is not exactly what I'd call modern, but it's quaint/charming in its own little way. I'd wager the room we saw (a single) was around 10.5 x 10.5, Potential negatives: bathrooms are shared, furniture cannot be removed (the bed is a twin XL, nooo!) and there's no kitchen. On the plus side you're right in the thick of things on campus and can roll out of bed and get to class across the quad in under 5 minutes. On disgustingly cold days / during finals I imagine this to be a huge convenience.

Ann Arbor needs to be seen to be experienced. I've lived in both cities and suburbs on the left and right coasts, I had a mental image of what Ann Arbor was like, and I was wrong about it (for better and for worse).

All in all, I'm undecided on Michigan. I came here wanting/expecting to love it, and while there were certainly a ton of things to love, I didn't come away with the strong "this is for me" gut feeling that I was hoping for. That being said I still really enjoyed the visit and I think it's nearly impossible to have a bad time here, question becomes whether you could have a better time somewhere else.

Ultimately the school has a very strong sense of personality - I think if you come and visit, you'll certainly know if it's for you or not. I'm just going to have to mull that one over for a bit :)

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tea_drinker
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby tea_drinker » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:36 pm

^^^ Wow, that's an awesome post. Thanks for discussing your experience openly.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:05 pm

rui wrote:One 2L admitted that he wasn't entirely sure how the school chose the tour guides/people who sat with us at meals and felt that some of them may not be the best reps for the school, which was nice to hear.


As one of the people who ate with you...they didn't choose us. They sent out an e-mail and the first X people to respond were seated. Additionally, a few just dropped in as they were leaving the LC because there was still space. The only people "selected" were the people who met with special groups. E.g. people that went to their undergrad. In that case, they sent an e-mail out to those meeting that criteria and whoever responded was selected.

We pride ourselves on our friendliness hence why you would've heard the same thing from many people. As one speaker said at a lunch event, "Michigan has a low douche factor." Additionally, every school has people who may not be 100% content. The few I know of don't seem like they'd be happy anywhere. One thing to keep in mind...I had like 30 people ask me this and got tired of repeating the same thing. So, the last people probably thought I'm not nearly as happy as I am.

I know several people who chose Columbia/NYU and I can say without a doubt we have a much closer student community. To me, I liked being able to get away from the school and it not being super bustling...so I can relax a little.

RE, not a lot to do. You could easily get this impression if you spoke to someone that was content hanging around just the school or studying all the time. There is a ton to do in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, although it admittedly helps to have a car or subscribe to zipcar. During my 1L year, I've been to the beach at the great lakes, apple picking, several museums and lectures, world's largest auto show, world's largest art fair, a mud run, seen multiple bands at local bars, several comedy clubs to see top-name comedians, etc. And that was just what I had time for/interest in. There are tons of events every weekend in Ann Arbor/Detroit and many throughout the week.
Last edited by 03121202698008 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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cucullu
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby cucullu » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:06 pm

tea_drinker wrote:^^^ Wow, that's an awesome post. Thanks for discussing your experience openly.

Second that! That's exactly what I'd hoped for. Now:

1. Anyone else? (Thanks to all of you who already posted.)

2. Glad you saw some nice ladies you were interested in mapes. Now, to get a balanced view, would anyone like to comment on the cuteness of the male admits and current students? :wink:

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:16 pm

If anyone who went/couldn't make it has questions...post and I'll try to answer as a 1L. I'm happy here...but I'll tell you honestly how I feel about anything you ask.

anti-phronimos
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby anti-phronimos » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:53 pm

Everything rui said seems consistent with my experience at Michigan over the past few days...with a few additions.

I know that the purpose of the ASW is to protect the schools yield, so it makes sense that Michigan tries to separate itself from the other T10s by citing the collegial atmosphere and centrality of Ann Arbor. I have to admit, I heard the words collegial, teamwork, sharing, friendly, etc., a few too many times, but I never sensed that these sentiments were forced. I walked away from Michigan feeling more secure that the schools self-perception falls into that vein.

All the students I talked to were really engaging and friendly. Some of them were really enthusiastic and others were more mellow and seemed realistic in their approach--I only met one person who had bad things to say, and this student came off as cynical and pessimistic to a sad fault. Anyway, they were great with that one exception.

Some dissent though: My fellow prospective students, well, sometimes I was impressed and other times I felt like I was hanging out with douchebags. e.g., I had one girl issue a disappointed sigh and straight up ignore me after looking at the undergraduate institution chained around my neck. I ran with a group for about ten minutes whose sole focus in conversation was making fun of the collegial atmosphere--They were apparently all flying in from NYC for a good laugh and they'll be at Columbia in the Fall. Seriously epic raging douches. HOWEVER, without fail, those students who were committed to Michigan [95% or higher] were great and we got along really well.

Dean Z: the best.

Dean Caminker: I'll echo rui here: I'm really happy to know he's leading the school.

All the faculty and administrators I met were just spectacular. Details can be provided, but I like the succinct statement above. It is true and my colorful experiences over the past couple days are difficult to condense into words.

The Lawyers Club--no thanks. The benefit of being close to the school and having easy access to your peers is great, but I feel really uneasy about living in those little ugly boxes with little beds and shared bathrooms and stress echo chambers for stupid 1Ls during exams and food that gets old. But, apparently, you'll have friends. Congratulations.

PHID: Nope, you shouldn't even bother. Nope nope nope. Your application is totally unnecessary and adds to the competitiveness of the process--something I really wouldn't appreciate. Go live in the Lawyers Club.

Ann Arbor: No complaints here, but it's a college town. Personal preferences will determine your sentiments about AA.

Anyway, I'm sold. On my way out of town, I bought some Michigan gear and dropped off my deposit. See you all at hogwarts.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:58 pm

anti-phronimos wrote:
Anyway, I'm sold. On my way out of town, I bought some Michigan gear and dropped off my deposit. See you all at hogwarts.


Welcome! We had some douches at ASW last year that slipped through but they all self-selected out. The one or two that remained shaped up over the summer and seem to be way more down to earth now. The first week of 1L classes can be humbling when they realize the person from the shitty unknown undergrad (like me) said something in class they didn't think of or can't understand. Nor does anyone really know who went where when not on their name tag.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby artichoke » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:04 am

cucullu wrote:
tea_drinker wrote:^^^ Wow, that's an awesome post. Thanks for discussing your experience openly.

Second that! That's exactly what I'd hoped for. Now:

1. Anyone else? (Thanks to all of you who already posted.)

2. Glad you saw some nice ladies you were interested in mapes. Now, to get a balanced view, would anyone like to comment on the cuteness of the male admits and current students? :wink:


I must say, I was fairly impressed with the attractiveness of the male population. Having said that, I have low standards.

I LOVED asw though. Camel and habit made my weekend, as did numerous other tlsers and non-tlsers. I loved all the professors I talked to, I loved all the current students, and I loved all the admitted ones! Having said that, I am totally biased.

I realize this post has probably been little to no help, but I will end by saying, if you're planning on finding a husband at UM you can probably do so without your kids ending up looking like lotney from the goonies.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby artichoke » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:28 am

Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.

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AreJay711
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:30 am

artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


I looked for an old guy and tried to match it with the facebook picture to no avail.

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artichoke
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby artichoke » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:33 am

AreJay711 wrote:
artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


I looked for an old guy and tried to match it with the facebook picture to no avail.


HAHA. I love you.

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whirledpeas86
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby whirledpeas86 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:26 pm

artichoke wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:
artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


I looked for an old guy and tried to match it with the facebook picture to no avail.


HAHA. I love you.

:lol:

I'm like 99% sure I know who ER Doc is and you were standing right behind him at one point, RJ! ER Doc doesn't look like an old guy, he just looks like a grownup!

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artichoke
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby artichoke » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:26 pm

whirledpeas86 wrote:
artichoke wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:
artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


I looked for an old guy and tried to match it with the facebook picture to no avail.


HAHA. I love you.

:lol:

I'm like 99% sure I know who ER Doc is and you were standing right behind him at one point, RJ! ER Doc doesn't look like an old guy, he just looks like a grownup!


A grownup? Hehehe. Are you sure you're not thinking of the fighter pilot from the navy? He was the only one who looked like an adult that I saw.

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er doctor
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby er doctor » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:05 pm

artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


If you are a member of the facebook group I'm the guy with the dorky hat on.

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er doctor
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby er doctor » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:06 pm

whirledpeas86 wrote:
artichoke wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:
artichoke wrote:Btw, erdoctor, who ARE you?? How did I not meet you? Please post a picture of yourself so I can determine who you are.


I looked for an old guy and tried to match it with the facebook picture to no avail.


HAHA. I love you.

:lol:

I'm like 99% sure I know who ER Doc is and you were standing right behind him at one point, RJ! ER Doc doesn't look like an old guy, he just looks like a grownup!


Clearly you didn't talk to me because I may LOOK like a grownup but I certainly don't ACT like one.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby MissLucky » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:06 pm

how do you guys all know who one another is? lol

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby OldManHunger » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:36 pm

.
Last edited by OldManHunger on Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby whirledpeas86 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:41 pm

OldManHunger wrote:
mapes wrote:Mich lived up to everything i hoped it would. the event was wonderful, there seems to be a real sense of community, and the students seem very smart, motivated, AND normal. i'm excited for august.


Of course. Because depressed, jobless, apathetic, and/or abnormal students go to huge, chummy events like the auction and ASW bar nights. And Michigan doesn't have any of those.


Every school has depressed, jobless, apathetic, and abnormal students, so there's no avoiding that. When I go to Michigan, I'm probably not going to spend any time hanging out with those folks, so I'm not too worried about that.

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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby mgregory3203 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:41 pm

I made an effort at the event to chat with as many students as possible who weren't part of the official festivities, and pretty much to a person they backed up the impression everyone else seems to have gotten. To me Michigan students seemed really happy with the school, their classmates and their opportunities when they leave. I was extremely impressed with my fellow admitted students; the word "collegial" was definitely overused though so I'll just say everyone was very friendly. Still not sure if I'll be there next fall, but this weekend definitely made it much more likely.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Michigan ASW II

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:55 pm

Dudes. I just flew back in from Ann Arbor and it was pretty cool. My comments are going to come from a pretty specific, personal perspective based on the fact that I'm comparing UM to Penn and Berkeley, the other two schools I'm considering (and mostly to Penn, since I haven't visited Boalt yet). Maybe this will be helpful for others facing the same choices, and for those with questions I don't address, I may be able to help with those too if you ask.

First, I should say that I don't hate the Midwest. If you do, or think you do because you've always lived on the coast, you might need an adjustment period if you come to AA. However, it will pass and you'll come to appreciate the kind people and the flat landscape (easy running!) and the hot wings at B-Dubs.

Second, I was very impressed by the opening event. At Penn's opener, several senior faculty spoke for about five minutes each, and said really general things that were not meaningless but also not very challenging or interesting (or humorful) ideas. At Mich's opener, Dean Z set the tone with a light intro characteristic of her genuine sense of humor, and passed it off to Dean C, who spoke for what felt like about 30 minutes. He laid out three main issues he thought students should consider when choosing a law school and went into significant detail on each one as they relate to Michigan. It wasn't, like, a brilliant intellectual masterpiece, but he had clearly put thought into it and expected us to exhibit decent attention spans and put thought into it as well. He, and most of the faculty who spoke with us this weekend, all played the "I'm not here to say that Michigan is definitely for you, no matter who you are" card a lot. Personally, I liked this. Of course it was always followed by an aside that obvi Mich is best, duh. But even paying lip service to the idea that no school is best for everyone was very appealing to me - and it really felt like the school was laying out a semi-cogent presentation of for what kind of student Michigan would be the right school.

What is that kind of person? As everyone here has said before me, the chief characteristic of a Mich law student does appear to be collegiality and a sense of community. This point was laid out more convincingly here than it was at Penn. Even though Mich's student body is almost a third larger than Penn's, I saw more, and more convincing, interactions that I liked between students at Michigan - things like kids walking down a hall, seeing someone they know and reacting in a playful or familiar way that suggests they know and like each other. This likely has something to do with a factor that was often stressed - at Mich, the student life revolves around the campus, at least compared to a school like Penn where there's a larger city to explore, not to mention NYC and DC near enough to visit any day. As has been said on this thread and at the ASW, people can and do seem to opt out of this, choosing not to live on campus and/or to spend time doing stuff outside Ann Arbor. But it appears that a lot of students do opt in, and this seems to compensate for the effects of the larger student body. More than anything, what I felt from most of the student body was a sense that they are back in college (or maybe more so high school), in social terms. Having sort of bypassed that experience at my own university, the idea of making close friends that I'll see every day is appealing to me.

And who are those people? So, I have to say that I was not wowed without exception by every current student that I met. One seemed surprisingly vapid, and some others seemed just sort of normal (which is not like a problem or anything). Some were clearly in party mode for the weekend, in a way that was sometimes hilarious and sometimes a tiny bit off-putting, but either way I got the impression that that condition wasn't the norm for them. A few students also were genuinely great to talk to - had similar non-law related interests to mine, like road trips and hiking and thrift shops. That sounds sort of meaningless written down, but I guess I mean they just seemed like the kind of people I would enjoy hanging out with. I was further heartened by Rui's report that the 2Ls said not all of the "ambassadors" were representative of the student body at large.

Moreover, I met a large number of admitted students who I really liked a lot. A lot were from TLS, including but by no means limited to artichoke, whirled peas, older chest, rui, are jay, and camelcrema. There were definitely a couple of douches, but overall everyone was great. I felt like at Penn's ASW I didn't fit in quite as well - at UM there were a lot more sneakers than stilettos and fewer blow-dried hair dos. (I realize this is a little specific and picky, but for me it's a useful signifier of a more laid-back group.) Also people were just more jokey, easier to talk to and interested in each other here. There were enough great people who are now more or less committed to Mich that, if I decide not to go there, I'm actively going to regret not going where they are because they're obviously cool.

As for living situations - I went to ASW pretty torn about where I'd live if I went there. I like group houses a lot, so the LC might have made sense, but one of the things I enjoy most is cooking for myself and with others, so I was bummed to lose that. The housing panel featured the Phid House, which I had thought was the kind of frat house I wouldn't want much to do with, but which sounded like it actually might be the right place for me. The open house that I attended for Phid later that night was fun for me - I liked most of the people I met, and they have a picture in the living room of Rob Lowe rubbing his abs circa 1987, so it's hard to imagine it not being a great place. The kitchen was pretty industrial (like a restaurant kitchen), not homey or anything, but I think I could live with that. The rooms were large (by my Brooklyn standards), and they've got a balcony (and a wood-burning fireplace!). The vibe I got was a little more party-oriented than I could handle on a regular basis, but I was informed that this is not the normal condition of the house - it's usually pretty quiet and laid-back. Overall, it seems like the right place for me, and I hope I get selected (assuming I attend UM).

One thing I haven't mentioned at all yet is academics and extracurriculars, which is because I didn't get a full sense of them. At Penn the academic and EC offerings were really at the center of my experience, perhaps because it was the most attractive aspect. At Mich, there was a lot of other stuff to excite me, and the panels on interdisciplinary options, international stuff and clinical programs were all held at the same time. We were expected to jump from one to the next to get our questions answered, but I found the presenters (understandably) reluctant to repeat their spiels over and over. So I need to research that type of stuff on my own. I did sit in on both Professor Sherman's mock class (it was as good as everyone else has said) and an upper-level class on jurisprudence. One of my interests in law school stemmed from my background in philosophy, and I was impressed by the rigor of the class. The discussion moved too fast for me to follow everything, but it all seemed coherent enough, and I assume I would have had adequate grounding if I'd done the reading and taken the class all semester. The prof (Scott Hershovitz) was very young and very good - smart and engaging.

Though I didn't learn too many specifics of the extracurriculars or academics, I did take away a very positive impression of the faculty. The faculty panel demonstrated that the profs in different departments know each other (well enough to josh around), which was a very nice vibe. One professor pointed out that the small size of Ann Arbor affected the faculty as well - like the students, they're much more prone to stick around on campus all day, and therefore are very available to students. This was pretty much on par with Penn - in fact I found the Penn professors a little more impressive in terms of intellectual brilliance, but I think this is because more of the Penn events featured faculty, so I just had more opportunities to be impressed. Michigan's administrative staff, however, were several steps above Penn's. From Penn I got the impression that the admin staff was not super invested in their work - for instance, the staff member who talked to use about Penn's LRAP glossed over some details and answered questions perfunctorily. At Mich, the staff were all really smart and seemed really committed to helping students out.

Support for public interest seemed a lot higher than at Penn. At Penn students interested in PI had told me that they sort of need to retreat to the PI career counseling office every now and then to reorient themselves because the vast majority of the student body is all wrapped up in OCI and firm stuff. I asked a couple of people about this and was told that that's not necessary here. I also met a lot more people who were planning on going into PI. The PI panel covered Mich's LRAP in a way that seemed straight-forward and comprehensive. I still need to sit down and actually do some math (it seems UM's LRAP would not work well for someone going into a certain type of gov't job, like the DOJ Honors Program, where one could make around $75-80K - at UM's cut-off point for any degree of assistance, but still at a significant disadvantage in paying off debt compared to a firm job. The Public Interest Public Service Fellowship representative made it sound like there are a lot of opportunities to do PI while at Michigan, including in Detroit. (I was especially taken with a potential opportunity to help Detroit's urban farming initiative with zoning issues.)


Other things about Mich that mattered to me:

- The buildings were just my style. Yes, it's Hogwarts and that's great, but there are also just a lot of random places throughout the buildings to chill. The reading room is great and so is the library, in my opinion. I'm big on sunlight so I was relieved to see that even though the lib is underground, the design of the skylight really does work to bring substantial daylight into all three floors. It's even cooler than an above-ground building because you're looking up at Hogwarts looming over you in a weird/cool way. The at-cost cafe in Hutchins also seems like a great way to save money when grabbing a quick lunch ($1 grilled cheese, anyone?), and the new building that is supposed to be finished by Jan 2012 will have a cafe as well.

- The nearby neighborhoods were pretty nice, and they are so close-by that you could easily go to a nice independent coffee shop (I counted about 5 without looking hard) for an hour or two between classes. At Penn it seemed like beyond chain coffee shops and restaurants there weren't that many options nearby (though I had less time to explore, so this could be very wrong). I dug the farmers market and the kerrytown market, which had lots of foodie-type things - fresh fish and oysters, specialty mustards, etc, etc.

- The Arboretum is really fantastic. It is maybe 10 or 15 minutes' walk from the law school and really the perfect place to go to either run or just walk around. It's large and has a mix of wood-chip trails and dirt/grass trails. There's a nice river at the base of the park, along with periods of woods, wetlands and grassy valleys and hills (it actually is pretty hilly in places). When I first got there I didn't see many people, but eventually I found a much more well-populated area; I think it would be very safe during the day even for girls on their own (if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know!) Finding the Arb was a big deal for me; Philly didn't have anything like that near to the school (again, that I saw. I heard Fairmount Park is great, but it didn't seem nearby.)

Okay, that might be it. Sorry I wrote a novel, but I hope it's helpful for some of you who couldn't make it. It was really great to meet those of you who did come, and since there's a decent chance I'll end up at Michigan next year, I hope to see a lot of you there!
Last edited by Excellence = a Habit on Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.




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