UVA vs Michigan

(Where, When and What Did You Think)
2020grad
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UVA vs Michigan

Postby 2020grad » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:19 am

PLEASE DONT QUOTE

Hi everyone,

I visited UVA and loved it, but I did not have a chance to visit Michigan. With the deadline fast approaching, I want to make sure I have a full understanding of the differences between the two. Can anyone who has visited both describe the pros and cons of each?

I will just say that I really do not enjoy extremely cold, dreary weather, and the stereotype that UVA is fratty seems to be far too overblown based on my visit. However, it seems like Ann Arbor may be a more enjoyable town (although I tend to enjoy hiking and other outdoorsy activities more than many urban ones).

Thank you!

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UVA2B
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:10 am

I've visited both and went with UVA.

First and foremost, cost should be your first and primary consideration. If you're picking at all based on anything else when costs are unequal, you're doing it wrong.

Assuming costs are completely equal, the towns are different in a few ways, but the differences are not so substantial as to make one a clearly better option in QOL. They are both really fun college towns. AA will be more fun in the fall because college football basically consumes the town and creates a really cool energy that UVA will never really match because the football is pretty abysmal most of the time. The people around both towns were nice and very obsessed with their university because it's basically the entire reason the town functions and thrives. I felt the foodie scene in Cville was a bit better than AA, but that's also a bit unfair because I've now had time to really explore Cville, whereas my experiences in AA are pretty limited. AA feels a bit bigger and more bustling than Cville, and the night life at AA felt a little more robust too, but I mostly chalk that up to Cville nightlife being heavily concentrated in two distinct parts of the city (the Corner and Downtown mall) that made the former feel very UG heavy and the latter being a bit more for the older, less interested in club scene type nightlife.

I'd say, based on my entirely limited experience at Michigan Law, that the students were laid back, genuinely nice people. I got a slightly more vibe of people going out of their way to tell me how great Michigan was (and this is entirely anecdotal), and it came off a bit weird to me. UVA preaches their collegiality, students were/are really laid back and genuinely nice as well, but when I visited (and also now while attending), UVA students don't really worry about where they place in the world. They just love being here (and I'd imagine a Michigan student would say the exact same thing, FWIW). Also pretty important is the actual school's location. Michigan is in the heart of the campus, so you'll feel much more like a part of the entire university community. At UVA, you're pretty distinctly separated on North Grounds with Darden. I personally prefer that because it really allows the law students to select out of dealing with UGs if you want to, because UGs become pretty insufferable pretty quickly as a graduate student. But this is entirely a personal preference thing, and if you want to feel a more substantive connection with the parent university, Michigan is unquestionably going to give you more of that.

You're right that the "fratty" thing is way overblown around here regarding UVA, but that is what it is. If you didn't get the fratty vibe when you visited, it wasn't because you just weren't seeing it. There will be folks who go out a lot, play a ton of softball, and maybe act slightly like they're former fraternity/sorority types, but there's also significant parts of the student population that are the exact opposite. UVA can be whatever you want it to be (and I'd imagine this is also true of Michigan).

I'd caution making a decision based on any of the above reasons other than cost. These are peer institutions that substantially place their graduates into similar outcomes (UVA places more in BL+FC pretty consistently, but there's a pretty pointless discussion about actual placement power and self-selection here. Just assume they have substantially similar ability to put you into the type of job you want).

drillteam
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby drillteam » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:12 am

Outdoor activities? Plenty of those in Charlottesville , not to mention the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park are close by. And Charlottesville is a very artsy town. The only time the climate is better in Ann Arbor than in Charlottesville is the summer and you won't be spending your summer in Charlottesville.

2020grad
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby 2020grad » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:48 pm

Thank you both! Cost at both schools is allowing me to choose based on personal preferences, so I can take all these factors into consideration without making an unwise decision.

michlaw
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby michlaw » Tue May 02, 2017 11:39 pm

UVA2B wrote:I've visited both and went with UVA.

First and foremost, cost should be your first and primary consideration. If you're picking at all based on anything else when costs are unequal, you're doing it wrong.

Assuming costs are completely equal, the towns are different in a few ways, but the differences are not so substantial as to make one a clearly better option in QOL. They are both really fun college towns. AA will be more fun in the fall because college football basically consumes the town and creates a really cool energy that UVA will never really match because the football is pretty abysmal most of the time. The people around both towns were nice and very obsessed with their university because it's basically the entire reason the town functions and thrives. I felt the foodie scene in Cville was a bit better than AA, but that's also a bit unfair because I've now had time to really explore Cville, whereas my experiences in AA are pretty limited. AA feels a bit bigger and more bustling than Cville, and the night life at AA felt a little more robust too, but I mostly chalk that up to Cville nightlife being heavily concentrated in two distinct parts of the city (the Corner and Downtown mall) that made the former feel very UG heavy and the latter being a bit more for the older, less interested in club scene type nightlife.

I'd say, based on my entirely limited experience at Michigan Law, that the students were laid back, genuinely nice people. I got a slightly more vibe of people going out of their way to tell me how great Michigan was (and this is entirely anecdotal), and it came off a bit weird to me. UVA preaches their collegiality, students were/are really laid back and genuinely nice as well, but when I visited (and also now while attending), UVA students don't really worry about where they place in the world. They just love being here (and I'd imagine a Michigan student would say the exact same thing, FWIW). Also pretty important is the actual school's location. Michigan is in the heart of the campus, so you'll feel much more like a part of the entire university community. At UVA, you're pretty distinctly separated on North Grounds with Darden. I personally prefer that because it really allows the law students to select out of dealing with UGs if you want to, because UGs become pretty insufferable pretty quickly as a graduate student. But this is entirely a personal preference thing, and if you want to feel a more substantive connection with the parent university, Michigan is unquestionably going to give you more of that.

You're right that the "fratty" thing is way overblown around here regarding UVA, but that is what it is. If you didn't get the fratty vibe when you visited, it wasn't because you just weren't seeing it. There will be folks who go out a lot, play a ton of softball, and maybe act slightly like they're former fraternity/sorority types, but there's also significant parts of the student population that are the exact opposite. UVA can be whatever you want it to be (and I'd imagine this is also true of Michigan).

I'd caution making a decision based on any of the above reasons other than cost. These are peer institutions that substantially place their graduates into similar outcomes (UVA places more in BL+FC pretty consistently, but there's a pretty pointless discussion about actual placement power and self-selection here. Just assume they have substantially similar ability to put you into the type of job you want).


A comment on the undergrad observation. You really have no contact with them if you don't want. They aren't allowed in most of the law school facilities and the main part of the undergrad campus is a mile or so away. The law school is adjacent to the business school and the school of public policy so pretty much a grad school area. The medical school is on the other side of town. I found Michigan to have a midwest vibe and UVA a southern vibe. Both were ok with me.

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UVA2B
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby UVA2B » Tue May 02, 2017 11:46 pm

michlaw wrote:
UVA2B wrote:I've visited both and went with UVA.

First and foremost, cost should be your first and primary consideration. If you're picking at all based on anything else when costs are unequal, you're doing it wrong.

Assuming costs are completely equal, the towns are different in a few ways, but the differences are not so substantial as to make one a clearly better option in QOL. They are both really fun college towns. AA will be more fun in the fall because college football basically consumes the town and creates a really cool energy that UVA will never really match because the football is pretty abysmal most of the time. The people around both towns were nice and very obsessed with their university because it's basically the entire reason the town functions and thrives. I felt the foodie scene in Cville was a bit better than AA, but that's also a bit unfair because I've now had time to really explore Cville, whereas my experiences in AA are pretty limited. AA feels a bit bigger and more bustling than Cville, and the night life at AA felt a little more robust too, but I mostly chalk that up to Cville nightlife being heavily concentrated in two distinct parts of the city (the Corner and Downtown mall) that made the former feel very UG heavy and the latter being a bit more for the older, less interested in club scene type nightlife.

I'd say, based on my entirely limited experience at Michigan Law, that the students were laid back, genuinely nice people. I got a slightly more vibe of people going out of their way to tell me how great Michigan was (and this is entirely anecdotal), and it came off a bit weird to me. UVA preaches their collegiality, students were/are really laid back and genuinely nice as well, but when I visited (and also now while attending), UVA students don't really worry about where they place in the world. They just love being here (and I'd imagine a Michigan student would say the exact same thing, FWIW). Also pretty important is the actual school's location. Michigan is in the heart of the campus, so you'll feel much more like a part of the entire university community. At UVA, you're pretty distinctly separated on North Grounds with Darden. I personally prefer that because it really allows the law students to select out of dealing with UGs if you want to, because UGs become pretty insufferable pretty quickly as a graduate student. But this is entirely a personal preference thing, and if you want to feel a more substantive connection with the parent university, Michigan is unquestionably going to give you more of that.

You're right that the "fratty" thing is way overblown around here regarding UVA, but that is what it is. If you didn't get the fratty vibe when you visited, it wasn't because you just weren't seeing it. There will be folks who go out a lot, play a ton of softball, and maybe act slightly like they're former fraternity/sorority types, but there's also significant parts of the student population that are the exact opposite. UVA can be whatever you want it to be (and I'd imagine this is also true of Michigan).

I'd caution making a decision based on any of the above reasons other than cost. These are peer institutions that substantially place their graduates into similar outcomes (UVA places more in BL+FC pretty consistently, but there's a pretty pointless discussion about actual placement power and self-selection here. Just assume they have substantially similar ability to put you into the type of job you want).


A comment on the undergrad observation. You really have no contact with them if you don't want. They aren't allowed in most of the law school facilities and the main part of the undergrad campus is a mile or so away. The law school is adjacent to the business school and the school of public policy so pretty much a grad school area. The medical school is on the other side of town. I found Michigan to have a midwest vibe and UVA a southern vibe. Both were ok with me.


That's fair, I tried to couch my entire opinion of Michigan in not knowing enough about life at Michigan. I hope I didn't represent it too horribly for Michigan students.

foregetaboutdre
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby foregetaboutdre » Tue May 02, 2017 11:53 pm

michlaw wrote:
A comment on the undergrad observation. You really have no contact with them if you don't want. They aren't allowed in most of the law school facilities and the main part of the undergrad campus is a mile or so away. The law school is adjacent to the business school and the school of public policy so pretty much a grad school area. The medical school is on the other side of town. I found Michigan to have a midwest vibe and UVA a southern vibe. Both were ok with me.


I went to Michigan for undergrad and that's pretty true. My undergrad college (Ford) was next to the law school, but you probably wouldn't notice undergrads there because it is a professional school with more grad students. The law school also is close/next to the business school which has a lot of undergrads, but again has a mix of grads.

If you do live on campus, the area around the law school and south of the law school is dominated by undergrads (and full of good times :D ). In fact, theres a few fraternity/sorority houses SOMEWHAT near the law school (DDD and SigEp). But, those houses are always pretty quiet. So be wary of finding housing there. There's almost no reason for undergrads to walk through the law quad besides taking pictures etc... For nightlife, the more grad area is State St/Main st. versus south U.

Ann Arbor IMO is one of the best towns in the US to be 22 - 32 in. If you want to know more about the town (and not just the student areas) feel free to ask.

Fun fact: My college roommate used to study in the basement of the law library by getting there at lunch when the person checking IDs left.

2020grad
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby 2020grad » Wed May 03, 2017 1:12 pm

michlaw wrote:
UVA2B wrote: I found Michigan to have a midwest vibe and UVA a southern vibe. Both were ok with me.


Can you talk more specifically about what contributes to the midwest or southern vibe at each school?

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UVA2B
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Re: UVA vs Michigan

Postby UVA2B » Wed May 03, 2017 1:41 pm

2020grad wrote:
michlaw wrote:
UVA2B wrote: I found Michigan to have a midwest vibe and UVA a southern vibe. Both were ok with me.


Can you talk more specifically about what contributes to the midwest or southern vibe at each school?


Having significant life experience in both regions, I would contest that there are substantial differences between a midwest vibe and a southern vibe, particularly with the law schools. Both of these schools are getting students from all over the country, so there won't be a regional prevailing culture at either. There is something to be said about the cities having a slightly different vibe that might be attributed to being a southern city or midwestern city, but even that is tenuous. For instance, Cville is in the heart of VA red country, so you'll see a ton of big trucks and other markers of southern country types, but Cville itself is almost entirely a bastion of education and comes with the attendant arts/culture and things you'd never otherwise attribute to southern country living (if relying on stereotypes is at all helpful in defining a culture, which is pretty preposterous).

In my entirely anecdotal experiences in the two cities, both populations were genuinely nice, but I felt like AA people were more likely to initiate a conversation, whereas Cville people more tended to be nice after being engaged, but otherwise tend to leave people to themselves (maybe this is an instance of the midwestern friendly thing vs. southern mind your business attitude, but I wouldn't even give it that much credence).

The weather is always going to be a big determinant of having a "southern" vibe or "midwestern vibe." Cville will allow you to be outside for more of the academic year because it just isn't as cold and isn't cold for as long. Cville will typically get one decent snow during a winter (didn't have one during this past winter, but that's atypical), and AA is gonna get a solid blanketing of snow most winters. Cville is up in the hills, so you have lots of outdoors-type activities to enjoy when the weather is nice. AA probably has a ton of things to do when the weather is nice, but the reality is that you won't be doing as many outdoor activities unless you like cold weather activities when the weather doesn't cooperate.

Most of these differences will be superficial or even nonexistent once you're living in either city, so my personal opinion's should come with a huge grain of salt. Like a block of salt lick used for horses.

Your best bet to compare them is really to visit Michigan since you've already visited UVA and see what that reveals to you. I'm firmly of the opinion that there aren't enough differences between AA and Cville (or Michigan and UVA) culturally to make this anything more than a personal preference thing.




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