Friday, April 24, 2009

Law School Visits: NYC, part deux

It took me a few days longer to get to this than I had wanted to, but it's time to finish up the whole NY trip thing. The whole reason we decided to go to New York was to attend NYU's admitted student days, and that's what this is all about.

NYU Law school is situated on the southwest corner of Washington Square Park; it actually consists of two buildings: Vanderbilt Hall (the red brick building above) and Furman Hall, just across the street.

So, on Thursday afternoon, after meeting up with Dan and Poonam, we headed across the park to the law school to check in. We were a little worried, given our familiarity with NYU's penchant for security/bureaucracy, that Cadence and Kate might not gain entrance easily. Luckily our fears were quite overblown, and we received a very lovely welcome for admissions who even gave Cadence her own nametag! Unfortunately Cadence was far too wiggly when wearing it for us to get a good picture. Here's our girl on the second floor of Vanderbilt.

First thing I did was sit in on a criminal law class already in session. I appreciated that NYU offered a wide range of 1L professors to choose from, as opposed to Duke who didn't offer any real classes, and Vandy which only offered one. It felt less like there was anything to hide. I chose the right room, I guess, because I ran into a friend of mine from college, who was a 1L there. Small world. He offered me a lot of helpful advice and insights into the school, and introduced me to a student/mother in his section who told me a bit about going to NYU Law with children.

I left a little early, so Kate and I could meet with a financial aid officer. I came out to she and Cadence and a small cupcake a student fundraiser had given them. Kate greeted me by saying, "I think I'm falling in love with this place" and Cadence seemed quite pleased. Turns out there's a lactation room and a locked refrigerater for nursing mothers. Plus lots of friendly students offering to baby-sit. Evidently law students can get a little baby-starved.

Throughout our visit, we had a lot of people telling us about how baby friendly the school was, both from students and faculty. The financial aid officer was also really helpful, and we left reassured that we should be able to get by over the next three years, without having to resort to private loans or living in cardboard boxes. Plus LRAP! Hooray LRAP. I've been leaning strongly towards some sort of public interest work, over working for a big law firm, and NYU is perhaps the best school for public interest work. In large part because their LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) can potentially repay the full value of your loans over the course of 10 years (if you stay in public interest the whole time). Otherwise, benefits still kick in if you work in public interest for 3. Way better than any other school (admittedly, I'm fuzzy on Harvard's program, but I'll worry about that if I get in).

We took a tour of one of the law student dorms, but on-campus housing is pet-unfriendly, and above market rate, so we didn't worry ourselves too much about it. There was free pizza for dinner and an "interesting" performance by the law school revue. That is to say, there were some of the songs were fun, others were a little bit much, but all in all not a bad time.

On Friday, NYU really made its pitch with the continental breakfast, welcome from the dean, panels, etc. A lot of it was similar to what we'd seen in other schools, although I will say that everything offered a lot more specifics than other schools. Like the Dean Ricky said, they were here to give us specifics about why they were a good school, not just broad generalizations. Oh, and he complimented Cadence on three or four occasions about how well-behaved she was. Way to go, sweetie-bee.

Half-way through the day, we were feeling pretty positive on the school in general, and opted to skip a couple of events and meet up with my friend Laura, from high school. She's currently a 2L and we ended up spending the next few hours talking with her in her dorm room. Cadence took a nap on her bed, and we had a really nice, relaxing time talking. We also got another valuable perspective on law schools, and NYU specifically - time very well spent. Thanks again, Laura!

So here's the deal: Yale rejected me while we were flying to New York, last week. So they're out of the running. I have yet to hear from Harvard who are still reviewing my application, and Columbia has put me on reserve. University of Chicago appears not to have even begun reviewing my application, University of Minnesota has waitlisted me - and I've removed myself from the waitlist. I've declined offers from Duke, Northwestern and UCLA.

I've also declined Vanderbilt. In other words, we're planning on going to NYU and the check is in the mail. We're really excited by the school and the opportunities, excited to be closer to be friends again, and to be back in the city. We're also a little terrified by going back - back to renting and small apartments, not having a yard, having to find Cadence new friends, having to go to laundromats (apartment with a washer/dryer???), the stress and noise and pollution... the costs, and any number of other factors. But we're certain we're making the best choice of the options available. If I get into Columbia, I may choose to go there, but I'm leaning strongly towards NYU regardless. If Harvard accepts me, I'll probably go there, but I like NYU well enough that it wouldn't be a 100% done deal. In other words, we're most likely going to be in NYC soon.