My law school situation: About a month ago, I narrowed my school choices to two that are in the same state, and I visited them both. One school I was admitted to and i have always been really excited to go there. The other school I waffled back and forth on for a while and was waitlisted at.
The Admit school felt really good. I saw several "older" people. I talked with several women who had kids and said that they managed in school just fine. It didn't seem to be ultra competitive either. I could picture myself going there and being really happy.
If it were only about the feel of the schools, I wouldn't have put forth effort to get off of the waitlist that I am on. But it's not. It's about tuition and job prospects and cost of living and where my family would be happy. The Admit school has been dropping in the rankings, still a respectable school.
At my Waitlist school, before the visit, I had some concerns about a nontraditional law student fitting in there. And I worried that I would feel out of place and be unhappy. Everyone there seems so young and completely absorbed in themselves, which isn't unusual or wrong when you are in your early to mid 20s. I got to talk to a dean while I was there, and he really abated my concerns greatly. The tour was really great. The facilities were awesome. They actually had a separate study area in the library where they had children's books and some small, quiet toys like Lego. OK, maybe Lego aren't a quiet toy when my DD plays with them, but for most kids I think they are :) They also had some small rooms with TVs where you could watch class live if you had a sick kid or other conflict, which is really great. The Admit school doesn't have anything for you in cases where your kid might be too sick for day care that day, but OK to schlep to class for an hour.
After touring both schools and meeting students and faculty at each, I was really confused. I should also add that Admit school is lower in the rankings (and slipping) than Waitlist school. Admit school is more of a local school, and I don't want to stay local, and it is about twice the price as Waitlist school, which is a solid tier one with national job connections. *Sigh* Before the visits, I kept saying "i should really go to Waitlist school if I can because it's the responsible thing to do." But i wanted Admit school more because I thought that the journey would be more pleasant.
I spent another couple of days scoping condos and daycares in the city of each respective school and felt very down. Honestly, what is up with day care? Most of the places are no where I would consider letting DD be at for even a small amount of time. Admit school city's cost of living is higher. I don't think we could get a condo in our price range that would be decent. And I found one day care that I liked, not loved, but of course, it was about $200 more a month than the other places I looked at. And it's not a sure thing that they will have space for her.
Waitlist school city has several small cities near it (within 20 minutes drive time) and all are more affordable than Admit city. The day cares were abysmal. Seriously, I was about to say forget Waitlist school. I cannot feel good going there with my DD at any of the places I saw. Then I went to one last day care and it was fantastic. Can I be a kid again and go there? The price was awesome, the facilities fabulous, extensive outdoor areas, just overall great. AND I can get her in there, likely. And it gets better. I drove that area a bit and found some condos that I am in love with, in our price range and about 4 blocks from the day care.
And that clinched it. I am actually basing my decision of law school on superiority of day care for my DD. Which isn't really a terrible decision, you know. If you are a mom or dad in school, you've got other responsibilities and priorities. Anyway, I have pulled every string available to me to get off of this waitlist. *crossing fingers* I should know by about May 20. If they don't take me by then, I'm going to admit school. We can't wait all blasted summer. We've already sold our house, gave notice at my job, etc... DH has to get a job in new state to support us, so we've got to get there a few months before school starts.
So that's where I am at. More later.