What's Dayton, Ohio like?
December 16, 2003 9:23 AM   Subscribe

What's Dayton, Ohio like? (more inside...)

I’m looking at law schools, and as anyone who has ever registered with the LSDAS knows, as soon as you put your information in there, schools from all bizarre corners of the US start sending you letters begging you to apply, insinuating that you will not only be accepted without question, but that nice law school officials will also come to your house and help you pack. Most of the letters of this ilk that I have received have been for schools located in areas to which I am not interested in moving, but yesterday I got one from a school in Dayton, Ohio. I know a couple of folks from Ohio in the on-line world and they seem to like it pretty well, and one of my favorite bands is from Dayton, so I thought I do some more research on the area, starting with asking the fine folks at AskMetafilter. Thanks!

Oh and if it helps, I’ve lived in the north east, south, south west (well, Colorado, whatever that’s considered), and north west so it’s not like I’m stuck in a rut or looking at major culture shock as far as US regional cultures go.
posted by jennyb to Society & Culture (20 answers total)
Boring. As. Hell. I went to school there for four years - lived near Fairborn. There's a reason they call it Stillborn, Ohio. On the other hand - there's Young's dairy and a great pocket of fruity granola types in Yellow Springs. And the Hasty Tasty Pancake House.

It is a city of suburbs, with no downtown.

Very, very true.
posted by ao4047 at 9:49 AM on December 16, 2003

Since you're looking at law schools in particular, jennyb, there are two important considerations that have to come first: the quality of the school, and the job market you want to end up in.

If you attend a top school, you can probably interview anywhere in the country, but if it's not a top school, you are likely going to be limited to a regional job search. If you attend school in the area in which you want to work, that's fine, but otherwise, you might be sorely disappointed. I'm not sure which law school in Dayton you are considering, but suffice to say that you may be quite limited in you're job search at any of those schools. If you can get into a better law school, I would take that opportunity.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:51 AM on December 16, 2003

I would not weight heavily the fact that your favorite band is from there. Other than that, I have nothing to offer.
posted by luser at 10:02 AM on December 16, 2003

jennyb, I looked briefly at you blog, and if you don't mind, I have a few comments on the schools you appear to be applying to. First, you are applying to far too wide a range of schools. You can narrow that range considerably based on your lsat score and your grades using this matrix. If you have a relatively low score, then appyling to several top 10 schools is really a waste of money. There are several good regional schools that those applications can be going to. Conversely, if you have really good scores, there's no point in applying to schools in the third or fourth tier. No matter where the school is located, you are always better off going to a top quarter school, rather than a bottom half school.

Second, it might be worth sending additional applications. I know lsdas can nickel and dime you to death, but it will pay off in the long run, trust me. The application process is fickle, and you don't want to get screwed out of a good law school just because you didn't send enough applications.

If you'd like to discuss this more, you can email me, or if you don't mind the semi-public forum, ask here. I am more than happy to give you any advice, having gone throught the law school process relatively recently.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:04 AM on December 16, 2003

From my east-coast perspective, Dayton is an embarrassing backwater of a town, which I probably wouldn't set foot in were it not that I have relatives there.

But growing up in a real backwater of a town a bit south of there, Dayton seemed like the Big City, where we'd go to an occasional rock concert, or shopping at Christmas to see delightful downtown animated window displays (when we didn't want to go all the way to Cincinnati for the top-grade ones). Then again, it probably has changed since that time. This was before malls (I remember when the Dayton Mall was new, by cracky!), which changed our need to travel to a big city for holiday shopping, and which also probably helped rob Dayton of whatever downtown it had.

In sum I wouldn't rate Dayton much different from most cities in Ohio, Indiana or Illinois (other than Chicago and Cincinnati, which are their own breeds of animal).
posted by soyjoy at 11:26 AM on December 16, 2003

I had a different comment but ditched it in that soyjoy covered most of the points although I would compare Dayton to any medium sized city in the US more than 200 miles from one of the 3 or 4 major metropolitan areas. Other than the school issue, which should be the driving factor, it really becomes how hot do you want your summers and how cold do you want your winters and what do you want to see when you wake up each day. Otherwise they are all about the same and getting 'sammer' with each passing day.
posted by mss at 11:45 AM on December 16, 2003

I echo monju's comments. The issue is not where you spend 3 years, but could be where you spend several years after that, put down roots, start a practice, etc. If that's Dayton, power to you, but as people have mentioned there are probably more exciting places to be.

I peeked at your blog, and your LSAT score is exactly the same as mine was. You will not only get into a first-tier school (top 50), but you will excel there. If you can't get into a school with truly national stature (roughly the top ranked 15-20 of the 180 accredited schools), choose a region and shoot for the strongest school in the region, knowing that you have a better-than-even chance of landing your first job and putting down roots in the same state or geographic area as your school.

Good luck! As they told us at orientation this fall, the hardest part of law school is getting in.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:52 AM on December 16, 2003

Response by poster: I peeked at your blog, and your LSAT score is exactly the same as mine was. You will not only get into a first-tier school (top 50), but you will excel there.

Thank you, PrinceValium. That's kind, and comforting. And congratulations on your apparent law school acceptance!

monju_bosatsu, I've already done gone and applied to every school on that list. I should have asked earlier, I suppose, but the whole process is kind of overwhelming so I more or less did it by the seat of my pants. Interestingly, that matrix doesn't have a suggestion for my particular combination of LSAT and undergrad GPA (164 and 2.6, respectively). However, if you take my LSAT and the GPA for the post-baccalaureate legal admin classes I've been taking for the past few semesters (3.8), I should be in good shape. But I don't know how much attention law schools will pay to those grades vs. my actual degree-granting institution undergrad grades.

But now I guess I have to deal with financial aid forms, right? So I might email you, mb, about those things if you don't mind. Most of my questions are about the timing thereof, and if I have to provide quite so much info about my parents, who have not claimed me as a dependant for at least ten years.

Anyway, Dayton sounds a lot like Greensboro, NC. Alas.

(PS, the bit about the favorite band was a joke. I'm not that flippant.)
posted by jennyb at 12:29 PM on December 16, 2003

having visited and passed through there several times, i will describe Dayton, OH with one word:

posted by lotsofno at 12:58 PM on December 16, 2003

Email me anytime, jennyb.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:16 PM on December 16, 2003

My one experience with dayton was rather positive, involving being dragged to a decent, if small, goth club called The Warehouse, or something like that. Despite that, I feel compelled to quote the inimitable Dave Attell: "Ya know what's a fun thing to do in Dayton? Leave."
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:18 PM on December 16, 2003

If you're looking at Ohio in general, I'd suggest OSU in Columbus. The law school there is highly ranked, and they have some of the nicest facilities I've seen.

Dayton is pretty much just as it's been described.
posted by me3dia at 1:19 PM on December 16, 2003

Feel free to e-mail me as well, jenny. I am a 1L at UConn, and my last exam is tomorrow (two and a half weeks off! yay!)

Now some bad news: Although law schools do see all your grades, they will typically "index" based only on your undergrad GPA. This screws a lot of nontrads who are so far removed from their undergrad years that their GPA doesn't accurately represent their true ability. Anecdotally, this can often be overcome with excellent recommendations, a strong resume, and a really, really strong personal statement that explains your LSAT/GPA gap and tries to convince the school that it should overlook that particular number.

While there are several schools who will admit and waitlist people solely on the "index," there are many more who actually read the applications and make individual decisions. Trust me, you'll be happier at a school that heavily weighs non-numeric qualities. And there are many of those in the top tier, including the one I'm at.

If you haven't done so already, check out nontradlaw.com, an excellent, supportive community for law students and applicants.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2003

Aw, come on! It's great in Dayton! ™ (Actual city slogan, I am not making that up.)

I spent years 11-18 in Centerville, just south of Dayton. Hated it. Went to college in Cincinnati. Loved it, although not for the puritanism the town is known for.

That was all some years back and like most places, I have come to love what each place offers but none of that does much for other folks seeking qualities which I may not.

For me, Dayton is somehwat like Rochester, NY. It has one of everything you might need but nothing more. An interesting art movie house (if it is still there I can not say) a good club where I learned to love a band whose name now escapes me but I admired for their combination of tuba and accordian, a very good art museum actually, and now some new additions: from what I am told and seen, a fabulous new performance space for what has always been a very good orchestra for a town that size and a fine minor league ballpark which is in the Reds farm system. (and you can get Graeters ice cream and Skyline chili there so it can't be all bad.) Man, that's some awful wirting but I gotta run.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:44 PM on December 16, 2003

I've been living in Dayton for about 19 years now (how'd that happen? I was just coming to visit for a couple of years.) I get along with it pretty well. Cost of living is low. It's pretty easy to get around in. And yes, we do have some decent bands.

That said, I'm not madly in love with it as a place. (I love some of the people, but I think you find the people who fit with you wherever you go.) I mainly like towns of this size - just big enough to have most of the accoutrements of a city, without the hassles of a really big city.

On preview - Dick Paris, the art movie house is still there. The club was no doubt Canal Street, which is still an excellent music venue. The band was Tooba Blooze, which is unfortunately defunct, although the former members are in a new band out in California.
posted by tdismukes at 3:52 PM on December 16, 2003

Thanks Tdismukes, that was them! I should have added that I was there for 3+ months in 1989 and also have the occasion to visit often, as my sister still lives in that neck of the woods.

Are there 100 places I would rather live? Yes. Are there a thousand that I would rather not. Absolutely. I've always been the type though to find what's great about living in any given place. (This from a guy who has enjoyed life in both Hagerstown, MD and Paris, France.)
posted by Dick Paris at 5:36 PM on December 16, 2003

They do have a subway, though (or at least people with wide imaginations).
posted by calwatch at 10:32 PM on December 16, 2003

Well, since some people are offering law school advice, I'd say that this calculator gives you a pretty accurate idea of your chances of admission at a particular law school (at least I found it very helpful when applying for law schools and it turned out to be very accurate). And I'll second the advice to go to a school located near where you wanted to practice unless you get into a top 10-15 school.
posted by gyc at 11:04 PM on December 16, 2003

Call this a coincidence: JennyB is my moms first name and the letter of her last name. She lives in Dayton Ohio. Whoa.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:34 AM on December 17, 2003

I grew up in Columbus, so all I can offer you is a joke I inflict on my wife whenever we go through Dayton (or Eton, for that matter).

"I didn't know whether I was datin' a girl from Eton, or eatin' a girl from Dayton"

posted by jpburns at 4:35 AM on December 17, 2003

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