Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Law School Admissions => Topic started by: sukhmeenk123 on July 02, 2015, 01:55:27 PM

Title: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: sukhmeenk123 on July 02, 2015, 01:55:27 PM
I'm an incoming freshmen at UC Riverside and I have been placed in an intermediate algebra class (I'm not great at math). I'm a political science major so it doesn't affect me too much in terms of being behind. However, does the fact that I'm starting at the bottom hinder my law school chances? I'm aware that GPA and LSAT score matter most, but does the difficulty of classes I take during UG also have an effect?
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Groundhog on July 02, 2015, 02:41:46 PM
Short answer: No. Get the highest GPA you can. It's extremely unlikely that ad comms will spend more than a couple minutes looking at your transcripts unless something jumps out.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Citylaw on July 02, 2015, 03:49:54 PM
As groundhog's post accurately says "no".

For all intents and purposes your classes mean very little it is just the grades you get. I got so many b.s. A's for playing basketball in college and my GPA was artificially inflated, which helped me in the admissions process.

If your only a freshman I also would not worry to much about law school etc. Get the best possible grades you can to keep your doors open, but enjoy the college experience. It will be a life changing time in your life and many people that are deadset on going to law school in college change their mind due to numerous circumstances and many others such as myself that said they would never attend law school end up going.

So the best thing you can do is keep your GPA high so that if you want to pursue law school the door is open, but don't get to caught up in whether you are taking the right math class your Freshman year of college. It means nothing as far as law school admissions go.

Congrats on getting into college and enjoy your time! 

Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on July 02, 2015, 11:44:29 PM
The sad reality is that the smarter kids look dumber with the GPA. Any idiot can get a 4.0 in Business Marketing. A Pharmacology Major with a 3.8 looks worse on paper in law school admissions.

Its just the way it is
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Citylaw on July 03, 2015, 11:11:14 AM
That's  true, but you can work the system early and get A's in frisbee golf etc.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Groundhog on July 03, 2015, 11:43:38 AM
Oh, and a big one that I always reminded undergrads is not to forget that No Credit and No Pass are usually counted as fails by LSAC. Don't screw around and think, "Oh, I can always P/NP it," when you have that option late in the term or "it's only a credit/no credit class."
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on July 03, 2015, 05:28:39 PM
Oh, and a big one that I always reminded undergrads is not to forget that No Credit and No Pass are usually counted as fails by LSAC. Don't screw around and think, "Oh, I can always P/NP it," when you have that option late in the term or "it's only a credit/no credit class."
wait........even if its a pass? What about those universities that don't give ANY grades? Like that one that the guy who wrote the simpsons went to?
http://evergreen.edu/academics/home
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Citylaw on July 04, 2015, 05:00:02 PM
That even screwed some people in law school that were on journals etc they would get pass/no pass and other 2ls/3ls took sports law and got A's which helped their class rank
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: loki13 on July 07, 2015, 11:19:51 AM
You know, I'm going to offer a slightly divergent opinion.

Try to challenge yourself a little and have fun. See, if you go through UG worrying about your class rank, you're doing it wrong. No offense, but... UG is easy. There is no way you should be sweating failure in UG. If you are, you probably shouldn't be considering post-graduate work (well, at least not without some time off to experience the real world and learn to take life a little more seriously).

You are paying money for those classes. So learn. Do you want to take a credit here or there "learning" frisbee golf? More power to you, I guess. But that's not what makes you succeed in life. Yeah, you might have a little more fun with that blowoff class, but don't be surprised when you find that you, precious and unique snowflake that you are, are struggling to keep up in law school (or other endeavors).

As for law school itself, I give the same advice. Sure, you can take the "&" classes. Law & Basket Weaving, Law & Poverty, whatever. But they probably won't be quite as ... helpful as secured transactions. Or conflict of laws. Or some other class that makes you dig a little deeper.

Maybe this advice doesn't work for everyone- all I know is that I tend to believe that when I pay for something, I want something out of it. YMMV.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 07, 2015, 11:35:50 AM
I sort of agree. There is something to be said for being an educated person, not just a degree holder. The coolest, most interesting people are always the Renaissance types, not the percentile obsessed overachievers. You can good grades and still develop your mind.

To paraphrase the Civil War historian Shelby Foote, "I didn't make a very good student because I was more interested in learning than grades."

In law school you'll have to focus on grades, but take advantage of the broad offerings in UG. 
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Citylaw on July 07, 2015, 12:22:34 PM
Excellent point Loki.

I personally agree with you, but for those that are obsessed with rankings there are shortcuts. However, I took advanced appellate advocacy in law school. By far the hardest class I ever took and there were only two students in it. I was able to produce two great writing samples in law school, and what I learned in that class has been a tremendous help, although I got a B the experience was well worth it.

Essentially, floating by in school to get b.s. A's is not the best way to do it in my opinion, but there are certainly people and entities (law school) being one of them that will reward you for fluff over substance.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 07, 2015, 01:38:07 PM
Getting back to the OP's original question, LSAC does weight grades according to the perceived level of difficulty of both the individual class and the institution. Thus, a grade in Astrophysics from Cal Tech is supposedly weighted more than History of Romantic Comedies at Unknown State U.

The question is, how much?

I think that a degree in Physics or Chemistry is probably taken more seriously by adcomms just because they are fairly rare. They probably stand out among the slew of English, Business, and Poly Sci degrees. But, law schools are so obsessed with rankings that a 3.5 in Nonesense Studies still probably wins over a 3.0 in Math.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: loki13 on July 07, 2015, 02:06:47 PM
Regarding your point, Maintain, it has been a while since my UG experience and LSAC experience, but my recollection is as follows:

1. The weighted uGPA matters a great deal. That is to say, the uGPA you have as compared to your school's (average) GPA.  I  went to a relatively non-GPA inflated school, so while my uGPA was, well, pretty mediocre, my weighted institutional uGPA was quite good. And my experience working with (one) admissions office is that the weighted uGPA (by undergraduate school) matters.

2. IIRC, back in the day, they broke out your "major" GPA as well, but I don't recall them breaking out class-specific weighted grades (they didn't get that granular). Maybe it's different now. The admissions office I worked with didn't care as much about that, with some exceptions (STEM majors tended to get the benefit of the doubt, as opposed to yet another PoliSci major).

This is from a while back, so someone else might have more updated info.

EDIT- I just looked at the LSAC website- they no longer weigh the scores. They do convert, but undergrad difficulty etc. doesn't matter.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on July 07, 2015, 06:53:59 PM
Getting back to the OP's original question, LSAC does weight grades according to the perceived level of difficulty of both the individual class and the institution. Thus, a grade in Astrophysics from Cal Tech is supposedly weighted more than History of Romantic Comedies at Unknown State U.

The question is, how much?

I think that a degree in Physics or Chemistry is probably taken more seriously by adcomms just because they are fairly rare. They probably stand out among the slew of English, Business, and Poly Sci degrees. But, law schools are so obsessed with rankings that a 3.5 in Nonesense Studies still probably wins over a 3.0 in Math.
HOW do they do this? What formula? Do you have any link to this?
I know you are right about almost everything you say, so I my gut is normally to trust you at word value, but this smells foul as week old fish left in a MO outhouse outside of Jerrys Dinner at noon in July the day after taco Tuesday.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 07, 2015, 07:10:55 PM
Take a look at LSAC's site, maybe they explain it. When I applied to law school in 2008 LSAC definitely weighted your GPA. Don't know if they still do. It was shown on my LSAC report as GPA/Weighted GPA.

Loki, you are correct. I don't think they weighted individual classes, I'm probably wrong about that. I think it was your GPA/Major GPA. So still, a degree in Physics would presumably get a boost over a degree in Art.
Title: Re: Does difficulty of UG courses affect my chances?
Post by: Groundhog on July 07, 2015, 08:17:03 PM
LSAC weighted GPA is just the GPA as analyzed by them and that's how it was in 2008. It does not reflect the perceived quality of your undergraduate institution or major. While some law schools reportedly applied their own formulae to the GPA in the '90s based on school and indexed that with LSAT, the only LSAC-generated GPA is the one that counts no passes as fails and excludes certain classes not considered to be academic.