Is anything worth a decline in GPA?
This is based on general knowledge of how things work when you're sifting through a large number of applicants and also some hearsay from folks who have spoken to admissions folks.
Law schools, especially the good ones, get thousands of applicants. Their first pass will ALWAYS be based on numbers, alone. Good numbers can make you an auto-admit at some schools. They can also make you an auto-reject at any school. The only question is where those thresholds are. Also, at the very best schools, they probably don't auto-admit based solely on numbers, but you can bet they auto-reject.
Whether you attended an honors program or whatnot is something that won't really be discovered until/unless you made that first cut. Also, probably not a factor unless it comes down to you and a couple other nearly-identical students who are all on the bubble. If you can avoid being on the bubble by having a gpa that's .05 higher, I'd say avoid being on the bubble.
Also, there is no required program of study for pre-law. You can major in electrical engineering or communications. I doubt anybody in their right mind thinks that a 4.0 in one is analogous to a 4.0 in the other. You can get your grades all at the honors college or you can get half your credit hours from the local junior college where anything less than an A means you didn't turn in all your work.
In the end, that first cut is made on GPA and LSAT, alone. Anybody who tells you otherwise is delusional. For the majority of applicants, the ONLY cut is made is GPA and LSAT alone.
It's a game. Play it strategically.
Thanks for the insightful post.
So after you make it through the initial grind, what sort of qualities are most sought after?
I know they like everything - internships, ECs, leadership, etc etc. But relatively speaking, what is MOST valued?
oh, and PS, is there a way to get rid of this image verification process when you most something? It seems stupid: I'm not a computer!!!