« on: August 13, 2006, 11:38:04 PM »
I'm sorry, but I am also very confused by this post. Are you suggesting that applicants of one ethnicity can just identify themselves as a different ethnicity on their law school application? Also, are you suggesting that it is not the case that minorities, on average, are accepted to law school with far lower scores than white students?
How can you compare averages when the number of minority applicants is so few when compared to the vast amount of white applicants? There is greater likelihood for fluctuation on minority averages, while the drop or increase among white averages is much less since there are more applicants. The minority averages don't necessarily translate across the board, especially since there are substantially more white students applying and admitted to law schools to start with. Do averages directly equate to law schools giving a "bump" to the numbers based on what color your skin is? No. And you certainly can't make that direct equation when you are lucky to have even 7-10% of incoming classes of 1Ls consist of minority students. At some schools you're lucky to have even 5%. Furthermore, URMs get rejected from the same schools that reject white students. Being a URM with sub-par numbers does not equate to being an auto admit. Additionally, there are also white students with sub-par numbers who get into schools as well.
Do some schools consider "soft factors" that come attached to apps from URMS, and perhaps in turn give less weight to numbers? Sometimes. Afterall, with each applicant, they are looking at the full package; if an applicant shows promise through other experiences that are perhaps akin to circumstances faced by URMs, then yes, a school may admit someone with lower numbers. Do schools also consider "soft factors" that come attached to apps from white students? Sometimes they may do this as well. Sure, it's hard to sell "soft factors" when you are 21, in the poli sci student association, president of your fraternity, and Bank of Mommy and Daddy spotted you $1000 for an LSAT prep course. But "soft factors" like being a single parent since you were 19, working all four years of college to send money home to your parents, acting as the translator for your family, disparities in education, etc. will certainly support your applicant no matter what color you are.But if these kind of stories are more common with URM apps, don't sit there and get upset about it. As I said earlier, there are many advantages that people automatically get (and don't often realize) from simply being white. Meanwhile URMS are still trying to overcome many hurdles to just break even.
If students happen to write about racial adversities in their applications, the adcom will also take these circumstances into account, since racial adversities often and unfortunately rest hand in hand with educational opportunities. These circumstances don't give you an automatic bump in your numbers - your numbers are never going to change. But they tell the story of who that person is, what they had to overcome and why they are persevering to attain a legal education. They don't make use write personal statements just to have people thicken up applications! And frankly in some situations, there is a lot more to be said about a person who faced some downfalls but was able to make a strong rebound and still want to go to law school, rather than the person who has had a seamless journey, never dealt with a setback, is afriad to get a job so law school by default seems like a great option.
My very sarcastic point about ethnic designation was to raise the point that nothing is stopping you from designating yourself as any ethnicity that you want. No one is going to expect you to prove anything.... essentially, you are whatever you consider yourself to be. No one is asking an applicant to prove that they are white, right? I think it's interesting that non-minorities get so bent out of shape over the URM issue, but would never dare to be that sort of 'test case' and designate themselves as a URM. I'm not looking at ethnic designation from a standpoint of lying - I'm looking beyond that smokescreen and raising the point that if race and ethnicity matter so little to people on this board, then why not mark whatever you want?