Alright, I spoke with the Assistant Director of Admission for about 40 minutes yesterday in her office. Very personable lady, very friendly, very laid back style meeting style--professional but very informal. She called the programs at Michigan "very cool" on multiple occasions. I'm starting to like the laid back attitude of UM more and more as days go by.
Major questions and Answers:
Q: Early Decision, Yay or Nay for a standard applicant (i.e. someone who hovers around medians)?
A: No clear answer either way. BUT the medians for E.D. admits and regular admits "tend to be almost identical." Thus, she said that if you are around the median it definetly helps--in her words, even if your app is deferred to regular admission it is (due to having been looked at during the ED cycle) reviewed "about 3 or 4 times" and she said with their "overall person" type of admissions, this is a very good thing. Also, she said lower numbers tend to get in the earlier they apply, so you have that as well.
Q: Mich's medians are increasing. Why?
A: More applicants. But she said they fluxuate from year to year. Michigan thinks the rankings are full of it because they don't consider quality of faculty, among other factors. Michigan feels its reputation is solidified and is not purposely raising numbers to go up a slot in the T14. They simply had more applicants last year, but she said she has no idea what numbers they'll get this year (obviously).
Q: What did she say the numbers were last year?
A: No mention of GPA, but she did say last year's 25th and 75th LSAT scores were a 166 and a 169. Median was a 167. Scary.
Q: In-state advantage?
A: Yeah, I didn't even have to ask before she told me I have "much better" chances because I'm in-state. Not due to taxes, but due to the fact that Michigan has a philosophy that they want to "educate Michigan lawyers." Also, she said the overall state numbers are typically a bit lower than the national ones because there are less in-state apps, and considering 25% of the class is in-state, its easy to see someone like me with slightly lower numbers (3.85/3.97, 166) but with Michigan residency has an okay shot!
Q: U-M undergraduates--advantage or disadvantage?
A: She just laughed. She said that a ton of admits are from U-M undergrad; her wording was that "We know UM is a great school because we're a part of it. If 25% of our class comes from in-state, of course a large majority will come from the most challenging university in the state." She said that all her peers at other law schools remark that "ONLY U-M admits get in" and that everyone who didn't graduate from U-M undergrad is screwed. Also, as a former law school student, she said that "the largest majority" in her class was from U-M.
Those were my main talking points with her. Again, awesome lady, awesome meeting--felt good. We ended up just talking at the end about her law school experience, post-graduate work. Very informal, very conversational. I think I left a good impression. Hopefully it'll help me somehow!