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Messages - SouthSide

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51
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 03:33:12 PM »
Don't you think that preparing for the LSAT in itself should be a desirable quality?

I don't.  I would like to see it as a test of ability rather than a test of who prepped the most.  This would also seem to be its nominal purpose.

I think the LSAT is a combination between testing ability and testing how "serious" someone is about applying to law schools.  I would think that law schools would be interested in both these qualities. 

Picture someone who did not prep and got a 163.  He might have studied and gotten a 170, but instead he just walked into the testing room because he figured law school might be fun if he had nothing else to do.  Compare that to someone who started off his practicing at 163, worked his a$$ off for two months, and eventually scored a 170 because he knew that he had to get a 170 to get into his top choice law school.  Even though the two candidates started off at the same level, it seems that the second candidate is the better choice since he has displayed more motivation. 

I don't think using two high-scoring individuals as a comparison is very valid. Not every student is aiming to go to a T14, so the 163 guy may have already had an idea of where he wanted to go and athe 163 was more than sufficient. Where this theory applies more is at the lower levels, especially considering the fact that more than half the people who take the LSAT do not end up going to law school that year. There are also plenty of valid reasons why someone might prepare less than another- one may work full time and have a family while another may be a college student with a full summer off and nothing he/she needs to do.

You're right that many people who score below 150 did not prep at all, and with more prep they could have raised their scores at least enough to get into the 150's.  But I don't see how that pertains to what I'm saying...if they scored in the 140's because they did no preparation, why should they get as much reward as someone who studied and scored ten points higher?  The person who studies obviously cares more about going to law school.  And if you're so busy that you don't have time to study for the LSAT, how are you going to find time to go to law school?  

I fully support studying. What I don't support is extremely resource-intensive training that is only available to the rich.

Take two kids, both getting a 163 cold. One can't afford a class, but works his butt off and works up to a 169. The other goes to a class where they teach him a bunch of tactics to beat the LSAT, and scores a 170. How is that fair?

Even if you don't accept this, you should still support transparency. Let law schools have all the information, and they can decide what to do with it.

52
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 01:29:09 PM »
I don't know whether they care about fairness or not, but changing the LSAT format evry year is impractical. There is a lot of research put into the test, to ensure that it produces a predictable bell curve if nothing else. Plus, there is at least some research indicating that the LSAT is the best numerical predictor of law school grades. I don't see how they could just come up with a new test every year and have any predictability for students, adcomms, or anyone.

It's not as impractical as you think, bell curves are easy, and LSAC is extrordinarily inefficient (monopoly provider and all).  All you would need to do to approximate my idea is instead of having three sections, one of which is always repeated, have 10 or 15 different formats with more flexibility and have four on any given administration.  It would be much harder to prepare than it is now, where students know there will be 2 LR, 1 LG and 1 RC.  Furthermore, the LSAT is the best predicator when compared to extant indices.  I promise you I could make a better one without the racial inequalities that was constant from year to year, harder to game, and do it for a 1/3 of the budget.  And so could LSAC.  They just don't want to.

Perhaps. Your ideas sound decent, but I would presume it's harder than it looks. I can't imagine why they wouldn't already be changing it if by doing so they could easily make major improvements. I would guess it's easier said than done.

I like the LSAt the way it is. I think preparing for it is one of the things the LSAC is testing to see. It's not an IQ test where you should take it cold, but it does measure your ability to prepare for one big test- something you will see in a law school. Even if you're not a natural, if you work hard and study for a long time you should be able to do well both on the lsat and on law exams.

I'm not criticizing the LSAT. Others have done that, and I remain fairly agnostic on whether it's a great test or not. Whatever the merits of the LSAT, though, you would have to concede that the fact that some people take classes and others do not is unfair.


53
My credit score is 580, they say this is mediocre.   >:(

Ouch. I understand your dilemma now. Even with regular and grad plus stafford loans you are going to come up short on your yearly budget. You are left in a bad way without the ability to take out private loans to make up the difference.

Is there any type of educational loan program offered through the school which does not rely so much on credit scores - sort of like an alumni fund?

Oingo

That's what I am trying to find out, that's why I have been trying to delay turning down UIUC's fullride.  If I don't get enough loan to cover me, I will just go to UIUC for free, no regret there, I mean shits happen all the time, it might be unfortunate having to settle for a less prestigious education due to financial reason, but I am relatively lucky comparing to other people who's doing worse, such as a kid who got sick on the day of the LSAT and scored 10 points lower.
 

I would advise against this. The financial benefits of the placement that you will get from Northwestern, and even moreso from UChicago, are large. You will almost certainly be able to locate loans to go to the U of C or Northwestern. Just the fact that you go to one of these schools makes you a good credit risk Call up their financial aid offices and they will be able to work something out with you.

54
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 12:35:34 PM »
So a lot of people take classes or hire tutors to prepare for the LSAT, and a lot of people think this is unfair. Why not have a couple of questions about this that you have to answer when you take the test?

Ask people if they have taken a class to prepare for the LSAT, and also ask if they have hired a private tutor. If people are caught lying, make it a big deal, like the equivalent of cheating. This would make the whole thing transparent and give law schools more information that they can use to evaluate their applicants.

I've thought this would be a good idea for a while (I think I posted this almost a year ago, sigh), but there are two problems and one painful reality. 

Firstly, it would be hard to quantify the degree of assistance that would require disclosure on the private tutoring side.  It would be easy to have a certification/registration process for Kaplant/TPR/PS etc where they would share their student lists with LSAC and it would automatically be on your transcript.  At the same time, while paying Any Ivy a gazillion dollars might be easy to identify as disclosure-worthy, what about a friend who tutors another friend for a few hours, or two people who study together?  This would be hard to quantify but without it, you'd see students going "underground" and being tutored by Kaplan/TPR/etc teachers to get around this.

Secondly, just as students would game this system to avoid disclosure, so would the big companies.  They'd offer weird packages that would just fall short of disclosure requirements, such as book/dvd combos that cost thousands but technically were "self-study," or phone consults.

I did see the practical problems. Perhaps something as simple as asking people to disclose whether they have paid for any personal or recorded LSAT instruction, though? I think this could be made pretty absolute. LSAC could post detailed definitions on the web site, so everyone would know whether they had to disclose.

The harsh reality is that the LSAC and law schools in general really have no interest in this sort of fairness.  If they did, they could just change the LSAT format every year so that gaming it in this manner would be much harder.

I don't know whether they care about fairness or not, but changing the LSAT format evry year is impractical. There is a lot of research put into the test, to ensure that it produces a predictable bell curve if nothing else. Plus, there is at least some research indicating that the LSAT is the best numerical predictor of law school grades. I don't see how they could just come up with a new test every year and have any predictability for students, adcomms, or anyone.


55
Studying for the LSAT / Why not require disclosure? Crazy Idea?
« on: July 31, 2006, 12:07:30 PM »
So a lot of people take classes or hire tutors to prepare for the LSAT, and a lot of people think this is unfair. Why not have a couple of questions about this that you have to answer when you take the test?

Ask people if they have taken a class to prepare for the LSAT, and also ask if they have hired a private tutor. If people are caught lying, make it a big deal, like the equivalent of cheating. This would make the whole thing transparent and give law schools more information that they can use to evaluate their applicants.


56
Affirmative Action / Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« on: July 31, 2006, 12:00:13 PM »
I don't begrudge the wealthy kids for being supported for a year while spending thousands on test prep and tutors because it games the system for everyone who can't.

I do.

57
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Wow, got my first 180 today
« on: July 31, 2006, 06:18:54 AM »
The other thing to note is that beyond 175 or so, the scores are down to pure luck. Every test has at least two or three questions that are so tough they become 50/50 propositions. Getting all of them right is generally a 1/6 chance shot at best. Some people will do it, but only because they guessed right on the very hard ones.

This isn't true.

To the OP, congratulations! Keep up the good work, and hopefully it will pay off.

58
Law School Rankings / Re: Best shools for corporate law?
« on: July 31, 2006, 06:10:19 AM »
I was wondering what law schools are considered to be best at preparing their students for corporate law. I'm an econ major and so have a big interest in studying corporate law, and would like to know which schools I should really aim for. Thanks.

You'd have to be more specific. A huge part of corporate law right now is IP, and Stanford is very strong in that area. If you're more interested in the financial side of things, like securities law and the like, Columbia is probably your best bet, but Harvard and Chicago are pretty solid as well. For international business law, Harvard and Columbia are the tops. For law and economics, which you mention in your post, Chicago is peerless. If you just want to work in a corporation in some capacity, you should just go to the best law school you can get into, and one that is in the same university as a top business school is a plus.

59
Where should I go next fall? / Re: are all gpa's judged the same?
« on: July 31, 2006, 05:57:53 AM »
Eh it depends on the private school...I have NO debt from Brown, as they hooked me up with the fin aid.  Wheeras, I applied to my state school and they gave me a shitload of loans.  Go figure.  :-\

This is a good point. I had better financial aid packages from the better colleges I got into than the worse ones. If you are in a certain income bracket, the elite schools that have need-based aid will hook you up much better than the schools that do not promise to meet demonstrated need.


I'd be curious to see how the numbers play out on specific schools.  Because in terms of intelligence, there's probably little to no difference between the undergraduates of Princeton and the undergraduates of, say, Emory -- but I suspect one impresses people a lot more than the other. 

I do think that college admissions are a lot more arbitrary than law school admissions. There are two reasons for this. First, college adcomms are considering a bunch of extra factors that law schools are not. Colleges have to think about things like admitting fifty football players and three decent violinists. At Princeton undergrad, for example, if you're not a legacy or an athlete, your chances of admission drop to virtually zero.

Second, college adcomms are evaluating seventeen year olds, while law schools get to look at people who have matured a lot more.

I don't think law school adcomms care very much where you went to school. They are mostly running the LSAT/GPA numbers and basing decisions on that. I would bet that a 3.7/170 from a ttt will have a better cycle than a 3.5/170 from a top-ranked college. It would be interesting to see some examples to check this, though.

The one exception is if you went to a college that has a specific reputation for not being grade-inflated. At least some of these schools get a slight GPA boost from law school adcomms. (I know because I went to one, and I've been told this is definitely the case)

60
I'm too tired to be coherent (as if I had a chance anyway), but I just wanted to make a small point: the courts have limited a lot of well-intentioned people to talking about "diversity" instead of the remediation of disadvantage, and I think that's why you see it cropping up so often in these discussions.  I support both a diversity rationale (however mealy-mouthed) and a remediation rationale. But for legal reasons, at public institutions anyway, one has to subsume the remediation into diversity -- diversity as justification for any adjustments one might make in one's admissions practices to account for disadvantage of certain classes of applicants.

I also want to resist the characterization of any goal of diversifying the profession as a being necessarily mealy-mouthed.  Some people are quite specific about why they want to have more black lawyers out there, and how they want to do it.

I like the idea that we can win this on fairness -- and it's obvious to me that we can't have a fair admissions system without race- and class-conscious practices -- but I am discouraged by its prospects as well given the responses to even red.'s discussion of how to remedy a specific bias in this thread.

Your points are all well taken. I think the diversity argument matters too, but I don't think it can stand alone.

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