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Messages - hunterhogan

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: How to pick your law school
« on: March 17, 2005, 09:23:16 PM »
Yeah. My hobby lately has been stessing-out about law school.

Florida Coastal. I submitted the app on 2/15 (evening), the LSDAS report was sent on 2/17, and the date on my decision letter was 2/17. Same day service, baby.

<Keanu Reeves Voice>


</Keanu Reeves Voice>

For me, it was Florida Coastal.
I sent it on 1/15, LSDAS report on 1/18, and acceptance with $6k/semester on 1/28.

If you are good with excel, then this might help you sort out the factors. (If you are not good at excel, it won't help.),28700.0.html

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: George Mason any opinions?
« on: March 17, 2005, 08:35:33 PM »
If you are good with excel, then this might help you sort out the factors. (If you are not good at excel, it won't help.),28700.0.html

Choosing the Right Law School / How to pick your law school
« on: March 17, 2005, 08:31:12 PM »
Like many people, I have been accepted to more than one school. Also, like many people, I am not sure which school I would like more. Some of the differences are so big that it is difficult to decide what is important.

I have made an excel spreadsheet to help me sort out my thoughts. This approach may also help some other people to decide.

First, I listed absolutely everything that might influence my choice. I then forced myself to rank them from most important to least important. I put all of these criteria on the spreadsheet.

1.   Required courses
2.   Section
3.   Interesting Classes
4.   Avg. Class Size
5.   Joint Degree
6.   School Attractiveness
7.   City Attractiveness
8.   LSAT 25th %
9.   Faculty Ratio
10.   Total Cost of school
11.   Family
12.   Constitutional
13.   International
14.   Bar %
15.   Leiter
16.   Weather
17.   Cost of living
18.   GPA 25th %

Next I needed to decide how important each criterion was. I picked some criteria that I could easily relate to each other. I decided that the “Total Cost of School” was twice as important as the “Cost of Living” in the city where the school was located. I then decided that the size of the first year section was twice as important as the total cost of school.

I made the “Weight” of “Cost of Living” 1.0, “Total Cost” 2.0, and “Section” 4.0. I then assigned weights to the other categories using those three scores and the ranked list as references.

I filled in the data from various sources. Some of the data is objective. For example, the section size is from the LSAC website. And, some of the data is subjective. How I feel about the city that the school is located (“Attractiveness” under “Location”) is completely based on my feelings about the city.

I calculated cost of living using Austin TX as my base. I put $100,000 into this cost of living calculator and then choose the city where the school is located. I rounded the cost of living off to the nearest thousand and put that number in the spreadsheet. (No, I do not make $100,000; it was just an easy number to use.)

At the top, I put a “Goal” value for each category. For example, under “Required Curriculum” I put the 30. I would like to go to a school that has only 30 hours of required courses. Above that is the “Units”. This is a little harder to explain. In this case, for every 4 more hours that a school requires (above 30), I subtract a point from their total score. Let’s look at another example. Under section size, my goal is 80. The unit is 5. So, if a school has a section size of 85, then they loose a point. However, if they have a section size of 75, then they gain a point.

One of the tricky parts of this spreadsheet is that some columns must be deducted from the total and some must be added to the total. For example, my goal for “Interesting” under Curriculum is 30. (I look through the schools catalog and count the number of classes that I find interesting; I want there to be 30 of them.) If a school has more than 30, then I add points to their score. Next example: My goal for “Total Cost” is 13000 per year. If a school is above that number, then I want to subtract points from them.

If you are going to use this spreadsheet, then you must know something about excel. Keep an eye on the formulas if you do.

I really don’t know if this will help anyone, but I know it has helped me to sort out what is important to me and exactly how important it is.


You fail to take into account one large piece of information...economic models assume rational choices by individuals.

No, classic economic models assume that individuals make rational choices. Modern economics, game theory in particular, allow for individuals to make irrational decisions. It is not necessary for applicants to understand the dynamics of the entire system. It is only necessary for them to believe that they are making good choices.

Here is an example of a massive assumption you make:

"How can the schools increase the chances that they will reach their goal? The best way is to increase the number of applications that they receive. With more people to rank, the average quality of admitted students will increase. The only time it will not increase is if all of the new applications are worse than the lowest rank applicant that they had planned to admit. We can see that schools send out fee waivers not to decrease their percentage of admits/applications, but to increase the quality of their student body."

You have no clue why fee waivers are sent out at all, yet you use it to justify your conclusion. It is commonly held that schools send out fee waivers to increase yield. Many top applicants do not receive fee waivers to many schools while lesser applicants do. These fee waiver applicants are largely rejected which serves to lower admit rates(US News Strategy).

Even if the schools are using fee waivers to also increase yeild, they will stop using them when they get too many applications. Yield is part of the way that schools rank the best applicants. There are a number of subjective factors that schools use to rank the best applicants for them. One of them is likely to be that they want to admit applicants that are likely to accept their application. This is modern bargaining theory. The classic example is how humans choose to pair-up (mating). If everyone only wanted to go for the objectively best mate, then we would only want to be with Brad Piit and Jessica Simpson. John Nash's work pointed out that people do not choose the objectively best, they choose the subjectively best. They choose the best match that they think will also choose them.

You also point out that "fee waiver applicants are largely rejected" (emphasis mine). The ones that not rejected are the ones that improve the quality of the student body (from the school's point of view).

You also pointed out the zero-sum effect of multiple applications on the market. Again this is false. While the number of seats hold fairly constant the yield does not. Schools like the lower T14 assume a 1 in 5 yield of accepted students. When the market is flooded with applications that will both be rejected and accepted where the applicant had no intention of attending, we have a situation where the predicted yeild no longer holds true. Schools are unable to calculate, for the current cycle, data on yields that will allow them to make reasonable decisions regarding class size. Thus you end up with situations like Penn last year where the class is so horribly over-enrolled that seats normally available for applicants are no longer there. And to go a step further these same schools are forced to under-enroll over the next couple years to balance out the class--again robbing available seats.

Penn may underestimate their yield and Georgetown may overestimate the number of applications they receive, but the market is still efficient. Overall, most schools got what they were looking for in terms of yield and applications.

So while it may be economically in an applicants best interest to throw in 10 apps to a school ranked way lower or 10 apps to all schools they have zero shot at, it does have an effect on current and future yields and available seats.

Again, yield is part of the way law schools value their applications. The market will adjust for that. Also, if a school over-admits one year, and has to admit less students the following year, then you have just described an efficient market.

I started the 'plague' thread so obviously I am biased.

I only applied to 2 (Temple & Rutgers) because I am trapped regionally since I work full time during the day.

However, if I were free lancing as most of you are I would have applied to exactly 8 schools.  1 super reach, 2 moderate reaches, 3 schools I should get into, and 2 safeties.

If you did the research on the schools and your numbers & then thought about your soft factors - you really wouldn't need to apply to any more than that.


That is what I did and I got rejected by my safety.

If an admissions office has to handle 10,000 applications as opposed to 2,000 they will obviously not be able to give the 10,000 applicants as much attention.  That is a simple fact. 

Your analysis is perfectly true if the number of people the school has reviewing applications is the same in both scenarios. However, if the school puts 5 times the number of people to work reading the 10,000 applications, then will be able to spend as much time on each application. Again, if a school is overwhelmed by applications, then they need to raise their application fee.

The question I would ask is why are people applying to 20+ schools when they absolutely did not do so 10-15 years ago?

Because the most successful strategies will become the most popular. It makes sense for the applicants to apply to all of the schools that they are interested in and that they can afford.

I think the answer is becoming clearer as I have watched postings.  It is too easy to apply to schools.  The LSAC and the Internet make it too damn easy.  If it took more effort like at the undergraduate level (ie specific essays for specific schools) it would probably not be as big an issue.

I totally agree. If it was harder to apply, then there would be fewer applications. This is the same thing as increasing the application fees. That also makes it harder to apply.

It isn't game theory, it isn't capitalism, and it isn't supply & demand forces. 

It is gluttony and it makes the entire process tougher on us all.


Well, I may not be right, but I do think economics can explain what is happening. Your example of making it harder to apply is text-book economics.

Many schools will sort the data from LSAC and send fee waivers to you automatically. This could be based on your demographics or LSAT score.

You can call schools and ask for a fee waiver. Many will give you one. LSAC also has a need based fee waiver form. I imagine most schools will entertain it.

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