Is there any grade inflation at Cornell? I was just talking with a Penn grad and she said grade inflation was alive and well at her school. I think they curve to a B+ or something.
That sounds like heaven, after attending an undergrad that curved to a C.
There's no such thing as "grade inflation" at law school. Different school will curve at different letter grades, but in the end, its really all meaningless, since it's your position in the class relative to your classmates that is important.
Cornell curves at a B+. The median GPA is somewhere around a 3.33-3.35, with a B+ counting as a 3.33. Also, professors are required to grade all courses, including problem courses and seminars, so that the mean grade in the course does not exceed 3.35. However, employers and recruiters will have an idea of GPA/ranking correlation, and its really your standing in your class that is important.
Will employers see this context when you're standing in comparison to students from places like NYU/Columbia?
Employers only see your GPA, as Cornell does not rank its students. I'm not sure why you bring up NYU or Columbia... again, there's no grade inflation in law school. There is no such thing as a law school that only gives out high grades to all of its students - all law schools (as far as I know) have some sort of mandatory curve (especially for 1L classes). Ever if such a law school existed, employers would know about it and again, it would come down to how you stand in the class.
Right, so... are the students pretty cutthroat about being in the top 10%?
I'm not really sure I understand what you're getting at here... the students at the law school here generally are not competitive and it really is a great environment, as I discussed in my other post.
Yea, I think I read those other posts... I was just panicking when you said "its really your standing in your class that is important." Because if it's really that important, then I would think that the students would be competitive with each other to get the higher standings. I always hear those horror stories about competitive law students and am always trying to track down where that stereotype came from. I'm glad it's not Cornell though!
People aren't like that because everybody knows that they're all going to have a great job when they graduate... there's no need to be cutthroat when you know that you'll be taken care of. Also, when I said that its your standing that matters, I meant it more as a way of saying that your actual GPA is meaningless without context. A 3.3 doesn't really sound so good (at least it wasn't in my undergrad), but at Cornell Law, that's right about the median and you'd really have nothing to worry about... unless you wanted to clerk for the Supreme Court or something
And on a final note, at every
school "it is really your standing in your class that is important." The number means nothing without a basis for comparison, or without more info (ie. how do other students do?). The better the school is, though, the less your place in the class matters, because firms will go deeper into the class to hire their associates.