Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: schools with weak competition  (Read 1117 times)

cisforcookie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
schools with weak competition
« on: February 05, 2008, 02:56:25 PM »
does anyone else find it interesting to look at schools gpa/lsat numbers and weigh them according to their spread? like if a school like usc has 25/75s that are very close, and a school like ucla has 25/75s that are fairly far apart, wouldn't a sane person want to go to ucla on the theory that there is going to be a stronger difference in student quality between those at the top and those at the bottom which would allow a talented person an easier time in rising to the top? i notice that some schools also post a median lsat, which is, interestingly, usually closer to their 75th percentile than their 25th percentile. perhaps an indicator that they realize that they are admitting a large (at least 25%) chunk of their students with the understanding that they will, on aggregate, end up toward the bottom of the class.

there seems to be a trend that state schools are more likely to have a larger difference in those numbers. perhaps because of institutional pressure to admit alot of in-state applicants who would be weak applicants otherwise.

And yes I know that the numbers are only a mediocre predictor of a given student's grades, but we're not talking about single students but rather about large numbers of them.

cisforcookie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2008, 03:25:13 PM »
an informal examination by myself yields the following schools as having an abnormally large difference.

UCLA, Northwestern, Berkeley, Texas, Illinois, UWashington, UWisconsin. looking only at relatively top tier schools.

schools that have a very small difference include

Chicago, Cornell, Vandy, USC, Notre Dame, GW, BU, BC, Emory

Other than texas, the schools with large differences do not seem to be notably larger than the schools with especially small differences, nor do we see any particular geographical bias. Northwestern is going to appear because of its emphasis on non-traditional/experienced applicants, but otherwise the top schools are all public and the bottom are all private.

Does anyone know if the bottom schools have a greater reputation for being cut throat than the top schools?

I am Penny Lane

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3579
  • Manager of the "Get Dotlyn to go to FSU" Campaign!
    • View Profile
    • LSN - What do you think of my choices?
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2008, 03:26:57 PM »
Although I see where you are going with this... it is a dangerous way to pick a school.
LSN

Quote from: dotlyn
PennyLane invented sweet. She has the patent on it. I tried to act sweet one time and she sued me.

cisforcookie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2008, 03:35:51 PM »
I subscribe to a more holistic approach, but it may be a useful element to consider, given the fear that many people have of ending up in the bottom of their class. I only really looked at top tier schools because any reasonably personable and somewhat hard working person above the bottom 30 percent should be perfectly employable out of any of these places, though not necessarily their first choice job. If you look at it, a place like lewis & clark also has a very large spread, but they are going to have pull almost nowhere outside of oregon so the people outside of the top 1/3 are going to have issues. or so I would imagine.

tashakies

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2008, 12:31:50 PM »
an informal examination by myself yields the following schools as having an abnormally large difference.

UCLA, Northwestern, Berkeley, Texas, Illinois, UWashington, UWisconsin. looking only at relatively top tier schools.

schools that have a very small difference include

Chicago, Cornell, Vandy, USC, Notre Dame, GW, BU, BC, Emory


Other than texas, the schools with large differences do not seem to be notably larger than the schools with especially small differences, nor do we see any particular geographical bias. Northwestern is going to appear because of its emphasis on non-traditional/experienced applicants, but otherwise the top schools are all public and the bottom are all private.

Does anyone know if the bottom schools have a greater reputation for being cut throat than the top schools?

Would it be more cutthrot if there is small or almost no difference among the student body? I am very concerned about this since my acceptance to BC was a big surprise and prob got in by the skin of my teeth.  I am suffering a headache between Loyola and BC because as cisforookie said, of the fear of ending up in the bottom of my class at BC. Not that Loyola is a lesser school by any means but location aside, Id imagine BC attracts more people who did considerably better on the LSAT and have higher GPA. I also do not mind staying in LA or Boston/NY.
Some people advised I choose BC over Loyola anytime but with this in mind, is BC worth risking graduating lower in class compared to Loyola and still be able to get a decent job?


I subscribe to a more holistic approach, but it may be a useful element to consider, given the fear that many people have of ending up in the bottom of their class. I only really looked at top tier schools because any reasonably personable and somewhat hard working person above the bottom 30 percent should be perfectly employable out of any of these places, though not necessarily their first choice job. If you look at it, a place like lewis & clark also has a very large spread, but they are going to have pull almost nowhere outside of oregon so the people outside of the top 1/3 are going to have issues. or so I would imagine.

Would you please substantiate this? Also, are you referring to T-6, T-14 T-50?
My main interest is in BC so if you know what percent you have to do there and not be screwed after graduation Id love to know!

Sylvester Pennoyer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2008, 12:23:35 AM »
Ummm...

You do realize that NO ONE is competing to get into the bottom quarter of the class, right? 

There are no law schools with weak competition.  Its a zero sum game.  Every grade point earned above the median is someone else's loss.  Whether the entire class is hyper competitive or just the top three quarters, there's still way more people who want to be at the top of the class than can be.  The students set the competition, not the school. 

Your only hope for weak competition is to go to a school where your numbers are way above the 75% averages.  Unless you're a genius, this will probably not be a very good school.   

Also, you have to remember that LSAT performance has little to do with law school performance. 

Avicenna

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 225
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2008, 04:03:39 AM »
Ummm...

You do realize that NO ONE is competing to get into the bottom quarter of the class, right? 

There are no law schools with weak competition.  Its a zero sum game.  Every grade point earned above the median is someone else's loss.  Whether the entire class is hyper competitive or just the top three quarters, there's still way more people who want to be at the top of the class than can be.  The students set the competition, not the school. 

Your only hope for weak competition is to go to a school where your numbers are way above the 75% averages.  Unless you're a genius, this will probably not be a very good school.   

Also, you have to remember that LSAT performance has little to do with law school performance. 
Agreed.

This thread tells me that too many people rely on numbers as sure-predictors for law school success. What about the undergrad institution that a person attends? What about a person's LSAT-taking skills? I can guarantee you that some people with a high gpa attending USC/UCLA came from undergrad institutions with little or no challenge/competition. Somebody graduating from Harvard with 3.65 and 167 and someone graduating from Michigan State (both attending USC/UCLA)with the same numbers will NOT BE THE SAME CANDIDATE with similar academic experiences.

To think as the OP might about this situation is ridiculous. This is why no one can tell based on their numbers how they will compete with other students.

Don't you think admissions officials know this when they evaluate candidacy? This is why there is such thing as a LSDAS Report with GPA/LSAT margins for each individual school.
Your undergraduate education should be included within this variable and unfortunately that is impossible to decipher based on a school's reported 25/75 quartile GPA/LSAT.
Come on people, let's not base our law school lives on two degrees. 

cisforcookie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2008, 09:52:45 AM »
Your replies find me very confused. Good grades are not free, and there is no certainty to any of it. Nobody is disputing this. The question was about the aggregate. The existence of the LSAT and GPA measures is because they have been statistically shown to have significant correlation to first year law school grades. They are not perfect, but they do mean something. And if they mean something, and if there is no other good leading indicator for law school success that is weighed heavily in admissions (certainly having a juicy life story isn't one, though it helps in admissions) it seems likely that those schools which have a tighter band of students in the middle of their accepted classes will have less variability in the law school academic potential within their class. This might (MIGHT) lead to a more competitive (numerically, not necessarily how hard people work) situation. That's all I'm saying.

To the poster who wanted to know if he should go to BC over Loyola, I would suggest he go to BC. I do not think that this type of analysis would be at all a good reason to go to a markedly worse school over a better school. At the most, I think it might be a useful consideration when choosing between schools which are otherwise very difficult to differentiate.

Sylvester Pennoyer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
    • View Profile
Re: schools with weak competition
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2008, 01:47:09 PM »
Your replies find me very confused.

To put it another way...

I'm pretty sure it will be about as easy to finish at the bottom of the middle at USC as it would be at UCLA.  LSAT numbers don't inform this.  Law school is intensely competitive at the very top and then begins to drop off somewhere around the middle. 

If you are concerned about bombing out, rest assured that it is relatively easy to cruise along in the bottom third wherever you go.

My confusion with your post is why you would be worrying about this now.  Go to a school where your numbers are competitive and give it all hell the first year.  If you don't get the results you want, THEN start strategizing what to do next.  Your concern is moot if you pull straight A's.