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Author Topic: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?  (Read 3206 times)

MahlerGrooves

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2008, 06:42:11 PM »
I don't really care which degree is harder to get As in.  A business degree is better at teaching you how to be successful in business and sales.  It is extremely important to understand how to network, sell your product, and manage your finances if you want to be a lawyer.  You can learn a lot in law school about ethics, arguments, and the constitution, but learning how to be financially savvy isn't usually in the curriculum.
I'm also not saying that I need a 3.7 for the schools I want to go to.  I really just need a 3.4, which is my transcript GPA.  My whole question is based on the assumption that the ad-com likes one candidate better, but chooses another candidate because it's better for their ranking. 
So rather than tell me how a 3.7 is better than a 3.0  (Do you really think I"m that stupid?) why don't you tell me whether or not the desire to improve ranking might cloud an ad-com's judgement.

The truth is that GPA is an indicator of what type of student you are.  The higher UGPA you have, the more studious you were (or so it is assumed).  Outside of a hard science degree from a top engineering program (ie a 3.3 from CalTech), you will not get much care from an AdComm about the cours of study you chose.

AdComms care about one thing:  assembling the BEST incoming class that will attend their school.  They do this because it produces the best graduates who will carry the name forward AND because it helps rankings.  Outside of STELLAR softs (concert pianist, cured cancer, nobel prize), softs will not negate sub-par numbers.

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2008, 07:22:29 PM »
What if you have an essentially guaranteed job at a firm post-graduation? I've always been confused because schools want to put together the best class they can that will be successful in the future (job placement+salary) but they use only grades to determine this? What about people who have had the opportunity (and seized it) to network and create a future for themselves prior to matriculating at law school?

The reason I bring this up is that I am toward the lower side on the GPA as well; a result of digging myself into a hole my first year that was difficult to get out of. The upward trend is blatant but the end figure nothing to write home about. However, I got a job at a great firm and have shown the firm that my grades don't really reflect my work ethic and intelligence, thus they are more than willing to give me a shot after I've put those two letters after my name. Would schools tend to ignore the importance of that soft?
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devilishlyblue

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2008, 09:25:14 PM »
I mean, the reality of these two candidates fighting for one spot is a ridiculously low probability.  The vastly most likely outcome is that there will be a LOT of candidates in between them.  The school is almost certainly not comparing them head-to-head.  The 3.0 with softs is probably fighting for spots with another 3.0 with softs, if he's getting compared to anyone and fighting for spots.

If you want to really make this hypothetical and ask about a much-better-lawyer vs. numbers argument -- say you have replaced your admissions committee with a team of clairvoyants -- then I suspect they'd take the much-better-lawyer.  But how on earth are they supposed to know this with certainty?

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2008, 10:22:56 PM »
In that range, you are playing a pure numbers game.  Soft-factors wont make up for .7 gpa points aside from race and/or state residency.

jack24

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2008, 06:43:46 PM »
They'll think the 3.7 will be a better student and they think he'll help their ranking more, so no, it won't cloud their judgment.

I think this is part of the problem.  Admissions committees are probably made up of a bunch of people that had high GPAs in school.
I agree with you that a good track record in undergrad can often lead to a great track record in grad school, but I will be a better student in law school because of my job experience.  I am more valuable as a 3.4 student with 4 years of full time employment than I would have been with a 3.7 and one summer internship.

Ad-coms are not made up of psychics, but I'm just very surprised that there aren't quite a few members of the selection committee that think GPA is over-rated.

devilishlyblue

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2008, 07:04:20 PM »
I am more valuable as a 3.4 student with 4 years of full time employment than I would have been with a 3.7 and one summer internship.

Even if this is true -- and I think speculation the other way would be equally valid -- you're talking about a .3 GPA difference here.  Your original scenario discussed a .7 difference, which is absolutely gigantic.

rtqw

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2008, 07:27:02 PM »
I will be a better student in law school because of my job experience.  I am more valuable as a 3.4 student with 4 years of full time employment than I would have been with a 3.7 and one summer internship.

Maybe, but not necessarily. To say so would conflate experience with potential. Do you win with experience? Definitely. Do you win with potential? Maybe not. Give the 3.7 applicant four years and you'll probably have an applicant with a 3.7 AND four years of work experience, just like you.

There's certainly something to be said for the way business schools do things - that is, having full time work experience be pretty much a prerequisite - but (rightly or wrongly), it isn't the way law schools do things.

Remember that GPA plays second fiddle to LSAT. In your hypo, your four years of work experience haven't enabled you to score better on the LSAT (which is the best individual predictor of first year law school performance we have, as imperfect as it is). Why work experience doesn't play a huge role in law school admissions is, I think, more complex than "adcomms are biased because of their own high GPAs."

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jack24

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2008, 08:51:41 PM »
I feel like you two have good points.
I guess there really isn't any way to know for sure if GPA or work experience is more valuable to a lawyer's future success.  Try not to assume that my GPA was low because I didn't have enough time to study due to my job.  My GPA was low because I felt like I had found my career and there was really no reason to worry about getting anything better than a B average.  You have to remember that there is a difference between a lack of motivation and a lack of ability.  I was lucky enough to find my true motivation and now I'm a completely different person.  I don't expect anyone to take my word for it, and now it's time for me to go to my T2 school and prove that I'm better than a 3.4.   


Trivium

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2008, 09:03:09 PM »
Personally I don't think that work experience is really at all valuable to a lawyer's future success. In many cases I think it just shows adcomms that you're responsible. As soon as you graduate you start getting work experience so I don't think it really matters for future success since you're going to get it anyway.

jack24

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Re: Which student would an Admissions Committee pick?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2008, 09:21:03 PM »
Personally I don't think that work experience is really at all valuable to a lawyer's future success. In many cases I think it just shows adcomms that you're responsible. As soon as you graduate you start getting work experience so I don't think it really matters for future success since you're going to get it anyway.

So you don't think it's valuable to learn to manage employees, network with contacts and sell your services?  Most lawyers that I've talked to say that Law School doesn't do very much to prepare them for the actual job, so do you think law school is unnecessary too?  I mean, you're going to learn it on the job anyway?