Law School Discussion

index numbers explanation

Re: index numbers explanation
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2004, 08:20:03 PM »
I think what I have described is as reasonable a way as any to assess one's chances of getting into a school without having intimate knowledge of the admission procedures at the school. I don't think your suggestion of "you never know your chances of getting into a school unless you apply there" is good criterion for making such an important decision as where to apply. People have a finite amount of money and a finite amount of time. With these limited resources, people must choose 'safety' schools to apply to and 'stretch' schools a bit above liklihood for the applicant but still within possibility.

What is the method you would suggest for determining what one's 'safety' and 'stretch' schools are?

The 25/75 numbers and overall admit rates are a good place to start, that's empirical data.

Past that every school puts the applications through a different black box and you don't know what's in the box. The index number is in that box. You can't 'reverse engineer' the box from the 25/75 numbers. You don't know what the inputs are.


Re: index numbers explanation
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2004, 09:26:26 PM »
xray, you make a good point. There are some who believe law school admissions boards fastidiously apply the index calculation like myopic bean counters. Others actually believe the admissions boards review every single application thoroughly and "get to know" each of the applicants as best they can. One is a far fetched fantasy and the other is an irrational nightmare.

Admission boards have a LOT of applications to go through, especially in this down economy and with baby boomers seeking career changes. For reasons of mere practicality they must rely on some kind of mechanism to cull the wheat from the chaff in an efficient albeit impersonal manner. But they aren't going to rely soley on this mechanical culling procedure.

These schools have limited budgets and simply can't afford to wade through the tidal wave of applications with a personal fine toothed comb. Clearly, they are going to use *some* efficiency boosting procedure. And since we do in fact know that each school uses *some* indexing formula in *some* capacity and we actually know what this formula is for each school, we can assume that this index calculation is in some way involved in this culling process. And when it comes down to it, if an applicant doesn't have *some* basic minimum index score that must be passed it is difficult to see why the index would have ever been calculated in the first place b/c w/o the application of some minimum standard there is no efficiency boost to the process.

Anyway, I think your points are valid and that's a good reason for people not to get TOO hung up on their index and erroneously think that their work experience (etc.) is of no value.

Re: index numbers explanation
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2004, 11:39:40 PM »
If your numbers are both near or below the 25% line of a school, you are not getting in.  Unless you are a URM or have exceptional life experiences like living in 5 different countries, being blind, speaking 5 languages, starting a non-proft, etc.  The reason 25% of a class gets into school X with below a 3.4 gpa is because those students probably scored in that school's 90% on their LSAT, pulling up their index number.  Or they benefitted from Affirmative Action in some way.

Likewise, someone with below a school's 25% LSAT probably had above that school's 90% gpa.  It is sort of a sliding scale, wieghted towards the LSAT at most schools.  If your numbers are both over a school's 75%, you are in, except at some of the Ivies or if you wrote your PS in crayon.  Even in either of those cases, you still probably get in.

If your numbers are somewhere between being an auto-decline and being an auto-admit, they will look at your LOR, PS, resume, etc, and admit you if they feel that those components of your packet are strong enough.  Like it or not, numbers drive this process.  This is not med school admissions, numbers are exceedingly important, for better worse, in LS admissions.


Re: index numbers explanation
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2004, 11:46:51 PM »
Lead an extraordinary life and you can have ordinary numbers. Lead an ordinary life and your numbers better be extraordinary.

Maybe it's not too late to get a mohawk, join a rock band, and become a ballerina before sending in my application!!!   :)