Law School Discussion

Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14

challandler

Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2007, 07:34:11 PM »
can someone explain what "low curve" means and how it affects transferability?

The term "low curve" generally reflects that the median class grade at a given school is low, and thus the grades of students at that school look less impressive than th grades of comparable students at other schools.  Often, but not always, low curves are also associated with a decrease in the percentage of top grades given out.  For example, the median grade at one school may be a 3.2, with 25% of the class recieving an A- or better.  At a "low curve" school, the median grade may be 2.7, with 12% of the class recieving an A- or better.  A student ranked 60/300 in his/her class at the first school is likely to have a GPA above 3.6.  A student ranked 60/300 in his/her class at the second school may be closer to 3.3.  While I'd like to believe that class rank is more important than GPA in transfer admissions, it is entirely possible that students at schools with higher curves have more success in transferring if for other reason than their attractive GPA.

Another point to keep in mind is that higher-ranked schools tend to have higher median grades, so when you show your T4 1L grades to an employer at your new T14 school, you might have a lot of explaining to do to get them to see your record as an accomplishment.

rhombot

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Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2007, 04:39:56 PM »
but wait - are employers and target schools for transfers so ignorant that they don't realize that GPA is an artificial number, and that they should rely on rank instead? and if employers are that ignorant, why do law schools not boost their curves to improve the chances that their grads will be hired, and get better jobs when hired?

challandler

Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2007, 07:44:26 PM »
but wait - are employers and target schools for transfers so ignorant that they don't realize that GPA is an artificial number, and that they should rely on rank instead? and if employers are that ignorant, why do law schools not boost their curves to improve the chances that their grads will be hired, and get better jobs when hired?

1. Not all 1L transcripts will come with a class rank (many schools refuse to rank until after graduation).  Thus, the employer or admissions officer would actually have to work to find out whether a 3.3 is good or bad at a given school.  Anything that requires effort on the part of someone else is already a knock against you.

2. The schools have a reputation to protect.  Low-tier schools tend to lower their curves to seperate out the elite students from the rest on the idea that the elite students will better represent the school to employers.  If a T3 or T4 sent everyone out into the legal community with 3.8+, employers would no longer want grads of that school (becuase you can't tell who is a moron and who isn't).  At top schools, the curve shifts up to reflect the belief that those in the middle (and even the bottom) of the class are bright, capable, motivated (just not as bright, capable, or motivated as their amazing peers). 

rhombot

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Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2007, 09:22:26 PM »
makes a certain amount of sense, but i guess i still don't fully get it. wouldn't it make more sense for lower ranked schools to grade inflate but publish rank earlier? that way employers will know which students to hire, and the school will escape the low-curve stigma.

sorry to turn this thread into a serious conversation.

but wait - are employers and target schools for transfers so ignorant that they don't realize that GPA is an artificial number, and that they should rely on rank instead? and if employers are that ignorant, why do law schools not boost their curves to improve the chances that their grads will be hired, and get better jobs when hired?

1. Not all 1L transcripts will come with a class rank (many schools refuse to rank until after graduation).  Thus, the employer or admissions officer would actually have to work to find out whether a 3.3 is good or bad at a given school.  Anything that requires effort on the part of someone else is already a knock against you.

2. The schools have a reputation to protect.  Low-tier schools tend to lower their curves to seperate out the elite students from the rest on the idea that the elite students will better represent the school to employers.  If a T3 or T4 sent everyone out into the legal community with 3.8+, employers would no longer want grads of that school (becuase you can't tell who is a moron and who isn't).  At top schools, the curve shifts up to reflect the belief that those in the middle (and even the bottom) of the class are bright, capable, motivated (just not as bright, capable, or motivated as their amazing peers). 

Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2007, 10:37:39 PM »
I've no empirical evidence to back this up but I believe the low curve at lower tier schools is much less to enhance the stature of top students because class rank is all relative. You are top 10% no matter what the curve is.

I think it is more a means by which to force out low performers who presumably will not pass the bar. A school with a 2.67 curve (B-) can put roughly the bottom 25% of the class into academic probation if the minimum is a 2.0 (C). Compare this to a place like U of Chicago where the curve is a a B+ and academic probation is a C- (they don't use traditional GPAs). I believe that this is because of the quality of their students, many more will pass the bar relative to a lower ranked school therefore only real big losers get grades low enough to warrant getting academic probation.


makes a certain amount of sense, but i guess i still don't fully get it. wouldn't it make more sense for lower ranked schools to grade inflate but publish rank earlier? that way employers will know which students to hire, and the school will escape the low-curve stigma.

sorry to turn this thread into a serious conversation.


rev

Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2007, 08:09:36 AM »
hmmm.  i concur in part, dissent in part.  a friend at yale was telling me about turning in her first memo to a ta.  "when will we get results?" she asked.  "Oh, you passed," the ta responded.  "how do you know?" my friend asked.  "because you turned it in" the ta said.

part of what goes into usnwr rankings is attrition.  i think top schools have more at stake and therefore make attrition harder with easier curves.  or it could be that higher ranked schools feel that their admitted students have already 'proven' themselves somehow, just by being there.

i dont agree with bar pass rate, however.  my t3 had a 95% for last bar exam.  then again, some state bars are harder than other, but i still think that none of them are particularly easy, just as no law school exam is particularly easy.  just my .02

Strong

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Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2007, 08:51:13 AM »
To me attrition is a mechanism to get the bar passage rates up. Lower ranked schools have lower admissions criteria so they are giving people a chance, and if they don't cut it they get cut.

Higher ranked schools don't have that problem because they weeded out the people that might fail the bar during admissions and aren't worried about harsher curving.

rev

Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2007, 05:28:44 PM »
To me attrition is a mechanism to get the bar passage rates up. Lower ranked schools have lower admissions criteria so they are giving people a chance, and if they don't cut it they get cut.

Higher ranked schools don't have that problem because they weeded out the people that might fail the bar during admissions and aren't worried about harsher curving.


how would you explain it when lower ranked schools (and i mean t3/4 v. t1/2) have significantly higher bar passage rates than higher one, even within the same state? 

i'm not trying to be sarcastic, i'm just curious

Strong

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Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2007, 05:34:16 PM »
I would look at averages, the rates fluctuate alot, and I would argue that the forced attrition works if they have higher passage rates than the other schools.

It's not an airtight theory, but if you look at curves and attrition across the board there is a correlation.

rhombot

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Re: Transferring from T4 to T1 or T14
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2007, 06:01:36 PM »
how would you explain it when lower ranked schools (and i mean t3/4 v. t1/2) have significantly higher bar passage rates than higher one, even within the same state? 

i'm not trying to be sarcastic, i'm just curious

some schools, often lower-ranked ones (but also schools like almost-t1 baylor), are said to teach to the bar. while the students at higher-ranked schools are studying a great range of courses, learning public policy, comparative law and all those interesting things, the students at the lower-ranked school are all taking evidence and corporations, and essentially studying whatever will be on the bar. that's the theory anyway.