Law School Discussion

Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools

dischord

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2008, 08:39:24 AM »
Thanks for the link. Out of those schools what one do you think would serve me best in hopes of going to the best law school possible?

Out of the schools you mentioned, maybe Penn by a hair.  But to be brutally honest, the quality of your undergrad is not going to outweigh a low LSAT score.  All of those schools are great schools, so just go to the one you like the most, and keep that GPA up.

In my personal experience, the name of my undergrad didn't lead to any "surprise" acceptances. Most of them went pretty much by the numbers.  However, I feel that I might've had some problems if I had gone to a lesser known ugrad.  I noticed that the vast majority of the people at BC's Admitted Students Day went to very prestigious schools for their undergrad.

Oh, and PS: I have a theory that BC more than a lot of schools places a lot of weight on UG prestige.  They're pretty well known for decisions that look wacky when you just look at the numbers.  So I'd take this with a grain or two.

Oh, and hi Andrew, ready for Boston?  ;)

UnoriginalAndrew

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2008, 10:23:20 AM »
Thanks for the link. Out of those schools what one do you think would serve me best in hopes of going to the best law school possible?

Out of the schools you mentioned, maybe Penn by a hair.  But to be brutally honest, the quality of your undergrad is not going to outweigh a low LSAT score.  All of those schools are great schools, so just go to the one you like the most, and keep that GPA up.

In my personal experience, the name of my undergrad didn't lead to any "surprise" acceptances. Most of them went pretty much by the numbers.  However, I feel that I might've had some problems if I had gone to a lesser known ugrad.  I noticed that the vast majority of the people at BC's Admitted Students Day went to very prestigious schools for their undergrad.

Oh, and PS: I have a theory that BC more than a lot of schools places a lot of weight on UG prestige.  They're pretty well known for decisions that look wacky when you just look at the numbers.  So I'd take this with a grain or two.

Oh, and hi Andrew, ready for Boston?  ;)

Haha, well hello there.  And yes I definitely am.  Or at least, I think I am.  The other day I thought about how much of a hassle the moving process is going to be, and it seems pretty daunting right now.  I suppose it'll all get done somehow though....

dischord

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2008, 11:42:25 AM »
Yeeeah . . . I still haven't found housing  :'(

Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2008, 01:43:49 PM »
Yeah, there are very few undergrads that will make any difference whatsoever in LS admissions.  I don't know if HYP actually are even on that list, to be honest.  The undergrads that are rumoured to give any kind of boost aren't so much the biggest name brands, but rather undergrads that have a reputation for grade deflation or really difficult academic programs.  There's another thread about this somewhere, but the short list is usually the service academies, Chicago, Swarthmore, Hopkins, MIT, and maybe a couple other places.

I will say that I went to one of the above-mentioned UGs, and I do think it helped a little bit in the admissions process.  I did about as well as you can do with my numbers, I think, but I didn't pull any real coups -- I got into a reach school and got waitlisted instead of rejected at my hail marys.  But the thing is, from having observed friends' and acquaintances' experiences at other undergrads, my school was significantly harder.  Whatever I got in an admissions boost was more than offset by how much better I think my GPA would have been somewhere else.

I would just go to the undergrad where you think you'll be happiest and, more importantly, where you think your non-law prospects would be best.  A lot can happen in four years, and even if you don't change your mind about law school it's good to have alternative options.  Personally, I think Penn and Hopkins are your best bets regardless of your future law school apps, but if you've visited and they don't seem like a good fit, you DEFINITELY shouldn't go just because of their prestige.

I don't know about MIT...I have a friend here, that went there and she said that a lot of her MIT friends had probs getting into the best law schools.  Of course, their application packages could have some serious deficiencies...but take it for what it is.


As for schools...eh...I think that your undergrad could be a tie breaker. 

dischord

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2008, 01:48:23 PM »
Yeeeah . . . I still haven't found housing  :'(

Why not - what's wrong?  Well - it is still early...

It's hard from far away, since I'm trying to move in with roommates who all demand to meet first . . . and then find someone else while you're planning your trip  >:(

Dr. Grey -- Yeah, I don't know, I've always thought that MIT and Hopkins -- and even the service academies for that matter -- were always strange additions to that list, but I was trying to give a list of most of the schools I'd ever heard were in that category.

Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2008, 01:52:37 PM »
Just stop ending sentences with "at" and you'll be ok. 

Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2008, 01:57:23 PM »
Yeeeah . . . I still haven't found housing  :'(

Why not - what's wrong?  Well - it is still early...

It's hard from far away, since I'm trying to move in with roommates who all demand to meet first . . . and then find someone else while you're planning your trip  >:(

Dr. Grey -- Yeah, I don't know, I've always thought that MIT and Hopkins -- and even the service academies for that matter -- were always strange additions to that list, but I was trying to give a list of most of the schools I'd ever heard were in that category.

I gotcha.  I *think* that there is just one person from JH and one person from MIT in my year.

Ivies should be in the group though.

dischord

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2008, 02:19:47 PM »
Yeeeah . . . I still haven't found housing  :'(

Why not - what's wrong?  Well - it is still early...

It's hard from far away, since I'm trying to move in with roommates who all demand to meet first . . . and then find someone else while you're planning your trip  >:(

Dr. Grey -- Yeah, I don't know, I've always thought that MIT and Hopkins -- and even the service academies for that matter -- were always strange additions to that list, but I was trying to give a list of most of the schools I'd ever heard were in that category.

I gotcha.  I *think* that there is just one person from JH and one person from MIT in my year.

Ivies should be in the group though.

Although I would also imagine that with Hopkins and MIT, there's a huge amount of self-selection at play here given their heavy focus on the sciences.  Not that people in the sciences don't go into law, but that Hopkins and MIT are more likely to produce graduates who stay in the sciences.

See, now, what I was trying to get at regarding the Ivies is that the list of schools that are rumoured to get a substantial boost -- at least in terms of evaluating GPA -- is much smaller than that, and a bit counterintuitive.  I think that assuming that it's the Ivies specifically that WOULD give a boost is, in part, what has lead most people to believe that undergraduate prestige doesn't really matter. 

But I think there's a distinction between "prestigious" undergrads and undergrads that are notorious for grade deflation or what have you.  It's hard to generalize about all of the Ivies, since they're quite different from one another, but some of them have a reputation for grade inflation rather than deflation (whether it's deserved or not, I'd really rather not get into).  Plus there are all sorts of confounding factors at play -- Ivy kids might be more apt to have the numbers to get in anyway, they might have better soft factors, etc.

My hunch is that a) any boost that is given to applicants from certain undergrads is highly dependant on the individual law school and its admissions policies, and b) there's maybe a different rubric for factoring in UG "prestige" versus grade deflation. 

I'll also add that I don't think that the LSAC UG means for LSAT and GPA are particularly helpful for undergrads that don't provide ranked percentiles (like mine, for instance), since they can only compare the GPAs of past applicants rather than those of the entire student body.

In conclusion: who the @#!* knows.  ::)

Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2008, 02:20:55 PM »
I say OP should go to the cheapest state school with a decent reputation he can find.  Saving the money will outweigh any very minor bump he'll get from going to an Ivy.  Sure top schools want a few HYP degrees on their list of schools, but that happens naturally as those people generally test well (that's how they got into HYP).  They don't need to give people bumps to get students from those top UGs.  If he is taking loans out to go to an Ivy, he's going to be kicking himself when he sits next to the girl who went to Middle Tennessee State on a full ride (and who had his identical LSAT/UGPA).  For confirmation, just look at LSN, there are very few deviations from the admissions curves (generally all URM).

dischord

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Re: Importance of Undergrad and getting into top law schools
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2008, 02:29:54 PM »
I say OP should go to the cheapest state school with a decent reputation he can find.  Saving the money will outweigh any very minor bump he'll get from going to an Ivy.  Sure top schools want a few HYP degrees on their list of schools, but that happens naturally as those people generally test well (that's how they got into HYP).  They don't need to give people bumps to get students from those top UGs.  If he is taking loans out to go to an Ivy, he's going to be kicking himself when he sits next to the girl who went to Middle Tennessee State on a full ride (and who had his identical LSAT/UGPA).  For confirmation, just look at LSN, there are very few deviations from the admissions curves (generally all URM).

I think this is bad advice.  NOT in terms of law school admissions, really, but if this guy does change his mind about what he wants to do, he'll be happy to have taken the elite school. 

Furthermore, and I'm saying this for about the 20 millionth time, I wouldn't give up the academic experience at my expensive private UG for a shot even at YLS.  There are more benefits to going to a well-regarded undergrad than career and grad school admissions prospects.