Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

What tells you more about what type of Law Student an applicant will be?

GPA
 8 (30.8%)
LSAT
 17 (65.4%)
Just looking
 1 (3.8%)

Total Members Voted: 25

Author Topic: GPA VS. LSAT  (Read 1083 times)

jack24

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GPA VS. LSAT
« on: May 27, 2008, 03:39:36 PM »
Some would say that a 4 year track record tells you more about someone than a 6 hour 4 hour test.  Others would say that GPA is a poor measurement because every school/situation is different.

What do you think?

jack24

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 03:47:23 PM »
Maybe it wasn't quite 6 hours but there were 4 real sections, 1 fake section, and an hour to write the essay. I guess it's more like 5 hours with an hour break.




jack24

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 04:01:59 PM »
Sorry, I fixed it. 

EarlCat

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2008, 04:06:40 PM »
That still isn't making sense. When I took it, it was five 35 minute sections (counting the experimental), 35 minutes for the writing sample, and a 15 minute break. So, that's 225 minutes (3 3/4 hours), not counting the initial "who are you, here's where you sit, here's how the test works, don't make us kick you out, and handwrite this agreement" bull. And even that stuff didn't push it anywhere near six hours.

You had better proctors than I did.  Mine     went      terribly       slow...

jack24

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 04:11:20 PM »
It's too hard to adjust GPA based on situational factors.  GPA was jacked up at my school.  If you wanted a business administration degree, you could take cakewalk classes from teachers that gave you extra credit when their favorite basketball team won... but if you majored in finance or accounting you really didn't have any choice but to go through a few insane teachers who felt like it was their purpose to teach kids a lesson.  
In a promotion management class, half of the students got an A, but in cost accounting only 1 in 10 students got an A.
So how can an admissions department compare a 3.85 in Business admin and a 3.4 in Accounting?  At my school you'd have to work twice as hard for the 3.4.

What if you work 40 hours a week to support a family while you're getting your degree?  Would the extra time really pull your grades up that much?

At least the LSAT is 'standardized'





TimMitchell

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 04:27:52 PM »
I think your GPA is much more important than your LSAT score, however, your GPA can be skewed depending on your major/institution. For admission's purposes, your LSAT score is a great indicator and better than GPA, but I think an extreme case either way the higher should be weighed.

In other words, it's extremely difficult to be a straight A student and a prestigious institution. If you have a 4.0 from a great school or have a tough major (science, math, etc) but a low LSAT, I think all that proves is that you suck at standarized tests. Surely if you are leaving Harvard with a 4.0 you will succeed in law school.

On the other hand, if you have a 180 on your LSAT but a 2.5, that indicates you should have the intellectual capacity for law school. Maybe admission's should more carefully take into account ammendums mentioning low GPA. When I was in high school I had not ambition and didn't go to college until I was 21. Many of my friends were the same way but went to college and didn't shape up until their junior years. In other words, should mistakes from several years ago weight so heavily?

I voted for LSAT, after all is said and done it is a standarized test and the only way to equalize prospective students and measure them.

vjm

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 11:40:18 PM »

   This is a very interesting debate.  As we've heard, LSAC has performed several validation studies conclusing that the LSAT is a good prediction of law school success. However, I'm curious as to what extent.  If LSAC measures from top down to bottom (i.e. 120 -> 180), I'd assume that the results will be robust.  For instance, I'd imagine if some hypothetical law school admitted a class with an even distribution of students with scores from the very bottom to the very top, the high scorers will most likely finish at the top of their class while GPA having a negligible effect.

   However, many law schools have tight distributions of LSAT scores with more than 50% of incoming classes scoring between 3 points of each other (like Cornell).  I'm wondering whether the difference between a 172 and a 177 has any predictive value.  Or a 160 and a 170 for that matter if we hold GPA constant.

   In short, I believe GPA is a much better predictor if LSAT scores are tightly grouped together... if I was an adcom at a T14 school, I'd rather admit a 166/3.9 than a 173/3.2.  However, in reality, I'd probably waitlist the 166 because who doesn't waitlist a 166?

Link for the bolded?

philibusters

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2008, 08:44:44 AM »
Any dumbass can go to a poo school, get straight As (ahem), have their GPA minorly diddled by LSAC and still come out roses.

The LSAT is a much more valid equal-ator than GPA. At least with the LSAT every student is taking the same version as many other students, whereas no one else on this earth has taken the same UG path as I have taken. There is no way to compare my performance with anyone else applying to law school. Yes, I am that unique.

   Splitter, eh?  ;D

GPA and context of the GPA (what major for example) tell you more of what type of worker the person is.  LSAT gives you a rough starting point for how quickly they will pick up legal reasoning.  LSAT probably predicts grades slightly better at least when you are dealing with significant differences (for example 8+ points) than significant gpa discrepancies (for example a 3.9 compared to a 3.1), but they both tell you something the other doesn't tell you thus they don't seem to be necessarily in direct competition.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

jack24

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2008, 12:17:33 PM »
GPA can be a good indicator of work ethic in many cases, but sometimes it's not even close. 
Sure, if you decide on law school when you're in high school, and you go through all the motions and concentrate on your grades from day one, then it will be a good indication of how hard you work when you want something. 
But what if you start out wanting to be a small business owner, or a banker, or a radio DJ?    You get a great job your junior year and finish your degree with a 3.2, and then 3 years later your realize that you want something more and decide on law school.

You can write about that in an addendum or personal statement, but law schools hear that crap all the time.  There is no way they can know if your telling the truth.
At least med school has specific pre-reqs that are weighted more heavily than the other grades.  All this whining might go away if law schools followed that example.  People who decided to go to law school after working a few years could dominate two semesters to help their chances.

just some guy

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Re: GPA VS. LSAT
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2008, 01:54:58 PM »

   This is a very interesting debate.  As we've heard, LSAC has performed several validation studies conclusing that the LSAT is a good prediction of law school success. However, I'm curious as to what extent.  If LSAC measures from top down to bottom (i.e. 120 -> 180), I'd assume that the results will be robust.  For instance, I'd imagine if some hypothetical law school admitted a class with an even distribution of students with scores from the very bottom to the very top, the high scorers will most likely finish at the top of their class while GPA having a negligible effect.

   However, many law schools have tight distributions of LSAT scores with more than 50% of incoming classes scoring between 3 points of each other (like Cornell).  I'm wondering whether the difference between a 172 and a 177 has any predictive value.  Or a 160 and a 170 for that matter if we hold GPA constant.

   In short, I believe GPA is a much better predictor if LSAT scores are tightly grouped together... if I was an adcom at a T14 school, I'd rather admit a 166/3.9 than a 173/3.2.  However, in reality, I'd probably waitlist the 166 because who doesn't waitlist a 166?

Link for the bolded?


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