Law School Discussion

Yale Obsession

A.

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2006, 09:36:59 AM »
JPhil: I don't think every candidate is ranked by faculty members. I think some candidates (ie, the ones who were admitted very early) are selected by Megan Barnett for admission and just go to Dean Koh for final approval. Those individuals bypass the faculty rating process (thank God).

I could be wrong, but I think Alci was saying something about this.

This is true.

And I think going to a large scale such as that suggested would lead to even more arbitrariness in the process.  How is one to decide who is a 38 versus a 37?  Or even a 19 vs. a 20?  I think the current scale prevents such arbitrariness.  A prof will likely know the difference between a 3 and a 4.  And especially between a 2 and a 4.

JPhilmore

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #61 on: January 12, 2006, 10:34:03 AM »
JPhil: I don't think every candidate is ranked by faculty members. I think some candidates (ie, the ones who were admitted very early) are selected by Megan Barnett for admission and just go to Dean Koh for final approval. Those individuals bypass the faculty rating process (thank God).

I could be wrong, but I think Alci was saying something about this.

This is true.

And I think going to a large scale such as that suggested would lead to even more arbitrariness in the process.  How is one to decide who is a 38 versus a 37?  Or even a 19 vs. a 20?  I think the current scale prevents such arbitrariness.  A prof will likely know the difference between a 3 and a 4.  And especially between a 2 and a 4.

But the difference between a 37 and 38 won't matter much, while the difference between a 3 and a 4 can be crucial.  So even if it is difficult/impossible to accurately rank every application, just getting it close would be better than what they currently use.

JohnGalt, you are right about some people bypassing the full process, but that doesn't really matter for the people who do go through the entire faculty review.

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2006, 11:01:44 AM »
Isn't Harvard College a good bit larger than Yale College?

And Williams is a small, elite liberal arts college in MA.  On par with Amherst, Swarthmore, etc.

titcr - on both points!

What's "titcr"? I haven't been able to figure that one out yet.

John Galt

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2006, 11:05:15 AM »
this is the credited response.

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #64 on: January 12, 2006, 11:06:10 AM »
this is the credited response.

Ah, thanks.  ;)

JPhilmore

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #65 on: January 12, 2006, 11:57:12 AM »
So even if it is difficult/impossible to accurately rank every application, just getting it close would be better than what they currently use.

I thing you'll find that making a system more complicated is very unlikely to reduce arbitrariness.  The weakness in the original system is that two faculty members could conceivably give an application different scores and thus by being sent to a random selection, a degree of randomness might be entered into the overall score an applicant has.

Yet your system guarantees that faculty members will give candidates different scores.  Alcibiades is right, faculty members know the difference between a 3 and a 4 and the arbitrariness is probably rather small.  I'm sure Yale has used dummy applications to standardized rubrics as well as test the stability of the process.   Adding in a centralized ability to double-check the borderlines at the end seems to mitigate this problem further.

I think my system would actually make the process less complicated (instead of ranking people and assigning them a score, you just rank them).  I think we disagree because I am under the impression that the score an applicant receives from a reader is based on their rankings anyway (as in people in the top quarter get a 4, the next quarter get a 3, and the bottom half gets 2s).  If this is in fact how it is done, then it doesn't matter if a reader knows what a 4 should be and what a 3 should be, they can only give out a certain number of each anyway.  They may think that they have 30 applications in their stack that warrant a 4, but they are only allowed to give 4s to 20 of them.  On the other hand they may only have 10 applications that they think warrant a 4, but they still have to give out 20 of them.  If this isn't how it works let me know.

A.

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #66 on: January 12, 2006, 12:08:29 PM »
I don't think the profs are restricted in that way, although most probably use such a system anyway (except the part about giving out more 4s than they want).  I think the apps that make it through the initial weeding are of such similar quality that, even if you were to allow an 80-point scale (I think that's what you said), most profs would be working within the range of 70 to 80.  So you would likely still end up with a restricted range of possibilities, with arbitrariness being the main differentiating factor in the case in which there are two similar apps and one is rejected while the other admitted.

John Galt

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #67 on: January 12, 2006, 03:20:09 PM »
Alci,

Didn't too many people come to yale this year? Is yale accepting as many people in their first year class as they normally do?

A.

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #68 on: January 12, 2006, 06:18:12 PM »
Alci,

Didn't too many people come to yale this year? Is yale accepting as many people in their first year class as they normally do?

Hm, I think at final count, only 1 or 2 more actually enrolled this year than last year.  Lots deferred, though.  So I would imagine they're not accepting as many, but I haven't heard anything official.  We'll see how the waitlists turn out this year.

curly

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2006, 06:26:11 AM »
I was just talking to a law prof. at a pretty good school, and she/he said that if I'm choosing between H and Y, virtually every law prof. she/he knows (including one who went to H) would say Y. Since teaching is a possible career choice (and she/he said Y is better even if it isn't), this is pretty interesting information.