If you're going straight by USN rankings, W&L looks great. But its job placement isn't as great as other comparably USN-ranked schools because it isn't really a comparable school.
Quote from: LitDoc on March 29, 2006, 01:50:27 PMIf you're going straight by USN rankings, W&L looks great. But its job placement isn't as great as other comparably USN-ranked schools because it isn't really a comparable school.What is it, then, that makes schools comparable? USNWR does take into account peer and faculty reputation; in this respect, W&L is on a level with the other schools in the mid-first tier range. I've heard arguments that a small class size may allow a school to manipulate LSAT and GPA data, but any size school could potentially manipulate this by taking people solely on the basis of hard factors. On the plus side of small, W&L's S/F ratio is elite, and this does mean a lot to me - it's something that's usually sacrificed at large schools, and I like the close-knit community feel.Look at the 3 other schools W&L is tied with in USNWR and tell me what separates the other schools (BU, Iowa and ND) from W&L. Other than job placement, W&L scores better in the other areas.As for job placement, I'm not too concerned, because W&L has a great rep for clerkships, and research of their alumni shows a lot of them in areas and locations in which I'd like to practice. While it does make me wonder what the bottom 25% of students were doing, I know that I'll earn a job if I go there and give it my best effort.Also, Consus has W&L at 27, not a huge leap down from USNWR - I was surprised to see Mason ranked at 25 on this list.I'll reserve further judgment until my visit this weekend, but I'm inclined to believe (possibly due to bias) that W&L is every bit as good as similarly ranked schools, if not better.
Something to keep in mind re: W&L...They don't rank nearly so high on other rankings (Consus, Leiter, etc.). They fare well in USN because USN uses size as a criterion -- and it carries weight in such a way as to knock large schools down (e.g. Harvard, Texas) and to raise small schools up (e.g. Yale, W&L). Harvard would probably be #1 every year on USN if it wasn't so big; Texas would probably be in the 9-12 range; and W&L would probably drop to #30 or so if it wasn't so tiny.If you're going straight by USN rankings, W&L looks great. But its job placement isn't as great as other comparably USN-ranked schools because it isn't really a comparable school.For USN, size matters. In strange ways.