First, correct me if any part of what I say is inaccurate. It's late and I'm brainstorming; I may make a fool of myself. Let me start with a scenario...
There's a law school that is looking to maintain, or even increase, its ranking in the USN&WR. The school decides that to accomplish this objective they will need to up their median GPA and LSAT numbers, thus improving their selectivity. Say the GPA must be increased from a 3.5 to a 3.6 and the LSAT must move from a 165 to a 166. These represent increases from the year before.
This school also uses an index number to sort and compare their applications. In the pool of applicants, which of these two choices would be stronger?...
1.) Candidate A has a 3.0 and a 166. This candidate has an LSAT score that meets the standard set, but a GPA below it.
2.) Candidate B has a 3.4 GPA and a 164. Both numbers are below the standards set, but this candidate's index number is higher than the other person's.
Now, expand this example to a small pool. Say the school has 399 applicants for 199 seats. They will accept 199 students because, for this example, they will get 199 (for sure) deposits.
200 of the applicants are like Candidate B, strong indexes but not meeting any median targets. 99 are like candidate A, meeting LSAT targets with a lower index. The other 99 applicants are like A, but this time their GPA is a 3.6 and the LSAT is a 160. The last applicant is 3.6/166 exactly.
Would a school accept the "spliters" over the strong indexes in an effort to meet those medians?
In other words, would this school accept the 99 high LSATs, the 99 high GPAs and the final applicant that's 3.6/166?
I realize this model is too simplistic (I'm an econ major so that's what I learned to do). But in theory, can having one high number and one low number be better than having two solid numbers?