I've recently been accepted to Tech, but am still waiting for the bulk of my schools before I make a decision. However, they did offer me a scholarship, but it's contingent on being in the top 1/3 or the class. From your experience, do you happen to know what that cutoff is generally about? And how hard is it to achieve it? Like how many hours/week did you spend studying (outside of classes I mean). I have to give them at least some preliminary notice by March 1st, so I'm trying to collect as much data before sending them a deposit to at least reserve the scholarship if I should take them up on it.
Like most law schools, your grade is based on how you do relative to everyone else. I had to stay in the top 1/3 to keep my scholarship, which kinda turned into a blessing and I ended up ranked in the top 10% after my first year. If your awarded a scholarship you have the ability to stay in the top 1/3, you have to decide how much you want it. I've found that doing well requires you to try to go the extra mile, but you don't have to kill yourself. In my experience, there are a small minority of really competitive students. People share outlines all the time and don't hide books and that sort of thing. I can tell you what has worked for me and you can decide if that is to much for you. I will say that my wife and I are involved in our church and different student organizations, and I have plenty of free time throughout most of the year. We've met a lot of great people and have made some great friends here.
Here is what I think is important if you want to do really well....
1. Know yourself - learn what works for you and don't waste time trying to do what everyone else says they are doing.
2. Go to class - unlike college, people don't skip a lot, but if you go to every class you will have an edge.
3. Read...this isn't college. Keep up with your reading, not everyone will.
4.. Go to tutoring - 1Ls have tutors for every class that do 1-hour sessions each week. Most people will not go to the majority of these. If you try to go to most of these, you will have an edge on 90% of your class.
5. Network - if studygroups work for you then find good people to study with. If outlines help you, trade with people and get outlines from people who made an A in the course.
6. Cramming is good. Many won't tell you this, but law school tests tend to reward cramming. Studying for several hours at a time in the days before a test will pay off bigtime.
7. Don't blow off Legal Practice...spend extra time on research assignments and check your work. A little extra effort will make a big difference in the curve.
Thats what has worked for me. I enjoy my freetime and its not worth it to me to put in an extreme amount of time studying to try to compete for the very top spots in the class. If it is for you, thats great. I didn't really study at all (besides keeping up with the reading and going to tutoring) until about a week before finals. Then I studied a lot.
Top 50% is usually somewhere between a C and C+ average. To keep in the top 1/3 you usually need to have a B- or better.
Tech had more people accept than they expected in my class and it was one of the biggest classes ever. I think I had 79 in my section and around 20 in my legal practice classes. I've been told they were going to try to be more selective and not let that happen again. I believe this year's 1L sections are smaller.
Not sure I answered every question...hopefully thats helpful.
Oh, I've collected outlines for every class in every 1L section, from nearly all of the professors. (I've got more than 150 in all). If any of you decide to come next year and want some good outlines PM me when classes start and I'll send you the outlines you need. (Always great to have some outlines to start out with and to trade for more).