Law School Discussion

"Academic Rigor"

"Academic Rigor"
« on: June 27, 2007, 10:31:37 PM »
So I'm reading Montauk's 'How to get into Top Law Schools" and have recently gotten to the part where the deans talk about how they evaluate one's academics.  Granted I know school rep and major(s) plays a small role in the decision process (as well as substantial grade trends), but do they really examine to see if you took supposedly difficult classes and actually credit you for that?  Personally, I am a political science and sociology major and do not think that I've taken blow off classses or have necessarily chosen difficult courses in difficult departments like physics.

Basically, what I'm asking is that, for most cases, is strength of courseload irrelevant?

papercranes

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Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2007, 11:37:19 PM »
I also doubt anyone really looks into anything.

Though if you took, say, intro to knitting, they might think about it.

but i have no real idea.

Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2007, 06:13:13 AM »
it's not irrelevant, per CLS adcom that i spoke to at an ASW....they know that some ppl just take some easy classes bc of heavy courseload and RECOGNIZE some of the classes that are common (Russian Lit is a common gut class from my ug).  it becomes a problem when all of the classes are visiably cake courses.

Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2007, 08:11:59 AM »
How would one know if lets say Intro to International Relations is an easy course or not.  I'm sure at some schools its a joke while at others its difficult.  I'm just saying isn't it pretty much impossible (except for the extremes) to really determine whether or not a student took "easy classes?"

I'm sure that to some extent they'll look at the course numbers.  If you're taking mostly 1000 level courses or mostly intros in junior and senior year, that probably doesn't look good.

well eggy

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Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2007, 08:44:38 AM »
How would one know if lets say Intro to International Relations is an easy course or not.  I'm sure at some schools its a joke while at others its difficult.  I'm just saying isn't it pretty much impossible (except for the extremes) to really determine whether or not a student took "easy classes?"

Just get a "B" in it.  They'll know it was tough-->problem solved.

Seriously, though, as other posters have kind of said, it's probably worrying to adcomm members only if there's a noticeable trend of low-level cake courses after you've completed your major.  But dabbling in areas that interest you, maybe taking two or three courses in writing for a business major, or a few music courses, will really not be seen as a negative. 

As far as majors go, no matter how difficult your polisci or sociology classes seemed, these are not majors that are given a bump for difficulty.  For polisci this is esp. true, since that's probably the baseline major against which all other majors are measured (if, indeed, they even take it this far) for LS applicants.

flyaway

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Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2007, 09:03:57 AM »
it's not irrelevant, per CLS adcom that i spoke to at an ASW....they know that some ppl just take some easy classes bc of heavy courseload and RECOGNIZE some of the classes that are common (Russian Lit is a common gut class from my ug).  it becomes a problem when all of the classes are visiably cake courses.

Russian Lit is supposed to be easy? :(  I took a million Russian Lit classes, as a Russian minor.

Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2007, 09:40:45 AM »
it's not irrelevant, per CLS adcom that i spoke to at an ASW....they know that some ppl just take some easy classes bc of heavy courseload and RECOGNIZE some of the classes that are common (Russian Lit is a common gut class from my ug).  it becomes a problem when all of the classes are visiably cake courses.

Russian Lit is supposed to be easy? :(  I took a million Russian Lit classes, as a Russian minor.

Russian Lit at my ug is a cake course...it has helped a LOT of ppl to graduate  :D (it's the prof mainly, i think she does that to screw the admins since she has tenure)

This is largely a straw man argument. The numbers are basically all that matter except in a few rare instances, and anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you or themself. I don't doubt that a few adcomms will look at "rigor" in a few cases where they have to choose between candidates with similar numbers -- could be CLS does it often as Jem suggests -- but by and large this is not something to worry about.

All other things being equal, the net law school admissions benefit of taking easy classes and getting marginally higher grades is larger than the net benefit of taking more rigorous classes and getting marginally lower grades. This is the only thing that matters in the end.

I wouldn't say that they do this often...but after years of looking at apps, they notice trends (and all the ivy ppl talk to each other anyway) so they have some clues about cake courses. 

OP iw ouldn't really worry, just maintain a high gpa

edaze

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Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2007, 09:52:32 AM »
I think that numbers account for one's decision in the preponderance of cases. At Stanford, Yale, and perhaps even Harvard, though, admissions officers definitely look at academic rigour.

nealric

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Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2007, 03:01:42 PM »
All other things being equal, it is far better to have a padded 3.9 then a 3.4 full of "rigor".

Its a numbers game. Really.

Re: "Academic Rigor"
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2007, 03:44:43 PM »
All other things being equal, it is far better to have a padded 3.9 then a 3.4 full of "rigor".

Its a numbers game. Really.

I agree...I would say a padded 3.9 would even be better than something like a "rigorous" 3.7-3.8.  Maybe not though.