Law School Discussion

Percentages or Median?

Percentages or Median?
« on: November 29, 2005, 12:09:16 PM »
Here's a question for you guys who have already applied to law school. I'm applying next fall, so my question for you is, what numbers did you use when you picked the schools you applied to? I.E., did you use the LSAC.org information on the 25%/75% GPA/LSAT info, or did you base your decision on your peformance compared to the school's median GPA/LSAT? I've noticed that most schools quote their median numbers, rather than the 25%/75% numbers. (I assume it's just because medians look better on paper.) Are there any thoughts on this?  I'm a newb here, so I apologize in advance if this topic has been covered before.

Slow Blues

Re: Percentages or Median?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2005, 12:39:47 PM »
I think you have to use a combination of both. 25/75 in particular poses a little bit of a problem because you don't know what's going on outside of those bands. For example, consider a school like Columbia, whose LSAT 25/75 is (I think) 167/173.

Now, let's focus on the 25th percentile score of 167. You don't really know what 167 means in the spectrum of applicants. It could be that there are a ton of 167s and the lowest score of anyone accepted to Columbia was a 167, and nobody with even a 166 got in. So someone might think they have a fighting chance with a 165, when in actuality, they have 0% chance. Or it could that there is a fairly normal distribution of scores between say, 163-167, and maybe a few 159s and 160s. In which case, the dude with a 165 might have a reasonable chance.

Median isn't all that informative either, again, because you don't know how those values are spread out. A median of 170 can be 50 170 scores, 25 169s and 25 171s and that's it. Or something much more spread out.

That said, any school where I was around or just below the 25th, I consider that a long-shot. If I'm in between the 25th and 75th, then it's my targeted schools, and if I'm at or above the 75th percentile, then it's a safety.

BTW you can find all schools' 25th and 75th numbers on LSAC.

Re: Percentages or Median?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2005, 01:08:12 PM »
By now, most of the schools should have their '08 class profiles posted.  If I were you, I would take the time to compare each schools profiles for the '08, '07 & '06 classes to see if you can detect an upward/downward trend or stability in their medians (alot of the schools also list their 25%/75% ranges).

Thanks for the info you guys. I haven't heard of these class profiles before. Where would I go to see '07-'08 class profiles?

corky

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Re: Percentages or Median?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2005, 01:15:11 PM »
Most schools just give a link off the main admissions page about their student body.

Steve Butabi

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Re: Percentages or Median?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2005, 01:34:34 PM »
i used the lsat/gpa calculator on LSAC.ORG and picked my schools based on geographic location, and then when I lined up the bars, I filled in any holes, so that it looks like decending stairs. hope that makes sense.

bulk

Re: Percentages or Median?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2005, 02:28:49 PM »
you need to consider the 25/75 and the median.  at columbia the 25/75 lsat is a 167/173, but the median is a 171.  so i think this means that there are a lot of people bunched closer to the top, between 171 and 173, making a number under the 25% even less likely to get in.  a good feature on lsn is the search applications, where you can search different factors of a certain school rather than looking at a milelong list or a densely concentrated graphs.