Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

From Harvard, etc. to Loyola, etc. Why does it happen?

Poll ended at Wed May 12, 2010 4:58 am

Bad Grades
134
28%
Low LSAT scores
248
53%
Geography
20
4%
Fincancial Concerns
26
6%
Programs
3
1%
School Culture
3
1%
Satisfied w/elite UG degree
13
3%
Some other reason
25
5%
 
Total votes: 472

vandy2012
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby vandy2012 » Thu May 06, 2010 9:51 pm

I generally agree with your methodology on how to get into a Top Law school, but resent your statement that being a history major is an easy 4.0... I am not contending that history is a 'tough' major, but how is elementary education any more difficult?

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FuManChusco
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby FuManChusco » Thu May 06, 2010 9:57 pm

DerrickRose wrote:
bigben wrote:Weird thread.

How are people voting for "bad grades" ??

Nobody ends up in tier 2 because of bad grades. You can have bad grades and go to a T14. It's all about the LSAT.


If you're under a 3.0, you would need at least a 174-5ish to sniff the lower T14.

And plus, law applicants consider like a 3.45 "bad grades". Those are better grades than most people at HYP (or any college anywhere ever) get.


Or a 2.x/173 and ED to NU. Pretty sure both Desert Fox and Nayboer can vouch for that.

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SaintClarence27
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby SaintClarence27 » Thu May 06, 2010 10:00 pm

vandy2012 wrote:I generally agree with your methodology on how to get into a Top Law school, but resent your statement that being a history major is an easy 4.0... I am not contending that history is a 'tough' major, but how is elementary education any more difficult?


Elementary Education wasn't difficult, but you have a lot of EXTREMELY subjective grading. This was *for me* I'm talking about, and I had no problem getting all As/A+s in history classes. It also affords you a lot more flexibility with electives, and it's a much easier transfer from CC than ElEd.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby d34d9823 » Thu May 06, 2010 10:19 pm

Ryou wrote:Every adcom tells us with our rejection letters that the admissions process is not perfect. And this comes down to the two main criteria of admissions being imperfect.

UG GPA can be skewed for a number of reasons. Some students take harder courses while others cruise knowing the numbers matter most. Some students have legitimate medical or family problems that impair their GPA. And there can be no dispute that at some UG's it is much harder to get the same GPA.

When your peers are of a higher caliber, it becomes much harder to stand out. Even with grade inflation, A's are hard to get in top schools. Inflation usually just means that it's near impossible to get worse than a B- but it also means that it's equally hard to get an A. The professors get spoiled by brilliant papers all the time because it's uncommon to have a particular class where more than half of the students in there were valedictorians at their high schools. I'm not saying non-elite schools are devoid of smart students, but when your peers are less impressive it makes it far easier to standout there. If you want proof, consider the entering UG class of Harvard's median high school GPA (near 4.0) vs. their median GPA once they are actually in Harvard.

GPA is inescapably contextual. And as someone else mentioned when it's big fish in the small pond vs. medium fish in the big pond, the big fish wins because all the record keeper looks at is the size of the fish.

Thus the LSAT was made to create a standard to measure all students in an equalized setting. But the flaw of standardized testing is that intelligence is a complex quality too intricate to measure with a single test. The LSAT does marginally better than the SAT in the respect that it attempts to test a more specialized skill set... but the fact people can improve so drastically on the LSAT shows that LSAT is not pure intellect -- it's not even pure certain-type-of-intelligence for that matter.

So we want a criteria that takes into account a more varied evaluation of the student and their ability to work for their grades vs. cram for a single 3hr test... and we get all the way back to UG GPA.


Your analysis is generally sound but exudes elitism. I agree students at top schools are probably smarter on average but I doubt it's as drastic a difference as you make it out to be. I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.

My school's curve is a full 0.4 lower than Harvard. Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt. Is it really fair for that class to be curved 0.4 lower than a corresponding class at Harvard?

As for the LSAT, it's not designed to measure intelligence at all. It's designed to measure logical reasoning ability based on the criteria that the LSAC believes predict success in law school. Of course you can improve at it. Logical reasoning is not a static ability and will improve as people correct the flaws in their thought process. Coincidentally, this improvement also makes you more likely to succeed in law school. People like to bash the predictive ability of the LSAT, but the last coefficient I saw was 0.45 - pretty damn good in my book for knowing nothing about the person except their LSAT score.

reverendt
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby reverendt » Thu May 06, 2010 10:31 pm

I have numerous friends at my T2 who went to Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, etc. I think it really came down to LSAT scores for most of them (and $$$ for a few).

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DerrickRose
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby DerrickRose » Thu May 06, 2010 10:36 pm

d34dluk3 wrote: I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.


This. Any flagship state school in a state with suburbs is going to have lots of really bright kids.

See generally: The Big Ten

eml256
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby eml256 » Thu May 06, 2010 10:41 pm

DerrickRose wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote: I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.


This. Any flagship state school in a state with suburbs is going to have lots of really bright kids.

See generally: The Big Ten


Why do you specify "with suburbs"?

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby Na_Swatch » Thu May 06, 2010 10:54 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
Your analysis is generally sound but exudes elitism. I agree students at top schools are probably smarter on average but I doubt it's as drastic a difference as you make it out to be. I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.

My school's curve is a full 0.4 lower than Harvard. Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt. Is it really fair for that class to be curved 0.4 lower than a corresponding class at Harvard?



This isn't quite true actually, because with the size of today's applicant pool there are literally tons of people who were high school valedictorian + perfect LSAT. This however does not mean all of these applicants could have gone anywhere they wanted to nor does it mean such types of applicants are all the same.

For example, i was valedictorian, perfect LSAT and chose to attend a top 20 private UG with a full scholarship and stipend. However I was still rejected by H and Y (well waitlisted, so same thing) for UG. The extreme competition in UG admissions means that the very top undergraduate schools do have a much more competitive atmosphere... When the large majority of the students at a undergrad all were valedictorian or close to that in high school, you already have a self-selecting group that, for the most part, are decently hard working. This makes it harder to make the argument that GPA across all colleges is just a function of work ethic.

Finally, there are still large differences in difficulty in just minor tier differentials. Classes that I took at a large top 30 public university in high school (in both math and softer courses) were still graded on a much easier curve then similar classes at my top 20 private UG if one was aiming for an A or A- grade. I imagine that there is a similar bump in difficulty as your competition increases for the top 5 schools.

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philosoraptor
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby philosoraptor » Thu May 06, 2010 10:58 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money.
In that case, you should have qualified for a bunch of financial aid. Many top UGs meet 100 percent of demonstrated need.

d34dluk3 wrote:Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt.
Riiiiiiight ... although I guess it might be true if you went to Berkeley or UVa or Chapel Hill and were in a tiny seminar. And again, no one I knew at my school took on any substantial debt. Either their families had the resources to pay for it, or their need was met 100 percent by financial aid, as mine was.

People still generalize about HYP-type schools that they're full of rich people or you have to take out huge loans to go, and that's just not the case. Sure, there are some people who can afford the tuition, but I and most of my friends relied on grants and work-study to pay for school. I'm sorry if you didn't do your research or apply for financial aid before choosing a college with your valedictorian status and perfect SAT, but based on my experience, your assumptions are just plain wrong.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby DerrickRose » Thu May 06, 2010 11:18 pm

eml256 wrote:
DerrickRose wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote: I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.


This. Any flagship state school in a state with suburbs is going to have lots of really bright kids.

See generally: The Big Ten


Why do you specify "with suburbs"?


Suburbs = Good high schools, generally.

I don't imagine the University of Wyoming or the University of Maine has the environment that I'm talking about. Though there will be plenty of smart kids there too.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby DerrickRose » Thu May 06, 2010 11:22 pm

Maybe this is the place to ask, because I've always wondered:

I had less than zero interest in going to a haughty private school as a high schooler (my visit to Northwestern, in a word: horrified) but now that I've gotten involved with the prestige whoring of the law school admissions process its made me wonder about UG.

What kind of school could I have gotten into?
4.2 out of 4 GPA, ranked 30something in a class of 400.
1540 old school SAT/34 ACT
National Merit Scholar Finalist
National Honor Society, varsity track, nothing remarkable in my background and less than zero history of public service.

C'mon TLS, I know some of you are experts on this.

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soundgardener
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby soundgardener » Thu May 06, 2010 11:47 pm

ITT: retroactive gunning

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DerrickRose
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby DerrickRose » Thu May 06, 2010 11:48 pm

soundgardener wrote:ITT: retroactive gunning


I'm not ashamed.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby d34d9823 » Thu May 06, 2010 11:52 pm

philosoraptor wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt.
Riiiiiiight ... although I guess it might be true if you went to Berkeley or UVa or Chapel Hill and were in a tiny seminar.


Yes, I intentionally selected my 4000 level 10-15 person engineering class for this statement. But I think the point still stands. For the people in that section, the grading is harsher than at HYP. Perhaps in other sections *cough* comp 1 *cough* the grading is less harsh. My point is that the generalization of "HYP grading is harder" becomes significantly weaker if there are easily found counterexamples.

I'm glad that you guys got to go to those great schools. It just irritates me when it's assumed that a 0.4 gap is insufficient to do justice to the elite minds at HYP compared to the peons at State U.

09042014
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby 09042014 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:01 am

Most undergrad coursework is about effort for people of above average intelligence. Being super brilliant isn't really a huge advantage unless you get into courses like math, or science. And even then its still mostly effort.

I don't buy that the top elite schools are all that much harder, especially since they have a lot of grade inflation.

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soundgardener
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby soundgardener » Fri May 07, 2010 12:04 am

DerrickRose wrote:
soundgardener wrote:ITT: retroactive gunning


I'm not ashamed.


LOL, I definitely understand where you're coming from. I was pretty clueless/careless when I graduated high school and sometimes wonder what might of been. My stats were similar to yours, but I had a lower GPA. I didn't even take the SAT and only applied to a handful of schools. All things considered I don't really have any regrets, or debt, which is nice.

09042014
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby 09042014 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:07 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
philosoraptor wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt.
Riiiiiiight ... although I guess it might be true if you went to Berkeley or UVa or Chapel Hill and were in a tiny seminar.


Yes, I intentionally selected my 4000 level 10-15 person engineering class for this statement. But I think the point still stands. For the people in that section, the grading is harsher than at HYP. Perhaps in other sections *cough* comp 1 *cough* the grading is less harsh. My point is that the generalization of "HYP grading is harder" becomes significantly weaker if there are easily found counterexamples.

I'm glad that you guys got to go to those great schools. It just irritates me when it's assumed that a 0.4 gap is insufficient to do justice to the elite minds at HYP compared to the peons at State U.


Median LSAT at these elite schools is only 165. I beat that buy a mile. And I till got pwned by public school engineering classes.

Someone will say oh LSAT doesn't mean you smarter than them, and here is what I say, the difference between Harvard and University of Wisconsin is SAT score and a how good you did at high school. High School is a ridiculous joke, super easy to ace. And even at Wisco, there are a lot of people with SAT's that are HYP level. So if the LSAT isn't enough to show I'm smart than HYP students, SAT isn't enough to say they are smarter than Wiscon students.

That isn't even factoring in legacies, sports scholarships, and musical/performance/art admits.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby Big Dog » Fri May 07, 2010 12:14 am

Derrick:

welcome to Duke and Northwestern or Cornell, if you ED to any of them; merit money from 'SC.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby DerrickRose » Fri May 07, 2010 12:24 am

Big Dog wrote:Derrick:

welcome to Duke and Northwestern or Cornell, if you ED to any of them; merit money from 'SC.


I did get into Northwestern. The Dookies eh? Wouldn't have gone there for the same reason I wouldn't have gone to Michigan.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby philosoraptor » Fri May 07, 2010 12:32 am

d34dluk3 wrote:Yes, I intentionally selected my 4000 level 10-15 person engineering class for this statement. But I think the point still stands. For the people in that section, the grading is harsher than at HYP. Perhaps in other sections *cough* comp 1 *cough* the grading is less harsh. My point is that the generalization of "HYP grading is harder" becomes significantly weaker if there are easily found counterexamples.
So ... are you comparing upper-level classes at State U. to upper-level classes at HYP or mid-/lower-level classes at HYP? If it's the latter, I'd think that State U. grads who challenge themselves and take advanced classes in all subjects would get just as much of a GPA "boost" from LS adcomms as HYP alums who took advanced classes only in their major. (I'll admit that's largely what I did.)

d34dluk3 wrote:I'm glad that you guys got to go to those great schools. It just irritates me when it's assumed that a 0.4 gap is insufficient to do justice to the elite minds at HYP compared to the peons at State U.
My only purpose here is to dispute stereotypes about supposedly rich, privileged Ivy students who are prestige whores just for the sake of being prestige whores. I didn't pick my UG because I thought it would impress a law school, and I think it would be unfair for a law school to judge a 3.9 American Studies major from Yale as somehow inherently better than a 3.9 EE major from Georgia Tech. (For the record, I don't think they do. I had plenty of very smart classmates with mediocre grades, and for the purposes of LS admission, I'd be way more impressed by someone with a high GPA from challenging classes at State U. than by said classmates.)

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby Ryou » Fri May 07, 2010 12:38 am

d34dluk3 wrote:Your analysis is generally sound but exudes elitism. I agree students at top schools are probably smarter on average but I doubt it's as drastic a difference as you make it out to be. I was high school valedictorian (which doesn't actually mean much btw)/perfect SAT and could have gone anywhere I wanted. I chose State U because I don't have any money and my parent's don't have any money. Many of my State U comrades were in the same boat. Just realize that there are genius's at every school and useless underachievers at every school.

My school's curve is a full 0.4 lower than Harvard. Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt. Is it really fair for that class to be curved 0.4 lower than a corresponding class at Harvard?


I can't comment on your personal choices for UG. But for me personally I did not know what I wanted to do post college. So I decided to go to the best school for me as to ensure I had the most opportunities. And as someone else mentioned, a lot of the great UG schools these days are need-blind. 70% of my school could afford the $50k a year no problem, but the school was quite generous with the rest of us 30%.

This school also happened to be very competitive. All my life I had enjoyed success relatively easily in academics, but I found myself being challenged quite often in college. Even times when I legitimately tried very hard I sometimes ended up with a B+. One of my first English classes I got a B on a paper that I thought was quite good. So I went to office hours to talk it over with the professor. He gently explained that while I might have been used to getting A's all my life that this work was no longer A quality and that I would probably need to adjust to getting the occasional B's.

Comparatively, I lived five minutes away from a local four year private college. Completely off the map for anyone that wasn't in my region, much less my state. Most of the students there were average students at my high school or other local high schools. I am pretty sure if I had enrolled there I could have been magna cum laude and had a shiny 4.0 without very much effort at all.

I was also accepted at some very good state schools. I had some good friends in high school that I was competitive with academically that are putting up near 4.0's at aforementioned state schools. So I'm fairly confident I would have a much better GPA at a state school.

Do I begrudge or belittle the GPAs of those at "non-elite" schools? No. And I realize there are excellent students at all sorts of schools who could have succeeded at a variety of schools. My point is simply that failing to get a good GPA in UG, especially from an "elite" school, is not necessarily a sign of being lazy as some people have suggested. GPA is contextual and one of those contexts is the level of your peers.

A median ranking in a school which has already been extremely selective is neither necessarily worse NOR better than having a top level ranking at a less competitive school. It's an unknown and part of the point of the LSAT is to help Law Schools make these comparisons between students at different schools.

But unfortunately due to the numbers aspects of the rankings the ground never really gets even. Equal LSAT but a lower GPA from a harder school the big fish wins. It's a reality of the admissions process and criterion being imperfect.

Desert Fox wrote:Most undergrad coursework is about effort for people of above average intelligence. Being super brilliant isn't really a huge advantage unless you get into courses like math, or science. And even then its still mostly effort.

I don't buy that the top elite schools are all that much harder, especially since they have a lot of grade inflation.


From my experience grade inflation is more so making sure you don't get a C rather than making it easy to get an A. In my experience it was really really hard to get less than a B- but it was just as hard to get an A. As I said above, even times when I legitimately tried very hard I sometimes ended up with a B+. The curve isn't about rewarding incompetence or slacking, its about recognizing that the school took extensive measures to make sure that everyone in the college was a student capable of quality work and that even if work is average of the class it probably isn't correct to assess it as an average grade of C. Because really, if you are qualified to get into these schools you shouldn't be doing C-level work.

My point isn't that one GPA is worth more, or the other is worth less, but that the number is just a number without some context to give it meaning. Quality of the students is merely one factor. The level of classes, the ease of the major, etc. all matter too. But in the end it's all guess-work trying to compare these numbers on a theoretically equal plane.

Unless there's some revolution in the way admissions work where we somehow test actual law school performance with a mock class and test, there will never really be a wholly and completely accurate decision process.
Last edited by Ryou on Fri May 07, 2010 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby Na_Swatch » Fri May 07, 2010 12:45 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
philosoraptor wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:Seriously, I've been in classes where everyone in there could have gone to Harvard if they were willing to take that kind of debt.
Riiiiiiight ... although I guess it might be true if you went to Berkeley or UVa or Chapel Hill and were in a tiny seminar.


Yes, I intentionally selected my 4000 level 10-15 person engineering class for this statement. But I think the point still stands. For the people in that section, the grading is harsher than at HYP. Perhaps in other sections *cough* comp 1 *cough* the grading is less harsh. My point is that the generalization of "HYP grading is harder" becomes significantly weaker if there are easily found counterexamples.

I'm glad that you guys got to go to those great schools. It just irritates me when it's assumed that a 0.4 gap is insufficient to do justice to the elite minds at HYP compared to the peons at State U.


Here's the difference... the one guy at my school who went to Harvard UG and is in these elite whatever, super high level courses at Harvard in math/physics was taking crazily advanced stuff.

I mean this is a guy who:

Took Multivariable Calculus in Middle School. Finished Math Major by end of High School.
On the US International Math team (so top 5 math student in the entire country).
Won state level piano competitions. etc... you get the point.

So in state schools you have tiers of students, but you do at the very top schools too.

I for one am glad I was not taking classes with people like him... I like my curve thank you very much.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Fri May 07, 2010 12:45 am

Desert Fox wrote:Most undergrad coursework is about effort for people of above average intelligence. Being super brilliant isn't really a huge advantage unless you get into courses like math, or science. And even then its still mostly effort.

I don't buy that the top elite schools are all that much harder, especially since they have a lot of grade inflation.

You ever sit in a class where your classmates regularly correct the professor? Ok, since you probably haven't, you haven't sat in on at an Ivy League college course.

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby philosoraptor » Fri May 07, 2010 12:46 am

Ryou wrote:[stuff that is smart and true]
+1

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Re: Harvard/Princeton (etc) UG winding up at T2 Law schools

Postby 09042014 » Fri May 07, 2010 1:00 am

Ryou wrote:
From my experience grade inflation is more so making sure you don't get a C rather than making it easy to get an A... In my experience it was really really hard to get less than a B-... but it was just as hard to get an A. As I said even times when I legitimately tried very hard I sometimes ended up with a B+. The curve isn't about rewarding incompetence or slacking, its about recognizing that the school took extensive measures to make sure that everyone in the college was a student capable of quality work and that even if work is average of the class it probably isn't correct to assess it as an average grade of C. Because really, if you are qualified to get into these schools you shouldn't be doing C-level work.



In my engineering courses they curved to a B-. So half the class was getting B- and below. That is a huge advantage you have. If the lowest I could have gotten was a B- my Gpa would be significantly higher.

Why do you think that being qualified to get into HYP that you shouldn't be doing C level work? I am more intelligent that most HYP students (I beat those school's LSAT medians out of the water), and I still did C level work at public school. And I was damn near the top of my class in high school.

The factors that get you into a top undergrad aren't are foolproof as you assume. It is incredibly easy to slack your way to straight A's in high school. That isn't even considering the number of legacies, athletes, and artists who get in.
Last edited by 09042014 on Fri May 07, 2010 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.




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