big v. small class size

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rjh456
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big v. small class size

Postby rjh456 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:08 am

Still waiting for a lot of decisions to trickle in, but my two top choices at the moment are U Texas and Vandy. I like them both, but in terms of class size they're polar extremes. How important is it to have a small class size? Maybe this seems obvious to some, but I wonder if such a small class makes the LS social life a little stifling. Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?

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Knock
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Knock » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:10 am

rjh456 wrote:Still waiting for a lot of decisions to trickle in, but my two top choices at the moment are U Texas and Vandy. I like them both, but in terms of class size they're polar extremes. How important is it to have a small class size? Maybe this seems obvious to some, but I wonder if such a small class makes the LS social life a little stifling. Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


I think it's a matter of personal preference. There are pros and cons to each.

dabbadon8
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby dabbadon8 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:12 am

Knock wrote:
rjh456 wrote:Still waiting for a lot of decisions to trickle in, but my two top choices at the moment are U Texas and Vandy. I like them both, but in terms of class size they're polar extremes. How important is it to have a small class size? Maybe this seems obvious to some, but I wonder if such a small class makes the LS social life a little stifling. Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


I think it's a matter of personal preference. There are pros and cons to each.


I am interested in this as well. What are these pros and cons?

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Knock
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Knock » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:16 am

dabbadon8 wrote:
Knock wrote:
rjh456 wrote:Still waiting for a lot of decisions to trickle in, but my two top choices at the moment are U Texas and Vandy. I like them both, but in terms of class size they're polar extremes. How important is it to have a small class size? Maybe this seems obvious to some, but I wonder if such a small class makes the LS social life a little stifling. Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


I think it's a matter of personal preference. There are pros and cons to each.


I am interested in this as well. What are these pros and cons?


I can think of some off the top of my head, but I think that a law school student would be better suited to answer this than me.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby NU_Jet55 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:25 am

Dude, where do you want to work?

If Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico: UT

If anywhere northeast of these states: Vandy

If anywhere west of these states: Go to USC/UCLA

If location doesn't matter: Go to the cheaper school

Also, WUSTL > Both.

Aqualibrium
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:29 am

NU_Jet55 wrote:Dude, where do you want to work?

If Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico: UT

If anywhere northeast of these states: Vandy

If anywhere west of these states: Go to USC/UCLA

If location doesn't matter: Go to the cheaper school

Also, WUSTL > Both.



Full disclosure: Jet goes to WUSTL

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Stanford4Me
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:54 am

What are you looking for in your school? Large class size doesn't affect professor interaction as much as you might think it would. I'm at NYU (90+ person sections) and I get ample time to talk with professors, and it's also pretty cool because I'm still meeting 1Ls (I get bored quickly). I don't think class size is that important, though. Choose the school that will give you the best options for where you want to work.

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drylo
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby drylo » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:34 pm

I'm at Vandy and I don't feel "stifled" by class size at all. I only have a few good friends anyway, and the rest are just acquaintances, so I guess I really don't understand this concern. I guess you could get to know most everyone in your class here if you really tried, but I certainly don't really know all of the 2Ls at Vandy, let alone the 3Ls and 1Ls. I honestly don't think that the size makes that much of a difference from a social perspective--all law schools are too big for you to be friends with everybody. But others may disagree, I suppose...

I think the small size probably actually works to Vandy's advantage in the employment area. It is obviously impossible to empirically verify this (with certainty) as causally related to employment stats, but I think it is easier to place 200 students than 300, etc. Firms generally seem to like diversity when they hire--if a firm has hired 2 SAs from UT and 0 from Vandy and are choosing between two similarly qualified students for a third SA spot, it makes sense that the Vandy student might get the nod, all else equal. I don't know how much this really matters in the big picture, though. I think it probably does help, at least at the margin, but I think there are probably bigger issues that should figure into your decision--like where you are from, where you want to practice, where you want to live for three years, how much school will cost, etc.

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jwrash
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby jwrash » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:04 pm

NU_Jet55 wrote:Also, WUSTL > Both.

....

Anonymous Loser
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Anonymous Loser » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:22 pm

rjh456 wrote:Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


No. Surprisingly, you still have a 10% chance of making the top 10%, despite the smaller class size. See, e.g., any statistics textbook ever written; accord most 4th grade math textbooks.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:15 pm

Anonymous Loser wrote:
rjh456 wrote:Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


No. Surprisingly, you still have a 10% chance of making the top 10%, despite the smaller class size. See, e.g., any statistics textbook ever written; accord most 4th grade math textbooks.

I just ignored this statistical failure hoping it was a simple mistake.

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nillumin
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby nillumin » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:16 pm

Anonymous Loser wrote:
rjh456 wrote:Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


No. Surprisingly, you still have a 10% chance of making the top 10%, despite the smaller class size. See, e.g., any statistics textbook ever written; accord most 4th grade math textbooks.


lol. you are a jerk.

rjh456
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby rjh456 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:16 am

whoa i missed all these posts. thanks for all the input!

well i thoroughly enjoyed "Every Stats Book Ever Written" ed 2011, but it's been my experience that a big school allows for a little more flexibility. when you have fifteen places in your top ten percent I think that leaves you more vulnerable to the possibility of outliers, like having 15 gunner-geniuses (does that exist?) in your class. although i'm sure the gunner-genius ratio is carefully regulated to be PRECISELY proportional to class size at every law school in the country, 40 seems like a stretch. again, most fourth graders may disagree with these observations, and for that i hope they accept this public apology...

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drylo
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby drylo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:38 am

rjh456 wrote:whoa i missed all these posts. thanks for all the input!

well i thoroughly enjoyed "Every Stats Book Ever Written" ed 2011, but it's been my experience that a big school allows for a little more flexibility. when you have fifteen places in your top ten percent I think that leaves you more vulnerable to the possibility of outliers, like having 15 gunner-geniuses (does that exist?) in your class. although i'm sure the gunner-genius ratio is carefully regulated to be PRECISELY proportional to class size at every law school in the country, 40 seems like a stretch. again, most fourth graders may disagree with these observations, and for that i hope they accept this public apology...


Ha I hate to wade into these little disputes, but...

I understand what you are trying to say, but I suspect that about 90% of Texas students were disappointed to learn that Every Stats Book Ever Written was actually onto something.

spondee
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby spondee » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:40 am

rjh456 wrote:whoa i missed all these posts. thanks for all the input!

well i thoroughly enjoyed "Every Stats Book Ever Written" ed 2011, but it's been my experience that a big school allows for a little more flexibility. when you have fifteen places in your top ten percent I think that leaves you more vulnerable to the possibility of outliers, like having 15 gunner-geniuses (does that exist?) in your class. although i'm sure the gunner-genius ratio is carefully regulated to be PRECISELY proportional to class size at every law school in the country, 40 seems like a stretch. again, most fourth graders may disagree with these observations, and for that i hope they accept this public apology...


No, you're right, but it's not worth worrying over.

First, law school admissions attempts to sort applicants by abilities, so there will be fewer outliers than if schools randomly selected students. Second, at any school you'll be split up into sections of, say, 100 students. You'll take all your core classes with those same students and be graded against those same students. So the risk that you're describing exists at both small and large schools.

spondee
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby spondee » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:49 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:
rjh456 wrote:Also, do you think the odds of making the top 10%-25% would be significantly harder in such a small school since only a handful of people could lock you out of the top of the class?


No. Surprisingly, you still have a 10% chance of making the top 10%, despite the smaller class size. See, e.g., any statistics textbook ever written; accord most 4th grade math textbooks.


No, this is not true, because students are not randomly given grades. People have different abilities. Any given person's chance of making the top ten percent is affected by their skill set relative to their classmates.

There are people in every law school that have the right combination of the right skills to almost effortlessly get good grades; these people, for example, had a much better than 10% chance of making the top 10%. OP's fear is that a smaller class size is more prone to sample distortion and runs a risk of containing too many of these people.
Last edited by spondee on Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:50 am

Although class sizes are quite different, section sizes are about the same at both law schools.

Informative
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Informative » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:53 am

One thing you'll really want to look at is the ratio of students in your class and open journal seats. There is a greater chance to make a law review if there are less students and more open seats available. This is true to a lesser extent regarding moot court teams.

If there are 400 students in the 1L class and only two journals with 15 seats available on each, there are only 30 students in your class that can sit on a journal. Most of the generic law review students will grade on making only around 15 seats available. There will be around 385 students competing for only 15 seats.

Conversely, if there are 200 students in the 1L class and four journals with 15 seats available each, there are 60 students that will get to sit on a journal. Even with the generic getting the grade-ons, there is a better chance at getting one of the other 45 seats availalbe, as there will only be around 170 students competing for 45 seats.

This is important, but only if you want to write and publish a note and serve on a law review while in law school.

de5igual
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby de5igual » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:30 pm

Informative wrote:One thing you'll really want to look at is the ratio of students in your class and open journal seats. There is a greater chance to make a law review if there are less students and more open seats available. This is true to a lesser extent regarding moot court teams.

If there are 400 students in the 1L class and only two journals with 15 seats available on each, there are only 30 students in your class that can sit on a journal. Most of the generic law review students will grade on making only around 15 seats available. There will be around 385 students competing for only 15 seats.

Conversely, if there are 200 students in the 1L class and four journals with 15 seats available each, there are 60 students that will get to sit on a journal. Even with the generic getting the grade-ons, there is a better chance at getting one of the other 45 seats availalbe, as there will only be around 170 students competing for 45 seats.

This is important, but only if you want to write and publish a note and serve on a law review while in law school.


I don't understand your hypothetical comparison. Why would the 200 student class have 4 journals while the 400 person class have only 2? I get you're trying to illustrate a point, but it's a little misleading.

If we're still comparing Vandy to UT, Vandy has 4 journals (including LR) for around 200 while UT has 12 for around 400.

Informative
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Informative » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:24 pm

f0bolous wrote:
Informative wrote:One thing you'll really want to look at is the ratio of students in your class and open journal seats. There is a greater chance to make a law review if there are less students and more open seats available. This is true to a lesser extent regarding moot court teams.

If there are 400 students in the 1L class and only two journals with 15 seats available on each, there are only 30 students in your class that can sit on a journal. Most of the generic law review students will grade on making only around 15 seats available. There will be around 385 students competing for only 15 seats.

Conversely, if there are 200 students in the 1L class and four journals with 15 seats available each, there are 60 students that will get to sit on a journal. Even with the generic getting the grade-ons, there is a better chance at getting one of the other 45 seats availalbe, as there will only be around 170 students competing for 45 seats.

This is important, but only if you want to write and publish a note and serve on a law review while in law school.


I don't understand your hypothetical comparison. Why would the 200 student class have 4 journals while the 400 person class have only 2? I get you're trying to illustrate a point, but it's a little misleading.

If we're still comparing Vandy to UT, Vandy has 4 journals (including LR) for around 200 while UT has 12 for around 400.


The hypos were just to point out how you should figure out how many people are competing for how many seats. The exercise is important, not the imaginary numbers I made up.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:41 pm

f0bolous wrote:
Informative wrote:One thing you'll really want to look at is the ratio of students in your class and open journal seats. There is a greater chance to make a law review if there are less students and more open seats available. This is true to a lesser extent regarding moot court teams.

If there are 400 students in the 1L class and only two journals with 15 seats available on each, there are only 30 students in your class that can sit on a journal. Most of the generic law review students will grade on making only around 15 seats available. There will be around 385 students competing for only 15 seats.

Conversely, if there are 200 students in the 1L class and four journals with 15 seats available each, there are 60 students that will get to sit on a journal. Even with the generic getting the grade-ons, there is a better chance at getting one of the other 45 seats availalbe, as there will only be around 170 students competing for 45 seats.

This is important, but only if you want to write and publish a note and serve on a law review while in law school.


I don't understand your hypothetical comparison. Why would the 200 student class have 4 journals while the 400 person class have only 2? I get you're trying to illustrate a point, but it's a little misleading.

If we're still comparing Vandy to UT, Vandy has 4 journals (including LR) for around 200 while UT has 12 for around 400.



You must be the kid in my admin law class who misses the point completely and raises his hand to inform the prof that the facts of the hypo are not plausible.

For Example:

Professor - "So how does the administrative official make the decision if there is no way to tell whether the worker died from the fall or the heart attack?"
You - "But wouldn't the autopsy show the cause of death????"

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Cupidity
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Cupidity » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:47 pm

I think smaller sizes can easily lock you out. I did quite well overall in my 90 person section, but I'm struggling for median in my 12 person writing section. (And no, I don't suck at writing)

de5igual
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby de5igual » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:42 pm

Informative wrote:
f0bolous wrote:
Informative wrote:One thing you'll really want to look at is the ratio of students in your class and open journal seats. There is a greater chance to make a law review if there are less students and more open seats available. This is true to a lesser extent regarding moot court teams.

If there are 400 students in the 1L class and only two journals with 15 seats available on each, there are only 30 students in your class that can sit on a journal. Most of the generic law review students will grade on making only around 15 seats available. There will be around 385 students competing for only 15 seats.

Conversely, if there are 200 students in the 1L class and four journals with 15 seats available each, there are 60 students that will get to sit on a journal. Even with the generic getting the grade-ons, there is a better chance at getting one of the other 45 seats availalbe, as there will only be around 170 students competing for 45 seats.

This is important, but only if you want to write and publish a note and serve on a law review while in law school.


I don't understand your hypothetical comparison. Why would the 200 student class have 4 journals while the 400 person class have only 2? I get you're trying to illustrate a point, but it's a little misleading.

If we're still comparing Vandy to UT, Vandy has 4 journals (including LR) for around 200 while UT has 12 for around 400.


The hypos were just to point out how you should figure out how many people are competing for how many seats. The exercise is important, not the imaginary numbers I made up.


I understand completely the point of your post. I was just saying that it was misleading since OP was comparing two specific schools, and it wasn't clear that your hypo #s were made up (since the class size # alluded to the same two schools).

Anonymous Loser
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:19 pm

spondee wrote:No, this is not true . . . There are people in every law school that have the right combination of the right skills to almost effortlessly get good grades; these people, for example, had a much better than 10% chance of making the top 10%. OP's fear is that a smaller class size is more prone to sample distortion and runs a risk of containing too many of these people.


This is ridiculous. There are also people in every law school who lack this combination of skills: doesn't this same probability of "sample distortion" apply to those students as well? You suggest that a small sample size might hurt the OP if a disproportionate number of talented students are in the class, but fail to account for the possibility that the OP might just as easily end up in a section with an unusual number of lazy idiots.

spondee
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Re: big v. small class size

Postby spondee » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:53 pm

Anonymous Loser wrote:
spondee wrote:No, this is not true . . . There are people in every law school that have the right combination of the right skills to almost effortlessly get good grades; these people, for example, had a much better than 10% chance of making the top 10%. OP's fear is that a smaller class size is more prone to sample distortion and runs a risk of containing too many of these people.


This is ridiculous. There are also people in every law school who lack this combination of skills: doesn't this same probability of "sample distortion" apply to those students as well? You suggest that a small sample size might hurt the OP if a disproportionate number of talented students are in the class, but fail to account for the possibility that the OP might just as easily end up in a section with an unusual number of lazy idiots.


I have no idea what point you're making. I completely agree that the class could be disproportionately filled with students that are bad at law school. But so what?

OP expressed fear that a smaller class could be tougher. Posters made fun of OP. I think their reason for doing so was wrong, so I explained why. Your answer now seems to agree with my argument: law students have different capabilities, some better suited for law school than others. This means that any given law student's chance of landing in the top 10% is affected by his/her abilities relative to the class and is very likely not 10%. It also means that some classes may be unusually difficult if there is an unusually high number of students well-suited for law school. And, yes, some classes could be unusually easy. This sort of thing is more likely to happen the smaller the class (or section) is.




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