The Issue with USC vs. Fordham (GW, BU, BC, etc)

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Princetonlaw68

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The Issue with USC vs. Fordham (GW, BU, BC, etc)

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 4:28 pm

Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby BigZuck » Fri May 02, 2014 4:31 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.


A few reasons. One of the most glaring is if this were 2012 you would be saying that UCLA is the TTT in decline, not USC.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 4:34 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.


A few reasons. One of the most glaring is if this were 2012 you would be saying that UCLA is the TTT in decline, not USC.



Alright, so let's do an average of the last 3 years. Do you think USC would come out more than 10% ahead of the "peers" that I just named? (As far as overall LST score, or big law percentage)

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 4:46 pm

I didn't do the math just now, but quickly looking through (sorry for being lazy), in the last 3 years I'd say USC is definitely in the peer range for schools like GW, BC, BU, and Fordham. It might be the best peer (by a small margin), but I'd say definitely a peer nontheless. I don't think the slightly higher employment percentages make up for how much more competitive the student body as a whole would be there. That's the danger of a school with prestige that far outmatches its employment. You might as well go to a school that's "worse" but has 5% worse employment (if that) while having much lower quality students, consequentially making you more likely to be a better rank in the class.


Edit: Just so you don't get the wrong idea, I'm not an insane person like that guy (I think his name was John? Saint Thomas guy I think) thinking you should go to awful schools so you can be top of the class. That's dumb. I just think that quality of students can count to some degree in where you will end up in the class. If a school has students with much higher GPAs and LSATs and equal employment stats (or stats that are so close that the schools are clearly employment peers, even if they aren't prestige peers) you're better off the the "bad" school (the one that has worse nunbers for the students because of the school's lack of prestige). You are not better off at the worse school if you're comparing Cornell to Fordham, for obvious reasons.
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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby BigZuck » Fri May 02, 2014 4:46 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.


A few reasons. One of the most glaring is if this were 2012 you would be saying that UCLA is the TTT in decline, not USC.



Alright, so let's do an average of the last 3 years. Do you think USC would come out more than 10% ahead of the "peers" that I just named? (As far as overall LST score, or big law percentage)


I have no idea, I haven't crunched those numbers, I take it you have?

I'm not exactly sure what I'm arguing against, TBH. How is it that the hivemind overrates USC? Up until this year I have always thought USC was viewed as a peer of UCLA, both strong regionals in CA that gives about a third of its class a shot at big law. And then the LST data came out and USC became a trap just slightly better than Hastings when it comes to law schools that should be shut down.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri May 02, 2014 4:47 pm

1. You shouldn't go to Fordham, GW, or BC if you want to work in Southern California. These schools aren't interchangeable.

2. No one on TLS would recommend going to USC if you want to work outside of Southern California. USC is considered by pretty much everyone here to be a regional school and nothing more.

3. The student quality at all these schools is nearly identical.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 4:50 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.

USC has had relatively similar outcomes to UCLA going back for most of the years we have employment data. Some years one school pulls ahead some years another pulls ahead. Generally both USC and UCLA have tended to be ahead of schools like BC/BU/GW/Fordham. Have they been 10% ahead of those schools? Maybe not that much, probably closer to 5%, but consistently ahead by a nonmarginal amount. I think whether these schools are peers really depends on how you define such a thing. A 5% difference in employment outcomes isn't huge when you're comparing biglaw+fedclerk rates that are around 60-70% (the difference between 65% and 70% isn't all that large). However, as that rate goes down a 5% difference becomes a much larger differential in placement power (i.e. a school that places 10% into those jobs has double the placement power of a school that places 5% into those jobs). I'm not saying that applicants should necessarily value a 5%-->10% increase more than a 65%-->70% increase, but it is fair to say that the percentages in the former represent a larger delta in school placement power.

To be fair, USC has had worsening statistics as of late. This likely stems at least in part from their increasing class size (their past couple graduating class sizes have exhibited 5-10% increases over the previous years) compared to stable incoming class sizes at some schools (e.g. UCLA/BU) or decreasing class sizes at some schools (e.g. BC). I'm not sure what USC's class sizes have been since 2010 (when it admitted the class of 2013) so their statistics might get better if they have halted or reversed their class size increases.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri May 02, 2014 4:52 pm

1L's matriculating at USC went from 220 in 2010 to 175 in 2013 so things will probably be quite a bit better going forward.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby twenty » Fri May 02, 2014 5:07 pm

bk1 wrote:To be fair, USC has had worsening statistics as of late. This likely stems at least in part from their increasing class size (their past couple graduating class sizes have exhibited 5-10% increases over the previous years)


USC's class sizes have been dropping consistently over the past four years. At ASD, it was mentioned that they were targeting a 150-160 class size, which would be another ~7% class size cut (if this is actually achieved). If anything, my guess is that would be indicative of USC's lack of future placement power; smart for the school to try and protect peer status with UCLA and hopefully beneficial for USC grads for CO16 on forward.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:09 pm

Just a note as far as quality of students is concerned. I believe that I was a little off-base saying most of the peers I mentioned were far off from USC's numbers. However, I believe that Fordham and USC do have a recognizably large difference. I believe this difference, even if it's not that large to many of you, is larger than the difference in employment. My conclusion is that if you're someone who doesn't care about location, which is common, Fordham is the best choice. If you're looking for a specific location, then that's a different story, but I think Fordham is the one that clearly outdoes its stats.


Fordham: 163, 3.52

USC: 166, 3.7



This really just boils down to opinion. I agree that the difference isn't really that large. If USC beat out Fordham by even 10% on average over the last 3 years, I wouldn't be saying this, but that's not the case. The only point I'm making is that the gap between the quality of the students is larger than the gap between employment outcomes.

However, my real bottom-line is that at any of these schools, you really are getting roughly the same deal. No one should be looking at USC thinking "that's a pretty good school," and then turning their nose up at Fordham, BU, or BC, etc. I get the feeling that people tend to do that because of this "top 20" designation. I've noticed it many times, even if some of you don't see it occurring.

Someone will make a thread asking about his/her full scholly to Fordham and people will jump down his/her throat "what about COL?," "I wouldn't go for free!!!." Someone else will make a thread about USC, with the same circumstances, and the overall content of the responses is much rosier. (The people who are specifically interacting with me right now, I'm not accusing any of you. I'm just accusing a large portion of ill-informed TLSers.)

I have no dog in this fight; I don't care about Fordham, and I won't be going there. I also won't be going to any of the other peers I mentioned. Just wanted to put this out there.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:14 pm

bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:Can someone please explain to me why USC seems to be seen as better than it really is, even on this forum? I really do not get it. Their employment prospects are not good. If you go on LST, you'll quickly see they are comparable to schools like BC, GW, Fordham, etc. I get that it's more preftigious, but I thought that notions of prestige usually only poison the minds of regular civilians, not TLSers. I would never go to USC. I'd go to one of the schools that are its employment peers, but not its prestige peers, as I'd have a better shot of placing higher in the class, with roughly equal employment percentages.

Someone please explain to me why I'm wrong.

USC has had relatively similar outcomes to UCLA going back for most of the years we have employment data. Some years one school pulls ahead some years another pulls ahead. Generally both USC and UCLA have tended to be ahead of schools like BC/BU/GW/Fordham. Have they been 10% ahead of those schools? Maybe not that much, probably closer to 5%, but consistently ahead by a nonmarginal amount. I think whether these schools are peers really depends on how you define such a thing. A 5% difference in employment outcomes isn't huge when you're comparing biglaw+fedclerk rates that are around 60-70% (the difference between 65% and 70% isn't all that large). However, as that rate goes down a 5% difference becomes a much larger differential in placement power (i.e. a school that places 10% into those jobs has double the placement power of a school that places 5% into those jobs). I'm not saying that applicants should necessarily value a 5%-->10% increase more than a 65%-->70% increase, but it is fair to say that the percentages in the former represent a larger delta in school placement power.

To be fair, USC has had worsening statistics as of late. This likely stems at least in part from their increasing class size (their past couple graduating class sizes have exhibited 5-10% increases over the previous years) compared to stable incoming class sizes at some schools (e.g. UCLA/BU) or decreasing class sizes at some schools (e.g. BC). I'm not sure what USC's class sizes have been since 2010 (when it admitted the class of 2013) so their statistics might get better if they have halted or reversed their class size increases.



Yes, and I'm saying that if the percent difference is that small, it is mitigated by the fact that the quality of the students at USC is higher. The chances are roughly equal from any of these schools.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:16 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote: My conclusion is that if you're someone who doesn't care about location, which is common

People may say this, but deep down it usually isn't true that people are legitimately agnostic between say CA and NY. On top of that, ties are also important since all else equal being a transplant is not going to do you any favors in the job search at a regional school (not that this is as large a problem in CA/NY as it is in states like MO/TX/etc, but it is something to think about it).

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:17 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:Yes, and I'm saying that if the percent difference is that small, it is mitigated by the fact that the quality of the students at USC is higher. The chances are roughly equal from any of these schools.

What does the LSAT/GPA medians of students at each school matter other than possibly the ability of applicants to get scholarships being potentially easier at a school with lower medians?

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:19 pm

bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote: My conclusion is that if you're someone who doesn't care about location, which is common

People may say this, but deep down it usually isn't true that people are legitimately agnostic between say CA and NY. On top of that, ties are also important since all else equal being a transplant is not going to do you any favors in the job search at a regional school (not that this is as large a problem in CA/NY as it is in states like MO/TX/etc, but it is something to think about it).



Yes, fair. But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."

If you wanna say everyone is making a bad move, by all means, go ahead. Same goes for if you think they're both good moves.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:20 pm

bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:Yes, and I'm saying that if the percent difference is that small, it is mitigated by the fact that the quality of the students at USC is higher. The chances are roughly equal from any of these schools.

What does the LSAT/GPA medians of students at each school matter other than possibly the ability of applicants to get scholarships being potentially easier at a school with lower medians?



It's documented that gpa and LSAT are indicative of law school performance, to some degree. If you don't believe in this, then that's fine, but it's proven. If you don't believe in it at all, then that's fine, but it isn't rational.

If you really and truly believe LSAT and GPA are absolutely no indicator of law school performance, then you're saying that a person who goes to St. Thomas has the same chance of being top 50% there as he would if his parents donated 30 mil to Columbia and got him in there. Anyone rational would not believe this, because the students at Columbia are of a higher caliber, they were filtered in there due to GPA and LSAT. So divide that difference by X, and that's the difference in quality of students between USC and Fordham.

That difference, to me, means more than 5% better employment. It wouldn't mean more than 15%, but it means more than 5. (Or at least equal to or around 5, therefore mitigating it).
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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:23 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:Yes, fair. But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."

If you wanna say everyone is making a bad move, by all means, go ahead. Same goes for if you think they're both good moves.

I think it's quite possible to say that there exist legitimate placement differences between USC, Fordham, and WUSTL yet those placement differences aren't so large that they should be considered above cost and location while also saying that all 3 of these schools require similarly substantial discounts to justify attending.

Your "school X is good, school Y is bad" binary is nonsensical. Real placement differences can exist between schools yet not be large enough to justify substantial debtload differences.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:25 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:It's documented that gpa and LSAT are indicative of law school performance, to some degree. If you don't believe in this, then that's fine, but it's proven. If you don't believe in it at all, then that's fine, but it isn't rational.

lol. I wasn't attacking your implication that a correlation exists. I was attacking your implication that that correlation (more specifically its magnitude) should impact the decision to pick a school.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri May 02, 2014 5:26 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote: My conclusion is that if you're someone who doesn't care about location, which is common

People may say this, but deep down it usually isn't true that people are legitimately agnostic between say CA and NY. On top of that, ties are also important since all else equal being a transplant is not going to do you any favors in the job search at a regional school (not that this is as large a problem in CA/NY as it is in states like MO/TX/etc, but it is something to think about it).



Yes, fair. But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."

If you wanna say everyone is making a bad move, by all means, go ahead. Same goes for if you think they're both good moves.

I think USC is in a bit different situation than Fordham, even if they have similar employment outcomes. Fordham has two schools nearby that place much better, and anyone getting enough of a scholarship to make Fordham worthwhile could probably retake and go to NYU and Columbia at a discount. USC and UCLA on the other hand are far and away the best schools in Southern California, and for someone who is locked into staying there and/or dead set on ending up there USC makes more sense than someone in an equivalent situation vis a vis NYC.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:26 pm

bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:It's documented that gpa and LSAT are indicative of law school performance, to some degree. If you don't believe in this, then that's fine, but it's proven. If you don't believe in it at all, then that's fine, but it isn't rational.

lol. I wasn't attacking your implication that a correlation exists. I was attacking your implication that that correlation (more specifically its magnitude) should impact the decision to pick a school.



I think it impacts it enough that the ~5% literally means nothing. That's all I'm trying to say.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:31 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote: My conclusion is that if you're someone who doesn't care about location, which is common

People may say this, but deep down it usually isn't true that people are legitimately agnostic between say CA and NY. On top of that, ties are also important since all else equal being a transplant is not going to do you any favors in the job search at a regional school (not that this is as large a problem in CA/NY as it is in states like MO/TX/etc, but it is something to think about it).



Yes, fair. But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."

If you wanna say everyone is making a bad move, by all means, go ahead. Same goes for if you think they're both good moves.

I think USC is in a bit different situation than Fordham, even if they have similar employment outcomes. Fordham has two schools nearby that place much better, and anyone getting enough of a scholarship to make Fordham worthwhile could probably retake and go to NYU and Columbia at a discount. USC and UCLA on the other hand are far and away the best schools in Southern California, and for someone who is locked into staying there and/or dead set on ending up there USC makes more sense than someone in an equivalent situation vis a vis NYC.



One thing I have to say is, there's definitely plenty of people who can get large scholarships to Fordham and not get into one of the better NY schools. Let's say someone gets the 30k merit from Fordham, then almost all the rest covered by financial aid. Lots of people with this situation can't get into better NY schools because there's only 2 and they are both T6.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby twenty » Fri May 02, 2014 5:32 pm

But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."


That's probably because no one looks at either one in a vacuum. The question posed ends up being, "I've been accepted at USC with lots of money or sticker at NYU, I want to work in California, what should I do?" to where at which point, OP acknowledges that a desire to work in California in any capacity is more desired than biglaw in NYC, whereas at which point USC is a "good choice."

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby twenty » Fri May 02, 2014 5:33 pm

there's definitely plenty of people who can get large scholarships to Fordham and not get into one of the better NY schools.


This is actually less true than you think it is. Fordham is notoriously stingy about giving out 75k+ scholarship amounts, and when they do give out those amounts, the applicant's numbers are usually right outside the "Cornell with money" range, and thus told to retake.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:34 pm

Princetonlaw68 wrote:I think it impacts it enough that the ~5% literally means nothing. That's all I'm trying to say.

The truth is that neither are particularly large enough to warrant consideration. People shouldn't pick Fordham over USC because they think they get better grades because the difference in GPA/LSAT is negligible and, even if such a grade increase were guaranteed the difference would be so small as to be relatively meaningless. People also shouldn't pick USC over Fordham because USC places 5% more people into biglaw+fedclerks (assuming the number is correct). It's not that one of those numbers impacts how much the other should be considered, it's that they're both relatively meaningless differences compared to more important differences between these schools like cost and location.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:35 pm

twenty wrote:
But I think we're in agreement that none of these schools is really giving anyone a much better shot than the other, and no one should be looking at someone going to USC and think "that's a decent move," then turn around and look at someone going to Fordham and think, "that school's bad. Don't go there, retake."


That's probably because no one looks at either one in a vacuum. The question posed ends up being, "I've been accepted at USC with lots of money or sticker at NYU, I want to work in California, what should I do?" to where at which point, OP acknowledges that a desire to work in California in any capacity is more desired than biglaw in NYC, whereas at which point USC is a "good choice."



Yes, and I have absolutely no problem with this whatsoever. What I do have a problem with is the overall responses of people when asked about USC vs. Fordham, all other things equal. It's not this thread specifically that I find to be problematic.

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Re: fullride at USC vs. sticker NYU

Postby Princetonlaw68 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:37 pm

bk1 wrote:
Princetonlaw68 wrote:I think it impacts it enough that the ~5% literally means nothing. That's all I'm trying to say.

The truth is that neither are particularly large enough to warrant consideration. People shouldn't pick Fordham over USC because they think they get better grades because the difference in GPA/LSAT is negligible and, even if such a grade increase were guaranteed the difference would be so small as to be relatively meaningless. People also shouldn't pick USC over Fordham because USC places 5% more people into biglaw+fedclerks (assuming the number is correct). It's not that one of those numbers impacts how much the other should be considered, it's that they're both relatively meaningless differences compared to more important differences between these schools like cost and location.



Sure, your logic is a little different, but we end up at the same conclusion. I still have a problem with the disparity in people's comments. USC is not better than Fordham, or any of the other peers I mentioned.



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