Section Stacking?

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keg411
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby keg411 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:29 pm

vanwinkle wrote:This is mostly common outside T1 schools. I know I read last year that a few schools are especially notorious for this (*cough*Miami*cough*). Your classes are graded on a curve, and you're assigned to your 1L classes by section, so if you've all received a scholarship that requires you stay in the top 1/3 of your class, by default 2/3 of your section is going to have to lose the scholarship after the first year.

I would be extremely wary of any school that mandates minimum GPAs. You can always try to negotiate this; contact the school and tell them, "I'll commit to attending if you remove the minimum GPA requirement," or something along those lines. Their response ought to prove interesting, at least.


Has anyone tried to do this in the past? I'm curious what the response would be. If I get the opportunity I'll probably try and see what happens since negotiation is part of my job (and if I'm not as good as I think I am at it, I'll probably find out too :lol: ). But I have to get accepted somewhere first :? .

jlk86
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby jlk86 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:34 pm

usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly


Lol easier said than done- anything can happen when you're being graded on a curve, especially in a setting where exam grading can be extremely subjective. Plus you really can't bank on going to a lower-ranked school with a schol & thinking you'll automatically be smarter than everyone, or that you'll be committed to working harder than everyone- you really never know

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ggocat
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby ggocat » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:40 pm

Baylor gives about 85% of students a scholarship. http://officialguide.lsac.org/SearchRes ... BA6032.pdf. And last I heard, scholarships require top 50% to renew. That's not really section stacking, but if all scholarships require top 50% to renew, then at least 35% of students lose their scholarships.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:47 pm

yoyoma wrote:Hey vanwinkle,

I've been reading TLS for a while and have noticed that you give a lot of useful, well thought out advice. I was wondering if you knew anything about Minnesota and their policies regarding section stacking. My situation is quoted at the beginning of the thread. Thanks!


I didn't know anything about it, but I found some information online. Searching for curve information I found this document on the UMN website:

--LinkRemoved--

It indicates that the curve is not strictly fixed to a specific point, but that the average awarded grade in every class must be curved to fall between a B (3.00) and a B+ (3.33). They also publish grades in quartiles, with the "Fourth Quartile" for 2009 (the bottom 25% of the 2009 class) being at or below a 3.078 overall GPA average.

Since your scholarship is based on a 2.5 or greater GPA, it appears that you'd have to not just finish in the bottom quarter of your class but be buried pretty deep within it. It's feasible that you could finish near the bottom of your class and still be above a 2.5 GPA. This doesn't strike me as the typical "section stacking" behavior, because that tends to be set up with much higher minimums designed to exclude large number of students (for example, filling a section with people who all must be in the top 1/4 of their class, meaning that 3/4 of them cannot meet their scholarship requirements no matter what).

Instead, this looks like a very, very low minimum benchmark that they've set to make sure you don't show up and just drag your heels so much that you embarrass yourself and the school. I wouldn't consider that "section stacking" behavior at all, it sounds like they're just trying to guarantee they won't keep paying tuition for people who ought to be failed out.

LSATfromNC
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby LSATfromNC » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:51 pm

sarlis wrote:Again, how common are GPA stipulations. Every scholly offer I have received has a GPA stipulation.


I think they make up the majority, I finally got my first that only requires good standing.

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usuaggie
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby usuaggie » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:53 pm

jlk86 wrote:
usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly


Lol easier said than done- anything can happen when you're being graded on a curve, especially in a setting where exam grading can be extremely subjective. Plus you really can't bank on going to a lower-ranked school with a schol & thinking you'll automatically be smarter than everyone, or that you'll be committed to working harder than everyone- you really never know



ha I know, it was a bit tongue in cheek.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:54 pm

LSATfromNC wrote:
sarlis wrote:Again, how common are GPA stipulations. Every scholly offer I have received has a GPA stipulation.


I think they make up the majority, I finally got my first that only requires good standing.


Every scholarship offer I got last cycle that had stipulations were from T2 and T3 schools. I heard back from those schools much more quickly than the T1 schools, so I was getting used to the idea of GPA stipulations from seeing them so much, and then I got an offer from ND that just required "good standing", and I was like, holy shit, ND is awesome!

Then I started getting offers from other T1 schools and they didn't have minimum GPA requirements either. I really think there's some line (I'm not sure if it's exactly the T1/T2 line, but it's somewhere around there) above which schools don't usually have GPA stipulations.

yoyoma
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby yoyoma » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:56 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
yoyoma wrote:Hey vanwinkle,

I've been reading TLS for a while and have noticed that you give a lot of useful, well thought out advice. I was wondering if you knew anything about Minnesota and their policies regarding section stacking. My situation is quoted at the beginning of the thread. Thanks!


I didn't know anything about it, but I found some information online. Searching for curve information I found this document on the UMN website:

--LinkRemoved--

It indicates that the curve is not strictly fixed to a specific point, but that the average awarded grade in every class must be curved to fall between a B (3.00) and a B+ (3.33). They also publish grades in quartiles, with the "Fourth Quartile" for 2009 (the bottom 25% of the 2009 class) being at or below a 3.078 overall GPA average.

Since your scholarship is based on a 2.5 or greater GPA, it appears that you'd have to not just finish in the bottom quarter of your class but be buried pretty deep within it. It's feasible that you could finish near the bottom of your class and still be above a 2.5 GPA. This doesn't strike me as the typical "section stacking" behavior, because that tends to be set up with much higher minimums designed to exclude large number of students (for example, filling a section with people who all must be in the top 1/4 of their class, meaning that 3/4 of them cannot meet their scholarship requirements no matter what).

Instead, this looks like a very, very low minimum benchmark that they've set to make sure you don't show up and just drag your heels so much that you embarrass yourself and the school. I wouldn't consider that "section stacking" behavior at all, it sounds like they're just trying to guarantee they won't keep paying tuition for people who ought to be failed out.


Wow! Thanks a lot vanwinkle! That is some great information. I feel a lot better now.

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kings84_wr
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby kings84_wr » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:01 pm

We (Indiana) have a pretty high Scholly requirement at 3.2 which is about median. Im not sure if everyone who got a scholarship has the same gpa requirement, but It seems like just about everyone got scholarships last year, so there could be some significant losses in financial aid next year.

Thank God we don't have sections, so there is no way to section stack.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:02 pm

yoyoma wrote:Wow! Thanks a lot vanwinkle! That is some great information. I feel a lot better now.


Glad I was able to help.

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thesealocust
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:10 am

CE2JD wrote:UVA
No
My section had smarter people than all the other sections


d00d, they weren't just smarter, they were also more attractive, more athletic, and more out-going. Minstrels will sing tales of that section for years to come ;)

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ggocat
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby ggocat » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:14 am

boo_pragmatism wrote:Iowa's scholarship has a top 1/3 requirement. I was a little surprised that a school that highly ranked had such a draconian requirement.

Back when I was applying, I think it was top 25%.

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thesealocust
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:16 am

I think, in general, even requiring above median should send out warning flags on a scholarship offer. Law school is really weird, and full of smart people, so it is all but literally impossible to predict performance ex ante (THE LATIN COURSES THROUGH MY VEINS; IT MAKES ME STRONG).

So, having established that overt 'section staking' isn't a requirement for scholarships with stipulations to be dangerous, I think the actual practice of section staking may just be an insidious rumor (as I mentioned in another thread). I've literally never heard a first hand report of it, which makes me think a rumor that has a ring of evilness/truth that makes us want to believe it just spread out of control.

CyLaw
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby CyLaw » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:29 am

boo_pragmatism wrote:Iowa's scholarship has a top 1/3 requirement. I was a little surprised that a school that highly ranked had such a draconian requirement.


Yeah. I love the offer, but that top 1/3 requirement definitely makes me take pause. After I fine out what is up with GW, I was going to call them and start asking how many of their scholarship students are renewed each year on average. This should indicate whether the scholarship students are normally placing at the top of their class or if they are distributed throughout. Also I was planning on asking if the requirement is steadfast, because I have seen other schools that say if you fall below the line you can petition to keep your scholarship.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:36 am

CyLaw wrote:
boo_pragmatism wrote:Iowa's scholarship has a top 1/3 requirement. I was a little surprised that a school that highly ranked had such a draconian requirement.


Yeah. I love the offer, but that top 1/3 requirement definitely makes me take pause. After I fine out what is up with GW, I was going to call them and start asking how many of their scholarship students are renewed each year on average. This should indicate whether the scholarship students are normally placing at the top of their class or if they are distributed throughout. Also I was planning on asking if the requirement is steadfast, because I have seen other schools that say if you fall below the line you can petition to keep your scholarship.


Petition to get the GPA requirement reduced or removed in the first place. You only have leverage until you commit to going there.

jlk86
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby jlk86 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:38 am

thesealocust wrote:I think, in general, even requiring above median should send out warning flags on a scholarship offer. Law school is really weird, and full of smart people, so it is all but literally impossible to predict performance ex ante (THE LATIN COURSES THROUGH MY VEINS; IT MAKES ME STRONG).

So, having established that overt 'section staking' isn't a requirement for scholarships with stipulations to be dangerous, I think the actual practice of section staking may just be an insidious rumor (as I mentioned in another thread). I've literally never heard a first hand report of it, which makes me think a rumor that has a ring of evilness/truth that makes us want to believe it just spread out of control.


Nah I've heard of it from students at 2 schools- it definitely happens, just probably not on a very widespread basis

CyLaw
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby CyLaw » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:23 am

vanwinkle wrote:
CyLaw wrote:
boo_pragmatism wrote:Iowa's scholarship has a top 1/3 requirement. I was a little surprised that a school that highly ranked had such a draconian requirement.


Yeah. I love the offer, but that top 1/3 requirement definitely makes me take pause. After I fine out what is up with GW, I was going to call them and start asking how many of their scholarship students are renewed each year on average. This should indicate whether the scholarship students are normally placing at the top of their class or if they are distributed throughout. Also I was planning on asking if the requirement is steadfast, because I have seen other schools that say if you fall below the line you can petition to keep your scholarship.


Petition to get the GPA requirement reduced or removed in the first place. You only have leverage until you commit to going there.


Also part of my plan. But was going to save that until I actually decided that I would attend UIowa over my other schools. My tactic would be that if they lift the requirement I would send in the seat deposit right then. But I have to wait for results of my ED before I make any decisions.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:44 am

CyLaw wrote:Also part of my plan. But was going to save that until I actually decided that I would attend UIowa over my other schools. My tactic would be that if they lift the requirement I would send in the seat deposit right then. But I have to wait for results of my ED before I make any decisions.


Understood.

flcath
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby flcath » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:05 am

usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly

Damn. Holy shit. I though top 1/3rd was as bad as it got.

I personally would never rely on continuing a scholarship that's contingent upon making top 10%, even if it's Cooley (i.e., really easy competition). I can't believe they'd get anyone to bite on that one.

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Trifles
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby Trifles » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:18 am

flcath wrote:
usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly

Damn. Holy shit. I though top 1/3rd was as bad as it got.

I personally would never rely on continuing a scholarship that's contingent upon making top 10%, even if it's Cooley (i.e., really easy competition). I can't believe they'd get anyone to bite on that one.


Cooley isn't easy competition. Nearly everyone who goes to Cooley expects to be part of the 10% who transfers out.

flcath
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby flcath » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:23 am

Trifles wrote:
flcath wrote:
usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly

Damn. Holy shit. I though top 1/3rd was as bad as it got.

I personally would never rely on continuing a scholarship that's contingent upon making top 10%, even if it's Cooley (i.e., really easy competition). I can't believe they'd get anyone to bite on that one.


Cooley isn't easy competition. Nearly everyone who goes to Cooley expects to be part of the 10% who transfers out.

Mmmmm.... I would agree that it isn't *friendly* competition, but just in terms of the academic quality of the students against whom you're competing, Cooley is undeniably easier than the schools we're talking about ITT.

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whuts4lunch
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby whuts4lunch » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:27 am

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that he/she attends a school that doesn't have sections. What schools don't have sections? The best way to avoid section stacking would probably be to go to a school without sections, right?

I don't like the idea of splitting classes into sections. I mean, samples of 300 students with similar LSAT score makeups will likely yield different qualities of classes and make some years easier to rank in than others. Splitting those groups into sections will only make the problem worse, so why do it? The larger the sample, the more standard the level of competition.

Sry for grammar, its late.

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Trifles
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby Trifles » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:31 am

flcath wrote:
Trifles wrote:
flcath wrote:
usuaggie wrote:I just got an offer from McGeorge with a GPA stipulation. Top 1/3. This is pretty relaxed compared to some others I have seen (top 10, 15, 20 percent). You are going to try your hardest anyway, right? So just do better than the other kids and be one of the ones to keep your scholly

Damn. Holy shit. I though top 1/3rd was as bad as it got.

I personally would never rely on continuing a scholarship that's contingent upon making top 10%, even if it's Cooley (i.e., really easy competition). I can't believe they'd get anyone to bite on that one.


Cooley isn't easy competition. Nearly everyone who goes to Cooley expects to be part of the 10% who transfers out.

Mmmmm.... I would agree that it isn't *friendly* competition, but just in terms of the academic quality of the students against whom you're competing, Cooley is undeniably easier than the schools we're talking about ITT.


I guess it depends on how predictive you think the LSAT really is. But, you have to remember that at Cooley the part-time students take classes with the full-time students, so they are factored into the curves of those classes and they are also figured in to the overall class rank of the full-time students. Around 80% of the students at Cooley are part-time, so even if you think you really are that much smarter then them, if you are attending full-time, you are competing against people with a much lighter course load for the same few A's handed out in the class, and for the same spots in the top 10% over all class rank.

Edit: You are also competing against these people who are spread out over 3 campuses. Better hope your campus isn't the one with the tougher professors.

flcath
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby flcath » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:44 am

Trifles wrote:I guess it depends on how predictive you think the LSAT really is. But, you have to remember that at Cooley the part-time students take classes with the full-time students, so they are factored into the curves of those classes and they are also figured in to the overall class rank of the full-time students. Around 80% of the students at Cooley are part-time, so even if you think you really are that much smarter then them, if you are attending full-time, you are competing against people with a much lighter course load for the same few A's handed out in the class, and for the same spots in the top 10% over all class rank.

Edit: You are also competing against these people who are spread out over 3 campuses. Better hope your campus isn't the one with the tougher professors.

Fair enough. My whole point was that I wouldn't want to be anywhere, Cooley included, where I *had* to be in the top 10%. Even if you pull it off, you likely aren't having fun while you do it.

jocelyne
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Re: Section Stacking?

Postby jocelyne » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:17 am

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Last edited by jocelyne on Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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