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Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:16 am
by ariadne86
NYT published an article on grade deflation on Sunday, and someone who says he is Asha Rangappa (seems believable) commented on the NYT blog on college admissions, The Choice about it. Read the original here: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010 ... 4#comments. He is comment 88. I think his comment sheds some light on the whole snob appeal discussion that we've been having.

Anyway, here is some of what he says:

I am the Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School (and also a Princeton graduate).

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) — which compiles the numerical data on each law school applicant — provides, in addition to a student’s cumulative GPA, the percentile rank of that student’s GPA as compared with other applicants to law school from that same institution within the last three years. In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).

While it may be true that some law schools may be more interested in absolute GPAs in order to manipulate their institutions’ “rankings” according to popular publications, I would say that this is less true of the top law schools, which are more interested in getting the top students from a variety of schools.

Asha Rangappa


It seems like the LSAC report of the percentage of applicants from each school with x GPA doesn't really help to compare HYP students to those at say Rutgers/UMass/Quinnipiac since one would imagine gpas in the latter group of schools cover a wider range. So you are at 60% with a 3.7 from the unnamed school Asha mentions, but like 90% from UMass...

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:55 am
by Sogui
Only schools like Yale have the "comfortable position" of being able to take candidates based on percentile and not absolute GPA. Other schools are too busy trying to drive up their absolute GPA for the USNWR ranking.

Also, only the dean of Yale Law would be pretentious enough to sign a comment twice:

Asha Rangappa
— Asha Rangappa

(It's a joke but I thought it was funny that the dean of the #1 law school in the world wouldn't know how the comments section worked)

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:59 am
by booboo
Hehe, Sogui.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:00 pm
by chicoalto0649
ariadne86 wrote:NYT published an article on grade deflation on Sunday, and someone who says he is Asha Rangappa (seems believable) commented on the NYT blog on college admissions, The Choice about it. Read the original here: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010 ... 4#comments. He is comment 88. I think his comment sheds some light on the whole snob appeal discussion that we've been having.

Anyway, here is some of what he says:

I am the Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School (and also a Princeton graduate).

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) — which compiles the numerical data on each law school applicant — provides, in addition to a student’s cumulative GPA, the percentile rank of that student’s GPA as compared with other applicants to law school from that same institution within the last three years. In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).

While it may be true that some law schools may be more interested in absolute GPAs in order to manipulate their institutions’ “rankings” according to popular publications, I would say that this is less true of the top law schools, which are more interested in getting the top students from a variety of schools.

Asha Rangappa


It seems like the LSAC report of the percentage of applicants from each school with x GPA doesn't really help to compare HYP students to those at say Rutgers/UMass/Quinnipiac since one would imagine gpas in the latter group of schools cover a wider range. So you are at 60% with a 3.7 from the unnamed school Asha mentions, but like 90% from UMass...


Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:05 pm
by booboo
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:


No relevance to the topic, and yet still something valuable added to the conversation.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:06 pm
by bloodonthetracks
This doesn't seem to address the fact that there may be a legitimate reason that some "very elite schools" have a ton of kids with high GPA's: because the large majority of students there are very smart and motivated. Of course there are smart and motivated students at every college; there is just a higher proportion of them at the colleges that are really hard to get into. In sum, just because a school has a very high average student GPA does not mean that there is rampant grade inflation there.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:53 pm
by ariadne86
booboo wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:


No relevance to the topic, and yet still something valuable added to the conversation.


Whoops - my bad!

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:08 pm
by watts
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:



She's attractive by all standards, in my book.
http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/ARangappa.htm

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:20 pm
by heyguys
I think that for Yale in particular, there are probably two standards:

1) The admissions committee itself is probably more allowing of the varied undergraduate institutions, state schools, etc

2) The faculty readers are likely way, way biased towards elite undergraduate institutions--this is probably impacted by the fact that most of the professors went to elite undergrads themselves, and a lot have high pretensions toward there being value in that.

I think that this would explain why YLS is ultimately such a homogeneous school as far as undergrads are concerned, although I do think that the YLS admissions committee is probably places a heavy premium on GPA.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:47 pm
by tomhobbes
heyguys wrote:I think that for Yale in particular, there are probably two standards:

1) The admissions committee itself is probably more allowing of the varied undergraduate institutions, state schools, etc

2) The faculty readers are likely way, way biased towards elite undergraduate institutions--this is probably impacted by the fact that most of the professors went to elite undergrads themselves, and a lot have high pretensions toward there being value in that.

I think that this would explain why YLS is ultimately such a homogeneous school as far as undergrads are concerned, although I do think that the YLS admissions committee is probably places a heavy premium on GPA.


That's bad news for me, hopefully they recognize the University of Alabama for the ultra-elite institution that it is!

More realistically, fuck, I knew it would hurt me to take what I could afford over what I wanted.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:39 pm
by bloodonthetracks
Hope everyone knows that she is reading this. Good day to you, Ms. Rangappa. I did not apply to Yale, but I hear it is a nice school.

Interview with her:
(http://www.admissionsdean.com/researchi ... a-rangappa)

AD You’ve noted on your blog that in your downtime you’ve been known to “troll through some of the discussion boards out there” and see what people are posting. Do you have any favorite sites you like to scour?

AR I generally like to snoop around in top-law-schools.com and sometimes in LawSchoolDiscussion.org. Of course, once the conversation starts to become a bit more robust on AdmissionsDean.com, I’m sure I’ll probably sneak by for a peek at what people are saying here as well.

AD In your “trolling,” have you ever been able to identify an applicant – or at least wanted to – because of a post he or she made?

AR My answer would be “no comment” except to say that people should be very careful what they decide to write on a discussion board. Remember, I was an FBI agent, so I suggest that we just leave it at that [laughing]!

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:10 am
by acadia046
bloodonthetracks wrote:Hope everyone knows that she is reading this. Good day to you, Ms. Rangappa. I did not apply to Yale, but I hear it is a nice school.

Interview with her:
(http://www.admissionsdean.com/researchi ... a-rangappa)

AD You’ve noted on your blog that in your downtime you’ve been known to “troll through some of the discussion boards out there” and see what people are posting. Do you have any favorite sites you like to scour?

AR I generally like to snoop around in top-law-schools.com and sometimes in LawSchoolDiscussion.org. Of course, once the conversation starts to become a bit more robust on AdmissionsDean.com, I’m sure I’ll probably sneak by for a peek at what people are saying here as well.

AD In your “trolling,” have you ever been able to identify an applicant – or at least wanted to – because of a post he or she made?

AR My answer would be “no comment” except to say that people should be very careful what they decide to write on a discussion board. Remember, I was an FBI agent, so I suggest that we just leave it at that [laughing]!


I think watts is hoping to be identified....

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:12 am
by Unemployed
I am the Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School (and also a Princeton graduate).

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) — which compiles the numerical data on each law school applicant — provides, in addition to a student’s cumulative GPA, the percentile rank of that student’s GPA as compared with other applicants to law school from that same institution within the last three years. In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).

While it may be true that some law schools may be more interested in absolute GPAs in order to manipulate their institutions’ “rankings” according to popular publications, I would say that this is less true of the top law schools, which are more interested in getting the top students from a variety of schools.

Asha Rangappa


"Some very elite schools" = Harvard and Yale.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:57 am
by Doritos
watts wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:



She's attractive by all standards, in my book.
http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/ARangappa.htm


+1

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:23 am
by BenJ
Unemployed wrote:
I am the Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School (and also a Princeton graduate).

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) — which compiles the numerical data on each law school applicant — provides, in addition to a student’s cumulative GPA, the percentile rank of that student’s GPA as compared with other applicants to law school from that same institution within the last three years. In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).

While it may be true that some law schools may be more interested in absolute GPAs in order to manipulate their institutions’ “rankings” according to popular publications, I would say that this is less true of the top law schools, which are more interested in getting the top students from a variety of schools.

Asha Rangappa


"Some very elite schools" = Harvard and Yale.


It's not that bad. 50th percentile at Harvard is something like a 3.5. Which is still pretty bad, grade-inflation-wise (reasonably, 50th percentile should probably be a 2.0, or a 2.5 if you want the curve to avoid the failing range), but it's basically what the 50th percentile looks like at almost all of the highly ranked colleges, save MIT/CalTech/etc. and Princeton. Also, while a 3.7 may be a lower percentile at Harvard than at UMass-Amherst, the 3.7 is (probably) still harder to attain at Harvard than at UMass because, for the most part, the students at Harvard will be better students. A few great students end up at lower-ranked schools for whatever reason (financial problems, lack of access to information when applying to undergrad, etc.), but they constitute no more than a small percentage of the student body while, except possibly for a few legacy admits with middling-high credentials, everyone at Harvard is at least a good student, so the competition for grades is much fiercer.

It's definitely true, too, that while Yale has the luxury of not caring about USNWR rankings, most law schools certainly do care--basically everyone except HYS, and maybe CC, plays the game at least a little bit. And the raw GPA is all that matters in the game, not your percentile within your undergrad. So Asha is very right to say that grade inflation doesn't help applicants to Yale, but her comment is not easily generalized to very many, let alone most, law schools. Perhaps Yale could pressure USNWR into adopting undergrad percentile to replace raw GPA; that might help weaken grade inflation, or at least the level to which law schools turn a blind eye to it.

Also, hi Dean Asha! Please admit me. I love your school and your environmental law program.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:24 am
by englawyer
there are much more than a few legacy/middling admits at harvard undergrad.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:37 am
by BenJ
englawyer wrote:there are much more than a few legacy/middling admits at harvard undergrad.


True. The people from my high school who I know who went to Harvard were actually both very sweet, truly brilliant people with no legacy, so I'm not quite as skeptical about Harvard College as some.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:58 am
by Fancy Pants
YLS Dean of Admissions wrote:In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).


Blatant anti-military trolling.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:06 pm
by zanyventer
watts wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:



She's attractive by all standards, in my book.
http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/ARangappa.htm


Such low standards.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:10 pm
by 09042014
englawyer wrote:there are much more than a few legacy/middling admits at harvard undergrad.


Not to mention I would have been competitive for admission to Harvard but I'm a terrible student.

Pulling straight A's in high school, and doing well on the SAT does make a person motivated, or hard working. In fact many of the smartest in my class were fairly lazy because school came extremely easy to them. Of course Harvard looks at soft factors heavily, but I'm sure slackers get in.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:20 pm
by PowerPro64
I appreciate the West Point shout out.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:36 pm
by englawyer
zanyventer wrote:
watts wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
Asha Rangappa is actually a fairly attractive (by law school standards) young woman.

Just saying :wink:



She's attractive by all standards, in my book.
http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/ARangappa.htm


Such low standards.


i would rather date a law-school girl (especially YLS) that is pretty good rather than a knock-out 10 that is a moron, so I +1 to the attractive by all standards.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:50 pm
by AffirmativeOffense
Fancy Pants wrote:
YLS Dean of Admissions wrote:In other words, a law school admissions officer can (or should) see the difference between, say, a 3.7 at West Point (which would place that student in the upper 90th percentile) and a 3.7 at a school that is prestigious but has a lot of grade inflation (I won’t name names but a 3.7 can be as low as the 60th percentile at some very elite schools).


Blatant anti-military trolling.


How is that anti-military trolling?

EDIT: Ah, I see. You're right. I don't even think she meant to do it. And TBH, my own biases prevented me from seeing it too!

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:57 pm
by crackberry
The grade inflation at HYS (undergrad) is sickening. I say this as an HYS graduate who benefited from said grade inflation.

Re: Discuss YLS Dean of Admissions Quote

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:03 pm
by 09042014
crackberry wrote:The grade inflation at HYS (undergrad) is sickening. I say this as an HYS graduate who benefited from said grade inflation.


IMO instead of GPA, class rank by major should be used on resumes and grad school apps.