## can i really turn down a free ride?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
BigFatPanda

Posts: 319
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:47 am

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

beach_terror wrote:I'm not going to hijack this thread, but if you had some statistics on how well people do with 75-100% tuition scholarships in terms of class rank, then I'd love to see the data. Since you don't, you're just blowing hot air. You have no backing for your claim, and nobody can ever say with certainty that they'll finish in the top 10%.

Probabilities and Random Process isn't about certainty. If it is, then its neither probably nor random.

If one is looking at a guassian distribution:

Given the fact that OP has to be several standard deviation above means, it is quite "PROBABLE" that he/she will remain in that group in 1L.

In term of mathematic probabilties, i have backing for my claim. IN fact, anyone with a basic grasp of mathematics would find my bet reasonable.

samiam123

Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:07 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

Thanks for the responses guys, i didn't mean in any way to start a probabilities war but I do appreciate the hike in confidence. In any event, I guess I need to decide what I want to do exactly with a law degree, Ive completed all the sciences and have a strong biochemistry background so patent law is a good possibility. Again, thanks for the responses.

beach_terror

Posts: 7920
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

While LSAT/GPA are the best indicators for success in law school, there's absolutely no chance you can rely on those figures to predict performance like you are. For all the math you throw around, you seem to forget or maybe just don't know, how subjective the grading can be between the top 10% and the top 25%, then 50%, so on and so forth. Even if they have a decent probability of doing well, I'd never take the bet. It's just moronic. Everyone on this website will probably agree with me. You have to go to a school you'll be happy graduating at median at, because that's about the best you can accurately predict.

Actually, if I could bet against everyone who thinks they'll be top 10% of their class, I'd be pretty goddamn rich. I'd bet against every time, and I'd come out on top way more often than I'd lose.

Edit: While I have no formal math background, wouldn't any amount of subjectivity in grading severely damage a prediction curve like that, even if it was 100% accurate objectively?

SandyC877

Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:27 am

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

yea, just respond with no.
Last edited by SandyC877 on Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigFatPanda

Posts: 319
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:47 am

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

beach_terror wrote:While LSAT/GPA are the best indicators for success in law school, there's absolutely no chance you can rely on those figures to predict performance like you are. For all the math you throw around, you seem to forget or maybe just don't know, how subjective the grading can be between the top 10% and the top 25%, then 50%, so on and so forth. Even if they have a decent probability of doing well, I'd never take the bet. It's just moronic. Everyone on this website will probably agree with me. You have to go to a school you'll be happy graduating at median at, because that's about the best you can accurately predict.

Actually, if I could bet against everyone who thinks they'll be top 10% of their class, I'd be pretty goddamn rich. I'd bet against every time, and I'd come out on top way more often than I'd lose.

Edit: While I have no formal math background, wouldn't any amount of subjectivity in grading severely damage a prediction curve like that, even if it was 100% accurate objectively?

Most people on this website will agree with you because they are just regugitating from other people: if the school in question != T14, then retake LSAT. if OP is thinking about transferring, then he/she must reconsider because its hard. While this is generally the case, however, this is without taking into consideration the specific factors in every case IF it is blindly apply in every scenario that is being thrown out.

Further, accuracy and precision is a matter of fantasy in the world of math and engineering. What the above mathematical function shows that for every collection of data / sampling points out there, be it LSAT or 1L grades, a guassian function closely models it in real world. That is, given a mean and a certain standard deviation, those who perform above said mean in one scenario (for ex. LSAT), is reasonably expected to perform just as well in another scenario (1L grade), if the guassian function is use to model both.

As unpredictable as law school grading is, there is a mandatory curve that dictates the median of the class: that is, every professor must grade the class on the basis of this median. Thus, to each individuals, it may very well be unpredictable. However, from a probabilistic perspective, mathematical function is still applicable. Here, the model is never meant to accurately predict anything, it is to model the most likely/reasonable outcome.

Suppose St. John's 1L median LSAT is X and 1L median is Y. OP's LSAT is X1, which is 2 standard deviations above X. While i agree that LSAT does not accurately predict OP's performance in 1L, however, it is still mathematically reasonable to expect OP to perform 2 standard deviations above Y or else the basis upon which Law school admissions admits applicants objectively will be annihlated. Is it possible that OP COULD underperform? sure, anything possible. Its not likely. Given the statistical probabilities, i am willing to bet, to gamble, to take the risk that OP will probably be very successful at St. John.

You have to go to a school you'll be happy graduating at median at

"You have to"? Who makes you the boss? No one has to do anything. However, everyone is "recommended" to go the best school he/she can get into or the school that would leave one with zero debt, given their preferences.

The main issue of this thread is "whether or not a full ride at St. John be turn down". I never suggested OP has to go to St. John. Rather, i suggested options that could optimize returns. Here, the fact that OP got a Full Ride indicates OP is someone with strong credentials and great probability for success. Thus, i drew a reasonable conclusion or prediction that OP will do very well in school. On the basis of this prediction, i offer him/her reasons why he/she should consider St. John as a possibility.

whuts4lunch

Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:54 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

at one T2 I know of, 82% of the scholarship students, most of whom have only partial scholarships, rank in the top 1/3

beach_terror

Posts: 7920
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

I have a really bad headache right now because of some annoying kid that wouldn't shut up at work. I'm not going try to respond to those math concepts, because I don't understand them. I'd just like to point out:

Thus, i drew a reasonable conclusion or prediction that OP will do very well in school.

You made a much stronger prediction, which is what I made my bet against. If you said top 1/3, I probably wouldn't take it because it's much easier to be in the top 33%, than it is the top 10%. Is he, statistically, a good candidate? Yes. However, I just don't see ever being able to guarantee that the op will be in that coveted top 10%. Statistics are statistics, but someone who slacked on the LSAT and slacked in UG still could decide to start trying in law school, which is something that little chart can't really account for.

Let's compare it to my GF and I. I'm technically in that +SD range you're talking about and she's in the median range, but she's still smart. She just didn't do well on the LSAT. Does that mean that I'm destined to comfortably sit above her in LS just because of that?

I honestly see where you're coming from a bit better, but 10% is still too risky to bet on. He has the highest probability of being there in relation the other applicants I guess, but that's too theoretical. The real world doesn't operate that precisely, especially with human error. It's reasonable to assume he'll be above average, but not that far.

slowmo2385

Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:34 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

Visit first. I had the same question until I saw what a dump it is, and I'm pretty sure it will take full tuition + COL for me to consider it again.

bgdddymtty

Posts: 696
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:59 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

beach_terror, let's treat this like LSAT LR (i.e. let's think about this like lawyers). Here's the argument BigFatPanda is making, with all of the implicit assumptions:

FACT: OP has received a full-ride scholarship offer from St. John's.

ASSUMPTION (Probably verifiable as fact): St. John's makes its scholarship offers to applicants with the highest admission indexes (combinations of LSAT/UGPA).

ASSUMPTION: In order to be offered a full ride scholarship, a student must be several (at least two) standard deviations above the mean of all students who will actually enroll at St. John's.

FACT: Assuming Gaussian (aka normal) distribution, an incidence falling at least two standard deviations above the norm will be in at least the 97.8th percentile for that distribution. (See the chart in BFP's earlier post.)

FACT: Studies have shown LSAT and UGPA to be the best available predictors of law school success.

CONCLUSION: It is likely that OP will rank in the top 10% (i.e. at or above the 90th percentile) in his class should he choose to attend St. John's.

As I see it, the two most tendentious parts of the argument are the two italicized portions. The first one, however, is irrelevant so long as we can safely assume that most of those who are accepted to St. John's but choose not to attend do so because they got in at a higher-ranked school. That would mean that they were probably near the top of the St. John's accepted applicant pool, and their absence therefore makes it easier to rank near the top of the class. If, on the other hand, a factor such as the current state of the economy leads a critical mass of students to attend the best school that will offer them significant money, it's possible that the average (in terms of admission index) St. John's admit will choose to go to a lower-ranked school for the money, and the top SJU admits that also got in at higher-ranked schools will go to St. John's for the money. In this latter case, the distribution gets thrown off, and ranking highly at St. John's becomes tougher than expected.

The second italicized portion seems to present the greatest potential weakness in BFP's argument. We know that admission indexes predict law school success better than any other available tool, but I don't know if we know exactly how well they do so. It would be helpful to know the correlation coefficient (the percent change in Y caused by a change in X; 1 is perfect correlation, while 0 indicates no correlation whatsoever) between the two. (By the way, your argument about capricious grading is legitimate, but it is already accounted for within this correlation.)

Thus, if (1) the class makeup is as expected and (2) the admission index is actually a strong predictor of class ranking, BigFatPanda is correct that it is a "good bet" (i.e. statistically likely) that someone in OP's position would rank in the top 10% of his St. John's class.

D. H2Oman

Posts: 7446
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:47 am

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

dynomite wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:One other thing to mention - lower ranked schools are not as portable, so with St. Johns, you better have no qualms about practicing in NY/NJ area for the rest of your life.

This is silly. Jeez -- sometimes you get the sense on Top-Law-Schools that unless you got to one of the Top 20 schools in the country you might as well give up on your career, move to Aruba and get your bartender's license. (Although that might not be such a bad idea generally...)

To bring some sanity to this thread, here are some notable St. John's alumni:

Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York
Charles Rangel, current U.S. Congressman from New York
Harvey Pitt, former Chairman of the SEC
George Deukmejian, former Governor of California
William Casey, former Director of the CIA

Will it be as easy to go into BigLaw, Congress or other high-powered jobs from St. John's as it would be from, say, Harvard? Probably not. But it's certainly possible.

lol

DEANBIGBROTHERALMI-T

Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:13 pm

### Re: can i really turn down a free ride?

have this same free ride to St.J's.

im deciding between full ride here or sticker to william and mary.

im from NYC, want to stay in NYC but im scared about the career prospects coming from St. Johns. However, a full ride is mighty tempting. it provides a flexibility that W&M doesn't provide.

im leaning towards going to st.john's, but i still have to visit both schools.

i feel in this market coming out with 0\$ in debt, and COL being low since i can still live at home if i need to might be hard to turn down.

also considering i am going to law school for the degree, not to work for cravath or some similar big top tier law firm and would be satisfied at a midsize law firm in NYC, st.j's is looking really good for me.