hard majors/ law school competitiveness

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margarita12
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hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby margarita12 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:37 pm

Some threads on here debating major difficulty and the potential bump it might give you in admissions have included biology/physics/chemistry/math along with engineering as a 'hard major.' Some people on these threads have also made the point that hard majors are a bump for two main reasons - one, because these top law schools want diversity even among majors, and two, because engineering majors are attractive candidates for IP law. The second point has been borne out many times from various LSN profiles I've seen; various engineering majors have applied successfully at YHS as candidates interested in IP.

I'm wondering why bio/chem/physics/math majors then get any bump, if at all. Math seems to me to be tougher than engineering, while the sciences seem to be easier than engineering, but none of these fields seem to be as applicable to IP law as engineering. Empirically, I have seen quite a few otherwise borderline math majors get bumped into reach schools on LSN, but haven't seen the same happen for bio/physics/chemistry majors.

Can anyone explain why/give additional information? Thanks!

margarita12
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby margarita12 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:49 pm

bump

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merichard87
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:55 pm

Math concepts are the basis of engineering but I wouldn't say its necessarily a harder major than engineering. Engineering is definitely harder than Biology/Chemistry, maybe not Physics depending on the program. And to answer your question I think it would depend more so on the person applying when you start thinking about Math majors. It will definitely get a second glance but you would probably need more on your resume to really make a statement. Just my opinion.

goodolgil
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby goodolgil » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:09 pm

What!? Who has said that hard majors get a bump because they're more applicable to IP law? Why would law schools give a damn about that?

lolalolalola
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby lolalolalola » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:28 pm

@ good olgil - because it makes for a more coherent, convincing background. as opposed to a very scatterbrained course of study/activities - for ex. a technical major and then a sudden interest in immigration law sounds somewhat unfocused

I agree that it depends on the program - physics or engineering can be more difficult than math. OP, I think there were a couple of profiles on LSN that were pure technical - like physics and math or bio and chem or just engineering - as well as some mixed ones, like philosophy and biology or sociology and neuroscience. These candidates seemed to fare well in admissions. I don't know if adcomms really take into account differences between the individual harder majors, but I do think there is a slight bump for technical/non-humanities or social science majors. In fact, I would say that from what I've seen, this bump might apply to philosophy too. As long as you're not trying to make polar opposites dovetail perfectly, I don't think adcoms will penalize you for exploring one area of (non law-related) interest and then deciding to apply to law school as long as you can provide a reasonable explanation.

luckycurl84
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby luckycurl84 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:44 pm

goodolgil wrote:What!? Who has said that hard majors get a bump because they're more applicable to IP law? Why would law schools give a damn about that?


I view it more as a positive/negative.
+
Looking to improve speciality IP rankings
Diversity of major
IP/Patent marketability (Improve % employed)

-
Generally lower GPA

To OP, it may be due to the 'internal ranking' of majors in IP/Patent circles. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but generally it's EE>>>ME=BME=ChE = Bio PhD=Chem PhD=Phys PhD>>>BS
Last edited by luckycurl84 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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merichard87
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:49 pm

goodolgil wrote:What!? Who has said that hard majors get a bump because they're more applicable to IP law? Why would law schools give a damn about that?


Schools give a damn because to work in patent prosecution you must have a technical background. If you work in a region where IP is booming but you don't admit any engineers/mathmeticians you are essentially cutting yourself off from the IP market. And since there are not a huge amount of STEM majors applying (as compared to LA/political science majors) this is a reason to let a splitter or a person with lower numbers in.

icydash
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:52 pm

margarita12 wrote:I'm wondering why bio/chem/physics/math majors then get any bump, if at all. Math seems to me to be tougher than engineering, while the sciences seem to be easier than engineering, but none of these fields seem to be as applicable to IP law as engineering.
[...]

Can anyone explain why/give additional information? Thanks!

Bio/chem/physics are all extremely applicable to IP law as well. Pharma companies need bio/chem based IP attorneys more than engineers. Patents cover a large umbrella, a lot of which is biology / chem based.

Physics majors tend to understand a lot of engineering concepts (EE / ME are mostly based on physics concepts, after all), and thus often prove to be just as useful for IP law as engineers.
Last edited by icydash on Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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merichard87
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:54 pm

The only problem with bio and chem majors is that those Pharm companies want to see PhDs or at least masters and WE so that makes a large portion of those majors less marketable for schools.

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Drake014
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby Drake014 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:55 pm

Majors are trivial matters to law schools. The bump, if any, is tiny.

icydash
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:57 pm

merichard87 wrote:The only problem with bio and chem majors is that those Pharm companies want to see PhDs or at least masters and WE so that makes a large portion of those majors less marketable for schools.

Is this true for IP law? If so, that's not the impression I got. I have always been told that they just want people who have an in-depth enough background to get the lingo/concepts that are being discussed (just like engineers). I was not under the impression ScMs or PhDs were necessary (though I'm sure they are looked upon favorably...)

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merichard87
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:59 pm

icydash wrote:
merichard87 wrote:The only problem with bio and chem majors is that those Pharm companies want to see PhDs or at least masters and WE so that makes a large portion of those majors less marketable for schools.

Is this true for IP law? If so, that's not the impression I got. I have always been told that they just want people who have an in-depth enough background to get the lingo/concepts that are being discussed (just like engineers). I was not under the impression ScMs or PhDs were necessary (though I'm sure they are looked upon favorably...)


Its true for many bio/chem majors unless the WE is there. Engineers (well EE/ChemE/ME/CompE) are usually good with just a bachelors.

Edit: For bio/chem you usually need advanced degrees/WE to get that in-depth background

icydash
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:03 pm

merichard87 wrote:
icydash wrote:
merichard87 wrote:The only problem with bio and chem majors is that those Pharm companies want to see PhDs or at least masters and WE so that makes a large portion of those majors less marketable for schools.

Is this true for IP law? If so, that's not the impression I got. I have always been told that they just want people who have an in-depth enough background to get the lingo/concepts that are being discussed (just like engineers). I was not under the impression ScMs or PhDs were necessary (though I'm sure they are looked upon favorably...)


Its true for many bio/chem majors unless the WE is there. Engineers (well EE/ChemE/ME/CompE) are usually good with just a bachelors.

Edit: For bio/chem you usually need advanced degrees/WE to get that in-depth background

Interesting. Learn something new every day.

tesoro
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby tesoro » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:10 pm

margarita12 wrote:Some threads on here debating major difficulty and the potential bump it might give you in admissions have included biology/physics/chemistry/math along with engineering as a 'hard major.' Some people on these threads have also made the point that hard majors are a bump for two main reasons - one, because these top law schools want diversity even among majors, and two, because engineering majors are attractive candidates for IP law. The second point has been borne out many times from various LSN profiles I've seen; various engineering majors have applied successfully at YHS as candidates interested in IP.

I'm wondering why bio/chem/physics/math majors then get any bump, if at all. Math seems to me to be tougher than engineering, while the sciences seem to be easier than engineering, but none of these fields seem to be as applicable to IP law as engineering. Empirically, I have seen quite a few otherwise borderline math majors get bumped into reach schools on LSN, but haven't seen the same happen for bio/physics/chemistry majors.

Can anyone explain why/give additional information? Thanks!


You're misinformed. There is no significant "bump" given to anybody. At the end of the day, if a school is forced to choose between two numerically identical candidates, a 3.0 in engineering is not necessarily indicative of a problem because there are 2.5-3 years of rigidly b- curved courses at a lot of engineering schools, whereas a 3.0 in political science is a huge indicator of a problem, and thus the engineering student would likely be chosen. That's the only bump of note.

While I'll agree that math may (or may not) be harder than engineering, math majors aren't subject to the "engineering curve" once they finish their calculus coursework. At least not at my UG. And that's why they typically have higher GPA in relation to class rank. And that's why they don't get any notable "bump."

Hope this helps.

edit: any math "bump" you've noticed that isn't given to the other majors you listed is more than likely coincidental. I highly doubt there's a representative sample on LSN of math majors who got "bumped" into reach schools.

margarita12
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby margarita12 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:16 pm

tesoro wrote:... math majors aren't subject to the "engineering curve" once they finish their calculus coursework.... And that's why they don't get any notable "bump."

...

edit: any math "bump" you've noticed that isn't given to the other majors you listed is more than likely coincidental. I highly doubt there's a representative sample on LSN of math majors who got "bumped" into reach schools.


Okay, so the consensus is that the "bump" is for sciences/engineering and not math? Another question: is the bump for sciences/engineering related to the proposed field of study - ie only for IP law - or just if you've taken the major?

goodolgil
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby goodolgil » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:17 pm

merichard87 wrote:
goodolgil wrote:What!? Who has said that hard majors get a bump because they're more applicable to IP law? Why would law schools give a damn about that?


Schools give a damn because to work in patent prosecution you must have a technical background. If you work in a region where IP is booming but you don't admit any engineers/mathmeticians you are essentially cutting yourself off from the IP market. And since there are not a huge amount of STEM majors applying (as compared to LA/political science majors) this is a reason to let a splitter or a person with lower numbers in.


That makes sense actually. Hadn't thought about the job market connection. But I think for a person to get that sort of a boost, they would actually have to show a commitment to IP law in their application, because not all hard science majors who go to law school are going to become patent lawyers.

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merichard87
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:21 pm

goodolgil wrote:
merichard87 wrote:
goodolgil wrote:What!? Who has said that hard majors get a bump because they're more applicable to IP law? Why would law schools give a damn about that?


Schools give a damn because to work in patent prosecution you must have a technical background. If you work in a region where IP is booming but you don't admit any engineers/mathmeticians you are essentially cutting yourself off from the IP market. And since there are not a huge amount of STEM majors applying (as compared to LA/political science majors) this is a reason to let a splitter or a person with lower numbers in.


That makes sense actually. Hadn't thought about the job market connection. But I think for a person to get that sort of a boost, they would actually have to show a commitment to IP law in their application, because not all hard science majors who go to law school are going to become patent lawyers.


You are correct good sir (or ma'am) but I'm sure there are not a huge amount of science majors that apply to law school who dont want to do IP law. Of course there are some but I doubt there are enough for it be a big deal.

tesoro
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby tesoro » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:24 pm

margarita12 wrote:
tesoro wrote:... math majors aren't subject to the "engineering curve" once they finish their calculus coursework.... And that's why they don't get any notable "bump."

...

edit: any math "bump" you've noticed that isn't given to the other majors you listed is more than likely coincidental. I highly doubt there's a representative sample on LSN of math majors who got "bumped" into reach schools.


Okay, so the consensus is that the bump is for sciences/engineering and not math? Another question: is the bump for sciences/engineering related to the proposed field of study - ie only for IP law - or just if you've taken the major?


The bump is entirely unrelated to IP law. Law school admissions officers do not care about whether their students are eligible for IP law. To the above posters: the ONLY part of IP law that requires an engineering/hard science degree is the tiny niche of patent prosecution. Any other IP work, be it patent, copyright, trade secrets, etc. is open to anyone of any background. A History major is perfectly capable of litigating a case related to patent rights on cellular technology, and is oftentimes preferred because he is more likely to be able to speak in layman's terms to a jury.

The reason why the (ever so slight) bump exists is because harsh curves exist in so called "hard science" coursework. An engineer who earned a 3.4gpa, for example, is probably going to be graduating cum laude. A math major might have to earn a 3.7 or 3.8 gpa to be in the same top x% of his class relative to his peers.

That's really all there is to it. If you got a 3.4 in political science, you're average. If you got a 3.4 in engineering, you did pretty darn good. So the engineering guy is picked over the poli sci/math/whatever LA major guy because he's less of a liability.

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BioEBear2010
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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby BioEBear2010 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:26 pm

I think the main reason science/engineering candidates get a bump in admissions because their GPAs tend to be lower than their non-science/engineering counterparts. Sure many engineers tend to go into IP law, but I don't think that law schools care that much about this.

Basically, tesoro beat me to it.

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Re: hard majors/ law school competitiveness

Postby 270910 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:59 pm

Drake014 wrote:Majors are trivial matters to law schools. The bump, if any, is tiny.


We're done here.




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