Liberal arts: waste of time?

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doubleluck
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Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby doubleluck » Wed May 19, 2010 12:58 pm

The general consensus among TLS-goers is that where you went to UG doesn't matter. But if getting into UG is so competitive, and the rankings are almost as important as they are for law school, why is this the case? How can a person who went to a top UG be on the same competitive plane as a person who went to a siginificantly lower ranked one?

(Let's assume these 'two people' got the same grades at their respective shools).

I'm asking mainly about top ranked liberal arts, because large universities have significant reach and brand power, so even if they're not ranked super high they are familiar and have good alumni networks. But what about top ranked liberal arts schools: small but prestigious schools like Swarthmore, Haverford, Reed, Oberlin and Bowdoin have little reach and very little brandname-power. So, given this and the fact that going to these schools doesn't have an effect on your law school applications, why do people even go to them?

I aks because I know some liberal arts grads and they are doing way worse in the job market because no one has heard of their schools, so I assumed they'd do better appying to grad school, but according to this site, not so much.
Last edited by doubleluck on Wed May 19, 2010 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueCivic
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby BlueCivic » Wed May 19, 2010 1:00 pm

You go to a good liberal arts school to get a good education and to be around smart and interesting people.

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holydonkey
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby holydonkey » Wed May 19, 2010 1:00 pm

to learn how to spell "waste"

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kittenmittons
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby kittenmittons » Wed May 19, 2010 1:01 pm

BlueCivic wrote:You go to a good liberal arts school to get a good education and to be around smart and interesting people.

Flame

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby quickquestionthanks » Wed May 19, 2010 1:03 pm

BlueCivic wrote:You go to a good liberal arts school [strike]to get a good education and[/strike] to be around smart and interesting people.


ftfy

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merichard87
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby merichard87 » Wed May 19, 2010 1:10 pm

This is a board aimed at future lawyers. For all intents and purposes UG doesnt matter for law school but people still go to high ranked Liberal Arts schools for a good Liberal Arts education.

acrossthelake
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed May 19, 2010 1:15 pm

Not all of them are aiming for law schools/knew they were going to apply to law schools/knew that the admissions process wouldn't care.

I don't attend a liberal arts school, but my thought process for selecting a school in the college admissions process was to go somewhere that was likely to give me a boost for at least some avenues if I ended up choosing it. I didn't even consider law school until the end of my freshman year.

doubleluck
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Re: Liberal arts: wast of time?

Postby doubleluck » Wed May 19, 2010 1:17 pm

merichard87 wrote:This is a board aimed at future lawyers. For all intents and purposes UG doesnt matter for law school but people still go to high ranked Liberal Arts schools for a good Liberal Arts education.


This doesn't really answer anything. What is "a good liberal arts education" and why is it better at a liberal arts college as opposed to the liberal arts college of a large university?

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Rock Chalk
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby Rock Chalk » Wed May 19, 2010 1:19 pm

.
Last edited by Rock Chalk on Wed May 16, 2012 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby quickquestionthanks » Wed May 19, 2010 1:20 pm

Oh, to actually answer your question...


The reason "it doesn't matter" is because law schools are pandering to the ratings system. The 25th to 75th percentile GPA categories are very important, so that means a Poli Sci major from ASU with a 3.9 and a 171 is a much more attractive candidate by the numbers than is a Math major from CalTech with a 3.6 and a 171.

However, UG does matter. It matters when comparing two similarly numbered candidates, and it matters for scholarships. Once the law school has decided to accept you, you can be darn sure they'll pursue you much harder if you're from a top UG because they recognize that you're more likely to be top talent having gone through the first filtering process of undergraduate admissions.

cavebat2000
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby cavebat2000 » Wed May 19, 2010 1:24 pm

[quote="doubleluck"]The general consensus among TLS-goers is that where you went to UG doesn't matter. But if getting into UG is so competitive, and the rankings are almost as important as they are for law school, why is this the case? How can a person who went to a top UG be on the same competitive plane as a person who went to a siginificantly lower ranked one?[quote]

Partially because undergrad rankings are a complete crock of sh!t.

doubleluck
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby doubleluck » Wed May 19, 2010 1:25 pm

Rock Chalk wrote:
doubleluck wrote:But if getting into UG is so competitive, and the rankings are almost as important as they are for law school, why is this the case? How can a person who went to a top UG be on the same competitive plane as a person who went to a significantly lower ranked one?

The rankings are almost as important for what? The ranking of an applicant's UG says very little about the quality of the applicant, so Law Schools use GPA and LSAT paired with resumes and personal statements to inform their own analysis. Makes perfect sense to me - if 2 people get the same grades on their respective schools, their LSAT, PS, and other credentials break the tie rather than their UGs.


I mean that they're important to the applicants. Extremely important. Do you not read the practically monthly articles in any major newspaper about how much of an effect the rankings have on people?

Just the same way that law school applicants want to get into the highest ranked school they can (with exceptions), so too does a UG applicant (and their parents!) want to get into the highest ranked school they can (with exceptions like $$$ or locale).

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Rock Chalk
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby Rock Chalk » Wed May 19, 2010 1:27 pm

.
Last edited by Rock Chalk on Wed May 16, 2012 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Fast_Fingers
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby Fast_Fingers » Wed May 19, 2010 1:33 pm

Obvious troll is failing. Liberal arts give you a chance to break free of the rote memorization that often characterizes undergrad education, forcing you to make and support your own arguments and fostering discussion. And at least for History there are still a lot of facts and events necessary to learn, though bullshit can still rear its head every now and then. It's handy for law school and life in general, aiming towards a flexible mind rather than one simply full of "facts".

/Williams College grad

doubleluck
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby doubleluck » Wed May 19, 2010 1:35 pm

Rock Chalk wrote:
doubleluck wrote:
Rock Chalk wrote:
doubleluck wrote:But if getting into UG is so competitive, and the rankings are almost as important as they are for law school, why is this the case? How can a person who went to a top UG be on the same competitive plane as a person who went to a significantly lower ranked one?

The rankings are almost as important for what? The ranking of an applicant's UG says very little about the quality of the applicant, so Law Schools use GPA and LSAT paired with resumes and personal statements to inform their own analysis. Makes perfect sense to me - if 2 people get the same grades on their respective schools, their LSAT, PS, and other credentials break the tie rather than their UGs.


I mean that they're important to the applicants. Extremely important. Do you not read the practically monthly articles in any major newspaper about how much of an effect the rankings have on people?

Just the same way that law school applicants want to get into the highest ranked school they can (with exceptions), so too does a UG applicant (and their parents!) want to get into the highest ranked school they can (with exceptions like $$$ or locale).

By and large, LS applicants (the ones I know) care for one reason - JOBS. If the UG rankings don't correlate at all (as you suggest) with jobs, then why care?


Ok, all the better. Ignore UG rankings. So all UGs are equal (within reason) for job prospects, grad school prospects, plus liberal arts have tiny networks and no one has heard of them. So why do people go there?? And why are they so coveted??

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smartin
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby smartin » Wed May 19, 2010 1:41 pm

My liberal arts Alma Mater produces a higher percentage of students who complete PhD programs than HYP, Michigan, or UCLA (to name a few non-liberal arts colleges). So, if you want to become a Professor or stay in academia, it is the way to go. Also, I had no trouble getting a job offer before graduation (but that was back in 2007).

(see: Weighted Baccalaureate Origins Study, Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, 2010)

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holydonkey
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby holydonkey » Wed May 19, 2010 1:42 pm

This thread is stupid.

wjnahill
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby wjnahill » Wed May 19, 2010 1:43 pm

As much as I hate to agree with a Williams grad, Fast Fingers is dead on.

Also, from a less idealistic perspective, most liberal arts schools have mad grade inflation, which will help you get into a top law school. Also, the students who can get into a top liberal arts school likely did very well on the SAT and will probably do very well on the LSAT.

Not sure what makes you think that liberal arts grads are not doing so hot in either the job market or law school apps. Most of my class (I'm class of '08) has done just fine with regards to employment and have absolutely cleaned up in their law school apps. That's just anecdotal evidence, and I can really only speak for Amherst, but I'm not sure how you got this impression of liberal arts schools.

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MC Southstar
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby MC Southstar » Wed May 19, 2010 1:43 pm

holydonkey wrote:This thread is stupid.


libarts is stupid

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holydonkey
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby holydonkey » Wed May 19, 2010 1:45 pm

MC Southstar wrote:
holydonkey wrote:This thread is stupid.
libarts is stupid
dolph lundgren is stupid

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MC Southstar
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby MC Southstar » Wed May 19, 2010 1:47 pm

holydonkey wrote:
MC Southstar wrote:
holydonkey wrote:This thread is stupid.
libarts is stupid
dolph lundgren is stupid

o'doyle rules.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby kittenmittons » Wed May 19, 2010 1:50 pm

holydonkey wrote:
MC Southstar wrote:
holydonkey wrote:This thread is stupid.
libarts is stupid
dolph lundgren is stupid
I must break you

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holydonkey
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby holydonkey » Wed May 19, 2010 2:01 pm

Image

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rdcws000
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed May 19, 2010 2:41 pm

Dinner tables around the world demand a high volume of interesting dinner guests. Liberal Arts schools feed this market.

Just kidding. In my experience, no degree program prepares a student for a job. I work for a Fortune 100 company full of dumb people from great schools, and great people from dumb schools. As for entrance to law school, I defer to the common sentiment on the board: UG institution has very little bearing on admission.

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rdcws000
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Re: Liberal arts: waste of time?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed May 19, 2010 2:51 pm

I realize I neglected to give my take on your question: Why do people go to them?

1. Because they are close to home
2. Because their parents went there
3. or Because they know their prospects won't be different leaving a brand name school, or a smaller LA school, so why not go someplace interesting with a diverse program to make themselves unique.




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