How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

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MagnumLifeStyle
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How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby MagnumLifeStyle » Sat May 29, 2010 9:19 pm

The consensus seems to be that Yale and Stanford place more emphasis on soft factors (such as LORs, resumes, etc) than Harvard or other T-14 schools.

But how arbitrary is it? Is it like admissions to the undergrad, where countless valedictorians with perfect SAT Is and IIs and pages of extracurricular activities get rejected?

Or would you say that it is slightly more arbitrary than Harvard and other T-14 admissions?

In other words, would you say that while Yale does take into account the soft factors, its admissions is still based largely on numbers, and that the GPA-LSAT combination ultimately still decides the majority (at least 80%) of the cases?

Simply put, can an average (in terms of achievements) person with strong numbers (LSAC GPA: 3.85+ LSAT: 175+) still have a chance at Yale?

I was wondering if any successful/unsuccesful applicants to Yale can add his/her insights.

Thanks!

Mr. Pablo
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sat May 29, 2010 9:25 pm

I think when people say arbitrary, what they mean is that you need to have stellar numbers and an interesting set of 'softs', you need to have 'the whole package'. People just say arbitrary because there are no hard rules for 'softs', it's just lightly educated guesswork.

edit: I didn't even bother applying to Yale.

februaryftw
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby februaryftw » Sat May 29, 2010 9:46 pm

MagnumLifeStyle wrote:The consensus seems to be that Yale and Stanford place more emphasis on soft factors (such as LORs, resumes, etc) than Harvard or other T-14 schools.

But how arbitrary is it? Is it like admissions to the undergrad, where countless valedictorians with perfect SAT Is and IIs and pages of extracurricular activities get rejected?

Or would you say that it is slightly more arbitrary than Harvard and other T-14 admissions?

In other words, would you say that while Yale does take into account the soft factors, its admissions is still based largely on numbers, and that the GPA-LSAT combination ultimately still decides the majority (at least 80%) of the cases?

Simply put, can an average (in terms of achievements) person with strong numbers (LSAC GPA: 3.85+ LSAT: 175+) still have a chance at Yale?

I was wondering if any successful/unsuccesful applicants to Yale can add his/her insights.

Thanks!


Even in the top category for Yale--3.75+ GPA and 175+ LSAT--they had 215 or so applications and something like 100 acceptances a couple years back (too lazy to look it up, but this is LSAC chart data). So if your numbers are in this range, and you've applied, you are still only 50/50. You can't guarantee yourself an 80% shot at Yale by having great numbers.

On the other hand, there are literally thousands of applicants who have less than these numbers and have close to no shot at Yale--though Yale tends to pick up a few students with low numbers (for Yale anyways) every cycle. So in this sense, sure, more than 80% of most applicants are practically doomed before "softs" are even considered.

At Yale, GPA/LSAT is a huge hurdle you need to clear before the rest of the application is considered, but there are enough great numbers applicants who can clear this hurdle that these other factors do come into play.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sun May 30, 2010 12:15 am

februaryftw wrote:At Yale, GPA/LSAT is a huge hurdle you need to clear before the rest of the application is considered, but there are enough great numbers applicants who can clear this hurdle that these other factors do come into play.

As far as I can tell, TITCR. I think "arbitrary" is definitely the wrong word. Good numbers are (almost) a prerequisite, but out of that group they're not just throwing darts; they're picking the people who are more interesting, more motivated to achieve above and beyond, etc.

<-- unsuccessful Yale applicant. I have little to offer outside of work ethic and scholastic aptitude, and that's not the type of person Yale wants.

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EijiMiyake
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby EijiMiyake » Sun May 30, 2010 12:21 am

Arbitrary is probably not the right word, since I'm sure that Yale has a good idea of what they're looking for (and the rest of us really don't).

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bk1
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby bk1 » Sun May 30, 2010 12:27 am

It isn't the same as UG admissions merely due to volume. The proportion of top tier applicants to spots is not nearly as ridiculous as it is for UG admissions (as someone above noted, about 2 times as many qualified applicants as there are people in a Yale class).

blueballa
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby blueballa » Mon May 31, 2010 7:05 am

So I'm not an expert at this stuff by any means, but I was one of the lucky few who got into YLS with relatively low numbers (GPA below 25th percentile, LSAT slightly above 25th, non-URM), so I'll try and provide some insight. I think it would be safe to say that Yale places a greater emphasis on softs than most other schools -- I think that the long list of 175/3.95ish folks who got rejected can attest to that pretty well. I obviously can't know for sure why I got in, but I had some great leadership/volunteer experience and a personal statement that probably helped me stand out quite a bit.

As the folks above me said, YLS decisions are certainly not arbitrary -- there's definitely some method to their madness -- but they can't be predicted based on numbers alone. Most applicants who get in have something significant to offer in addition to their stellar numbers (although I can readily admit that I was admitted in spite of my numbers, not because of them). In that sense, I think that the admissions process is a little different than over at Harvard, which is a much larger school. HLS, due to its size, has the opportunity to admit a lot of people with great numbers and not many softs in addition to admitting people with somewhat lower numbers and more softs.

Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions. Best of luck with your applications!

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dutchstriker
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby dutchstriker » Mon May 31, 2010 8:23 am

I would definitely consider myself to be fairly average (if not below average) with respect to soft factors, and I got in off the waitlist. GPA below median and LSAT above 75th. They do take some normal people. (Although you could argue whether my LSAT score was normal.)

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adameus
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby adameus » Mon May 31, 2010 1:19 pm

I didn't apply to Yale, but my take on them is that they like students who write well. It appears that they put a lot of emphasis on the PS and the Yale 250. I think they care about the resume, but are more concerned with the quality of writing. I don't have a lot of fact to base this on, but it's just my take based on what I've read on their blog and who got in.

imchuckbass58
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon May 31, 2010 1:27 pm

In addition to what everyone else has said (numbers are necessary but not sufficient), I'd add that the reason that YLS admissions are considered so "random" is that there is no one set of things they are looking for.

YLS does its admissions differently from every other school. There are a few direct admits via the dean of admissions (ridiculously stellar applicants) and a lot of direct rejects, but the majority of applicants who are admitted get in through a faculty review process, where two professors rate an application according to whatever criteria they want to use. As you can imagine, different professors use different criteria. Some are very numbers focused. Some place a big emphasis on writing. Some want people with interesting backgrounds.

There is no real "admissions committee" and there is no fixed set of criteria used. This is part of the reason it's considered so random.

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dutchstriker
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Re: How Arbitrary is Yale Admissions?

Postby dutchstriker » Mon May 31, 2010 9:24 pm

adameus wrote:I didn't apply to Yale, but my take on them is that they like students who write well. It appears that they put a lot of emphasis on the PS and the Yale 250. I think they care about the resume, but are more concerned with the quality of writing. I don't have a lot of fact to base this on, but it's just my take based on what I've read on their blog and who got in.

I think I would agree with this. Like chuckbass said, you've got professors [I think it's three though, not just two] reading your files, so they would like to have good writers.




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