Why does Boalt admissions treat LSAT this way?

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on_ne_sait_jamais
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby on_ne_sait_jamais » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:41 pm

im_blue wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
im_blue wrote:I agree that Boalt has a retarded viewpoint, but you've also got to understand their motives here. After affirmative action was banned in CA, Boalt emphasized their holistic admissions even more in order to keep their URM numbers up. Not surprisingly, this holistic evaluation favors GPA and softs over LSAT, which in their view is biased not only against applicants who didn't/couldn't take prep courses, but URMs as a whole.


I don't buy the "holistic because of URM" issue. They clearly have different cut offs for URMs and non URMs.

State law forbids AA, so they have to have something plausible to justify their decisions in case they get sued again and/or get a FOIA request.


Right, so a white chick (no super amazing softs) with a 161/162 would have no chance of getting into Boalt... And a lesser chance of finishing in (reasonable estimate, top 10% of 1L class, won a few top grades awards), yup and there's zero chance that this white chick didn't just finish 1L year at Boalt...

Douchebag

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Shaggier1
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Shaggier1 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:26 pm

The Dean's response: "If an applicant has a high GPA and low LSAT, that applicant should also send his or her SAT- if the applicant has the history of not being the best test-taker, we'll take that in consideration. The high LSAT/low GPA case is less convincing to me- since that person could of easily taken a prep course."


I don't see what is so shocking about this statement. The Dean is simply saying that the LSAT is highly learnable and, since prep resources are abundant, Boalt considers it to be less of a reliable indicator of potential to succeed in law school than GPA, which is indicative of a more sustained commitment--exactly the type of commitment necessary for law school success.

Can we blame them not being thrilled about candidates who perform well on the indicator that means less to them and (relatively) poorly on the indicator that they value highly? Make sense to me...

Besides, they are obviously doing something right (and therefore maybe not entirely "retarded") if they continue to produce some of the world's greatest attorneys year after year:

"...15 of the top 100 lawyers in California are Boalt alumni. Law and Politics' Super Lawyers magazine ranks Boalt as #9 in the country, just above Yale Law based on the amount of Super Lawyers it produces. 890 alumni are in their list of the top 5% of peer rated attorneys for 2009."

And, though admittedly a more subjective measure, I have to say that I was consistently impressed with the choices Boalt admissions made when I met my future classmates at Admitted Students Weekend.... some of the most well-rounded, engaged and intelligent people I think I will ever meet.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby 005618502 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:06 pm

Dr. Strangelove wrote:I was reading a book on law school admissions at Borders and saw some quotes about splitters from deans.
Some were positive and reassuring (e.g: UVA (which gave valid reasons as to why a GPA or LSAT could be low), Northwestern (which basically said WE trumps low GPA).)
Boalt's response made me wonder if its Dean of Admissions holds a grudge because he didn't do well on the LSAT.

The Dean's response: "If an applicant has a high GPA and low LSAT, that applicant should also send his or her SAT- if the applicant has the history of not being the best test-taker, we'll take that in consideration. The high LSAT/low GPA case is less convincing to me- since that person could of easily taken a prep course."
(Note: Not quoted verbatim but this is the jist of what he said.)

No matter how I do on the LSAT, I didn't take any prep course. Based on this dean's logic, should I go and write an addendum about how I didn't take a prep course to get my LSAT score? :roll: As far as I was concerned, that was his reasoning to why he doesn't like high LSAT/low GPA splitters.. he might have been misquoted in Ivey's book- but I don't think so. I believe that people can be this dumb.

Boalt is an incredible law school and anything I read about its environment makes me enthusiastic about the school- too bad the admissions process is so shitty.

P.S: The addendum comment was sarcastic, I don't think it'd help me get into Boalt.


Yayyyyy that is oficially my new favorite Dean. And i now agree with everything he stands for.

Thanks for the info btw

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:07 pm

ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby 005618502 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:09 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.


Well is not the correct word. Boalt is worshiped by people who couldnt do amazing on the LSAT. 165-168 (people that take advantage of this) did well on the LSAT just not in the 99th%

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby keg411 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:39 pm

Nightrunner wrote:As I read it, the Dean is saying basically "some people consistently outperform their standardized test placements, and if you can prove that you're one of them then we'll put less credence upon your standardized test score."

I see the arguments against this, but I don't think they're very good.


When phrased this way it makes complete sense. However, Boalt is known as a reverse-splitter school. They will take 4.0's with very low LSAT's. They're kind of like Northwestern's opposite (though NW will take reverse-splitters to balance their extreme splitters, just not with as low LSAT's as Berk).

Anyway, as DF said, the only way for people who did crappy in undergrad to make up for their GPA's (no matter how long they've been out of school) is LSAT score. I wish there was something else, as my cycle may have gone better, but there isn't.

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Shaggier1
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Shaggier1 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:43 pm

ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.


Or people who could not get into Boalt bash its completely rational taste for high GPA's...

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feeblemiles
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby feeblemiles » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:50 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.


People that don't have amazing GPAs call Boalt retarded?

GPA and LSAT are both deeply flawed measures in their own ways. Relying on either measure will have some very qualified people fall through the cracks. From what I know, which is very little, Berkeley weights LSAT and GPA fairly evenly. Others rely more heavily on the LSAT and have good reasons to do so, but taking people that missed a few more logic games problems on a test is not as ridiculous as some of you seem to think it is.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:52 pm

feeblemiles wrote:
Holly Golightly wrote:ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.


People that don't have amazing GPAs call Boalt retarded?

GPA and LSAT are both deeply flawed measures in their own ways. Relying on either measure will have some very qualified people fall through the cracks. From what I know, which is very little, Berkeley weights LSAT and GPA fairly evenly. Others rely more heavily on the LSAT and have good reasons to do so, but taking people that missed a few more logic games problems on a test is not as ridiculous as some of you seem to think it is.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby 005618502 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:53 pm

I agree completly. People can bash Cal all they want but the fact is its still the 2nd best law school in CALI and will always be a T10 school.

In my opinion GPA is a better indicator of how one will do in Law school rather then LSAT being the best indicator. I dont have #'s or anything to back this up. But just as GPA is no indicator of undergrad... i dont think LSAT is that great of an indicator either (though maybe better then GPA)

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:55 pm

While I resent the prep course argument against people with high LSATs and feel that GPA isn't standardized enough to be used too heavily, I think it's good that some schools favor reverse-splitters. There really are some people who don't do standardized tests well and who can outperform their tests---I don't think there are enough of them that the entire T-14 should favor reverse-splitters(research does show, after all, that the LSAT is twice as good a predictor as the LSDAS GPA) over normal splitters, but it's good that there are one or two(Boalt and Stanford, what's with the west coast?!) who do so for those individuals...although I wish they weren't both on the West Coast since I like the West Coast and would like to go there(so much warmer...)

jt1341 wrote:I agree completly. People can bash Cal all they want but the fact is its still the 2nd best law school in CALI and will always be a T10 school.

In my opinion GPA is a better indicator of how one will do in Law school rather then LSAT being the best indicator. I dont have #'s or anything to back this up. But just as GPA is no indicator of undergrad... i dont think LSAT is that great of an indicator either (though maybe better then GPA)


Your opinion is actually wrong based on research about the entire population as a whole :wink: , but for some people GPA is a better indicator, and Boalt(/Stanford) is the school for them.




Some relevant research:
http://lsacnet.lsac.org/research/tr/Pre ... tudies.htm
Main result: LSAT+GPA > LSAT>GPA
http://lsacnet.lsac.org/research/rr/Uti ... ool-ES.htm
Interesting result: These are predictive for the cumulative law school GPA at the same level it is predictive for the first year grades, also looking at LSAT+GPA overpredicts performance of URMs.
Last edited by acrossthelake on Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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feeblemiles
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby feeblemiles » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:01 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:
feeblemiles wrote:
Holly Golightly wrote:ITT: People who couldn't do well on the LSAT worship Boalttt.


People that don't have amazing GPAs call Boalt retarded?

GPA and LSAT are both deeply flawed measures in their own ways. Relying on either measure will have some very qualified people fall through the cracks. From what I know, which is very little, Berkeley weights LSAT and GPA fairly evenly. Others rely more heavily on the LSAT and have good reasons to do so, but taking people that missed a few more logic games problems on a test is not as ridiculous as some of you seem to think it is.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Interview w/ Dean @ Boalt on TLS wrote:GPA vs. LSAT: One Weighted More?

Many law school applicants feel that they are reduced to the numbers within their LSAT score and GPA, and while at Boalt they take the entire student into consideration, these scores still do matter. But does one matter more than the other? Dean Tom addresses this question: “I know that there is a perception out there in the cyberspace world that we value GPAs a lot more than LSATs, and I’m not sure where people get that. Because if you look at our index formula, we are purposeful in weighting it so that GPA and LSAT are roughly equivalent. So, if I had to characterize our review process, it’s about one-third LSAT score, about one-third academic record – I prefer to call it academic record because GPA is just so narrow, whereas with academic record we consider all of the factors that impacted the GPA: work responsibilities, extra-curricular activities, rigor of major, and so on. The last third is the subjective factors -- what one says in their personal statement, and what others say about them in their letters of recommendation. So, no, I don’t think either of the two quantitative factors is more important than the other.”


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Bildungsroman
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:23 pm

ITT: People who dicked around during college criticize Berkeley for not weighting a single test test substantially more than 4+ years of academic performance.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:29 pm

Nightrunner wrote:I don't have the numbers handy, but I've seen them and it looks something like this:

PREDICTORS OF SUCCESS IN LAW SCHOOL:

LSAT/GPA combined >>>>> LSAT>>GPA.


LOL no.

LSAT/GPA>LSAT>GPA None of them are all that great.

However, law schools basically sort students into classes by LSAT. The middle 50 percentile at most law schools is within the margin of error for the LSAT. 170's are competing with 172-167. Of course the LSAT is not going to be accurate like that. This phenomenon is called range restriction.

If you randomly assigned applicants to law schools without regard to their LSAT, the LSAT would correlate much more highly to law school success.

Basically just because you have a 173, doesn't mean shit that your schools average last is 170. But if you were put into a T2, you'd do better. But even that isn't certain.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby keg411 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:31 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:ITT: People who dicked around during college criticize Berkeley for not weighting a single test test substantially more than 4+ years of academic performance.


:roll:

And in law school your grade for a course, which can greatly affect your employment outcomes for the rest of your life, is based on a single test.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:37 pm

keg411 wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:ITT: People who dicked around during college criticize Berkeley for not weighting a single test test substantially more than 4+ years of academic performance.


:roll:

And in law school your grade for a course, which can greatly affect your employment outcomes for the rest of your life, is based on a single test.


Sometimes based on a single test, but yes, I see your point. The two situations are totally analogous. :roll:

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby bigben » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:07 pm

Nightrunner wrote:I don't have the numbers handy, but I've seen them and it looks something like this:

PREDICTORS OF SUCCESS IN LAW SCHOOL:

LSAT/GPA combined >>>>> LSAT>>GPA.


It's more like

combination > LSAT >>>>>>> GPA

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Dr. Strangelove
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:22 pm

From reading some of the more recent posts, I feel a need to clarify my viewpoint.
I'm not saying that it's retarded that a school takes high GPA/low LSAT splitters and not the reverse.
I'm saying that Ed Tom's reasons for rejecting low GPA/high LSAT applicants seems kind of silly. (The prep course reason.. if I get a high LSAT score and decide to apply to Boalt (which I might- Ed Tom does not equal Boalt), I'm tempted to let the admissions board know explicitly that I didn't take a goddamn prep course to get my score.)
A lot of shit can happen over four years- events which lead to poor academic performance.

If he said, "We find that those with a high GPA and a low LSAT tend to do better in our law school than the reverse and that's why we place a greater emphasis on undergraduate GPA.." I'd say, "Okay, if that works for you- go ahead! This was well-thought out.", but he doesn't say that at all!!

The LSAT tests basic reasoning skills. If you get a lot of these questions wrong (if you can't even break 160)- it's a pretty good sign that you are probably not cut out to be a lawyer. You're not unique- go do something else with your goddamn life or enjoy a TTT future in law because even if you get into a top law school, law firms aren't exactly going to be as cushy when they realize you have inadequate reasoning skills or you're going to have work an insane amount to catch up to your smarter peers and even more if you want to come out on top.

Even if UGPA was a better indicator of law school performance than LSAT- it would likely be different depending on majors.

If you get a 159 on the LSAT and got a 4.0 as a Theater major (at least one from my UG, Theater is ridiculously easy where I go)- I wouldn't see any good reason to accept such an applicant- even though Mr. Tom might.

On the other hand, an applicant with a 159 on the LSAT with a 4.0 in Math or Physics would be a stronger applicant to me. It would tell me that applicant probably has strong reasoning skills even though his or her LSAT doesn't indicate so. Such a person would probably write an LSAT addendum explaining the discrepancy which would play a small role in deciding whether to take the applicant or not.

Yet again, I'll repeat what I said. I don't think Boalt's admissions policy is retarded- I think the reasoning of one specific guy on the admissions board to why they use such a policy is retarded.
Last edited by Dr. Strangelove on Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby feeblemiles » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:25 pm

For many people, I would bet that GPA is a pretty solid indicator of academic aptitude/potential. The biggest problems with GPA are grade inflation, different majors, the fact that it measures performance over an extended period of time (during which a person could have suffered a crisis, matured, etc.), and the possibility that a person has matured/developed since graduating from undergrad.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby bigben » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:30 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:ITT: People who dicked around during college criticize Berkeley for not weighting a single test test substantially more than 4+ years of academic performance.


The problem is that GPA is meaningless as an objective measure. Some colleges and programs are literally about as difficult as most middle schools. You have the 4.0 in basket-weaving from community college vs the 2.9 in engineering from a top school.

The LSAT, on the other hand, is a very objective measure. The most "retarded" thing here is the Dean's implication that prep courses are some silver bullet for the LSAT. There are no secrets revealed in prep courses. It's mostly just a venue for you to practice the LSAT. Any substantive information offered can be found in a widely available book or two. Getting a high LSAT is not really that learnable, though it does require a basic amount of preparation for almost everybody. By all accounts, the LSAT is probably the best standardized test out there.

Given the above, a low GPA combined with a high LSAT basically just means that the person didn't take college very seriously. They could have done well if they tried. The only question for LS admissions is whether this person is going to take law school and their legal career seriously. That's where the WE and PS and whatnot comes in. A reverse splitter might have a good case too, but it's a lot less likely.

Anyway, as others have noted, the Dean is probably just delivering the standard lines to justify practices which are AA-related. They can lower the LSAT requirements while upping the GPA to keep up the USNWR-gaming. It's kind of dumb to argue about the merits of his statements when you look at it that way.
Last edited by bigben on Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby feeblemiles » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:40 pm

Dr. Strangelove wrote:. . .

I don't think Boalt's admissions policy is retarded- I think the reasoning of one specific guy on the admissions board to why they use such a policy is retarded.
FWIW, that one specific guy makes the lion's share of admission decisions.

I think you have a fair point, but GPA (on closer examination) can be scrutinized to account for these things. Sure, the initial indexing that admissions does probably does treat the Theater major and the Math major the same, but on further review of the GPA percentile at the school (information LSAC includes) you can tease out some of these weaknesses in the true strength of a GPA.

LSAT, on the other hand, is just what it says it is: standardized. His point, I believe, is that the availability of expensive prep programs undercut this standardization to the detriment of people with less money or without access to people with experience on the test. While this board and other free resources are available, many people won't come across them. Hence the LSAT is (just like GPA) not perfectly standardized. Furthermore, its a bit harder to read between the lines of an LSAT score than a GPA.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby olanderp » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:03 pm

.
Last edited by olanderp on Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby bigben » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:17 pm

feeblemiles wrote:I think you have a fair point, but GPA (on closer examination) can be scrutinized to account for these things.


1) No, you really can't account for these things. There is just no way for admissions to know what the difficulty of any given theater or math program from thousands of schools across the country really might be, or how the GPA reflects performance in that program. Sure, they may use some very general guidelines about top schools and notorious programs. But that doesn't account for much.

2) There is no reason to believe they do account for this much even if they could. There is reason to believe that they just like high GPAs for USNWR purposes.

His point, I believe, is that the availability of expensive prep programs undercut this standardization to the detriment of people with less money or without access to people with experience on the test. While this board and other free resources are available, many people won't come across them. Hence the LSAT is (just like GPA) not perfectly standardized.


This is a terrible point.

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feeblemiles
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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby feeblemiles » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:26 pm

I think knowing that 4.0 GPAs are handed out like lollypops, which LSAC's reports do indicate helps admissions departments account for grade inflation to some extent.


The LSAT is perfectly standardized.

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Re: Is Boalt Admissions really this 'retarded'?

Postby im_blue » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:50 pm

feeblemiles wrote:
Interview w/ Dean @ Boalt on TLS wrote:GPA vs. LSAT: One Weighted More?

Many law school applicants feel that they are reduced to the numbers within their LSAT score and GPA, and while at Boalt they take the entire student into consideration, these scores still do matter. But does one matter more than the other? Dean Tom addresses this question: “I know that there is a perception out there in the cyberspace world that we value GPAs a lot more than LSATs, and I’m not sure where people get that. Because if you look at our index formula, we are purposeful in weighting it so that GPA and LSAT are roughly equivalent. So, if I had to characterize our review process, it’s about one-third LSAT score, about one-third academic record – I prefer to call it academic record because GPA is just so narrow, whereas with academic record we consider all of the factors that impacted the GPA: work responsibilities, extra-curricular activities, rigor of major, and so on. The last third is the subjective factors -- what one says in their personal statement, and what others say about them in their letters of recommendation. So, no, I don’t think either of the two quantitative factors is more important than the other.”

Dean Tom's quote was a disingenuous way of denying their relatively heavy weight on GPA, because they know that every other law school weighs the LSAT about 75-85%, while they weigh it about 60%. How else do you explain Berkeley's 5th highest GPA median (behind HYS and V), but 13th highest LSAT median (behind every T14 except Cornell)?
Last edited by im_blue on Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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