this may be a stupid question but...

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dpk711
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this may be a stupid question but...

Postby dpk711 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:24 pm

seriously though... I know going to a top ranked school is important, but so is graduating in the top of you class. My question is that is choosing a more prestigious school that important if you know you will only graduate around the top 50% of the class when you could go to a semi-prestigious school and graduate in the top 10%?

Example:
You get accepted to Columbia but since everyone is smarter (I'm assuming because of higher LSATs and GPAs) you end up graduating only top 50% of the class. On the other hand, if you chose to go to say Cornell (still a good school) you could've graduated top 5%.

Which of the following would be better for job prospects? I am inclined to say top 5% at Cornell and this is not to mention that Cornell would have probably given you a nice scholly as well...

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joemoviebuff
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby joemoviebuff » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:25 pm

Bad assumption is bad.

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Kabuo
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby Kabuo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:32 pm

Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.

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dpk711
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby dpk711 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:36 pm

Kabuo wrote:Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.


I realize my hypotheticals may have been exaggerated for the purpose of the discussion... but the general logic still stands -- do you go to a lower ranked school just because you have a higher chance of graduating at the top of your class?

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im_blue
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby im_blue » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:43 pm

dpk711 wrote:
Kabuo wrote:Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.


I realize my hypotheticals may have been exaggerated for the purpose of the discussion... but the general logic still stands -- do you go to a lower ranked school just because you have a higher chance of graduating at the top of your class?

no

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ahduth
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby ahduth » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:44 pm

dpk711 wrote:
Kabuo wrote:Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.


I realize my hypotheticals may have been exaggerated for the purpose of the discussion... but the general logic still stands -- do you go to a lower ranked school just because you have a higher chance of graduating at the top of your class?


No. You go to a lower ranked school if they give you cash.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:51 pm

Not that stupid a question but it is one that comes up every other month. I think in order for this to work you would have to go so far down the rankings that being top 10% wouldn't matter. Top 5% at Cornell would have been Top 5% at Columbia. You really think a two or three point difference on the LSAT means someone is 10 times less intelligent or good at law school exams? Also, believe it or not smart people go to lower ranked schools all the time for lots of different reasons.

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JazzOne
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby JazzOne » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:54 pm

dpk711 wrote:
Kabuo wrote:Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.


I realize my hypotheticals may have been exaggerated for the purpose of the discussion... but the general logic still stands -- do you go to a lower ranked school just because you have a higher chance of graduating at the top of your class?

You have no idea what your chances are of finishing at the top of the class. Even if you're smart and you're a hard worker, shit happens. This is exactly why people advise others to go to the highest ranked school. That way, if they underperform, they still have the benefit of the school's reputation.

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bergg007
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby bergg007 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:58 pm

JazzOne wrote:
dpk711 wrote:
Kabuo wrote:Ok, so on the basis of lower LSAT scores, you think that a median student at CLS could have been top 5% at Cornell? I think you're greatly overestimating the difference in student quality. Also, if you really believe this is true, then there's no choice here: go to Cornell.


I realize my hypotheticals may have been exaggerated for the purpose of the discussion... but the general logic still stands -- do you go to a lower ranked school just because you have a higher chance of graduating at the top of your class?

You have no idea what your chances are of finishing at the top of the class. Even if you're smart and you're a hard worker, shit happens. This is exactly why people advise others to go to the highest ranked school. That way, if they underperform, they still have the benefit of the school's reputation.



TITCR

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Ragged
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby Ragged » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:40 pm

I don't think its worth it, unless alot of money is involved.

whymeohgodno
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby whymeohgodno » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:59 pm

You do realize EVERY school even TTT ones have kids that are well above medians and going there just because they got a full ride.

So you won't easily get top 10% anywhere. Also if you can get top 10% at any of the t20 or so schools you're probably smart enough to get near the top of your class anywhere.

CanadianWolf
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:03 pm

A great deal of emphasis is placed on first year grades for SA positions & , of course, law review. Thus, the better question may be one based on class standing at the end of the first year of law school.

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acrossthelake
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Re: this may be a stupid question but...

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:26 pm

Nightrunner wrote:
Richard H. Sander wrote:Predictive indices (like the LSAT/UGPA index I have used in Parts II and III) don’t predict very well. The correlation (usually denoted by “r”) of such indices with first-year law school grades at individual schools ranges from about .25 to .50. The square of the correlation coefficient (the “r2”) describes how much of the variation in the outcome variable (in this case first-year grades) is explained by the measurement variable (in this case the academic index). Since the squares of 0.25 and 0.50 are, respectively, 0.0625 and 0.25, one can argue that these predictive indices are only explaining 6% to 25% of the individual variation in law school performance. If that’s as good as the indices are at predicting first-year grades, presumably they are even less able to predict more distant events—third-year grades, bar exam results, or future careers.

...

Correlations based on individual behavior almost always sound unimpressive, largely because individuals are extremely complex and their behavior is shaped by a literal multitude of factors. Even though we know cigarette smoking causes cancer and takes years off the average smoker’s life, the individual-level correlation between smoking and longevity is only about .2 (generating an r2 of 4%). Even though we know that the opportunities we have in life are heavily shaped by the environment in which we grow up (and by our genes), the correlation between the incomes of adult brothers is also only about .2.

In such cases, the modest strength of the individual correlation belies what is, when applied to large numbers, a powerful and highly predictive association. The fate of individual cigarette smokers is hard to predict, but the comparative fates of large numbers of smokers and nonsmokers can be foreseen with great accuracy. In the same sense, the individual-level correlation of an academic index with first-year grades at a law school may be only .41; but if we make predictions about groups of twenty students based on academic indices, the correlation between predictions and actual performance jumps to .88. If we make predictions about groups of one hundred students, the correlation is .96.


tl;dr - LSAT/UGPA is a useful predictor on aggregate, but means remarkably less on an individual level.


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