HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

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abitaman6363
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HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby abitaman6363 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:55 pm

I have heard fractured pieces of information regarding the various grading schemes at Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Can anyone tell me the biggest differences in each? Also do the grading systems at one make it more/less likely to rank students than another?

Thanks!

dissonance1848
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Re: HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby dissonance1848 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:01 pm

Yale has passes and honors, which are given out pretty equitably, so there is no real class rank there. if someone gets a few more honors to passes than typically, they are V10 and up secure.

Stanford has demarcations for top 30%, then middle and bottom. However, because Stanford is so small (about 10% smaller than Yale), and so many self select for staying in California and going into academia, other non biglaw, they are a hot commodity. The two new Wachtell partners from last year were Harvard and Stanford, while more people made partner in absolute numbers from Stanford than any other law school last year.

Harvard claims it doesn't have formal grades, but if you read Harvard law student forums on here, they do, with points assigned for Dean Scholar, High Honors, Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Also, Harvard has a pretty big class too. So, the students, even though they are at Harvard, are hurt by how Harvard does grades.

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im_blue
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Re: HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby im_blue » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:53 pm

dissonance1848 wrote:Yale has passes and honors, which are given out pretty equitably, so there is no real class rank there. if someone gets a few more honors to passes than typically, they are V10 and up secure.

Stanford has demarcations for top 30%, then middle and bottom. However, because Stanford is so small (about 10% smaller than Yale), and so many self select for staying in California and going into academia, other non biglaw, they are a hot commodity. The two new Wachtell partners from last year were Harvard and Stanford, while more people made partner in absolute numbers from Stanford than any other law school last year.

Harvard claims it doesn't have formal grades, but if you read Harvard law student forums on here, they do, with points assigned for Dean Scholar, High Honors, Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Also, Harvard has a pretty big class too. So, the students, even though they are at Harvard, are hurt by how Harvard does grades.

It sounds like Y > S > H for job prospects.

DeepSeaLaw
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Re: HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby DeepSeaLaw » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:47 am

im_blue wrote:
dissonance1848 wrote:Yale has passes and honors, which are given out pretty equitably, so there is no real class rank there. if someone gets a few more honors to passes than typically, they are V10 and up secure.

Stanford has demarcations for top 30%, then middle and bottom. However, because Stanford is so small (about 10% smaller than Yale), and so many self select for staying in California and going into academia, other non biglaw, they are a hot commodity. The two new Wachtell partners from last year were Harvard and Stanford, while more people made partner in absolute numbers from Stanford than any other law school last year.

Harvard claims it doesn't have formal grades, but if you read Harvard law student forums on here, they do, with points assigned for Dean Scholar, High Honors, Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Also, Harvard has a pretty big class too. So, the students, even though they are at Harvard, are hurt by how Harvard does grades.

It sounds like Y > S > H for job prospects.


I'm going to SLS next year so I'm all for Stanford trolling, but I think this oversimplifies a lot. In terms of just getting a good job -- yes, it seems like Stanford is probably "safer" than Harvard, since they have to place less than a third as many students with a wide geographic spread, and there aren't any Low Passes on transcripts. But even though Stanford has a ton of prestige, there are still a lot of powerful lawyers and judges out there (mostly but not exclusively old-school East Coasters) who don't view Stanford as being on the same level as Yale and Harvard. Also, HLS gives top students more of a chance to distinguish themselves: everyone knows that getting onto the Harvard Law Review is much harder than getting on the Stanford Law Review, and although top 10-20% at Stanford is a pretty sweet place to be, I think I'd rather be top 10-20% at Harvard for pretty much anything except West Coast firms, certain public interest organizations, and IP boutiques.

I chose Stanford over Harvard and don't regret it one bit, but I always wince a little whenever I see the "Y>S>H" meme.

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BruceWayne
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Re: HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:53 am

DeepSeaLaw wrote:I'm going to SLS next year so I'm all for Stanford trolling, but I think this oversimplifies a lot. In terms of just getting a good job -- yes, it seems like Stanford is probably "safer" than Harvard, since they have to place less than a third as many students with a wide geographic spread, and there aren't any Low Passes on transcripts. But even though Stanford has a ton of prestige, there are still a lot of powerful lawyers and judges out there (mostly but not exclusively old-school East Coasters) who don't view Stanford as being on the same level as Yale and Harvard. Also, HLS gives top students more of a chance to distinguish themselves: everyone knows that getting onto the Harvard Law Review is much harder than getting on the Stanford Law Review, and although top 10-20% at Stanford is a pretty sweet place to be, I think I'd rather be top 10-20% at Harvard for pretty much anything except West Coast firms, certain public interest organizations, and IP boutiques.

I chose Stanford over Harvard and don't regret it one bit, but I always wince a little whenever I see the "Y>S>H" meme.


Perfect, and I mean perfect summary of the job prospect comparison between Harvard and Stanford. Where are all these smart, normal, down to earth posters coming from? First it was the guy who started the curmudgeon thread and now this person. This answer just needs to be reposted every time someone asks the question about job prospects between HYS.

One thing that he highlighted that is surprisingly rarely mentioned on here is just how good it is to be at Harvard on Harvard Law Review. Being at Harvard and grading onto law review might be the safest position to be in from any law school in the country.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: HYS: What are the differences in grading systems?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:09 am

dissonance1848 wrote: Harvard claims it doesn't have formal grades, but if you read Harvard law student forums on here, they do, with points assigned for Dean Scholar, High Honors, Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Also, Harvard has a pretty big class too. So, the students, even though they are at Harvard, are hurt by how Harvard does grades.


blatant anti-HLS grade trolling :P

Gross over-simplification (and partially wrong too). While Harvard does have Dean Scholar, High Pass, Pass, and Low Pass, there is no 'high honors' -- furthermore, DS and LP are both discretionary grades that are given out to like the top 1-2% and to the bottom 8%ish or less, respectively. You could easily have a class where neither is given out for that semester. Roughly 35% get HP, rest get P.

So yes, grades can somewhat affect your job prospects, but it is nowhere near even a non +/- GPA system.




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