Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

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hjag
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Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby hjag » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:49 am

I was reading the Ivey Guide to Law School admissions, and she mentioned that LSAC only copies the FIRST PAGE of your transcript to include in your LSDAS report.

If that's the case, what's all this talk about law schools wanting to see you take challenging classes during college? After all, the first page of your transcript only include freshman grades...

Confused! Someone please enlighten me?

RPK34
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby RPK34 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:12 am

hjag wrote:I was reading the Ivey Guide to Law School admissions, and she mentioned that LSAC only copies the FIRST PAGE of your transcript to include in your LSDAS report.

If that's the case, what's all this talk about law schools wanting to see you take challenging classes during college? After all, the first page of your transcript only include freshman grades...

Confused! Someone please enlighten me?


Whoever told you they like to see challenging classes doesn't know what they're talking about. I'm not sure if it's true that they only copy the first page of admissions, but schools will probably only care about what major you took, and even that is really minor.

hjag
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby hjag » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:14 am

RPK34 wrote:
hjag wrote:I was reading the Ivey Guide to Law School admissions, and she mentioned that LSAC only copies the FIRST PAGE of your transcript to include in your LSDAS report.

If that's the case, what's all this talk about law schools wanting to see you take challenging classes during college? After all, the first page of your transcript only include freshman grades...

Confused! Someone please enlighten me?


Whoever told you they like to see challenging classes doesn't know what they're talking about. I'm not sure if it's true that they only copy the first page of admissions, but schools will probably only care about what major you took, and even that is really minor.


Actually, the dean of HLS said that when he came to visit my college. Also, Anna Ivey says that in her book too. Confused as heck, but whatever - I do believe the overall GPA matters most.

FiveSermon
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby FiveSermon » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:18 pm

Schools always lie.

goodcharles
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby goodcharles » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:45 pm

No No No! Only the number matters. From my experience, the number more than compensates for whatever your courses were.

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ahduth
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby ahduth » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:49 am

I believe they're able to see your entire transcript. The deans of Chicago, Penn and Michigan implied as much when they handed out three hypothetical applicants at a session they conducted. The application form looked like they could have doctored it or not - the rest of it, I feel fairly sure it was taken from actual applications.

Anna Ivey makes her living telling people alarming crap. I've never read anything of hers, but based on the comments we see on here she's the Fox News of law school admissions. If you actually want to know whether or not they see your entire transcript? Call the admissions office. They'll tell you, because lying to you doesn't really benefit them at all.

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kwais
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby kwais » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:02 am

people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.

hjag
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby hjag » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:34 am

I, too, am inclined to agree that they check the courseload. Just because if word broke out that they didn't (which it would), everybody would start taking the easy way out. Then again, people kind of already do, I feel.

And gosh, seriously? I didn't know that about Anna Ivey. She is often quoted around TLS though.

FiveSermon
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:19 am

kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


What is a "challenging course load"? That's the real problem there. The adcomms don't know if the 18 credits you took in English or Communication is harder than the 12 credits someone else took in chem or engineering. It's impossible to quantify which is why it's largely ignored unless it's completely blatant.

canuck
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby canuck » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:22 am

kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


+1

Schools accept and reject lots of people with the same #s. You want to be on the accept side of that split. I know I was, and I think much of it had to do with going to a challenging UG school and taking generally difficult course-loads. Of course your GPA is absolutely essential, but if you think you can get an A in a more difficult course with a little more effort, then do it.

canuck
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby canuck » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:25 am

FiveSermon wrote:
kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


What is a "challenging course load"? That's the real problem there. The adcomms don't know if the 18 credits you took in English or Communication is harder than the 12 credits someone else took in chem or engineering. It's impossible to quantify which is why it's largely ignored unless it's completely blatant.



Well it is definitely difficult to quantify, but you can get a general idea. For example, education courses are well-known to be silly easy. By contrast, in most good colleges political science As are very hard to come across. Also, if you are taking lots of courses aimed at 1st and 2nd year students in your final years that doesn't look good. And of course, if your transcript has averages on it that can be somewhat indicative of difficulty.

FiveSermon
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:29 am

canuck wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:
kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


What is a "challenging course load"? That's the real problem there. The adcomms don't know if the 18 credits you took in English or Communication is harder than the 12 credits someone else took in chem or engineering. It's impossible to quantify which is why it's largely ignored unless it's completely blatant.



Well it is definitely difficult to quantify, but you can get a general idea. For example, education courses are well-known to be silly easy. By contrast, in most good colleges political science As are very hard to come across. Also, if you are taking lots of courses aimed at 1st and 2nd year students in your final years that doesn't look good. And of course, if your transcript has averages on it that can be somewhat indicative of difficulty.


Well do adcomms want to really give so much weight to a "general idea" of whether someones course load was more difficult or not? I would argue against some of the notions you said regarding political science (I go to a decent school and it's a joke here, I'm a political science major). Also to intro courses in senior years that's a complete generalization that doesn't apply. I had to take 2 intro courses senior semester because I took too many 300+ courses early on and I needed at least 4 intro level courses to satisfy the major requirement. Do you really think adcomms would know all this?

hjag
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby hjag » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:56 am

FiveSermon wrote:
kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


What is a "challenging course load"? That's the real problem there. The adcomms don't know if the 18 credits you took in English or Communication is harder than the 12 credits someone else took in chem or engineering. It's impossible to quantify which is why it's largely ignored unless it's completely blatant.


But they should know that 16 credits in chem or engineering is certainly more difficult than 16 credit hours in English or poli sci. I attend a mostly science school, and I can only think of one person I've ever known who underloaded to 12 credit hours, but that was just for one semester.
Plus, I think just a glance at our transcripts should make it pretty obvious. Most my friends and I barely study for our nonscience classes and I have not gotten below an A in one. Ever. And I have taken courses in economics, English, anthropology, and philosophy from 100-400 levels. My science major friends feel the same way. On the other hand, we study our butts off to get between B-A in science classes.

I don't think any major is inferior or superior to another, I'd just like to point out that I'm surprised at how so many TLSers like to keep repeating the "all majors are the same" mantra. Some majors are just more difficult than others, and I'm sure any admissions officer recognizes that electrical engineering is more difficult than sociology. Just like ivy leaguers get a slight boost in law school admissions, I have known science majors getting into schools a bit out of their league in terms of #s. That includes T20s... and even T3s, fyi.

r6_philly
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby r6_philly » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:04 pm

I made sure I took 18-24 credits while in a difficult major to ensure that they know my load is challenging. If your major is soft, then they will perceive your course load to be easier.

That said, numbers matters first, difficulty 2nd. You will be compared with other similar GPAs only. A difficult 3.9 could beat out an easy 3.9, but will not beat out an easy 4.0. There is also the perception of grade inflation and academic vigor of the schools at play too. Bottom line, worry about your GPA 1st, difficulty 2nd.

To further complicate matters, the difficult majors are usually better for getting a job after graduation...

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Pricer
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby Pricer » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:51 pm

hjag wrote:Plus, I think just a glance at our transcripts should make it pretty obvious. Most my friends and I barely study for our nonscience classes and I have not gotten below an A in one. Ever. And I have taken courses in economics, English, anthropology, and philosophy from 100-400 levels. My science major friends feel the same way. On the other hand, we study our butts off to get between B-A in science classes.


At my UG, some science classes are separated. For example, there is an intro biology class for non-science majors and one for science majors. The one for non-science majors is intentionally easier than the other, as the one for the science majors is made difficult to weed out some of the students early on.

canuck
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Re: Do law schools see all the classes on your transcript?

Postby canuck » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:53 pm

FiveSermon wrote:
canuck wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:
kwais wrote:people around here really don't understand the numbers thing. Schools, especially top schools get more than enough apps with the numbers they want. An applicant with a challenging course load sets themselves apart from those with the same LSAT and GPA. Stop pretending it's either a numbers game or not. It's both.


What is a "challenging course load"? That's the real problem there. The adcomms don't know if the 18 credits you took in English or Communication is harder than the 12 credits someone else took in chem or engineering. It's impossible to quantify which is why it's largely ignored unless it's completely blatant.



Well it is definitely difficult to quantify, but you can get a general idea. For example, education courses are well-known to be silly easy. By contrast, in most good colleges political science As are very hard to come across. Also, if you are taking lots of courses aimed at 1st and 2nd year students in your final years that doesn't look good. And of course, if your transcript has averages on it that can be somewhat indicative of difficulty.


Well do adcomms want to really give so much weight to a "general idea" of whether someones course load was more difficult or not? I would argue against some of the notions you said regarding political science (I go to a decent school and it's a joke here, I'm a political science major). Also to intro courses in senior years that's a complete generalization that doesn't apply. I had to take 2 intro courses senior semester because I took too many 300+ courses early on and I needed at least 4 intro level courses to satisfy the major requirement. Do you really think adcomms would know all this?


No but you should consider adding addendums for such cases if they are extreme (that probably isn't). For example, the University of Toronto has these instructions on its website:

"An academic record is reviewed in some detail and applicants are expected to explain any anomalies in their records including false starts, fewer than five full courses over two terms, introductory courses taken in the third or fourth years of a program, and the reasons therefor."

As for poli sci, perhaps it is weaker at many schools, but here at McGill poli sci gives out the fewest As per student of any department (engineering and all).




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