Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

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ComatoseClown
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Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby ComatoseClown » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:54 am

The saying is everywhere that soft factors like work experience, research experience, sports, awards, etc., don't really hold much weight for law admissions. Why is this? Yes the rankings are important and schools try to maximize their class's numbers to boost their ranking. But with thousands of applicants to law schools, especially T-14 law schools (and sure the total apps may have decreased this year, but still) why aren't soft factors weighted much more heavily? I mean it's not like even 50% of those several thousand applicants have numbers at the T-14 medians...why don't law schools (besides HYS) have more preference for well-rounded students with demonstrated ECs/passions/service/activities?

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tea_drinker
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby tea_drinker » Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:20 am

ComatoseClown wrote:The saying is everywhere that soft factors like work experience, research experience, sports, awards, etc., don't really hold much weight for law admissions. Why is this? Yes the rankings are important and schools try to maximize their class's numbers to boost their ranking. But with thousands of applicants to law schools, especially T-14 law schools (and sure the total apps may have decreased this year, but still) why aren't soft factors weighted much more heavily? I mean it's not like even 50% of those several thousand applicants have numbers at the T-14 medians...why don't law schools (besides HYS) have more preference for well-rounded students with demonstrated ECs/passions/service/activities?


B/c law schools train capable lawyers, not humanitarian or philanthropists, why should they want well-rounded students?

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Patriot1208
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:29 am

ComatoseClown wrote:The saying is everywhere that soft factors like work experience, research experience, sports, awards, etc., don't really hold much weight for law admissions. Why is this? Yes the rankings are important and schools try to maximize their class's numbers to boost their ranking. But with thousands of applicants to law schools, especially T-14 law schools (and sure the total apps may have decreased this year, but still) why aren't soft factors weighted much more heavily? I mean it's not like even 50% of those several thousand applicants have numbers at the T-14 medians...why don't law schools (besides HYS) have more preference for well-rounded students with demonstrated ECs/passions/service/activities?

You answered your own question.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Fred_McGriff » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:33 am

USNWR Rankings.

taxguy
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:46 am

I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.
Last edited by taxguy on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:47 am

taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case.

Taxguy, can you tell us what those GREAT soft factors were that your son has?

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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:50 am

It doesn't matter. Just take my word that he had some very strong soft factors including graduating top of his grad school class and writing a superlative personal statement He also had performance awards by two federal agencies among other factors. If you are really interested for edification reasons, you can PM me.

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kwais
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby kwais » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:53 am

Taxguy, do you plan on sitting in on interviews with your son too? Maybe you could bring his superlative personal statement to show the hiring partners.

1988AndX
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby 1988AndX » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:54 am

With exceptions (Rhodes, Fulbright, Olympic gold medal, etc.), how can you evaluate the quality of softs? Everyone has ECs/internships/volunteering activities. Can you say that being a tutor is more impressive than being a writer for the business journal? Is being a club president more impressive than being the president of a frat? It's hard to evaluate, since you don't really know and can't verify what the club president or the president of a frat actually did.
Last edited by 1988AndX on Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

taxguy
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:54 am

Kwais, I come in peace. I am simplly answering the OP's question. So get over yourself and your attitude!

As for evaluation of softs, they can be proven. If someone wins awards, he can submit copies of the award certificates. If someone achieves top grades somewhere, there is a transcript. If there are any certifications, they are easy to prove. If you think like a prosecuting attorney, you can usually prove most soft factors, which is not a bad thing to do. Moreover, lying on an application is cause for admission termination.

With all this said, certain soft factors seem immaterial to admission reps such as athletic participation, student body representation, peer tutoring, working at law offices, charitable endeavors or even military service ( unless you distinguised yourself such as winning the Medal of Honor). I see lots of folks asking about these latter activities, which really have no affect on admission.

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Flips88
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Flips88 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:27 am

taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.

Your son has graduated from a graduate program and you're the one making calls to admission offices? Cut the chord.

firemed
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby firemed » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:34 am

taxguy wrote:Kwais, I come in peace. I am simplly answering the OP's question. So get over yourself and your attitude!

As for evaluation of softs, they can be proven. If someone wins awards, he can submit copies of the award certificates. If someone achieves top grades somewhere, there is a transcript. If there are any certifications, they are easy to prove. If you think like a prosecuting attorney, you can usually prove most soft factors, which is not a bad thing to do. Moreover, lying on an application is cause for admission termination.

With all this said, certain soft factors seem immaterial to admission reps such as athletic participation, student body representation, peer tutoring, working at law offices, charitable endeavors or even military service ( unless you distinguised yourself such as winning the Medal of Honor). I see lots of folks asking about these latter activities, which really have no affect on admission.


Um... so you can prove soft factors all you want. As in "applicant A did in fact serve as frat president." Doesn't change the fact that quality of experience is nearly impossible for law schools to reasonably assess. I suppose they could hire private investigators... but can you imagine the cost?

Also, taxguy, why don't you just go to law school? Seems like you want it waaay more than your son who, unlike you, doesn't even post on TLS. I am actually being serious on this one. I mean, it would at least, get rid of the main reason everyone makes fun of you.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:37 am

Flips88 wrote:
taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.

Your son has graduated from a graduate program and you're the one making calls to admission offices? Cut the chord.


Your son sounds like my 27 y/o roommate whose mom comes every other weekend to clean his room and cook him food. I'm 23 and about 10 years more mature and independent than he is.

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albusdumbledore
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby albusdumbledore » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:39 am

taxguy wrote:Kwais, I come in peace. I am simplly answering the OP's question. So get over yourself and your attitude!

As for evaluation of softs, they can be proven. If someone wins awards, he can submit copies of the award certificates. If someone achieves top grades somewhere, there is a transcript. If there are any certifications, they are easy to prove. If you think like a prosecuting attorney, you can usually prove most soft factors, which is not a bad thing to do. Moreover, lying on an application is cause for admission termination.

With all this said, certain soft factors seem immaterial to admission reps such as athletic participation, student body representation, peer tutoring, working at law offices, charitable endeavors or even military service ( unless you distinguised yourself such as winning the Medal of Honor). I see lots of folks asking about these latter activities, which really have no affect on admission.


What about the helicopter parent soft? How do admissions offices perceive that?

sonervous88
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby sonervous88 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:42 am

ok well back on topic...granted i applied early but i had an incredibly good cycle considering my numbers. i don't have amazing softs (at least i don't think so) but i was phi beta kappa, summa cum laude, wrote an honors thesis, some community service blah blah blah. i mean i know my personal statement wasn't great so i'm thinking that was the difference? but what do i know. i'm just saying i fared better than others with my numbers. so i think it is a factor for borderline applicants.

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Mce252
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:42 am

taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.



This guy has chimed in on another thread with ridiculous comments about his son. Haha... I think he just has his CPA or something. It's some kind of Freudian obsession.

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Rotor
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Rotor » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:43 am

taxguy wrote:With all this said, certain soft factors seem immaterial to admission reps such as . . . military service ( unless you distinguised yourself such as winning the Medal of Honor).

Patently false. Not every veteran is going to get a bump at every school-- but worked well into your package, even routine military service can count quite a bit. (In my case I'm about 0.4 below median (and no, not 0.04) and a couple of points below median LSAT)

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buckilaw
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby buckilaw » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:44 am

taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.


Perhaps Taxguy could petition Bob Morse to create a system that quantitatively weights soft factors and then include them in the US News rankings. While they are at it they could also rediscover the twelve uses for dragon's blood, RIP Dumbledore.

BeaverHunter
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby BeaverHunter » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:47 am

Tax guy: You and your son sound like a couple of girly men. Buck up.

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Mce252
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:49 am

Sorry, your softs are mediocre at best. Let me share my son's softs.

First, he is a CPA and garnered good scores for each part.
Second, he is a CFP
Third, he worked for the IRS and got an award for his work
Fourth: he worked for an accounting firm and was loved by the partners and got a very strong recommendation
Fifth: he is working on a book and has some chapters written
Sixth: He started a fraternity in college and was an officer
Seventh: He played intermural college sports and was on the Ultimate Frisbee team
Finally, despite completely bombing the GMAT he graduated valedictorian from a grad business program.

OH yes, he has a guaranteed job offer once he graduates from law school. Now in my opinion, these are GREAT soft factors.



These are his son's softs that he posted in another thread.

Taxguy - Does your son know that you spend a good amount of time in an online forum talking about his life?

boushi
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby boushi » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:51 am

taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.


The underlined is patently false. Combined, the three factors you mention make up 25% of a law school's rank. It's not like the ranking formula is a secret; it's published right with the rankings and available freely online, even to those without UNSEWS subscriptions.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-gr ... ology-2012

EDIT: Also, if softs were really worth 2-4 LSAT points, that would actually be a huge bump for an applicant.

Speaking of softs, however, admissions officers have said in interviews (maybe on TLS?) that helicopter parents can be seen as an embarrassing negative for an applicant. Maybe you should be thankful that schools don't stray too far from the numbers.
Last edited by boushi on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Flips88
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Flips88 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:54 am

boushi wrote:
taxguy wrote:I will be publishing results for admission for my son who had GREAT soft factors. Bottom line: Although the results aren't fully in, it appears that soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT. Upon speaking with some admission officers, the reason is rankings, ranking, and rankings. US News rankings base almost 50% of their rankings on average LSAT, median GPA and percentage of applicants admitted. This is why I have found that admission reps lie in order to get more applications. Rarely did I meet an admission rep who was honest about my son's chances.

There are also some lessor reasons for the deemphasis on soft factors. One reason is that admission folks can tout higher admission standards to firms in order to attract them for hiring. In addition, higher admission standards tends to attract Alumni money. However, the main key has always been rankings.

For what it's worth, I think it is rather close minded to completely ignore almost anything that goes on after college other than the LSAT. However, so far, this seems to be the case. Maybe if folks have something highly unusual such as being Olympic Champion in a sport, or winning a Pulizer prize, the law schools might value those factors strongly,but I honestly doubt even that.


The underlined is patently false. Combined, the three factors you mention make up 25% of a law school's rank. It's not like the ranking formula is a secret; it's published right with the rankings and available freely online, even to those without UNSEWS subscriptions.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-gr ... ology-2012

The fact that 40% of the rating comes from peer and lawyer/judge review reveals what a circlejerk it is.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:54 am

I play ultimate frisbee every Saturday in central park, and I'm licensed to sell life and house insurance in the state of Texas. Can I use those softs to negotiate more scholarship money from my school during 2L year, tax guy?

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loblaw
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby loblaw » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:55 am

Fact: I only opened this thread for the lolz because I knew taxguy would be here.

czelede
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby czelede » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:56 am

Mce252 wrote:
Sorry, your softs are mediocre at best. Let me share my son's softs.

First, he is a CPA and garnered good scores for each part.
Second, he is a CFP
Third, he worked for the IRS and got an award for his work
Fourth: he worked for an accounting firm and was loved by the partners and got a very strong recommendation
Fifth: he is working on a book and has some chapters written
Sixth: He started a fraternity in college and was an officer
Seventh: He played intermural college sports and was on the Ultimate Frisbee team
Finally, despite completely bombing the GMAT he graduated valedictorian from a grad business program.

OH yes, he has a guaranteed job offer once he graduates from law school. Now in my opinion, these are GREAT soft factors.



These are his son's softs that he posted in another thread.

Taxguy - Does your son know that you spend a good amount of time in an online forum talking about his life?


This one is my favorite.

And also, would be curious to see WHERE this kid went to b-school.




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