Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

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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 9:58 am

I asked him what the book was about in another thread but never heard back. I'm still curious Taxguy...

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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 9:59 am

czelede wrote:
This one is my favorite.

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

The University of Phoenix.

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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 10:00 am

From another thread as well:
taxguy wrote: For what it's worth, my son completely bombed the LSAT with a high score of 146. He does, however, have very strong work experience with all kinds of recommendations and awards. He also has written one of the strongest personal statements I have ever seen. We shall see how these soft factors will play out. If the soft factors do have a positive affect, I will publish this on this forum. Honestly, I am not very optimistic.


I wonder why his softs didn't help that much...

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

Postby saladfiend » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:04 am

US News and World Report rankings is the credited response. Median LSAT and GPA aren't actually worth that much, but they are worth enough that schools care about them a lot. They are the only variables that admissions offices can really control. I suppose that by creating a large waiting list, the admissions office could massage the acceptance rate also. If you look at the medical school ranking methodology, MCAT and GPA are worth much, much less. Medical schools care a lot more about "soft" factors, though I'm not sure how much US News has to do with it.

Methodology (from their site)

A. Quality Assessment (weighted by .40)
A(1). Peer Assessment Score (.25)
A(2). Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges (.15) [btw, very low response rates for these surveys]

B. Selectivity (weighted by .25)
B(1). Median LSAT Scores (.125)
B(2). Median Undergrad GPA (.10)
B(3). Acceptance Rate (.025)

C. Placement Success (weighted by .20):
C(1). Employment Rate at Graduation (0.04)
C(2). Employment Rate at 9 mos. (0.14)
C(3). Bar Passage Rate (.02)

E. Faculty Resources (weighted by .15):
E(1). Expenditures Per Student (0.1125)
E(2). Student/Faculty Ratio (.03)
E(3). Library Resources (.0075)
Last edited by saladfiend on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby czelede » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:05 am

Flips88 wrote:From another thread as well:
taxguy wrote: For what it's worth, my son completely bombed the LSAT with a high score of 146. He does, however, have very strong work experience with all kinds of recommendations and awards. He also has written one of the strongest personal statements I have ever seen. We shall see how these soft factors will play out. If the soft factors do have a positive affect, I will publish this on this forum. Honestly, I am not very optimistic.


I wonder why his softs didn't help that much...


Don't you know? He bombed the GMAT too and graduated valedictorian. TaxguyJr is destined for the top of his class in law school too.

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

Postby Ghost » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:07 am

.
Last edited by Ghost on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby almightypush » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:07 am

czelede wrote:
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.


duh, he worked for an accounting firm and was loved by the partners.

that + mad ultimate frisbee skillz = Stanford b-school (full scholly).

d34d9823
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:07 am

czelede wrote:Don't you know? He bombed the GMAT too and graduated valedictorian. TaxguyJr is destined for the top of his class in law school too.

Taxguy, Jr.

One of the world's undiscovered geniuses.

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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 10:12 am

saladfiend wrote:US News and World Report rankings is the credited response. Median LSAT and GPA aren't actually worth that much, but they are worth enough that schools care about them a lot. They are the only variables that admissions offices can really control. I suppose that by creating a large waiting list, the admissions office could massage the acceptance rate also. If you look at the medical school ranking methodology, MCAT and GPA are worth much, much less. Medical schools care a lot more about "soft" factors, though I'm not sure how much US News has to do with it.

Methodology (from their site)

A. Quality Assessment (weighted by .40)
A(1). Peer Assessment Score (.25)
A(2). Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges (.15) [btw, very low response rates for these surveys]


B. Selectivity (weighted by .25)
B(1). Median LSAT Scores (.125)
B(2). Median Undergrad GPA (.10)
B(3). Acceptance Rate (.025)

C. Placement Success (weighted by .20):
C(1). Employment Rate at Graduation (0.04)
C(2). Employment Rate at 9 mos. (0.14)
C(3). Bar Passage Rate (.02)

E. Faculty Resources (weighted by .15):
E(1). Expenditures Per Student (0.1125)
E(2). Student/Faculty Ratio (.03)
E(3). Library Resources (.0075)

I think the bolded part is pretty bs.

Also, anecdotally, I have a couple friends that applied to med schools. One got denied almost everywhere because he had zero extracurricular activities during UG. My other friend, who volunteers all over the place and does a ton of stuff on campus from student groups to research, got into Duke which is a top 5 program for medical research and his MCAT was only 92%ile. Interviewing is also mandatory and you have to foot the bill (or at least my friend did).

IMO, med school app process>>>>law school app process

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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 10:12 am

I feel like Taxguy is going to smash his keyboard when he gets back to this thread - and then call his son to talk about it.

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

Postby thunderflesh » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:12 am

I think that the value of softs is overvalued by most, but perhaps a little undervalued on TLS. I say this because I think that my softs got me into Columbia (sort of).

My numbers certainly qualified me for admission, and if my LSAT was just 1 or 2 points lower, I probably wouldn't have gotten in. But my numbers definitely didn't guarantee me admission. Many people with better numbers than me were denied/held/reserved, and my softs--while not exceptional--were fairly unique, and I worked very hard on my personal statement (much more than anyone else I've spoken to who applied for the Class of 2014).

In brief: soft factors will almost never make up for inadequate numbers. Your numbers will put you into one of three categories: Yes, No, or Maybe. But for the group that falls within "Maybe", it is softs that can turn that into a Yes or a No. And the schools for which your numbers make you a "Maybe" are (usually) the schools you should be targeting.

Numbers are definitely the most important part of your app, but I think it's very misleading for people to go around saying "softs don't matter", even if they're being a little hyperbolic.

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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 10:17 am

thunderflesh wrote:I think that the value of softs is overvalued by most, but perhaps a little undervalued on TLS. I say this because I think that my softs got me into Columbia (sort of).

My numbers certainly qualified me for admission, and if my LSAT was just 1 or 2 points lower, I probably wouldn't have gotten in. But my numbers definitely didn't guarantee me admission. Many people with better numbers than me were denied/held/reserved, and my softs--while not exceptional--were fairly unique, and I worked very hard on my personal statement (much more than anyone else I've spoken to who applied for the Class of 2014).

In brief: soft factors will almost never make up for inadequate numbers. Your numbers will put you into one of three categories: Yes, No, or Maybe. But for the group that falls within "Maybe", it is softs that can turn that into a Yes or a No. And the schools for which your numbers make you a "Maybe" are (usually) the schools you should be targeting.

Numbers are definitely the most important part of your app, but I think it's very misleading for people to go around saying "softs don't matter", even if they're being a little hyperbolic.



I think a lot of adcoms are like a tuning fork about softs. Something has to hit them just right to make a difference. Every school is going to be different.

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

Postby czelede » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:18 am

Flips88 wrote:
saladfiend wrote:US News and World Report rankings is the credited response. Median LSAT and GPA aren't actually worth that much, but they are worth enough that schools care about them a lot. They are the only variables that admissions offices can really control. I suppose that by creating a large waiting list, the admissions office could massage the acceptance rate also. If you look at the medical school ranking methodology, MCAT and GPA are worth much, much less. Medical schools care a lot more about "soft" factors, though I'm not sure how much US News has to do with it.

Methodology (from their site)

A. Quality Assessment (weighted by .40)
A(1). Peer Assessment Score (.25)
A(2). Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges (.15) [btw, very low response rates for these surveys]


B. Selectivity (weighted by .25)
B(1). Median LSAT Scores (.125)
B(2). Median Undergrad GPA (.10)
B(3). Acceptance Rate (.025)

C. Placement Success (weighted by .20):
C(1). Employment Rate at Graduation (0.04)
C(2). Employment Rate at 9 mos. (0.14)
C(3). Bar Passage Rate (.02)

E. Faculty Resources (weighted by .15):
E(1). Expenditures Per Student (0.1125)
E(2). Student/Faculty Ratio (.03)
E(3). Library Resources (.0075)

I think the bolded part is pretty bs.

Also, anecdotally, I have a couple friends that applied to med schools. One got denied almost everywhere because he had zero extracurricular activities during UG. My other friend, who volunteers all over the place and does a ton of stuff on campus from student groups to research, got into Duke which is a top 5 program for medical research and his MCAT was only 92%ile. Interviewing is also mandatory and you have to foot the bill (or at least my friend did).

IMO, med school app process>>>>law school app process


Completely agree with this. You basically need to have known you wanted to go to med school for 4 years before you apply, because the good ones want so much research and extracurricular activities on your resume. Med school admissions is definitely way more holistic than law school admissions in that sense.

That being said, I think TLS overestimates the difficulty of getting into some of the bottom medical schools sometimes.

d34d9823
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:19 am

TLS definitely undervalues softs. The reason for this is that the # of people who actually have softs that distinguish them is much smaller than the # of people who have softs that are essentially identical to most of the other applicants.

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

Postby czelede » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:22 am

d34dluk3 wrote:TLS definitely undervalues softs. The reason for this is that the # of people who actually have softs that distinguish them is much smaller than the # of people who have softs that are essentially identical to most of the other applicants.


I think it's also because it's hard to tell when soft factors, essays, etc. are the distinguishing factor for acceptance (or the reason for rejection). With numbers it's a lot easier to establish a pattern.

But I do agree with the thought that softs really only matter in the margins, when you're in the "maybe" category.

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

Postby Rooney » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:24 am

czelede wrote:
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 officerSeventh: He played intermural college sports and was on the Ultimate Frisbee teamFinally, 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.


These are my favorites. I keep picturing Will Ferrell doing a superman dive to catch the 'disc'.

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

Postby firemed » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:26 am

Med school rankings are not like law school rankings. They only rank primary care and research... secondary factors to the schools mission of educating professionals. So the fact that MCAT and GPA are less important there is basically a non-issue when compared to US news' use of LSAT and GPA.
Last edited by firemed on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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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 10:26 am

czelede wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:TLS definitely undervalues softs. The reason for this is that the # of people who actually have softs that distinguish them is much smaller than the # of people who have softs that are essentially identical to most of the other applicants.


I think it's also because it's hard to tell when soft factors, essays, etc. are the distinguishing factor for acceptance (or the reason for rejection). With numbers it's a lot easier to establish a pattern.

But I do agree with the thought that softs really only matter in the margins, when you're in the "maybe" category.


+1 For those who are saying TLS underestimates softs, just take a look at the strict floors almost every school has for GPA and LSAT on LSN. besides, as many have pointed out, you can't fake a 170 but you can certainly put "3 years of leadership in xyz club where we raised 30,000 for xyz charity" and law schools will never know if it's true.

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

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:27 am

Rooney wrote:
czelede wrote:
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 officerSeventh: He played intermural college sports and was on the Ultimate Frisbee teamFinally, 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.


These are my favorites. I keep picturing Will Ferrell doing a superman dive to catch the 'disc'.

TBF, later in that thread he said his son was CAPTAIN of the ultimate frisbee team

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

Postby boushi » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:37 am

Mce252 wrote:
thunderflesh wrote:I think that the value of softs is overvalued by most, but perhaps a little undervalued on TLS. I say this because I think that my softs got me into Columbia (sort of).

My numbers certainly qualified me for admission, and if my LSAT was just 1 or 2 points lower, I probably wouldn't have gotten in. But my numbers definitely didn't guarantee me admission. Many people with better numbers than me were denied/held/reserved, and my softs--while not exceptional--were fairly unique, and I worked very hard on my personal statement (much more than anyone else I've spoken to who applied for the Class of 2014).

In brief: soft factors will almost never make up for inadequate numbers. Your numbers will put you into one of three categories: Yes, No, or Maybe. But for the group that falls within "Maybe", it is softs that can turn that into a Yes or a No. And the schools for which your numbers make you a "Maybe" are (usually) the schools you should be targeting.

Numbers are definitely the most important part of your app, but I think it's very misleading for people to go around saying "softs don't matter", even if they're being a little hyperbolic.



I think a lot of adcoms are like a tuning fork about softs. Something has to hit them just right to make a difference. Every school is going to be different.


This probably as close to the truth as you can get with a generalization. Softs, essays, etc., definitely play a substantive role in the admissions process. For example take a look at the differences in my cycle in comparison with that of another LSN account with the same exact GPA/LSAT numbers (that account was removed recently, but take my word for it):

Me:
UVA: 142k
Chicago: 60k -> negotiated to 69k
Harvard: Held
Columbia: Held

Other Account:
UVA: 105k
Chicago: 75k (don't know if that was later negotiated higher)
Harvard: Rejected
Columbia: Admitted

Admissions departments are comprised of people who have different preferences and will weigh softs and essays differently (the expected outcome of people evaluating subjective material). You can find a many more examples similar to mine if you just browse around LSN for a few minutes. The only people I see who really complain about softs being "meaningless" are those who feel they underperformed in their cycles. I think the reasons that way of thinking has ended up gaining so much traction here are that (1) misery loves company and (2) those with counter examples are likely more reluctant to post about their successes when such posts could come off as mere braggadocio.

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

Postby athenian » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:38 am

I worked throughout undergrad, was an NCAA athlete, started a non-profit, held executive positions in a number of student and community organizations, and am the host of a nightly talk show on a major radio station.

I feel like those were really good softs and some of them are pretty unique when compared to other applicants.

I was a pretty big splitter with a 2.9 GPA. None of these softs magically pushed me into schools that weren't already known for being "splitter friendly."

My soft factors helped me by giving me material from which to develop a strong personal statement. It also put me in contact with people who were able to offer strong letters of recommendation. However, I don't think my soft factors got me in to any law schools.

I think soft factors, if compelling and unique enough, can push you from being a "maybe" to a "yes" at some schools. Heck, maybe the quailty of my involvement in extra-curriculars made my low GPA a bit more forgiveable. But, soft factors won't get you into schools that you aren't already capable of getting into on numbers alone.

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

Postby bdubs » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:41 am

Soft factors matter at the margins. Look at the schools that are a realistic reach for you on LSN and you will see that 10-30% or so of people get in with certain combinations of GPA/LSAT. I am pretty sure they don't just draw those names randomly out of a hat.

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

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:43 am

First, I don't respond to flames. So feel free to flame away. I'm a big boy and can usually take it. I guess some of you are either just bored or need to act and say inappropriate things that you would never say in person,which I find rather sad.

Second, I am responding to the OP only. If you don't like what I said, don't read it. If you don't like my participation, go away.

Third, my son was the one who primarily called admission offices about it. He got most of the information. I was able to glean some information because of my background teaching lawyers continuing education. Thus, I made a LOT of connections. Frankly, If I could, I would use my connections for admission. Whether you like it or not or approve or not is immaterial to me. Whether you think that using connections is becoming too much of a helicopter parent is immaterial to me.

Fourth: IF you think that using connections in life is some form of cheating or is disreputable, you are a fool.Connections are valuable. Networking is what distinguishes the successful from the rest of the chaff, as I am sure many of you will learn in later years.

However, despite all this, I wish you well in your endeavors.
Last edited by taxguy on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby firemed » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:44 am

athenian wrote:I think soft factors, if compelling and unique enough, can push you from being a "maybe" to a "yes" at some schools. Heck, maybe the quailty of my involvement in extra-curriculars made my low GPA a bit more forgiveable. But, soft factors won't get you into schools that you aren't already capable of getting into on numbers alone.



+1


Also, where can I hear your voice?
Last edited by firemed on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Magnolia » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:45 am

taxguy wrote:soft factors represent at most 2-4 points on the LSAT.


taxguy wrote: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.

Taxguy, I totally feel you on this. I won a few awards from my school by going drinking with the head of my department and babysitting her kids. That should definitely be worth 2-4 points. I can haz 174 plz?




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