Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

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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 10:45 am

taxguy wrote: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 inappropriete 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.

Fouth: 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.


1 and 2 seem like the same point to me. Also, who said anything about "connections"?

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

Postby czelede » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:48 am

albusdumbledore wrote:
taxguy wrote: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 inappropriete 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.

Fouth: 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.


1 and 2 seem like the same point to me. Also, who said anything about "connections"?


I'm pretty sure the only connections that really matter for law school admissions involve an immediate member of your family donating a lot of money.

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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 10:49 am

taxguy wrote: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.

No, it's not bad to, say, pass your son's resume on to a friend that is hiring, which my parents have done, but they should be able to stand alone as a candidate. you help them get their foot in the door, but they still have to be worthy themselves.

Also, I would be super embarrassed if my mom or dad ever called an admissions office on my behalf.

I bet you go to admitted students days with him too, don't you?

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

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:52 am

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?[/quote]

Ah Magnolia, you must be one heck of a drinker.

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

Postby Stringer Bell » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:57 am

Taxguy is going head to head with Red Alertz for best flame on this site.

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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 10:57 am

czelede wrote:Also, I would be super embarrassed if my mom or dad ever called an admissions office on my behalf.


+146

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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 10:59 am

Stringer Bell wrote:Taxguy is going head to head with Red Alertz for best flame on this site.


Taxguy is kinda funny. If it's real, I actually feel bad for his son.

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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 11:00 am

albusdumbledore wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:Taxguy is going head to head with Red Alertz for best flame on this site.


Taxguy is kinda funny. If it's real, I actually feel bad for his son.

Yeah, Red Alertz is just a dick making people with 2.5 GPAs think that it's a perfectly fine GPA to have.

softenedheart404
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby softenedheart404 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:07 am

Ok, so I'm actually going to keep on topic and try to answer the question that was originally asked.

Why do soft factors matter so little?

Soft factors do matter -- but only to decide between applicants.
In fact, I would say the personal statement and GPA mean more than anything on the sheet except the LSAT score.

I am going to try to give you an order of importance and a rough percentage for each:

LSAT score 65%
GPA 10%
Personal Statement 10% ( + 5% depending on race and other soft factors, with in the case of race would take the 5% from either LSAT score, GPA, or Other Factors)
Work Experience 10%
Other Factors 5%

I put GPA and Work Experience on the same level for the reason that people who work usually have lower undergrad GPAs, so it is a give and take. The personal statement is pretty much where if one really wanted to explain or portray themselves to the admissions committee, that they could do that by including/persuading using soft factors in that document. Yet, some people don't have much of PS, but have a great LSAT, which in this case the LSAT would bulldoze a path for them. In other cases, people have URM working for them, which would bump the PS into a greater importance than GPA or work experience.

---------------------
Also, I would really like to know where TaxGuy's kid went to school. Sounds like he's got it made at the accounting firm -- why try to put law school on the plate, too? Especially if it is a Big 4 firm?

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

Postby taxguy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:24 am

By the way, when I responded to the soft factor question, I am only posting what my son has experienced, whether you agree or not. For example, certain schools put him on the wait list or even accepted him even though his LSAT was several points below the bottom 25% of admitted applicants. He rarely applied to schools that had median LSATs over 6 points from what he had. If the bottom 25% LSAT was 6 points or more, he got outright rejected. If it was within 2-4 points, he seemed to be considered. Again, this is based on what we saw. Maybe you might have different results with a different set of soft factors.

This also varied by school. Some schools were very LSAT oriented and didn't put him on the wait list even with his being 2-4 points of their accepted 25%. The results really were varied among schools.

I would agree that generally strong soft factors work for" marginal" candidates who have numbers close to their sought after admission statistics ,which is all I was saying. Based on what I have seen, it can make a slight difference even if the numbers alone aren't exactly at the point that admission would normally accept. This is why I think there is a 2-4 point benefit from having strong soft factors.

Also, my son only applied to T4 schools. I don't know what effect "strong" soft factors would have had on T1 schools,but I suspect that they help differentiate between those with similar or close stats.

What was disturbing,which in hindsight should not have been, was that there were admission officers who explicitly told him that he had a chance with his background and scores and then outright rejected him. These guys obviously lie in order to boost their statistics. That was a bit disconcerting.
Last edited by taxguy on Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:25 am

softenedheart404 wrote:Ok, so I'm actually going to keep on topic and try to answer the question that was originally asked.

Why do soft factors matter so little?

Soft factors do matter -- but only to decide between applicants.
In fact, I would say the personal statement and GPA mean more than anything on the sheet except the LSAT score.

This is close. I think I'll add a few other thoughts to round it out:

1) Softs are easy to exaggerate, or worse, to manufacture. People could fake great softs by just putting stuff on their resume that wasn't true. Sure, they could face expulsion if it's discovered (or disbarment if it's only caught after graduation), but there are plenty of stories out there regarding people who went years or decades before some lie on their resume years ago was caught. In contrast, LSAT scores and official undergrad transcripts are much harder to fake or distort.

2) Softs are hard to quantify. How do you convert years of work experience into LSAT points?

3) At the very top law schools, it's not likely to be a huge boost anyway because so many of the applicants have good softs too. Harvard is focusing heavily on post-UG work experience now; something like 75% of the class of 2014 will have at least one year of WE, and 50% will have more than two years. "I worked a great job before coming to law school" isn't a great soft there, it can't elevate you above everyone else, because you're competing against other applicants who can say the same thing. In reality, most softs are just tiebreakers at top schools these days, so they're not going to elevate you above your numbers.

Softs do really matter, but often only in keeping you from falling behind other people who also have good enough numbers to get in too.

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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 11:28 am

Actually, this reminded me that I know a kid at my school who had an SAT and Class rank way below what would normally be admitted to my school. Like FAR below the 25th percentile. And he wrote up this huge long sob story application about overcoming bulimia and an attempted suicide to make his life better, blah, blah, blah, and got into the school. He said when he was accepted he got a call from the dean saying how inspirational his story was. But that whole story is untrue.

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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 11:31 am

Patriot1208 wrote:Actually, this reminded me that I know a kid at my school who had an SAT and Class rank way below what would normally be admitted to my school. Like FAR below the 25th percentile. And he wrote up this huge long sob story application about overcoming bulimia and an attempted suicide to make his life better, blah, blah, blah, and got into the school. He said when he was accepted he got a call from the dean saying how inspirational his story was. But that whole story is untrue.

#winning

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

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:46 am

First, you guys are being mean to poor taxguy! He is obviously a caring parent; people can't help but see their family in a different light than others.

taxguy wrote: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.

Second, some of these factors should be immaterial to admissions committees. Why should athletic participation matter for law schools admissions? Are people better lawyers if they play on a recreational sports team? Perhaps if they represent their college (or, even better: country) that should be relevant, because it shows a capacity for hard work and achievement, but otherwise I fail to see how athletics could have any bearing on being a successful lawyer.

Third, military service does count - at least more than most softs. There are various threads on this site supporting that claim.

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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 11:49 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:First, you guys are being mean to poor taxguy! He is obviously an caringoverbearing parent; people can't help but see their familyin a different light than othersfor as dumb as they really are.
.

ftfy

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prezidentv8
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:24 pm

Flips88 wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:First, you guys are being mean to poor taxguy! He is obviously an caring overbearing not really a parent; people can't help but see their family in a different light than others for as dumb as they really are.
.

ftfy

ftfY

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AreJay711
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:30 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:First, you guys are being mean to poor taxguy! He is obviously a caring parent; people can't help but see their family in a different light than others.

taxguy wrote: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.

Second, some of these factors should be immaterial to admissions committees. Why should athletic participation matter for law schools admissions? Are people better lawyers if they play on a recreational sports team? Perhaps if they represent their college (or, even better: country) that should be relevant, because it shows a capacity for hard work and achievement, but otherwise I fail to see how athletics could have any bearing on being a successful lawyer.

Third, military service does count - at least more than most softs. There are various threads on this site supporting that claim.

Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.

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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 12:32 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.

amirite???
Image

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

Postby BigBenD » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:33 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:Actually, this reminded me that I know a kid at my school who had an SAT and Class rank way below what would normally be admitted to my school. Like FAR below the 25th percentile. And he wrote up this huge long sob story application about overcoming bulimia and an attempted suicide to make his life better, blah, blah, blah, and got into the school. He said when he was accepted he got a call from the dean saying how inspirational his story was. But that whole story is untrue.


180

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

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:36 pm

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.

On a similar note, I suspect that the large majority of candidates believe they have above average softs. They apply to law schools, don't do any better than their numbers predicted, and so conclude that numbers are all that matter, whereas the real explanation is that their softs were average or worse.

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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 12:37 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.


I imagine the ability to be treated like a commodity or a herd animal would come in handy in law.

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AreJay711
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Re: Why do soft factors matter so little for LS admissions?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:40 pm

albusdumbledore wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.


I imagine the ability to be treated like a commodity or a herd animal would come in handy in law.


Yeah but thats true in sports too. At least the commodity part.

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

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:45 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.

For the same reason that charitable work is thought to count: it is making a personal sacrifice for the sake of others. That deserves some kind of reward in itself, but also makes it more likely that you will be the kind of person who uses your law degree for good purposes.

Alas, I think many people do charitable work in high school and college these days merely because they think that will good on their CVs - but I imagine that is less true for those who serve in the military.

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

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:52 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Why should military service count as a soft? Does knowing how to kill people or patriotism help you as a lawyer? I guess maybe following orders and attention to detail but that isn't unique to the military.

For the same reason that charitable work is thought to count: it is making a personal sacrifice for the sake of others. That deserves some kind of reward in itself, but also makes it more likely that you will be the kind of person who uses your law degree for good purposes.

Alas, I think many people do charitable work in high school and college these days merely because they think that will good on their CVs - but I imagine that is less true for those who serve in the military.

Probably less true for those who do FOUR YEARS of community service as well, which I imagine is why TFA/Peace Corps is also a reputedly good soft.

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

Postby masochist » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:54 pm

I also think the undervaluation of softs might be related to USNWR use of medians rather than means for GPA and LSAT. In order to maintain a stable median, an admissions department would have to take one person above their medians for each person they take below their medians. This would not work the same way if the numbers were averaged. In the latter case you could “buy” several slightly-below mean acceptances with a single acceptance from someone who exceeded your mean by a great deal.

This makes it hard for softs to bump people up a couple of LSAT points, but it probably does not affect truly amazing softs. If you are going to select someone below the median because you want their soft for in your admissions viewbook, then it doesn’t matter if their LSAT is 2 points below your median or 25; the effect on the median is the same. Kind of good softs aren’t worth the effort (and scholarship money) required to offset their below-median scores.




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