Second thoughts

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Duckfanvet
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Second thoughts

Postby Duckfanvet » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:11 am

I have a passion for history but wanted to get a more "standard" degree for pre-law. I currently have a Minor in Econ but do not know if I wish to go any further with it. Having a solid gpa and good softs will going for a major in History hurt my chances at a T14 school.

I was thinking about getting another minor in Poli Sci and then Bachelors in History.

Any thoughts?

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MURPH
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby MURPH » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:13 am

I know this is an overused response but they only care about GPA and LSAT score. Study things you have a passion for. Take GPA booster classes whenever possible.

Duckfanvet
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Duckfanvet » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:15 am

It really is a over used answer but that's because its an overused question as well I'm sure.

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MURPH
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby MURPH » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:18 am

Yeah, but it is a good question. One other thing to consider is picking a major that you can fall back on if you change your mind about law school or decide to delay it for a year or two. You may need a job.

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Heartford
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Heartford » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:07 am

Your major means nothing. Your GPA is the only part of undergrad that matters for law school admissions. Seriously. You could literally major in basket weaving or ballet and then attend Harvard Law.

Quick tip though: spend some more time reading all of the resources available on TLS to acquaint yourself with the fundamentals of the law school admissions process. You'll avoid a whole lot of ridicule on these boards by not asking questions that have been answered thousands of times.

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PDaddy
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby PDaddy » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:08 am

MURPH wrote:I know this is an overused response but they only care about GPA and LSAT score. Study things you have a passion for. Take GPA booster classes whenever possible.


TITCR...but don't be obvious about it. The adcoms can smell gut hunters. Try to take courses that at least "look" challenging. Swahili and Criminal Justice courses usually won't cut it.

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Heartford
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Heartford » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:16 am

PDaddy wrote:
MURPH wrote:I know this is an overused response but they only care about GPA and LSAT score. Study things you have a passion for. Take GPA booster classes whenever possible.


TITCR...but don't be obvious about it. The adcoms can smell gut hunters. Try to take courses that at least "look" challenging. Swahili and Criminal Justice courses usually won't cut it.


This is incorrect. Let's say two students each have a 175 LSAT score, and are both applying to Columbia. One is a Physics major at Princeton with a 3.4 GPA. The other is a Swahili major with a minor in Bong Craft at Crappyville State College with a 3.8 GPA.
There's only one more spot open at Columbia Law. Guess who's accepted? The candidate who will boost their GPA median. Seriously.

Edited to add: I know you disagree with this, and believe that "difficulty of major" matters in some way. But that simply isn't the case, as much as you want it to be.

Corncob
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Corncob » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:51 am

Swahili is actually kind of interesting though. And .4 gpa is pretty big. Change the physics major at Princeton to 3.7 and change the Swahili from crap college to dance. Now what.

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Samara
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:05 am

Corncob wrote:Swahili is actually kind of interesting though. And .4 gpa is pretty big. Change the physics major at Princeton to 3.7 and change the Swahili from crap college to dance. Now what.

Their median 3.72 so same answer, sorry.

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IamJosh
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby IamJosh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:14 pm

Samara wrote:
Corncob wrote:Swahili is actually kind of interesting though. And .4 gpa is pretty big. Change the physics major at Princeton to 3.7 and change the Swahili from crap college to dance. Now what.

Their median 3.72 so same answer, sorry.


I'm curious about this.
Hypothetically: A law school has a class size of 199 students. They have admitted 100 students with a GPA of 3.9-4.0+. They then admit 98 with GPA's of 2.0, leaving one spot. Isn't the median already 3.9? And if the two applicants are the ones above (3.4 physics guy and dancer 3.8), wouldn't the 3.4 guy get in since neither can change medians and he (likely) is a stronger academic? Basically, do averages mean anything for rankings?

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Moomoo2u
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Moomoo2u » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:20 pm

Heartford wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
MURPH wrote:I know this is an overused response but they only care about GPA and LSAT score. Study things you have a passion for. Take GPA booster classes whenever possible.


TITCR...but don't be obvious about it. The adcoms can smell gut hunters. Try to take courses that at least "look" challenging. Swahili and Criminal Justice courses usually won't cut it.


This is incorrect. Let's say two students each have a 175 LSAT score, and are both applying to Columbia. One is a Physics major at Princeton with a 3.4 GPA. The other is a Swahili major with a minor in Bong Craft at Crappyville State College with a 3.8 GPA.
There's only one more spot open at Columbia Law. Guess who's accepted? The candidate who will boost their GPA median. Seriously.

Edited to add: I know you disagree with this, and believe that "difficulty of major" matters in some way. But that simply isn't the case, as much as you want it to be.



This is the one truth I only came to understand AFTER having taken harder courses my entire life and watching the "prestige" do nothing to alleviate my lower gpa.

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Samara
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:43 pm

IamJosh wrote:
Samara wrote:
Corncob wrote:Swahili is actually kind of interesting though. And .4 gpa is pretty big. Change the physics major at Princeton to 3.7 and change the Swahili from crap college to dance. Now what.

Their median 3.72 so same answer, sorry.


I'm curious about this.
Hypothetically: A law school has a class size of 199 students. They have admitted 100 students with a GPA of 3.9-4.0+. They then admit 98 with GPA's of 2.0, leaving one spot. Isn't the median already 3.9? And if the two applicants are the ones above (3.4 physics guy and dancer 3.8), wouldn't the 3.4 guy get in since neither can change medians and he (likely) is a stronger academic? Basically, do averages mean anything for rankings?

Two problems with your analysis.

1) The stats are not distributed so bimodally. When considering that last spot, taking someone above the median could mean that the median is 3.73 instead of 3.72. That seems small, but law schools want every point they can get. Plus, it's a slippery slope. What about when they are choosing the last five spots? Taking five people above the median could mean 3.75 v. 3.72 and so on.

2) At the top schools, it's not like the 3.4 physics guy is the last guy left under median. For every 3.4 physics guy, there are a few 3.6/3.7 physics guys and a lot of 3.6/3.7 other major guys. Plus, those other guys probably have much better softs than just a hard major. Why would they take the 3.4 physics guy when they can have a 3.6 physics guy or a 3.5 music major who founded a non-profit? This allows top schools to have GPA floors and you have to be really special and unique (or a URM) to break that floor.

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IamJosh
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby IamJosh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:00 pm

Samara wrote:
IamJosh wrote:
Samara wrote:
Corncob wrote:Swahili is actually kind of interesting though. And .4 gpa is pretty big. Change the physics major at Princeton to 3.7 and change the Swahili from crap college to dance. Now what.

Their median 3.72 so same answer, sorry.


I'm curious about this.
Hypothetically: A law school has a class size of 199 students. They have admitted 100 students with a GPA of 3.9-4.0+. They then admit 98 with GPA's of 2.0, leaving one spot. Isn't the median already 3.9? And if the two applicants are the ones above (3.4 physics guy and dancer 3.8), wouldn't the 3.4 guy get in since neither can change medians and he (likely) is a stronger academic? Basically, do averages mean anything for rankings?

Two problems with your analysis.

1) The stats are not distributed so bimodally. When considering that last spot, taking someone above the median could mean that the median is 3.73 instead of 3.72. That seems small, but law schools want every point they can get. Plus, it's a slippery slope. What about when they are choosing the last five spots? Taking five people above the median could mean 3.75 v. 3.72 and so on.

2) At the top schools, it's not like the 3.4 physics guy is the last guy left under median. For every 3.4 physics guy, there are a few 3.6/3.7 physics guys and a lot of 3.6/3.7 other major guys. Plus, those other guys probably have much better softs than just a hard major. Why would they take the 3.4 physics guy when they can have a 3.6 physics guy or a 3.5 music major who founded a non-profit? This allows top schools to have GPA floors and you have to be really special and unique (or a URM) to break that floor.


That was really meant to be a somewhat absurd situation. Yeah, it's not going to happen. But the main question I had is: Are GPA's averaged at all? If every remaining applicant for a school is below median, meaning more than half of their total number of spots have GPAs higher than the left-over applicants, does GPA fail to matter as much? My example was intentionally ridiculous and I know it isn't like that.

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Samara
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:10 pm

IamJosh wrote:That was really meant to be a somewhat absurd situation. Yeah, it's not going to happen. But the main question I had is: Are GPA's averaged at all? If every remaining applicant for a school is below median, meaning more than half of their total number of spots have GPAs higher than the left-over applicants, does GPA fail to matter as much? My example was intentionally ridiculous and I know it isn't like that.

I understand that your example was intentionally extreme, I was making the point that small differences in medians can mean a lot to law schools.

I know of no school that publishes GPA averages. URMs would bring those averages down a lot. To extent, once you are below a median/25th/GPA floor, the amount you are below doesn't matter. That said, once you're below, you're competing with a lot of people that have comparable softs (unless you're a special snowflake) so the GPA will be the "tiebreaker." You're also competing with splitters. There are so few extreme splitters that the difference for most top schools between a 3.1/177 and a 3.4/177 is negligible. If you're a splitter you're looking at a whole different ballgame.

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IamJosh
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Re: Second thoughts

Postby IamJosh » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:47 pm

Samara wrote:
IamJosh wrote:That was really meant to be a somewhat absurd situation. Yeah, it's not going to happen. But the main question I had is: Are GPA's averaged at all? If every remaining applicant for a school is below median, meaning more than half of their total number of spots have GPAs higher than the left-over applicants, does GPA fail to matter as much? My example was intentionally ridiculous and I know it isn't like that.

I understand that your example was intentionally extreme, I was making the point that small differences in medians can mean a lot to law schools.

I know of no school that publishes GPA averages. URMs would bring those averages down a lot. To extent, once you are below a median/25th/GPA floor, the amount you are below doesn't matter. That said, once you're below, you're competing with a lot of people that have comparable softs (unless you're a special snowflake) so the GPA will be the "tiebreaker." You're also competing with splitters. There are so few extreme splitters that the difference for most top schools between a 3.1/177 and a 3.4/177 is negligible. If you're a splitter you're looking at a whole different ballgame.


Okay, makes sense. Thanks




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