Why is Stanford hard to get into?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:01 am

I don't mean to make this a dumb thread, but their 25/75 percentiles are not THAT high. In fact, some of the other T6s have higher medians than they do. I know their class size is small, but does that really put it in the same level of competitiveness as Harvard and Yale?

User avatar
birdlaw117
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:19 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:04 am

WhiteGuy5 wrote:I don't mean to make this a dumb thread, but their 25/75 percentiles are not THAT high. In fact, some of the other T6s have higher medians than they do. I know their class size is small, but does that really put it in the same level of competitiveness as Harvard and Yale?

It means they look at *GASP* things other than numbers!

User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:06 am

birdlaw117 wrote:
WhiteGuy5 wrote:I don't mean to make this a dumb thread, but their 25/75 percentiles are not THAT high. In fact, some of the other T6s have higher medians than they do. I know their class size is small, but does that really put it in the same level of competitiveness as Harvard and Yale?

It means they look at *GASP* things other than numbers!


Wouldn't Harvard and Yale be doing that as well (especially since Yale has a small class size too)? I imagine competition to protect their yield would but downward pressure on relative ease of getting in.

I also don't understand how/when/why it's grouped in with Harvard and Yale.

User avatar
birdlaw117
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:19 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:08 am

WhiteGuy5 wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
WhiteGuy5 wrote:I don't mean to make this a dumb thread, but their 25/75 percentiles are not THAT high. In fact, some of the other T6s have higher medians than they do. I know their class size is small, but does that really put it in the same level of competitiveness as Harvard and Yale?

It means they look at *GASP* things other than numbers!


Wouldn't Harvard and Yale be doing that as well (especially since Yale has a small class size too)? I imagine competition to protect their yield would but downward pressure on relative ease of getting in.

I also don't understand how/when/why it's grouped in with Harvard and Yale.

Yale does. But since they're at the top they get great numbers AND amazing softs. Stanford gets amazing softs and just very good numbers. Harvard has a larger class size so it is more numbers based.

Obviously that is a super simplified analysis.

Also, not sure what you're saying about the yield...

minnesotamike
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:23 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby minnesotamike » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:10 am

I also don't understand how/when/why it's grouped in with Harvard and Yale.


Its acceptance rate is closer to Y than to H. Do you really think it is impossible to be simultaneously (a) more selective and (b) not as focused on numbers?

User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:14 am

birdlaw117 wrote:
WhiteGuy5 wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
WhiteGuy5 wrote:I don't mean to make this a dumb thread, but their 25/75 percentiles are not THAT high. In fact, some of the other T6s have higher medians than they do. I know their class size is small, but does that really put it in the same level of competitiveness as Harvard and Yale?

It means they look at *GASP* things other than numbers!


Wouldn't Harvard and Yale be doing that as well (especially since Yale has a small class size too)? I imagine competition to protect their yield would but downward pressure on relative ease of getting in.

I also don't understand how/when/why it's grouped in with Harvard and Yale.

Yale does. But since they're at the top they get great numbers AND amazing softs. Stanford gets amazing softs and just very good numbers. Harvard has a larger class size so it is more numbers based.

Obviously that is a super simplified analysis.

Also, not sure what you're saying about the yield...


I just don't get how it hangs around the HY neighborhood in the rankings despite the lower numbers (edit: WHILE being so competitive). People getting into Harvard and Yale are presumably getting into Stanford as well, especially people with AMAZING softs. Wouldn't that make it easier to get in - they would have to let more people in to maintain their numbers/protect their yield.

Does that make sense?
Last edited by WhiteGuy5 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:15 am

minnesotamike wrote:
I also don't understand how/when/why it's grouped in with Harvard and Yale.


Its acceptance rate is closer to Y than to H. Do you really think it is impossible to be simultaneously (a) more selective and (b) not as focused on numbers?


...with the big discrepancy between S medians and its peer schools, sort of.

User avatar
birdlaw117
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:19 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:21 am

WhiteGuy5 wrote:I just don't get how it hangs around the HY neighborhood in the rankings despite the lower numbers (edit: WHILE being so competitive). People getting into Harvard and Yale are presumably getting into Stanford as well, especially people with AMAZING softs. Wouldn't that make it easier to get in - they would have to let more people in to maintain their numbers/protect their yield.

Does that make sense?

A lot of people get into H and not S. Also, I think of students that get into both more choose S (I could be wrong on this, but it's close to 50/50 I think).

Also, numbers aren't the entirety of rankings. It's a lot easier to have great job placement with a smaller class (see Chicago vs CLS and NYU) and it's a lot easier to spend more $$ per student with a smaller class.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:35 am

You seem to be wanting to know three different things:
1) Why is Stanford so hard to get into?
2) Why is Stanford ranked so high by US News with it's relatively low LSAT median?
3) Why is the commonly accepted grouping "HYS" when S's admissions #'s are behind YH?

Here are your answers:

3) The grouping of HYS is considering job prospects.
2) Stanford is ranked so high by US News because of their rep scores, their expenditures per student, their acceptance rate, their GPA, etc.
1) Stanford is so hard to get into because they build their class with an eye towards softs. You think Harvard emphasizes the value of softs that much when making their class? Hell no--how many applicants do you think have #'s that can maintain Harvard's medians? Harvard has to be a numbers whore because it has a huge class and the amount of applicants who have the requisite #'s is limited.

Plenty of people choose Stanford over Harvard. If your goal is simply biglaw, going to Stanford over Harvard seems like a no-brainer in terms of quality of life during law school.

American_in_China
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:19 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby American_in_China » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:46 am

There are more good schools on the East Coast- 1000 spots at HY, 200 at Stanford. Then there are another 6 spots until you hit Boalt. If you want to work on the West Coast but have HYS numbers, you apply to Stanford.

1988AndX
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:28 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby 1988AndX » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:28 am

Why doesn't Stanford just take applicants with the highest LSAT/GPA it can get, increase its medians to HY level, and climb up the ranking? It has the reputation, expenditures per student, and acceptance rate to raise in the ranking.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:48 am

High LSATs & GPAs don't necessarily equate with success in the real world. Stanford doesn't need to rise in the rankings and Yale & Harvard are unlikely to fall anytime soon.
My best guess is that because Stanford is fairly small & very wealthy as well as sought after, it has the luxury of building each entering class based on factors in addition to & beyond mere numbers.

User avatar
Aberzombie1892
Posts: 1907
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:56 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:48 am

1988AndX wrote:Why doesn't Stanford just take applicants with the highest LSAT/GPA it can get, increase its medians to HY level, and climb up the ranking? It has the reputation, expenditures per student, and acceptance rate to raise in the ranking.


I'm certain that it is because of expenditures per student. A study came out a few years ago that showed that if Harvard had an LSAT median of 180 and Yale had a 150, Yale would still be ranked higher because it significantly outspends Harvard. Likely, Stanford cannot outspend Harvard or Yale (and doesn't need to) and so there is no reason to change its admissions strategy unless Yale/Harvard ever pull away in the rankings (which they won't) or Columbia/Chicago get to close in the rankings (which they most likely won't as there is no incentive to). As far as HYS-CC are concerned, there is no incentive to move up in the rankings unless it is to the #1 spot as it won't affect perception or placement - Because Yale spends a crapload to maintain that spot, there is simply no point.

shmoo597
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby shmoo597 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:51 am

1988AndX wrote:Why doesn't Stanford just take applicants with the highest LSAT/GPA it can get, increase its medians to HY level, and climb up the ranking? It has the reputation, expenditures per student, and acceptance rate to raise in the ranking.


Lol, just lol.

User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:04 pm

So..Stanford is THAT much richer than Chicago and Columbia for it to be able to spend an insane amount per student? I don't think so...

User avatar
Aberzombie1892
Posts: 1907
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:56 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:16 pm

WhiteGuy5 wrote:So..Stanford is THAT much richer than Chicago and Columbia for it to be able to spend an insane amount per student? I don't think so...


I didn't say Stanford is only ranked higher than Chicago or Columbia because of expenditures, but it is likely that it does outspend them. However, Stanford has a larger endowment than Chicago and Columbia, and for that reason (and a few other reasons) it likely spends more per student than those schools (don't focus on this too much as it requires a long explanation dealing with historical employment outcomes for graduates, alumni giving, the fact that tip-top law schools really don't make money off of the tuition students pay to attend because they spend more than that amount on each student, and so on).

Stanford has peer and judge/lawyer assessment scores and a GPA median that are above those of Chicago or Columbia.

Stanford has a lower student/faculty ratio and acceptance rate than that of Chicago or Columbia.

Stanford clearly deserves the rank it has, even if it has an LSAT median 2 points below Columbia's or 1 point below Chicago's.

User avatar
birdlaw117
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:19 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby birdlaw117 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:17 pm

WhiteGuy5 wrote:So..Stanford is THAT much richer than Chicago and Columbia for it to be able to spend an insane amount per student? I don't think so...

Stanford's endowment is 3x that of CLS's and it's class size is 1/2 the size. So they have a 6x advantage over CLS. I think they're pretty safe in that category.

User avatar
WhiteGuy5
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:47 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:27 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
WhiteGuy5 wrote:So..Stanford is THAT much richer than Chicago and Columbia for it to be able to spend an insane amount per student? I don't think so...


I didn't say Stanford is only ranked higher than Chicago or Columbia because of expenditures, but it is likely that it does outspend them. However, Stanford has a larger endowment than Chicago and Columbia, and for that reason (and a few other reasons) it likely spends more per student than those schools (don't focus on this too much as it requires a long explanation dealing with historical employment outcomes for graduates, alumni giving, the fact that tip-top law schools really don't make money off of the tuition students pay to attend because they spend more than that amount on each student, and so on).

Stanford has peer and judge/lawyer assessment scores and a GPA median that are above those of Chicago or Columbia.

Stanford has a lower student/faculty ratio and acceptance rate than that of Chicago or Columbia.

Stanford clearly deserves the rank it has, even if it has an LSAT median 2 points below Columbia's or 1 point below Chicago's.


I see. That about settles it.

Nobody
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:17 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Nobody » Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:23 pm

Isn't the academic/legal reputation a huge determiner in the US News Rankings? That would explain why the T-14 are so calcified, and why the highest ranked schools are more likely to take chances on an interesting candidate below median. The lower schools try and game their rankings through admission numbers because those are the easiest to control, and probably because the reputational scores even out by the twenties or so--I mean, I can't imagine any judges or professors with an opinion on Alabama v. Davis, for example.

jim-green
Posts: 808
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby jim-green » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:33 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:Harvard has a larger class size so it is more numbers based.
With a larger class size, I'd think you'd have to be less numbers-based. With a smaller class size, you can use a numbers software.

jim-green
Posts: 808
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby jim-green » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:36 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Harvard has to be a numbers whore because it has a huge class and the amount of applicants who have the requisite #'s is limited.
Isn't that the reason it should not be a numbers wh**e? Because not many applicants have those numbers, so it should look at softs, right? What am I missing?

Transferthrowaway
Posts: 608
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:39 pm

jim-green wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Harvard has to be a numbers whore because it has a huge class and the amount of applicants who have the requisite #'s is limited.
Isn't that the reason it should not be a numbers wh**e? Because not many applicants have those numbers, so it should look at softs, right? What am I missing?


You serious, Clark?

jim-green
Posts: 808
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby jim-green » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:40 pm

1988AndX wrote:Why doesn't Stanford just take applicants with the highest LSAT/GPA it can get, increase its medians to HY level, and climb up the ranking? It has the reputation, expenditures per student, and acceptance rate to raise in the ranking.
Exactly, they could easily move to #2 this way. No good answer in this thread for the Q above.

jim-green
Posts: 808
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby jim-green » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:41 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:
jim-green wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Harvard has to be a numbers whore because it has a huge class and the amount of applicants who have the requisite #'s is limited.
Isn't that the reason it should not be a numbers wh**e? Because not many applicants have those numbers, so it should look at softs, right? What am I missing?

You serious, Clark?
Yes.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Why is Stanford hard to get into?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:33 pm

jim-green wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Harvard has to be a numbers whore because it has a huge class and the amount of applicants who have the requisite #'s is limited.
Isn't that the reason it should not be a numbers wh**e? Because not many applicants have those numbers, so it should look at softs, right? What am I missing?


If Harvard put too much weight on softs, it would make it harder for Harvard to maintain their medians. Harvard has ridiculously high medians and a huge class size; only a select amount of applicants can help them maintain their medians and if they get too picky, they'll have to take a hit with their medians. It doesn't seem like Harvard wants to do that.

Stanford, on the other hand, emphasizes the LSAT much less the most other T14 schools. Stanford has shown a pretty consistent devotion to preferring softs and GPA over LSAT. And Stanford has been #2 plenty of times in the past decade with this approach.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BigZuck, bleakchimera2 and 8 guests