Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

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SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:08 am

NR3C1 wrote:1. Do you believe there is a long-term, structural surplus of JDs in the US?


I'm not an economist so I have no idea. I will say that this is not the black/white question that many make it out to be. First, law school has, for a long time, been a hybrid of a professional school and a graduate school. While an auto repair or cosmetology school trains you for a single job and potential students' primary (if not only) concern should be the presence of jobs after graduation, the New York Times isn't writing articles on the lack of jobs for History and English MAs and there is no groundswell calling for universities to shutter all non-STEM graduate programs. Law schools are somewhere in between. Personally, I find it hard to say there is a surplus of lawyers when legal aid clinics are still overflowing and turning away people in need. The problem, as in medicine with general practitioners, may be maldistribution rather than a supply problem.

Also, JD grads have many more options than simply getting hired by BigLaw. You can always open your own firm. Every law school has graduates who are entrepreneurs, CEOs, public policy analysts, and all sorts of other things. That said, my advice is always still to only go to law school if you know you want to practice law (with various caveats and exceptions that are off-topic).

2. If so, how does your school plan to inform current, incoming, and prospective students about it?


I don't plan to do or say anything different than I've always said because my advice has always been to carefully weigh the factors that are important to the individual applicant. There is plenty of information out there, more than ever. I don't think there are many potential law school applicants who aren't aware that the economy as a whole stinks right now and that legal hiring is down. Here at Tech, I think we're positioned well, and I think our students will continue to find employment at rates comparable to the other top law schools in our region. I'm very candid with students I talk to though. NO ONE is guaranteed a job after law school and nothing says that the job you do get will be your dream job. Again, I've always said this, even when times were good.

3. Now that the law school bubble has burst, are you worried about your job and future?


Not in the slightest. I don't know that any "bubble" has burst, but law school applications have always gone up and down. Admissions people that have been doing this longer than I have remember going through this several times before. When I applied to law school in 1999/2000, it was the first year law school applications rose in like 5 years (tried to find the exact figures, but nothing I have available to me goes back before 2004...b/c apparently I'm old). Established law schools like Texas Tech aren't going anywhere (although we do face certain other challenges). Schools that could be in trouble are those that have not been open for very long and were planned during the boom times. They are largely private, for-profit schools whose business models might not be able to handle smaller class sizes and still be profitable. However, there are still many more applicants to law schools than seats available in schools. Schools will have to face tough choices in the next few years regarding how much to sacrifice incoming student quality for revenue. No one starts a law school for the short term, though, so I would be surprised if any shut down in the next 5 years. Like any long term investment, I suspect most will ride this out. It will be interesting to see how quickly some of the announced but not yet open law schools proceed, though.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:58 pm

senorhosh wrote:How are schools responding to the recent drop in applicants? At this point, it seems like there isn't much change. However, I'd imagine if the current trend continues, law schools may be forced to become less selective. At the same time, as you mentioned, schools are concerned with keeping their medians up. Would schools rather lower the amount of admitted/enrolled students or lower their median (or both)? Do you foresee applicants having an easier time getting into law schools in the next couple years?


That's a tough one. While we admissions folk are a close bunch who freely share information and ideas, that usually doesn't happen until after the class has been seated. Until the official numbers come out, we won't know which schools took a quality hit, which ones shrunk their classes, which used scholarship money to prevent either of those things, etc.

As to which course of action would be preferable, that's going to depend on the law school. Shrinking the class size has been a common method for boosting medians (to rise in the rankings), and really would be the best solution. Unfortunately, not all schools have that luxury. Some schools are very tuition driven, meaning they must enroll a class of a minimum size just to pay the bills. (Remember, 25 fewer students in an incoming class represents 25 X 3 years in lost revenue.) A huge chunk of a law school's costs are tied up in things they can't cut like facilities and tenured/tenure-track faculty salaries.

No school "wants" to have their medians drop. Before USNWR rankings and the internet, a law school could probably weather a few down years without much long term damage to their reputation. But nowadays, the most minute changes are cause for parades or public floggings (depending on the change), regardless of whether or not there has been any change in the actual quality of education at a school.

The schools at the top will be fine, but as you work your way down the ladder there will eventually not be enough students to go around. Some schools will dig a bit deeper in their pools, taking some students from the school below them in the pecking order in their region, which in turn causes that second school to do the same. And so on...So yes, for a set of applicants at a set of schools, they might find their odds of getting in to those schools slightly better now than a few years ago. Where the line is defining those LSAT/GPAs and schools, I have no idea.

nathan001
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby nathan001 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:25 pm

Dean Perez,

Have to agree with Mona Lisa Vito, a kill shot is a kill shot who cares what form it comes in. The handwritten signature is always a polite touch. Had one school send out a rejection email the morning before the LSAT. Nice!

More constructive would be some concise feedback about how the candidate can improve their credentials and the positive aspects of their application. This at least tells me they read my application and possibly considered it holistically.This might dispel the commonly held belief that the process is all about the numbers.

My questions:

1) Why do law schools, compared to other professional schools (i.e. medicine or business), care so much about the opinions of one magazine (US News World Report)?

2) Why do these factors possibly influence admissions decisions, placing more weight on the LSAT?

3) Why are law schools reluctant to talk with denied candidates about the specfics of their applications after the application cycle?

Smooth Sail
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Smooth Sail » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:36 am

SPerez wrote:
I have a question for all of you.

If you are denied by a law school, do you care how you are notified?

I ask because I have always hand-signed every single deny and waitlist letter. I think it's the least I can do to show applicants respect for the time and energy they have put into their applications. I guess I'm little old school (but most of you knew that already, haha).

On the other hand, I think of that scene in My Cousin Vinny where Vinny asks Marisa Tomei which pants he should wear hunting. She ends the hilarious set up with, "Now I ask you, would you care what kind of pants the sonofab*tch that shot you was wearing?!" If it's a deny, I can totally see people not caring at all if it's in a letter or an email.

What are y'all's thoughts?


Dean Perez,

Just as stated before, I feel it shows the individual's class. Also, it showcases the school's knowledge about each applicant.

Example: I was asked by a school's associate dean to an interview a couple of months after I submitted my law school application. After an hour interview and many compliments from the dean, I felt the interview went well. I had a smile from ear to ear for 24-hours. The smile did not last long, because the next day I received a denial letter, machine-signed and dated three days prior, by the associate dean.

I called him and asked why he enjoys playing games with his applicants. He responded with an apology, and told me he did not know the denial letter had gone out. I responded by reminding him that associate deans, holding a JD, should know better than to have someone sign documents on their behalf (yes, I was bitter, and felt I had the right to be a smart ass at that moment).

So, I thank you for going the extra mile for all of your applicants. I also want to thank you for the personal note on my acceptance letter. See you in the fall.

Respectfully,

Smooth Sail

A12345
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby A12345 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:48 am

Smooth Sail wrote:
SPerez wrote:
I have a question for all of you.

If you are denied by a law school, do you care how you are notified?

I ask because I have always hand-signed every single deny and waitlist letter. I think it's the least I can do to show applicants respect for the time and energy they have put into their applications. I guess I'm little old school (but most of you knew that already, haha).

On the other hand, I think of that scene in My Cousin Vinny where Vinny asks Marisa Tomei which pants he should wear hunting. She ends the hilarious set up with, "Now I ask you, would you care what kind of pants the sonofab*tch that shot you was wearing?!" If it's a deny, I can totally see people not caring at all if it's in a letter or an email.

What are y'all's thoughts?



Dean Perez,

Just as stated before, I feel it shows the individual's class. Also, it showcases the school's knowledge about each applicant.

Example: I was asked by a school's associate dean to an interview a couple of months after I submitted my law school application. After an hour interview and many compliments from the dean, I felt the interview went well. I had a smile from ear to ear for 24-hours. The smile did not last long, because the next day I received a denial letter, machine-signed and dated three days prior, by the associate dean.

I called him and asked why he enjoys playing games with his applicants. He responded with an apology, and told me he did not know the denial letter had gone out. I responded by reminding him that associate deans, holding a JD, should know better than to have someone sign documents on their behalf (yes, I was bitter, and felt I had the right to be a smart ass at that moment).

So, I thank you for going the extra mile for all of your applicants. I also want to thank you for the personal note on my acceptance letter. See you in the fall.

Respectfully,

Smooth Sail


You were way nicer than I would have been.
Last edited by A12345 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dingbat
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:52 am

SPerez wrote:I have a question for all of you.

If you are denied by a law school, do you care how you are notified?

I ask because I have always hand-signed every single deny and waitlist letter. I think it's the least I can do to show applicants respect for the time and energy they have put into their applications. I guess I'm little old school (but most of you knew that already, haha).

On the other hand, I think of that scene in My Cousin Vinny where Vinny asks Marisa Tomei which pants he should wear hunting. She ends the hilarious set up with, "Now I ask you, would you care what kind of pants the sonofab*tch that shot you was wearing?!" If it's a deny, I can totally see people not caring at all if it's in a letter or an email.

What are y'all's thoughts?

I think this really depends on the applicant. I'm a very rational person, so I don't care how I'm told*. My sister is a very emotional person, so a personalized rejection letter would soften the blow.

*the only one that annoyed me was when the status checker on Friday night said I was still under review, but when I checked on Saturday it said I had been rejected, dated the preceding Monday. It was more the perceived lack of professionalism than anything else

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:43 pm

banjo wrote:How do you view applicants who have voluntarily left a PhD program with a only an MA or without any degree? Red flag? Is an MA better than nothing? Is it important to address this in the application? Finally, is it a bad idea to apply to law schools right after dropping out (in other words, is working for a year a good idea?)?


I would put this situation in the category "Things Applicants Worry About That They Shouldn't". First, how schools view your situation is a little irrelevant since there's nothing you can really do about it at this point. It is what it is. I wouldn't advise someone to stay in a program they don't like just because of how it might look on law school applications. That's a "life" issue that goes beyond law school applications. Second, I have to get pretty creative to come up with a scenario where that becomes an issue sufficient to influence the ultimate admissions decision. You could mention it in an addendum, but my guess is that the explanation needn't be longer than a paragraph. Unless you had credits after getting the MA, I don't even know that I would be able to figure you that you were in a PhD program unless a recommender dropped a dime on you.

Yes, an MA is better than no MA, but like usual, a 4.0 in an MA program isn't typically going to be enough to overcome, say, an LSAT/GPA combo at a school's 10th percentiles.

As for working for a year or going straight into law school, I would also call that a "life" decision not a law school applications decision. If you feel that you need to work for a year - for sanity, finances, solidify your desire to attend law school, or generally "figure sh*t out" - then do it.

many9
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby many9 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:00 pm

Why should someone choose Texas Tech Law over other schools in Texas like SMU, UT, or
UH?

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banjo
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby banjo » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:57 pm

SPerez wrote:
banjo wrote:How do you view applicants who have voluntarily left a PhD program with a only an MA or without any degree? Red flag? Is an MA better than nothing? Is it important to address this in the application? Finally, is it a bad idea to apply to law schools right after dropping out (in other words, is working for a year a good idea?)?


I would put this situation in the category "Things Applicants Worry About That They Shouldn't". First, how schools view your situation is a little irrelevant since there's nothing you can really do about it at this point. It is what it is. I wouldn't advise someone to stay in a program they don't like just because of how it might look on law school applications. That's a "life" issue that goes beyond law school applications. Second, I have to get pretty creative to come up with a scenario where that becomes an issue sufficient to influence the ultimate admissions decision. You could mention it in an addendum, but my guess is that the explanation needn't be longer than a paragraph. Unless you had credits after getting the MA, I don't even know that I would be able to figure you that you were in a PhD program unless a recommender dropped a dime on you.

Yes, an MA is better than no MA, but like usual, a 4.0 in an MA program isn't typically going to be enough to overcome, say, an LSAT/GPA combo at a school's 10th percentiles.

As for working for a year or going straight into law school, I would also call that a "life" decision not a law school applications decision. If you feel that you need to work for a year - for sanity, finances, solidify your desire to attend law school, or generally "figure sh*t out" - then do it.


Thanks for the response!

collegebum1989
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:35 pm

Dear Dean Perez,

First, thank you for taking our questions. I have a few questions about some of the aspects of applications which most people say are not large factors for admissions decisions. I just wanted your opinion on this.

1. How do law schools view advanced degrees which have the potential to improve the employment prospects for a future law graduate. For example, I have an undergraduate and masters degree in engineering and interested in law schools to pursue a career in patent law.

2. How are majors and corresponding GPAs evaluated throughout the admissions process when determining an admissions decision for an applicant. Science/engineering majors tend to have lower GPAs, does this put them at a disadvantage during admissions compared to an applicant with a higher GPA with less academic rigor?

3. Are leadership and unique qualities represented in a student's extracurricular and personal statement taken into consideration beyond one's LSAT and undergraduate GPA?

4. Finally, quantitatively speaking, what are the estimated percentages for each category for admissions? (A. undergrad GPA, B. LSAT, C. Graduate GPA, D. Extracirricular activities).


Thank you so much!

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annet
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby annet » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:47 pm

SPerez wrote:I would put this situation in the category "Things Applicants Worry About That They Shouldn't". ...
As for working for a year or going straight into law school, I would also call that a "life" decision not a law school applications decision. If you feel that you need to work for a year - for sanity, finances, solidify your desire to attend law school, or generally "figure sh*t out" - then do it.


I'm coming up on six years between leaving a poor-fit MA program and applying to law school. So I very much appreciate this response :)

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:36 pm

dingbat wrote: Are there any applicants who have not yet heard back from you? If not, why not? When can they expect an answer?



We try really hard to get decisions (which includes waitlist) by the first or second week of April. I've been able to do that every year I've been in admissions, but admittedly that was 4 years at Idaho with an applicant pool of 600-800 and 2 years at Tech with an applicant volume of 1420 and something over 1600. Many of those "fancy" schools on the east coast get two and three times that number of applicants. While it would hopefully mean we were doing awesome over here, I'm not sure I'd be able to meet that goal if we had 3,000+ applications.

There's not too much rhyme or reason for most of the files that are the last ones to be reviewed. SOMEone has to be last. A certain number are at the end for specific reasons related to their applications, e.g. taking the February LSAT, not having their transcripts in to LSAC on time, not responding to our request for additional information, etc.

At this point, pretty much the only people that haven't heard anything are those that applied after the deadline (apart from those with specific problems/reasons like I mentioned above).

There are a ton of factors that go into how long the average file takes to go through review. There are probably as many admissions processes as there are law schools. Some are multi-stage some aren't. Some take a long time because multiple people on a large (6+ member) AdCom are involved in the process. Others take a long time for the opposite reason - the majority of decisions are made by a single Dean of Admissions so there's only 1 person that must read ALL the files.

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BVest
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:51 pm

SPerez wrote:I have a question for all of you.

If you are denied by a law school, do you care how you are notified?

I ask because I have always hand-signed every single deny and waitlist letter. I think it's the least I can do to show applicants respect for the time and energy they have put into their applications. I guess I'm little old school (but most of you knew that already, haha).

On the other hand, I think of that scene in My Cousin Vinny where Vinny asks Marisa Tomei which pants he should wear hunting. She ends the hilarious set up with, "Now I ask you, would you care what kind of pants the sonofab*tch that shot you was wearing?!" If it's a deny, I can totally see people not caring at all if it's in a letter or an email.

What are y'all's thoughts?


I'm late in responding to this, but as I sit late in the cycle still waiting on decisions, I would say that I prefer the speed of email for all decisions (or a phone call for good news). I'm checking statuses 5 times a day and it's the first thing Mrs. BVest asks about when we get home after work.

This is coming from someone who generally sends important communications by letter, but if they're time sensitive I also scan them to email or fax them before posting. (The exception to my rule is letters to our Congressional delegation since the anthrax attacks, as mail now takes a couple weeks to reach the offices.)

UTexasLaw
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby UTexasLaw » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:16 pm

What do you think of the LSDAS GPA versus the residence GPA for an applicant?



For example, my LSDAS GPA is a 3.5 due to a few failed online classes from various community college that I really just didn't pay attention to versus my 3.9 from my high ranking undergraduate college/institution (The University of Texas at Austin). Would the LSDAS adjustment severely hurt me, and if so, would an addendum be able to save me?

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:11 pm

nathan001 wrote:1) Why do law schools, compared to other professional schools (i.e. medicine or business), care so much about the opinions of one magazine (US News World Report)?


Ah, that's the big question, isn't it. The answer personally is that I don't care. Unfortunately, I have to care. I think most of us admissions professionals would agree that we only care because students care, and that's not entirely unfair to students. Of course, students care because they perceive that employers care. After employers though, I find it hard to keep passing the buck along. I guess you could say that their clients care, but I think that leap is a bit tenuous. Alumni (read: donors) care, too, but I think that's out of general competitiveness.

Not to put all the "blame" on someone else. Law students are competitive and love to come out on top of any rankings - whether it's beer pong or class rank or billable hours - and guess who runs law schools? Former law students. It's hard for us, as a profession, to be too convincing with our finger wagging at USNWR when other colleagues are holding giant banners touting where they place in the rankings. To be fair, some of that is driven by the "main campus" and not the law schools themselves. I remember hearing a story from a Top 50 law school dean who was always fighting with their main administration over publicity of their ranking (the dean being against it). One year, after thinking progress had been made, the dean was driving to work and passed under a giant banner touting their ranking that spanned an entire pedestrian bridge crossing a major, 4-lane campus drive. (Not to say competition isn't good, of course. It's what keeps us improving. The problem here is that USNWR doesn't reward things that necessarily improve legal education.)

I think what we need is MORE rankings. Why USNWR has this impenetrable hold on this market, I have no idea. I wish other large publishers would come up with better and different rankings, which would hopefully dilute USNWR's influence. My position has long been that a national ranking shouldn't go lower than the top 25, and after that have a series of regional rankings.

nathan001 wrote:2) Why do these factors possibly influence admissions decisions, placing more weight on the LSAT?


The rankings exist, whether we like it our not. The only schools with the reputation and clout to legitimately abstain and say "We're not playing" (a la Katniss Everdeen), are the same ones that benefit the most from being at the top of the rankings. What would happen if HYS just stopped responding to USNWR's data request? Would students all of a sudden stop going there because they're on the unranked schools list? I don't think so.

So for the rest of us, we can either ignore the rankings and be criticized for "dropping" in "quality" (regardless of whether or not that is true) or do what we can to "win". To quote Omar from "The Wire", I'll do what I can to help y'all. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played. That simple." (And yes, I just dropped Katniss and Omar in the same answer.)

nathan001 wrote:3) Why are law schools reluctant to talk with denied candidates about the specfics of their applications after the application cycle?


Probably because they don't want to get sued. It would also be a time issue for most schools, especially those in big cities, as those schools have literally thousands of denied applicants every year. I advised students at Idaho, but I never had more than 5 or 10 take advantage of that in a cycle. Here at Tech I've had more, so I've had to go more to email. (Which I'm sure some people will think it's crazy because I'm putting things "in writing", but I think that's better than having a he said/she said later on.)

Honestly, it's not a shocker why most applicants get denied at a particular school since the answer is almost always that their LSAT and/or GPA is too low. Applicants that were really close to the line probably got in at another school so they don't really care enough to find out. A handful of students I sit down with are truly difficult to advise because there are no glaring problems with their files and they fall in that "good, just not good enough" category. That's tough to say to someone face to face so you can understand why an admissions person would want to avoid that.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:43 am

many9 wrote:Why should someone choose Texas Tech Law over other schools in Texas like SMU, UT, or
UH?



It all depends on the student. If you have 20 admittees, they will likely have 20 different reasons for choosing the school they ultimately attend. What those reasons are won't come as a shock to anyone. The list probably includes cost, location (in Texas or specifically West Texas...yes (shocker) there are people that actually LIKE West Texas :) ), style of legal education (practical vs. theoretical), specific specialty programs, etc.

For many students that choose us over SMU, Baylor, UH, and UT (yes, that does happen a few times each year), it comes down to fit. The same goes for students that make any choice from among those schools. Each law school, by virtue of some combination of their students, their communities, and their professors and staff, has its own personality or "vibe". For some, UT could be too big. For someone else, Baylor might be too small and litigation focused. People often choose either SMU or UH based mostly on whether they want to be in Dallas or Houston. The answer is different for everybody.

The most common reason students tell me that they chose Texas Tech is that they felt like we (the admissions staff, other students, professors, etc.) were friendlier than other schools they dealt with and actually cared about them as people and not just an LSAT/GPA.

The real question is why should YOU choose one school over another.

taxman128
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby taxman128 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:07 pm

SPerez wrote:For many students that choose us over SMU, Baylor, UH, and UT (yes, that does happen a few times each year), it comes down to fit.


isn't it because you pay them to come?

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:53 pm

taxman128 wrote:
SPerez wrote:For many students that choose us over SMU, Baylor, UH, and UT (yes, that does happen a few times each year), it comes down to fit.


isn't it because you pay them to come?


Not necessarily. Of course, students that are impressive enough and have the stats to get into schools at that level often (not always) receive scholarships from us. However, they almost always also have scholarships from other schools, too, so it's not just the money that makes their decision.

cdj588
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby cdj588 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:36 am

I was wondering: 1) if it matters how old letters of recommendation are 2) if yall can see when the letters were submitted 3) if it matters when they were submitted?

I ask, because I planned to attend law school this coming fall, but life got in the way (long story short). However, in preparation for going to law school this coming fall I had already knocked out the letter of recommendation part of my credentials. So, by the time I apply my letters of recommendation will be at least a year old maybe even a year and a few months.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:12 pm

collegebum1989 wrote:Dear Dean Perez,

First, thank you for taking our questions. I have a few questions about some of the aspects of applications which most people say are not large factors for admissions decisions. I just wanted your opinion on this.

1. How do law schools view advanced degrees which have the potential to improve the employment prospects for a future law graduate. For example, I have an undergraduate and masters degree in engineering and interested in law schools to pursue a career in patent law.

2. How are majors and corresponding GPAs evaluated throughout the admissions process when determining an admissions decision for an applicant. Science/engineering majors tend to have lower GPAs, does this put them at a disadvantage during admissions compared to an applicant with a higher GPA with less academic rigor?

3. Are leadership and unique qualities represented in a student's extracurricular and personal statement taken into consideration beyond one's LSAT and undergraduate GPA?

4. Finally, quantitatively speaking, what are the estimated percentages for each category for admissions? (A. undergrad GPA, B. LSAT, C. Graduate GPA, D. Extracirricular activities).


Thank you so much!


The fact that you have a master's in engineering makes your questions no surprise to me. Much to the consternation of many, law school admissions (at least the way I do it) isn't that quantitative. There is no formula or algorithm that we feed majors, schools, and GPAs into that allows us to directly compare one person's 3.2 in Astrophysics from Harvard with another person's 4.3 in [made up easy major that doesn't offend anyone's actual major] that's mostly community college credits and a degree from NW Eastern State Cosmetology School and Bait Shop. We all just have to use our professional judgment.

At one level, if a school is gunning for a certain median and you're below it, nothing else matters. Schools will take a certain number of folks that are below their medians and whether that will be you depends on the rest of your file. On the other hand, school and major are just two of a whole plethora ('jes, El Guapo, I know what a plethora is) of considerations we look at, which includes grade trend, if a person worked during school and how much, the rigor of that particular major at that particular school, whether the person took Honors courses, and on and on.

There is also the issue of to what degree these things compare with each other. For example, if our median is 3.5 and I have an ENGR major with a 3.4 and a MGMT major with a 3.6, all other things being equal I don't really care. The ENGR isn't really that bad, relatively speaking. However, say I've only got 1 spot left and I have a Biochemistry major with a 2.3 and a Communications major with a 3.4 but that person had 27 hrs of .5 their freshman year and finished with a 4.0 in their last 2 years. I'm picking the COMM major. I want people that have proven they can excel. Yes, the COMM major had an easier path, but they proved themselves to be among the best in their group. It's hard for me to admit someone because they COULD do better when I have people that HAVE done better.

As for leadership and other softs, yes they are considered. However, my line on this is that you could be Mother Theresa, Warren Buffet, and Winston Churchill rolled into one, but if you got a 120 and a 2.0 you ain't getting into law school. Good softs help distinguish applicants and can often be the reason one person gets a scholarship while someone else with the same numbers does not. Remarkable softs can help someone get into a school with 25th percentile or lower numbers. (Because, really, at the top schools the 25th percentiles are still really good numbers. It's not like they're in any real danger of flunking out...usually.)

Finally, there are no percentages for how much weight each aspect of the file is given. It's not that quantitative, not to mention there's probably a good 10 more categories than those you listed that are considered for any given applicant (e.g. work history, military service, writing ability, character & fitness, LORs, residency status, etc.). Suffice it to say that LSAT and GPA are still the biggest factors by far (no surprise there). After that, it's the well-worn law school answer--it depends.

nathan001
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby nathan001 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:20 am

Personally, I think the whole rankings game is a bit silly and probably doesn't reflected the quality of education one can obtain at a given school. Based on my personal experiences, working in academia, one would be hard pressed to convince me that UT or UAla are better quality law schools than UNC based on their USNWR. These subtle differences are meaningless to the student's future......so what? However, there are misinformed students who try to make these obtuse comparisons. Maybe these students should be blamed Dean Perez and told that it depends more on making the most of the opportunity given (i.e. whether it be Texas Tech, St Mary's, or UT). Recently, I was talking with a UT attorney (83) about this. He said that he probably couldn't get into UT nowadays but that it probably really doesn't matter where you graduate; rather how well you perform in law school. Train yourself to be the best possible attorney. He added that probably the best attorney in his firm was a Texas Wesleyan graduate. Most other attorneys that I speak with about this agree that the USNWR is BS and doesn't reflect the quality of the school nor its graduates. Maybe some students should get off the internet and talk/shadow with real practicing attorneys. This is why I could care less about rankings and more interested in finding a school that offers a quality legal education.

I'll never understand why the most subjective profession uses the most objective measures to select prospective students. Dean Perez you make it sound like outside of UGGPA and LSAT everything else is really insignificant in the decision making process. After graduating from college with an undergraduate degree, I get the impression the only thing that you can do to improve your chances for law school is the LSAT. Maybe it is unfair for me to suggest that the process is not holistic.

nathan001
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby nathan001 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:47 am

Let's suppose you had the chance to advise the 2.3 Biochem Major. What advice would you give this candidate?

If this candidate returned to school and obtained a PhD with solid grades (>3.5 GPA), would you still give the nod to the liberal arts (BA) major with a 3.40 if all else was equal?

The candidate tells you that he is considering the only three options he has with the final goal of becoming a patent attorney.

1) Work for a Nobel Prize winner, obtain a PhD, and get several publications. No change in LSAT score but solid grades.
2) Work in a meaningless technical sales job with ample time to raise his LSAT to a 160-165 range.
3) Go back to his University to get a second undergraduate degree with 3.65 GPA but no change in LSAT score.

Which option best improves this student's candidacy for law school?

What is the lowest LSAT score (Non-AA) you have accepted and the highest LSAT score (Non-AA) you have ever rejected?

For those prospective students that have already graduated, besides the LSAT, what things can a candidate do to improve their candidacy for law school?

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jas1503
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby jas1503 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:41 pm

@Dean Perez.

How does your school -or any law school in general- evaluate students with a missing transcript (due to financial hold) in the application?

Obviously, it sends a red flag about that students ability to pay bills, but is it enough to toss an application out completely?

What if the missing school transcript is the graduating university?

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed May 02, 2012 10:47 am

UTexasLaw wrote:What do you think of the LSDAS GPA versus the residence GPA for an applicant?

For example, my LSDAS GPA is a 3.5 due to a few failed online classes from various community college that I really just didn't pay attention to versus my 3.9 from my high ranking undergraduate college/institution (The University of Texas at Austin). Would the LSDAS adjustment severely hurt me, and if so, would an addendum be able to save me?


Well, at one level it doesn't matter what I "think" in so much as your LSAC reported GPA WILL be lower and, as such, "hurt" your chances compared to if you just had your UT grades. If a school is shooting for a 3.8 median GPA, you're below that. Every school takes people that are below one or both of their medians so it becomes up to the rest of your file to put you in that group.

You should DEFINITELY explain what happened honestly and forthrightly. This job has caused me to develop some weird, pretty specific pet peeves (incl. people who have last names for first names and people that go by their middle names), and another one is rapidly becoming students that don't explain glaring and obvious problems in their academic record.

If you say nothing, then I'm going to assume that you are/were (depending on when it happened) immature and didn't take those classes seriously (which sounds like exactly what happened). Failing is serious and should always be addressed, even when it is only one class. You have "a few", which isn't good. You want to use the addendum to put this negative fact in the light most favorable to you, e.g. you WERE immature, but have since grown and, as evidenced by your outstanding UG grades, take school very seriously, etc.

If the classes were all when you were in high school or early in your college career, your LSAT is solid, and there aren't any other blemishes in your file then it shouldn't be a huge deal. If they were recent or consistent and you have other things in your file that indicate you have a maturity problem (e.g. MIPs or PIs; no academic LORs, which is a red flag when someone has a very high GPA), then it could push you off the bubble for schools at which you are borderline.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon May 07, 2012 10:49 am

cdj588 wrote:I was wondering: 1) if it matters how old letters of recommendation are 2) if yall can see when the letters were submitted 3) if it matters when they were submitted?

I ask, because I planned to attend law school this coming fall, but life got in the way (long story short). However, in preparation for going to law school this coming fall I had already knocked out the letter of recommendation part of my credentials. So, by the time I apply my letters of recommendation will be at least a year old maybe even a year and a few months.


I'd say the answer is "Not really", up to a point. Most recommenders use typical business letter formats and put the date at the top of the letter so we usually do know when they wrote it. One year or one cycle isn't, in my mind at least, something that would raise an eyebrow when I review a file.

When I start to have questions is when letters are several years old (2+) and/or there are no new letters, especially when it's someone that has previously applied and been denied. It shows that the applicant didn't take the time to get a more recent letter (or couldn't find someone willing to write one), making me question how serious they are about wanting to go to law school.

And since we're talking about LORs, I'll repeat my general advice:

NO FAMILY MEMBERS
NO HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
NO FRIENDS

I see these as obvious, but until I have a year in which I receive none of them I will have to continue spread the word. I'd be happy to explain my reasons in more detail if anyone wants.




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