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 15, 2014 10:19 pm

ElliotNessquire wrote:Dean Perez --

Thanks for taking the time to do this! Quick question -- can taking an in-person visit and making a lasting positive impression on either a dean or another member of the admissions staff aid in admittance and/or receiving scholarship money?


Admissions people are human and are susceptible to being impressed by applicants in person. That's why many schools have interviews as a formal part of the admissions process. But different offices are different. For me, I am explicit with applicants or waitlists who want to visit pre-admission that nothing from their visit will impact their decision. (We're far from everything so I don't want students thinking they need to take on the expense of a trip out to Lubbock to improve their chances when, odds are, it won't.)

It depends on the applicant. They still need to be in the ballpark numbers-wise. A sparkling personality and winning smile won't get you in if you're 20 pts and two full grade points below a school's 10th percentile.

It definitely works the other way, though. I hear stories from colleagues all the time about applicants tanking their odds by being rude in communications or to administrative staff.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:40 pm

drawstring wrote:Hi Dean Perez,

If an applicant graduates with their undergrad degree in May, immediately starts working full time, then applies in September, would you see them as a K-JD or someone who would have about a year and a half of WE upon matriculation?

Thanks


"K-JD" isn't a discrete/specific "thing" in the admissions process at any school with a few exceptions (like Northwestern). It's not a category that we place students into or even think about specifically. There's no magic amount of work experience. Some students are applying right out of undergrad but have been working part to full time since they were 16. Others might have been working for a full year or two since graduation, but not in any substantive or relevant field. Don't worry about having work experience for having work experience's sake.

The most any reviewer usually says about an applicant's work history is usually something like "worked PT/FT during school" or "been working for a bank since graduation".

Work because you need the money or want the actual experience itself, not because you think it will impact your law school applications.

Dean Perez

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drawstring
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby drawstring » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:32 pm

Thanks for the response!

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:48 pm

Have you ever had a situation where you felt obligated to advise someone NOT to attend Tech? Like maybe someone had really inane reasons for wanting to attend ("I really like your logo!") or it was just a complete mismatch for their goals ("I'm hoping to practice in Seattle, I've heard it's a cool city.") ?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Broscientist » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:17 pm

Dean Perez,

I am not sure whether you have an answer, or perhaps a theory, but I thought I would inquire anyway. Previously, you mentioned how the cost of UT law when you attended was around $7,500 and Tech's $5,000. Obviously these two numbers are quite close, manageable figures for an average person (K-JD, or someone returning to school after working for a period of time) to handle.

Now, for comparative purposes, Texas (in-state) costs around 33K, 4.4 times the cost you paid, and Tech (in-state) around 23K, around 4.6 times the cost when you attended UT. Using some basic economics, the rate of inflation generally sits around 3% per year. Assuming you ended your legal education in 2000, though I believe you said either 2003 or 2004, the growth rate over 14 years comes to just over 1.5 (1.03^14). This indicates the "expected" costs of UT law to be ~15K and Tech should cost ~10K. Phew, and the math portion of the post now sits behind us.

To the heart of my question: What, in your opinion caused the dramatic and arguably unnecessary spike in tuition costs? There are fewer job prospects, more institutions (usually this decreases costs, theoretically), and a host of other factors which make this seem insane.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:01 am

Broscientist wrote:Dean Perez,

I am not sure whether you have an answer, or perhaps a theory, but I thought I would inquire anyway. Previously, you mentioned how the cost of UT law when you attended was around $7,500 and Tech's $5,000. Obviously these two numbers are quite close, manageable figures for an average person (K-JD, or someone returning to school after working for a period of time) to handle.

Now, for comparative purposes, Texas (in-state) costs around 33K, 4.4 times the cost you paid, and Tech (in-state) around 23K, around 4.6 times the cost when you attended UT. Using some basic economics, the rate of inflation generally sits around 3% per year. Assuming you ended your legal education in 2000, though I believe you said either 2003 or 2004, the growth rate over 14 years comes to just over 1.5 (1.03^14). This indicates the "expected" costs of UT law to be ~15K and Tech should cost ~10K. Phew, and the math portion of the post now sits behind us.

To the heart of my question: What, in your opinion caused the dramatic and arguably unnecessary spike in tuition costs? There are fewer job prospects, more institutions (usually this decreases costs, theoretically), and a host of other factors which make this seem insane.


Universal access to federal student loan money for everyone attending any law school. Take this away and tuition costs would plummet.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:50 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Have you ever had a situation where you felt obligated to advise someone NOT to attend Tech? Like maybe someone had really inane reasons for wanting to attend ("I really like your logo!") or it was just a complete mismatch for their goals ("I'm hoping to practice in Seattle, I've heard it's a cool city.") ?


I don't know that I've every straight up advised someone to not come to a school I worked at (I mean, I do like my job and want to keep it :) ), but I've definitely been in conversations with admits that ended with a fairly clear choice for them and it wasn't my school. I still framed what things were different/better about my school, but sometimes the other option is just as good on our strong points or enough better on others that it makes sense.

On the flip side, I sometimes REALLY wish I could be completely honest with those students I think are making poor choices in picking other schools. Alas, my personal standards for professionalism preclude me from doing so, but there have been times I have gently asked why a student picked another school and then tried to gently suggest some things they may want to consider. I usually make it a point to say that at that point I'm not trying to sell them on Tech anymore, but it's really hard to keep from crossing into sounding like you're saying "Dude, you're making a huge mistake" so I try not to do it much.

Usually it's not really that their reasons are dumb in the way you describe. Most of the time it is things like the student is choosing a similarly ranked school in a far-away part of the country, usually a big metro area and only sometimes with a big enough scholarship to make the total COA equal or less. Usually (at least in my armchair psychological estimation) it is students that have never left Texas (sometimes even their small college town) and just want to get out and experience something different. They often say they aren't sure where they want to practice, but almost every time they will come back to Texas. But I get the sentiment and feeling that when you're 22 you aren't ready to make decisions about where you will live for the rest of your life. I just don't think law school is the way to get that wanderlust out of one's system. Still, I'm sure virtually all of them end up doing just fine so not sure it matters in the end.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby 2654815451 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:14 pm

I would like to add with everyone else how TLS and these forums have aided in the application process. Thanks, Dean Perez, for the great answers and advice.

I'm not shooting for T-14, as my numbers are not sufficient. I'm praying to get in and receive some type of scholarship to LSU in Baton Rouge. The highest ranked school I'm applying to is Tulane New Orleans. LSU is my top choice.

Questions:

1. Being that my numbers are right below median (even in 25% range), how can I make up for that in my application? I have worked full time since high school, and currently working for District Attorney. I know a GREAT deal about child support and hope to be a prosecutor in this area. I will be graduating with my undergrad in paralegal studies next year, which brings me to my next question:
2. I will be graduating in August 2015, because I'm having to take this summer (currently in process) and next summer to graduate on time. Will this effect my chances of admission when they see the number of credit hours I have left when I apply? I'm planning to apply early.

I've taken the Feb. LSAT and waiting on my June LSAT. I would wait another year to apply to law school, but my situation really contributes to my need to go next year. I've pratically raised myself and been homeless at different times. I went straight from high school to university, but I dropped out due to working 3 jobs and trying to survive. I'm now trying to make up that time.

Thank you so much for your help. I will appreciate anyone's comments on this.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:51 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Broscientist wrote:Dean Perez,

I am not sure whether you have an answer, or perhaps a theory, but I thought I would inquire anyway. Previously, you mentioned how the cost of UT law when you attended was around $7,500 and Tech's $5,000. Obviously these two numbers are quite close, manageable figures for an average person (K-JD, or someone returning to school after working for a period of time) to handle.

Now, for comparative purposes, Texas (in-state) costs around 33K, 4.4 times the cost you paid, and Tech (in-state) around 23K, around 4.6 times the cost when you attended UT. Using some basic economics, the rate of inflation generally sits around 3% per year. Assuming you ended your legal education in 2000, though I believe you said either 2003 or 2004, the growth rate over 14 years comes to just over 1.5 (1.03^14). This indicates the "expected" costs of UT law to be ~15K and Tech should cost ~10K. Phew, and the math portion of the post now sits behind us.

To the heart of my question: What, in your opinion caused the dramatic and arguably unnecessary spike in tuition costs? There are fewer job prospects, more institutions (usually this decreases costs, theoretically), and a host of other factors which make this seem insane.


Universal access to federal student loan money for everyone attending any law school. Take this away and tuition costs would plummet.


Big +1 to the first part. I remember asking Chemerinsky this question about 8 years ago at a conference and I was surprised he didn't explicitly agree, but he definitely didn't DISagree either. He sort of mumbled and moved on to the next person in line.

However, I disagree with at least the degree of the second part. Law schools have a lot of sunk costs that are the same regardless of class size. They can't make their buildings smaller so the only other big ticket item is reducing personnel costs (i.e. tenure-track faculty). That can't really be done quickly, but can be done by attrition, not filling open open positions, retirements etc. Then there's the whole cultural aspect and how student expectations fits into that.

Schools and students have developed a level of expectation over the last 10-20 years, an appetite for the finer things so to speak. Prospective students say they want to save money, but they also want an impressive building with supple leather chairs, lounges with big screens, marble columns, and big name professors (they'll never take). It's the same idea that has driven the undergraduate building boom of taller climbing walls and ever more luxurious residence halls. (No joke, someone from my campus's housing office told me "we don't use the 'd'-word anymore" when I referred to the new apartment-style grad student hall we're building as a "dorm".) Until some spartan law school with bare concrete facilities and excellent teaching but otherwise unknown faculty starts landing the top students and moving up the rankings, the incentive is still for schools to spend money, in my opinion.

If the Feds put a cap on loans, I don't think it would do anything to the top schools. My guess would be that private lenders would step into the breach to cover the gap. This might not be a bad thing, though, if the loans weren't guaranteed by the Feds because (again, I think...I'm not a financial services expert) they might start actually evaluating the risk associated with the loans. Those going to highly-ranked schools and/or those with high employment rates would get loans. Banks would alternatively be much less likely to lend to students attending schools with bad employment and bar pass rates would, one would think, which would put a lot of pressure on such schools to lower their costs.

I'm sure this wouldn't actually happen, though it doesn't sound like a crazy alternative to me.

I've been off the board for a while, seems like things have been surprisingly quiet. Thought for sure people would be having waitlist freakouts around now, at least. Is everyone too busy enjoying their last few weeks of freedom before school starts?

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:10 pm

Sorry it's taken so long to respond, Kaycee. Stuff got hella busy hella quick with our Orientation being last week and classes beginning this week. (And my first trip happening in two weeks!)

KAYCEE wrote:1. Being that my numbers are right below median (even in 25% range), how can I make up for that in my application? I have worked full time since high school, and currently working for District Attorney. I know a GREAT deal about child support and hope to be a prosecutor in this area. I will be graduating with my undergrad in paralegal studies next year, which brings me to my next question:


By now I guess you have your results from the June LSAT. Hopefully you were able to crack LSU's median because truthfully, it would probably be a long shot for you to get any kind of significant merit-based aid with both LSAT and GPA around a school's 25th percentiles. According to their grid on LSAC.org (https://officialguide.lsac.org/RELEASE/ ... spx?sid=76) only 15 of 84 applicants with 150-154 and 3.0-3.4 were admitted.

The things that usually get those double-below-medians in are things like bad/old early grades and big upward grade trends, rigorous undergrad (e.g. engineering major or Ivy League school or Honors program), or near perfect graduate school grades in a rigorous program. Work experience seldom makes up for academic shortcomings because they usually involve different skills. The skills you need to do well in undergrad are basically the same as those needed in law school. The same cannot be said for working, though, even in a legal setting. You will definitely want to write an addendum to make us aware that you worked full-time while going to school. Too often students don't even put their hours/week on their resume so there's no way to know what their true time commitments were.

In the year you have left you might also consider taking some of your electives in other departments like Political Science or History. If you do well in them (by which I mean make an A/A+), those professors could write you letters of recommendation that could prove valuable. I say this because generally speaking, paralegal studies is not seen as a very difficult major nor one that prepares students for law school. (Sort of how nursing school has a courses related to medicine, but isn't recommended as a major for students wanting to go to medical school to become doctors.)

KAYCEE wrote:2. I will be graduating in August 2015, because I'm having to take this summer (currently in process) and next summer to graduate on time. Will this effect my chances of admission when they see the number of credit hours I have left when I apply? I'm planning to apply early.


No one will care. I bet only a few even notice that you won't graduate until August. Unless you're speeding through undergrad to save money, you are probably better off slowing down and taking normal loads to prove you can earn excellent grades. I know it's tough when money is tight, but higher grades will benefit you more in this process than the work experience. You have to work and need to get done to save money on additional semesters of living expenses, but all that time often stretches students too thin and they aren't able to perform up to their fullest potential. That puts the student in a position of trying to convince me that they can do better with only their word to go on. No offense to you guys, but you all think you can make law review, right? :) I need actual proof of a student's ability.

As to your "need" to "make up time", I encourage you to re-examine that. Too often I see applicants putting artificial pressure on themselves. I'm sure you now feel like you "lost" time, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is anything to "make up". Life isn't a race. If your finances are that precarious, it's probably a better idea to work, save money, and get stable before taking on law school. Law schools aren't going anywhere (well, most of us, anyway...). There are a LOT of people starting law school around 25-35 years old. Heck, most law schools have at least one or two students in each class over 50! All this is to say going fast won't help you get in to law school. But getting all A's and a higher LSAT score will, so to the extent less work allows more time to study for class and "just" working full-time without having school allows more time to study for the LSAT, I think you should consider that.

I feel like I had another point to make, but I've lost it and it's 8'm and I'm still at work. I have some leftovers at home calling my name, but I'll come back and shamelessly bump my own post revisit my answer if it comes back to me.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:57 pm

(This is from a discussion that sprung up around my posting of Tech's medians over in the c/0 2017 medians thread.)

Brut wrote:dean, does it concern you that a full quarter of your class scored a 151 or below on the lsat?
isn't the real reason for admitting these students the financial incentive to fill seats, and not a genuine belief that these students will see a positive return on their law school investment?
when you look at the 17% of 2012 bar takers from ttu who failed to pass (i'm sure you've seen prof campos' article in the atlantic discussing lsat scores correlating with bar bass rates) do you regret admitting them?

Generally speaking, no it doesn't. The majority of those students have excellent undergraduate records and have otherwise demonstrated they have the skills to make it here. Are there individual students in the class, in every class, that I might personally think could face challenges? Of course, but even for those I still think they have the ability to succeed here. (And not all of those with "higher" risk, however that's defined, are those with low LSAT scores.) Whether or not they actually do succeed is up to them.

No one can know for certain who will make it and who won't. Not all the people who end up academically dismissed or fail the bar are those who had entering credentials at the bottom of the class. Is Harvard supposed to "regret" admitting the 8 students who failed the NY bar or the 7 who failed the CA bar in 2012? Their high LSAT scores didn't end up accurately predicting their bar results, just like the low LSAT scores don't predict bar results for the majority of our students.

I don't disagree with you generally in that there is some point below which the odds of success based on LSAT/GPA/Writing Ability/etc. become so low so as to create the moral implications you suggest. But I am confident that wherever the line is, we are well above it.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:35 pm

Dean Perez wrote:Regarding class size, I'll just mention that the fact that a school enrolled a larger class does not mean they were trying to enroll a larger class. This stuff isn't an exact science (and some are better at it than others) so a +/- of 5% from a school's goal wouldn't be crazy, I don't think, especially in times like these where schools are trying all sorts of new strategies to enroll their class. This makes predicting the future based on the past more difficult.

In my case, our yield on offers was a few percentage points higher which appears to have been just enough to account for most of the increased amount.

Tiago Splitter wrote: As to the Dean's statement, his own school enrolled 6.5% more people this year, solidly outside of his stated 5% buffer that is supposedly indicative of random fluctuation. This by his own admission suggests that Tech intended to grow the class. More importantly, law schools should be decreasing class size. Keeping the class the same size is not acceptable when you provide such horrifyingly poor employment outcomes, and if decreasing in size were the goal an increase in class size should not be a real risk.


When I said 5%, that's not any kind of exact number. My point was that almost no one every hits their goal exactly. There's a typical amount, but what it is I have no idea. I was simply saying it isn't valid to presume that any school that sees more than a small increase in enrollment was purposefully trying to increase their class size.

I will say, though, just so there's no confusion: Our goal was NOT to increase the size of the class.

It is absolutely possible to end up with a class the same size or a bit larger even when you're trying to shrink. Every school has a minimum enrollment required to simply fund the essentials of running a law school. (There is often also a higher number below which a law school's main campus does not want them to drop below.) Many schools right now are already at or very near this number. Because the economics that exist have the majority of a law school's expenses in areas not easily reduced (tenured faculty, facilities) it can take multiple school years to reduce costs in any meaningful way. All that to say the margin between a smaller goal class size, staying the same, and growing can sometimes not be very many students.

I mentioned earlier how a small percentage point increase in our yield on offers accounted for most of the difference. Last year my yield on offers was 29%; the year before it was 28%. For me to hit my goals for class size, medians, diversity, etc. in the face of another year of declining applications I had to figure out ways to increase my yield. But while I'm doing that, other schools are doing the same thing. Increasing the uncertainty here in Texas was Texas A&M having their first full year recruiting under the new name and the new school opening in Dallas, both happening in our largest market. It worked out that my yield did increase, but I cannot say I was at all certain that this is what would happen. It was probably more likely than not that my yield would decrease.

Honestly, all the way until near August all my data was predicting a class size of closer to 205. For whatever reason, the typical "summer melt" didn't happen. Like you guys, I can't wait to see all the medians and class sizes because it helps me try to figure out why what happened happened.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:28 pm

Dang. I miss a few months on here while I'm traveling all over the place recruiting students, and I fall to the 10th page!

For newcomers, the first post has the "rules" to the extent there are any. I'm as open and honest as I can be.

I'm off the road now so I'll be more available to respond.

I also had a random question for the hive mind. Would anyone be interested in a Google Hangout? I've been wanting to do one for a few years, but I haven't had time to look into the pros/cons, technical aspects, etc. I have the hardware in my office to do one now, though, and figured I'd get a sense of whether or not anyone would be interested in something like that.

Thanks!

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:10 am

#TBT to that time where my thread was on the front page for like two years. Sigh...good times. :)

Anyway, for the noobs I thought it wouldn't hurt to post and make them aware that I'm around and available for questions here on the off chance there's a question that Spivy hasn't already answered times. :lol:

#ShamelessBump

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby GreekOmega12 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:25 am

If you are K-JD, which GPA gets reported to US News? The GPA you apply with in the fall or your final GPA?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:11 am

GreekOmega12 wrote:If you are K-JD, which GPA gets reported to US News? The GPA you apply with in the fall or your final GPA?


The answer is the same for everyone, K-JD or otherwise. USNWR asks for the GPA that schools reported to the ABA. The GPA schools report to the ABA is what you provide to LSAC. If you don't provide your final GPA to LSAC, then the school reports whatever you did submit. For some students who apply really early, this might not even include Fall grades, either.

There was some grumbling about some schools possibly cherry-picking admitted students to submit their final transcripts if their GPA went up. While I have no idea if this actually happened anywhere (I can't imagine the cumulative bump to a median could possibly be big enough to matter), the rules require a school to do the same thing for everyone. Either no one has to update their final transcripts or a school must require everyone to update LSAC with their final transcripts. Some universities allow the law school to consider LSAC transcript copies as "official" for enrollment purposes so some schools might ask their matriculants (students actually attending) to submit their final transcripts to LSAC for this reason.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:29 am

SPerez wrote:
GreekOmega12 wrote:If you are K-JD, which GPA gets reported to US News? The GPA you apply with in the fall or your final GPA?


The answer is the same for everyone, K-JD or otherwise. USNWR asks for the GPA that schools reported to the ABA. The GPA schools report to the ABA is what you provide to LSAC. If you don't provide your final GPA to LSAC, then the school reports whatever you did submit. For some students who apply really early, this might not even include Fall grades, either.

This is super interesting!

SPerez wrote:There was some grumbling about some schools possibly cherry-picking admitted students to submit their final transcripts if their GPA went up. While I have no idea if this actually happened anywhere (I can't imagine the cumulative bump to a median could possibly be big enough to matter), the rules require a school to do the same thing for everyone.

For anyone as curious as I was: I spent the past hour trying to find a way for cherry-picking admits to bump a school's UGPA median up by 0.01. For Texas Tech, the group of students who could plausibly bump the 50th GPA percentile during the last semester are those with a GPA of 3.31 to 3.39. Those students could conceivably get straight-As their last semester, resulting in a 4.0 and bringing them to a cumulative 3.40 or higher. (Alternatively, students as low as 3.25 could achieve 3.40 if the school allowed for A+, 4.33, or they took more credits in their final semester.)

While there is probably a over-representative number of students who have a median or slightly-higher-than-median GPA, there is no reason to suspect that the distribution below median but above the 25th percentile is clumped normally. Assuming an even distribution, that's eleven students within the required range.

If the median GPA is over-represented, which seems likely, 5-10 students will have the exact UGPA 3.39. On average, to bump that up to 3.40, you'll need 3-6 students from your group of 11 to A) Be a KJD student, B) not have already submitted spring transcripts, and C) have achieved spring semester grades inversely superior to all their previous grades.

Given that this could happen in 200 different schools, it's theoretically plausible. But it's definitely an edge case. (Although I supposed in the consideration of fairness it makes sense to require standardization.)

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby splitterfromhell » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:31 pm

Will schools find out if you register for a future LSAT and don't tell them?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:40 pm

splitterfromhell wrote:Will schools find out if you register for a future LSAT and don't tell them?


I believe there is a way for schools to see what applicants are registered for a future LSAT (or, similarly, non-applicants who might be registered for an upcoming test), but schools would have to seek out that information. We don't get any notification from LSAC that an applicant has registered for a future LSAT.

If that's something you want a law school to know, you need to tell them.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law




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