lovejopd wrote:Can you tell us how law schools can keep their medians consistently over time? Do law schools decide to have a target median of GPA and LSAT prior to accepting prospective students? or law schools simply rely on applicants on waitlist at the end of cycle? It is up in the air about who/how many students will matriculate at law schools because of multiple offers/acceptances.
This is THE source of stress for most of us as it is one of the primary ways we are evaluated.
Every law school starts the year with goals for LSAT, GPA, diversity, residency (for some state schools), and any number of other criteria. These goals might be set by the Admissions Office, the Admissions Committee, the faculty, the Dean, or some combination of those. The running joke (that's half serious) is that the goal is always "higher medians than last year".
There is some math to a school figuring out how many students it has to admit in order to yield its target class size (which is very important because at most schools a class that is too small can mean not enough revenue to cover costs), but it is never exact. Most schools will use figures from previous years to guide them for the current one, but we also have to account for changes. For example, applications being down this year and a level of negative press surrounding law schools that hasn't been seen before could be reasons why this year's yields might deviate from past years. Law schools don't exist in a vacuum, either. We have some degree of control over things we do - new faculty/deans, specialties, innovative programs, scholarships - but while we do our thing, other schools are also constantly improving, too. A school's yield could drop, not because they have done anything wrong or had bad press, but because another school in their market made some positive noise of their own.
There's no way to tell how much something these things will impact yields so we have to pay close attention to our admissions. As you mentioned, the waitlist is one tool schools use as something like the spigot on a faucet, i.e. a way to carefully regulate the flow of admits into the class. We definitely have to make a lot of tough choices that affect a lot of people.