How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

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senorhosh
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How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby senorhosh » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:10 am

I know it's not over yet but...
how was the 2011-12 cycle? I hear some schools like NU allowed accepted more people from the waitlist this year and even offered money.

Can anyone who applied this cycle or followed the waitlist threads give a rundown of how this cycle was?
And predictions for next cycle (if the amount of applications decrease again)?

(Honestly I'm more interested in T14 schools but I guess other people reading might be interested in other schools too)

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2014
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby 2014 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:11 am

Apps were down ~15-20% and a larger than proportional chunk of those were 170+ LSATs. As a result, schools had worse yields and by the end of the spring had exhausted their list of people with typical "admit" numbers without filling their classes (in some cases not even getting close). As a result, starting at the top schools had to go to WLs and it goes down the line in a wave (Y takes someone from H, H takes someone from CCN, CCN takes someone from MVP, etc etc)

So as a result you have schools taking lower GPAs than they traditionally have in order to maintain LSAT medians. In general every school with the exception of HY perhaps took several individuals a solid .1-.2 below typical GPA "floors" off of WLs.

That's all to be expected but what threw a lot of people off was the implications of scholarships in the matter. It turns out that when a school is already under enrolled and sweating medians, they don't like losing people to other schools. So in some cases schools threw out huge scholarship offers to stop students from bailing. When they lost students anyway many schools started offering scholarships to students on the WL to try and fill classes and maintain medians. Students, especially TLS savvy ones, caught onto this and whereas in the past would have graciously accepted a WL acceptance at sticker, began to ask for scholarships and schools by and large obliged. This again goes on down the line to the point where at many schools basically starting at GW on down, it is hard to imagine ANYONE paying sticker at this point, even huge splitters and some non-URMs below both medians.


Looking forward a couple things are relevant. First, LSAT administrations have been down from last year (which were already down from the year before) and so next year there *should* be even less individuals applying, and there are simply not going to be enough 170+'s in existence for schools to continue to raise medians. As a result, next year again *should* be even less competitive.

My question is how schools handle scholarships next cycle. It is kind of an arms race at this point where schools are either blowing their endowments or bleeding revenue with "Scholarships" to keep medians up. Administrators will not let that go on forever, and this year's scholarship levels are horribly unsustainable. At some point schools are going to have to say fuck it and take median hits to protect tuition revenue/endowments. Other schools will continue to recklessly offer money and benefit from the rise on the USNWR list while their peers drop out. It will be really interesting to see, but by and large I would count on getting into some reach schools next year but I wouldn't look at this years scholarship numbers as the new norm.

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Wily
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby Wily » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:50 am

Waaaay more acceptances for huge splitters, and waaaay more scholarship money than in the past. Just check out my cycle.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=188446

coldweather
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby coldweather » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:57 am

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Last edited by coldweather on Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:42 pm

Haven't followed the entire T14 that closely, but it seems like H accepted an unusually large number of people off waitlist/hold piles this year.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby Doorkeeper » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:01 pm

Lovely Ludwig Van wrote:Haven't followed the entire T14 that closely, but it seems like H accepted an unusually large number of people off waitlist/hold piles this year.

H did take a larger than normal amount off of the WL, but it's unsure whether that's from more students going to CCN with scholarship than normal, less people with 173+/3.8+, or that the staffing issues caused less people to be admitted during the regular cycle (they had multiple maternity switches during the spring semester).

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hung jury
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby hung jury » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:37 pm

I'd bet the cycle will be even softer than this one. Reasons:

1) # of applicants still seems to be in decline. There are 5, 000 fewer tests administered this year as compared to the same date last year (52k v. 47k).
2) The applicants themselves seem to be more wary of what law schools are selling.
3) The argument that schools will "run out of money" confuses how law schools operate. The only ones who pay money to students are those who give stipends, and these are pretty rare. In any event, schools have massive institutional costs (tenure track professors that can't be fired, building costs, etc.) and are getting increasingly desperate to maintain their class size. Any student is usually a plus in this context:

(a) Getting a student to pay 10k tuition is better than getting 0k from a decline in class size.
(b) Even a student on full tuition might eventually be able to increase the schools' endowment.
(c) At the lower schools, full scholarships also have an expected return in tuition because of stipulations on the scholarships.

In short, cuts in cost will continue inside the T14 and out.

If I was matriculating this year anywhere outside of HYS (who give need based funding), I'd be seriously weighing whether eating the deposit and trying again next year might be worth it. Especially if I accepted my school's offer early in the cycle and they started offering money to people taken off the waitlist.

The good schools will always be there. All things being equal, I think the smart money for an applicant is Class of 2016 over Class of 2015.

timbs4339
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:31 pm

I agree that applications will continue to drop, but I think law schools will try to return things to "normal." I think law schools as institutions have a tendency to be too optimistic. I don't think a lot of them were lying in 2008 when they said the legal economy would bounce back in two years and I think a lot of them believe that this year was just a fluke and that things will normalize next year.

A lot of the money this year and the cuts to class sizes were motivated by an attempt to maintain LSAT/GPA numbers. They won't be able to do that again next year without starting to hurt the people who matter (full tenured profs). I think they would rather bite the bullet and take decreased numbers and bigger class sizes. Legal academia in general seems to have a very greedy, short-term mentality and will not play the USNWR game if it hurts their own wallets. I also think we will see 1) a few schools quietly roll out LARGE tuition increases, like Hastings did, 2) way more LLMs/transfers, 3) more reports of blatant section-stacking and reneging on promises like the GW law student funded jobs fiasco.

Meanwhile, the sentiment among applicants that "I'm only going to go to X ranked law school or higher and pay no more than Y amount, and if the law schools won't give that to me I'll find something else to do" will continue to solidify and become the common wisdom even among people who are not particularly savvy consumers. If that's the case, next year could be the year it finally pops.

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dowu
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby dowu » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:37 pm

hung jury wrote:The good schools will always be there. All things being equal, I think the smart money for an applicant is Class of 2016 over Class of 2015.


This is really good to hear, as I've been postponing my LSAT and now I am waiting to apply for C/O 2016. I hope what you're saying stands true as we move into the new cycle here in the next few months.

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dingbat
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby dingbat » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:00 pm

I think timbs4339 and hung jury are both half right and half wrong.
At the top end, schools are going to have to accept lower numbers eventually - they can't keep offering steep discounts (schollys) and smaller classes just to keep numbers up forever. However, they have costs that need to be met, so eventually they'll adjust to accepting lower numbers, who will be paying sticker.
There will still be many people who think X is a reach and will be happy to pay sticker if they get in, while, due to better education, there will be more people willing to accept a slightly lower school with (significant) money.

This will have a significant effect slightly lower down the ranking, where a financially well-endowed school can capitalize on this and show significant improvement, while less financially sound schools will drop a number of spots as they will not be able to keep up. As such, expect significant changes in the rankings for 2014-2015.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, it's a bit more of a mess. Many schools are having a problem filling their classes (as evidenced by emails going out in July stating that it's still possible to enroll for 2012). Those schools might have to forego admissions standards altogether (At least one school is known to offer schollys starting at a below median LSAT) and even then might have trouble surviving. Expect section-stacking to become more common. Additionally, as has been mentioned, some schools might have unusually large tuition raises, although schools that are already charging at the higher end of the spectrum will have less room to do so. While it'd be nice to hope some schools will shutter their doors, there are still enough desperate applicants that this isn't a given - particularly if a school is willing to forego admissions standards altogether

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2014
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby 2014 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:35 am

hung jury wrote:3) The argument that schools will "run out of money" confuses how law schools operate. The only ones who pay money to students are those who give stipends, and these are pretty rare. In any event, schools have massive institutional costs (tenure track professors that can't be fired, building costs, etc.) and are getting increasingly desperate to maintain their class size. Any student is usually a plus in this context:

(a) Getting a student to pay 10k tuition is better than getting 0k from a decline in class size.

I think it is you who is confusing how they operate. Professors have to get paid from somewhere and if it isn't coming from tuition dollars it is coming from the general university budget or the endowment. Schools expect law schools to be profit centers and thus do not take kindly to having to make up shortfalls which is why this year's patterns are not sustainable. There is serious doubt whether schools are drawing in enough revenue (tuition) this year to break even and some way something has to give.

The option which you neglect to recognize is the "Fuck it, medians aren't worth it" one where schools take a 1-2 point LSAT hit in exchange for potentially dozens of sticker paying students. Whether that happens this next year or not is definitely uncertain, but with the current trends that is where we are going because there are literally not enough LSATs to go around to maintain medians, and the majority of schools don't have endowments or institutional support to outlast their competitors by drawing in less money than they need to keep the lights on and salaries paid.

Eta: Dingbat and I are on the same page here.

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dingbat
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:34 am

Note: Hastings is a great example of a school that has failed to keep up.
Rather than cutting medians they're trying revenue generation (tuition increases) and cost reduction strategies. The predictable effect thereof will be a drop in the rankings and a drop in applications (not necessarily in that order) resulting in weaker admissions and therefore lower medians. (will this be a vicious cycle, or just a shift? depends on what other schools do)
Most schools will try to hang on another year or two, but, they won't be able to keep up forever. Whether schools can (or even want to) outlast the current decline (and whether this is a temporary fluctuation or a permanent crunch) is a different question.

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hung jury
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby hung jury » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:35 am

2014 wrote:
hung jury wrote:3) The argument that schools will "run out of money" confuses how law schools operate. The only ones who pay money to students are those who give stipends, and these are pretty rare. In any event, schools have massive institutional costs (tenure track professors that can't be fired, building costs, etc.) and are getting increasingly desperate to maintain their class size. Any student is usually a plus in this context:

(a) Getting a student to pay 10k tuition is better than getting 0k from a decline in class size.

I think it is you who is confusing how they operate. Professors have to get paid from somewhere and if it isn't coming from tuition dollars it is coming from the general university budget or the endowment. Schools expect law schools to be profit centers and thus do not take kindly to having to make up shortfalls which is why this year's patterns are not sustainable. There is serious doubt whether schools are drawing in enough revenue (tuition) this year to break even and some way something has to give.

The option which you neglect to recognize is the "Fuck it, medians aren't worth it" one where schools take a 1-2 point LSAT hit in exchange for potentially dozens of sticker paying students. Whether that happens this next year or not is definitely uncertain, but with the current trends that is where we are going because there are literally not enough LSATs to go around to maintain medians, and the majority of schools don't have endowments or institutional support to outlast their competitors by drawing in less money than they need to keep the lights on and salaries paid.

Eta: Dingbat and I are on the same page here.


I never actually said anything to suggest that some schools wouldn't drop their admissions standards to take in more cash. That said, I can guarantee you that those schools who have better finances will see the current climate as an opportunity to use their financial leverage to jump up the standings; we're talking about administrators whose jobs rest on school rank.

HellOnHeels
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby HellOnHeels » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:54 am

i'm pretty that due to this cycle, i got money at schools i wouldn't have, and more money than i should have at schools that might have given me a little money in previous cycles.

jared6180
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Re: How was the 2011-12 cycle? Predictions?

Postby jared6180 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:06 am

I am working my tail off to get my LSAT up by October so I can apply in November to a couple REACH/DREAM schools that two years ago probably would have put me on the WL/REJ pile immediately, but because of this 2011-12 cycle I am hoping for a great...but LONG 2012-13 cycle.




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