Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

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jreeve12
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Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:52 am

I am excited to be taking the LSAT on June 10, and have just yesterday been granted time-and-half accommodations on this test. However, I was horrified to discover this excerpt from the American Bar Association's 2012 Annual Admissions and Enrollment Questionnaire, a guide intended (among other things) to instruct adcoms in their reporting of percentile data to US News and World Report:

"In calculating the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile LSAT scores and UGPAs for Question 1.e., use all first year matriculants’ highest LSAT scores ( excluding
scores earned by matriculants who took the LSAT under non-standard test conditions
) and all matriculants’ cumulative UGPAs as reflected on their
Candidate Assembly Service (CAS)"

If this guide is binding and rigorously enforced, even if I ended up matching my 175 PT avereage this June on the real test, t-14 schools would essentially be deprived of any crude, rankings-based motivation to admit me, as my 3.5 GPA doesn't even cross the 25th percentile threshold at UVA (my target school). My questions to you are two-fold.

1) Is this questionnaire a BINDING set of instructions from the ABA?
2) If so, what are the chances that this would be a rule that a school like UVA, Chicago, or Harvard would be prone to "forget" or "misinterpret while padding their 50th/75th percentiles with my LSAT score anyway? After all, accommodated or not, 175+ scores are hard to come by these days.

Any other general comments about my situation not directly related to these two questions are welcome

In any event, it hardly seems fair to put a candidate at a SEVERE disadvantage due to the impact of a processing disability. The LSAT doesn't even claim to be a test of speed of information processing, simply one of "acquired verbal reasoning" and critical reading ability

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RhymesLikeDimes
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby RhymesLikeDimes » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:36 am

The time factor is what keeps most of us from getting in the high 170s. Give TLS members 2 minutes per LR question, 13 minutes per RC passage, and 13 minutes per LG set, and most of us in the 165-175 range are getting close to perfect. Processing speed is implicit in critical reading and analytical skills. The better those skills, the less time you need.

Now, I have no idea what disability you have, or if time-and-a-half is equivalent for you what regular time is to us, but it just isn't the same, and schools know that. After all, how is this disability going to effect you in law school, and once you start looking for a job?

That said, a high 170 score, even if it won't officially count, still looks good to adcoms. Your GPA isn't great, but you could and should write a personal statement on how your disability has held you back. UVA isn't all that selective, especially if you apply ED. Your situation is similar to that of an international student (whose GPAs don't really count). It's going to be a bit tougher, but you still have a good shot, especially if you can pull a 176 or a 178.

20141023
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:46 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:19 am

First of all, thank you for your reply, but there were a couple of statements made in your post which I found interesting.

"Processing speed is implicit in critical reading and analytical skills"

I think most psychologists would consider spatial and verbal reasoning, together with speed of information processing, as separate psycho-metrics joined only loosely by an overall IQ score. So, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by that. Also, while it may be that those scoring in the 165-175 range could get 180s with time-and-a-half accomodations, all that would indicate would be that the LSAT is an awful test of the verbal reasoning component of one's intelligence (which should be the same even if unlimited time was granted).

Also, I took great heart that you believe I still have a shot at UVA law even with an accommodated LSAT score that they (at least ostensibly) cannot count toward their USNWR ranking. However, barring the arbitrary whim of an adcom, what would be their motivation to bring me in when they will take a hit on their GPA median without reaping the rewards of any stellar LSAT score I might receive?

By the way, does anyone think my best option might be to just go do something else for a year while the Obama Justice Department dukes it out with LSAC in the federal courts over the practice of flagging LSAT scores to begin with? I mean, if I got a 176 (and it counted), that would even put Harvard back into the contention column given the extreme dearth of applicants with scores that high (not that I necessarily need to go there to realize my dream of clerking for William H. Pryor, Jeffrey Sutton, Diane Sykes, Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh, etc.). As an aside, I find endless irony in the fact that Obama and Eric Holder are my advocates in this fight when I didn't even vote for them in the last election, and considering that one of the appellate judges I would kill to have the opportunity to clerk for (Jeffrey Sutton) once argued that a portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act was unconstitutional. Strange bedfellows?

http://blueprintprep.com/lsatblog/news- ... n-for-you/

20141023
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:29 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:50 am

"Unfortunately, 3.5 will not bring HYS into the picture no matter what your LSAT score is unless you are a URM or have absolutely stellar softs. "

I'm afraid the numbers just don't back that up. Law School Numbers.com actually claims a 33.33% chance at admission to Harvard with a 3.4 and 176 LSAT. Those numbers were compiled during the HEIGHT of the law school onslaught in the 2009-2010 application cycle, and interestingly, the chance actually goes DOWN to 25% if you select "include URM." You can believe or disbelieve that probability if you wish, but it actually makes intuitive sense based on the numbers. Only 659 applicants scored a 175 or better on the Law School Admissions exam in the 2011-2012 admissions cycle, and that number isn't going anywhere but down due to the decrease in applicants taking the exam (perhaps it will go down to 625 this applications cycle and maybe even so far as 600 by the time I submit my application on September 15, 2013). Meanwhile, Harvard and Yale MUST maintain their 75th percentile LSAT score (which accounts for 12% of their rankings vs. only 10% for GPA) or risk being one-upped in the rankings by the other one. Each has a class size of roughly 700 and 350, respectively, which means that each needs roughly 263 students with LSAT scores at or above 175 to maintain their 75th percentile LSAT score at a 175. You might say, "But they would still have almost 300 students to work with!" Not so fast. Harvard and Yale's 75th percentile LSATs are 176 and 177, respectively, NOT 175, so EASILY elminate 150 applicants from the pool of high scorers that they need to maintain their rankings. That leaves them a little more than 150 spare students with scores in this range. But hold on just one more time. Many of these 150 students will have a GPA below, sometimes well below, a 3.5 (we live in the age of the genius slacker). I'd say that eliminates AT LEAST another 100 applicants, leaving Harvard and Yale with a surplus of MAYBE fifty applicants, if they're extremely lucky. There's still at least one more category I left out: those who would rather take a generous financial aid package at Columbia, Chicago, Penn than go to the very top with a mountain of debt. I'd say eliminate AT LEAST another 20-30 students if you consider all of the t-14. What does that leave them with? Maybe 25 students with similar stats? Flip a coin. Now, add to this fact that most of the grades dragging down my college GPA below 3.7 were earned as dual-enrollment credits BEFORE I officially entered my undergraduate program, and a well-written personal statement and addendum might give me the little extra push I need to put me over the top of those, likely, less than 30 applicants. That is, if the Obama Justice Department triumphs over the ABA/LSAC in the next few years in time to be of help to me.

That still leaves my original question, though: do Harvard and UVA care what the ABA says in some questionnaire packet anyway?

AC Vegas
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby AC Vegas » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:17 am

You can't have it both ways.

Follow up: Do you anticipate asking your eventual school for additional time on exams?

jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:32 am

Not sure what you mean by that. The Obama Justice Department says I can.

But yes. I will be requesting accommodations on law school exams due to the impact of a processing disorder just as I have in undergrad and high school. I see no reason why it would be denied after being granted by LSAC.

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RhymesLikeDimes
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby RhymesLikeDimes » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:38 am

jreeve12 wrote:"Unfortunately, 3.5 will not bring HYS into the picture no matter what your LSAT score is unless you are a URM or have absolutely stellar softs. "

I'm afraid the numbers just don't back that up. Law School Numbers.com actually claims a 33.33% chance at admission to Harvard with a 3.4 and 176 LSAT. Those numbers were compiled during the HEIGHT of the law school onslaught in the 2009-2010 application cycle, and interestingly, the chance actually goes DOWN to 25% if you select "include URM."

That still leaves my original question, though: do Harvard and UVA care what the ABA says in some questionnaire packet anyway?


Schools still report what the ABA tells them, even if they didn't agree. How would it look if an elite school like Harvard got caught cheating the reporting requirements in order to boost its LSAT numbers (it would look even worse for a wannabe like UVA)? Add to that the fact that Harvard is Harvard whether its LSAT median is 179 or 169. They want the best students they can get. <3.5 GPA with an accommodated LSAT score and mediocre softs is not Harvard material.

That 33.33% is extremely misleading. What is that, 3 out of 9? 2 out of 6? I can guarantee that the acceptances given at that level are for people with exceptional work experience and/or family connections. You have people with MDs and PHDs applying to Harvard. 3.4 as a pre-med 15 years ago with 10 years experience as a MD is Harvard material. Not your average 3.4/176 applicant.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:40 am

75th percentile LSAT counts for exactly 0% of a school's ranking.

Harvard and Yale do not have class sizes of 700 and 350, respectively.

jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:45 am

"3.5 GPA with an accommodated LSAT score and mediocre softs is not Harvard material."

I can't speak to the accommodated part of that statement, but if you stand by that even after removing that proviso, again, the numbers just aren't with you. I just cited Law School Numbers as a starting point. I believe a more thorough analysis like the one I undertook is necessary to realistically evaluate your chances if you have a 176 and 3.4. I actually think that much about Law School Numbers is misleading. Its self-reporting nature makes it impossible to provide any meaningful guidance for extreme splitters. The number of people with 175+ LSATs is a TINY subset of a subset without it being reduced even further by self-reported being rejected by Harvard with those numbers

jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:47 am

"Harvard and Yale do not have class sizes of 700 and 350, respectively."

They have in the past, but it appears you're right. Let's knock off another 100 applicants. You'll probably recoup that from the conservative estimates I gave in the other fields.

But this is really irrelevant anyway. Harvard may have a CLASS SIZE of around 570, but they ADMIT around 800. You make a good point. I was FAR too conservative in my estimates.

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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby Dmini7 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:48 am

RhymesLikeDimes wrote:
jreeve12 wrote:"Unfortunately, 3.5 will not bring HYS into the picture no matter what your LSAT score is unless you are a URM or have absolutely stellar softs. "

I'm afraid the numbers just don't back that up. Law School Numbers.com actually claims a 33.33% chance at admission to Harvard with a 3.4 and 176 LSAT. Those numbers were compiled during the HEIGHT of the law school onslaught in the 2009-2010 application cycle, and interestingly, the chance actually goes DOWN to 25% if you select "include URM."

That still leaves my original question, though: do Harvard and UVA care what the ABA says in some questionnaire packet anyway?


Schools still report what the ABA tells them, even if they didn't agree. How would it look if an elite school like Harvard got caught cheating the reporting requirements in order to boost its LSAT numbers (it would look even worse for a wannabe like UVA)? Add to that the fact that Harvard is Harvard whether its LSAT median is 179 or 169. They want the best students they can get. <3.5 GPA with an accommodated LSAT score and mediocre softs is not Harvard material.

That 33.33% is extremely misleading. What is that, 3 out of 9? 2 out of 6? I can guarantee that the acceptances given at that level are for people with exceptional work experience and/or family connections. You have people with MDs and PHDs applying to Harvard. 3.4 as a pre-med 15 years ago with 10 years experience as a MD is Harvard material. Not your average 3.4/176 applicant.



I am also unsure where you got that 33% from.


http://myLSN.info/h0bgd2

I would enter in assuming you have a 25% LSAT since they cannot count it. I am curious if this means you are not counted as a student in the determination of the 25/75 or if you are automatically considered under the 25th. I am also curious how that would affect scholarship. Would they have any incentive to throw money towards you? Anyways, It is hard to really determine what shot you have since your situation is very uncommon. I believe you still have a shot at UVA too. I find it hard to believe a school would overlook your application especially if you had a solid PS(Possibly about your situation and how you have overcome it) and Recs.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:49 am

jreeve12 wrote:"3.5 GPA with an accommodated LSAT score and mediocre softs is not Harvard material."

I can't speak to the accommodated part of that statement, but if you stand by that even after removing that proviso, again, the numbers just aren't with you. I just cited Law School Numbers as a starting point. I believe a more thorough analysis like the one I undertook is necessary to realistically evaluate your chances if you have a 176 and 3.4. I actually think that much about Law School Numbers is misleading. Its self-reporting nature makes it impossible to provide any meaningful guidance for extreme splitters. The number of people with 175+ LSATs is a TINY subset of a subset without it being reduced even further by self-reported being rejected by Harvard with those numbers

Yet the vast majority of people with an LSAT that high and a GPA that low who DO report get rejected. Just look at the graph.

http://harvard.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

Or the compiled data:

http://www.mylsn.info/5sjq1r

But this is really irrelevant anyway. Harvard may have a CLASS SIZE of around 570, but they ADMIT around 800. You make a good point. I was FAR too conservative in my estimates.

I didn't realize Harvard and Yale don't accept any of the same people.
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20141023
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:50 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:51 am

I really didn't intend this thread to become a referendum on whether I have a shot at Harvard, though. I already have my own opinions on that.

20141023
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:54 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:56 am

"And no, HYS do not necessarily have to maintain their medians... a drop in overall stellar applicants means that all schools will have to slowly lower their medians around the board. In the document I linked above, when U.S. News used to average scores in the early 2000's you will see that all schools were affected somewhat evenly."

Again, though, if you really want to have this debate (and again, that's not what I came here to do), we have to be guided by reality and what is ACTUALLY happening with law school admissions right now. While we COULD see a universal drop in median LSATs, that's just not what is happening. Practically all of the top-14 schools, including Harvard, have decided to let their median GPAs drop in favor of LSAT medians.

And I don't believe that Harvard officially releases a full GPA range (tell me if I'm wrong), so all of that data will have been self-reported and subject to the confirmation biases that that entails.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:00 am

jreeve12 wrote:Practically all of the top-14 schools, including Harvard, have decided to let their median GPAs drop in favor of LSAT medians.

If you're going to make these claims you need to back them up with some data. At least 3 T-14 schools saw a drop in their LSAT median last cycle.

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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:04 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:07 am

I admit that I have had to make some estimates (ie, the number of fewer students scoring 176 rather than 175, for example). I believe that they are conservative. Feel free to disagree.

But this was the statement that started this: " I mean, if I got a 176 (and it counted), that would even put Harvard back into the contention column given the extreme dearth of applicants with scores that high"

This is an exceedingly moderate statement. Notice I didn't say "I'm going to get into Harvard if I score X." In fact, I even said that I didn't need to get into Harvard to do what I want. It's a moot point for me. If you reject that initial statement, however, then I would contend that you have allowed yourself to be so enslaved to regard LSN as the Bible (with all the questions it brings up regarding sample) that this discussion is truly pointless. I probably wouldn't even submit my stats to LSN if I got into Harvard (or was rejected) because I find the whole concept to be a more or less meaningless exercise.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:13 am

At Harvard last year, just 140 entering students had a GPA of 3.78 or below. Does a high LSAT that actually counts give you some chance with a 3.5? Sure. But even if your score counted you'd still be fighting a real uphill battle.

jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:14 am

"If you're going to make these claims you need to back them up with some data. At least 3 T-14 schools saw a drop in their LSAT median last cycle."

You got it.

Here's a comparison of 2010-2011 medians with this 2011-2012's. As you can see, ALL of the top five allowed their median GPA to drop while many actually increased their GPAs.

school New LSAT New GPA Old LSAT Old GPA
yale 177 3.935 176 3.93
stanford 172 3.9 170 3.845
harvard 173 3.88 173 3.91
columbia 173 3.69 173 3.74
chicago 173 3.73 171 3.87
nyu 173 3.63 172 3.7
berkeley 167 3.865 168 3.77
penn 170.5 3.58 170 3.835
uva 170 3.83 170 3.56
michigan 170 3.63 169 3.67
duke 169 3.68 170 3.7
northwestern 171 3.6 171 3.38
gulc 169 3.4 170.5 3.7
cornell 167.5 3.64 168 3.6

20141023
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:16 am

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jreeve12
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Re: Do accommodated LSAT scores count towards law school ranks?

Postby jreeve12 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:17 am

" Does a high LSAT that actually counts give you some chance with a 3.5? Sure. But even if your score counted you'd still be fighting a real uphill battle."

Finally, the voice of reason appears. I still don't know FOR SURE that an accommodated score is an insurmountable disadvantage, and I still think "real uphill battle" is an exaggeration, but I appreciate your trying to be fair with me now.




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