How much do "soft factors" really matter?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Progress01
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:18 pm

How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby Progress01 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:28 pm

Do soft factors make any difference, in your opinion, on applications? And do schools really take into account what the "difficulty" of a major might be, or only your gpa?

For example, I have a bad GPA, but I'm a double major in Biology and Psychology. I've worked 2 jobs all during college. I started taking dual enrollment at community college when I was in high school. I've been an adult volunteer/leader for a youth organization for 4 years. Will any of those soft factors be taken into account?

Also, do some schools place more weight on soft factors? If so..which ones in your opinion?

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby sinfiery » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:53 pm

They matter but yours won't make anyone read your numbers in any unique light. They are decent (barely even that honestly) but nothing unique. Biology and Psychology double major isn't going to make anyone think twice when they see your GPA. Score well on the LSAT.

Also, I never got the whole working two jobs thing. Did you work 80 hours a week? That may be impressive; I think hours worked is more important than number of jobs but I may be unique in that.

Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford put more emphasis on softs than most schools. They also put more emphasis on GPA than most schools. The LSAT is your only potential saving grace as an applicant.

User avatar
dowu
Posts: 8334
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:47 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby dowu » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:57 pm

sinfiery wrote:They matter but yours won't make anyone read your numbers in any unique light. They are decent (barely even that honestly) but nothing unique. Biology and Psychology double major isn't going to make anyone think twice when they see your GPA. Score well on the LSAT.

Also, I never got the whole working two jobs thing. Did you work 80 hours a week? That may be impressive; I think hours worked is more important than number of jobs but I may be unique in that.

Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford put more emphasis on softs than most schools. They also put more emphasis on GPA than most schools. The LSAT is your only potential saving grace as an applicant.

Honestly I think 96 percent of schools could care less about your (anyones) softs.

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby sinfiery » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:01 pm

dowu wrote:Honestly I think 96 percent of schools could care less about your (anyones) softs.

Generally, in the sense that if a school has a 165/3.8 median and there are two applicants, a 166/3.9 and a 169/3.9, softs can easily push the school to offer the 166/3.9 the full ride.

As far as being accepted is concerned, you are absolutely right +/- YP.

User avatar
Ohiobumpkin
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:50 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:02 pm

Don't rely on soft factors. It has to be something truly amazing to make law schools look past a sub-par LSAT/GPA.

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby hephaestus » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:27 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:Don't rely on soft factors. It has to be something truly amazing to make law schools look past a sub-par LSAT/GPA.

This. Honestly, while your softs are admirable, they are not incredible. LSAT/GPA makes up 99% of an application package.

User avatar
ScottRiqui
Posts: 3640
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:02 pm

There are "softs" and then there are "softs". To use an extreme spread, I think that a several years' worth of solid work experience, advanced degree(s), or military experience will leave the adcomms with a more favorable impression than the fact that you worked your way through college, were the president of your fraternity, or volunteered your weekends at a soup kitchen one summer.

But in the end, nothing's likely to get you in somewhere you're significantly below one or both medians.

062914123
Posts: 1846
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:11 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby 062914123 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:04 pm

.
Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
BruinRegents
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:11 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby BruinRegents » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:20 pm

Progress01 wrote:Do soft factors make any difference, in your opinion, on applications? And do schools really take into account what the "difficulty" of a major might be, or only your gpa?

For example, I have a bad GPA, but I'm a double major in Biology and Psychology. I've worked 2 jobs all during college. I started taking dual enrollment at community college when I was in high school. I've been an adult volunteer/leader for a youth organization for 4 years. Will any of those soft factors be taken into account?

Also, do some schools place more weight on soft factors? If so..which ones in your opinion?

Generically, yes they do. For some applicants applying to certain schools, they make much more of a difference than they do at comparable school with a different admission philosophy.

While the LSAT and GPA are the ultimate gatekeepers. I like to think of softs as a way to separate applicants with similar quantitative factors. Additionally, they are a way for the adcom to see if you meet the institutional interests of the school.

User avatar
Dr. Dre
Posts: 2347
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby Dr. Dre » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:47 am

Prozac Nation wasn't even dat great


HTH

User avatar
jingosaur
Posts: 2197
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:33 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby jingosaur » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:10 am

How much does the "Search Function" really matter?

But to be nice, schools actually care about soft factors, but your LSAT score is so incredibly important that scoring 2 points higher on the LSAT will do more for your admissions chances than any soft with maybe the exceptions of being an olympic medalist or being a Rhodes Scholar.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:32 pm

The reason that many say softs don't matter is because, for the most part, they cancel out. Almost everyone applying to law school has several of the following:
1) Student orgs
2) Leadership positions
3) Work experience
4) Thesis
5) Awards/honors

Once you recognize that 95% of students are essentially the same as far as softs go, you start to see why numbers play such a huge role.

steven21
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:06 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby steven21 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:47 pm

.
Last edited by steven21 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

062914123
Posts: 1846
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:11 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby 062914123 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:49 pm

.
Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby sinfiery » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:11 pm

steven21 wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:Don't rely on soft factors. It has to be something truly amazing to make law schools look past a sub-par LSAT/GPA.

This. Honestly, while your softs are admirable, they are not incredible. LSAT/GPA makes up 99% of an application package.


the guy who started the law school stats analysis blog "admissionsbythenumbers" had a 3.95 and 178 and didn't get in to HLS

He also had years and years and years of military experience if I remember correctly. It was quite unbelievable. Though I think things worked out pretty well for him anyways.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: How much do "soft factors" really matter?

Postby john1990 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:17 pm

Progress01 wrote:Do soft factors make any difference, in your opinion, on applications? And do schools really take into account what the "difficulty" of a major might be, or only your gpa?

For example, I have a bad GPA, but I'm a double major in Biology and Psychology. I've worked 2 jobs all during college. I started taking dual enrollment at community college when I was in high school. I've been an adult volunteer/leader for a youth organization for 4 years. Will any of those soft factors be taken into account?

Also, do some schools place more weight on soft factors? If so..which ones in your opinion?


Yes these do make a difference, although a bad GPA is a huge liability. Community college might look like a weak factor, but your work experience is a plus. It depends on the caliber of the jobs you worked. A job in retail will help, but something in a law firm would be a much greater asset




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MichiganHoosier, Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests