## LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

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smile0751

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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:40 pm

### LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

So I was thinking about the fact that schools report their median LSAT/GPA, as oppose to the mean LSAT/GPA. Means are more strongly influenced by outliers than medians. Because the median is not the average LSAT/GPA of the students enrolled in a school but rather the middle number, for schools trying to maintain their LSAT/GPA median does it matter how far above or below a student's LSAT/GPA is from the median?

For example, let's say a schools LSAT median is 170. Enrolling a student with a 169 or enrolling a student with a 150 would have the exact same impact on their LSAT median. Similarly, enrolling a student with a 171 or a 180 has the exact same impact.

Does this sound statistically correct? I feel like I'm missing something, because based on scholarship offers, schools seem to value a 180 much more than a 171?

I know schools are always trying to improve their medians, but wouldn't getting more scores just one point about the median be equivalent to getting more scores drastically about median? Wouldn't it be more effective to offer students only one or two points above median the most scholarship money in order to ensure their attendance rather then try to convince people way above medians to attend with scholarship money?

I guess I always assumed the LSAT/GPA means were what the rankings cared about, and I was surprised when I saw that medians were the numbers reported.

Rigo

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### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

You're statistically correct, but schools also care about their 25/75 percentiles.
And named scholarships have a much higher LSAT threshold. For example, a Hamilton wouldn't go to a mere 173 (one point above the median).

And in terms of admissions, schools want to admit the strongest numbers because they don't know who will actually matriculate.
When admitting off of the waitlist, that is when schools have a clearer idea of their class profile. This is the point when they may admit a 160 with cool softs rather than a 165 if both would have the same effect on the class profile.

Mixednuts

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Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:48 pm

### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

Dirigo wrote:You're statistically correct, but schools also care about their 25/75 percentiles.
And named scholarships have a much higher LSAT threshold. For example, a Hamilton wouldn't go to a mere 173 (one point above the median).

And in terms of admissions, schools want to admit the strongest numbers because they don't know who will actually matriculate.
When admitting off of the waitlist, that is when schools have a clearer idea of their class profile. This is the point when they may admit a 160 with cool softs rather than a 165 if both would have the same effect on the class profile.

Just curious, why would they care about their 25th percentiles? It doesn't go into the USNews rankings formula. Plus, you can dig deeper below your median to accept people with higher GPAs, thus increase your GPA median, thus rise up in the rankings. For example, Columbia can drop their 25th LSAT to 166-167 and dramatically increase their mediocre median GPA to match those of Chicago and HYS. Doesn't that makes sense?

Tiago Splitter

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### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

Mixednuts wrote:
Dirigo wrote:You're statistically correct, but schools also care about their 25/75 percentiles.
And named scholarships have a much higher LSAT threshold. For example, a Hamilton wouldn't go to a mere 173 (one point above the median).

And in terms of admissions, schools want to admit the strongest numbers because they don't know who will actually matriculate.
When admitting off of the waitlist, that is when schools have a clearer idea of their class profile. This is the point when they may admit a 160 with cool softs rather than a 165 if both would have the same effect on the class profile.

Just curious, why would they care about their 25th percentiles? It doesn't go into the USNews rankings formula. Plus, you can dig deeper below your median to accept people with higher GPAs, thus increase your GPA median, thus rise up in the rankings. For example, Columbia can drop their 25th LSAT to 166-167 and dramatically increase their mediocre median GPA to match those of Chicago and HYS. Doesn't that makes sense?

USNWR publishes the 25th/75th and some schools care more than others. Pretty much everyone cares to some extent even below the 25th because they just about all have GPA floors.

As for scholarships, they're based largely on what the school needs to give to buy someone away from a peer or better school. Northwestern doesn't have to give much to a 2.6/170 but they'll give something pretty good to a 3.6/170 because the latter applicant should have a handful of T-14 acceptances while the former may only have one. At at the end of the day the big scholarships go to people just above both medians so schools are pretty much doing what OP suggests.

Rigo

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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

The main reason being that USWNR sometimes mixes it up and uses the "calculated median" ((25% + 75%) / 2) rather than the actual median for rankings purposes.

Dog

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### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

I think the above reasons are accurate. Schools have some reason to care about their quartiles, and they have to consider what competing offers would look like.

As for GPA floors, I'm not really sure. Maybe schools generally have enough > 75th LSAT <25th GPA applicants that they don't need to admit people below a certain GPA. I'm sure big differences in GPAs in the same quartile can serve as a tie breaker.

Nathanael

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Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:58 pm

### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

In addition to what others said, while rankings are important, they still want the most qualified students the can get. While they aren't perfect measures by any means, GPA and LSAT are important tools in indicating which students are most likely to succeed in law school.

Rankings and medians aren't everything, admissions officers want to build successful classes with capable individuals.

rondemarino

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### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

Nathanael wrote:In addition to what others said, while rankings are important, they still want the most qualified students the can get. While they aren't perfect measures by any means, GPA and LSAT are important tools in indicating which students are most likely to succeed in law school.

Rankings and medians aren't everything, admissions officers want to build successful classes with capable individuals.

+1

Just because numbers matter a lot doesn't mean schools don't want to enroll the best students possible in instances where the numbers alone don't dictate what they should do.

smile0751

Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:40 pm

### Re: LSAT/GPA Median vs. Mean Implication

Nathanael wrote:In addition to what others said, while rankings are important, they still want the most qualified students the can get. While they aren't perfect measures by any means, GPA and LSAT are important tools in indicating which students are most likely to succeed in law school.

Rankings and medians aren't everything, admissions officers want to build successful classes with capable individuals.

hahaha, fair enough! Thanks everyone for helping me contemplate my statistical question.