Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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IsThisForReal
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby IsThisForReal » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:43 am

Nathanael wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Spotted the communications major


Nope, not quite. I started out in engineering and made it about 6 semesters before switching to the "cushy" a language program. The bottom line is, the STEM courses were no more difficult than the classes I took in the humanities. They definitely weren't difficult enough to justify the smugness of my fellow engineering students. They simply test different skills. I personally think verbal skills, if they are not innate, are harder to develop than quantitative skills, but I could be wrong on that front. I do know, however, that a couple of my braggart engineering buddies who trashed liberal arts majors could barely write at a middle school level and would've really struggled through a liberal arts program, just as I'm sure a lot of liberal arts majors would struggle in engineering.

As far as GPA goes, I would question any notion that there is a strong correlation between IQ and GPA. But, excepting students who are in programs where their acceptance is basically predicated on brilliance anyways, I don't see why you'd see a 3.5 GPA as an indicator of brilliance in any major.

Nathanael
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Nathanael » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:52 am

IsThisForReal wrote:
Nathanael wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Spotted the communications major


Nope, not quite. I started out in engineering and made it about 6 semesters before switching to the "cushy" a language program. The bottom line is, the STEM courses were no more difficult than the classes I took in the humanities. They definitely weren't difficult enough to justify the smugness of my fellow engineering students. They simply test different skills. I personally think verbal skills, if they are not innate, are harder to develop than quantitative skills, but I could be wrong on that front. I do know, however, that a couple of my braggart engineering buddies who trashed liberal arts majors could barely write at a middle school level and would've really struggled through a liberal arts program, just as I'm sure a lot of liberal arts majors would struggle in engineering.

As far as GPA goes, I would question any notion that there is a strong correlation between IQ and GPA. But, excepting students who are in programs where their acceptance is basically predicated on brilliance anyways, I don't see why you'd see a 3.5 GPA as an indicator of brilliance in any major.


What's your point? I made it through all the weed-out classes that are supposed to be the toughest anyways.

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IsThisForReal
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby IsThisForReal » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:53 am

"Made it" implies you gave up, which implies that it was too hard for you.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:56 am

IsThisForReal wrote:"Made it" implies you gave up, which implies that it was too hard for you.

He said the classes in the "easier" major were just as hard as the engineering classes. So the difficulty of the engineering classes for him makes no difference.

Nathanael
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Nathanael » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:57 am

IsThisForReal wrote:"Made it" implies you gave up, which implies that it was too hard for you.


Ah, no. I got all A's. More like "made it" because I was totally disinterested in engineering and only doing it because my father was trying his hardest to force me into it.

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Ron Don Volante » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:24 am

seems like you're making sweeping claims based on your personal experience alone.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:30 am

Eh, it's probably a lot harder to flunk out of a humanities major than an engineering major. But top humanities students are as good as top students in any other field.

Nathanael
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Nathanael » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:34 am

Ron Don Volante wrote:seems like you're making sweeping claims based on your personal experience alone.


I mean, that's exactly what Mike is doing in his hypothetical.

Look, all I'll claim is that the difficulty of STEM courses relative to humanities is exaggerated and that they typically test fundamentally different skills. Being a great STEM student does not necessarily mean you'd be great in humanities courses and vice-versa. Also, assuming any kind of strong correlation between GPA and IQ/"brilliance" is probably flawed practice anyways.

Nathanael
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Nathanael » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:35 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Eh, it's probably a lot harder to flunk out of a humanities major than an engineering major. But top humanities students are as good as top students in any other field.


I'd agree with that.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:58 am

That prof should be (a)shamed for giving such terrible advice. This is maybe something to consider if you studied for the LSAT for six months and are 15+ points below median. Even then, its a real stretch and shouldn't factor into your decision making by any more than you being aware of it.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:06 am

There's just too many factors for undergrad GPA to be a predictor of law school success. Not only do you have different majors which vary in difficulty and type of work (i.e. Mathematics versus History versus Fine Art), but undergraduate institutions themselves will vary in difficulty.

As far as LSAT goes, I think everyone can agree that LSAT is a just as poor, if not moreso, indicator of law school aptitude.


For the record the LSAT almost always (if not always) correlates more strongly with first year law school gpa than does undergraduate grads. I won't belabor this point further because neither are that strong, and I think this professors advice was, at best, both unprofessional and poor.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:52 am

I didn't look up the data, but I'll bet good money that at almost all universities, especially Ivies and their equivalents, the school of engineering median GPA is lower than the school of anything-else GPA.

At my UG, the median GPA for business majors was I think 3.7 or something. The business school didn't have classes on Friday.

The business school didn't have classes on Friday.

A 4-credit hour class only had 3 hours of classes/week for Econ majors (I majored in Econ).

A 1-credit hour lab class had about 4 total hours in a lab/week for science majors (I majored in Bio as well).

The Econ major could be completed with 30-something credits taken. I could have finished that major in 2 and a half years, or 3 years while taking the minimum number of courses/semester.

The bio major required 60-something. Engineering required I think 80+, some going as far as 100+ if you do EE/CS.

I think the Biomedical Engineering (the toughest major) median was either a 3.1 or a 3.2, with a 30% drop-out rate.

So yes, a dude who finishes a BME major with a 3.5 is leaps and bounds more impressive than a business major with a 4.0.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:57 am

So difficulty (and consequently ability of majors) is determined by number of credits required?

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:23 pm

I would say requiring a greater amount of work to be done in the same amount of time counts as a facet of difficulty. That, and the fact that some engineering courses have forced curves along with a lower median.

abl
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby abl » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:14 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:I didn't look up the data, but I'll bet good money that at almost all universities, especially Ivies and their equivalents, the school of engineering median GPA is lower than the school of anything-else GPA.

At my UG, the median GPA for business majors was I think 3.7 or something. The business school didn't have classes on Friday.

The business school didn't have classes on Friday.

A 4-credit hour class only had 3 hours of classes/week for Econ majors (I majored in Econ).

A 1-credit hour lab class had about 4 total hours in a lab/week for science majors (I majored in Bio as well).

The Econ major could be completed with 30-something credits taken. I could have finished that major in 2 and a half years, or 3 years while taking the minimum number of courses/semester.

The bio major required 60-something. Engineering required I think 80+, some going as far as 100+ if you do EE/CS.

I think the Biomedical Engineering (the toughest major) median was either a 3.1 or a 3.2, with a 30% drop-out rate.

So yes, a dude who finishes a BME major with a 3.5 is leaps and bounds more impressive than a business major with a 4.0.


At most schools, the lowest and the highest GPAs tend to be in STEM majors. The reasons for this are fairly obvious (and it's not because they're the hardest or easiest fields): STEM fields tend to rely more on quantitatively measurable data, as opposed to qualitative assessments; because there are generally "right" and "wrong" answers, professors assign grades based on the %age of correct and incorrect answers given; this means that it's possible to get 100% -- or 0%. On the other hand, liberal arts majors can really only be assessed qualitatively, which leads to a greater compression of grades: very few students will get a 0% (or even a 50%), but on the other hand, very few students will get 100s.

tl;dr: there is such thing as perfectly good or perfectly bad in STEM majors and so grades tend to be very spread out; there is no such thing as perfectly good or bad in the liberal arts so grades tend to be more compressed. Therefore, the very top and very bottom GPAs in most colleges tend to be dominated by STEM majors.

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chuckbass
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby chuckbass » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:32 pm

This conversation is really going somewhere

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ballcaps
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby ballcaps » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:45 pm

this whole thread is tl;dr

OP, that's laughably bad advice, ignore it.

abl
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby abl » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:48 pm

Oh, and re the prof:

I agree that it's pretty bad advice.

Although there might be some considerations (where you went to school, what you majored in, why your grades weren't better, exactly what part of your application was weak, etc) that might imply that you'd overperform or underperform your stats, those sorts of things are going to have a much bigger impact on your law school performance than whether you got a 168 or 166, or had a 3.65 or a 3.55 GPA. In other words, if you have a 166 and 3.55 GPA (for which you worked very hard) and majored in communications at your Directional State College, I'd be concerned about how well you're going to perform in law school -- but that's going to hold true whether you're at Georgetown or GW. On the other hand, if you have a 166 and a 3.55 GPA and majored in Classics at Pomona (and feel like your GPA suffered because you had a tough transition to Pomona from your terrible public high school), I'd probably feel cautiously optimistic about your performance -- but once again that's going to be the case whether you've just "snuck in" at Georgetown or if you're solidly median at GW.

It's an interesting question whether you'd be better off taking the money at GW or taking the increased career "insurance" at Georgetown. But that's an entirely separate question.

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star fox
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Re: Valid advice or just a recruiting pitch?

Postby star fox » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:31 pm

Nathanael wrote:
mike0331 wrote:Unless your stupid and got in on some fluke I don't see how this matters. Everyone here loves to say the LSAT isn't a good predictor of performance. Also, an engineer with a 3.5 I will generally assume to be more brilliant than a communications major with a 4.0, neither of which, from what I have gathered, have a ton to do with law.

Sounds like some nutso sales pitch, but what do I know.

Mike


This flame irks me so much.

It's not a flame if it's true.




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