Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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How did you perform this cycle?

Much better than my numbers
7
12%
Better than my numbers
20
34%
At my numbers
19
32%
Below my numbers
9
15%
Far below my numbers
4
7%
 
Total votes: 59

transfer dilemma
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Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby transfer dilemma » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:42 pm

So I think we all agree that the stickied post by Arrow is not up to date and may have actually misled some people into not putting their best possible application out there. Let's leave something better for next year's hopeful transfers.

I. Numbers
I think the biggest mistake people make when looking at the stickied post, is that they treat the numbers listed as sufficient rather than necessary (oh god, LSAT flashbacks). That said, numbers do seem really important, and are one of the few objective things we can measure. Looking at data from LSAC, I put this together:

Total Number of Students Above Each Percentile Cut
T6-14: 1% ~25 5% ~125 10% ~250

T15-25: 1% ~28 5% ~140 10% ~280

T25-T50: 1% ~60 5% ~300 10% ~600

T50-T100 (don’t have time – help me out?)

TTT (don’t have time– help me out?)

TTTT (don’t have time– help me out?)

Number of Transfers In (note – not offers)
Y 8
S 15
H 30 HYS = 53
C 46
C 16
N 56 CCN = 118
B 19
P 25
V 12
M 39 MVPB = 95
D 7
N 39
G 71
C 6 DCGN = 123
Total 389

(Again, don’t have time for schools outside the T14 – help me out?)

Note: Columbia, Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, and Georgetown account for over 2/3 of transfer slots.

With these numbers we see that there are probably ~880+ kids potentially applying for ~390 slots, and probably more applying for the ~170 at HYSCCN.

Obviously though, not everyone applies, which is our real conundrum. The real “X Factor” for determining raw chances. There’s no good way beyond speculation to estimate this in my opinion, but maybe as a community we can come up with something.

II. Thresholds

I don’t know how accurate Arrow’s speculation about the threshold cutoffs at each tier were, but I also don’t know any good way to measure this. I guarantee you that TLS and other survey instruments are always going to have a positive response bias (see, e.g., law school employment data). That said, some kind of data-based guesstimate would be helpful for those considering transfer. Drmguy has a post for this that I’ll bump. I encourage everyone to put your stats in there. It’s anonymous, so even all you lurkers—yes, I’m talking to you, lurkers!—and people who underperformed have no excuse not to put your info in. Let’s pay forward what we’ve learned.

III. Softs

This seems to be the biggest revelation this cycle. Softs almost certainly do matter! The reason I think people neglect the influence of softs is because they’re hard to quantify. When someone says “I wrote a great PS,” I think everyone is (i) immediately skeptical of the self assessment and (ii) probably thinks to themselves “Well that doesn’t matter, so did I.”

I think the best way to deal with the unquantifiability of softs is to just talk about what you had going for you besides your numbers that you influenced your admissions. I know some people were posting this kind of info in the T14 status change forum, so please quote it back here to kind of get it all in one place. A discussion by itself could be a resource for next year’s transfers to read through, or maybe we’ll notice a pattern and be able to highlight it ourselves. I know that so far it seems that undergraduate GPA/school may have played a role this cycle. Let’s see what we can find out.

(Also, I put a poll up that might help a little)

IV. The Plan

So my goal here is really to just get us thinking about the process. If everyone (talking to you again lurkers!) could share their numbers, admissions, and a personal evaluation of their softs, I think we can provide a really valuable resource. Also, anyone with ideas about how to approach the numbers side of this should share as well. When we start to get a better idea of how everything turned out, one of us can write a new sticky post.

tl;dr - how did you do?
Last edited by transfer dilemma on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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taxnstuff
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby taxnstuff » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:45 pm

I think it has been much easier to transfer into the top 50 outside of the T14 from what i've read, but again doing so isn't smart most of the time.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:49 pm

well one thing to note is that UVA apparently places a LOT of value on VA residence for transfers. so VA residents should really apply to UVA, even if they don't think their numbers are necessarily competitive.

i also think school rank is more important than people think, especially if you're T14.

i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.

transfer dilemma
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby transfer dilemma » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:55 pm

fatduck wrote:i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.


This is pretty much my take too. It seems almost like law school grades are a threshold (though not always a strict one), but once you're over the hurdle, it comes down to more intangible factors about your background and whatever you can convey about yourself through your personal statement and LoR.

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taxnstuff
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby taxnstuff » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:00 pm

fatduck wrote:i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.


I think this is spot on, at least from my experience this cycle.

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:01 pm

transfer dilemma wrote:
fatduck wrote:i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.


This is pretty much my take too. It seems almost like law school grades are a threshold (though not always a strict one), but once you're over the hurdle, it comes down to more intangible factors about your background and whatever you can convey about yourself through your personal statement and LoR.


Apparently, though you'd think they would care most about whether or not you can get a job, which should lead to them taking the students with the best rank, unless they feel that the lower-ranked students has a better shot at a job. I would think grades/rank matter most, but apparently not.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:05 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
transfer dilemma wrote:
fatduck wrote:i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.


This is pretty much my take too. It seems almost like law school grades are a threshold (though not always a strict one), but once you're over the hurdle, it comes down to more intangible factors about your background and whatever you can convey about yourself through your personal statement and LoR.


Apparently, though you'd think they would care most about whether or not you can get a job, which should lead to them taking the students with the best rank, unless they feel that the lower-ranked students has a better shot at a job. I would think grades/rank matter most, but apparently not.

i wonder whether schools are really thinking about whether transfers are likely to find employment. i think they probably just assume they'll all do fine.

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taxnstuff
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby taxnstuff » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:06 pm

If they really are just about incrasing their US news rank, you would think that when considering transfers they would only care about 1.) whether they will be employed full time long term and 2.) whether you will pass the bar (which if you are in the position to transfer you probably won't have any trouble with that).

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:08 pm

taxnstuff wrote:If they really are just about incrasing their US news rank, you would think that when considering transfers they would only care about 1.) whether they will be employed full time long term and 2.) whether you will pass the bar (which if you are in the position to transfer you probably won't have any trouble with that).

well, i guess it depends on the school, but it seems like the #1 reason to take transfers is the fact that they pay sticker. i don't think T14 schools are fretting too much about how their transfers will affect their USNWR rankings. employment % and bar passage are such a tiny part of the overall score, anyway, the effect is tiny.

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:11 pm

fatduck wrote:
taxnstuff wrote:If they really are just about incrasing their US news rank, you would think that when considering transfers they would only care about 1.) whether they will be employed full time long term and 2.) whether you will pass the bar (which if you are in the position to transfer you probably won't have any trouble with that).

well, i guess it depends on the school, but it seems like the #1 reason to take transfers is the fact that they pay sticker. i don't think T14 schools are fretting too much about how their transfers will affect their USNWR rankings. employment % and bar passage are such a tiny part of the overall score, anyway, the effect is tiny.


If that were the case, why not take more? After all, most of the applicants are well qualified and have had tremendous success at their previous institutions. They're likely to get a job too. A Yale degree isn't going to be devalued because they take 30 transfers instead of 15.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:15 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:
taxnstuff wrote:If they really are just about incrasing their US news rank, you would think that when considering transfers they would only care about 1.) whether they will be employed full time long term and 2.) whether you will pass the bar (which if you are in the position to transfer you probably won't have any trouble with that).

well, i guess it depends on the school, but it seems like the #1 reason to take transfers is the fact that they pay sticker. i don't think T14 schools are fretting too much about how their transfers will affect their USNWR rankings. employment % and bar passage are such a tiny part of the overall score, anyway, the effect is tiny.

If that were the case, why not take more? After all, most of the applicants are well qualified and have had tremendous success at their previous institutions. They're likely to get a job too. A Yale degree isn't going to be devalued because they take 30 transfers instead of 15.

class size concerns, i suppose. i think it does sort of "look bad" to take a ton of transfers. it's not going to affect your ranking, but there's some stigma there, both among other institutions/professors/whatever, and the native student population. i'm sure yale students would be a little annoyed if something like 20% of their graduating class was made up of transfers.

transfer dilemma
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby transfer dilemma » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:16 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
transfer dilemma wrote:
fatduck wrote:i think "softs" are important not so much in the "well did you cure cancer?" sense, but in that transfer admissions are a good way for law schools to grab people with diverse backgrounds, interesting work experience, etc. that they couldn't do in the regular admissions process b/c of your numbers. but i don't really have any basis for that opinion.


This is pretty much my take too. It seems almost like law school grades are a threshold (though not always a strict one), but once you're over the hurdle, it comes down to more intangible factors about your background and whatever you can convey about yourself through your personal statement and LoR.


Apparently, though you'd think they would care most about whether or not you can get a job, which should lead to them taking the students with the best rank, unless they feel that the lower-ranked students has a better shot at a job. I would think grades/rank matter most, but apparently not.



The funny thing is I think that employment works similarly, though I'm definitely not the expert. You have to have the grades to make it to the call back, but once you're there, it's all about personality and intangibles. There's probably no marked difference between someone who was #4 and someone who was #6 in terms of ability to attain full time legal employment. I don't think much of the variance between number based expected outcomes for transfer admissions and actual outcomes will be explained by employment prediction.

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taxnstuff
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby taxnstuff » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:18 pm

fatduck wrote: i'm sure yale students would be a little annoyed if something like 20% of their graduating class was made up of transfers.


isnt this the case at georgetown?

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:23 pm

fatduck wrote:
canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:
taxnstuff wrote:If they really are just about incrasing their US news rank, you would think that when considering transfers they would only care about 1.) whether they will be employed full time long term and 2.) whether you will pass the bar (which if you are in the position to transfer you probably won't have any trouble with that).

well, i guess it depends on the school, but it seems like the #1 reason to take transfers is the fact that they pay sticker. i don't think T14 schools are fretting too much about how their transfers will affect their USNWR rankings. employment % and bar passage are such a tiny part of the overall score, anyway, the effect is tiny.

If that were the case, why not take more? After all, most of the applicants are well qualified and have had tremendous success at their previous institutions. They're likely to get a job too. A Yale degree isn't going to be devalued because they take 30 transfers instead of 15.


class size concerns, i suppose. i think it does sort of "look bad" to take a ton of transfers. it's not going to affect your ranking, but there's some stigma there, both among other institutions/professors/whatever, and the native student population. i'm sure yale students would be a little annoyed if something like 20% of their graduating class was made up of transfers.


They may be, yes, but they still did their first year at Yale and they'll be able to graduate with all the accolades that transfers won't, and they'll still be most likely to get the SCOTUS clerkships. Transfers wouldn't really be affecting the "natives'" employment prospects. Maybe the ones who did terribly, but it's still Yale. Schools take transfers for a reason, and if it were harming the native students, something would be done about it. Most likely it's to pay for the students who receive scholarships before 1L year, which you would think they would be OK with. I just don't see the harm.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:28 pm

i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:33 pm

fatduck wrote:i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.


Haters gonna hate.

jarofsoup
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:36 pm

I noticed that it is really hard to transfer into a top 20. That is where it begins to get more competitive.


I would say that getting into a top 20(especially UCLA and USC) you need to be closer to top 10% or in the top 10%. However, if you bind ED at USC you will get in with much lower numbers than if you didnt. I got bounced from USC while people with much lower GPAs (like 15% lower in rank) got in because they bound.

It also seems the GULC's EA cycle got much more competitive. At the end of my first semester I was almost at the top of my class and did not get in.

The schools also care about region. For example I could not get into U of Chicago ED, but people with almost the same GPAs from Kent, and Loyola (Chicago) got in with equal stats.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:37 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.


Haters gonna hate.

it is what it is. i think schools care about student morale (to some extent) though. the truth is that schools can kinda do whatever they want in transfer admissions. why does yale admit 15 instead of 30? probably because someone said "eh, 15 sounds like a good number." i just don't think they're scrutinizing the numbers as much as they do in regular admissions, but you'd have to ask adcoms to figure that out.

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:39 pm

fatduck wrote:
canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.


Haters gonna hate.

it is what it is. i think schools care about student morale (to some extent) though. the truth is that schools can kinda do whatever they want in transfer admissions. why does yale admit 15 instead of 30? probably because someone said "eh, 15 sounds like a good number." i just don't think they're scrutinizing the numbers as much as they do in regular admissions, but you'd have to ask adcoms to figure that out.


I guess it's understandable, but isn't it harder to do well in LS than to have an awesome LSAT? I would think it's more laudable to have actually succeeded in the thing you're trying to do than to have succeeded on something that predicts, and not terribly accurately, how well you are going to do. Just my feelings, but I am a transfer applicant, so I may be biased. lol

transfer dilemma
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby transfer dilemma » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:40 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.


Haters gonna hate.


I think this is right. The schools probably aren't basing their decisions very much on employment prospects or the reaction of the student body. Personally, I think letters of recommendation are very important. I had a targetted one written by an alum of the school I was targetting, and I think that may have tipped the scales for me. My other letter was probably pretty strong as well, but not targetted.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:42 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:
canesfan1986 wrote:
fatduck wrote:i don't think they're worried about transfer students stealing their jerbs, i think transfers are just seen as somewhat less "legitimate" than someone who was admitted through regular admissions, either because they weren't "good enough" to get in as a 1L, or because people think being at the top of your class at a lower ranked school isn't as impressive.


Haters gonna hate.

it is what it is. i think schools care about student morale (to some extent) though. the truth is that schools can kinda do whatever they want in transfer admissions. why does yale admit 15 instead of 30? probably because someone said "eh, 15 sounds like a good number." i just don't think they're scrutinizing the numbers as much as they do in regular admissions, but you'd have to ask adcoms to figure that out.


I guess it's understandable, but isn't it harder to do well in LS than to have an awesome LSAT? I would think it's more laudable to have actually succeeded in the thing you're trying to do than to have succeeded on something that predicts, and not terribly accurately, how well you are going to do. Just my feelings, but I am a transfer applicant, so I may be biased. lol

think of it this way: most T14 students did awesome on the LSAT, and did average in law school. which do you think they put more stock in?

canesfan1986
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby canesfan1986 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:44 pm

Sure, but don't transfers perform well at their new schools competing against those same high LSAT people?

FlanSolo
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby FlanSolo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:45 pm

transfer dilemma wrote:The funny thing is I think that employment works similarly, though I'm definitely not the expert. You have to have the grades to make it to the call back, but once you're there, it's all about personality and intangibles. There's probably no marked difference between someone who was #4 and someone who was #6 in terms of ability to attain full time legal employment. I don't think much of the variance between number based expected outcomes for transfer admissions and actual outcomes will be explained by employment prediction.


I think you raise a number of good points here, but the clear difference is that for interviews you actually have to interview. Not to mention this person is partly deciding if they want to give you money and spend 60 hours a week with you. The admissions officer's job is very different because primarily they want to know if you are a good addition to the student body (academics first, of course) and because personality is so much harder to gauge on a resume than in person.

I don't think this observation greatly undermines your point, but it's definitely the case that the "softs" that interest employers and admissions officers are different. For example, an employer looks at your softs to see what they may indicate about your prospects with them, while an admissions officer looks at your softs with more of an eye to how "interesting" they are. I don't think this the most earth shattering point, but I think transfer students should keep in mind that it may be more beneficial to fit a certain archetype the school has in mind than to have what an employer would view as strong softs. Obviously, there's not much a transfer can do about that other than to realize they exist and adjust expectations accordingly and apply to as many schools as possible.

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fatduck
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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby fatduck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:47 pm

canesfan1986 wrote:Sure, but don't transfers perform well at their new schools competing against those same high LSAT people?

yea, because they're gunners.

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Re: Let's Figure this Transfer Thing Out

Postby FlanSolo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:57 pm

fatduck wrote:
canesfan1986 wrote:Sure, but don't transfers perform well at their new schools competing against those same high LSAT people?

yea, because they're gunners.


This, and I think three other things. First, I would not be surprised to find out that a good number of transfers were either splitters or didn't gun for the LSAT, and gunned in law school. I definitely fit this description, and I bet a lot of you do too. Second, it doesn't seem like schools let in transfers who are wildly out of their league, and given the variability in the LSAT anyway, it shouldn't be such a huge surprise for transfers to do well. Third, isn't it generally easier after 1L because of more forgiving curves and reduced gunning overall?




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