mileslibertatis wrote:Well, I was #1 with a 3.9 and I still underperformed.
Also another data point: I know someone who was #2 at a school in the high 40s who applied late (not after deadline, but way after most of us) and got H and Y both. And I know this for realsies, not just a rumor.
I'll add in my 2 cents about over-performance vs. under-performance in terms of transfer cycle:
1) GPA matters. My 1L school didn't rank, but I had a transcript littered with A's and A-'s. The higher your first school's curve is, the better.
2) School matters. While NYU/CLS will take some people at T2's, it can be much harder to break, even if you're #1. Penn/Michigan/Northwestern/GULC are much kinder to T2's. So even if you're #1, you can't necessarily put all of your eggs in the CCN basket (although some T2 people have managed to break CCN). Additionally, some schools may understand a particular school's curve better than others, which can sometimes help (if they know your school has a low curve and will look more at rank) and can sometimes hurt (see #1. If they know your school gives out A+'s to the top-of-the-top, your A's and A-'s may not look so good). It's also damn hard to break HYS outside of the top 20 schools or so (unless you're at the very very top of your class).
3) Residency/ties *can* matter. They certainly do for UVA and Duke (especially UVA). Berkeley has seemed to strongly favor CA residents the past few years. Being a Michigan resident (or Michigan undergrad) will help at Michigan but you aren't SOL even if you've never stepped foot in the state. The rest of the schools don't seem to care. Probably because they're all private schools. However, if you're going to school away from your home, and want to go home, you should definitely use this as a selling point somewhere in your application.
4) Your PS matters. Adcomms want to know why you want to transfer. They want to know what you're going to bring to the school. They want to know why you want to leave despite having top grades, a great chance at local OCI, LR, etc. What classes are you interested in? Are there any professors you specifically want to learn from? I know if you're not someone who is interested in academia, and generally are in law school for the end game (jerbs), this can be difficult... but it still needs to be done. And if they ask for supplemental essays -- write them! This is also a great place to sell your ties (and yes, if you're otherwise qualified, undergrad can be HUGE here)..
5) WE/resume may matter. There are some sources that say WE helps, but I dunno about this. I think it's connected to #4 -- if you can sell why your WE helped you in law school or might help you in terms of getting a job, it helps.