Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:03 pm

For large classes, minimum DS is 2 and average is around 4-6.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:03 pm

despina wrote:It never occurred to me to prioritize the curve of a particular class over what I would actually get out of it.

This just means you need to gun harder. :P

Also, I can't tell if a whole bunch of people missed the joke or were more meta than I can handle. Good job, either way.
Doorkeeper wrote:For large classes, minimum DS is 2 and average is around 4-6.

Do we actually know this? I know that was what we speculated back when we had a conversation about this, but do you have any more information than we had then?

hlsperson1111
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:06 pm

(1) Delusional is either trolling or, well, delusional. I don't know what the magna cutoff this year was, but I know it was above 3.88 and below 3.98 in 2013 (Source: the lower bound was my own GPA, and the upper bound is the GPA of a friend who got magna).

(2) I have two data points about the number of DS's: I took a 60-person class in which 2 DS's were awarded, and a 120-person class in which about 6 were awarded. (Source: the profs). This obviously doesn't tell us anything about whether there's a minimum number awarded.

(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:59 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:(1) Delusional is either trolling or, well, delusional.


tomwatts wrote: I can't tell if a whole bunch of people missed the joke or were more meta than I can handle. Good job, either way.?


Oops, I would have just assumed trolling but delusional has normally been a legit contributor and it seemed like a serious post so I didn't want 0Ls/1Ls to get confused / desperately sad that they weren't making enough DS's.

Also HLSperson how could you possibly know the exact number of DS's awarded in a particular class? Did the prof send out a grading explanation memo or what? (if so that was pretty nice of her/him)

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:03 am

hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I guess what I'm saying is I don't understand why it's "rational" to care about cum laude enough that it would change your course plans. Besides bragging rights / personal pride, what does it actually get you? By that time you either have a job or are applying for things where it doesn't matter. Down the line when you're applying to escape biglaw / make your next move in public interest, does latin honors actually make a difference? (I had assumed not but maybe I'm missing something).

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:24 am

despina wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I guess what I'm saying is I don't understand why it's "rational" to care about cum laude enough that it would change your course plans. Besides bragging rights / personal pride, what does it actually get you? By that time you either have a job or are applying for things where it doesn't matter. Down the line when you're applying to escape biglaw / make your next move in public interest, does latin honors actually make a difference? (I had assumed not but maybe I'm missing something).

So I've actually heard that sometimes they can up till you actually bring business with you then nobody probably gives a shit. (Source: TLS so who the hell knows). That said, despina, whether it's rational or not, I doubt people suddenly are able to turn "it" off come 3L year if they haven't once doing well in UG, or on the LSAT, or once getting into Harvard, or once doing well 1L year, or once doing well 2L year when securing a clerkship. (I feel fairly confident how I'm using the word "it" here is clear?)

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:12 am

...still waiting on three grades.

Is there any hard deadline for when they have to be in, or can this drag out all summer?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:58 pm

despina wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
despina wrote:
tomwatts wrote:Also, look here for more on GPA. There's some wacky awesome stuff, like calculating GPA for each year separately and then averaging not letting your 1L year dominate your GPA just because you were forced to take an insane number of credits.


Fixed for ya! :)


I actually agree with tomwatts that it is wacky. You can abuse the system, say for your 3L year, take only courses that are credit only (like clinics and cross-register courses, etc.) and then 1-2 very, very easy seminars. Get H or DS in like 1-2 courses and bam, your whole 3L year is a 5.0 (to be weighted equally against your other 2 yrs). Heck, study abroad for a semester and make it even easier on yourself. Of course, getting a P in that one graded class would lower your GPA quite a bit, but what's there to lose, amirite? haha, just choose that 1 course with care.


I mean, yeah, you could do that. But that scheme would still "help" you significantly even if the years weren't weighted equally (assuming you already had a good GPA prior to 3L).

In my mind it would be really stupid to plan any (much less all) of your courses around strategically raising your GPA -- why would you waste an entire year at HLS that you're going into massive debt for, just for a higher GPA in your final year which likely will have near-zero effect on your career (because by that time you already have a firm offer or clerkships, or you're applying for public interest jobs / fellowships which either don't care about grades or won't see your 3L grades anyway). Instead just take the classes you think will be interesting / useful, do your absolute best if you care a lot about grades, and let the chips fall where they may? It never occurred to me to prioritize the curve of a particular class over what I would actually get out of it.

Then again, from all the posting I'm seeing in this thread about strategically choosing classes to boost your GPA, it looks like not everyone necessarily sees it that way so... to each her own? If somebody "abuses the system" 3L year as you describe and graduates magna while I graduate plain cum laude, I guess we'll both be happy with the decisions we made.


I'm not challenging your approach to academics or your life philosophy. I'm merely saying that between the two systems HLS could have put into place for GPA-calculations, the one they chose is more open to abuse and seemingly odd/weird. That's all. And to say one could do the same in a GPA system that weighted it by hours (rather than divided by 3 years) is not really true, since as you hinted at, you would have to already have a high GPA from your earlier year(s). Sort of a different thing as the other system allows this same person to much more easily get an even higher GPA, or a person with a lower GPA to soar above the curve.

Sure, in a perfect world of self-edification and the like, the system wouldn't matter. Heck, GRADES wouldn't even matter. We'd just be doing things for the knowledge, or maybe more cynically, the job. But again, I wasn't arguing with your approach to school or life, so not really the issue here with my original statement.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:05 pm

despina wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I guess what I'm saying is I don't understand why it's "rational" to care about cum laude enough that it would change your course plans. Besides bragging rights / personal pride, what does it actually get you? By that time you either have a job or are applying for things where it doesn't matter. Down the line when you're applying to escape biglaw / make your next move in public interest, does latin honors actually make a difference? (I had assumed not but maybe I'm missing something).


So many in the world base life decisions (not to say normal ones) on pride and bragging rights. That's probably a very significant subset of people, and probably everyone is at times a victim of it. If you're just in it for the degree, already have a job lined up, why not game a system just to see if you can game the system/showcase its flaws? Getting honors would be a nice side benefit as well. People have done dumber and more irrational things (and continue to do so), at least in the view of others as we all value different things.

I for one cannot understand for the life of me why anyone would work so hard into their twilight years as a partner of a big law firm. Much earlier on, money could no longer be an issue. They define themselves by their work and know nothing else (or have anything else to return home to), I imagine, or care about pride or beating others or love the challenge that they feel hobbies or family or whatnot cannot make up (to the extent that you would rather sacrifice the latter for the former). I don't get that. I don't know people who on their death beds have said, DAMN! I should have worked more...but hey, plenty of these people out there.

Look, we've totally steered our way into life philosophies now.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:06 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I'm sorry, I don't see the difference lol.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:23 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:...still waiting on three grades.

Is there any hard deadline for when they have to be in, or can this drag out all summer?

1L grades are a week from today so maybe thats a mark. But I was in a large class (curved) with plenty of 3Ls who have their grades and plenty of non-3Ls who don't. How the hell do you fairly do that? Scale each group just against itself? Don't curve and assume maybe the registrar won't care that much? Or just wing it and give out too many/not enough of X grade to the first group?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:40 pm

wert3813 wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:...still waiting on three grades.

Is there any hard deadline for when they have to be in, or can this drag out all summer?

1L grades are a week from today so maybe thats a mark. But I was in a large class (curved) with plenty of 3Ls who have their grades and plenty of non-3Ls who don't. How the hell do you fairly do that? Scale each group just against itself? Don't curve and assume maybe the registrar won't care that much? Or just wing it and give out too many/not enough of X grade to the first group?


I kind of get the feeling that a lot of profs just pick out exams that they think are good for Hs and give the rest Ps (and know of some profs who outright admit to that grading method). If that's the case, I'm going to guess that for most classes, the 3L 2nd semester showing is pretty weak and they go "lol P" for most of them, leaving them with plentttyyy Hs to give out when they finish up grading. This is just conjecture, though.

dm21998
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby dm21998 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:18 pm

About the number of DS grades. I think 2-6 depending on class size is mostly fair. Though I was in a 50~ person class where the professor gave only 1 DS, and the professor rarely gave even that (he told me). So I think a lot is just the professor's discretion. I'm sure there are plenty of large classes where the professor is stingy.

And 6 is the highest data point I have seen so far. That might be the upper bound.

hlsperson1111
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:24 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I'm sorry, I don't see the difference lol.


Taking only clinics, seminars, and "Underwater Basket Weaving and International Human Rights" is an example of the first. Taking Analytical Methods your 3L Spring because you're also taking two black-letter classes and have a 3.6 is an example of the second. It's a difference of degree, but it's still a difference.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:03 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:(3) Concocting a ridiculous schedule 3L year to get a 5.0 is a dumb and short-sighted strategy. Picking some of your 3L courses with the intention of protecting Latin honors (especially if you have a 3.6-3.7 and really care about graduating cum laude) is a perfectly rational course selection-strategy.


I'm sorry, I don't see the difference lol.


Taking only clinics, seminars, and "Underwater Basket Weaving and International Human Rights" is an example of the first. Taking Analytical Methods your 3L Spring because you're also taking two black-letter classes and have a 3.6 is an example of the second. It's a difference of degree, but it's still a difference.


That difference makes sense to me, and to DoubleChecks above, no worries, I don't feel attacked at all and I hope I didn't come across as attacking somebody who takes a different approach than I do to school / life. Seems we agree that it's not "rational" to prioritize latin honors above everything else, though of course I get that it's hard to "turn it off" and personal pride / bragging rights are a strong motivator for many HLS students, myself included, as you say.

Also on the topic of clinics -- maybe they have an easier grading curve, I have no idea. But compared to a blackletter law class they're WAY more hours of your actual time per credit hour earned, so I'm not sure it makes sense to take a clinic just boost your GPA. Even if, say, 50% of grades are H's in a clinic vs 30% in a black letter law class, for most clinics you're going to need to work minimum 20 hours per week for a 4-credit clinic (plus a lot of commuting time if your placement is off-campus), and that doesn't even guarantee you the H, nor does it include whatever time you spend on the accompanying seminar. Even the most intensive black letter law classes (fed courts?) don't require 20 hours per week of work.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:03 pm

For anyone still waiting on their grades, I got 2 of 3 today.

The wait continues. haha.

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frankunderwood91
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby frankunderwood91 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:10 am

How advisable is it to not have a Winter Term class/clinic set by the time I enter my 2L Fall Semester? I currently have a clinic for Winter Term, but it has a required class on Tuesdays, and without it I could have TWO ENTIRE DAYS free each week 2L Fall (which would, obviously, be sick).

Also, what are my options for Winter Term in terms of classes and such, and when should I start getting all that stuff down?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:40 am

frankunderwood91 wrote:How advisable is it to not have a Winter Term class/clinic set by the time I enter my 2L Fall Semester? I currently have a clinic for Winter Term, but it has a required class on Tuesdays, and without it I could have TWO ENTIRE DAYS free each week 2L Fall (which would, obviously, be sick).

Also, what are my options for Winter Term in terms of classes and such, and when should I start getting all that stuff down?


You could take a class or independent writing with a professor.

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frankunderwood91
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby frankunderwood91 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:42 am

ph14 wrote:
frankunderwood91 wrote:How advisable is it to not have a Winter Term class/clinic set by the time I enter my 2L Fall Semester? I currently have a clinic for Winter Term, but it has a required class on Tuesdays, and without it I could have TWO ENTIRE DAYS free each week 2L Fall (which would, obviously, be sick).

Also, what are my options for Winter Term in terms of classes and such, and when should I start getting all that stuff down?


You could take a class or independent writing with a professor.


When can we pick the classes if we want to take one?

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:36 pm

Last year, J-term registration was October 21-23, with results October 25.

If you want to try to travel, watch out for early deadlines -- I think you had to have your proposal by Nov 1, and a lot of people hadn't thought their plans through yet. http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/de ... ation.html

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jasper09
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby jasper09 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:57 pm

I asked over in the Class of 2017 thread but we appear to have limited info: how far in advance are loans disbursed? For example, for students planning to live off campus, is there a need to front rent/living expenses the first couple of months or so until loans are disbursed to cover the cost?

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codyoneill
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby codyoneill » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:41 pm

jasper09 wrote:I asked over in the Class of 2017 thread but we appear to have limited info: how far in advance are loans disbursed? For example, for students planning to live off campus, is there a need to front rent/living expenses the first couple of months or so until loans are disbursed to cover the cost?


Pages 166-168 in this thread might be helpful to answer your question.

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malleus discentium
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby malleus discentium » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:02 pm

I assume HLS takes zero requests for sectionmates?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:08 pm

malleus discentium wrote:I assume HLS takes zero requests for sectionmates?


Correct.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:14 pm

ph14 wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:I assume HLS takes zero requests for sectionmates?


Correct.


Caveat: If you either have or previously have taken out a restraining order against another incoming student, and you get placed into his/her section by unfortunate happenstance, you can request to switch sections.




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