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.
tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Thu May 21, 2015 10:08 pm

bogm2012 wrote:Cum laude cutoff is higher than 3.5. Probably at least 3.6. I am a 3L and had a 3.58 and didn't make the cut. :(

Very, very interesting. We've had little actual data. I can say for sure that 4.0 is over the magna cutoff this year and have heard that it is generally over the magna cutoff, but we have less data about the cum laude cutoff. You're the second person on these forums (in different years) that I've found who has reported a GPA between 3.5 and 3.6 who didn't make the cum laude cutoff. On the basis of this, I'm going to guess that the cum laude cutoff is consistently around 3.6.

That probably means that the 3-year median is somewhere in the ballpark of 3.5. Could be 3.45, could be 3.5, could be a bit higher or lower.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Thu May 21, 2015 10:45 pm

tomwatts wrote:
bogm2012 wrote:Cum laude cutoff is higher than 3.5. Probably at least 3.6. I am a 3L and had a 3.58 and didn't make the cut. :(

Very, very interesting. We've had little actual data. I can say for sure that 4.0 is over the magna cutoff this year and have heard that it is generally over the magna cutoff, but we have less data about the cum laude cutoff. You're the second person on these forums (in different years) that I've found who has reported a GPA between 3.5 and 3.6 who didn't make the cum laude cutoff. On the basis of this, I'm going to guess that the cum laude cutoff is consistently around 3.6.

That probably means that the 3-year median is somewhere in the ballpark of 3.5. Could be 3.45, could be 3.5, could be a bit higher or lower.


One more data point: I'm a graduating 3L, made cum laude with 3.67.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Thu May 21, 2015 11:13 pm

Are there a lot of people who really want to know the specific cutoffs? We could just do a Dope poll so 3Ls could retain anonymity and get way more accuracy on cutoff points.

I haven't done it because I have no use for those numbers.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri May 22, 2015 12:05 am

TripTrip wrote:Are there a lot of people who really want to know the specific cutoffs? We could just do a Dope poll so 3Ls could retain anonymity and get way more accuracy on cutoff points.

I haven't done it because I have no use for those numbers.

I'd be curious but I don't suppose it much matters.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Fri May 22, 2015 12:49 am

tomwatts wrote:
TripTrip wrote:Are there a lot of people who really want to know the specific cutoffs? We could just do a Dope poll so 3Ls could retain anonymity and get way more accuracy on cutoff points.

I haven't done it because I have no use for those numbers.

I'd be curious but I don't suppose it much matters.

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LawGuy321
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby LawGuy321 » Fri May 22, 2015 5:36 am

My data point won't shed any more light, but I'd be really interested on the cutoffs for C/O 2015, regardless. Moreover, it can help future years calculate their chances (and perhaps say something about grade inflation fears?). I suppose it's the same as previous years, recognizing we have only a few years of data since the grading scale change. Here's what I gathered a few months ago when I was trying to presage my rank (heh):

Cum Laude Cutoff: Revolves around 3.6. Previous threads revealed 3.58 was the lowest reported having made it; some suggested it ranges from 3.58-3.62 on any given year. The fear is that it's ticking up due to grade inflation, but there hasn't been any evidence yet to really back that up.

Magna Cutoff: 3.96 is speculated to be the bubble, though I remember having a strong feeling the cutoff was usually 3.97 after my research (I couldn't find some threads I'd found a few months ago). 3.93 has NOT made it in the past. I don't think there's been any data to support that it's higher than 3.97. Therefore, the cutoff is 3.9X, where X is likely > 3, and </= 7. I don't think there's as much fear of grade inflation affecting this cutoff -- unless we're worried more DS's are being given out...which seems less likely than more H's relative to P's.

I support the idea or a poll to figure this out...anyone want to start one? Should we move this to a specific thread?

Thread Sources:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&hilit=harvard+gpa
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&p=7650929&hilit=harvard+gpa+cum+laude#p7650929
-Note: There was another thread I read extensively that I could not find again with a cursory search.

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LawGuy321
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby LawGuy321 » Fri May 22, 2015 5:49 am

BTW, we know 3.58 did NOT make cutoff this year (unless they go to three decimals...like 3.58 doesn't make it but 3.584 does). If we assume that they round to the hundreths place, then the cutoff for cum laude is at minimum 3.59 this year.

I have nothing to support whether they round or what decimal place they take things out to. Does anyone know whether they actually just cut off honors at the exact person who makes the 40%? In that case, all decimal points matter (e.g., 3.587 could make it but 3.586 wouldn't)? Otherwise, I imagine they would choose a decimal to take it out to and choose the number which includes the person who makes the full 40% (even if more than one person make that exact number). In that case, if it's 3.59, anyone who made 3.59 would get it, even if that puts it slightly over the exact top 40%.

More data points from people close to the cutoffs, por favor? Also, to the person who got 3.58, was that a rounded up 3.578 or a rounded down 3.584?

bogm2012
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bogm2012 » Fri May 22, 2015 8:21 am

LawGuy321 wrote:BTW, we know 3.58 did NOT make cutoff this year (unless they go to three decimals...like 3.58 doesn't make it but 3.584 does). If we assume that they round to the hundreths place, then the cutoff for cum laude is at minimum 3.59 this year.

I have nothing to support whether they round or what decimal place they take things out to. Does anyone know whether they actually just cut off honors at the exact person who makes the 40%? In that case, all decimal points matter (e.g., 3.587 could make it but 3.586 wouldn't)? Otherwise, I imagine they would choose a decimal to take it out to and choose the number which includes the person who makes the full 40% (even if more than one person make that exact number). In that case, if it's 3.59, anyone who made 3.59 would get it, even if that puts it slightly over the exact top 40%.

More data points from people close to the cutoffs, por favor? Also, to the person who got 3.58, was that a rounded up 3.578 or a rounded down 3.584?


3.579

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nothingtosee
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Fri May 22, 2015 8:48 am

So...any 24 hour copy centers in Cambridge/Somerville? Further away from Harvard Square works too...

KaNa1986
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby KaNa1986 » Fri May 22, 2015 12:04 pm

LawGuy321 wrote:My data point won't shed any more light, but I'd be really interested on the cutoffs for C/O 2015, regardless. Moreover, it can help future years calculate their chances (and perhaps say something about grade inflation fears?). I suppose it's the same as previous years, recognizing we have only a few years of data since the grading scale change. Here's what I gathered a few months ago when I was trying to presage my rank (heh):

Cum Laude Cutoff: Revolves around 3.6. Previous threads revealed 3.58 was the lowest reported having made it; some suggested it ranges from 3.58-3.62 on any given year. The fear is that it's ticking up due to grade inflation, but there hasn't been any evidence yet to really back that up.

Magna Cutoff: 3.96 is speculated to be the bubble, though I remember having a strong feeling the cutoff was usually 3.97 after my research (I couldn't find some threads I'd found a few months ago). 3.93 has NOT made it in the past. I don't think there's been any data to support that it's higher than 3.97. Therefore, the cutoff is 3.9X, where X is likely > 3, and </= 7. I don't think there's as much fear of grade inflation affecting this cutoff -- unless we're worried more DS's are being given out...which seems less likely than more H's relative to P's.

I support the idea or a poll to figure this out...anyone want to start one? Should we move this to a specific thread?

Thread Sources:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&hilit=harvard+gpa
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&p=7650929&hilit=harvard+gpa+cum+laude#p7650929
-Note: There was another thread I read extensively that I could not find again with a cursory search.


This sounds right. I heard the percentiles are roughly:
>=3.96 ~ top 10%/Magna
>=3.9 ~ top 15%
>=3.8 ~ top quarter
>= 3.6 ~ top 40%/Cum Luade
a little over 3.5 ~ median

EliPedDH
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby EliPedDH » Fri May 22, 2015 12:25 pm

KaNa1986 wrote:
LawGuy321 wrote:My data point won't shed any more light, but I'd be really interested on the cutoffs for C/O 2015, regardless. Moreover, it can help future years calculate their chances (and perhaps say something about grade inflation fears?). I suppose it's the same as previous years, recognizing we have only a few years of data since the grading scale change. Here's what I gathered a few months ago when I was trying to presage my rank (heh):

Cum Laude Cutoff: Revolves around 3.6. Previous threads revealed 3.58 was the lowest reported having made it; some suggested it ranges from 3.58-3.62 on any given year. The fear is that it's ticking up due to grade inflation, but there hasn't been any evidence yet to really back that up.

Magna Cutoff: 3.96 is speculated to be the bubble, though I remember having a strong feeling the cutoff was usually 3.97 after my research (I couldn't find some threads I'd found a few months ago). 3.93 has NOT made it in the past. I don't think there's been any data to support that it's higher than 3.97. Therefore, the cutoff is 3.9X, where X is likely > 3, and </= 7. I don't think there's as much fear of grade inflation affecting this cutoff -- unless we're worried more DS's are being given out...which seems less likely than more H's relative to P's.

I support the idea or a poll to figure this out...anyone want to start one? Should we move this to a specific thread?

Thread Sources:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&hilit=harvard+gpa
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=203988&p=7650929&hilit=harvard+gpa+cum+laude#p7650929
-Note: There was another thread I read extensively that I could not find again with a cursory search.


This sounds right. I heard the percentiles are roughly:
>=3.96 ~ top 10%/Magna
>=3.9 ~ top 15%
>=3.8 ~ top quarter
>= 3.6 ~ top 40%/Cum Luade
a little over 3.5 ~ median


Sounds about right, though I heard top 15% mark is between 3.85 and 3.9 (probably closer to 3.9) and the top 25% mark is between 3.75 and 3.8.

anon903817
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby anon903817 » Fri May 22, 2015 1:23 pm

If you assume GPAs are normally distributed (who knows if they are, but probably close enough given how little we know), and you have 2 (GPA,percentile) pairs, then you can figure out the entire distribution. So, for example, if it's the case that 3.6 is 60th percentile, and 3.95 is 90th percentile, and it's a normal distribution, then the mean is 3.514 and the standard deviation is 0.340. That would mean, for example, that 3.7 is 70.8% level, 3.8 is 80%, 3.9 is 87%, and you can calculate it for whatever else you want.

If you want to do calculations for yourself, go to this:

http://sampson.byu.edu/courses/z2p2z-calculator.html

To figure out a percentile from a given GPA, first take (GPA - 3.514)/0.340, and take that result and put it next to "z=" under "Calculate cumulative probability p from z". So, for example, if you want to calculate the percentile for 3.95, first do (3.95-3.514)/0.34 = 1.282. Enter that number next to "z=", hit calculate, and you get .900079.

To figure out the GPA at a certain percentile, put the percentile next to "p = " under "Calculate z from cumulative probability p". Then take the result (call it x), and do 3.514 + x*0.340, and that's your answer. So, do figure out the 75th percentile, put in 0.75, and get out 0.67449. Plugging that into x, you get a GPA of 3.743.

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Fri May 22, 2015 2:01 pm

I would seriously question whether the grade distribution is in fact normal. The discussion above suggests to me the mean is skewed to the right. If anything, I could also see it being bi modal with clusters around median and at the top end.

Sigh. This discussion is soooo nerdy.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri May 22, 2015 2:50 pm

I too seriously doubt a normal distribution, but I take the question to be basically answered. Magna cutoff is somewhere between 3.95 and 4.0, and cum laude is somewhere near 3.6. Median is probably in the ballpark of 3.5.

My curiosity is satisfied.

justinp
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby justinp » Fri May 22, 2015 3:21 pm

TripTrip wrote:Are there a lot of people who really want to know the specific cutoffs? We could just do a Dope poll so 3Ls could retain anonymity and get way more accuracy on cutoff points.

I haven't done it because I have no use for those numbers.


I'd be interested to see whatever numbers you could get. I think it'd be helpful to people in the future just to have a sense of at least a LITTLE data instead of the current dominant strategy of google-searching TLS for "HLS magna" and obsessive nitpicking old threads for tea leaves to read.

KaNa1986
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby KaNa1986 » Fri May 22, 2015 5:43 pm

Why does Harvard calculate overall GPA by averaging annual GPA from 1L, 2L, and 3L?

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Fri May 22, 2015 6:02 pm

KaNa1986 wrote:Why does Harvard calculate overall GPA by averaging annual GPA from 1L, 2L, and 3L?


I'm assuming it's because otherwise, 1L would greatly outweigh the other years since it's so many damn credits. You take between 36 and 38 credit hours as a 1L. I took 24 my 3L year.

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lawschool22
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lawschool22 » Fri May 22, 2015 9:45 pm

despina wrote:
KaNa1986 wrote:Why does Harvard calculate overall GPA by averaging annual GPA from 1L, 2L, and 3L?


I'm assuming it's because otherwise, 1L would greatly outweigh the other years since it's so many damn credits. You take between 36 and 38 credit hours as a 1L. I took 24 my 3L year.


Not sure why they think that should matter. It seems like each credit should figure equally into the GPA. If 1L is more, so be it.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Fri May 22, 2015 9:53 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
despina wrote:
KaNa1986 wrote:Why does Harvard calculate overall GPA by averaging annual GPA from 1L, 2L, and 3L?


I'm assuming it's because otherwise, 1L would greatly outweigh the other years since it's so many damn credits. You take between 36 and 38 credit hours as a 1L. I took 24 my 3L year.


Not sure why they think that should matter. It seems like each credit should figure equally into the GPA. If 1L is more, so be it.

I think it's more because if you're not taking 16 credits, there might be a reason. You may be dedicating time to something that is uncredited (like an SPO) instead taking an extra class to offset your 1L GPA. And they don't want to discourage participation in SPOs.

Besides, 1L grades already count for more than the other two years combined. Why make it worse?

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RedColossus
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby RedColossus » Sat May 23, 2015 7:40 pm

Congrats to all you guys on finishing the academic year! Now that grades are all out (I believe) I figured I'd ask a question I've been wanting to put out there.

I just wanted to know if there were any recommendations to a 0L now 3 months away from beginning 1L. Are there any books that are particularly useful that I should check out (I read Turow's 1L for fun, and am currently reading "1L Of a Ride" to help cope with my uncertainty as September quickly approaches haha.)

Also when should I start thinking about buying casebooks and everything to hopefully get them at the best possible price. Do casebooks used in 1L courses vary based on professors? (I'm assuming we don't get those assignments till mid-August?) And I've heard from multiple people thumbing through those early is not a good idea, but if anyone believes differently I'd love to hear what you guys think about that.

Also I'd love to know if there are any particular supplemental works for 1L that are the best options, or whether that depends on your professors and everything.

Sorry for rambling and incoherence, just a little antsy about starting at Harvard Law! It's definitely overwhelming!

Thanks in advance everyone!

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HorseThief
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby HorseThief » Sat May 23, 2015 9:00 pm

RedColossus wrote:Congrats to all you guys on finishing the academic year! Now that grades are all out (I believe) I figured I'd ask a question I've been wanting to put out there.

I just wanted to know if there were any recommendations to a 0L now 3 months away from beginning 1L. Are there any books that are particularly useful that I should check out (I read Turow's 1L for fun, and am currently reading "1L Of a Ride" to help cope with my uncertainty as September quickly approaches haha.)

Also when should I start thinking about buying casebooks and everything to hopefully get them at the best possible price. Do casebooks used in 1L courses vary based on professors? (I'm assuming we don't get those assignments till mid-August?) And I've heard from multiple people thumbing through those early is not a good idea, but if anyone believes differently I'd love to hear what you guys think about that.

Also I'd love to know if there are any particular supplemental works for 1L that are the best options, or whether that depends on your professors and everything.

Sorry for rambling and incoherence, just a little antsy about starting at Harvard Law! It's definitely overwhelming!

Thanks in advance everyone!


Books- Let me think about that more.

Casebooks- They do vary between professors, and you won't get your section assignment/prof list until much later. I don't think it's worth worrying about getting them until August. I also don't see how thumbing through them would be helpful.

Supplements- I'm sure there's been some discussion of this somewhere in the thread. Unfortunately, I can't contribute because I haven't used many. Even so, I don't think looking at the supplements will be helpful either, unless you want to do some background reading on CivPro as some posters have suggested.

robotrick
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Sat May 23, 2015 9:16 pm

I know there was discussion about books/reading as a 0L on page 241 (and also other pages further back as it comes up each year). You might find some answers there.

Also useful to search this thread through google by using a search like site:top-law-schools.com "t=141188" 0L prep. It isn't perfect, but it's better than the search on TLS.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sat May 23, 2015 11:29 pm

RedColossus wrote:Also when should I start thinking about buying casebooks and everything to hopefully get them at the best possible price. Do casebooks used in 1L courses vary based on professors? (I'm assuming we don't get those assignments till mid-August?) And I've heard from multiple people thumbing through those early is not a good idea, but if anyone believes differently I'd love to hear what you guys think about that.

HLS Dope will do a casebook exchange again in August with price comparisons to beat the on-campus bookstore.

You definitely don't need casebooks before that.

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lawschool22
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lawschool22 » Sun May 24, 2015 9:01 am

Supplements I found most useful for each of the core classes:

- Torts E&E
- Civ Pro E&E
- Gilbert's Property
- Werhan's Principles of Admin Law (LegReg)
- Chirelstein on Contracts, and maybe the Gilbert's

Definitely do not read any of them (or really anything else) before you start.

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RedColossus
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby RedColossus » Sun May 24, 2015 2:14 pm

Great, awesome guys. I really appreciate all of the advice.




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