anstone1988 wrote:icpb wrote:It seems that the grading systems at both Yale and Stanford protect students from downside risks. Do you feel that Stanford's grading system (with book prizes, ~1/3 H each class with 2/3 P, protection from downside risks due to no LP) to be more fair/desirable than Yale's? Did you ever feel pressured to take classes with high H proportions because other students were gaming the system that way at Yale?
A Yale 2L that I often talk with said that students at Yale are very competitive for highly-sought-after positions: academia, CoA clerkship, top firms, etc. She said that she dislikes the grading system at Yale for two main reasons. First, she often feels compelled to take classes in which professors give out high proportions of H instead of classes that genuinely interest her because so many other students aiming for highly-sought-after positions game the system that way. Second, she said that although not gaming the system would put her at a disadvantage for highly-sought-after positions, gaming the system is stressful because high proportion of H (up to 50%) makes getting a P feels like a low pass. She also said due to the high proportions of H given out, employers don't treat a P from Yale the same as a P from Harvard and Stanford, which means that Yalies are competing more with each other than with students at Harvard and Stanford, and that sometimes made her feel that there are only two grades at Yale: ~50% high pass and ~50% low pass.
She sounds like the type of person who will get a good clerkship at the expense of having the best experiences possible at Yale. Life is all about tradeoffs.
I think Stanford's system is better for the few people who collect all the bookprizes, worse for everyone else. But I decided to go to Yale over Stanford in no small part because I didn't want to be hazed 1L year by the professors and worry about bookprizes. I think you have to be a bit crazy to prefer Stanford for this reason ex ante.
There is pressure to do well in classes. I think especially lately with judges being full years in advance, trend toward hiring clerks with experience, dried up funding for pub. interest and other government jobs, etc.
I would not take classes just for the grade, but I have been pressured to study even though I think that law school exam studying is wasted time--time that could be better spent writing publishable scholarship, doing work for clients in clinic, hanging out with friends, getting wasted, etc.