Grade Curve Explanation?

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bkegslounge
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Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby bkegslounge » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:32 pm

I received a few scholarships with stipulations and I was told to look up each school's grading curve to estimate the likelihood of retaining a scholarship from year to year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_la ... GPA_curves

Can someone please explain how the curves work? and how to compare curves? i.e. if a school's curve is set to 2.8 does that mean it's harder to be in the top half of the class than a school with say a 3.3 curve?

Thanks

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Danger Zone
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:55 pm

You have a 50% chance of being in the top half, no matter where you go. The GPAs listed on that page are the median GPAs of the first year classes. The median is essentially the top point of the bell curve in law school grading, meaning most students will be clustered on or around that GPA.

arklaw13
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:55 pm

The curve basically just means that you're competing with your classmates for a set number of A's,A-'s, B+'s, etc. At least with first-year grades, the professor doesn't get much discretion as to what grades he gives, only to whom he gives them to. For example, I think my school's grade distribution is something like 10% A's, 15% A-'s, 30% B+'s. 25% B's, 20% B- and lower. This is the opposite of most undergraduate schools, where the professor could give everyone an A if he thought they deserved it. The purpose is to rank you.

It isn't any harder to be top half whether the "curve" (aka the median) is a 2.8 or a 3.3. A lot of lower-tier schools will set the median low, like a 2.5, so that the people in the top 10% will have a higher gpa and look more attractive on paper. For scholarship purposes, if you have to be top half, the chances of you succeeding will be 50%. If the school doesn't tell you a percentile, but instead gives you a gpa, that becomes harder, since you probably don't know what that gpa translates to in terms of percentile rank. A 3.0 at once school could be the median, the 60th percentile, or it could be top third,etc. That's something you need to find out.

In any case, don't go to a school with scholarship stipulations if you can help it.

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bkegslounge
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby bkegslounge » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:45 pm

arklaw13 wrote:The curve basically just means that you're competing with your classmates for a set number of A's,A-'s, B+'s, etc. At least with first-year grades, the professor doesn't get much discretion as to what grades he gives, only to whom he gives them to. For example, I think my school's grade distribution is something like 10% A's, 15% A-'s, 30% B+'s. 25% B's, 20% B- and lower. This is the opposite of most undergraduate schools, where the professor could give everyone an A if he thought they deserved it. The purpose is to rank you.

It isn't any harder to be top half whether the "curve" (aka the median) is a 2.8 or a 3.3. A lot of lower-tier schools will set the median low, like a 2.5, so that the people in the top 10% will have a higher gpa and look more attractive on paper. For scholarship purposes, if you have to be top half, the chances of you succeeding will be 50%. If the school doesn't tell you a percentile, but instead gives you a gpa, that becomes harder, since you probably don't know what that gpa translates to in terms of percentile rank. A 3.0 at once school could be the median, the 60th percentile, or it could be top third,etc. That's something you need to find out.

In any case, don't go to a school with scholarship stipulations if you can help it.



So if I'm translating this correctly... Chapman offered me a full-ride with a 2.9 stipulation (they just lowered it from 3.0) which I thought meant I'd just have to be in the top half. However, their grade curve is set at 2.8 which means I'd actually have to be slightly better than the top half to keep my scholarship. I'm terrible with stats... Is there a way to calculate exactly what percentile I'd have to be in to keep this scholarship?

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Dr. Review
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby Dr. Review » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:51 pm

bkegslounge wrote:So if I'm translating this correctly... Chapman offered me a full-ride with a 2.9 stipulation (they just lowered it from 3.0) which I thought meant I'd just have to be in the top half. However, their grade curve is set at 2.8 which means I'd actually have to be slightly better than the top half to keep my scholarship. I'm terrible with stats... Is there a way to calculate exactly what percentile I'd have to be in to keep this scholarship?

Generally, if it is a stip more stringent than "good academic standing", it is less than desireable. If it is more stringent than "top half", it starts to look like a school is baiting people in with $$ without providing them the opportunity to keep it. The exact percentile is less important than the fact that it requires better than top half, especially at a school like Chapman.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=chapman

If we review this, you have a 1/3 chance at being a lawyer after you graduate from Chapman. Paired with a <50% chance to keep your scholarship, you'll want to very closely review your thoughts on attending this, or any school with your current credentials.

arklaw13
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:52 pm

bkegslounge wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:The curve basically just means that you're competing with your classmates for a set number of A's,A-'s, B+'s, etc. At least with first-year grades, the professor doesn't get much discretion as to what grades he gives, only to whom he gives them to. For example, I think my school's grade distribution is something like 10% A's, 15% A-'s, 30% B+'s. 25% B's, 20% B- and lower. This is the opposite of most undergraduate schools, where the professor could give everyone an A if he thought they deserved it. The purpose is to rank you.

It isn't any harder to be top half whether the "curve" (aka the median) is a 2.8 or a 3.3. A lot of lower-tier schools will set the median low, like a 2.5, so that the people in the top 10% will have a higher gpa and look more attractive on paper. For scholarship purposes, if you have to be top half, the chances of you succeeding will be 50%. If the school doesn't tell you a percentile, but instead gives you a gpa, that becomes harder, since you probably don't know what that gpa translates to in terms of percentile rank. A 3.0 at once school could be the median, the 60th percentile, or it could be top third,etc. That's something you need to find out.

In any case, don't go to a school with scholarship stipulations if you can help it.



So if I'm translating this correctly... Chapman offered me a full-ride with a 2.9 stipulation (they just lowered it from 3.0) which I thought meant I'd just have to be in the top half. However, their grade curve is set at 2.8 which means I'd actually have to be slightly better than the top half to keep my scholarship. I'm terrible with stats... Is there a way to calculate exactly what percentile I'd have to be in to keep this scholarship?


You can calculate it, but you'll need at least one more gpa that corresponds to a known percentile. A 2.9 could actually be as high as top third, depending on how it's skewed.

I'd ask admissions for more ranking information. They should be able to tell you what percentile rank 2.9 corresponds to. From the internet, no more than 15% get a 3.7-4.0 grade in a class, and at least 10% get a 1.9 or worse. If I had to guess, I'd say 2.9 is probably close to top third.

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bkegslounge
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby bkegslounge » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:04 pm

Bedsole wrote:
bkegslounge wrote:So if I'm translating this correctly... Chapman offered me a full-ride with a 2.9 stipulation (they just lowered it from 3.0) which I thought meant I'd just have to be in the top half. However, their grade curve is set at 2.8 which means I'd actually have to be slightly better than the top half to keep my scholarship. I'm terrible with stats... Is there a way to calculate exactly what percentile I'd have to be in to keep this scholarship?

Generally, if it is a stip more stringent than "good academic standing", it is less than desireable. If it is more stringent than "top half", it starts to look like a school is baiting people in with $$ without providing them the opportunity to keep it. The exact percentile is less important than the fact that it requires better than top half, especially at a school like Chapman.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=chapman

If we review this, you have a 1/3 chance at being a lawyer after you graduate from Chapman. Paired with a <50% chance to keep your scholarship, you'll want to very closely review your thoughts on attending this, or any school with your current credentials.



Thanks! I live 20 mins from Chapman so when I got the full-ride it seemed ideal for someone trying to pay my own way. However, the more I've been looking into these stips, the more I've realized it's just a ploy... I have a few other offers on the table and am still waiting on 10 more schools. Basically, what I've gathered is don't take this Chapman offer unless I can get the stip removed and even then I shouldn't take it if I have an offer from a T1 school with a decent LST employment score.

arklaw13
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:06 pm

bkegslounge wrote:
Bedsole wrote:
bkegslounge wrote:So if I'm translating this correctly... Chapman offered me a full-ride with a 2.9 stipulation (they just lowered it from 3.0) which I thought meant I'd just have to be in the top half. However, their grade curve is set at 2.8 which means I'd actually have to be slightly better than the top half to keep my scholarship. I'm terrible with stats... Is there a way to calculate exactly what percentile I'd have to be in to keep this scholarship?

Generally, if it is a stip more stringent than "good academic standing", it is less than desireable. If it is more stringent than "top half", it starts to look like a school is baiting people in with $$ without providing them the opportunity to keep it. The exact percentile is less important than the fact that it requires better than top half, especially at a school like Chapman.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=chapman

If we review this, you have a 1/3 chance at being a lawyer after you graduate from Chapman. Paired with a <50% chance to keep your scholarship, you'll want to very closely review your thoughts on attending this, or any school with your current credentials.



Thanks! I live 20 mins from Chapman so when I got the full-ride it seemed ideal for someone trying to pay my own way. However, the more I've been looking into these stips, the more I've realized it's just a ploy... I have a few other offers on the table and am still waiting on 10 more schools. Basically, what I've gathered is don't take this Chapman offer unless I can get the stip removed and even then I shouldn't take it if I have an offer from a T1 school with a decent LST employment score.


Yeah good standing is the gold-standard for scholarship stips. Top half is better than top third, of course, but still a 50% chance of losing it.

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Dr. Review
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby Dr. Review » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:12 pm

bkegslounge wrote:Thanks! I live 20 mins from Chapman so when I got the full-ride it seemed ideal for someone trying to pay my own way. However, the more I've been looking into these stips, the more I've realized it's just a ploy... I have a few other offers on the table and am still waiting on 10 more schools. Basically, what I've gathered is don't take this Chapman offer unless I can get the stip removed and even then I shouldn't take it if I have an offer from a T1 school with a decent LST employment score.

I may even go so far as to recommend that you shouldn't take it with or without an offer from a school with an acceptable employment track record. While people often think of "safety schools", the current state of the legal market is such that it doesn't make sense to attend the majority of law schools under almost any circumstances. Rather than using it as a backup if you don't get in elsewhere, this acceptance is probably best used for scholarship negotiations going forward.

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guano
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby guano » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:26 pm

Keep in mind that some schools section stack, i.e. put all the kids with scholarships together to guarantee that quite a few will lose their scholarship

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bkegslounge
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby bkegslounge » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:46 pm

guano wrote:Keep in mind that some schools section stack, i.e. put all the kids with scholarships together to guarantee that quite a few will lose their scholarship


I heard that too just yesterday actually. I had no idea...

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guano
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby guano » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:26 pm

bkegslounge wrote:
guano wrote:Keep in mind that some schools section stack, i.e. put all the kids with scholarships together to guarantee that quite a few will lose their scholarship


I heard that too just yesterday actually. I had no idea...

Not all schools do this, but some...

Just to explain the bitch of a curve, let's say the top exams are (out of 100)
98
98
97
95
94
94
84
84
84
83
83
82
82
81
76
76
74
73
... (And more)

Now let's say the curve says no more than 5 As, no more than 15 A- or better
Of the 2 people with a 94, only one can get an A, the other is getting screwed.
If the curve is really strict, of the two people with a 76, one will get lucky and end up with an A-, the other gets a B+

Of course this is exaggerated, but it does happen... A lot

arklaw13
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Re: Grade Curve Explanation?

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:29 pm

guano wrote:
bkegslounge wrote:
guano wrote:Keep in mind that some schools section stack, i.e. put all the kids with scholarships together to guarantee that quite a few will lose their scholarship


I heard that too just yesterday actually. I had no idea...

Not all schools do this, but some...

Just to explain the bitch of a curve, let's say the top exams are (out of 100)
98
98
97
95
94
94
84
84
84
83
83
82
82
81
76
76
74
73
... (And more)

Now let's say the curve says no more than 5 As, no more than 15 A- or better
Of the 2 people with a 94, only one can get an A, the other is getting screwed.
If the curve is really strict, of the two people with a 76, one will get lucky and end up with an A-, the other gets a B+

Of course this is exaggerated, but it does happen... A lot


This is especially true if your class size is smaller like my school's LRW. A small difference in raw score can be 2 grade steps.




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