16.9% Decrease In October Test Takers(Detailed Stats Inside)

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:28 am

I did some more realistic calculations earlier, but it's still all conjecture. I can post them a little later to stimulate conversation, but bed time for now.

JPudding
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby JPudding » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:41 am

A 1-point median drop at schools ranked 13-20 would go a long way for me. We can hope, right? :wink:
Last edited by JPudding on Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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minnbills
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby minnbills » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:44 am

JPudding wrote:A 1-point median drop at schools ranked 14-20 13 would go a long way for me. We can hope, right? :wink:

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby JPudding » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:46 am

Yeah I meant to include 13 first and foremost, nice catch :lol:

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Ti1Her0
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Ti1Her0 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:42 am

So after going through this thread I still can't tell whether this is a good or bad thing? It seems so far the consensus is that this will work in the favor of those with 170+ applying this cycle, particularly splitters while the opposite is true for reverse splitters. Is that correct? Either way, nearly 20% less test takers between June and October compared to last year is pretty surprising.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:38 am

Ti1Her0 wrote:So after going through this thread I still can't tell whether this is a good or bad thing? It seems so far the consensus is that this will work in the favor of those with 170+ applying this cycle, particularly splitters while the opposite is true for reverse splitters. Is that correct? Either way, nearly 20% less test takers between June and October compared to last year is pretty surprising.


No one knows.

Speculation is fun and all but for all we know the schools could react to less applicants by going to a Boalt-like model and going more holistic than ever.

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby JPudding » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:02 am

while no one knows for sure how law schools will react, unless they just choose to downsize by 20% I would imagine some medians will drop, either LSAT or GPA. With supply of prospective applicants dropping so sharply over this cycle and last, I would imagine each of us will be in more demand (i.e. our scores will go farther with at least some schools) than in the cycles before 2011. I just don't see how it's possible for every top school to maintain their median with an applicant pool 18% smaller than the previous cycle.

and while some argue that medians NEVER drop, we've never seen a decrease in test takers so large as in the last year, and less people took the October LSAT this year than in 2001..
Last edited by JPudding on Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:32 am

Tom Joad wrote:
Ti1Her0 wrote:So after going through this thread I still can't tell whether this is a good or bad thing? It seems so far the consensus is that this will work in the favor of those with 170+ applying this cycle, particularly splitters while the opposite is true for reverse splitters. Is that correct? Either way, nearly 20% less test takers between June and October compared to last year is pretty surprising.


No one knows.

Speculation is fun and all but for all we know the schools could react to less applicants by going to a Boalt-like model and going more holistic than ever.


Lol no. If anything schools will become less holistic as they try to maintain median. And BoalTTT isn't really that holistic.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:50 am

Hawkeye Pierce wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:
Ti1Her0 wrote:So after going through this thread I still can't tell whether this is a good or bad thing? It seems so far the consensus is that this will work in the favor of those with 170+ applying this cycle, particularly splitters while the opposite is true for reverse splitters. Is that correct? Either way, nearly 20% less test takers between June and October compared to last year is pretty surprising.


No one knows.

Speculation is fun and all but for all we know the schools could react to less applicants by going to a Boalt-like model and going more holistic than ever.


Lol no. If anything schools will become less holistic as they try to maintain median. And BoalTTT isn't really that holistic.


I would argue they are very holistic when you see tons of yellow and red dots on LSN charts in areas between medians, but that debate isn't really the point of this thread.

I just know know admissions officers know that medians are not the only factors that go into U.S. News rankings and if the current climate makes it more difficult to maintain medians they could change their strategy to make gains in other areas that affect the ranking system.

Although I do acknowledge that I think your guess on what schools will do is more likely, I was just trying to provide an alternative view that doesn't seem an impossibility.

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soj
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby soj » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:00 pm

Tom Joad, I agree with you, but I'm not sure what other ways of gaming the rankings there are when it comes to admissions decisions.

Even though most schools are already incredibly numbers-based, they're not all "median-efficient." For example, Columbia (whose medians are 172/3.72) rejects many 172/3.75s while accepting many 175+/3.65s, which is median-inefficient. Other than UVA and NU, almost all the T-13s have a lot of room to improve in this regard. This year, it may be more important (if that were possible) to be at or above at least one and preferably both of a school's target medians.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:09 pm

soj wrote:Tom Joad, I agree with you, but I'm not sure what other ways of gaming the rankings there are when it comes to admissions decisions.

Even though most schools are already incredibly numbers-based, they're not all "median-efficient." For example, Columbia (whose medians are 172/3.72) rejects many 172/3.75s while accepting many 175+/3.65s, which is median-inefficient. Other than UVA and NU, almost all the T-13s have a lot of room to improve in this regard. This year, it may be more important (if that were possible) to be at or above at least one and preferably both of a school's target medians.

Yeah, although there are other, more important factors in the ranking calculus, the only one that schools can affect through admissions (more than at the very margins*) is the LSAT/GPA makeup of its incoming class.

*For example, schools seem to have some minimum threshold of character and fitness, and for many of the schools that threshold is above that required for bar admission (this can affect the reputation ranking for a school if they start admitting and graduating students who act criminally/unethically).

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:09 pm

Fall 2010 had 2479 applicants with a 170+
Fall 2011 had 2296 applicants with a 170+

This equates to a 7.38% drop in applicants with 170+, which corresponds to a 9.9% drop in total applicants and 9.6% drop in total test takers.

So far this year, we've seen a 17.56% drop in test takers. Thus, it's not too outlandish to assume a higher decrease in applicants than last year. I will assume a 10% drop, though this may be on the conservative side.

So, this means there would be 71,010 total applicants this year... and assuming that same 10% drop in people scoring 170+, 2066 applicants with a 170+.

Now, let's look at the latest class sizes and medians for the T6.

Yale: 170-173-177; 205
Harvard: 171-173 -175; 559
Stanford: ?-170-?; ~180
Columbia: 170-172-175; 406
Chicago: 167-171-173; ~200
NYU: 170-171-174; 450

So, taking conservative estimates, if schools were to maintain these statistics and class sizes, the T6 would take up at least 1406 applicants with a 170+ (154, 420, 90, 304, 100, 338).

This leaves 660 remaining for the rest of the T14 schools. Currently, 5 schools below the T6 have medians at 170:

Mich: 170 (75th); 371..... 93 w/ 170+
Penn: 170 (50th); 266...... 133 w/ 170+
UVA: 170 (50th); 357...... 179 w/ 170+
Berkeley: 169 (75th); 254...... technically there could be 0 individuals who matriculate that have a 170+
Duke: 170 (50th); 211..... 106 w/ 170+
NU: 170 (50th); 264..... 132 w/ 170+
Cornell: 169 (75th); 205..... again, like Berkeley.
GULC: 170 (50th); 470..... 235 w/ 170+

So, very rough estimates would put the T14 at ~2300 individuals with a 170+. This more or less lines up with the data of applicants from last year. Of course, some people with a 170+ will choose to matriculate at non-T14 schools, but I'm guessing that number is rare. After all, there are several splitter friendly schools in the T14.

So, if we assumed same class sizes and medians, the number of 170+ candidates would exceed our estimated 2012 Fall applicants w/ a 170+ by close to 250.

So, what does this mean? It means that if schools want to maintain medians, then are going to have to decrease their class sizes.

YHS will be the real bubble. What happens here will have repercussions for all other schools. I have a feeling that the top 6 schools, especially, will try to maintain LSAT medians over GPA medians. After all, for Harvard to jump from 173 --> 172 would be huge. But if they lowered their GPA median to 3.85-3.86, that's not as important.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:19 pm

Awesome quick analysis, Pierce Hawkeye. And after re-reading it making sure I paid attention, those estimates were VERY conservative.

Until HYS make their moves lower schools may feel they are on really shaky ground and waitlist tons of people.

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:25 pm

One stipulation, this is data extracted from the previous chart (pg 2), which doesn't seem completely indicative of the entire cycle.

It at least, however, gives us a very general idea of how the decrease in applicants may influence the decisions at T14 schools.

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby barneytrouble » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:40 pm

Wow this could be a banner year for splitters.

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omninode
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby omninode » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:53 pm

barneytrouble wrote:Wow this could be a banner year for splitters.


Good thing I took a year off. Last year's cycle looked brutal.

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:53 pm

barneytrouble wrote:Wow this could be a banner year for splitters.

It's way to early to say that and there's no evidence yet that that will happen. All this predicting and hypo-number-crunching is fun, but don't for a second let it make you overconfident.

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:56 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:
barneytrouble wrote:Wow this could be a banner year for splitters.

It's way to early to say that and there's no evidence yet that that will happen. All this predicting and hypo-number-crunching is fun, but don't for a second let it make you overconfident.


+1, exactly.

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lrslayer
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby lrslayer » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:08 pm

Hawkeye Pierce wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
barneytrouble wrote:Wow this could be a banner year for splitters.

It's way to early to say that and there's no evidence yet that that will happen. All this predicting and hypo-number-crunching is fun, but don't for a second let it make you overconfident.


+1, exactly.

What?! So i'm not getting into Yale? Kind of wish I hadn't sent out that mass email to all my friends and family now.

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby ahnhub » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:13 pm

Hawkeye Pierce wrote:Fall 2010 had 2479 applicants with a 170+
Fall 2011 had 2296 applicants with a 170+


About these numbers:

It's actually super-depressing to consider that those numbers only account for apps turned in by December. 10% of the applicant pool has 170+! If you extrapolated to a total applicant pool that would mean in any year something like 6000+ people would have a 170+.

But it's tricky, because the early applicant pool absorbs all of the applicants who received a high score but did not choose to matriculate in earlier years (maybe they got a 170 in December or February of the previous year, and chose to wait a year instead of taking a chance on a late application). So that pool is likely to be very heavy on high scorers. My ballpark guess is that when you have 2296 170+ turned in by December, you might have another 1000 or so 170+ apps turned in by Christmas, and then maybe another couple of hundred turned in close to application deadlines, when classes are mostly filled up. Many high-scorers in December and February will roll over to the next cycle.

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minnbills
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby minnbills » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:50 pm

ahnhub wrote:About these numbers:

It's actually super-depressing to consider that those numbers only account for apps turned in by December. 10% of the applicant pool has 170+!


Maybe I'm missing something but this doesn't seem right. 170+ is typically 98th percentile. Once you throw in retakers (who probably make up a disproportinate # of those taking in Dec/Feb) it becomes hard to imagine the total pool of 170+ers making up 10% of the field.

Plus, keep in mind that there will be 170s who forego the T14 for whatever reason, on top of those who choose not to apply or matriculate for whatever reason.

Looking at these numbers now I'm not as optimistic as I was last night. If the difference is only a couple hundred, each school could just decrease class sizes by a fairly small amount and still maintain their medians.

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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby ahnhub » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Maybe I'm missing something but this doesn't seem right. 170+ is typically 98th percentile. Once you throw in retakers (who probably make up a disproportinate # of those taking in Dec/Feb) it becomes hard to imagine the total pool of 170+ers making up 10% of the field.


10% of applicants, not test-takers. Remember, a whole bunch of people take the test, get a low score, and choose not to apply to law school. 10% is high, because the pool in December is likely to skew heavily to high-scorers, for reasons mentioned above. But within the applicant population the percentage of 170+ is almost certainly going to be much bigger than 2 or 3%--the higher your score, the more likely you actually apply to law school.

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minnbills
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby minnbills » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:19 pm

ahnhub wrote:10% of applicants, not test-takers. Remember, a whole bunch of people take the test, get a low score, and choose not to apply to law school. 10% is high, because the pool in December is likely to skew heavily to high-scorers, for reasons mentioned above. But within the applicant population the percentage of 170+ is almost certainly going to be much bigger than 2 or 3%--the higher your score, the more likely you actually apply to law school.


I don't think it's a safe assumption that so many low scorers drop out, even some TTTs reject ~50% of their applicants.

But all that is beside the point, it's the #s applying to the top tier schools that we're concerned with here.

I don't agree that Dec/Feb contributes as much to the applicant pool as you say it does. It's probably true that some would wait a cycle, but people do regularly apply late. If anything, late applicants would just have fewer options but end up matriculating anyways. Though I still think high scorers in Dec/Feb would have a huge retaker contingent.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby ThreeRivers » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:28 pm

This almost has to have some positive impact .... to what extent and how is unknown (and the truth is that will probably vary depending on how th school decides to react and your personal situation).

My guess:
Schools will at first limit the importance of URM's / softs
Some schools may stop ^ , if they need to do more to reach class size they will then drop median GPA
Most schools will stop ^, if they still need to do more to reach class size they will then drop median LSAT

Curious1
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Re: 16.9% Drop in October Test Takers

Postby Curious1 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:42 pm

If the first wave of KB1's at Harvard are any indication, it would seem that they're trying to shore up their high end GPAs first. From the very limited data on TLS, they haven't given any love to splitters yet, but perhaps that's the next step in their strategy.




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