amc987 wrote:I get your drift, but I'm not sure that scenario would make a real difference for URMs. Even if URMs were only competing against URMs for 10% of the spots, wouldn't Harvard just hold a proportionally smaller number of URM applicants and sift through those applications to fill URM-designated seats?
The proportion of URMs with LSAT and GPAs between Harvard's 25th-75th is much smaller relative to the total applicant pool's proportion. It means that URMs at any given LSAT/GPA have a much better chance of acceptance compared to non-URMs with the same LSAT/GPA. So rotaxkarter's assertion that URMs are an exception to Nelson's claim that most of the people who get in will come from the top quartiles in terms of GPA/LSAT is probably valid.
This is an interesting paper on the subject and probably more information than anyone cares to read: --LinkRemoved-- The figure on page 65 does a good job of illustrating the scarcity.
I understand this. Rotaxkarter is probably right that the URMs who are accepted off the hold list will have lower numbers than the non-URMs who are on the same list and that the URMs who are within one of Harvard's 25th/75th ranges will stand a much better chance than those who are not. However, that point doesn't really answer my question about percentages of URMs put on the hold list relative to percentages of other groups who are also being held. For the sake of argument, if we assume that the URMs are really competing against each other for URM-designated spots in the class, how does the proportion of URMs held relative to the number of available spots compare with the proportion of non-URMs held relative to the number of available spots? Basically, I'm trying to determine whether we have a better chance, worse chance, or an equal chance of getting off of this list and in at HLS. My whole question relates back to an assertion that has been made many times on these boards that Harvard likes to hold a lot of URMs with borderline numbers so that it can compare the strength of their applications against the strength of all the URM applicants in a given cycle. Therefore, it may be that being held means that you're probably just going to get WL'd/dinged because Harvard has deemed that it doesn't like you that much in comparison to other, more compelling applicants, or it could just be a reflection of Harvard's tendency to wait to accept most of its minority applicants until later in the cycle.
I'm sure it depends on the person involved. I don't think I have a very good shot at making it in, mostly because I am below both 25ths. Nonetheless, I do think that some of the URMs who were held with higher numbers than mine (chuckles, MickeyD, FryBreadPower, etc.) might just have been held because of when you applied and Harvard's wait-and-see policy re: URMs.