crackberry wrote:I'm going to get ridiculed for this, but whatever, here goes.
Here's a novel idea that Michigan's machinations have given the most credence to thus far (though Harvard has done the same to a lesser extent): this is less of a numbers game than people on TLS are even remotely willing to consider. Sure, you're not getting into good schools with a 150, 2.0, but your numbers can't make you an "auto-admit" unless they are seriously really high (177+, 3.9+).
We've seen Michigan admit people of the same ethnic and (presumably) socioeconomic background who applied at all different dates with scores that range from 167-179 and 3.5-4.0. (Harvard has also interviewed plenty of kids with LSATs at or below their 25th LSAT and neglected to interview a bunch who are at or above median.) So sure, schools probably have unofficial "cut-offs," but if you're above the cut-off, other stuff (resume, life experience, LORs, PS, Why X) really do matter. I understand that schools care about their rankings — and I'm not saying that numbers are unimportant or even that they aren't the most important factor — but I think everyone on this site devalues other "soft" factors too much. (And given that TLS puts virtually no weight on softs, this isn't saying much.)
Put it this way: If I were an adcomm, I'd be way, way more interested in someone with a 3.8, 170 who has actually done things with his life, taken a few years off from UG to get some actual experience and perspective, has great recommendations, proves himself to be a great writer and shows some leadership skills than I would in a 4.0, 175 coming straight from UG who clearly spends all his time in the library and never got to know his professors or get involved with anything but his own schoolwork. The first example is an interesting person. The second is a lifeless machine.
I could clearly be wrong, but people seem to be so flabbergasted that others with slightly lower numbers are getting in ahead of them. This would seem to be a viable explanation.
This could be true, but I have a few problems with it:
1) Your assumption is that in this higher tier that Michigan has to choose from, there are enough candidates that they can admit only those that have superior "other" factors.
2) You also assume that the number of "other" factors candidates is also high; I'm not sure we have any reason to believe this is true.
3) You assume that many of the people on TLS complaining about not getting in over lower scorers are the types who stay in the library and do nothing. From my experience in UG, it's actually true that the higher scorers are also the ones that do more on campus; the notion that high scorers are stuck up in the library is a misguided belief only applicable to a small number of high scoring students.
Now, could it be true that softs are more important than TLS thinks? Certainly, but not to the extent your post implies.