Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

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mayjuniper
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Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby mayjuniper » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:40 am

Hey guys! First post here.

From browsing through some of the threads and replies, I get the sense that the cycle is heavily based on GPA and LSAT. Going through LSN confirmed this as well, since most of the applications seem to yield expected results based on the numbers. In your opinions, what weight do softs and rec. letters have for HYS, specifically H?

At a Boalt infosession, I asked this and they mentioned that GPA = 1/3, LSAT = 1/3, everything else = 1/3. Does anyone know of other schools that do this?

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Knock
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Knock » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:42 am

mayjuniper wrote:Hey guys! First post here.

From browsing through some of the threads and replies, I get the sense that the cycle is heavily based on GPA and LSAT. Going through LSN confirmed this as well, since most of the applications seem to yield expected results based on the numbers. In your opinions, what weight do softs and rec. letters have for HYS, specifically H?

At a Boalt infosession, I asked this and they mentioned that GPA = 1/3, LSAT = 1/3, everything else = 1/3. Does anyone know of other schools that do this?


It's more like LSAT = 60%, GPA = 35%, everything else = 5%.

Everyone basically throws out numbers in broadly similar ratios to that, with LSAT being the most important by quite a bit, then GPA, then everything else.

There are noticeable exceptions, such as Boalt which favor GPA.

Kind of the general consensus is that your softs won't get you in anywhere you aren't numerically competitive anyways.

For HYS, softs are a bit more important, in the sense that numbers are just a perquisite it seems. Yale and Stanford consider softs pretty important, but you need the numbers first. Harvard softs are a little bit less important. They have a bigger class and so have to let in a decent amount of numerically superior candidates.

Also, it seems that HYS have a sort of "soft-floor" of 3.8 gpa+; basically that means it's difficult to get in if you have a gpa below this, although it isn't a hard and fast rule.


From the FAQ thread here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35133
What law schools favor LSAT over GPA and Vice-Versa

Many students are "splitters" in that they have a strong LSAT score but a weak GPA or vice-versa. For these students they will increase their success when applying but directing their applications to those law schools which favor the stronger part of their application (i.e., those with strong LSAT scores applying to law schools that favor LSAT over GPA). The following post discusses what schools favor the LSAT over GPA and the converse as well.

For every law school the two most important components of your application are your undergraduate GPA and your LSAT score. However, the relative importance of these two variables varies in that some law schools focus more heavily upon your LSAT instead of your GPA and vice versa. The key to determining whether a law school prioritizes GPA or LSAT can be determined by viewing a law school statistics in relation to other law schools.

This information can be useful in helping you where to apply for it you have a 175 LSAT score but a 3.2 GPA; you will find more success by applying to law schools that favor LSAT over GPA such as Northwestern. Conversely, some law schools such as U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall look more closely at GPA and an applicant with a 4.0 but a 164 LSAT score would be wise to apply to Boalt.

Determining which schools favor LSAT over GPA and vice versa can be determined by examining the statistics of a law school’s entering class relative to its standing amongst other law schools. For example, Northwestern focuses more heavily upon LSAT then GPA in evaluating candidates. This deduction is formed by finding that LSAT score for its 25th percentile of applicants is 166, or tied for the 7th highest amongst law schools. The LSAT score of its 75th percentile is a 172, or the 4th highest amongst law schools. Yet the GPA statistics are much lower in relation to other law schools, with a GPA of 3.40 (30th highest) at the 25th percentile and a GPA of 3.80 (26th highest) at the 75th percentile. Thus, Northwestern would very likely take a candidate with a high LSAT and be forgiving of a lower GPA. Note that the GPA statistics of Northwestern, 3.40 to 3.80, are less rigorous than the University of Iowa (3.46 and 3.80 respectively) and a complete match with Brigham Young University.

Other top law schools that focus more heavily upon LSAT vs. GPA include:

Chicago (LSAT 25th: 169 – tied for 2nd; LSAT 75th 173 – tied for 4th; GPA 25th 3.49 – tied for 16th; GPA 75th – 3.77 tied for 51st)

Columbia (LSAT 25th: 169 – tied for 2nd; LSAT 75th 174 – 3rd; GPA 25th 3.56 – tied for 6th; GPA 75th – 3.81 tied for 21st)

Michigan (LSAT 25th: 167 – tied for 6th; LSAT 75th 170 – tied for 11th; GPA 25th 3.49 – 16th; GPA 75th – 3.79 tied for 37th)

Conversely, other law schools will favor GPA over LSAT.

The prime example is Berkeley/Boalt. (GPA 25th 3.64 – 4th; GPA 75th – 3.90 4th; LSAT 25th: 163 – tied for 18th; LSAT 75th 170 – tied for 11th);

Without boring you with statistics, the following law schools also favor GPA over the LSAT:

Stanford
Duke
UCLA
Vanderbilt
Boston University
U. of Iowa
U. of North Carolina
U. of Washington
U. of Florida
U. of Georgia
Brigham Young University

Thus, if you have a strong LSAT score and not as compelling a GPA then you should apply to the first set of law schools. If instead your GPA is the best aspect of your application, you will fare better by applying to the second list of schools which favor GPA over LSAT score.

Utilizing TLS Stats can also help by viewing where applicants with stats similar to yours were accepted or rejected. View stats.php
Last edited by Knock on Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:48 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Adjudicator
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Adjudicator » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:44 am

The general opinion around here is that the process is highly numbers driven. However, I suspect that schools such as HYS most likely get so many applications from people with almost perfect numbers that softs become more important as a sort of tie-breaker. Y and S are especially known for giving weight to softs.

But, softs are never a substitute for the right numbers.

mayjuniper
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby mayjuniper » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:13 am

Thanks for the information! About the ~3.8 soft-floor.... how much of a contender do you think a 3.75 would be?

For softs, I am pretty confident in them. They are strong, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's the rec. letters I am worried about. My thesis adviser could write one, and I'm thinking of a few professors I took 2+ classes with who I know on a friendly basis. I think the letters would be good, but not extraordinary. I'm a little hesitant lately, because some students I know have developed really strong relationships with their advisers/professors, both in terms of school and as friends. If I ask these professors for a letter, I feel that they would be more prone to write those other students fabulous letters, and if these students and I apply to HYS at the same time, then... :?

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Knock
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Knock » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:20 am

mayjuniper wrote:Thanks for the information! About the ~3.8 soft-floor.... how much of a contender do you think a 3.75 would be?

For softs, I am pretty confident in them. They are strong, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's the rec. letters I am worried about. My thesis adviser could write one, and I'm thinking of a few professors I took 2+ classes with who I know on a friendly basis. I think the letters would be good, but not extraordinary. I'm a little hesitant lately, because some students I know have developed really strong relationships with their advisers/professors, both in terms of school and as friends. If I ask these professors for a letter, I feel that they would be more prone to write those other students fabulous letters, and if these students and I apply to HYS at the same time, then... :?


It depends on your LSAT. I know a quite a few people with 3.7x and 175+. You should come ask in this thread, I haven't really researched those numbers, since i'm slightly about 3.8, but I'm sure these people have and could be more informative than me.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=127189

But I wouldn't worry too much about LORs, they are less important than both your personal statement and softs. Are you still in UG or have you already graduated?

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Patriot1208
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:04 am

mayjuniper wrote:Thanks for the information! About the ~3.8 soft-floor.... how much of a contender do you think a 3.75 would be?

For softs, I am pretty confident in them. They are strong, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's the rec. letters I am worried about. My thesis adviser could write one, and I'm thinking of a few professors I took 2+ classes with who I know on a friendly basis. I think the letters would be good, but not extraordinary. I'm a little hesitant lately, because some students I know have developed really strong relationships with their advisers/professors, both in terms of school and as friends. If I ask these professors for a letter, I feel that they would be more prone to write those other students fabulous letters, and if these students and I apply to HYS at the same time, then... :?

At 3.75 you will need a 176+ on the LSAT and even then HYS is a toss up. Look at LSN, people between 3.7 and 3.8 with a 175+ LSAT were only about 50% acceptance ratio into harvard.

2011Law
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby 2011Law » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:17 am

I'm not so sure what weight softs and LORs have anywhere, but I can tell you that west coast schools generally give more weight to gpa than do the rest, and this definitely shows up on LSN, and is the case at stanford as well.

mayjuniper
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby mayjuniper » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:01 pm

I've already graduated and I'm taking a year or two off to work and potentially travel during the summer before i start school again (if i can save enough!). Thanks for the FAQ link -- i'll probably use only my thesis advisor and try and get one from work.

For LSAT, I got a 179. But on LSN, it seems that even 3.75+ (and below 3.8 ) and high 170s rarely get accepted. It is a toss-up so I guess I was thinking that softs, ps, and rec. letter can give a (very, very) slight bump up.

I went to school in the west coast, and...now, i want to be back where they have four seasons!!! :wink: So I'm probably not applying to S or Boalt. Ideally, I would like to go into academia and my softs/ps/coursework reflect this preparation, so I'm hoping this makes my application more cohesive.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:24 am

Great softs don't help you much while not-so-good softs can hurt. Not fair but that seems to be how it is....

dissonance1848
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby dissonance1848 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:47 am

If this guy has a 3.75 and a 179, he is definitely competitive at HYS. The equivalent would be a 4.0 and a 174 thereabouts on Law School Predictor. If this is the case, then Harvard being numbers oriented is a good bet, and so is Stanford, where your LSAT is so high it can counter your being just below the 25 percentile GPA. Yale as always is truely a black box. If you look at their site and the people they take, they will throw out a 4.0 175 for a 3.5 160 who won a nobel prize or is an olympic athlete.

revolution724
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby revolution724 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:57 am

Rule of thumb with softs: You know how sometimes professors will say that they count participation in that if you're at kind of a high A- but you participated a lot and said insightful things, the professor will bump you up to an A, but if you sat and quietly took notes all the time and never said anything, you'll get the A-? That's how softs work.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:54 am

dissonance1848 wrote:If this guy has a 3.75 and a 179, he is definitely competitive at HYS. The equivalent would be a 4.0 and a 174 thereabouts on Law School Predictor. If this is the case, then Harvard being numbers oriented is a good bet, and so is Stanford


These are both wrong. At least, "a good bet" is way too strong. Look at LSN. Under 3.8 even with 180's are getting waitlisted, even rejected quite often (around 50% maybe more) from these schools.

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/mn86
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/heretoday
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/skadefryden
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/Nomidzoh
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/CoaltoNewCastle
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/grrrstick

mayjuniper
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Re: Softs and Rec Letters ~ What weight do these have?

Postby mayjuniper » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:48 pm

I'm a "she". =]

And thanks for all the insight so far on the softs. Also, I wasn't sure if this would make much of a difference, but my LSDAS gpa is slightly higher..

I took some non-major classes (chem, bio, physics) and they graded strictly on your accumulated points, which meant that if you had a certain amount of points, they gave you an "A+." Ironically, they don't give out "A+"s in the humanities/social sciences :evil: (at least in my major), but it's acceptable in the science classes.




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