abl wrote:I guess I have no real basis for claiming that Yale is more numbers driven than Stanford other than from what I've seen, which is admittedly a pretty small sample. My sense is that both Stanford and Yale have informal numbers thresholds above which it becomes almost entirely about softs. My hypothesis is that the difference is that Yale's informal cut-off is higher relative to their applicant pool.
To make up some numbers to illustrate my point, imagine that Yale and Stanford each get 5,000 applicants, admit 500, and matriculate 200. My hypothesis here is that, based almost entirely on numbers, Yale narrows its pool to 1,000, and chooses its 450 favorite of those top 1,000 scorers based almost entirely on softs, with 50 truly exception applicants being pulled from the remaining 4,000 who didn't meet the soft numbers cut-off. Stanford, on the other hand, narrows its pool to 1,500 and chooses its 450 favorites within the slightly larger pool based almost entirely on softs (also with 50 truly exceptional candidates pulled from below the cut-off). This way of doing admissions would lead to a perceived "black box" effect as a fair number of 178/3.9s would be rejected in favor of a fair number of 174/3.8s.
Now, obviously this is an oversimplification, as the applicant pools for SLS and YLS are not exactly the same, nor are the schools' class sizes or yield rates. Also, I do think that numbers play a small role for those who make the cut-offs (so a boring applicant with a 180/4.0 out of Swarthmore is going to have a better chance of admission than a boring applicant with a 178/3.9 out of Swarthmore).
Also, my sense is that the sort of softs that impress the YLS adcom are not exactly the same as the sort of softs that impress the SLS adcom. I think SLS puts marginally more weight on getting students with interesting personalities and exotic backgrounds while YLS puts marginally more weight on getting students with a serious intellectual bent. Thus, I would argue that a jazz fiddler with a 3.8/175 and 8 years in covert ops would have a marginally better shot at SLS while someone with a 3.8/175 and a phd in classics with several noteworthy publications would have a marginally better shot at YLS (although probably both would get into both schools haha).
So your entire posts serves to make me feel bad about my LSAT and that I didn't go to swarthmore even though it's the closest college to my house!
Seriously it's a great analysis. I have very little understanding of what kind of softs/backgrounds Stanford looks for. Whatever it is, I hope they like what I have