Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

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AspiringAcademic
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Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby AspiringAcademic » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:01 am

Hello everyone,
I have a somewhat unusual background, probably to the point that a standard chances OP would jettison anonymity. I do have a focused question, however. I have a good LSAT score (>175), a social science Phd (relevant to law; from a good school) and a fairly middling undergraduate GPA by the standards of the schools I’m applying to (3.65-3.70; also from a good school). Is anyone likely to care about the GPA given the doctorate?

I've been searching the forums for information re Phds and admissions, but finding less than I'd hoped.

Thoughts?

(Non-URM etc)
Last edited by AspiringAcademic on Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

bhan87
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby bhan87 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:07 am

No, they won't care about the PhD grades, but the PhD itself may be a slight boost. If your LSAT really is above a 175, that will be much much more important. 3.7 / 175 -> Good enough chance at HYS to warrant an app, should be pretty much in at CCN with a chance at good $$

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law4vus
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby law4vus » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:07 am

The doctorate will help act as a tiebreaker if it's you vs. someone else with your numbers, but your UGPA is king. That's what they'll be reporting to the US News rankings, and it won't be with a "with doctorate" asterisk.

It sucks, because I think someone with a 3.65 and a PhD is more likely to be a good law student than someone with a 3.9 straight out of undergrad. But yeah, your undergrad GPA is what they're going to look at.

On the bright side, you have a great shot at every school outside of the top 3, and HYS are worth the app because you have the doctorate in hand. I wouldn't expect to be admitted right away though.

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straxen
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby straxen » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:11 am

Yes, undergrad GPA is what factors into the rankings so it still matters, a lot. PhD is a decent soft factor. That said with a 175+/3.65-3.70 I wouldn't worry about things too much. You're as much of a lock as you can get below YHS and you should absolutely apply to YHS, Harvard seems like a target/reach, YS reaches, most everything else safety-ish.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:19 pm

I'm in a similar situation - I also have a law-related PhD (humanities subject, in my case). I've done quite a bit of research on the subject.

As everyone here has said, your undergraduate GPA will be important, but my (limited) evidence suggests a PhD can be a substantial boost.

An example: a friend of mine with a PhD got in to a top 6 school this year at which both his undergraduate GPA and LSAT score were around the school's 25th percentiles. Beyond his PhD (from a good school), he had nothing else significant in his favor.

I've only come across just over a dozen cases, but most of those people report a substantial boost. The ones that don't either have PhDs from bad schools, or in subjects with no relation to the law (music, for example).

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion about the PhD boost on this site. Some posters here seem to lump PhDs with MAs (which provide a minimal boost). The obvious reason why schools care about PhDs is because they want to produce academics, and a PhD is becoming almost a requirement for that in some areas of the law.

AspiringAcademic
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby AspiringAcademic » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:34 pm

Thank you all for the replies. Especially thanks to AntipodeanPhil for passing on the experiences of his friends.

The best past previous thread, as far as I could find, was this one:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=118780&hilit=doctorate

admisionquestion
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby admisionquestion » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:37 pm

I am inclined to say that people are being too pessimistic about the Ph.D boost.

Schools admit at least half of their applicants below median... a Ph.D has to be one of the best possible softs--and good grades do matter a bit im sure. I bet you get S or Y

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Lisi
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby Lisi » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:25 pm

Your grad school grades won't count, but the PhD will. Your undergrad GPA isn't so bad, all things considered. Your LSAT score is quite high. You should apply to all the top schools, in my opinion. Since you've been out of undergrad for a while, it's possible LSAC will bump your GPA because of the grade inflation of recent years. This was what happened with my GPA after I applied post-PhD - a few hundredths of a point make things look better.

bhan87
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby bhan87 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:27 pm

Lisi wrote:Your grad school grades won't count, but the PhD will. Your undergrad GPA isn't so bad, all things considered. Your LSAT score is quite high. You should apply to all the top schools, in my opinion. Since you've been out of undergrad for a while, it's possible LSAC will bump your GPA because of the grade inflation of recent years. This was what happened with my GPA after I applied post-PhD - a few hundredths of a point make things look better.


I really don't think this is the case. Your bump may be attributed to LSAC and your undergrad calculating your GPA differently (counting A+'s and +/- grades going to 2 decimals as opposed to one such as 3.33 vs. 3.3)

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Lisi
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby Lisi » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:33 pm

bhan87 wrote:
Lisi wrote:Your grad school grades won't count, but the PhD will. Your undergrad GPA isn't so bad, all things considered. Your LSAT score is quite high. You should apply to all the top schools, in my opinion. Since you've been out of undergrad for a while, it's possible LSAC will bump your GPA because of the grade inflation of recent years. This was what happened with my GPA after I applied post-PhD - a few hundredths of a point make things look better.


I really don't think this is the case. Your bump may be attributed to LSAC and your undergrad calculating your GPA differently (counting A+'s and +/- grades going to 2 decimals as opposed to one such as 3.33 vs. 3.3)


Okay, I guess I just figured they were adjusting it to some sort of curve. My school didn't issue A+ grades, and the GPA computing seemed straight forward to me (e.g. 3.7 = A-). But, ultimately, I guess I don't know what was behind readjusting my GPA.

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swfangirl
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Re: Weighting of undergrad GPA with Ph.D?

Postby swfangirl » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:49 pm

If you're interested in putting this PhD towards going into law academic and don't get YHS, go to Chicago.




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