Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

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huckabees
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby huckabees » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:42 pm

TarHeel09 wrote:so then.. according to all of this.. advice for people who are in high school, but know they are going to law school is:

save time and money, go to an in-state university that you have heard is quite easy, get a 4.0 (or something close), and you will have a better shot at a t-20 or t-30 than does someone who gets a lower GPA than you from Cornell (assuming you get a good lsat score).

not being sarcastic, just trying to get the idea here.. im just having a tough time believing it so i need to ask it several different ways.


By attending a "top" undergrad, you would expose yourself to great students and faculty that would probably help you improve as a thinker and a well-rounded individual, and you would also expand the strength of your personal network. Theoretically, top schools would help you do that to a greater degree than "non-top" schools.

Things that attending a top school might help you with (theoretically):

**Scoring higher on the LSAT (because you'd be accustomed to greater academic rigor)
**Having better recommendations (because profs at top schools might be more accustomed to writing good recs, might take the time to get to know their students better, and might take their students more seriously, though I know that is not always the case)
**Having more interesting extracurriculars (due to greater variety of clubs and funding at top schools)
**Being a better writer (which may help with your PS and resume)
**Having better internships/work experience (because many "prestigious" places hire mostly from top schools and because you'd have a greater network to tap into for obtaining a job)

In short, attending a top school may:
(1) help your intellectual development so that you have an easier time with the LSAT (dunno the extent to which it really helps here), and
(2) give you more opportunities to have better softs (aside from the school reputation, which is a soft in and of itself).

(1) and (2) would then improve your chances of getting into a better law school.

In practice, law school admission very much a numbers game, especially as you go down the rankings. So if you are "gunning" for the best law school you can get into, then I guess going to a school were you can get close to a 4.0 would be preferable to attending one where you might only get a 3.5. But that then assumes that (1) and (2) would not be significantly influenced by where you attend undergrad.
Last edited by huckabees on Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lahlu_Law
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Lahlu_Law » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:44 pm

I have been reading these boards (avidly) for a long time and I am well aware of the HYP etc. admissions bump. However, I was wondering if other Ivy's receive any kind of comparable admissions boost, albeit to a lesser degree. Specifically, would someone at say, UPenn, Dartmouth or Columbia be given any preference over a similar candidate from a respected state school (~50ish USNWR rank).

I know it essentially comes down to GPA/LSAT and softs, but I was wondering if this disparity in UG rankings would affect the outcome of admissions to a T14.

Thanks for the responses in advance!

huckabees
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby huckabees » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:50 pm

Cleareyes wrote:Statistically speaking...LET'S GET IT ON!!!

#1) There are more medium/low ranked schools than top ranked ones, so I don't necessarily agree with your math here. Sure Yale will have more 170s than ASU, but not ASU+SUNY Buffalo+UC Santa Barbara + University of Miami etc...etc...etc...

Secondly, the fact that someone has come close to maxing out their school's GPA doesn't mean anything unless we can safely assume the Yale candidate wouldn't max out HIS GPA at ASU. I don't know that we can. You can't penalize people for attending cheaper or lower ranked schools, but can you penalize people for attending tougher schools with tougher competition (that I believe the easier curve doesn't fully make up for?)

Personally I think that it really varies from school to school. I think the top schools can afford to take UG into account more than the lower ranked schools because they are not jockeying for ranking in the same way.


+1

sbalive
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby sbalive » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:53 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
Cleareyes wrote:
#1) There are more medium/low ranked schools than top ranked ones, so I don't necessarily agree with your math here. Sure Yale will have more 170s than ASU, but not ASU+SUNY Buffalo+UC Santa Barbara + University of Miami etc...etc...etc...


TBF though, schools like HYPS have a MUCH higher % of their students even applying to law school to begin with. ASU might be a huge school, but only 3% of grads apply to law school. At Harvard that's more like 25% to 30%.


Also, someone who decided to go to a cheap & perhaps more local UG option may have the same motivation steering them to a cheap & more local option for law school. If you've already packed up and moved across the country to go to an expensive UG, it's a lot easier to pack up and move again for an expensive LS. (Also says something about your personality in the first place, unless you deliberately picked a cheap UG option to set you up to take big loans later.)

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RVP11
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby RVP11 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:56 pm

sbalive wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
Cleareyes wrote:
#1) There are more medium/low ranked schools than top ranked ones, so I don't necessarily agree with your math here. Sure Yale will have more 170s than ASU, but not ASU+SUNY Buffalo+UC Santa Barbara + University of Miami etc...etc...etc...


TBF though, schools like HYPS have a MUCH higher % of their students even applying to law school to begin with. ASU might be a huge school, but only 3% of grads apply to law school. At Harvard that's more like 25% to 30%.


Also, someone who decided to go to a cheap & perhaps more local UG option may have the same motivation steering them to a cheap & more local option for law school. If you've already packed up and moved across the country to go to an expensive UG, it's a lot easier to pack up and move again for an expensive LS.


Yeah, I've seen this. Anecdote: I knew two people at ASU, both with 3.8+/167+. who chose to go to UA and Tttexas Tttech, respectively, for the $$$$. I can't imagine that many Ivy Leaguers are taking big-time numbers like those to a lower tier schools.

Tave
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Tave » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:00 pm

sbrown83 wrote:From what I can tell, it makes a difference if your undergrad is Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Chicago, or Swarthmore. Otherwise not really.


Ha! I wanted to go to Swarthmore comming out of high school. I got waitlisted. :(

revolution724
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby revolution724 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:03 pm

TarHeel09 wrote:doesn't that seem... ridiculous?.. like if I knew I was going to law school, I should have just gone to an easier school (again, no offense to easier schools) which probably would have boosted my gpa.

I cant see how that makes sense.


I'm with you on this.

And totally not just because I graduated from W&M with a 3.6. >.>

It doesn't make sense to me at all that looks worse to law school admissions people than a 4.0 from Podunk U. It doesn't imply that I'd make a poorer student; most likely a better one. Except that in the war of rankings, they're not obligated to list the source of the GPAs their entering students get, just the GPAs themselves. Thus, just the number matters, since the higher it is, the higher their ranking, and the better they look.

Stupid, but then, so are a lot of things in life.

sbalive
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby sbalive » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:07 pm

revolution724 wrote:
TarHeel09 wrote:doesn't that seem... ridiculous?.. like if I knew I was going to law school, I should have just gone to an easier school (again, no offense to easier schools) which probably would have boosted my gpa.

I cant see how that makes sense.


I'm with you on this.

And totally not just because I graduated from W&M with a 3.6. >.>

It doesn't make sense to me at all that looks worse to law school admissions people than a 4.0 from Podunk U. It doesn't imply that I'd make a poorer student; most likely a better one. Except that in the war of rankings, they're not obligated to list the source of the GPAs their entering students get, just the GPAs themselves. Thus, just the number matters, since the higher it is, the higher their ranking, and the better they look.

Stupid, but then, so are a lot of things in life.


If a student from Podunk U gets a 4.0 and a high LSAT, then yes, they will be advantaged. That's the whole point of the LSAT. It's hard to see how someone with a GPA of 3.6 will be disadvantaged if they do as well on the LSAT except for at the elite schools - and in that case, softs kick in, and that's where the person at the superior undergrad school should have an advantage. (Because of greater opportunities to do high impact extracurricular stuff, get positions post-undergrad, have well-known faculty write LoR that can say "X is better than the past 100 students I've recommended for T14 law school applications", etc.)
Last edited by sbalive on Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SouthernElle
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby SouthernElle » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:08 pm

I realize that this is anecdotal, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. Based on my experience this cycle- and that of a few classmates in the same situation- I think that T20 or so (not just HYP, even) gives a boost to borderline candidates. All of us had high GPAs, and our alma mater has pretty low grade inflation compared to the Ivies, so maybe it has something to do with that? Anyway, it seems to be the case that quite a few people at my undergrad have done better than their numbers would suggest.

Tave
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Tave » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:10 pm

I actually had a slightly higher GPA at the private, more prestigious school I attended freshman year than the large, public TTT I graduated from.

jh60405
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby jh60405 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:13 pm

I think that when they compare GPA's from different undergrads one of the main things they look at is rank in class and rank in major---- If at yale in the department of sociology a 3.5 puts you in the middle of your class, but at SW Missouri State a 3.5 in political science puts you in the 20 percent of your class, then I that 3.5 from Yale clearly isn't getting you a bump over the guy from SW Missouri State.

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Cleareyes
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Cleareyes » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:14 pm

jh60405 wrote:I think that when they compare GPA's from different undergrads one of the main things they look at is rank in class and rank in major---- .


Why do you believe this?

huckabees
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby huckabees » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:16 pm

jh60405 wrote:I think that when they compare GPA's from different undergrads one of the main things they look at is rank in class and rank in major---- If at yale in the department of sociology a 3.5 puts you in the middle of your class, but at SW Missouri State a 3.5 in political science puts you in the 20 percent of your class, then I that 3.5 from Yale clearly isn't getting you a bump over the guy from SW Missouri State.


I'm not sure if I agree.

I don't even think law schools have data on GPA distributions within school majors.

They will certainly take your percentile placement in your graduating class into account, as that is on your LSDAS report. A 3.5 at Yale will be slightly above median, which is still not awful. I don't know what a 3.5 is at SW Missouri State, but if it is, say top 25%, slightly above median at Yale would still be better than top 25% at SWMS from an admissions standpoint, I would think.

Lahlu_Law
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Lahlu_Law » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:20 pm

SouthernElle wrote:I realize that this is anecdotal, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. Based on my experience this cycle- and that of a few classmates in the same situation- I think that T20 or so (not just HYP, even) gives a boost to borderline candidates. All of us had high GPAs, and our alma mater has pretty low grade inflation compared to the Ivies, so maybe it has something to do with that? Anyway, it seems to be the case that quite a few people at my undergrad have done better than their numbers would suggest.


Out of curiosity, did you have any other major softs that may have helped put you over the top?

sbalive
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby sbalive » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:26 pm

jh60405 wrote:I think that when they compare GPA's from different undergrads one of the main things they look at is rank in class and rank in major---- If at yale in the department of sociology a 3.5 puts you in the middle of your class, but at SW Missouri State a 3.5 in political science puts you in the 20 percent of your class, then I that 3.5 from Yale clearly isn't getting you a bump over the guy from SW Missouri State.


This kind of doesn't make sense for any number of reasons.

From what I gathered from talking to admissions people & going to their panel discussions, they do look at grade inflation - by a combination of the GPA/LSAT correlations they get from the LSDAS reports, and through general knowledge that's out there & that they talk about. But it's more in the sense of "let's not punish the Swarthmore kids" and discounting the GPAs of generic Harvard grads who got subpar LSAT scores.

SouthernElle
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby SouthernElle » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:35 pm

Lahlu_Law wrote:
SouthernElle wrote:I realize that this is anecdotal, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. Based on my experience this cycle- and that of a few classmates in the same situation- I think that T20 or so (not just HYP, even) gives a boost to borderline candidates. All of us had high GPAs, and our alma mater has pretty low grade inflation compared to the Ivies, so maybe it has something to do with that? Anyway, it seems to be the case that quite a few people at my undergrad have done better than their numbers would suggest.


Out of curiosity, did you have any other major softs that may have helped put you over the top?


Well, I had lots of research and a few grants, some time-consuming leadership roles, and the usual campus involvement/volunteering, but nothing I expected would play a major role.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:35 pm

huckabees wrote:
jh60405 wrote:I think that when they compare GPA's from different undergrads one of the main things they look at is rank in class and rank in major---- If at yale in the department of sociology a 3.5 puts you in the middle of your class, but at SW Missouri State a 3.5 in political science puts you in the 20 percent of your class, then I that 3.5 from Yale clearly isn't getting you a bump over the guy from SW Missouri State.


I'm not sure if I agree.

I don't even think law schools have data on GPA distributions within school majors.

They will certainly take your percentile placement in your graduating class into account, as that is on your LSDAS report. A 3.5 at Yale will be slightly above median, which is still not awful. I don't know what a 3.5 is at SW Missouri State, but if it is, say top 25%, slightly above median at Yale would still be better than top 25% at SWMS from an admissions standpoint, I would think.


One factor to throw into the mix: Most elite undergrads (I know swarthmore is an exception) have pretty rampant grade inflation. To cite the example I'm familiar with, Yale's median GPA is actually somewhere around 3.55-3.6. Harvard is similar, though I'm not familiar with the exact stats.

The reason this is interesting is elite school candidates will get an "academic record boost" even if they don't get a GPA boost. That is, the kid who got 3.6 at Yale is smack in the middle of his class. The kid who got 3.6 at [insert less prestigious school here] probably is top 20% or 30%. If you assume they're treated equally because they both have 3.6s, a middling student at Yale is essentially comparable to a high-achieving student at the other school.

I'd argue this is the way it should be, but that's a whole other can of worms.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:48 pm

Yes.

Although as a state school TTT grad in 1.5 months, I'm inclined to say that getting into HYP as an undergrad, while quite difficult and something to be proud of, suggests a high level of effort as a high school student, not necessarily potential as a law student. However, I will say that the resources and support provided by these institutions likely acclimates their students to higher learning, research, and writing quite well, which probably means they will be a degree better prepared on entry to law school, on average.

But again, in my opinion, a high ranking UG does matter.

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tomhobbes
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby tomhobbes » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:41 am

You know, I recently heard something interesting from a professor of mine who graduated from HLS about ten years ago. She claimed that in some cases, top schools actually give boosts to students from bad schools, particularly ones in states that aren't well-represented in the top law schools. She said that there's this mysterious trend in Harvard classes where you always see two people from Alabama, two from Mississippi, two from Louisiana, and so on. Does anyone think there's any truth to this?

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Cleareyes
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby Cleareyes » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:00 am

tomhobbes wrote:You know, I recently heard something interesting from a professor of mine who graduated from HLS about ten years ago. She claimed that in some cases, top schools actually give boosts to students from bad schools, particularly ones in states that aren't well-represented in the top law schools. She said that there's this mysterious trend in Harvard classes where you always see two people from Alabama, two from Mississippi, two from Louisiana, and so on. Does anyone think there's any truth to this?


Yes. It's a diversity thing. Diversity is not just about race.

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youpiiz
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby youpiiz » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:04 am

.
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kurla88
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby kurla88 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:54 am

TarHeel09 wrote:so then.. according to all of this.. advice for people who are in high school, but know they are going to law school is:

save time and money, go to an in-state university that you have heard is quite easy, get a 4.0 (or something close), and you will have a better shot at a t-20 or t-30 than does someone who gets a lower GPA than you from Cornell (assuming you get a good lsat score).

not being sarcastic, just trying to get the idea here.. im just having a tough time believing it so i need to ask it several different ways.


I like how everyone just assumes that getting a 4.0 is a piece of cake. State school does not make it so. Unless yall are all transfer applicants talking you have only attended ONE school, so stop making stupid assumptions.

Where is everyone who had no choice but to attend a state school, financially? If you have a 170+ and have proved yourself with a 3.9+ at your state school, should you continue to be punished over some over-privileged brat who coasted with a 3.5 at Cornell? We already lose out to them in terms of internships and job offers, mostly because we couldn't afford to go to Cornell, not because we couldn't get in.

Please tell me actual LS kids won't be like this. :/ Sigh.

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TarHeel09
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby TarHeel09 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:30 am

I am not saying any state school. I'm talking about the state schools that are ranked high v. the state schools that are ranked low.

I mean lets stop beating around the bush. Some schools are better and harder than others, yet if you get a 4.0 at an easier one, some people think schools recognize that all the same. I'm saying that if that is true, it's crap.

It has nothing to do with state schools v. private or whatever. Its good schools v. bad, or harder v. easier.

some state schools might fall into this category, some might not.

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RVP11
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby RVP11 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:37 am

TarHeel09 wrote:I am not saying any state school. I'm talking about the state schools that are ranked high v. the state schools that are ranked low.

I mean lets stop beating around the bush. Some schools are better and harder than others, yet if you get a 4.0 at an easier one, some people think schools recognize that all the same. I'm saying that if that is true, it's crap.

It has nothing to do with state schools v. private or whatever. Its good schools v. bad, or harder v. easier.

some state schools might fall into this category, some might not.


How do you know which schools are easier? Have you been to them all?

You also seem to be conflating good with hard and bad with easy. I don't think that works.

And even then you still might be penalizing people for taking the bargain deal close to home. Tons of states don't contain a single school anyone would consider particularly "good". Wouldn't you sacrifice some diversity of UG if you gave boosts to the applicants from schools that a large % of your students already come from?

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frank_the_tank
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Re: Does a high ranked UG school make a difference?

Postby frank_the_tank » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:37 am

TarHeel09 wrote:I am not saying any state school. I'm talking about the state schools that are ranked high v. the state schools that are ranked low.

I mean lets stop beating around the bush. Some schools are better and harder than others, yet if you get a 4.0 at an easier one, some people think schools recognize that all the same. I'm saying that if that is true, it's crap.

It has nothing to do with state schools v. private or whatever. Its good schools v. bad, or harder v. easier.

some state schools might fall into this category, some might not.



As I said earlier, you have yet to prove that a highly ranked school is more difficult than a TTT. Where are you getting this information?




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