COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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POLL: If you're willing, please indicate the status of your spring Semester 2020 grades:

Pass/ Fail or Credit/ No Credit
No Pass/ Fail, regular grading
No Pass/ Fail, inflation of grades
No votes
Total votes: 27


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COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by EndOfCycle2020 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:45 pm

I know the site is largely dead now that most people got their acceptances and rejections. I, however, am still stuck in limbo. Unfortunately, my school decided to do a mandatory pass/ fail for Spring Semester 2020. I ended up receiving CALI and jurisprudence awards for this semester.

I was told at multiple transfer info sessions that while they will put more weight on fall semester grades, that 1.) they will not hold pass/ fail against any students that were affected by this, 2.) they said letters of recommendation are going to be EXTREMELY important this cycle, 3.) they said that with COVID-19 that it is going to be extremely holistic and that there is "no bottom" for GPA, especially in light of this pandemic.

Yet, I have been dismayed by the fact I had significant interest in my application (interviews, conversations with professors, deans, students at the school that reviewed my application and told me "I was just what they're looking for" a Dean at Yale even said "there is nobody like you in their pile" and to be optimistic).

It hurt getting rejected by these same institutions. Only thing they could ding me on is fall semester GPA, which wasn't great. I spoke with a Dean at UT Austin who sympathized with me and said that "i'm sorry, they did lie." This was in regards to not holding your schools pass/fail against you. Based off discussions on Reddit, TLS, other forums, and insiders at these schools - they took largely the students that had two semesters worth of grades.

I'm upset because I found out that a lot of these schools significantly inflated their grades. For example, a B for fall semester would be worth an A spring semester, and an A spring semester would be worth upwards of a 5.0. What is a 5.0, especially in law school? Is this truly fair and leveling the playing field for students at all 200+ law schools trying to transfer?

Looking at these ABA reports, it seems as if a lot of these GPAs are extremely unrealistic. But it makes sense now due to experiencing the system. I go to a T2 school in which we curve below a 3.0. NO ONE in the last 10 years has gotten a 4.0 as a 1L. That tells you something. We also do not give A+'s or a "GPA Boost" for an A+ like some other institutions do. Law school admissions obviously should know this, yet, they are more concerned with rankings and ABA reports than admitting other students. This is not holistic, at all. I have confirmed my stance with top tier admissions consulting agencies, such as Spivey and Anna Ivey, professors from every T14, Deans of HLS, Yale, and UT (there are like 10+ deans at each school for reference). They all agree, it isn't fair. But these rankings by US News World and Report and ABA are making it to the point where that is all they care about - the numbers.

This goes hand in hand with those students that initially applied as a 1L. You know what these top tier admissions consulting agencies say? If you want to go to an "elite" or "top" graduate program - do not go to a top undergraduate school. Why is this? Because of the numbers. Many of us worked our butts off our entire life, graduating with 4.0+'s in high school, as valedictorian, salutatorian, etc and we attended high ranking undergraduate schools. Yet, public schools such as UC Berkeley and UCLA do not hold your hand like some private schools (USC - as we all know). It's a lot harder to get a 4.0 at one of these institutions than it is at some school you never heard of in Pennsylvania. But guess where these law schools pull from for 1L? These exact same schools that you never heard of. It's a hell of a lot easier to get a 4.0 at Florida State or a liberal arts college than Berkeley! But again, that's all admissions cares about! It's hypocritical in their judgment considering Harvard and Yale don't even give out grades.

Why lie to students and applicants? Isn't that against the ABA and Model Rules for Professional Conduct, the same place these admissions are trying to bolster their stats for? At least tell the students up front - you will not get in if you don't have this specific G.P.A. or test score. Misleading students (and for financial or personal gain), and knowingly making a false statement and representation when you know the truth is against everything lawyers and law schools stand for.

In all fairness, and pardon my French, we also emphasized the fact that there are a lot of pieces of shit that walk through the doors and graduate from these "elite" institutions and don't amount to anything. I can't tell you how many Harvard graduates (both graduate schools and undergrad) i've come across that tell me "meh. It's just a name." Even parents who's kids have gone through have said "honestly, it really is just a name." *Scoffing, "My other son/ daughter got a better education at a state college." I was shocked when I told my supervisor (who is kind of an airhead) that I was applying to HLS this cycle, and she goes "oh! That's where I went! But I wouldn't recommend going there. You can get the same education anywhere else." Why is this? Why disparage an institution and continue to graduate from there if all you do is complain about it? I apologize for putting Harvard on the spot, but to be fair, I haven't met one student that has said anything fondly of Harvard. Nice job admissions! Why not admit someone that truly wants to be there instead, and has a strong impact in all other factors, minus your numbers. If you're a transfer at one of these institutions, (i'm sure you're great, as based off these forums you obviously demonstrated a true desire and performance) - I apologize. But I know that you can point out some people in your class that just don't care or contribute to the class as a whole. If admissions thinks that some antisocial, crude weirdo with a ~180 LSAT and a 4.0 is going to make a positive impact for their school and be "brochure material" then so be it.

Please note, that I am not trying to offend any of the students that had their grades inflated. I just would like you to step in the shoes of students such as myself that got screwed by this whole pandemic. I'm happy that a lot of you got into your dream school. But at the same time, I am disappointed, heartbroken, and upset at the entire admissions system. I feel betrayed, lied to, and disrespected. How many of you have applied multiple times only to be rejected again? Despite the encouragement from these same schools saying "you're exactly what we are looking for!" How many times have you succumbed to your own depression and felt that again, this school, as well as others have cemented the fact that "you're not good enough," or "you're not worthy enough" to be here. Do you truly know how this feels? How this makes you out to your family, friends, all those that knew you have worked so hard your entire life to be at this one particular institution. But yet, I'm undeserving, not good enough, not worthy of stepping foot in their school. I feel like the piece of shit now and like I'm the failure. Those that have been accepted, congratulations, you must be over the moon. But like the law school curve, when you're over the moon and see a life with all opportunity and every door open for you, there is someone who gets displaced in the opposite direction - at rock bottom, crushed with a vision of every door closed around them. And for what reason? G.P.A.

In the future, remind yourself, is this truly fair? Would you want your kids to have to go through this same system? You all are in law school. Everyone of us who has the brains to be here, and has studied the Constitution and democracy knows, from the bottom of their heart that this isn't fair the playing field is not leveled. These schools know this. Which is why many of them are even forgoing standardized admissions tests to get in! Reasons why the LSAT is changing to remove logic games. There is progression. Yet they are still currently focused on numbers. Numbers that can be variable depending on the person, place (school) and situation. They know this, and they know that there are no "standard" numbers when it comes to GPA. So stop depending on it.

I ask you to go forward with this in mind. Whether or not we were admitted to our dream law school, we are still in law school. We will still be lawyers and take the same bar and the same MPRE. We can help change this for future generations, to give everyone an equal opportunity and a fair shake at the American dream. It may not be now, but please consider this for the future.

Again, congratulations to all that were admitted, and congratulations to all that applied this cycle. Each and every one of you is great, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for choosing the legal field as your profession, I know each one of you will be doing fantastic things in the course of your life.


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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by nixy » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:55 pm

What do you mean by schools inflating their grades?

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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:35 pm

Moved this to the proper forum.

I'm sorry you didn't get into your transfer choices, but your letter is extremely confusing and raises a ton of questions.

1. Like nixy, I have no idea what you mean by grade inflation. Which schools did this? And are you talking about a policy that applies to evaluating transfer apps? Or to transcripts?

2. Why do you think that the ABA-reported GPAs for transfers are unrealistic? If you're looking at top schools, of course only top students from lower-ranked schools would be competitive. The idea that someone from a T2 (or T1, for that matter) could snag Yale without being at the absolute top of their class is ludicrous.

3. Why are you blending regular admissions with transfer practices? Yes, transfer admissions are based primarily on numbers, but the numbers are literally your performance in law school classes. Any argument that LSAT/uGPA shouldn't be weighted so heavily in law school admissions has no bearing on using law school performance to evaluate whether you're a good transfer applicant.

4. Why did you go to your current law school if you didn't want to graduate from it?


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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by TheReasonablePerson » Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:18 pm

I only had one semester of grades, the other was mandatory pass/fail with the ability for "distinction." I got into CCN which was my dream transfer, and don't feel I was penalized for spring p/f.

Felt it was just as simple as how you did in the fall having the most weight - my school doesn't have a particularly high curve (3.2), and I did do great first semester.


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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by ingoodkompany » Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:03 pm

Yeah I only had one semester of grades and C/NC in the spring. Did well my first semester and got into Penn. Idk what you were expecting, but no t2 student is going to be getting t14 acceptances without being toward the top of their class. I sort of understand your frustration with deans who indicated a more holistic review this year, but they were probably just telling you what you wanted to hear given your grades weren't great. Nobody on the subreddit or here thought that softs were going to overtake GPA. Transfer admissions will always be a numbers game because it provides the best indication for future success at the new school which translates to job prospects which translates to school ranking. Also good performance in the spring during a P/NP semester really shouldn't hold as much weight anyway, a lot of students were of course going to coast knowing they weren't being graded. Sorry that this cycle didn't go as you'd hoped, and good luck the next two years!

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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by Lurklurk » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:14 am

Admittance, whether as a 1L or a transfer, is a numbers game. It’s the simple reality that there has to be some indicator by which a small group of people evaluate thousands of applications in a short period of time. It’s certainly not fair or perfect but as you noted, some things are changing.

As pointed out by others, there is no way you can get into T14 without doing well 1L year. I think the people most screwed by mandatory p/f people are non-traditional, first generation law students. Those who maybe do solidly first semester while they figure it out and then crush it from then on out. With two semesters of grades they’re admits, with one they are borderline/dinged. Unfortunately, since this likely only for this transfer cycle, schools probably didn’t bother/didn’t have time to adjust for that.

The bottom line is it’s out of your control. If everyone is so “meh” then why do you care so much about attending? I would think about using this as an empowering moment to show that you don’t need to graduate from an “elite” institution to be successful. When your kids go to law school you’ll know all the tricks to get them into the schools you couldn’t get into.

In terms of the depression stuff, get professional help. There’s no stigma.


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Re: COVID-19: Open Letter to all those that Applied This Cycle - and to Faculty/ Admissions

Post by lincolninthebardo » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:31 pm

i get it. covid through a wrench in everything, and transferring is always a long shot to start with even if you have strong grades. people were getting rejected from UT with 3.9 and Texas ties this cycle.

it happened to work out for me, but, again, it was a rough cycle. i do think work experience helped in my case. i'm curious, though, how you were able to get in direct touch with these deans, and why they would make any sort of perceived promise of getting in?? that does seem weird.

anyway, sending you good vibes! hope the next 2 years are better.

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