HLS - GPA/Rigor Question Forum

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HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2023 4:47 pm

Totally struck out on plan (combo of targeting too competitive judges + not having top LOR) and am planning to continue applying post-grad with some experience.

For post-grad apps - are there any opinions on whether graduating magna cum laude is viewed favorably enough by judges to merit taking one class worth of ungraded credits in my last semester as a 3L? For context - my curriculum has been fairly rigorous (did the important black letters, black letters outweigh "Law & X" classes, got DS's in several black letters).

Weird situation but am sitting around a ~4.175 cumulative after first semester 3L and getting straight H's at a full class load would dilute it down to a ~4.05. If I took ungraded credits, the dilution would only bring me down to a 4.125.

I guess also, does anyone have insight into where the GPA thresholds sit for latin honors? If a 4.05 is okay for magna then this is kinda moot.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:51 pm

Whoa - could you clarify what too competitive is here? Seems like you'd be on track for most judges. Congrats on your grades!

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2023 7:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 4:47 pm
Totally struck out on plan (combo of targeting too competitive judges + not having top LOR) and am planning to continue applying post-grad with some experience.

For post-grad apps - are there any opinions on whether graduating magna cum laude is viewed favorably enough by judges to merit taking one class worth of ungraded credits in my last semester as a 3L? For context - my curriculum has been fairly rigorous (did the important black letters, black letters outweigh "Law & X" classes, got DS's in several black letters).

Weird situation but am sitting around a ~4.175 cumulative after first semester 3L and getting straight H's at a full class load would dilute it down to a ~4.05. If I took ungraded credits, the dilution would only bring me down to a 4.125.

I guess also, does anyone have insight into where the GPA thresholds sit for latin honors? If a 4.05 is okay for magna then this is kinda moot.
Are you a transfer?
4.05 is almost certainly good enough to get magna.
Are you calculating your GPA based on averaging the year first, then averaging each year? (HLS does not do cumulative GPA, as that term is generally understood). Unless you did extremely well first semester of 3L (like 4.7+), and only decent (like sub4.0) your first two years, it is hard to see how straight H's in your second semester of 3L would bring you down that much (unless you are transfer, then one semester becomes more highly weighted I guess).

I highly doubt one ungraded class will make any difference to anyone. If someone looks at your transcript, it will be to see that you took some required class that they care about, not that you took X amount of graded credits. Is your ungraded a class a cross register course? I cant see how that would ever hurt you. Like, a history course, or grad level humanities course with a famous prof, or even a foreign language course or something your 3L year will probably make you more interesting.

Edit: Also, just wanted to say, do your math to see what would happen if you got a P too. Taking less graded credits second semester of 3L means that a stray P will hurt you more, since you have less H's to bring it up. Would be ashame to lose magna because you are trying to save it.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2023 8:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:51 pm
Whoa - could you clarify what too competitive is here? Seems like you'd be on track for most judges. Congrats on your grades!
Assuming she’s not a transfer and her formulas are correct, I think the numbers only work if it’s something like:
1L:3.7
2L:4.0
First half 3L: 4.75 (ie 3 DS out of four classes).

In which case it might make sense that on plan , she wasn’t all that competitive.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 8:12 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:51 pm
Whoa - could you clarify what too competitive is here? Seems like you'd be on track for most judges. Congrats on your grades!
Assuming she’s not a transfer and her formulas are correct, I think the numbers only work if it’s something like:
1L:3.7
2L:4.0
First half 3L: 4.75 (ie 3 DS out of four classes).

In which case it might make sense that on plan , she wasn’t all that competitive.
Not transfer and those are pretty much accurate - slightly higher 1L and a little lower 3L but marginal. Correctly calculated using the dumb weighting mechanism

On the competitiveness stuff - GPA was only a ~ 3.87ish when I applied, I basically only applied to COA and SDNY/EDNY/DDC/NDIL/NDCA, was not on HLR and had meh LOR (none of the big recommenders and one prof who doesn't regularly write). Didn't do a great job playing the game outside of the classroom

Have a bunch of options for the ungraded class but would likely be a clinic or cross registered at HKS/history dept. Thanks for the advice though, that's really good to hear it wouldnt be a death knell

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 8:12 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:51 pm
Whoa - could you clarify what too competitive is here? Seems like you'd be on track for most judges. Congrats on your grades!
Assuming she’s not a transfer and her formulas are correct, I think the numbers only work if it’s something like:
1L:3.7
2L:4.0
First half 3L: 4.75 (ie 3 DS out of four classes).

In which case it might make sense that on plan , she wasn’t all that competitive.
Not transfer and those are pretty much accurate - slightly higher 1L and a little lower 3L but marginal. Correctly calculated using the dumb weighting mechanism

On the competitiveness stuff - GPA was only a ~ 3.87ish when I applied, I basically only applied to COA and SDNY/EDNY/DDC/NDIL/NDCA, was not on HLR and had meh LOR (none of the big recommenders and one prof who doesn't regularly write). Didn't do a great job playing the game outside of the classroom

Have a bunch of options for the ungraded class but would likely be a clinic or cross registered at HKS/history dept. Thanks for the advice though, that's really good to hear it wouldnt be a death knell
I might check my transcript later if I can find it, but I am pretty sure that (most) cross-registered courses are not "ungraded", they just aren't counted for law school GPA/honors. You will still get a grade (typically A/A-/B+/C etc., depending on what the host school does). So if a judge really goes and looks through your transcript to assess "rigor", it will show a grade for that course. This is double edged sword-- on one hand, it means you cant totally blow off the course, since you probably dont want like a C on your transcript (even if it doesnt count for law school honors); on the other hand, it doesnt carry any "stigma" (if there is any) of taking a pass/fail class and looking like you took the easy way out.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:39 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 8:12 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:51 pm
Whoa - could you clarify what too competitive is here? Seems like you'd be on track for most judges. Congrats on your grades!
Assuming she’s not a transfer and her formulas are correct, I think the numbers only work if it’s something like:
1L:3.7
2L:4.0
First half 3L: 4.75 (ie 3 DS out of four classes).

In which case it might make sense that on plan , she wasn’t all that competitive.
Not transfer and those are pretty much accurate - slightly higher 1L and a little lower 3L but marginal. Correctly calculated using the dumb weighting mechanism

On the competitiveness stuff - GPA was only a ~ 3.87ish when I applied, I basically only applied to COA and SDNY/EDNY/DDC/NDIL/NDCA, was not on HLR and had meh LOR (none of the big recommenders and one prof who doesn't regularly write). Didn't do a great job playing the game outside of the classroom

Have a bunch of options for the ungraded class but would likely be a clinic or cross registered at HKS/history dept. Thanks for the advice though, that's really good to hear it wouldnt be a death knell
I might check my transcript later if I can find it, but I am pretty sure that (most) cross-registered courses are not "ungraded", they just aren't counted for law school GPA/honors. You will still get a grade (typically A/A-/B+/C etc., depending on what the host school does). So if a judge really goes and looks through your transcript to assess "rigor", it will show a grade for that course. This is double edged sword-- on one hand, it means you cant totally blow off the course, since you probably dont want like a C on your transcript (even if it doesnt count for law school honors); on the other hand, it doesnt carry any "stigma" (if there is any) of taking a pass/fail class and looking like you took the easy way out.
AFAIK it depends on the class - HBS and some HKS are P/F, undergrad are graded, but none are pulled into honors calc. Either way - feels like a decent move to keep myself in honors territory. Appreciate the advice.

Definitely just trying to hedge now - did not expect multiple DS's after being a good/not great student for 2 years

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Pneumonia » Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:28 am

Yes, for clerkship purposes, it is absolutely worth taking a p/f cross-registration to preserve your shot at magna. 4.05 would typically be magna, but the threshold has lately been trending up.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:21 pm

How is a 3.87 not competitive for a district court?

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:21 pm
How is a 3.87 not competitive for a district court?
It's not "not competitive," it's just not guaranteed for competitive districts on plan.

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Re: HLS - GPA/Rigor Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2023 3:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:35 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:21 pm
How is a 3.87 not competitive for a district court?
It's not "not competitive," it's just not guaranteed for competitive districts on plan.
Agree - probably would have had better luck if I had broadened out my search but had reasons not to and so be it! The people who got competitive districts on plan seemed to be HLR, fed soc, magna, or had other pro factors.

Really think ppl overstate how easy it is to get top clerkships out of top schools sometimes

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