Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

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JamieK03

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Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby JamieK03 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:28 pm

Hi everyone. I am currently studying the LLB at the University of Manchester, on my way to graduating with a first class honours.

I understand that Harvard looks at the LSAT and GPA, but do they also scrutinise the undergraduate institution of the applicant? I am a little worried that my current university might adversely influence my chances even if everything else about my application (extra-curricular, grades, LSAT etc...) are great and competitive.

Thanks!

QContinuum

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby QContinuum » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:04 am

From my observations, LSAT and uGPA are king, but an applicant from a less prestigious college will generally need a somewhat higher LSAT and/or uGPA to be considered "on par" with an applicant from, say, Princeton. I know "somewhat higher" is vague, but I don't think there's publicly available data that can allow us to formulate a more precise answer.

Why are you interested particularly in HLS?

SFSpartan

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby SFSpartan » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:42 pm

HLS probably doesn't care about your undergraduate institution, and to the extent that it does, it probably only cares on the margins.

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Dcc617

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby Dcc617 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:13 pm

Doesn’t LSAC treat international applicant GPAs differently than US ones?

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Pneumonia

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:04 pm

QContinuum wrote:From my observations, LSAT and uGPA are king, but an applicant from a less prestigious college will generally need a somewhat higher LSAT and/or uGPA to be considered "on par" with an applicant from, say, Princeton. I know "somewhat higher" is vague, but I don't think there's publicly available data that can allow us to formulate a more precise answer.

Why are you interested particularly in HLS?

The bolded is not true.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:09 pm

JamieK03 wrote:Hi everyone. I am currently studying the LLB at the University of Manchester, on my way to graduating with a first class honours.

I understand that Harvard looks at the LSAT and GPA, but do they also scrutinise the undergraduate institution of the applicant? I am a little worried that my current university might adversely influence my chances even if everything else about my application (extra-curricular, grades, LSAT etc...) are great and competitive.

Thanks!

In the United States, no, one's undergraduate institution (assuming it is accredited and not a for-profit) is essentially a non-factor in law school admissions, including Harvard's. I'm not sure if it's the same for international applicants, but in any case I doubt that being at Manchester will affect your application one way or the other. You likely will need a "superior" uGPA rating from LSAC though, and you'll also want a competitive LSAT score--ideally above median since your uGPA will not factor into the school's US News ranking.

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4LTsPointingNorth

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby 4LTsPointingNorth » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:26 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
JamieK03 wrote:Hi everyone. I am currently studying the LLB at the University of Manchester, on my way to graduating with a first class honours.

I understand that Harvard looks at the LSAT and GPA, but do they also scrutinise the undergraduate institution of the applicant? I am a little worried that my current university might adversely influence my chances even if everything else about my application (extra-curricular, grades, LSAT etc...) are great and competitive.

Thanks!

In the United States, no, one's undergraduate institution (assuming it is accredited and not a for-profit) is essentially a non-factor in law school admissions, including Harvard's. I'm not sure if it's the same for international applicants, but in any case I doubt that being at Manchester will affect your application one way or the other. You likely will need a "superior" uGPA rating from LSAC though, and you'll also want a competitive LSAT score--ideally above median since your uGPA will not factor into the school's US News ranking.


By saying "non-factor", is your contention that someone with a 3.7/171 from Cal State LA fares exactly the same in admissions outcomes as someone with a 3.7/171 from Yale? That doesn't ring true to me.

I do agree that someone with a 3.75/172 from Cal State LA would likely be treated more favorably than someone with a 3.7/171 from Yale.

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inthetrenches21

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby inthetrenches21 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:15 am

OP, I go to Durham and am applying in the 2019-2020 cycle, but I know quite a bit about the process for internationals applying to US Law Schools.

Your undergrad won't make a difference unless it's oxbridge, in which case they'll view you with a bit higher. Your first won't exactly translate though, you'll send it in to be evaluated, and a First should get you a Superior evaluation rating. This is not a GPA though, so you are-as all international applicants are-disadvantaged in that your admission cannot be used for calculating the GPA medians. As a result, they will put much more emphasis on your LSAT.

Have you considered applying for an LLM at Harvard? It's a more natural progression from an LLB, and is only a year long. They're designed for international students with a previous legal education to study Law at the top US universities. If you want to apply for a JD, you are in for some stiff competition. I'd aim for at least Harvard's 75th percentile LSAT, and make sure you have top LOR, as they're the main way the adcomms will actually judge your academic prowess

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Pneumonia

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:28 am

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
JamieK03 wrote:Hi everyone. I am currently studying the LLB at the University of Manchester, on my way to graduating with a first class honours.

I understand that Harvard looks at the LSAT and GPA, but do they also scrutinise the undergraduate institution of the applicant? I am a little worried that my current university might adversely influence my chances even if everything else about my application (extra-curricular, grades, LSAT etc...) are great and competitive.

Thanks!

In the United States, no, one's undergraduate institution (assuming it is accredited and not a for-profit) is essentially a non-factor in law school admissions, including Harvard's. I'm not sure if it's the same for international applicants, but in any case I doubt that being at Manchester will affect your application one way or the other. You likely will need a "superior" uGPA rating from LSAC though, and you'll also want a competitive LSAT score--ideally above median since your uGPA will not factor into the school's US News ranking.


By saying "non-factor", is your contention that someone with a 3.7/171 from Cal State LA fares exactly the same in admissions outcomes as someone with a 3.7/171 from Yale? That doesn't ring true to me.

I do agree that someone with a 3.75/172 from Cal State LA would likely be treated more favorably than someone with a 3.7/171 from Yale.

Anything can become a "factor" when you equalize the metrics that matter. The flaw in your 3.7/171 hypo is that adcoms would decide based on personal statement, soft factors, background, race, adversity, etc.--or maybe just admit both candidates--rather than decide based on where the candidates went to school. Assuming you equalized all of those things, sure, I can see an argument for deciding based on school. But that argument might actually work in favor of the person from the state school. That is, top school are only going to admit a certain range of "ivy" candidates per year. So the Princeton kid is competing with other kids from Princeton, not the kid from the state school.

The question OP asked, that I was trying to answer, was whether adcoms "scrutinize" one's undergrad institution. The answer is no. Conventional wisdom is that HYPS undergrad are a slight boost in the admissions process, and I think that's probably right. Maybe that's all you're trying to say. All I was trying to say is that HYSP grads make up a relatively small portion of applicants, so the right way to talk about the boost (if it exists) is as boost for them, not as a hurdle for everyone else.

Like almost everything else that isn't your GPA/LSAT, the top 1% of undergrads give a slight boost, the bottom 1% hurts you, and everything else is a wash. Manchester is in the middle 98% of undergrad institutions, so it will neither help nor hurt.

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:55 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Assuming you equalized all of those things, sure, I can see an argument for deciding based on school. But that argument might actually work in favor of the person from the state school. That is, top school are only going to admit a certain range of "ivy" candidates per year. So the Princeton kid is competing with other kids from Princeton, not the kid from the state school.


This is incorrect. There is no "affirmative action" for candidates from less prestigious colleges, and certainly no cap on "ivy" candidates.

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby nixy » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm

It’s not “affirmative action” for candidates from “less prestigious” schools, it’s that a good candidate from a school that doesn’t always send applicants to law school may have a different/more compelling background story than cookie cutter Ivy students (of course there are lots of non-cookie cutter Ivy students, too, but I’m not talking about them).

OP, I agree with something said earlier: your undergrad won’t hurt you at all. There are a few very elite schools which might provide a slight boost, but that doesn’t mean your school will be an issue. Anecdotally, the only schools I’ve seen really present a problem are online-only schools (not meaning you taking classes online; meaning it has no actual brick and mortar presence at all).

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Pneumonia

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:03 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:Assuming you equalized all of those things, sure, I can see an argument for deciding based on school. But that argument might actually work in favor of the person from the state school. That is, top school are only going to admit a certain range of "ivy" candidates per year. So the Princeton kid is competing with other kids from Princeton, not the kid from the state school.


This is incorrect. There is no "affirmative action" for candidates from less prestigious colleges, and certainly no cap on "ivy" candidates.

I wasn't suggesting "AA" for state school kids. I said that even in the hypothetical situation where all other metrics are equalized, it isn't necessarily true that every Adcom is going to admit the Princeton student. The larger point was that those other metrics are almost never equal, so one's school will rarely be a deciding factor.

As for a cap on Ivy candidates, again the conversation is assuming that all other numbers are equal. I didn't mean to state that there is hard cap on Ivy candidates. You're right that there obviously isn't.

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Re: Undergraduate institution for Harvard law school

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:33 pm

There were people from all sorts of undergraduate schools when I was at HLS (e.g. someone in my section went to Arkansas State). But there were many more people from Princeton than Arkansas State, and I think a majority of my section or close to it went to Ivy League undergraduate schools.



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