THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

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SullivanLSAC
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THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby SullivanLSAC » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:23 pm

Someone posted a question yesterday in the Law School Admissions Forum about the prestige of your college and its effect on your chances of admission to law school. I recently wrote on this much neglected topic on my blog. I would have just responded directly there with links to these two pieces, but I believe the rules of this website forbid professionals from doing so. Out of respect for those rules, I’ll link here, in this forum, with faith that the interested party will find it. The two blogposts are here:
http://www.lawschooladmissionsconsultin ... ol-part-i/
and here:
http://www.lawschooladmissionsconsultin ... l-part-ii/


Dan Sullivan
Sullivan Law School Admissions Consulting LLC
http://www.lawschooladmissionsconsulting.com/
781-862-7340

eagle2a
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby eagle2a » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:42 pm

Did you really have to use all caps

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:20 pm

eagle2a wrote:Did you really have to use all caps

There's no rule against it. Calm down.

wolfie_m.
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby wolfie_m. » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:05 pm

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Last edited by wolfie_m. on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

deant286
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby deant286 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:14 pm

Aside from 30 year old anecdotal evidence offered in the first link and the cherry picked example of the applicant in the second link, is there any actual proof that what you are saying is true?

I did a quick search for the entering class profiles of 5 upper t14 schools and none included how many students came from the listed undergrad schools. Where did you find that information?

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Pozzo
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby Pozzo » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:09 am

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Last edited by Pozzo on Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SullivanLSAC
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby SullivanLSAC » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:32 pm

deant286 wrote:Aside from 30 year old anecdotal evidence offered in the first link and the cherry picked example of the applicant in the second link, is there any actual proof that what you are saying is true?

I did a quick search for the entering class profiles of 5 upper t14 schools and none included how many students came from the listed undergrad schools. Where did you find that information?



The 30-year-old evidence reference is followed in the same sentence with “but according to quite a few of my former clients turned moles currently at law schools out there, it’s still accurate,” and as to the “cherry picked” example, it was not a unique example selected while counterexamples abound. They don’t, which sort of helps to make the point. So I guess the answer to your first question is, well, “yes.”

As for the lists identifying the numbers of students from each college, I have seen numerous such lists over the years. I’m sorry you can’t find one, but I didn’t make it up. I recall thinking the lists were something of an embarrassment for the schools, displaying as they do more the schools’ elitism than their diversity, so maybe they don’t show it around much anymore. Go to this site, http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/jdadmission ... -colleges/ where Harvard brags that its first year class comes from 172 different schools, and then lists the schools (at least they still do that — it’s interesting that they now do not list the number from each; what does that tell you?). You know they didn’t fill the class of 650 or so with 3 or 4 students from each school, and since this is a zero-sum game, and they probably enroll, say, 100 from Harvard and 100 more from Yale and Princeton, that doesn’t leave a lot of spots to spread evenly over the other 169 schools. Do the math. I’ll bet most of those schools are singletons. (Here’s a thought: ask a friend who is currently a law student to send you a copy of whatever biographical info they were given on their classmates. It surely lists the college attended for each. Just tallyho!)

Look, please don’t get upset by my analysis. Most, and I mean most, of what’s going on here is a product solely of applicants from more elite colleges having gotten high SATs to get them there, and so probably having high LSAT scores too, and thus – solely because of that -- having an easier time getting into the top law schools. In other words, for most of this, correlation is not causation – but not for all of it, which was my only point. In addition, I’m not drawing grand conclusions from the analysis, like “so don’t bother applying.” All I’m saying is “so get your applications in as early as possible.” Here for you, and Pozzo, too, by the way, are the data on that conclusion: 100% of law school admissions consultants agree!

deant286
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby deant286 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:18 pm

SullivanLSAC wrote:The 30-year-old evidence reference is followed in the same sentence with “but according to quite a few of my former clients turned moles currently at law schools out there, it’s still accurate,” and as to the “cherry picked” example, it was not a unique example selected while counterexamples abound. They don’t, which sort of helps to make the point. So I guess the answer to your first question is, well, “yes.”

As for the lists identifying the numbers of students from each college, I have seen numerous such lists over the years. I’m sorry you can’t find one, but I didn’t make it up. I recall thinking the lists were something of an embarrassment for the schools, displaying as they do more the schools’ elitism than their diversity, so maybe they don’t show it around much anymore. Go to this site, http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/jdadmission ... -colleges/ where Harvard brags that its first year class comes from 172 different schools, and then lists the schools (at least they still do that — it’s interesting that they now do not list the number from each; what does that tell you?). You know they didn’t fill the class of 650 or so with 3 or 4 students from each school, and since this is a zero-sum game, and they probably enroll, say, 100 from Harvard and 100 more from Yale and Princeton, that doesn’t leave a lot of spots to spread evenly over the other 169 schools. Do the math. I’ll bet most of those schools are singletons. (Here’s a thought: ask a friend who is currently a law student to send you a copy of whatever biographical info they were given on their classmates. It surely lists the college attended for each. Just tallyho!)

Look, please don’t get upset by my analysis. Most, and I mean most, of what’s going on here is a product solely of applicants from more elite colleges having gotten high SATs to get them there, and so probably having high LSAT scores too, and thus – solely because of that -- having an easier time getting into the top law schools. In other words, for most of this, correlation is not causation – but not for all of it, which was my only point. In addition, I’m not drawing grand conclusions from the analysis, like “so don’t bother applying.” All I’m saying is “so get your applications in as early as possible.” Here for you, and Pozzo, too, by the way, are the data on that conclusion: 100% of law school admissions consultants agree!


I didn't mean to sound upset in my response, I was genuinely looking for an answer. What you are saying makes logical sense - I was just looking for some harder/empirical evidence to back it up. As your analysis currently stands, it requires a certain amount of "taking your word for it" to accept the conclusion - e.g., “but according to quite a few of my former clients turned moles currently at law schools out there, it’s still accurate,” + I have seen numerous such lists over the years + the client in the second link. Again, I'm inclined to believe you I was just curious.

I had always assumed the bolded was true, for what its worth.

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EnderWiggin
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby EnderWiggin » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:25 pm

Re: lack of actual data, this post refers to information published by YLS about the makeup of the student body by number of students per UG school as of Fall 2014. Using the combined JD + LLM enrollment figure of 672, we can see that though 165 UG institutions are represented, about ~35% of YLS students in Fall '14 came from five UG schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Stanford.

Alive97
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby Alive97 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:01 pm

These are interesting posts that, I dare say, run counter to the conventional wisdom on TLS. Looks like these things are more nuanced than we may have thought.

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jbagelboy
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:39 am

Alive97 wrote:These are interesting posts that, I dare say, run counter to the conventional wisdom on TLS. Looks like these things are more nuanced than we may have thought.


Three things:

(1) Correlation and causation mismatch in the analysis. elite law programs recruit individuals with the best profile, which includes highest LSAT scores, best writing/statements, high grades, and strong professional experiences. Students from elite colleges--Stanford, the Ivy Leagues, Hopkins, Williams, Pomona, MIT, Swarthmore, ect.--get higher LSAT scores, write better, have access to swankier jobs, internships, and research as students, and due to grade inflation policies at private universities, tend to have higher GPAs (with a few notable exceptions). So they make up a higher percentage of the total attractive candidates for these reasons, but not because of some unquantified "prestige" of the name or brand of the institution.

(2) It's never been denied on this forum that the very top law schools draw heavily from their own undergraduate networks. Columbia law and Harvard law are known for taking a disproportionate number of Ivy league graduates (my year it was upwards of 40%) and schools with similar profiles (five or six LACs and a handful of other private and well known public universities, which make up most of the remaining 60). The fact that five or so schools act this way to a small degree does not deny the overwhelming consensus that where you went to college in isolation has no bearing on your admission to the other ~195.

(3) A few people posting on one page of one thread does not bring "nuance" to a conversation running over hundreds of pages and many thousands of posts--a simple search confirms this.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:57 pm

I think jbagel's point about correlation and causation is incredibly important here.

Also, Mike Spivey had a really interesting post about this:
viewtopic.php?p=9088650#p9083316

The frustrating thing about these kinds of conversations is that at the end of the day, I'm not sure what impact this information is supposed to have. People who went to Directional State U shouldn't feel precluded from applying to top schools, and people who went to Pretty Pretty Princess U shouldn't believe they will get in somewhere their numbers aren't competitive. There may be some effect on the margins, but the margins are always "apply and see what happens" territory.

Alive97
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby Alive97 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:44 pm

Regardless of the correlation vs causation, there may still be some practical implications, such as that if you're coming from Harvard undergrad applying to Harvard Law, and Harvard Law has already admitted 100 Harvard undergrads this cycle, they may draw a line somewhere. That's where I'm talking about nuance - it's not a point I've seen brought up.

Famous
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby Famous » Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:24 am

Isn't this a clear case of selecting on the dependent variable? Yes there are a lot of Harvard students at HYS, but how many applied? I'd be interested to know admission rates to T14 among only Ivy League applicants, maybe even just looking at the smaller pool of just HYPSC applicants. I would not be surprised if they have a higher admission rate, but these applicants probably have better stats on the whole. Does that mean someone like me, coming from a "household name not to be confused with Yale", stands slightly lower odds of admission to a T14? Maybe, but law school admissions remains predominantly a numbers game and LSAT/GPA combos supersede everything else. On the other hand, prestige of UG matters significantly more in B-school admissions.

Additionally, how can an anecdote from 30 years ago add anything of value to this discussion? The goals of these institutions, as well as the quantity and quality of applicants, have changed drastically since the 80's.

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polkadotsareqt
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby polkadotsareqt » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:59 am

Good post, thanks. It's also what I've gathered from talking to my friends in Harvard Law School and some of the other T5 schools.

I am always wary of people who rely too much on MyLSN, as those are a self-selected data. None of my friends added their numbers to the pool when they were going through the admission process. The point of the original post is that at the end of the day, having two candidates who seem otherwise equal on paper, the one with the stronger UG institution will have an edge. It's the same reason why BigLaw gives out predetermined interviews solely based on law school.

This is also common sense, and you see it occur in all areas of life. Not even mad -- I didn't go to a prestigious undergrad, and I accept that people who went to the top 10 will have better networking/doors open to them.

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pancakes3
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Re: THE PRESTIGE OF YOUR COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:06 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The frustrating thing about these kinds of conversations is that at the end of the day, I'm not sure what impact this information is supposed to have. People who went to Directional State U shouldn't feel precluded from applying to top schools, and people who went to Pretty Pretty Princess U shouldn't believe they will get in somewhere their numbers aren't competitive. There may be some effect on the margins, but the margins are always "apply and see what happens" territory.


+1. In a word, this seems inconsequential.


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