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Are all GPAs created equal?

Keane XavierKeane Xavier Alum Member
edited April 2016 in General 171 karma
Hello, all! I hope all is well.

I'll keep this brief: we're busy individuals, after all.

What I believe my question boils down to is this: how much influence does the university from which one earns their undergraduate GPA exert on the number itself? For example, if two students were to earn the same GPA - say, a 3.5 - from different academic institutions - say, one prestigious and one not - would these numbers be weighted much differently by law schools during the admissions process? Or is it the number itself that matters? Or, like all things, is it somewhere between the two and dependent upon the university to which one applies?

Thanks, all! I wish you all well. I'd wish you the best of luck, but you won't need it, and our aim is mitigate that, anyway.

Comments

  • jdawg113jdawg113 Alum Inactive ⭐
    2654 karma
    @"Keane Xavier" said:
    would these numbers be weighted much differently
    no, def not "much differently" it may make a little difference if one is Harvard and another is some no-name school that barely qualifies. But realistically its not something you should worry about
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    @"Keane Xavier" said:
    What I believe my question boils down to is this: how much influence does the university from which one earns their undergraduate GPA exert on the number itself?
    There are only <5 schools where this has any bearing. My alma mater is one of them. It is only a slight boost where it is present and lack of prestige is never to your detriment. It's just that they may be more forgiving of a lower GPA from certain schools.
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    Harvard has rampant grade inflation so a Harvard GPA would not be a boost.
  • Farabian-PlatonistFarabian-Platonist Alum Member
    54 karma
    The only instance I've heard where this makes a difference is medical school applications. I have yet to hear this for law school.
  • Keane XavierKeane Xavier Alum Member
    edited April 2016 171 karma
    Thanks, all! ( @jdawg113 , @"Nicole Hopkins", and @StoicallySeneca).

    Yesterday, I received some misinformation, it seems, that alarmed and discouraged me. As a result of youthful apathy and listlessness, I didn't attend the most prestigious university. But I kicked it in gear there, so I'm glad that such youthful decisions won't continue to be held against me (or anyone else, for that matter).

    Thank you all for clearing up the misinformation that I received - truly!
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma
    From what I have gathered, it doesn't make much of a difference. What may influence the admission committees decision is your major. For instance, if a liberal arts major graduated with a 3.7 GPA, and a chemical engineering major graduated with a 3.7 GPA, the committee may show more flexibility towards the individual with a chemical engineering degree. But, this is all hearsay.
  • Keane XavierKeane Xavier Alum Member
    edited April 2016 171 karma
    Ahh, that makes sense, @MrSamIam! Thank you!
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    @"Keane Xavier" said:
    But I kicked it in gear there, so I'm glad that such youthful decisions won't continue to be held against me (or anyone else, for that matter).
    LOL—no, a lack of prestige would never harm and frankly is often in your favor in terms of the numbers game. I have sometimes wondered if I should have attended a school that was more generous in grading.
  • quinnxzhangquinnxzhang Legacy Member
    edited April 2016 611 karma
    The responses here are pretty interesting. The folks over at TLS seem to think that the school does sometimes matter. Specifically, according to TLS, there's a slight boost for coming from a tip-top undergrad (Harvard, Yale, etc.) or a school known for grade deflation (Princeton, Chicago, etc.). However, it's near impossible to quantify this supposed boost, and the guesstimates I've heard run the entire gamut from very slight to considerable.

    The consensus over at TLS also seems to be that there's no difference in how GPAs from more normal universities are evaluated (e.g. University of Texas vs. University of Tennessee) or from different majors (e.g. EE vs. English).

    I'm just reporting what I read from TLS. I have no idea if this is true, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • Like_SpikeLike_Spike Alum Member
    203 karma
    My understanding was that the form Lsac puts together containing your scores and your gpa has on it some sort of school average to give admissions officials a bearing on grade difficulty at your institution.

    ie. help balance out the differences in gpas from someone who went to a university where the average gpa was 3.5 to another where the average gpa was 2.8 type of thing.

    Has anyone heard anything along these lines?
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    @AdrienBibi said:
    Has anyone heard anything along these lines?
    That is correct. They also show average grades in the major.
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    @"Keane Xavier" said:
    Yesterday, I received some misinformation, it seems, that alarmed and discouraged me.
    I think the best advice I can give is that a lot of advice out there is pretty bad and doesn't always apply to all situations. So Do NOT let people discourage you.

    Ironic, that I too am posting advice, but at least we have a community of discussion for people to give different ideas, if needed.

    Here what I will say, there are SO many exceptions to the general "rules" of applications out there because there are SO many factors to consider. GPA, LSAT, Age, URM and more.

    The big point is dont let people freak you out :)
  • 7sagelsatstudent1807sagelsatstudent180 Legacy Member
    926 karma
    Urm status can help a little bit in terms of reach schools and scholarship money. Apply to all of your dream schools and targets. You may be surprised where you end up. My dream school gave me my biggest offer and it was a total reach. I don't believe in the concept of a safety school. Apply somewhere you would want to brag about attending at and hopefully get a job from.
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    I think another thing to consider is a degree with multiple majors and/or minors. I graduated with 40+ credits more than necessary with two majors and two minors, but from what I've gathered, law schools almost couldn't care less. As much as I loved both my majors and the experience I gained through each of them, it is frustrating to know that my GPA did take a slight hit because of my decision to double major. I hope I'm wrong on my understanding of this, but it doesn't seem that I am.
  • 7sagelsatstudent1807sagelsatstudent180 Legacy Member
    926 karma
    There is literally no value to a double major in employment or the legal field unless your job requires 2 degrees. Most jobs don't require two (can anyone even think of one?) Also most people only work one full time job at a time. Double majors should solely be for people who are seeking personal fulfillment from said majors.
  • Keane XavierKeane Xavier Alum Member
    171 karma
    Thank you, all ( @quinnxzhang , @AdrienBibi , @7sagelsatstudent180 , @stepharizona , @danielznelson , @"Nicole Hopkins" )!

    If I'm synthesizing your responses properly, it seems as though one's university and one's major may exert some influence on the number itself, though we cannot know exactly how much influence or to what schools this influence truly matters. But there are many other factors that schools consider in the admissions process: LSAT score, age, etc. So in short, I should simply relax and focus on the factors that I can control. And as @AdrienBibi said, I shouldn't let anyone discourage me. (It seems everyone has an opinion on law school, whether they intend to attend or not, lol.)

    Thanks again, all. The 7Sage community rocks!
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    edited June 2016 1654 karma
    I think super splitters are viewed the same, but someone with a 3.5 from Williams or Princeton is likely to be viewed more favorably than a 3.5 from a state school
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    @"Keane Xavier" said:
    So in short, I should simply relax and focus on the factors that I can control. And as @AdrienBibi said, I shouldn't let anyone discourage me. (It seems everyone has an opinion on law school, whether they intend to attend or not, lol.)
    Yep! You got it! Sometimes you just need to keep your eye on the prize!
  • 7sagelsatstudent1807sagelsatstudent180 Legacy Member
    926 karma
    I've literally never heard of Williams College before today, but it would make sense for top tier undergraduate schools to be well represented at top law schools based purely on the aptitude and work ethic it takes to get accepted into those schools as undergrads. The average student is typically very intelligent.These students have pipelines to some of the most desirable careers and some gain impressive softs through connections, their talent and abilities and these work experiences that can sometimes supersede a low gpa if coupled with a decent LSAT. If I had to guess, I would imagine that the average LSAT of students at Harvard who take the test to be around165. I couldn't fathom that the average LSAT at a normal top 50 state school could be over 160 (unless they made 7sage mandatory for all interested future law students). That's no slight to state school students (I'm a grad of one), they are just less selective.
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    I know Pton's LSAT average is 166.
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