Yale Law adcomm: small LACs are inferior to research unis

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Yale Law adcomm: small LACs are inferior to research unis
By Anthony (Anthony) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit

Thought you guys might find this interesting.


Here's the relevant quote:

"By the way, it may not be fair, but a good record at a small liberal arts school will not be viewed the same as a good record at Stanford or Chicago or Amherst. Just as you consider some law schools to be better than others, so do law schools consider some undergraduate programs to be better than others."

So much for all the talk about small LACs being "just as good as" top research universities when it comes to graduate school admissions.

By Ay_Caramba (Ay_Caramba) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit

isn't Amherst a small liberal arts school??? they couldn't be talking about UMass, could they?

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:50 pm: Edit

Actually, within the last 27 years (1975-2002), the percentage of Yale graduates going on to medical school has dropped precipitously from 17% to 6%, representing a decline of 65%; and the percentage of Yale graduates going to law school has dropped from 18% to 7%, representing a decline of 61%. (All statistics are from Yale's Office of Institutional Research, and are on their website.) In other words, in these categories, Yale is hemorhaging, and badly, so his remarks could be interpreted as an attempt to staunch the bleeding.

I don't for one minute believe the quality of Yale students has gone down (though I have no clue about the actual education they get there once admitted, except that there are more TAs than ever before.) Actually, though, what has really been going on is that top students have become much more risk averse, and unwilling to take on more student debt on top of the load that is already being piled on. The result is that the high-cost law and medical schools, for which there is little financial aid available, have become increasingly the bastions of the rich - of whatever school they come from. Over the past decade, medical school has gotten easier and easier to get into -- graduates are getting into U.S. medical schools these days who two decades ago would be going to Grenada. And more of them are opting for law and medical schools in their own states, at much lower costs.

Note, however, that what he had to say was NOT about graduate school admissions - but about professional school admissions. Graduate school admissions -- where the bulk of students have some sort of fellowship to tied them over, and hence are not tied to family income or willingness to take on debt -- leveled out decades ago, with Ivies being competitive but nowhere close to the dominance they once had. (In fact, in the sciences, grad school admissions rates for Earlham have been higher that Yale's for almost two decades.)

By Chamonix (Chamonix) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

I thought medical school admissions has been getting harder of late?

By Anthony (Anthony) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Mini, please do not post this sort of heavily misleading information... I just looked at the Yale OIR stats in question and do not believe that the "Yale is hemorhaging" claim is accurate at all.

Note that these are NOT percentages of Yale graduates "going to law school," but percentages of Yale graduates going to law school *one year after graduation.* The one year part is critical when you consider that virtually every top law school has 24 or 25 as the median age of incoming students, meaning that the overwhelming majority of incoming law students take at least one year off between undergrad and law school. This makes perfect sense when you consider the increasing costs of college and law school, and consider that law school admissions are heavily numbers based and applying after you have your (presumably high) senior year grades will give you an admissions boost.

None of the stats there show that fewer Yale graduates are going to law school -- all it shows is that Yale graduates are doing what most other college graduates are doing, which is working for a few years between college and graduate school (note that whenever I use the term "graduate school" I am referring to all graduate programs, including professional school). The fact that the percentage of Yale students working immediately after graduation jumped from 36% in 1976 to 64% in 2002 backs this up.

Do not start duplicate threads. Interested posters can find the original post in the Parents" forum.

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