Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Little Whine & Cynicism.

Last year during the law school application season, I received dozens of emails from schools asking me to apply to theirs often times with an application fee waiver. “How nice of them”, I thought. Before I even set up my LSAC account, I had a good idea of where I wanted to apply and what schools I had a good shot at being accepted and not being accepted. Let’s face it, I’m not Harvard material. I know it; Harvard knows it, and now the whole blogosphere knows it. However, there were some schools sending notices to me that I thought ‘What in the shiddilywho were they thinking?’ These were schools in the top 20. I had no business considering them let alone applying to them yet there they were saying ‘consider us…here is your fee waiver’.

Being the skeptic I am, I wondered why they would ask a long-shot student to apply to their school. A few months later, I found one answer, but I’m sure these schools have many reasons asking students at the bottom end of their academic profile to apply to their programs. The US News & World Report posted their annual law school rankings, and since I was about to go to law school, I took a closer look at their methodology.

There are obvious factors considered in making these rankings such as the average LSAT and GPA of their students. But there was one criterion that led to my “A HA” moment. One criterion was the ‘acceptance rate’. The more selective a school is, the better it looks for the school since the school is more ‘selective’ and as a result helps that school’s ranking. I also realized that these schools could easily manipulate this number simply by asking a whole bunch of people to apply and subsequently denying their admission.

What a devious plan these guys use. They send out a massive email, lure students into thinking they have a shot at admission and ‘BOOM’…DENIED!!! The students get an application waiver while the school massages its data a little giving the illusion of being more ‘selective.’

By the way, I didn’t apply to those two top 20 schools that emailed me.