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Do top law schools take into account at what school you earned your GPA?

DatkidDatkid Registered User Posts: 594 Member
edited April 2007 in Law School
Well, I'm a high school senior currently trying to pick which college to attend in the fall. I'm choosing between the University of Virginia and The College of William and Mary...

In all honesty if I was planning to do just undergrad and not go to law school afterwards I'd pick William and Mary. But the thing is that I do want to go to a top law school after college, sooooooooo...

William and Mary has a reputation of grade deflation. I'm thinking it'd be easier to maintain a high GPA at UVA... will law schools take into account my class rank or something? Like if I have a GPA of 3.5 at William and Mary but am ranked in the top 5% will I still look worse than someone from UVA who has a 3.7 but is only ranked in the top 10%?

Do they even rank you in college?

Also, UVA is ranked higher up on US News' rankings list. UVA is ranked 24th while W&M is ranked 31st... this is not a large enough discrepancy to warrant picking one over the other, correct?
Post edited by Datkid on

Replies to: Do top law schools take into account at what school you earned your GPA?

  • stoneimmaculatestoneimmaculate - Posts: 619 Member
    It depends on a lot of factors, for example what you major in can have huge difference in what school would be best.

    I seriously doubt that a UVA student with the same GPA as a student at william & mary would be favored on school alone and vice-versa.

    If you can say for sure that you can earn a better GPA at UVA while maintaining a rigorous course schedule and EC's then maybe you should pick UVA. Unfortunately you don't know this for sure so I think you should visit both schools and choose on which one you like best, they are both excellent schools so I seriously doubt it will matter which you end up matriculating at.
  • Student615Student615 Registered User Posts: 1,885 Senior Member
    How much do you prefer W&M? If it's any remotely significant amount, I'd say go there.

    (1) Grade-deflation at most schools (not all, and I can't speak authoritatively for W&M) is kind of overrated. The more you think about it, the more annoying it is, but you probably won't feel it much while you're there. You might look further into W&M's deflation. See if you can talk to any current students...see if they feel it's affected them. See if you can find out average GPA. Consider what you're interested in majoring in and whether the situation might actually be different elsewhere. Even if you come out with your suspicions confirmed, at least you're not basing your decision on reputations, alone.

    (2) When you apply to law school, a summarizing report will be sent with your transcript. It will include a GPA breakdown of other applicants from your school, so the law schools will see roughly where you fall relative to other law applicants (same for LSAT). It's rough, but it's something.

    4 years is a good chunk of time to be in one place. It's definitely long enough to change your mind about future plans. If you're kind of wishy-washy between W&M and UVA, that's one thing, and I don't know what to tell you. If your preference for W&M is at all prominent, though, than I wouldn't suggest basing your decision on relatively far-away law school plans.

    Good luck!
  • JyankeesSS2JyankeesSS2 Registered User Posts: 2,021 Senior Member
    If you're really worried about it, check the law school pages for some of the top law schools. Most of them have a breakdown of where their students are coming from, as well as the number of students from each school. If you see a huge difference between UVA and William and Mary that worries you, then it's something to consider. If the numbers are comparable (especially when you take into account the relative sizes of those two schools) then you really shouldn't worry.
  • DatkidDatkid Registered User Posts: 594 Member

    at Harvard there are 19 UVA grads and only 3 W&M grads... after taking into account the size of the schools that still seems to be a fairly large disparity.


    at Yale there are 10 UVA grads and again 3 W&M grads... this isn't that large of a disparity after taking into account the size of the schools.


    Georgetown has 6 UVA grads and 6 W&M grads. The advantage goes to W&M here.


    UVA Law has 14 W&M grads and 40 UVA grads. This disparity was expected considering that so many UVA kids would like to attend UVA Law. But W&M's 14 is more than Duke (11 kids), Harvard (9), Brown (1), Dartmouth (11), Cornell (8), Columbia (2), Yale (10), Princeton (9), and UPenn (8). I'm sure this has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of William and Mary kids want to stay in Virginia...

    Anyways, are these numbers comparable enough to not have to worry? The only one that worries me is the representation at Harvard, where UVA had much better representation.
  • stoneimmaculatestoneimmaculate - Posts: 619 Member
    Well those stats are good to give you a general idea but unfortunately you don't know how many actually applied from each school, what the accepted students stats were etc.

    It could be that fewer kids applied from W&M.

    This is speculation about the georgetown stats but it could be that the reason W&M has an advantage is that most UVA grads matriculated at some of the higher ranked schools, yet more may have gotten acceptances than from W&M.

    Why not e-mail UVA and W&M and ask if they can give you some stats on their law school applicants, maybe mean GPA, LSAT or something how many applied etc.
  • happyjanezhanghappyjanezhang Registered User Posts: 482 Member
    does anyone know about Grinnell/ Hamilton/ McGill ? thanks!
  • madclownmadclown Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    What are the chances of me getting into a T14 law school graduating from a 4th tier college for my undergraduate studies? Assume I had an adequate GPA with LSAT scores in this range 168-175. Would a person from a forth tier school have the capacity to handle the work load of a T14 law school? Assuming one was admitted to one of these schools, coming from a 4th tier school, would it be more prudent to go ahead and aim under the radar and go to a lower ranking school, say in the top 35, or so.
    I guess my question is, does the LSAT show an acurate measurment of one's aptitude to handle the rigor of top law schools? I might be over analyzing, but I cannot believe, even if my scores were adequate, that my acceptance to a T14 would be near as likely as someone coming from the Ivy League, Georgetown, Berkeley, or even a places like Orberlin, Tufts, and Fordham with comparable scores. I would think that a majority of people that apply to these T14 schools come from tier one and tier two colleges, so most likely the ones accepted are going to be from this pool of applicants.
  • bsme_to_patbsme_to_pat Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    You should attend UVA. There is no reason to attend W&M over UVA.. unless you weren't accepted by UVA, or you have strong ties to the Williamsburg area.
  • Student615Student615 Registered User Posts: 1,885 Senior Member
    ...or you just prefer W&M to UVA, which the OP seems to. For undergrad, you actually get to let personal preference play a role. All factors allowing, I'm all for taking advantage of that.
This discussion has been closed.