"Prestige" and Undergrad?

If I wanted to apply to a graduate school after college, either law school or med school, would going to a more prestigious undergrad school raise my chances of being accepted? Or is it more about how well you do in undergrad rather than where you go?

Thank you!

Law school is almost entirely stats – gpa and LSAT. Prestige of undergrad institution matters very little.

^That seems to be the standard CC answer. This was a while ago, but when I went to law school, most schools were pretty open about the number of students that they accepted by undergrad. In my class at UCB Law, the entering class was comprised of multiple UCB, UCLA, Stanford, HYP grads. There were some students from non Californian flagship and other UC campuses and a scattering of other universities, but very few multiples. I know this was some time ago, but I recently came across UVA Laws’ profile page which still provided the breakdown. I link it here. https://www.law.virginia.edu/admissions/class-2022-profile Not surprisingly, the largest group came from UVA undergrad. After that, you see the usual T20-T50 suspects with a southern/VA bent. Now this may just mean students who graduated from top schools also happen to be good test takers (SAT/ACT then, LSAT now). But I think a relevant questions to ask any school that you are seriously interested in:

  1. What percentage of students applying to law school from this college got into law school?
  2. Of the students who got in, what was the median LSAT and GPA?
  3. How many got admitted to T15 programs?

You should then compare the above with other schools you are interested in.

To clarify, my response is based on my professional and personal experience as HSY law school alum, law professor, with kid who just went through T14 law school admissions. My experience is that the T6 law schools have some weight of kids from top schools – long ago, my HSY law school class was perhaps 20% H and Y grads and then the remaining 80% of the class came from everywhere else, including far flung public, non flagships, T100 LACs etc. From my kid’s recent experience, seems pretty similar today. For those mere mortals like myself and my kid who did not go to HPCYS for undergrad, a tippy top gpa and LSAT and solid essay and recs, and you are in good shape. The gpa medians are daunting – an A- average in undergrad puts a student below median and often in the bottom quartile at many T20 law schools. So gpa, which a student has the most control of, is a priority for law school, as it is with med school.

With respect to the law schools at UC-Berkeley and at the University of Virginia, they are both state supported public law schools created to serve primarily the residents of their respective states.

Prestige is important to many Management Consulting and to many Investment Banking firms, but not to law schools or med schools when speaking broadly.

Harvard Law accepts lots of students from super elite undergraduate schools primarily because they test well on standardized tests such as the LSAT, SAT, and ACT.

About half of Yale’s class comes from the Ivies + Stanford + UChicago + Georgetown. There are 3x the number of students from Yale than the entire Big Ten. You do the math.

For law school, “prestige” matters very little. Your admissions will depend almost entirely on two factors: GPA + LSAT (with LSAT weighted a little more heavily).

I think law school and medical school are largely stat driven. The reason you see higher representation from elite colleges at elite graduate schools is because the admission process at the elite undergraduate school selected students with a proficiency at standardized tests who tend to be driven to get good grades. If those students had chosen to go to a school other than the elite undergraduate school, they would still have those two characteristics and would still have the opportunity to go to an elite graduate school because of it.

Medical school admission is largely stat driven to weed out many applicants in the first screen. But it is more holistic for those who pass the medical school’s first screen by MCAT and GPA.

If you’re a high stat kid and are quite disciplined to continue that fine work in college, you’ll likely be able to go to a high end med or law school. At the higher tier UG schools, you’ll be surrounded by more of the same. Do you want that environment (where the average kid is a top stat kid)? Some do, some don’t. Some don’t care. It’s more of a fit and economic issue. The mid to lower end kid from an “average” school won’t be competitive. The high end kid form an average school should be just fine. Many kids from state U go to good law / med schools. Sheer numbers.

What you do in college will have a bigger impact on grad school admissions than the name of UG college.

Posters upthread have correctly noted that the most selective UG colleges are over-represented in the top tier med/law schools- and also noted that you would expect students who were top achievers in HS would also be top achievers in college.

I will add a reminder that there are plenty of students at top tier UG schools who don’t get into top tier med/law schools.

Remember that there are stars at every college, and that money is often an important reason for where students have enrolled. If you are seriously considering a professional grad school remember that they are expensive and typically involve debt.

Here is a bullet point from an email sent out today from the Executive Director of Career Advancement at UChicago.

Of course, if only those students who could realistically get admitted apply, then that will drive up admission rates.