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  • Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Possible US N&WR Ranking System Change...

    may result in drastic changes by law schools with part-time programs as the schools try to keep their rankings high... because it is widely accepted that law schools manipulate their admissions statistics by shunting the borderline students (i.e., lower LSAT scores) to their part-time programs (whose admissions stats aren't considered in the rankings) so they can still look good on paper.

    I went to Georgetown Law. I applied to and graduated from the evening program. And I agree that GULC is guilty of doing this too. Many of my fellow evening students wanted to be in the day program but didn't get in. They were instead offered a space in the evening program, and after a year, they transferred to the day program (full-time). So a good chunk of the evening program was a waiting list for the day program.

    However, it is also true that many mid-career professionals apply to the evening program at GULC and work full-time throughout law school. Like I did. Some also apply with that intention but end up quitting their jobs and transferring to the day program. For those of us who matriculated in the evening program -- not because we didn't get into the day program but because we had other obligations during the day -- Georgetown was great. I think we had the most diverse and interesting students. In fact, while GULC didn't tout our program through the stats, they always did when mentioning the incoming students' accomplishments. Without fail, most of the achievements cited regarding each incoming class came from the evening section (although they never said so). But we knew. Because these were our classmates. It's true that we did get the short end of the stick when it came to grants and funding, attending seminars/programs (which were usually convened during our classtime) and recognition. But I think we also got great respect from the professors and an unrivaled sense of section unity.

    And I would argue that our section statistically outperformed any other section. We may not have had the highest LSAT scores, but we knew how to balance life, work and school -- which is even more important when it comes to getting the work done and doing well on exams. I would bet that the evening section had a higher percentage of honors grads than any other section. So, I think US N&WR should consider the part-time programs in their rankings. And I think the schools should stop manipulating the admissions stats by using the part-time program as a waitlist. Just populate the part-time sections with students who want to be in it. Then you'll get folks who are really motivated because it takes a helluva lot to work all day and then go to class at night. Not an easy undertaking. And you'll also have a very high-performing class.

    I'm jest sayin'...

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