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A 2 Z > Posts > ISO: Excellent Applicants (and dependable burrito bowls)
Sep 09
ISO: Excellent Applicants (and dependable burrito bowls)
Another Michigan Law class has entered the fold of future alumni, and so it is the duty of the admissions office to begin the process of seeking the next group. That entails, of course, leaving the happy confines of South Hall for a temporary life on the road, visiting hither and yon.

Now, while it sometimes feels, when one is eating one’s third dinner in a row from Chipotle (don’t mock me! It’s delicious! It’s nutritious! It’s reliable!), that we are diligently covering the entire United States, the fact is that we are picky, picky, picky. We turn down invitations to many more law fairs than we ever attend—not because we think it is impossible that those schools will offer up interesting candidates, but simply because this traveling about is expensive and time-consuming, and it only makes sense to visit schools where history and data reveal a sufficient volume of candidates to make the considerable human and capital resource investment a sensible one.

Of course, I should note that in the post-2010 world of an ever-shrinking applicant pool, the calculus has become somewhat different. My first recruiting trip will take place tonight, and I live in fear of loneliness.

So while there are many promising venues we don’t visit, you can rest assured that if a Michigan Law representative is showing up at your school, it’s because we think well of it.

Perhaps this seems implicit—that we recruit at institutions because we are interested in the students there. But I have yet to have a recruiting season where I wasn’t asked, on multiple occasions, if I really, truly liked applicants from the school in question. Usually, the balloon gets floated from students at a school that is somewhat smaller, or regional, or both: How many students does Michigan really admit from this institution? How do we view grades from this institution? And so forth. But sometimes, a slightly different set of inquiries is thrown out by students at schools fairly universally viewed as powerhouses: How much do we take into account the strength of the cohort? If a student has a B, is that the same as an A+ at some less resplendent institution?

The students may be approaching the question from different directions, but underneath, the point is the same: They want to know if they made a good choice for undergraduate school. They are seeking some certainty about the law school application process, and possibly hoping for a hint that they are in like Flynn, all thanks to the alma mater they are on the cusp of claiming.

When we’re assessing academic records, we certainly do take into account the academic strength of the cohort at a given institution—but we also take into account the degree of grade inflation, and often a competitive cohort goes hand in glove with a lot of grade inflation, so that it’s a bit of a wash. But more importantly, there’s just no particular formula we employ in considering the value of a particular GPA earned at a particular school, and so there’s no certainty that we can convey about the role a given school will play in an admissions outcome. But one of the things I have always loved about Michigan—both when I was a student and now that I’m in admissions—is the wide variety of undergraduate schools represented in the student body. So this much certainty I can give you: whatever undergraduate school bushel you are hiding your light under, we are on the lookout for you.
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