Saturday, July 22, 2017

LSAT scores by major

According to this chart by Robert Anderson of beach-bum toilet Pepperdine, law-school applicants who majored in mathematics, physics, biomedical engineering, classics, or linguistics on average score above 160 on the LSAT, whereas those in such illustrious fields as criminology, criminal justice, family relations and child development, social work, and elementary education score below 150.

The majors on the Cooleyite end of the range generally seem more closely connected to law than those that approach Harvard's territory. Selection bias may account for part of that effect: maybe the would-be mathematicians and classicists who decide to apply to law school are the crème de la crème, whereas just about every dipshit in "criminology" (which as a major is scarcely better than underwater basketweaving) decides "I's gonna be a loyer!" and brings down the average LSAT score. It's a safe bet, though, that criminology and such don't attract the brightest students. Only in recent years have I even heard of majoring in criminology.

In addition, those majors at the top produce only a tiny handful of applicants. The dumb masses in criminal justice and elementary education drag the average down, down, down.


  1. Those who do not understand calculus should not go to college.

    1. They don't teach calculus well in most American high schools.

      There have been countries like South Korea, which pushed STEM above everything else, and all they got in the end was a nation of engineers who couldn't find jobs because the market was flooded.

    2. At the turn of the twentieth century, the University of California required exams in numerous subjects, including Latin and Greek, of all applicants for undergraduate admission. Today it admits people who don't know the rudiments of history, arithmetic, or much of anything else, and the former dean (scamster Frank Wu) of one of its law schools told the world that "law school is for everyone".

      I have proposed to require an exam in the integral calculus for admission to law school, just to deter the many dumb-dumbs.

    3. Calculus? I'd be satisfied if we simply check for Algebra I proficiency.

    4. Indeed. Forget about the calculus when the schools don't even teach the goddamn multiplication table.

    5. I flunked my calculus final exam, but I'd gone it with a B-, so I still passed the class.

      F*ck that test was hard....

  2. Those college majors do drag down the average LSAT score, and the law school pigs are happy to lower their admi$$ion$ "standards" further - in order to accommodate them. After all, it's a federal money grab!

  3. College used to be reserved for the upper class, and those from the middle or lower classes who were smart enough to secure some kind of scholarship. But what about those from the upper class who didn't really have the intelligence or drive for college? I imagine they had some kind of make work, dumb downed degrees. Now that everyone is expected to go to college, if at all possible, I guess we are just seeing this extended in the form of these degrees you describe.

    1. Interesting that you should raise that issue.

      Until the 1920s, the Harvards and the Yales had no cap on admissions; they would take in anyone—any male—who could pass the exams. And there were exams in classical Greek, history, geography, geometry, and various other subjects. Old exams ( can be found on the Internet.

      In that way the schools remained generally aristocratic, simply because non-aristocrats, if they attended school at all, had no practical way to learn Greek prose composition. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, Greek was gone as a requirement, Latin was on the way out, and dedicated students from urban public schools had a solid chance of passing the exams. Ashkenazi Jews, who unlike many other immigrant groups were concentrated in big cities, quickly established a large presence in these WASPy preserves, which, with not a little anti-Semitic rhetoric, solved the "problem" by downplaying or abandoning their objective exams in favor of subjective assessments of "character". And that subjective approach remains today, although nowadays it is glorified as "holistic". Karabel wrote an entire book on the subject.

      Anyway, the aristocrats of that era didn't actually require good scores either. Have a look at Franklin Roosevelt's transcript from Harvard, which includes his scores on the entrance exams:

      So, yes, it was a make-work, dumbed-down degree. But people hear only the name Harvard and take it as a hallmark of quality.

    2. Old Guy, you would probably find this book an interesting read:
      The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton by Jerome Karabel

    3. Thanks for providing the title of Karabel's book, to which I alluded above. Yes, it's good, as is Golden's The Price of Admission.

    4. It's fascinating to see the old Harvard entrance exam.

      Thanks OldGuy. I reviewed the math portion and would have done a lot better 25 years ago. Now I only have perceived wisdom and BS to guide me when the young 'uns ask questions.

    5. Today admission to Harvard, Yale and Princeton undergrad is more diverse than Old Guy describes. Your chances of getting in double if you are a legacy, but double of a mid-single digit number is not so great. That being said, these schools actually take very few poor people. In New York City, admission is centered on elite private schools and the public high schools requiring admissions tests like Stuyvesant. Still not a fair admissions policy by a long shot. However, the numbers are so low that 94% of applicants overall are rejected. So lots of really smart and talented people with great futures are rejected in the numbers game.

      Once you go to grad school, the significance of a Harvard, Yale or Princeton undergrad degree fades, and the grad school becomes more important. Of course. going to Harvard, Yale or Princeton gives one an edge in getting into grad school.

      Not clear that the Harvard, Yale or Princeton undergrad degree gives one much of an edge in the legal job market. So you can go to a state undergrad school, get into a competitive law school, do well there and be successful in law. At least you could before the legal profession became so horribly overcrowded.

      Anyway the lack of an elite undergrad degree is not the problem in law. It is an oversupply of lawyers problem even if you happen to have double Harvard or double Yale degrees.

    6. The history/geography section is fascinating. At first blush, it appears to show a breadth of intelligence lacking in 99.9% of high school students today. But in reality, the entire page consists solely of questions on major rivers and classical history. You literally could know nothing of anything else and be admitted. They didn't even make an effort to make it less transparent.

    7. Yes, the required curriculum was very circumscribed. The exam looks much more impressive than it is. The published requirements for admission in those days specified the textbooks, and even the chapters or pages, on which the exams would be based. Learning the required "history and geography" was a matter of memorizing a bunch of isolated facts.

      The Latin and Greek are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they include questions about fine details of grammar, such as the declension of some of the more obscure and exotic nouns (on a par with expecting a student of English to know that the plural of vas deferens is vasa deferentia). On the other hand, the "composition" that they expect is mere mechanical translation of single sentences, with half of the vocabulary supplied.

  4. Also on the subject of the élite institutions (élite in monetary, not academic, terms) is this poem, composed in 1909 by Harvard alumnus Judge Robert Grant. Readers today may not notice the deliberately bungled references to Ovid (it was Horace who wrote about the aurea mediocritas) and William James (What Maisie Knew was written by Henry James). But the attitude of aristocratic entitlement should be perfectly familiar.

    The scholar in his way's all right. But it comes down to this:
    What does one go to college for? Assuredly it is
    To study human nature, get an H and a degree.
    How best may one accomplish this? By averaging C.
    The able-bodied C man! He sails swimmingly along.
    His philosophy is rosy as a skylark's matin song.
    The height of his ambition is respectably to pass,
    And to hold a firm position in the middle of his class.
    The middle course is safest. Does not Ovid state it so?
    He is one of the old classics and he surely ought to know.
    The C man holds the balance in the academic scale
    Betwixt the A man at the top and the E man at the tail.
    "Avoid probation" is the tag he whispers to the young,
    "Or otherwise some college team is likely to be stung.
    A skillful choice of studies makes one's afternoons all free;
    The chief merit of electives to the man who aims at C."
    Such are the words of wisdom he utters from his throne,
    For the C man owns the college and sets the college tone.
    The man who's busy at his books an hour a day or so
    And then jogs to the Stadium or goes out for a row,
    If at examination time he pulls a first-rate mark,
    The world forgives a genius; that fellow is a shark.
    But he who seeks a Summa Cum by unrelenting toil
    And hibernating in the Yard consumes the midnight oil,
    Who never loafs, who never cuts, and rarely goes to town,
    Who picks his courses heedless of the hours when they're set down,
    Who doesn't care to join a club, or if he does make one,
    Selects the literary sort where studious stunts are done,
    Who deems a run or a sharp walk sufficient exercise,
    Who though he's working overtime competes for some old prize,
    And when he should be rooting for the ball nine or the crew,
    Devours Professor William James who wrote "What Maisie Knew,"
    That fellow in a moral sense of course may beat the band,
    But viewed by an industrial age he's hard to understand!…

  5. To channel Becker and Fagen, while any major, dude, will get you in, Any Major Dude With Half a Heart Will Surely Tell You My Friend Not To Go to Law School.

    Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend / Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again / When the demon is at your door / In the morning it won't be there no more

  6. College education itself is a scam. Many of them give admission to students to make money, not teach students. College admission and Law school admission need to be much difficult.

  7. "The dumb masses in..."

    Haha, phonetically that's a fun turn of phrase. Thanks for the chuckle!

  8. Test scores and majors be damned.

    For the past eight years, the simple fact of enrolling in law school is tantamount to a scarlet "L" tattooed on one's forehead.... which tells the world,

    "I am a loser. I have quite possibly been pressured by others, or poisoned by their fairy tales, but either way, I am living in the past, spending my present and sacrificing my future chasing after a mere chance at an outcome that has now long since eroded, and even if it could be attained, has a steadily shortening shelf life. I am engaging in the ultimate act of self-negation in order to chase after a ticket to travel to a world of shit that now grows shittier by the month. I am pathetic. I am a boomer wannabe. Do not associate with, or heaven forbid hire, me."

    1. ^^^^^You weren't a fool to go to Law School, but you took an unnecessary risk if you gave up a thriving career to go to lawschool during the day. Going to night school, without giving up your day job, is a much better route. If you don't make it in the law, you still have your day job to fall back on...without having missed a beat. And I don't care what anybody here says... I went to Law School at night in New Orleans, and I remember those days fondly. classmates were older and wiser than the day students and we always went out to a New Orleans Bar, at least once a week, after class. And personally, I found studying the law very rewarding. Those were the days. I did give up my day job, eventually, after five years ended up solo. I made good money as a lawyer... but I will concede two things to you all: (1) Lawyers are by and large dicks a nd (2) I would never try to go to lawschool today. But three decades ago, times were different.

    2. Night school is uncommon nowadays, except at toilets. My law school didn't have classes at night.

    3. Temple University is not a toilet. The legal education there as good as anywhere. Some of you are too wrapped up in this elite school shtick. That matters only for big law.

  9. I have been to four Steely Dan concerts in the past 24 years and not once did they play "Any Major Dude." Any lobbying you could do to get them to play that song would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Anyone following the law firm merger mania? Dentons and DLA Piper are acquiring outposts all over the world. Lots of U.S. MidLaw is being swallowed up by the international megafirms. DLA Piper just took Liner's 60 person office in LA. Hogan Lovells acquired Collora's 25 person office in Boston. SmallLaw is quickly disappearing.

    A lot of these mergers are being financed by debt. Remember, Dewey Ballatine and LeBoeuf merged in 07, and went down shortly thereafter. If/when the next recession hits, the legal industry is going to be hit hard. The industry is leveraged to a hilt. Recent entrants to the industry have no idea what's coming ...