I am a student at the (now) well-known Loyola Law School of Los Angeles.
After being featured on the snarky law blogs for a a little while, our curve adjustment made it into “The Gray Lady”. Yes, the New York Times thinks our school’s new curve is news worthy.
Yesterday the NY Times ran this story about our curve and the law school arms race: In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That. The story is a slightly sympathetic and certainly more fair than the skewering Loyola Law School got in some of the law blawgs.
Here’s the real story:
Fact: In Los Angeles, the other law schools have a 3.0 mean GPA.
At most law schools this is an important number because there is a very rigid bell curve (at least that’s how it is at Loyola). Most people know that law school is in essence a competitive environment. (More about that here: Winners and Losers | A New Yorker Cartoon (and I get it, and it is funny!))
If you want the top paying jobs you need the best grades in your year. If you do well, someone else is doing worse. There are no “ties” or “everyone is great” accolades. It is a battle to finish at the top. So if you are above the mean GPA you are doing well. If you are below the mean GPA, you are falling behind.
At Loyola, our mean GPA was 2.667. For purposes of class rank it makes no difference whether it is a 2.667 a 3.0 or 8.3. Rank is rank.
But, with law firms asking for GPA on resumes and electronically filtering them WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THE REST OF THE RESUME by GPA number, Loyola students were getting shafted. Equally ranked students at other schools had artificially higher GPAs. Many Government jobs have 3.0 GPA minimums and schools whose mean GPA was 3.0 had a huge advantage. An average student at [other law school] would qualify for the job while average students ate Loyola were denied because their GPA was too low.
The absolutely only fair thing for Loyola to do was to raise the GPA. It’s not artificial grade inflation. It is leveling the playing field.
How is it fair for Loyola to have a lower mean GPA than everyone else?
Why is everyone making such a big freaking deal about this???