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Rashabon    1134

If I had to guesstimate, I'd say about 10% of the class will graduate with honours standing, and that's just about an A average, maybe slightly below.

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kurrika    5686

You can be top 10% with a B+ average depending on year and school.

 

Many students never see an A. Be pleased if you escape with no C+s.

Edited by kurrika

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xyz    223

Ya, it's not the same students getting all of the A's, so a B+ average certainly gives you a shot at honours. 

 

But yes, expecting all A's is setting yourself up for pretty much certain disappointment. Remember your law classmates were also all successful undergrad students. Still, being realistic while aiming for all A's is perfectly fine. 

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ProfReader    704

I understand this will be different depending on the institution but is there such a thing as a "high B" or a "low B". By this I don't mean + or - but something like a "high B" would be very close to being a B+ but not quite there. The reason I ask is because of midterm grades and how they affect the overall mark at the end. If a midterm is only worth 10 or 20 percent (something relatively low) and lets say you get a B+ on it but then on the final, which is worth 90 or 80 percent, you only get a B, that means you're going to get a B in the course overall right? Or is it possible that your B on the final just missed on being a B+ and then the B+ you got on the midterm is enough to pull your overall final grade to a B+?  I'm just confused on how curving works when its letter grades assigned on tests rather than a %.

Hmm....I don't think I will be a lot of help here as it depends a lot on the particular institution.  For example, one of the places that I have worked/work allows numeric grades (in which case there could be a high B or a low B), but the final grade is a letter grade, which can sometimes be adjusted to meet the grade distribution requirements (similar to what you describe for your undergrad institutions).  At other places there is no such a thing as a low or a high B in terms of grading (although certainly the professor might think something is on the cusp of either a higher or a lower grade) and a B is a B.  In that case, the assignments and their value are plugged into a computer program, which may assign the same grade on a grade point scale (if one is used) to all grades that received Bs and then spits out a final mark that weighs your grades.  Under that system, your B+ midterm worth 10% would not make a difference at all.  All different schools have different systems though.  Sorry I could not be of more help!

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ProfReader    704

i'm wondering what sort of expectations would set you up for disappointment in law school. for example, is it ridiculous to expect to get A's in every course?

 

Yes, that will probably never happen.  Even the gold medalist will likely have at least a few B+s or even Bs, depending on the school and the year.  Some of the people in the top 10% or 15% (however a school defines the Dean's List/Honours/Etc.) will have a B+ average.  

 

Just to give you an idea (not to be a braggy bragger), my grades were as follows:

First year: A, A, A, B+, B, B.  This was a B+ average.  I made Dean's List/Honours/etc., but perhaps barely.

Second year: A+, A, A, A, A, A, B+, B+, B+, B+, B.  This was an A average.  I comfortably made Dean's List/Honours/etc. but wasn't near the top of that list (i.e. a couple of people beat me out for things that were entirely grades based and others I know definitely had higher grades as well).

Third year: A+, A+, A+, A+, A, A, A, B+, B+, B (fucking Administrative law taught by a complete lunatic).  This was an A average.  I was close to the top of the class but definitely not the top.

Edited by ProfReader
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med    6

Yes, that will probably never happen.  Even the gold medalist will likely have at least a few B+s or even Bs, depending on the school and the year.  Some of the people in the top 10% or 15% (however a school defines the Dean's List/Honours/Etc.) will have a B+ average.  

 

Just to give you an idea (not to be a braggy bragger), my grades were as follows:

First year: A, A, A, B+, B, B.  This was a B+ average.  I made Dean's List/Honours/etc., but perhaps barely.

Second year: A+, A, A, A, A, A, B+, B+, B+, B+, B.  This was an A average.  I comfortably made Dean's List/Honours/etc. but wasn't near the top of that list (i.e. a couple of people beat me out for things that were entirely grades based and others I know definitely had higher grades as well).

Third year: A+, A+, A+, A+, A, A, A, B+, B+, B (fucking Administrative law taught by a complete lunatic).  This was an A average.  I was close to the top of the class but definitely not the top.

Daaaaaaamn, Prof, you're a badass.  Fantastic thread, btw, thanks for taking the time to do this!

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Yes, that will probably never happen.  Even the gold medalist will likely have at least a few B+s or even Bs, depending on the school and the year.  Some of the people in the top 10% or 15% (however a school defines the Dean's List/Honours/Etc.) will have a B+ average.  

 

Just to give you an idea (not to be a braggy bragger), my grades were as follows:

First year: A, A, A, B+, B, B.  This was a B+ average.  I made Dean's List/Honours/etc., but perhaps barely.

Second year: A+, A, A, A, A, A, B+, B+, B+, B+, B.  This was an A average.  I comfortably made Dean's List/Honours/etc. but wasn't near the top of that list (i.e. a couple of people beat me out for things that were entirely grades based and others I know definitely had higher grades as well).

Third year: A+, A+, A+, A+, A, A, A, B+, B+, B (fucking Administrative law taught by a complete lunatic).  This was an A average.  I was close to the top of the class but definitely not the top.

 

Hey ProfReader,

 

I was wondering if you always considered top 10% of the class with those grades? Also, did your school have an A- on their grade scale?

 

Thanks!

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Dear ProfReader

 

I am thinking about doing an LLM at Northwestern University, provided I can come up with the obscene amount of money this will require.  Obviously my motivation in doing this is to get a part time teaching gig at a Canadian university.  It does not necessarily have to be at a Canadian law school as several political science departments offer courses taught by lawyers.  

 

Does this half baked plan sound feasible to you, and if so, is it advisable?

 

Thank you for your thoughts.

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ProfReader    704

I was wondering if you always considered top 10% of the class with those grades? Also, did your school have an A- on their grade scale?

 

 

No, no A- a the time...I'm not sure if they have one now.  I am pretty sure that the Dean's List/Honors/Etc. was top 10%, although it is possible that it was 15% and I am remembering wrong.  Those grades put me in that category all 3 years.

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ProfReader    704

Dear ProfReader

 

I am thinking about doing an LLM at Northwestern University, provided I can come up with the obscene amount of money this will require.  Obviously my motivation in doing this is to get a part time teaching gig at a Canadian university.  It does not necessarily have to be at a Canadian law school as several political science departments offer courses taught by lawyers.  

 

Does this half baked plan sound feasible to you, and if so, is it advisable?

 

Thank you for your thoughts.

 

I am not sure what you mean by part time...do you mean having some other job and teaching a few classes as an adjunct?  Adjunct pay varies tremendously, so you would definitely need a regular full time job.  I am not sure that an LLM would really increase your chances tremendously at an adjunct gig.  If you have other reasons for taking the LLM then I might consider it (although, as you say, the price is huge), but I wouldn't do it just to increase my chances of teaching (unless you plan to go and do a doctorate).  Classes taught by aduncts are filled in a very sort of haphazard way.  I taught an undergrad course when I was doing my LLM and it happened by chance (someone sent a posting who sent the posting to someone I know).  I also adjuncted at a law school while doing my doctorate and it was also sort of haphazard...my thesis advisor had heard about the opportunity through the grapevine.  I think it can be difficult to break into the poli sci classes, since there would often be seniority rules for the union governing adjuncts whereby if they had worked as a TA (which is likely for poli sci grad students) that they would have seniority and thus first kick at those courses.  What is your ultimate career goal?

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ProfReader    704

I am not sure what you mean by part time...do you mean having some other job and teaching a few classes as an adjunct?  Adjunct pay varies tremendously, so you would definitely need a regular full time job.  I am not sure that an LLM would really increase your chances tremendously at an adjunct gig.  If you have other reasons for taking the LLM then I might consider it (although, as you say, the price is huge), but I wouldn't do it just to increase my chances of teaching (unless you plan to go and do a doctorate).  Classes taught by aduncts are filled in a very sort of haphazard way.  I taught an undergrad course when I was doing my LLM and it happened by chance (someone sent a posting who sent the posting to someone I know).  I also adjuncted at a law school while doing my doctorate and it was also sort of haphazard...my thesis advisor had heard about the opportunity through the grapevine.  I think it can be difficult to break into the poli sci classes, since there would often be seniority rules for the union governing adjuncts whereby if they had worked as a TA (which is likely for poli sci grad students) that they would have seniority and thus first kick at those courses.  What is your ultimate career goal?

 

Yikes...as you can see by the time I wrote this, it was late and I had a few too many glasses of wine.  Please ignore the horrible grammar.  The advice still stands though, an LLM is a waste if you are doing it for an adjunct gig.  Adjunct hiring is very random.

Edited by ProfReader

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braintree    39

Hi ProfReader,

 

Thanks for your immense contributions to this forum so far. You've put so many law students, including myself, at ease about a whole host of worries.

 

As a professor, you might be able to provide an experience-based answer to my question. I am a 1L who received an A on a 100% exam in a large course. I was one of the few who regularly raised his/her hand in class, but had little one-on-one interaction with the professor since I had no burning questions or issues to discuss with him/her. Knowing this about me, might this professor be able to be a strong reference for summer job applications?

 

I'm asking here because I would hate have this professor agree to be a referee and get a mediocre, vague reference from him/her in the end.

 

Thanks so much!

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xyz    223

Hi ProfReader,

 

Thanks for your immense contributions to this forum so far. You've put so many law students, including myself, at ease about a whole host of worries.

 

As a professor, you might be able to provide an experience-based answer to my question. I am a 1L who received an A on a 100% exam in a large course. I was one of the few who regularly raised his/her hand in class, but had little one-on-one interaction with the professor since I had no burning questions or issues to discuss with him/her. Knowing this about me, might this professor be able to be a strong reference for summer job applications?

 

I'm asking here because I would hate have this professor agree to be a referee and get a mediocre, vague reference from him/her in the end.

 

Thanks so much!

 

Definitely wait for ProfReader's answer, but imo this is exactly why people should ask "would you be comfortable providing me with a strong reference?" 

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ProfReader    704

I agree, although I'm not sure you would need to say "strong" letter, as the question here is probably not a situation where a professor might say neutral or negative things, but rather where the professor might say vague things due to the lack of a personal relationship.  You might say something along the lines of, "I really enjoyed your class, especially some of the class discussions.  I also received an A on your exam.  Our class was large and so I did not get to know you as well as I might have in a smaller seminar class, but I was wondering whether you feel that you would be in a position to write a reference letter."  Usually I suggest asking for references via email, but that is primarily for undergrads applying to law school.  Given your situation, I might stop by to talk with the professor in person.  Take your resume and perhaps your cover letter for the job in case the professor is willing to write it.  This may give him or her an opportunity to say more personal things.

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almostnot    3948

I'd add that you'd be surprised how aware professors can be of students even in a hugemongous class.  Especially if you look like you're thinking.  You stick out since 90% of your class is fucking around on facebook or gchat.

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kenoshakid    1559

I've long wondered what the hell professors put in those things (and, really, what the value of them is to the adcom).

 

My two references were a lecturer who I'm still friends with to this day and have worked on a few side projects with, and a professor who I'd had quite a few long talks with and took four of her courses. Even then, I'm not sure what she wrote beyond just confirming the grades on my transcript and saying I contributed in class. "Looking over Kenosha's resume for the first time today, I see he's done some cool stuff. Work for ___________? That's pretty awesome. To conclude, and on the basis of these limited factors, I heartily recommend him for acceptance to law school - a place I know nothing about as it has nothing to do with my field. Sincerely..."

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ProfReader    704

I've long wondered what the hell professors put in those things (and, really, what the value of them is to the adcom).

 

My two references were a lecturer who I'm still friends with to this day and have worked on a few side projects with, and a professor who I'd had quite a few long talks with and took four of her courses. Even then, I'm not sure what she wrote beyond just confirming the grades on my transcript and saying I contributed in class. "Looking over Kenosha's resume for the first time today, I see he's done some cool stuff. Work for ___________? That's pretty awesome. To conclude, and on the basis of these limited factors, I heartily recommend him for acceptance to law school - a place I know nothing about as it has nothing to do with my field. Sincerely..."

 

Grad school letter instructions often ask the prof to comment on the student relative to other students.  I haven't written a reference letter for law school in a long time (I taught undergrads for a while) but I used to compare the student to his or her peers.  Obviously the committee can see the grades comparison, but I tried to comment on preparedness for class relative to peers, engaging with the material in class discussions, etc.  I tried not to just list things off the resume.

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kenoshakid    1559

Grad school letter instructions often ask the prof to comment on the student relative to other students.  I haven't written a reference letter for law school in a long time (I taught undergrads for a while) but I used to compare the student to his or her peers.  Obviously the committee can see the grades comparison, but I tried to comment on preparedness for class relative to peers, engaging with the material in class discussions, etc.  I tried not to just list things off the resume.

 

That certainly makes sense, so much so that I'm a bit surprised that it's not explicitly listed on the OLSAS form.

 

I'm guess basically the same can be done for your law students? This week I asked two of my law professors for references just in case I need them for a job interview; one said yes, citing my class participation, and the other was a bit hesitant (even though I probably interacted with him more on a personal level), saying there's not really much he could write except that I got a high grade and we talked a few times. I thought that was totally fair - but then again I don't really know what the expectations are with these letters are.

Edited by kenoshakid

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LozOot    114

While we're on the topic of references, there's one question I've been curious about for a while: how important is the rank of the professor which you're seeking the reference from? Is this something more relevant to academia as opposed to law schools or jobs? While I was applying for an internship in undergrad, I had a prof who recommended that I get my second reference from a tenured prof that I took one class with 2 years prior (and obviously had no idea who I was) over a sessional that I'd taken a couple classes with and least knew my face and name. I've always been skeptical of that advice (although I ended up taking it).

 

Thanks for the insight!

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