Something pretty fun happened last week. Well, “pretty fun” for the casual observer, but “terrifying and frustrating” for people who had been accepted at a certain university. That’s because Baylor Law School accidentally released all the personal information of their admitted students to their admitted students. Everyone got an email with a spreadsheet attached, showing the names, addresses and phone numbers of their peers. Maybe they were trying to instill some camaraderie in their incoming class, hoping they’d start calling each other just to say hi?
Anyway, if that wasn’t bad enough, they also released the GPAs, LSAT scores, undergraduate schools, racial affiliations, and scholarship offers of the students as well.
So this sucks if you were admitted to Baylor. Tons of people now have your personal contact information — which is creepy, but hopefully won’t result in any real problems.
Less dangerous, but for many people more horrifying, is the fact that everyone knows exactly what your GPA and LSAT score are if you were on the list. While some people are more than happy to share their numbers with the world, a lot of people aren’t. This is partly because so much emphasis is placed on the LSAT. In law school admissions, obviously, but also just in general. People spend months and months studying for this beast, pouring their hearts and souls into it, which can make them attach an importance to it that transcends its law school relevance. Often students view it as a measure of their self-worth; when someone bombs the test they often feel like failures in general. And on the flip side, there’s nothing more obnoxious than someone who just scored in the 170s and now thinks that they’re a certified genius. But let me assure you that neither of those are healthy or accurate reactions. The LSAT is simply a test that can be studied for, and doesn’t say what kind of person you are. And it doesn’t really have much to do with law school, either.
All this might not be a giant issue here, since if you’ve been accepted to Baylor then it’s likely that your numbers are around their medians anyway. So people probably wouldn’t be too surprised with your ballpark LSAT score. But one thing that does make this rough is that tons of people lie about their numbers to their friends. This Baylor leak probably created some real awkward moments for a lot of people. Imagine telling your friends “well sure I got a 177, but I’m going to go to Baylor because Waco’s just such a great town, you know?” and then having them see this.
Anyway, the point of all this is you shouldn’t put too much value on your LSAT score when it comes to personal self-worth. And you shouldn’t lie. And Waco probably sucks.
Also, there’s some real interesting data to be mined here. Rather than just seeing averages, there’s information about individual students, providing a huge amount of admissions data that has never been seen before. Also, if you’re interested in the whole Affirmative Action debate, there’s a lot be gotten out of this. There are some interesting analyses here and here.