Some of the less prestigious law schools are getting rid of the LSAT requirement in the hopes of, you guessed it, increasing diversity.
Considering that the standard line on IQ is, or was, that it’s a meaningless concept, it’s interesting how important standardized test scores are for college and graduate school admissions in this country. We say one thing but do another.
I wonder if we have US News & World Report to thank for that. Every year the paper ranks undergraduate and law programs, considering test scores as an objective measure of student quality. Colleges report their 25th and 75th percentile scores for the ACT and SAT in the case of undergraduate institutions and the same numbers for the LSAT in law schools. In practicing affirmative action, you better keep the black/Mestizo school population below 25% so that their lower scores don’t show up and hurt your ratings. And a university that actually had a decent ranking, unlike the colleges mentioned in the article linked to above, would be laughed down the list if it stopped requiring standardized test scores all together.
The brilliance of the US News & World Report system is that it plays on the natural human craving for status. Professional degenerate Tucker Max recounted the time he took a verbal cheap shot at a stranger sitting next to him at a hockey game. At the time of the story Max was a student at Duke Law School. The person in the seat adjacent to his revealed that he was also a law student, but at the University of Texas-Austin. Max replied something along the lines of “it’s ok, not everybody can go to a good school.” Duke is currently ranked 10th and Austin 15th. 95% of law applicants don’t have the numbers for either, but every JD hopeful in the nation knows that Duke is more prestigious than Austin.
As soon as you make a list and start ranking institutions, humans are going to start paying attention, in some cases even obsessing about or insulting one another over minuscule differences. Tom Wolfe captured ranking-mania in his I Am Charlotte Simmons where he puts the following into the head of the president of the fictional Dupont University.
U.S. News & World Report—what a stupid joke! Here is this third-rate news weekly, aimed at businessmen who don’t like to read, trying desperately to move up in the race but forever swallowing the dust of Time and Newsweek, and some character dreams up a circulation gimmick: Let’s rank the colleges. Let’s stir up a fuss. Pretty soon all of American higher education is jumping through hoops to meet the standards of the marketing department of a miserable, lowbrow magazine out of Washington, D.C.! Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dupont—all jumped through the hoop at the crack of the U.S. News whip!
There have been calls for USN&WR to add a diversity component to its ranking system and rival lists do pop up. The most infamous is Judging the Law Schools, put out by the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law. By ranking JD granting institutions by such criteria as number of chairs in the library, total applications received, campus square footing and the ever-holy concept of diversity, a school given the lowest possible rating by USN&WR is able to rank itself 12th in the nation. Cooley’s website hits the expected egalitarian notes when explaining why its system is better than the more popular USN&WR rankings, complaining that the latter credits a school for rejecting large numbers of applicants, thereby making “[e]xclusivity...an asset under this view.” (See what law students think of Cooley here and here.) Unsurprisingly, the “Cooley rankings” are a punch line among aspiring attorneys.
In a world without college rankings based largely on test scores, I suspect school prestige would simply be based on reputation-Harvard would keep its name no matter who it let in. In that case college administrators would find it easier to create their own little socialist utopias, making being non-white and/or having a Leftist past even more advantageous than either is now.