The Right Coast

September 06, 2004
LSATs and all that
By Tom Smith

This is kind of interesting, from comrade Leiter.

Teaching at USD now for more than ten (!) years has been interesting, partly because I have witnessed a steady improvement in the quality of our students (not to mention faculty). You don't notice it much from year to year, but it is striking over even as little as three years. Our director of admissions told me the other day that it has gotten to the point that students who defer admission for one year cannot be assured they will be readmitted, since the year over year in minimum LSAT scores and GPAs required for admissions, is rising so fast.

It is interesting to ponder whether "smarter" students are more fun to teach. All other things equal, the answer is yes, but in my case at least, I have realized that intelligence is not the most important quality for making students fun to teach. Instead, it is something more amorphous, like attitude. An enthusiasm for the subject, a willingness or eagerness to learn. Which makes sense: Teaching is fun when it's successful, when you actually accomplish something. Helping a student go from level 4 to level 7 is more fun than going from level 9 to level 10.