Nontraditional Law Student Myth #2: The Curve

Prior to beginning my 1L year, our entire class participated in a week-long orientation program. We spent a lot of that time listening to other attorneys share stories about law school and how they managed to survive. Almost all of them talked about the difficulty of having one graded assignment and, if that wasn’t tough enough, battling “the curve.” Almost every law school prep book I have read spends a considerable amount of time tackling these two topics as well.

Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to deal with either. At UNT-Dallas College of Law, there is no curve. Instead, each student gets the grade her or she earns. If forty students earn an A, then all forty students get the A. In addition to promoting fairness, eliminating the curve also removes some of the drama that arises in other law schools.

It’s no secret that law schools are filled with a lot of Type-A personalities that are used to being the best in whatever they try. It should not come as a shock to anyone that when you mix these volatile personalities together and you ask them to compete with each other for a finite amount of “good grades,” that these same students will not also play nicely with one another.I have read stories of students at other law school sabotaging their fellow students in order to battle the curve. Unfortunately, it’s a hard habit to break and many attorneys continue to operate this way when they begin their practice.

We have none of that at UNT-Dallas.

More importantly, at UNT-Dallas, all classes have multiple graded assignments, so you if you happen to have a hiccup on your final, you are not doomed. Every class has a midterm and graded quizzes. In Torts, I made a C on my final, but still made ended with a B+ in the class because of my grades on the midterm and quizzes.

My Property class had a quiz every class. While not all classes have that many quizzes, every class I have taken so far has had at least 5 quizzes, which in the end account for about 10% of the final grade.

It’s just another way we are doing things differently at UNT-Dallas.

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